Tuesday, September 20, 2016


A few years ago the hubs and I traded spaces with the Sis.  We gave her the master bedroom and we took the bedroom upstairs.  Well, all that has changed again.  She is now back upstairs and we are on the main floor.

We gave sis our old bedroom furniture because we didn't want to have to haul it downstairs...that sleigh bed is a real beast...not even kidding.  She really didn't want our old stuff but it is best for the time being...especially since she is not willing to fork out her own hard earned money for what she wants...hahaha.

Anyway, sis has wanted a nautical themed room for a while...actually she changes her mind about as much as I do...so about the time I get done with her room she'll be wanting something else....LOL....so I decided to try and use what I could find at home to add a little nautical flair to her "new" room without spending a bunch of money.  I didn't have much and what I did have is more beachy/coastal than nautical but it's better than nothing and I like how it's turning out.

We still have lots of accessorizing to do.  I need some shells and driftwood to accessorize the bedside tables and I would like to either sand the furniture down to bare wood for a light driftwood beachy vibe or paint it white, but that's probably not going to happen for a while. That's more hard work than I want to engage in right now.

Also I will be making a pallet art sign for over the headboard that she wants...which will say "JESUS ANCHOR OF MY SOUL"....but now without further ado let me show you a few pics...

We used the white ruffle bedding and aqua sheets she already had.  I added a couple Pottery Barn pillows that I found at the thrift store for $1 each.

Of course you know from my last post that I made the faux capiz shell chandy.  I think that's my favorite thing so far.

While I was at it, I gave the landing a little makeover.  It's not coastal but it is in keeping with the coastal color palette I have been using upstairs...aquas, whites and grays.

Now I need to do a little work to the master bedroom. Ugh...just thinking about it makes me tired.  HEHE.  Anyway, when I get some of those things done I will share.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Sorry it has been such a long time since posting.  Just as I was getting ready to share this DIY faux capiz shell chandy, I realized my camera card reader was missing.  I had to order a new one.

Anyway, here is a somewhat short tutorial in case you want to make one of these GORGEOUS faux capiz shell chandys for yourself...or a friend...or just because they are so stinkin' gorgeous...

So how do you make one of these lovelies you ask?

First, find yourself a couple embroidery hoops in two or three different sizes...depending on how many tiers you want.

I used three different sizes...12", 9" & 5"  and wrapped them in jute twine for a truly coastal look...

or if you are looking for something easier than spending hours wrapping them...get out some spray paint.

I left extra long strings of jute twine coming down off the largest hoop so I could tie my smaller hoops to it to form a base to hang all my "capiz" shells from so I would get my tiered effect.

Once I had the base done it was time to make the shells...using WAX PAPER...A little note...the wax paper from dollar tree WILL NOT work.  It must be Reynolds brand or similar.  The nice thing about wax paper is that it is cheap everywhere.  The Reynolds brand was only $1.34 at Walmart.  You will most likely need 2 boxes.

Stack 3 to 4 sheets of wax paper together and iron on low heat until they fuse together...briefly touch the iron to paper...you do not have to hold it in place.  Move the iron around until everything is fused.

Once you have several sets of stacked, ironed paper it's time to make "shells" from it.  I wanted round shells in 2" and 1" sizes.  I already had circle punches at home to make them.  However, if you do not have any punches available you can simply cut the paper into squares.

I will just say that you are going to need A LOT of circles (squares, etc.)...my project took about 250 more or less to finish.

Once you have all your "shells" sew them together with a straight stitch with your sewing machine. This is easy and doesn't take long at all.

Next I cut my strands into 5 shell lengths and hot glued the 5 shell lengths 1" apart onto my jute twine chandelier base starting at the bottom of the base.

Keep gluing until the whole base is covered with shells.

That's it!!

Using more twine secure your Capiz Shell Chandelier to your ceiling light fixture and you're DONE.

Super easy...though somewhat time consuming...and CHEAP.  This whole project cost me less than $5.

I found my embroidery hoops at a thrift store for .25 each. $1.35 roll for wax paper and $1 for spool of twine.

Now go out and make one of these beauties!!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Well, the latest news on the home front here at Beyond the Portico is that Sis and I have traded spaces once again.  If you will remember, a few years ago we moved Sis to the master bedroom and moved our room upstairs.  For various reasons (like the hubs doesn't want to travel upstairs to go to bed every night) we decided it was time for the hubs and I to have our room on the main floor and send Sis back upstairs.  Since we didn't want the work of moving all the furniture around we gave Sis our old bedroom outfit and got something new to replace her old stuff...I will share that with you once I repaint and get some new bedding.

