How To Make Your Own Chalkboard and Magnetic Board for Your Kitchen

chalkboard and magnetic board cover

Several years ago I added a chalkboard and magnetic board to one of my kitchen walls. Even though it has been several years since we made this, I thought you may be interested in how to go about making your own.

chalkboard and magnetic board before

Although my kitchen is rather small and I have very little wall space, I found a little spot where this would work. I designed it and my husband helped me with the construction.

todd construction chalkboard and magnetic boardMy husband is such a good sport at helping me with these projects. We make a great team! I design and he gets out the tools and does his magic. I love this guy. He is a keeper!

chalkboard and magnetic board after

This chalkboard and magnetic board have been a good thing! I love having a space where I can jot down notes, reminders, and positive quotes in my kitchen. Another good thing about this magnetic board is that I’m able to get the clutter off my refrigerator doors.

Here are a few photos of my boards. As you can see, I’ve painted the walls white since the original photos.

chalkboard and magnetic board menu planner

I hang my trusty CLIPBOARD CALENDAR and MENU PLANNER on the magnetic board.

These large magnetic clips are the BEST! As you can see I like to clip magazine recipes that I want to try on a clip as well. I keep a little box of colored chalk and chalkboard markers handy for notes.

Chalkboard and Magnetic Board Materials & Items Needed

  • ¼ inch hardboard cut to the desired size
  • Primer paint
  • Saw for cutting boards
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Paneling glue (optional)
  • Screws/screwdriver
  • Trim
  • Galvanized sheet metal (you can find this in the heating & ventilation section of home improvement stores).
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush/paint roller (optional)
chalkboard and magnetic board cover

Chalkboard and Magnetic Board Instructions

1- Decide how big you want to make the boards.

I have designed the boards to be side by side. You could just do a chalkboard or just a magnetic board singly if you wanted. We cut the hardboard big enough for both and just painted half the board.

2- Prime and paint the side you are using for a chalkboard.

Let it dry and then paint using CHALKBOARD PAINT. (Follow instructions for the paint). We used a little MINI PAINT ROLLER to apply the paint.

3- Glue the hardboard to the wall.

Use paneling glue to adhere the board to the wall. You can just set it in place with trim. We did both.

4-Apply the sheet metal using glue.

To separate the chalkboard and magnetic board, glue a narrow piece of trim down the middle.

5- Fill screw hole and paint trim

If you have screw or nail holes on the trim of the chalkboard and magnetic board, fill them and paint the trim.

That’s it! This is a doable DIY home project that is well worth the effort.


If you have any questions about the process, send me a note or leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.





Jan Howell

Jan Howell

Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

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DIY Apple Watch Elastic Watch Band

For those of you who have Apple Watches, here is a fun little tutorial showing you how to make your own elastic watch band.

Having the ability to switch out your watch band now and again is kinda nice. I am going to show you how to make a band using elastic. This is a quick 10-minute project.

There are several different options for elastic out there. You can make the band as wide or narrow as would like, as long as it fits into the hardware. Check your fabric stores for the “foldover” elastic. I find it’s a lot softer than the waistband elastic.  A lot of people use this elastic to make headbands with. If you’re lucky you can find some with fun designs woven into them. Here is a link for the foldover elastic that has a good variety of colors.

watch band items needed

Watch Band Items Needed

  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing elastic (3/4 inch-1 inch)
  • Apple band adapters
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Straight pins


Measure your wrist at the location where you wear your watch.

Subtract ½ inch.

Cut the elastic to that measurement.

Measure 5/8 inch from both edges and mark with a pin.

Fold the ends over at the pin point and then fold under again ¼ inch.

Topstitch along the folded edge to hold in place. Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam. (Do this for both sides)

Take the screw that comes with the adapter kit and unscrew the TINY screw until the little arm of the holder releases.

Pivit the arm out so you can slide the elastic onto it.

VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!!! The adapter has a topside and an underside. The underside will have a little button in the center that is used to release it from the watch. THAT BUTTON NEEDS TO BE PLACED ON THE UNDERSIDE, SO MAKE SURE YOUR WATCH BAND IS PLACED ACCORDINGLY.

watch band tighten screw

Once you have the band onto the adapter, place the arm back into position and screw in place.

