Super Simple Upcycle: Cropped Army Jacket

upcycled DIY cropped army jacket secondhand #haulternative
Product shots from Nordstrom & Nordstrom Rack: One | Two | Three
This post contains affiliate links

I've been eyeing all the wonderful denim jackets out this season, most of them inspired by classic Levi's and the vintage denim trend.

But I simply haven't worn my jean jackets when I've owned them in the past because I'm not into the Canadian Tuxedo thing and the only other items they pair with are dresses and skirts. But that doesn't work either, because they're normally not cropped enough to lay well over high waist silhouettes.

After my Nordstrom shopping post, I fell down the rabbit hole looking for a casual cropped denim jacket when I came across this Madewell Army Jacket.

And that gave me an idea: Why not find a secondhand, lightweight army green shirt and crop it, leaving the hem raw?

It's a hybrid of all the other jackets I was looking at, and it would ensure that I would have a piece that I could pair with jeans, skirts, and dresses, because both the color and silhouette would be just right. I found an amazing secondhand, slightly oversized army green blouse on ebay for $5.00 (including shipping & handling!), then simply cut it to fit.

Upcycled Cropped Army Jacket

upcycled DIY cropped army jacket secondhand #haulternative
What You'll Need:
  • Secondhand Army Green Jacket or Blouse in Lightweight Cotton (slightly oversized is preferable). Try Ebay,, Poshmark, and Etsy for secondhand and vintage options.
  • Straight pins, chalk, or pencil for marking
  • Scissors
upcycled DIY cropped army jacket secondhand #haulternative
Outfit Details: Earrings - 31 Bits; Jacket - Secondhand via Ebay; Jeans - thrifted; Tee - Everlane

To Make:
  1. Put the jacket or blouse on and button it up to ensure the hemline is even all the way around your body.
  2. Find your desired crop point and mark it in several places with straight pins (or with a pencil or chalk).
  3. Take the item off, re-button it, and lay on a flat surface. Finish marking your line about a half inch lower than your original markings to ensure you don't accidentally over-crop your jacket (fabric may roll or fray after cutting). 
  4. With the item still laying flat, cut straight across. 
  5. Put your jacket or blouse back on and see how it fits. Adjust if needed.
  6. Throw in the dryer to fray the hem.

Hooray for an absurdly simple, very inexpensive DIY.
upcycled DIY cropped army jacket secondhand #haulternative

#FashRev Week | #Haulternative DIY: Beet Dyed Blouse

#haulternative fashion revolution beet dyed blouse
Thanks to Justina at Smockwalker Vintage for providing goods to DIY.

The last post in my #Haulternative series! See the embroidered blouse and the fringed denim.

I had originally intended to cover up a few small stains on this blouse with Indigo, but there is no indigo to be found in this town! I ended up ordering some online, but it wasn't going to be here in time to prep posts, so I had to come up with an alternative on the fly. A customer recommended beets, which was actually a better idea for this blouse anyway because the light tone means the cute little embroidered diamonds are still visible.

Beet Dyed Blouse

#haulternative fashion revolution beet dyed blouse#haulternative fashion revolution beet dyed blouse
Beets are deceptive little suckers. Their juice will stain your hands a deep magenta, but the effect on cotton is much more subtle. It's hard to tell in the photos, but the final effect is a lovely, pale rose, which perfectly covered up what looked to be makeup stains near the collar of the blouse.