In the meantime I have been looking for some new light fixtures.  I will be making a faux capix shell chandy for Sis' room (as soon as I find the time to sit down and do it) and I am looking for a lantern style fixture for the master.

In my search I stumbled across a fabulous tutorial for a gorgeous girly glam chandy that costs just a few dollars and takes only minutes to make.  I thought you might be interested so I am going to share it with you here.

Is that cute or what?  You know you NEED one, right?

Ikea sells a large white paper lantern (17 inches) for I think $7 and coffee filters are a dollar just about anywhere, so this would be a super cheap, super easy project to glam up a little girls room...or a big girls room for that matter and you could easily hang it from an existing light fixture.  If you don't have an Ikea near you check out your local dollar tree.  They have smaller lanterns for just a dollar each or check out Oriental trading.  They often times have free shipping.

I hope to be back in a few to share some of those changes on the home front.  Until then do yourself a favor and made one of these gorgeous chandys.


Wednesday, June 8, 2016


Okay so I know there are some of my 3 readers out there...probably most of you...who either don't use coconut oil or don't care anything about the subject and that's okay.  I really just want to share my opinions and knowledge today...with anyone who wants to know...about the subject...as coconut oil seems to be all the rage nowadays, especially in beauty care.  Yes, beauty care.

First, I know there are a lot of people putting tablespoons of the stuff in their coffee each morning because of coconut oil's nutritional benefits.  I am not one of those especially because I do not drink coffee...well except for the occasional frappe from McDonalds. Ha, but I think those people are a tad crazy as Coconut oil is fat. I mean, I read one post where the person puts 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in their cup of coffee each morning.  I wonder if they know that the whopping 42 grams of fat and 380 calories their drinking per cup far exceeds any health benefit they may receive from the oil itself.  Too, I think in about a year of doing this they're going to weigh about 100 lbs. more than when they started their "healthy" coconut oil diet.

However, I am not here today to criticize anyone's diet.  I am here to discuss coconut oil...and precisely to say that NOT ALL COCONUT OILS ARE CREATED EQUAL. It's important that if you are using coconut oils in your skin care regimen or as dietary supplements to know the good oils from the bad. I will share here what you should look for when buying coconut oil.

Yesterday I mentioned that Crisco's "organic" coconut oil was an imposter.  What I mean by that is it is so heavily refined and stripped of it's natural goodness that it really should not be used or consumed at all.

It's pretty much just saturated fat laden with refining chemicals in a jar...a plastic jar at that and as you know, plastic contains many toxins that are absorbed by the oil and then distributed to your food or your face too. This type of coconut oil is just not good.

There is another brand of coconut oil that seems to be really popular right now as I have seen it on a lot of beauty blogs and on Pinterest for use in a ton of homemade beauty products. LouAna

LouAna is also endorsed by a chef which I guess makes people believe that it's good stuff.  Can I tell you just by reading the label (because they at least put it on the label, unlike Crisco) that LouAna is highly refined, over processed and lacks the taste, smell and texture of good coconut oil.  It's another one JUST LIKE Crisco.  Again with this brand, everything that is good about coconut oil has been removed and you are left with chemical laden saturated FAT.  It also comes packaged in a plastic jar. When you use this type oil in your diet or in your skin care regimen you are simply putting more toxins in your body.  I urge anyone who is using this stuff to STOP.  It's really bad for you!!

Also, please DO NOT sell any of your homemade products that contains this stuff on open market or give it as "gifts" to unsuspecting friends; and, God forbid stop wasting your precious, EXPENSIVE essential oils in this stuff.  I'm befuddled how you would pay top dollar for the best essential oils and then mix it in low grade, poor quality stuff like this?...but I digress...

There are a few things you should look at to determine whether or not the coconut oil you are purchasing has the goods.  First, it will come in a glass jar.  Glass is pure and will not absorb or emit any chemicals into the product.  However that is not enough.  There are some coconut oils packaged in glass jars that are just as bad for you as Crisco or LouAna.  Spectrum is a brand that carries Organic refined...

and Organic Unrefined coconut oil....

The labels look very similar so be careful which one you grab. You don't want REFINED. Besides, spectrum is one of the most expensive brands on the market.  Save your money and buy something better.