(These screws are teeny tiny, so be careful not to drop and loose them).


Do this on both sides and you are finished.





DIY Wool Dryer Balls | Yarn and Upcycled Wool Sweaters

wool dryer balls

Are you looking for a non-toxic alternative to store-bought dryer sheets? Wool dryer balls are your answer! Not only are wool dryer balls all-natural, and non-toxic, they’re so easy to make! In this post, I am going to show you how to make your own wool dryer balls using yarn and upcycled wool sweaters.

What are dryer balls?

Dryer balls have been around for quite some time and people have been using them for years as an eco-friendly and natural alternative to both dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener. Dryer balls come in a variety of materials and sizes. There are plastic variants and rubber variants, and my favorite, wool dryer balls.

A few years ago I stopped into a cute, quaint little shop of handmade organic items, and they were selling sets of dryer balls. I was intrigued for a few reasons.

  • First, they were made of 100% wool yarn (you know how I love wool stuff).
  • Second, because they had scented the balls with lavender oil (another one of my loves).
  • Third, I love the idea of saving time, money, and avoiding chemicals whenever possible.

I bought a set of four very small balls, which cost me around $24.00. I was excited to go home and do some laundry and give them a spin. After using the four balls in a load of laundry, I could tell a big difference in drying time, but not much with the static thing. I did a little research and found out that the more balls you have, the faster and more effective they are. When I used more balls it did help with static cling. I now use 6-10 balls in a large batch of laundry and four in a small batch with good results.

I wanted more dryer balls so I researched how to make them yourself. The directions suggested using wool yarn. So I went out and bought a few skeins of 100% wool yarn and made a few more. I soon found out that it took a lot of expensive yarn to make these babies. (Now I know why they are not cheap to buy). 

However, I got thinking and came up with this great solution, wool sweater scraps! Using the scraps makes it so you don’t have to use as much wool yarn. I was able to make double or even triple the number of balls by applying a wad of sweater scraps as the center portion.

For years I have been suggesting that you save your upcycled wool sweater scraps. These little scraps of felted wool are crafting GOLD. There are so many fun projects you can make with this stuff. I hope you’ve been saving them! Here is a perfect project for even the smallest pieces of wool sweaters.

What are the benefits and purpose of wool dryer balls?

  • No chemicals, perfumes, or unnatural additives that are in dryer sheets. (This is just one of the many articles found telling how dangerous these sheets are).
  • Pull the moisture out of your clothes so you don’t have to run your dryer as long, saving you time and money!
  • Reduce static, not totally but do a pretty good job.
  • Soften your clothes by the gentle friction of the felted wool fibers against your clothing fibers.
  • I have heard they are FABULOUS for cloth diapers! 
  • Clean without the harmful chemicals in conventional dryer sheets.
  • Save MONEY with lower energy bills!

Here is the scoop on how to make these fuzzy little laundry buddies. It is EASY PEASY!


  • skein of 100% wool yarn (NOT wool labeled “superwash” or “machine washable”)
  • Pantyhose
  • Blunt-tipped needle or crochet hook
  • Scissors
  • String or cotton/acrylic yarn (to secure the wool ball in the pantyhose)

Use 100% wool yarnDo not buy yarn that says “machine washable” or “superwash” they will not felt. (Shrink) 

Wool Dryer Ball Instructions

1. Gather up a hand full of 100% wool sweater scraps

2. Scrunch them up into a little tight wad. Take the yarn and start wrapping it tightly around the scraps.

3. wrapping, moving the ball around to get an even wrap.

4. Once the ball is to the size you would like, (I like to make them the size of a tennis ball) cut the yarn.

5. Stick a crochet hook into the ball, attach the yarn, and pull it through. This will keep the ball from unraveling in the felting process.

6. After you have made a few balls, stick them into the toe of a nylon stocking

7. Tie tightly in between each ball with string, or cotton/acrylic yarn. (Don’t use wool yarns or it will felt around the pantyhose.) Tie off the end.