What You'll Need:

  • A vintage, thrifted, or pre-owned cotton blouse (even better if it's got a few small stains you want to cover up)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 beets
  • Medium pot filled 3/4 of the way with water
  • Knife for slicing beets

To Make:

  1. Thinly slice two beets, then place in pot with water and vinegar. Heat to boiling on the stove, then cover with lid and simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Remove beet slices from water. Keep pot on burner.
  3. Fully saturate blouse with water, ring out, and fully submerge in beet water.
  4. Bring beet water back to boiling, reduce heat, then cover and simmer the shirt in the beet water for at least 20 minutes. 
  5. Take pot off heat and continue to let shirt steep for an hour or more.
  6. Ring out shirt and rinse thoroughly in cool water. Air dry.
#haulternative fashion revolution beet dyed blouse
Ethical Details: Top - upcycled via Smockwalker Vintage; Pants - thrifted; Shoes - #30wears

What I Learned From A Week of Upcycling Projects

Even though I work with used clothing daily as a thrift shop manager, it's easy to not see the potential in a pair of worn out jeans or a stained white shirt. Doing very simple DIY projects like embroidery, fringe, and vegetable dying showed me that old can be made even better than new at a low price with only a small time commitment. 

It's also a great feeling to be able to do something with my hands instead of with my thoughts, to see the visible, tangible proof of my labor. I hope to make the #haulternative life something I pursue all year round, not just during Fashion Revolution Week.

If you end up doing a #haulternative this week, Justina and I would love to see it! Tag @stylewiseblog and @smockwalkervintage on Instagram!

Learn more about Fashion Revolution Week here.

simple ethical and natural DIY projects for fashion revolution week #haulternative

#FashRev Week | #Haulternative DIY: Fringed Denim

fashion revolution haulternative DIY fringed denim with smockwalker vintage Denim provided by Smockwalker Vintage.

See yesterday's #Haulternative post here.

This season's fringed denim trend is screaming for a DIY. I mean, there's literally no reason to go buy someone else's (likely a sweatshop worker's) upcycling project when there's such an abundance of denim on the secondhand market. Justina at Smockwalker Vintage provided these groovy green jeans with a super high waist for a fringed denim DIY.

Fringed Vintage Denim

fashion revolution haulternative DIY fringed denim with smockwalker vintage

What You'll Need:

  • Vintage, thrifted, or pre-owned denim jeans
  • Scissors
  • Pencil, pen, or chalk for marking the denim

To Make:

  1. Lay the jeans on a flat surface (I used the floor). Carefully cut off the bottom hem. I cropped mine to right above the ankle.
  2. Determine how long you want your fringe to be, then carefully mark the top edge on each leg. I eyeballed mine, then created a small pen mark on each leg.
  3. Carefully cut quarter inch strips all the way around each leg. Tip: pay attention to where the side seams are and try to make them their own distinct strips.
  4. To get looser, more distinct fringe, wet the denim, then run them through the dryer.

How to Choose Your Denim: You can really choose whatever silhouette you want, but I like the way these straight fit jeans turned out. This vintage cut can feel a bit frumpy because the cut is so wide down the leg, but the fringe makes the shape look more intentional.
fashion revolution haulternative DIY fringed denim with smockwalker vintagefashion revolution haulternative DIY fringed denim with smockwalker vintage
Ethical Details: Tee - Everlane; Jeans - upcycled via Smockwalker Vintage; Sandals - Everlane


Justina actually fringed some denim for me, but they were a bit too small, so I've decided to give her pair away. Please note, there's only one pair in one size, so check the measurements before entering.

To enter, find this photo on Instagram (@stylewiseblog) and follow the instructions!
fashion revolution haulternative DIY fringed denim with smockwalker vintage

If you end up doing a #haulternative this week, Justina and I would love to see it! Tag @stylewiseblog and @smockwalkervintage on Instagram!

Learn more about Fashion Revolution Week here.

simple ethical and natural DIY projects for fashion revolution week #haulternative

#FashRev Week | #Haulternative DIY: Custom Embroidered Blouse

#haulternative fashion revolution week embroidered blouse DIY Blouse provided and embroidered by Justina at Smockwalker Vintage.

It's Fashion Revolution Week! This year I'm posting three days of DIYs inspired by Fashion Revolution's #haulternative prompt...

#Haulternative: the sustainable version of a shopping haul, spotlighting dearly loved, vintage, secondhand, swapped, rented, and upcycled goods in an effort to show that fashion is about more than a shopping binge. Learn more here.

