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4.17.2014

DIY Ombré Dip-Dyed Napkins

When the incredibly talented and lovely gals from Paper Fox LA asked us to come up with a craft for their Mother’s Day Brunch (featured on Zooey Magazine), dip-dyed napkins came to mind immediately.  Not only do they make a beautiful table setting but they are also the perfect gift.  Who wouldn’t want a set of gorgeous hand-dyed napkins?  These are super easy to make as well as being inexpensive -- the perfect combo when trying to come up with a gift for the mom who still appreciates things that are thoughtfully handmade.  And don't they all?


Materials

  • Rit Dye in whatever colors you want.  We used these colors: Lemon yellow, fuschia, rose pink & sunshine orange mixed with rose pink for the peachy color.
  • White napkins (we got ours from Bed Bath & Beyond).  Just make sure that they are 100% cotton and not polyester.
  • A large bowl
  • Salt
  • Liquid laundry detergent

Directions


Before you get started, remember that you are working with dye.  Don’t wear clothes that are white/special to you.

1.  Prepare your dye in a large bowl according to the directions.  We used Rit Dye but didn’t need a giant batch so we used about half the package for each color.  First, mix the dye powder with 2 cups of hot water, 1/2 a cup of salt and a splash of liquid detergent in a bowl and stir well (this insures that all the dye crystals dissolve). Then mix in an additional 6 cups of hot water. 

2.  Rinse the napkins under hot water getting them fully wet. Wring them out and then fold your napkin the way you would like it to lay on the table.

3.  Quickly dip the napkin until it’s 3/4 of the way into the dye leaving about 1/4 of white fabric at the top.  This creates your first & lightest-colored layer.



4.  Then dip it about halfway into the dye, holding it there for about 5 minutes.



5.  Then dip it to about 1/4 of the way into the dye, again holding it in this position for about 5 minutes. 



6.  Finally, dip the bottom 1/4 of the napkin into the dye and leave it submerged until you have achieved your desired (and darkest) color.  We draped our over the edge of the bowl and let them sit for about 25-30 minutes.



*Note* With a couple of our napkins the dye bled up into the top area that we wanted to leave white. To fix this we put some bleach in a bowl and dipped that portion in for about 30 seconds until it was white again.  Afterwards, rinse thoroughly.

7.  Repeat this process with as many napkins as you want in as many colors as you want.  You can even try mixing different dyes to create your own custom colors!

8.  Once you have achieved your desired results, rinse the napkins under cold water until the water comes out clear.  Hang them to dry.

9.  Put them through a cold rinse wash (without anything else in the load) & tumble dry.  They'll probably be wrinkly so give them a good iron and fold them up the same way you did when you dyed them.

We placed our on the table with a cute little jar of jam (to go with fresh baked scones!) and a few small flowers tied together with some twine.







For more Mother's Day ideas, check out our collaboration with Paper Fox LA & Zooey Magazine and stay tuned for more upcoming tutorials!

Photos by Amanda Crew and Andrew Abajian.





3.20.2014

A Visit to Bath Bar

Confession:  This post was supposed to go up last month.  In fact, I’ve actually had this post ready to post for a few weeks now, but for some reason I couldn’t muster up the motivation to do a final edit on it and press post.   What’s that about?  

Things have been a little quiet here on Granny Girls for a bit.  Life lately has been swamped with a healthy dose of changes, a new job, press for a new show, side projects and anything else you can file under “Makes Me Overwhelmed.”  I’m the first to admit that I’m not good with change.  And I’m also not good at managing my time wisely (aka I tend to overload my plate with way too many commitments, exhaust myself trying to “do it all,” then throw my hands up in the air in defeat and not finish any of them).  It’s a Classic Crew syndrome, as I like to call it.  All joking aside, it frustrates me to no end because it’s a repeated pattern that I always seem to battle.   

So here I am a month late on posting this, but still doing it.  So that’s something.