8. Throw the yarn ball caterpillar into the wash with a load of towels. Use the hottest setting possible in the washer and dryer.

9. Remove balls from pantyhose. Some types of wool yarn will not felt well on the first try. You may need to repeat the washing and drying cycles up to 3 or 4 times. You’ll know felting has occurred when you can gently scrape your fingernail over the ball and strands do not separate.

10. I keep my dryer balls in the dryer, or you can store them in a basket or big glass jar on top of your dryer.

How to add aroma to the wool dryer balls

If you want to lightly scent your laundry and make your clothes smell yummy, you can add 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oil to each ball before throwing it in the dryer. You will not have a problem with the oil staining your clothes if you are using high-quality essential oils.

*TIP: If you find you are missing a few balls here and there. Check your fitted BED sheets or sometimes they fall out of the dryer when you are pulling the clothes out. My dog loves standing by when I am unloading the laundry; he thinks its game time!

A set of these wool dryer balls makes a great gift!

Here are some other laundry posts you may be interested in:







DIY Printable Fabric Labels | Easy Iron-On Method

heat transfer papers labels

Making your own DIY printable fabric labels is a simple project that can save you a lot of money and give your homemade projects some character and charm! Whether you sell your goods, give them away as gifts, or just create things for yourself, adding a cute label makes them look professional and authentic. I add labels to everything!

When I decided years ago to make tags for the items I sold in my Etsy shop, (buying them can be quite costly) I did a lot of research and through trial and error, found this technique to be the best. Using transfer paper and fabric or ribbon made the labels more durable and looked a lot nicer. 

View Video Tutorial Here

Play Video

I have been getting a lot of inquiries as to how I make my labels, so I thought I would show you how. You can watch my YouTube here. 

There are so many ways that you can add a label, and it’s really easy to make your own. In this tutorial, I will show you how to

  • print your labels 
  • iron them onto a piece of fabric, ribbon or twill tape 
  • show you several ideas of how you can apply them to your homemade projects 

Items & Materials Needed


You can design your labels on any computer program, which is quite easy to do. Or I have a set of EDITABLE LABELS that you can download and print.


Make sure you have the correct type of transfer paper for your printer. The most common transfer paper is for inkjet printers, but they do have it for laser printers as well. Follow the transfer paper printing instructions. 

When you go to print your labels, you must change the settings to print backward. Note that every printer queue is different and you may have to look for this setting. You may have to go to the advanced settings and choose “flip image” or “mirror image”. 

If you don’t change this setting, when you apply the iron-on label, the text will be backward.

I recommend printing them out on regular paper first to make sure it is how you want it. (You don’t want to waste transfer paper)!


There are several types of materials you can use to make your labels. Depending on what look you want will determine what type of material you use. Here are some suggestions:

  • Ribbon of all types (I use a white 5/8 inch ribbon for my “J” labels). The ribbon is nice to use because two of the four sides are finished and won’t fray. 
  • Cotton twill tape works well for a wide horizontal label. 
  • Woven fabric (If using fabric, you may want to stabilize it so it doesn’t fray by applying iron-on interfacing to the back before ironing on the transfer paper).


Once you have printed out the labels, and have decided what to iron them to, it’s time to cut them out.

If you are going to use fabric and want to make a whole sheet of labels, just iron on the whole sheet and cut afterward.

If you are using ribbon, cut the transfer paper into strips the same size as the ribbon. (Anything wider than the ribbon will stick to your ironing board). 


  • Follow the transfer paper instruction. Most likely it will tell you to turn OFF STEAM and use the highest heat setting. 
  • Place the transfer paper with the lettering facing down onto the ribbon. Press in place, making sure to cover the whole label.
  • Let the label cool before peeling off the back paper. You will notice that there is a plasticky like coating now on the label. This makes it more durable and washable. 


There are several ways to apply the label to your project.

  • Sew the label into the seam of the project. Fold the label strip in half and with the raw edges of the ribbon facing out past the seam allowance as shown in the picture above.

Topstitch around the edge of the label using a small zigzag stitch on your sewing machine.