I've participated in the Love Story and #whomademyclothes social media prompts in past years so I knew I wanted to focus on DIY this time around. It's something I've loved since I was a kid but don't often make time for in my busy adult life. I emailed Justina at Smockwalker Vintage to see if she would be on board for sending me a few good-but-not-perfect vintage things to upcycle. Not only was she in, she even did her own DIY work on two things before sending them!

I'll be featuring three different clothing DIY projects this week, starting with:

Justina's Adorable "L" Embroidery

#haulternative fashion revolution week embroidered blouse DIY#haulternative fashion revolution week embroidered blouse DIY
Ethical Details: Top - upcycled via Smockwalker Vintage; Skirt - c/o People Tree; Shoes - Julia Bo

You'll need:

  • A thrifted, vintage, or pre-owned collared shirt
  • Embroidery thread in the color of your choice
  • A needle
  • Scissors

To Make: 

I recommend following this step by step guide. You might not need the embroidery hoop for a small project like this one.

I'll be back tomorrow with a fringed denim DIY!

If you end up doing a #haulternative this week, Justina and I would love to see it! Tag @stylewiseblog and @smockwalkervintage on Instagram!

Learn more about Fashion Revolution Week here.

simple ethical and natural DIY projects for fashion revolution week #haulternative

Ethical Halloween: Simple Costumes You Can Make With Ethical Clothing

ethical halloween costumes
It's tempting, this time of year, to trek to the local Halloween store and buy a pre-made costume. I wouldn't blame you if you did: it's convenient and fun. 

The only problem is that Halloween costumes and their related accessories are some of the least ethical and sustainable things you can buy:
  1. Almost everything is plastic or polyester based, and therefore not biodegradable.
  2. Materials are low quality, which means they won't last over several seasons.
  3. One word: sweatshops.
  4. Costumes are heavily trend driven, so chances are you won't even want to wear your costume again.
  5. The costume industry is chock full of cultural appropriation and general bigotry. My local store is currently carrying a "Mexican" outfit, numerous "Indian Chief" costumes, and a child's Robert E. Lee costume. 
Basically, it's best to stay as far away as possible from commercialized, "fast fashion" Halloween and do it yourself. Here are my recommendations for some costumes you can put together yourself using versatile, ethical clothing.


ethical halloween costumes
Elegantees Dress | Fair Indigo Leggings | Ears via Etsy

More Resources: 


ethical halloween costumes
Elegantees Tunic | Boody Wear Leggings | Beanie via Etsy

More Resources:


ethical halloween costumes

Symbology Dress | EcoStardust Biodegradable Glitter | Wings via Etsy

More Resources: 

Do It Yourself: Crafting with Old Tea Boxes

DIY crafting with old tea boxes
I developed recipes and wrote blog posts for Numi Organic Tea for about a year and one of the perks was receiving lots and lots of fair trade, organic tea. I drink tea at least three times a week, so I've put all those samples to good use, but I was left with dozens of perfectly good tea boxes. Tea boxes are generally recyclable, but it seemed a shame to send them off to be smashed if there was a way to repurpose them.

Due to a combination of personal and social stressors, I've been drawn back to crafting and working with my hands over the past year (I'm saving up for a larger loom so I can do bigger weavings). So, after giving a few boxes to our pet rats, I looked through my craft bin and thought up a few upcycling ideas...

DIY crafting with old tea boxes

Custom Note Cards

What You'll Need
  • Numi Organic Holistic Tea boxes (or any tea boxes with pretty artwork)
  • Scissors
  • Watercolor palette
  • Jar with water
  • Paint brushes
  • 1 Sheet of Watercolor paper
  • Paper cutter
  • School glue (like Elmer's)
To Make:
  1. Carefully cut out the artwork on the front of your Holistic Tea boxes with a pair of sharp scissors. Set aside. 
  2. Use a paper cutter to cut a sheet of sturdy water color into 4, notecard-sized pieces.
  3. Using your watercolor palette, select complementary paint colors and paint abstract backgrounds onto your notecards. Let dry for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Use a paint brush to "paint" glue onto the back of your tea art and affix them to your notecards.
  5. You may want to use a book to keep the tea art from warping as the glue dries. 
  6. Write a special note on the back of your cards and give them to loved ones!
DIY crafting with old tea boxes