Last month Amber & I were invited to check out a cute shop called Bath Bar in Hermosa Beach.  Side note: If you live in Los Angeles but hate driving to Santa Monica and dealing with the crowds, I highly recommend checking out this adorable little beach town.

Created & owned by Kristina Vogel, Bath Bar is a place where you can create your own custom fragrance (with plenty of help from their excellently scent-trained staff) and then add it to a wide range of bath products from lotions to perfumes to body washes and so much more. 

Obviously Amber & I jumped at the opportunity to make our own personal scents. 

After drooling over the decor in the shop (hello adorable couch), Kristina and her awesome associate Kelsey helped us create our own fragrances.  


As you can see, Bath Bar offers a HUGE range of scents from floral to fruity to woodsy.  It was a bit intimidating to choose from their giant selection of scented essential oils but Kristina & Kelsey were extremely knowledgable and helped guide us through the process.  

We each started with one scent that we knew we loved.  I chose Egyptian Musk & Amber chose Black Current.  From there, the girls showed us scents that paired well with our base scent to compliment and balance it out.  After much humming and hawing, Amber & I finally settled on our custom scent cocktail. 





Mine: Egyptian Musk, Vanilla and White Patchouli Flower
Amber’s: Coconut, Black Current, China Musk & China Rain

After you create your signature scent, you can choose what product you want to get with your scent whether it be a body lotion, a body wash, bath salts or hair butter.  We both decided on a a roll-on perfume and Kristina whipped it up right in front of us!


Added bonus, Bath Bar’s products contain biodegradable, natural and organic ingredients, have no parabens and are free of cruelty testing.

Kristina was an absolute delight to meet.  Her passion for what she does is so apparent from the details in her shop to her personal care for her customers.  

Also, Kelsey has an amazing line of candles that are sold at Bath Bar called Piece by Paz.  They are made from recycled wine bottles and smell AMAZING!  Naturally I had to buy one.  I chose Bad Habit, a mix of “sweet tobacco, creamy vanilla and crisp white tea.” 



We had so much fun learning about scents and meeting Kristina and Kelsey.  If you are ever in the Hermosa Beach area you should definitely check them out.  They also host parties in their space where everyone gets to make their own scented bath product.  And if you aren’t in Southern California, you can buy their products online here


And thanks for being cool with my absence around here.  


2.20.2014

Girls' Trip to Ojai


It’s hard to put into words how amazing our girls' trip to Ojai was.  If you follow us on Instagram, you probably saw some beautiful pictures of a whimsical cabin and four girls enchanted by things like orange trees.  



As I’ve been sorting through the photos for this post, I can’t help but dream about returning to this peaceful place.  It was probably one of my first trips where I didn’t come home feeling like I needed a vacation from the vacation.  You know those trips where you come home more tired than when you left?  Not the case with this one.  There was something magical and soothing about this hidden gem.  The air was crisp, clean and fresh, the food was delicious, the people were incredibly friendly, and the company was perfect.  




The house we stayed at was an adorable guest cabin with a fireplace (in which I failed to keep a flame going for longer than 10 minutes), enough cozy crochet blankets for all of us, and a huge front deck complete with granny rocking chairs.  The property was filled with flowers, fruit trees, avocado trees, a vineyard, chickens, and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. 




Most of our mornings were spent drinking coffee on the front porch while munching on Amber’s homemade biscotti and granola, chatting about anything from funny childhood stories to deep thoughts on life.  Then we would slowly get ready to venture out to the little town and see where the day took us.  


I think all of us girls agreed to go on this trip with our only agenda being to relax, explore and enjoy.  It created an environment of carefree adventures.  We went to the beach, cute cafes, local restaurants, charming bookstores, went for walks around the neighborhood and spent a lot of time on that front porch. 






My favorite part of each day was, without question, the sunset.  On the property there was a cozy seating area for us to drink some wine (or a mama-to-be “mocktail”) and sit in awe of the sun setting into the ocean.  There’s something soothing about taking in the immense ocean that makes my problems feel so unimportant.  