Not only will the real deal be packaged in a glass jar but it will have all these words somewhere on the label...UNREFINED, COLD-PROCESSED (or EXPELLER PRESSED), VIRGIN (OR EXTRA-VIRGIN) & ORGANIC...it may even possibly say that it is undeodorized or that it contains coconut flavor and scent.  You will also notice a difference in appearance and feel.  Good coconut oil is kind of shimmery looking, pure white and will be clear when it melts...not yellow.  It will also be solid in any temperature under 76 degrees.  There are really no words to describe the feel on your skin.  It's very light and supple.

When you find a brand that has all of these characteristics you have found a good coconut oil, an oil that will have all the health benefits you are looking for.  However, I wouldn't go and put 3 tablespoons of the stuff in my coffee every morning if I were you...hehehe.  Not unless you are looking to fatten yourself up!

This is the brand that I use and that I absolutely love.

Notice the glass jar and how the label reads. It's truly the real thing and it smells, tastes and feels AHHHHH-MAZING.  Plus it's reasonably priced at $4.99 for 14 oz.

They even share the fact that their product is safe to use in beauty treatments...

If you are interested in using this brand, you can find it at ALDI.

So there you go, if you are using or interested in using coconut oil for anything, be informed and make a wise purchase.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Hello!  What a lovely day don't you think?  Well it was until I was scammed and purchased an imposter.

As you know, I have been making all sorts of things lately for my little business....homemade soaps, dusting powders and such with all natural, organic ingredients.  As I was gathering all my ingredients to make solid lotion bars today I discovered I was out of coconut oil so I ran to the store and purchased this stuff...

I thought I got a good deal because it was only $7.09 for a 27 oz. jar.  It says it's certified organic.and it is sporting a trusted household name...Crisco.

I noticed at the store that it looked a little different but I figured it was just the packaging. It wasn't until I got home and opened the container that I realized there was something seriously wrong with this oil.  Not only did it look totally different from any other organic coconut oil I have ever bought, it didn't have the same lovely coconut aroma, taste or feel either.  I was totally disappointed.  This was not what I expected...although I should have known something was wrong because it was so much cheaper than the other brands.  Don't you know it's one of those things that I should've remembered... you always get what you pay for!!

Anyway, I did a little research and found out that it truly is an imposter coconut oil.  It "may" be made with organic coconuts (which I highly doubt) but it is so processed and refined that there is NO true coconut oil benefits left in it and it certainly should NOT be used in any skin care or hair care product or regimen.

I wish I would have read all the reviews on Crisco's sight before buying this stuff.  That alone would have been enough to leave it on the shelf.

It's sad that Crisco would market something as pure and organic to deceive everyone. Even worse that they leave a little word liked "refined" off their label to deceive people further. Even if this stuff was made with pure organic coconuts, they have processed it to death, so much so that you are basically left with tasteless, disgusting, good for nothing saturated fat. YUCK!!!

What's more, in my research I found out that Crisco is owned by the Smuckers Company which supports GMO's and false labeling...hmmm, no kidding....of course I suppose that's old news to everybody but me since I do not normally buy Crisco or Smuckers products.

Anyway my point today is this...head my warning....DO NOT BUY CRISCO COCONUT OIL!!!  It is NOT what you think it is...it is an imposter...it is a WASTE of your hard earned money and it is NOT good for you. PERIOD!!!

Now I guess it looks like I have pretty much thrown $7.09 away and I am going to have to make another trip to the store today.  CRISCO I WANT A REFUND!!

P.S.  This post was not meant to be negative or critical of any company or brand. I am simply sharing my experience so that it will hopefully help some other health conscience, consumer conscience person along the way.

Have a great one!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


So I really enjoyed my holiday weekend!  You?

As you know from my last couple of posts I have been anticipating making SOAP.  Homemade soap with good for your skin all natural ingredients....not like the chemical laden soaps you purchase at the store nowadays.  Anyway, I have been gathering my supplies for the past few months and I was finally able to make my first batch of soap this past week.  YAYYYY!

Looks like a yummy dessert doesn't it?

Though I was somewhat scared at first that I would screw everything up (especially when using the lye) everything happened just like the Youtube videos showed and my soap turned out great...what's more...IT WAS SO TOTALLY FUN!  I'm now addicted...for reals!!!

I made cold process MILK, HONEY & OATMEAL soap using 100% pure or organic all natural ingredients that you can get at just about any grocery store.

I used Pure olive oil, organic coconut oil, pure honey, old fashioned oats (crushed), evaporated milk, pure cocoa butter and not included in the picture, Taste of Thai unsweetened coconut milk to make a nice creamy moisturizing soap.

Because of the coconut milk, coconut oil, cocoa butter and pure honey used in the recipe, this soap smells delicious too.