Jute Wrapped Tea Caddy

What You'll Need:
  • One Tea box
  • Matte acrylic paint in the color of your choice (I used black)
  • Paint brush
  • One roll of Jute Cording
  • Hot glue gun and glue
To Make:
  1. Carefully un-tape the side of your box and cut off the lid and side folds.
  2. Paint the exterior and interior of the box using the paint of your choice (you can leave the base unpainted to aid in drying). Set aside for 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
  3. Starting at a top corner of your box, apply a bead of hot glue and begin to wrap the jute.
  4. Continue adding small beads of hot glue to each corner until you've wrapped around the box once. 
  5. Continue wrapping without adding additional glue for 3 full rotations. Add glue to each corner on the next rotation, and continue the process - glue 1 rotation, no glue 3 rotations - until you're near the base of the box.
  6. Add extra hot glue as you make your last rotation to ensure that the jute stays in place. Cut the jute to lie flush with a corner and carefully glue in place.
DIY crafting with old tea boxes
I'm hoping to incorporate more crafting and upcycling content into the monthly blog cycle because I think it's a nice diversion from typical, consumerist posts: it connects us to artisan work in a more tangible way and it's definitely better for instilling self confidence than a shopping binge.

Let me know if you have any ideas, or if you'd like to be a guest contributor (

Why Weavings Are Worth It: DIY with Uncommon Goods

DIY Weaving Kit from Uncommon Goods
Thanks to Uncommon Goods for sponsoring this post and offering an item for review. 

Well, I drank the kool-aid and am now obsessed with weaving. 

It started when I stopped by a local shop and saw beautifully complex weavings for sale. They could have easily been an impulse buy, but at $250 a pop, that wasn't going to happen. So for the last couple of months I've been wondering if I should take the plunge and try to DIY it.

I've crafted all my life - painting, sewing, macrame, paper mache, tie-dye, and even weaving simple pot holders - but this seemed like it was going to be especially difficult. I've never been patient with fiber arts (I quit knitting after about 2 hours) so I put it on the back burner.

Then, a couple weeks ago, I was perusing the Uncommon Goods website -  namely wall hangings (still on the hunt for pre-made weavings) and plant-related stuff (because apparently I'm now a plant lady) - and stumbled upon the Mini Loom Weaving Kit. At $55, it was decidedly more affordable than buying a completed piece and it came with everything I needed to weave my own masterpiece, including a mini loom, needles, pick up stick, comb, yarn, and instructions. Uncommon Goods generously partnered with me so I could try it out for free.

Uncommon Goods is dedicated to supply chain ethics, sustainability, and craftsmanship, and it shows in their collection of curated gifts, art pieces, decor, DIY kits, and more. They're B-Corp and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, and they make sure that their products reflect their values.

DIY Weaving Kit from Uncommon Goods DIY Weaving Kit from Uncommon Goods

My Experience with the Mini Loom Kit

The first thing you should know about weaving is that it's not exactly easy.

It takes some time to get your fingers moving and your eyes focused on the patterns you're trying to create. The kit comes with a photo-heavy instruction booklet to help you create roughly the design I've created here, but the product image on the site is slightly different and more closely matches the yarn colors I received in my kit. So the design is really up to you!

The makers predict that this weaving will take about 3 hours to complete. It took me 7. Not because I messed up or anything - just because I was careful at every step. I get really frustrated if I make mistakes, so it was to my benefit to take things slow. I enjoyed working away at it while watching episodes of The Office and The Middle over the weekend.