If using a fabric label, you can fold the edges under and either topstitch with a sewing machine or sew by hand using a slip stitch.

*Note: If using ribbon, to keep the cut edges from fraying add a dab of “fray check” to the cut edges. This works well.

Pretty simple, right? Such a fun way to add a little character and charm to your beloved hand made items.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Have fun sewing!




How to Modify A Tie Face Mask Into an Adjustable Ear Loop Mask

Unfortunately, the face mask saga goes on, and for some folks putting a face mask on and off can be a challenging thing. I am going to share another tip with you on how you can modify a TIE FACE MASK into an ADJUSTABLE EAR LOOP MASK. Hopefully, this will make your face-mask-wearing experience a little more doable.


  • Elderly people who don’t have the range of motion to put their hands over their heads, let alone be able to tie a mask behind their heads.
  • Little children that don’t know how to tie will also find an ear loop mask more doable. (It is the mother’s who have to continually tie and adjust their kid’s face mask). What a pain!
  • Those who simply don’t want to tie their mask every time they go into a store, Dr. Office, or whenever going out and about.

There are a lot of different types of face masks kicking around out there, and they each have different attributes. I wear several different types of face masks and am finding the ear loop masks are more convenient for quick trips in and out of the store. However, if you have to wear a face mask all day, the tied masks win in this situation. 

This method to modify a tie face mask can be done to all masks with ties. I prefer soft, comfortable ties made from upcycled t-shirts or spandex. You can learn how to make these ties HERE. Such a great alternative to elastic. Not only are they more comfortable, but they also don’t cost any money to make SIMPLE RECYCLING!

I also have some easy and effective FACE MASK PATTERNS and tutorials, if you’re up to making your own.

Watch the video tutorial below or on my YOUTUBE channel

Play Video


1. If your face mask has a nose wire, locate the top of your mask. You will be working with the bottom tie first.

2. Take the tie and make a small loop right next to the mask. Wrap the tie around the loop and poke it through the center of the already made loop.

3. Pull it out and at the same time, pull the knot down to tighten. You will have a loop and a knot.

4. Adjust the knot as close to the mask as possible.

5. Pull the end of the tie to make the loop smaller, but not too small.

6. Now take the top tie and thread it through the lower loop. Cinch the loop to tighten around the top tie. The top tie should be able to slide back and forth, making the loop adjustable!

7. To reinforce the bottom knot, wrap the tie around the base of the knot, and make another knot. Pull it tight.

8. Tie a knot in the top loop so it doesn’t slide out of the loop. (You may want to try the mask on at this point to see how long you want the tie to be). DON’T CUT UNTIL YOU GET IT ALL ADJUSTED.

9. Do the same thing on the other side. Before knotting the other top tie, fold the mask in half and line up ties so you can make the knot match the other side.

10. Try it on and cut off the excess tie fabric. 

There you have it. A SIMPLE, QUICK, and an effective way to modify your tie face masks.

Let me know if you have any questions. 


Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep smiling behind those face masks.




FACE MASK Minimal Sewing Method | It’s A Cinch

Making a face mask just got even easier! This DIY face mask minimal sewing method can be made either by a sewing machine or by hand. It’s really a cinch, literally! Instead of pleating, I teach you how to create a comfortable fitting face mask using a new CINCHING METHOD. 

This adult face mask has four protective layers and an easy to access filter pocket that is accessed from the bottom of the mask, out of the way from your mouth. The ties are made from upcycled t-shirts which makes this mask comfortable to wear. I have given the measurements for a TEEN AND CHILD MASK as well.


Recycle an old t-shirt or use a cotton piece of fabric to make your mask. I will demonstrate the sewing machine and hand sewing method in this tutorial.

Face Mask Minimal Sewing Method Materials and Items Needed

  • FABRIC (14.91 cm) cotton fabric, knit fabric, or upcycled t-shirts (cut 16 ½  x 16 ½  inch)
  • SEWING MACHINE (OPTIONAL-can be sewn by hand)
  • BAG TWIST TIES,  CRAFT PIPE CLEANERS (If using craft pipe cleaners, cut to 4 inch
  • IRON
  • UPCYCLED T-SHIRT/ OR KNIT FABRIC (for the mask ties)
  • Safety Pin
  • Needle & Thread, if sewing by hand.