I whipped everything up and poured it into my found "cheese box" mold.

I textured the top and let it set for 24 hours before unmolding it.  The waiting was the hardest part of the whole process!!

I then cut it into bars and lined them up like soldiers in the bathroom closet to cure for 4-6 weeks (cold process soap must cure...kind of like fine wine).

At first I was worried that my recipe with just 19 oz. of oils was not large enough to fill my mold right but everything turned out perfect and I got 7 nice size bars out of it.  I CAN'T WAIT to try it out!

In other news I FINALLY found a bust!

I've been looking for one of these for at least 3 years now.  Every shop I have been in has signs attached to theirs that read "NFS"....Not For Sale.  That is because they use them for the same reason that I wanted one....for display...of course if you know me, mine will be used for decor too...hehehe.

Anyway, they've had this one at the shop next to the office for over a year now but it also was "NFS".  Drats!!   The shop was closed for the winter and when they reopened here recently I went in looking for some more heat sealable teabags...I will tell you about those some other time...and I noticed my beloved bust now had a price tag on it...$25.00....SOLD!!!  I snatched it up so fast it's head fell off...

Just kidding, it never had a head but it did have a few minor flaws (that were there all along)...a tear in the linen at the top of the neck and no cap...but I figured I could remedy that.

I used a piece of lace that I picked up at a thrift store a long time ago to cover the tear in the fabric and a wooden canister lid I found at a local flea market for free as a cap.

Now she's good as new.

Lastly, I took a little time over the weekend to start a few Rosemary topiaries.

I took cuttings from a larger plant I bought a month or so ago and dipped them in honey water as a rooting hormone.  I braided three sprigs together for each topiary, planted and then staked them using a skewer and twine so they are stable and grow straight.

I really hope these take root and do well.  I have been wanting some of these for a long time.

Aren't they CUTE!!!  Please pray my black thumb doesn't kill 'em and they get big, lush and bushy!!  Hahaha.

Well that's it.   How was your weekend?  Do anything fun?  DO TELL!!!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016


I figured as long as we are still living at our current house I might as well make good use of all the goodies we have around here....and we have an abundance of roses right now.  Knockout roses!  Now the normal person would simply stick a few stems in a vase here and there to enjoy their beauty indoors but not me.  I had something different in mind for my roses.  ROSE PETAL JELLY!

Did you know roses are edible?  Yes they are...even the Knockout Rose variety.  Now while I don't go around noshing on roses all the day long, I figured I could handle some sweet rose jelly.

To make my jelly, I gathered up a large bowl of fresh roses...

Washed and rinsed them well in cool water and then de-petaled them...

I needed 2 full cups of petals for my jelly.

Once I had what I needed I rinsed them again and put them in a pot with 2 1/4 cups of water and simmered for 5-10 minutes.  Most people clip the white ends off their rose petals before use because they tend to be a little bitter but I tasted one of my petals and they did not need clipped as they were not bitter.

While they were simmering, I put a few pretty little jars and lids in a water bath to sterilize them...

After the roses had simmered for a while, I strained the liquid off...

Isn't that gorgeous???

Some people use the petals and all in their jam, which I think would be lovely, but I decided that I wanted jelly and not jam; therefore, I left the petals out of my recipe.

I added the liquid back to my sauce pan with 4 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1 package pectin powder, stirring until everything was dissolved,

Then brought it up to a rolling boil

Now on a little side note, your more fragrant rose varieties have more flavor.  Knockouts don't have much fragrance so they are pretty much flavorless.  However, I remedied that in my recipe with 7 drops rose essential oil.

I could've also used Rose water but I didn't have any of that on hand.

On another little side note, true Pure Rose Oil is EXTREMELY expensive...$100.00 or more per ounce.  I didn't have that on hand either for obvious reasons so I used a rose oil blend which is simply a small amount of pure rose oil blended with a carrier oil, which was pretty inexpensive.  You have to use a little more because it is so diluted but works well over all.

I boiled everything for 1-2 minutes and them removed from the heat.  I filled 4 sterilized jars with the jelly, reserving out a little to try right away...put the lids and rings on and then inverted them for five minutes to achieve a seal.

Let them set overnight and I have four gorgeous jars of Knockout Rose Petal Jelly...



2 full packed cups rose petals (any kind)
2 1/4 C. water
4 C. sugar
1/4 C. lemon juice
1 packet pectin powder (1.75 oz.)
7-10 drops rose essential oil

I am going to attack our ginormous MINT bush next....Mint jelly anyone?

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