The instruction booklet contained just enough guidance to teach me the basics while letting me customize my own design. This is ideal for me, as I really prefer to experiment and go my own way. I'm also more of a visual learner, so the photos were excellent.
  DIY Weaving Kit from Uncommon GoodsDIY Weaving Kit from Uncommon Goods

Final Thoughts

I'm hooked! To be honest, I haven't felt this proud of myself in a really long time. I spend so much of my life writing and speaking, and relying on those things to make me feel good about myself. It was nice to remind myself that I can put my head down and learn how to do something tactile that yields material results. I get this physical proof that I accomplished something! The reward was worth the time spent.

And it made me more aware of the work that goes into artisan craft traditions more broadly. Weaving may be having a moment in the American mainstream, but artisans have been keeping this kind of craft up for centuries. Their work takes incredible dexterity, creativity, patience, and attention to detail. It makes me proud to be able to feature their work on my blog.

Check out the Mini Loom Kit here. Learn more about Uncommon Goods here.

Simple, Last Minute Mason Jar Gifts, by Faye Lessler

last minute mason jar gifts

This piece was written by Faye Lessler and originally appeared on Sustaining Life, a blog about sustainability, vegan eating, and ethical fashion. Faye works for an ethical fashion accelerator in NYC, does freelance writing, and shares the most delicious recipes.

If you're anything like me, you are still scrambling to finish off at least a few Christmas gifts - despite only having [a few] days before the deadline. As someone who actively avoids any and all holiday hubbub or excess that goes along with last-minute gift shopping, I have adopted a new strategy this year. Yep, you guessed it, I'm cooking up some holiday treats!

Not only is holiday shopping stressful and expensive, but it also comes with a lot of waste, excess, and mediocre gifts. By making edible gifts at home and packaging them in cute, reusable mason jars, I am happily avoiding all of that trash while ensuring that my gifts are both useful and enjoyable for everyone! These three edible treats are sure to please the loved ones on both of our gift lists this year. These treats and sustainable wrapping suggestions are cheap, easy, and can all be accomplished in one day. Now that is what I call an enjoyable holiday activity.

rosemary sea salt recipe

For The Home Cook: Rosemary Sea Salt

  • 4 cups coarse sea salt
  • 4 sprigs ( or tbsp) dried rosemary

  1. Chop dried rosemary with a knife or pulse in a food processor.
  2. Mix salt and rosemary together in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Transfer to jars!

peppermint bark recipe

For The Snacker: Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark

  • 3 lbs of chocolate (semisweet, dark, white...)
  • 1.5 tbsp peppermint extract
  • a handful of candy canes (use more if you like more candy crunch)

  1. Create a double boiler by bringing a large pot of water to a boil and setting a smaller pot or glass bowl inside. Don't let the water get in the smaller vessel and don't let it touch the sides or bottom of the larger pot.
  2. If in large blocks, chop chocolate into smaller chunks.
  3. Add chocolate and peppermint extract to the smaller vessel of your double boiler. Allow to melt while stirring.
  4. Pour melted chocolate into a baking pan lined in parchment paper.
  5. Crush candy canes and sprinkle over top of chocolate.
  6. Spread evenly in baking pan and set in refrigerator for at least one hour. 
  7. Chop into large chunks and transfer to jars!


Get 1 more recipe + instructions for making turmeric-dyed cards on Sustaining Life.

DIY: Transitioning Your Summer Wardobe Into Fall with Tea Dye

DIY ombre tea dye tutorial
Thanks to Numi Organic Tea for sponsoring this post.

I don't buy the old style rule about not wearing white after Labor Day, but I do like to bring warm fall tones into my wardrobe as the weather cools down. I had a white off-the-shoulder top that wasn't getting much use in my summer rotation, so I decided it would be the perfect test subject for a DIY ombre dye experiment.