Cutting Out Mask

Cut the fabric to the correct measurement for the size.

  • ADULT: Fabric 16.5 x 16.5 inches (14.91 x 14.91. cm)
  • TEEN: Fabric 15.5 x 15.5 inches (39.7 x 39.7cm) 
  • CHILD: Fabric 14.5 x 14.5 inches (36.83 cm)

Upcycled T-Shirt

Cut off the bottom 16.5 inches of the shirt, LEAVE THE HEM INTACT!

Cut the same width (16.5 wide).

Woven Fabric

Cut a piece of fabric 16.5 x 16.5 inches.

Cutting Out Ties

The beauty of knit fabric is that it doesn’t fray, and when pulled it will curl. You may be asking why do we want it to curl? When it curls it creates a little tube, like an enclosed tie, but you don’t have to sew it to keep it that way like you would a woven fabric.

If you don’t have any knit fabric or T-shirts to make ties with, I found a great resource where you can purchase this stuff already made. It’s called “FARMYARN”. This yarn is made from recycled lycra fabric that is REALLY stretchy and durable. It’s like elastic and can be used in so many ways ie: FACE MASKS! You can read more about it and buy it HERE

Read the face mask tie tutorial HERE.

Cut two strips either crosswise or lengthwise 1 inch wide. (2.5) cm

Cutting along the bottom of a t-shirt, the fabric will curl and expose the wrong side of the fabric.

 (Which doesn’t matter if using a plain color, preference only).

But if you want the right side of the fabric exposed, cut the shirt lengthwise.

Pull the strips to stretch and curl the fabric.

You can either have the ties tie over the head and behind the neck, or you can make it so you have a continuous permanent loop behind your neck. (That way you don’t have to tie it every time) I personally just like regular ties.

 CUT TWO STRIPS 32 INCHES (58.42 cm) long

CONTINUOUS STRIP  33 INCHES (83.82 cm) long

If you don’t have a strip long enough, you can sew two pieces together.

Sewing Instructions

Fold the fabric in half with Right Sides Together (RST).

(T-Shirt fabric, have the hem edge be on the side).

Using a ¼ inch seam allowance, sew along the long unfinished edge using a straight stitch or sew by hand USING A RUNNING STITCH. Backstitch at the beginning and end of all seams.


Turn inside out.

WOVEN FABRIC: Fold unfinished edges under ¼ inch and press in place. Do this on both sides.

T SHIRT/KNIT FABRIC: Skip this step. (Knit fabric will not fray).

Fold WRONG SIDES TOGETHER making a shorter tube.

Line up pressed edges of the two layers.

WOVEN FABRIC: Sew the 2 layers together, topstitching close to the edge.

You will start at one point and sew around until you meet the starting point (Sewing around the tube). Backstitch.

T-SHIRT/KNIT FABRIC: Skip this step

Applying Nose Wire

Take the twist tie or pipe cleaner and insert it between the two FOLDED EDGES of the doubled tube.

(Opposite of where you just topstitched)

(If using a pipe cleaner, barely fold the ends under and crimp in place. This will keep the sharp point from poking through the fabric!).

Center it side to side and down ¼ inch from the top edge. The wire will be sandwiched between the two layers. Clamp or pin in place.

Make a casing for the wire so it stays in place when washing the mask.

If sewing by hand, use a simple running stitch.

Feel with your fingers where the edge of the wire is and start stitching down from the top a few stitches. (You will be sewing through all four layers of fabric).  Leave your needle in and lift up presser foot and pivot fabric.

Sew along the bottom of the wire to the other edge of the wire (feeling with your fingers where that is).

Pivot and sew back up to the top edge. Leave your needle in and pivot again to sew along the top edge. You will have sewn a little box around the nose wire.

Sewing Tie Casings

Sew down the sides of the mask ½ inch from the edge.

If sewing by hand, you can just use a simple running stitch.

Backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Inserting Mask Ties

Attach the safety pin to the end of the tie.


Thread the tie into the casing starting at the top of the mask. Pull out and continue threading the other side from the bottom up to the top.


Thread each tie into the casing.


Cinching the sides of mask to gather.

No Pleats, Yea!


Decide how tight you want the neckband to be by trying the mask on.  Once you’ve situated it and it feels tight enough, clamp in place. Remove mask.

Take the ends of the ties and hold them together. Pull to gather each side of the mask until the gathered section measures 4 inches.

Repeat on the other side.


Take the ends of the ties and hold together. Cinch the fabric to gather evenly until the gathered fabric area measures 4 inches. CLAMP IN PLACE OR PIN IN PLACE.

Tacking down ties

Sew the ties in place by sewing back and forth over the end of the casings, making sure to catch the ties underneath.

Repeat on both sides of mask. (This can be done by hand or by sewing machine).

Mask Care:

Masks can be washed and dried with other clothing.

See my other face mask tutorials HERE.


Play Video
Play Video

See my other face mask tutorials HERE.




DIY: Non-Toxic Foaming Hand Wash

Have you ever stopped to think what is in hand soap? Most hand soaps and lotions are full of toxic chemicals, especially antibacterial soaps. What you put on your skin is readily absorbed into the bloodstream and may be effecting your health. Here is a little information about why we should avoid anti-bacterial soaps, and consider making your own non-toxic foaming hand wash.

I’m trying not to put a lot of focus on the cold & flu, however, you’ve got to admit, these viruses are out there and there is something you can do to help prevent it. WASH YOUR HANDS! 

Makes sense, of course, since hand washing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. The Environmental Working Group (EWC)

What’s so bad about antibacterial soaps?

The main reason to avoid anti-bacterial soaps is its active ingredient: triclosan (and the related triclocarbon). Triclosan is an anti-bacterial chemical found in many consumer products, and it’s nearly ubiquitous in liquid hand soap. It is linked to liver and inhalation toxicity, and even low levels of triclosan may disrupt thyroid function. Further, the American Medical Association recommends that triclosan not be used in the home, as it may encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

Just think of all the times you wash your hands everyday, or should be washing your hands (about 7-10 times a day) and what is going into your bloodstream via hand soap alone.

You and your children can avoid a lot of chemicals going into your system by simply choosing a non-toxic soap to wash your hands with.

I like to make my own foaming hand wash. use a blend of essential oils that Wild Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary which offer a natural and effective way to clean your hands. This combination of essential oil is protects against environmental threats and it smells yummy!

It is super easy and takes only a few minutes to make.

Here is what you need:

how to make your own non-toxic foaming hand wash

Pour the liquid soap into the jar.

Add 10- 15 drops of essential oils.

There are a lot of great essential oil combinations to use. I like

  • 5 drops of Peppermint Oil and five drops of Melaleuca oil
  • 10-15 drops Lemon Oil
  • Use your creativity and your nose to create some other yummy blends.

Slowly add water. Shake gently.

If you see the soap and water separate, you may need to give it a little shake once in a while.

Simple, Safe, and Inexpensive! Keep a jar by every sink!




How To Make Healing Salve

healing salve

You don’t have to be a serious herbalist or witch doctor to make your own healing salve.  It is really very easy to whip up and you won’t ever go back to Neosporin or whatever else you are using for

  • cuts
  • scrapes
  • bug bites
  • diaper rash
  • lip balm
  • dry skin

My family uses this a ton!

healing salve

We recently ran out of our stock of salve, and it’s not like you can just run to the store and grab some, so I got out my supplies and whipped up a batch.  I thought I would take a few photos while in the process and share how to make it with you.

SUPPLIES that you will need:

  • ovenproof pan for infusing oil
healing salve
  • cheesecloth
  • double boiler or two saucepans for melting wax
  • sterile containers (glass baby food jars, empty recycled hair product or face lotion jars work great)
  • labels
  • wooden skewers or spoon


*Note:  you can alter the types of herbs and essential oils that you put in your salve depending on what your needs are. If you don’t already have these supplies, it may seem like a big investment to make a healing salve. However, the oils and vit E will last a very long time, and you’ll be able to use them for other things.