Needless to say, we had an incredible time.  Ojai, we will be back.










Photos by Amber & myself.

2.11.2014

Red (Purple) Velvet Vegan Donuts with Cream Cheeze Icing

One of the many awesome gifts I received from Amber for Christmas was a heart-shaped donut pan.   *SWOON!*  This bad boy had Valentine’s Day baking written all over him.  Well, I woke up yesterday morning and realized that February 14th was fast approaching and I still hadn't used it!  The first thing I did when I got out of bed (after drinking some coffee) was research some recipes and then got myself to a grocery store.  I didn’t even get out of my pajamas (you think I'm joking, but I'm not).  

I knew I wanted to make red velvet donuts with a cream cheese icing, but had a few things I was specifically looking for in a recipe.  One, I wanted it to be vegan.  Two, I didn’t want to use food coloring (because it isn’t exactly filled with good-for-you things).  And three, I didn’t want to use vegan cream cheese for the icing (because it’s also not filled with very-good-for-you things). 

I managed to find 3 different recipes that I adapted and formed into one giant recipe.  

Follow along for the goodness!



First up is “natural” red food coloring.  I’ve read a lot about people using beets to dye their baked goods and have always been curious about it.  I decided this would be the perfect time to test it out.  I’ll admit, the finished product is exactly red, rather purple, BUT there isn’t anything fake or processed about these donuts, so I’m okay with it.  If you want to use red food coloring, just skip this whole beet process.    

Roasted Beet Puree (Red food coloring)  


Ingredients

  • 2 Fist-Sized Beets
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice


Directions


1.  Preheat oven to 400 F.
2.  Trim off the root stems and rinse/scrub your beets.
3.  Cover each beet individually with tin foil and place on a baking sheet.
4.  Roast for 60 minutes (or until tender).
5.  When the beets have finished roasting, let them cool for a bit until you are able to handle them.
6.  Gently remove the skin by scraping the beets.  I tried to avoid getting my hands all red by using the tinfoil they were wrapped in. (Key word here is “tried).
7.  Chop the beets into chunks and puree in a blender.  
8.   Measure and seperate 1 cup of the pureed beets into a bowl and stir in the lemon juice.  


Now that you have your natural red food coloring, it’s time to make your Red (Purple) Velvet Donuts.

Vegan Red (Purple) Velvet Donuts


Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of Beet Puree
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 2 TBS Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 Ener-G Egg Replacer
  • 1/3 cup Almond Milk 
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance, melted
  • 3/4 tsp Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract


Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 375 F.
2.  Combine almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside to curdle for 10 minutes.  
3.  Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
4.  Once the almond milk & apple cider vinegar combo has sat for 10 minutes, add it to the large bowl of dry ingredients, along with the egg replacer and melted Earth Balance.
5.  In a separate small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda (it’s going to fizz like a volcano experiment) then add in the vanilla extract.  Once combined, add it to the the large bowl.
6.  Mix in your beet puree.
7. Grease your donut pan.  Using a spoon (or pipe it using a zip-loc bag), add the batter to the pan (about 3/4 full).
8.  Bake for about 10 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
9.  Let cool for 5 minutes and then pop out.




Now it’s time to frost your adorable donut hearts. 


Cream Cheeze Frosting


Ingredients

  • 3 cups Confectioners Sugar
  • 1/8 tsp Cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp Almond Extract
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance, room temperature
  • 2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 5 tsp Almond Milk


Directions

1.  Place all ingredients in a big bowl and mix together using an electric mixer.  I found it was a bit too thick, so I slowly added more almond milk, 1 tsp at a time, until it was a bit thinner.

2. You can also separate the finished icing into a few batches and add some of the beet puree to make it a purple/pink color (depending on how much you add).


 All in all, I would say this was a success!  No, they aren't red, but they are vegan and free of artificial dyes and chemicals.  Also I think the purple is kind of cool!

Happy almost Valentine's Day!