Traditional textile dyes can be hazardous to your health and irritate sensitive skin, so I started hunting around for examples of natural dye alternatives, and ultimately decided to brew up my own concoction using a blend of Rooibos, Black, and Turmeric teas. The blend of Rooibos and Turmeric proved to be a winning combination, bringing in tones of blush and mustard, both big hits for fall, while the black tea provided a base tone to ensure proper color saturation. Read on to make your own ombre top...

dye your clothes with tea


  • Stock Pot
  • Tap Water
  • 15 Black Tea Bags, 15 Numi Rooibos Tea Bags, 4 Numi Turmeric Tea Bags, with all tags removed
  • White or Cream Natural Fabric Textiles (I used a white cotton top)
  • White Vinegar
  • Hanger
  • Stove Top
  • Timer
  • Test fabric (optional, but useful if you want to be sure that the end result won't surprise you)

how to dye with tea, featuring Numi Organic Rooibos and Turmericombre dyed t-shirt


  1. Fill a stock pot halfway with regular tap water. Place on stovetop and heat until boiling.
  2. Take all the hang tags off of 15 Rooibos tea bags, 15 black tea bags, and 4 Turmeric tea bags.
  3. Once water is boiling, add tea bags to the pot. Simmer and steep for 10-15 minutes. 
  4. While tea is steeping, visualize your garment in 3 sections. You will need to keep these sections in mind as you dip dye to achieve a noticeable ombre effect.
  5. Run your garment under cool tap water, then wring out the excess moisture before placing in dye bath.
  6. Turn off heat. Do not remove tea bags. 
  7. Clip the shoulders of your damp garment to a hanger for easier maneuvering, then submerge garment to highest point you want dyed (I left a small portion near the top of my garment white). Immediately remove the top third of the garment for a light wash of color. This will be the lightest section.
  8. Make sure the rest of your garment is aligned as straight as possible with surface of the dye bath to get an even ombre effect. Set your timer for 15 minutes and let the bottom 2/3 steep.
  9. After 15 minutes, remove the middle third of your garment from the dye bath. Make sure the bottom third is still completely submerged, then let steep for an hour or more. At this point, I took my stock pot off of the now cool burner and placed it outside in direct sun to keep the dye bath warm. 
  10. After one hour, remove your garment and see if desired effect has been achieved. If not, continue steeping. 
  11. Once you are ready, remove your garment, rinse lightly under cool, running water, then place in a clean pot comprised of 1/2 cool water and 1/2 white vinegar. This will help seal the dye. 
  12. Rinse through once more, then let your garment dry.
  13. Wash sparingly to maintain dye saturation.


DIY ombre tea dyed off the shoulder top
Before and After
DIY ombre tea dyed off the shoulder top DIY ombre tea dyed off the shoulder top

As you can see, the rinsed and dried garment will be considerably lighter in color than it appeared while still saturated in tea. Keep that in mind and steep longer if you want a darker effect. I love this pretty yellow and blush-tan ombre and I think it suits my complexion better than the original top.

Have you dyed with tea or other natural dyes? I'm trying out indigo next!


See my other collaborations with Numi here.

3 Simple DIY Beauty Recipes, by Annie Zhu

I love the freedom of summer's long days. The lingering daylight makes me feel like I can spend more time doing things I love and nurturing myself. It's also a season that requires very little concern for clothing, as it's almost always warm enough to wear a single layer and be done with it. So instead of obsessing about the weather and the shopping that comes with it, I like to spend more time doing things with my hands, reading books, and experimenting with DIY projects. Annie Zhu's all-natural beauty recipes, below, fit the bill.

This post originally appeared on Terumah. Illustrations by Elizabeth Stilwell.


It’s not hard to make your own beauty products at home. The few ingredients required are readily found at your local supermarket and health food store. Empty jars and containers are perfect to reuse for this. By making your own products, you’re guaranteed to end up with something that’s 100% natural.