I like this blend because of the amazing properties of these herbs and oils, making it a great GO TO salve for just about anything.

I am one who likes to know the WHY about what ingredients are in the products I am using.  So here is the scoop.


Calendula has a long history of use as a wound-healing and skin-soothing botanical.


Plantain is a low-growing herb (weed). It is most often used for stings and bites. 


It is well known to assist healing in any part of the body that is torn or broken.

*If you grow these herbs, dry them and store them in an air tight zip bag so you can make salve anytime.  You can also just buy the herbs at your local health food store or online.  I like Starwest Botanicals

TEA TREE Essential OIL:

  • Renowned for its cleansing and rejuvenating
    effect on the skin.
  • Skin irritations

LAVENDER essential OIL:

  • Widely used for its calming and relaxing qualities.
  • Soothes occasional skin irritations.
    You want to make sure you use good quality, pure essential oils when making salves and tinctures.  When making cleaning supplies, it is not as important. If you would like to know where I buy most of my oils, send me a note.

Let’s get started!

healing salve

1- Preheat your oven to the lowest setting (150 – 170 degrees)

Measure the dry herbs and put them in an oven proof pan

healing salve olive oil

2- Cover with 4 cups olive oil and stir.

Place oil and herbs in oven and heat for 4-5 hours. Heating the oil infuses the properties of the herbs into the oil.

3- Place a few layers of cheesecloth over a bowl or pan.

healing salve straining herbs

When the oil has cooled a bit, pour the herb mixture over the cheesecloth to strain. Squeeze out all the oil.

4- Then I like to strain it again through a piece of 100 % cotton fabric.

healing salve melting wax

5-  Melt the bees wax.

I have an old pan that I use only for melting my wax in and I keep it wrapped in a plastic bag when not in use. Place that pan in another wider pan with water in it. 

It is VERY important that you don’t get ANY water in the wax, or this will promote spoiling of your salve.

Melt the wax, stirring frequently.  (This smells so yummy)

healing salve jars

6-  Prepare jars

Make sure jars are clean! You can sterilize them by placing them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. I usually just make sure they have been cleaned with hot soapy water and dried thoroughly. 

7-  Add the melted wax to the oil, and mix well.

*By using a wooden skewer to stir with, you will save wasting a bunch of salve that will stick to the spoon.
To test the consistency of the salve, take a spoon and dip into the mixture. Take it out and let it cool a few seconds. Test the consistency. This is the time to add more wax if it is too runny.

8-  Add the essential oils and vitamin E now and mix well.

healing salve

9-  Pour the salve into the jars.

You will need to stir in between pourings to keep things mixed up.
You may even need to heat it up a bit if it starts to set up. (Just don’t heat very long at all and use a very low setting, so you don’t loose all the properties of the essential oils.)

Don’t you just love the beautiful green color, and it smells FABULOUS!

healing salve

I love these little travel-size tins! 

I always double the batch because there is always someone who wants a jar, and they make great gifts or party favors.

The jars that you are not currently using, store in the refrigerator so they will last longer and not go rancid.

There you have it, a salve that is chuck full of healing goodness.
You may also be interested in my natural deodorant recipe and tutorial.

How To Make Healing Salve

healing salve

An amazing salve for cuts, scrapes, dry skin, and more! 

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Total Time5 min
  • Yield4 Batches
  • Meta LabelLabel Value


    Supplies List:

      • Oven proof pan for infusing oil
      • cheese cloth
      • Double boiler or two sauce pans for melting wax
      • Sterile containers (glass baby food jars, empty recycled hair product or face lotion jars work great)
      • Labels
      • Wooden skewers or spoon




    Preheat your oven to the lowest setting (150 – 170 degrees)

    Measure the dry herbs and put them in an oven proof pan


    Cover with 4 cups olive oil and stir.

    Place oil and herbs in oven and heat for 4-5 hours. Heating the oil infuses the properties of the herbs into the oil.


    Place a few layers of cheesecloth over a bowl or pan.