Here are 3 super easy beauty recipes you can whip up in the kitchen:

salt scrub recipe

Peppermint & Sea Salt Body Scrub

  • 4 tbsp sea salt
  • 4 tbsp almond or jojoba oil
  • 1 tsp fresh mint
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops grapefruit essential oil

Mix sea salt, fresh mint and almond/jojoba oil in a bowl. Add essential oils. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Scrub can keep for up to 6 months.

beet lip balm recipe

Beet Lip & Cheek Stain

  • beet juice
  • 2-4 drops freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • optional: coconut oil, almond oil or vitamin E oil

Make fresh beet juice with a juicer. If you don’t have a juicer, cut the beet into quarters after taking the top and root off. Toss into a blender with some water. Pour juice through a strainer into a small bowl. An eyedropper can help you get the juice from bowl to jar. An empty roll-on jar would work best. Be careful, as beet juice can stain.

Depending on how big your container is, add 2-4 drops of lemon juice. This helps preserve the color. Lemon juice can be drying, so add some oil for moisture.

Keep this in the fridge and it will last up to 2 weeks.

natural face powder recipe

Face Powder

  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 tsp or more cocoa powder
  • 5 drops lemon essential oil

Mix cocoa powder and arrowroot powder in a box. Stir in lemon essential oil until color is uniform. Add more cocoa powder to match your skin tone as needed.

Pour into a powder jar (an old mineral powder jar is perfect.) Use the powder to set foundation and to mattify skin.


Get 21 DIY Beauty and Makeup Recipes from Terumah here.

natural bodycare and home products you can make yourself, by Hanna Baror-Padilla

This post was written by Hanna Baror-Padilla and originally appeared on the Sotela Blog.
diy skincare recipes

Sotela is a forthcoming ethical clothing brand that supports and encourages women through all seasons of their lives by providing well-designed, versatile clothing in a range of sizes. Click through to discover more simple beauty and home recipes. 

In Hanna's words: are all the DIY beauty and home recipes I use daily, which I’ve found on Pinterest or other blogs. And get this: every recipe has 5 ingredients or less! Everyone is different so these may not work perfectly for you, but give it a shot before you decide it isn’t for you.

I’ve become even more zero waste with my beauty routine since this post because I mostly make everything myself. Instead of buying packaged beauty products every couple months, I buy packaged bulk items, which last a couple years.


(Recipe adapted from Wellness Mama)

  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup beeswax
  • 3-4 tablespoon shea butter
  • 20 drops lavender essential oil


If you go to Wellness Mama’s blog, you can see how she makes the face lotion. Each batch of lotion lasts about 6 months and I haven’t had any problems! Talk about budget friendly and minimal.


(Recipe by Trash is for Tossers)

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 25-30 drops organic food grade peppermint essential oil


You can watch Lauren of Trash is for Tossers make toothpaste! If you feel like it is too much oil, you can add more baking soda, which is what I did. Either way works for those pearly whites!


  • 1/2 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 20-40 drops lavender essential oil

Optional: Lauren of Trash is for Tossers adds 1/4 cup of shea butter. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m going to for my next batch because sometimes my armpits get sensitive.

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a double broiler and stir until melted. I use a large jar and place it in a pot of boiling water.
  2. Once all of the ingredients are melted together, I mix one final time and add 20 drops of lavender. You can use any oil you like!
  3. To apply, simply scoop some out with your finger and rub on your armpits.

Get more simple recipes on the Sotela Blog.



I made my own Lavender Body Spray after getting inspired by Hanna's recipes. Instructions are below (adapted from this website). 
diy lavender body spray


  • 5 tbsp rubbing alcohol (90% or higher)
  • 1/4 tbsp essential oil
  • 2 tbsp distilled water
  • 1/4 tbsp jojoba oil

  1. In a glass measuring cup, mix alcohol and essential oil. Add distilled water and jojoba oil slowly. You may adjust each as necessary. 
  2. Pour into dark (preferably glass) container. 
  3. Let sit for a few days for ingredients to meld. Shake thoroughly before use.

What are your favorite DIY recipes for home and body care?

second hand challenge: upcycle your way to the perfect closet

DIY black strappy flats

Part of the fun of buying second hand, particularly if you're at a thrift shop, is that you can get a bit experimental with your style both because thrift shops carry a huge assortment of goods and because things don't cost very much money. And if you can't find the exact thing you want, you may be able to buy something similar and make a few tweaks when you get home.

I'd been wanting a pair of black flats that weren't plain jane for awhile, but I just couldn't find anything that worked out at the numerous thrift shops and second hand sites I visited, so I decided to make my own! The best part is that I was able to use things I already had lying around, but you should have no trouble finding a plain pair of flats at your local thrift. I'd recommend scoping out yard sales or calling your local thrift shops (and maybe a Habitat Store if you're near one) to find basic craft supplies. My church's prayer shawl ministry just gave away a whole bunch of unused craft supplies, so double check to see if people in your community have spare bits and bobs.

make strappy flats diy

To make a pair of strappy flats, you'll need:

  • sturdy, flat ribbon (I used a wide grosgrain) for loops
  • scissors
  • heavy duty craft glue like E-6000 or 9001
  • chiffon fabric/ribbon or leather cord (depending on what type of look you're going for) for laces
  • plain flats

shoes tutorial


  1. Make loops for your straps to go through: Measure the height of the sides of your shoes, then double this measurement and cut your grosgrain or other sturdy ribbon to size. Using the first piece of ribbon as your template, cut 7 more pieces of ribbon. 
  2. Create loops by folding each piece of ribbon over itself, then secure with a strong craft glue. Let dry. 
  3. Figure out where you want your loops to be secured on the shoe (I eyeballed it), then glue your ribbon loops into the shoe. I used a relatively small amount of glue on the side of the shoe to ensure that the shoes wouldn't become too stiff or uncomfortable. Let dry.
  4. Choose your laces. I used my Sseko Designs chiffon ribbons*, but you could make your own chiffon ribbons from a thrifted dress or skirt or buy some cord from a craft store if you want a narrower strap.
  5. Lace straps through loops like you're lacing a sneaker. Secure around your ankle.

black strappy flats

Since I may decide I don't want straps on my flats after awhile, I made sure not to use too much glue when securing the loops onto the sides of the shoes. If I want plain flats again, I can simply cut the loops off.

Sometimes changing up your wardrobe just takes a bit of brainstorming. Next time you're looking to update an old standby, consider altering what you already have with a bit of help from a second hand store. 

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platinum no more: how to get rid of the blonde at home

how to dye blonde hair brown at homeMy hair has been through a lot this year.

I had my hair professionally bleached and dyed to platinum blonde back in April for a fashion show. I was able to keep the look up for several months thanks to a touch-up I received as payment for a styled shoot I did in June. But then things started growing out and I knew I didn't want to pay $70.00+ every couple of months to maintain a color so distant from my natural one.

I decided to dye my hair darker at home. The only hitch was that home dyes are made to go over hair with pigment in it and my hair had been bleached out. With nothing for the dye to hold onto, it was inevitable that my at home hair color would fade back to blonde or, even worse, turn a weird color. After consulting with several local stylists and doing some online research, I came up with a plan. And it worked!

dyeing your hair at home

What you'll need:

  • Warm Red semi-permanent dye

  • Warm Dark Blonde/Light Brown semi-permanent dye

  • Permanent dye in the color of your choice


Follow instructions on box to dye your hair a warm red tone, concentrating more color at the roots than on the ends, as bleached hair is more absorbent than your natural roots. I waited a couple weeks before doing the next step, but you could do this all on the same day, if desired.

Next, follow instructions on box to dye your hair a warm dark blonde or light golden brown no more than 2-3 shades lighter than your desired final color. It is imperative that the dye you choose is listed as a Warm tone, as you really need to get the brown-red base of a natural hair color back in your hair before permanent dye can adhere to it.

After both semi-permanent dyes have been applied, dry your hair and apply permanent hair color in the Neutral or Warm tone of your choice (I used a neutral medium brown). You're finished!

As hair fades, it will have a natural base to hold onto, so you won't end up with pink or green hair. Dyeing your hair using this at-home method will save you $50.00 or more.