    When the oil has cooled a bit, pour the herb mixture over the cheesecloth to strain. Squeeze out all the oil.


    Then I like to strain it again through a piece of 100 % cotton fabric.


    Melt the bees wax.

    I have an old pan that I use only for melting my wax in and I keep it wrapped in a plastic bag when not in use. Place that pan in another wider pan with water in it. 

    It is VERY important that you don’t get ANY water in the wax, or this will promote spoiling of your salve.

    Melt the wax, stirring frequently.  (This smells so yummy)


    Prepare jars

    Make sure jars are clean! You can sterilize them by placing them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. I usually just make sure they have been cleaned with hot soapy water and dried thoroughly. 


    Add the melted wax to the oil, and mix well.

    *By using a wooden skewer to stir with, you will save wasting a bunch of salve that will stick to the spoon.

    To test the consistency of the salve, take a spoon and dip into the mixture. Take it out and let it cool a few seconds. Test the consistency. This is the time to add more wax if it is too runny.

    Add the essential oils and vitamin E now and mix well.



    Pour the salve into the jars.

    You will need to stir in between pourings to keep things mixed up.


    You may even need to heat it up a bit if it starts to set up. (Just don’t heat very long at all and use a very low setting, so you don’t loose all the properties of the essential oils.)

    Don’t you just love the beautiful green color, and it smells FABULOUS!




    Jan Howell

    Jan Howell

    Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

    Read More

    DIY Bias Tape: Single and Double Fold Tutorial

    Is there a project you’re making that calls for bias tape?  I’m going to show you how simple it is to make your own unique single and double fold tape.

    What is bias tape?

    Bias tape is a long narrow strip of fabric that is cut on the bias.

    What does “bias” mean?

    The bias is a 45-degree angle across the weave of the fabric. The fabric that is pulled “on the grain” does NOT stretch. Fabric pulled “on the bias” stretches. That’s what is so wonderful about this stuff! It curves and still lies flat when sewn.


    What do you use it for?

    You can use it around necklines, armholes, bind blanket edges, and just use it as a decorative trim. You can also make an elastic casing with a wide bias tape.

    There are two types of bias tape: single fold and double fold. The reason to use one over the other is simply by preference. Double fold is a little more durable because the fabric is doubled and will hold up better. Good for binding blankets etc. When sewing clothing edges, a single fold is less bulky. It also comes in a variety of widths.


    Why make your own?

    You may be wondering why you would want to make your own when you can just easily go to the store and buy it. Well, there are several reasons to make your own.

    One of the best things about making your own bias tape is that you can make it out of colorful prints! A printed trim adds so much character and really makes it pop.

    Bias tape at the store only comes in solid colors, and might I add, a very limited assortment of colors. There have been so many times when sewing up a project that I had to settle with a tape that that hardly matched the fabric I was working with. Now I just make my own and can match it perfectly if needed.

    Although, bias tape is fairly inexpensive at the store, making your own can save you a little money, and personally I find the process quite enjoyable!


    Play Video

    Here is a video tutorial showing you the whole process.

    How to make your own bias tape

    You can manually fold the bias tape, or you can use a bias tape maker. I will show you how to do it both ways.

    However, this little gadget is one of the sweetest sewing tools EVER! It makes the job so much easier! You can get the whole set for a very reasonable price HERE.

    Materials and items needed:

    • Woven fabric (cotton, or cotton blends) I recommend using fat quarters or fabric cut to ½ yard.
    • Fat quarters are pre-cut fabric pieces that measures 18 x 20 inches. You can get them at any fabric or craft store.
    • Scissors
    • Bias Tape Maker (optional, but it makes the job soooooo much easier) LOVE THEM!
    • Rotary Cutter, Mat, Ruler
    • Sewing Machine
    • Iron

    Although you can make several different sizes as indicated above, I am going to walk you through the process of making a 1” single fold and ½ inch double fold bias tape.

    There are different sizes of bias tape makers, each a different color.  The packaged set did not come with instructions on how wide to cut the strips of fabric, which was very frustrating!

    So hopefully this chart will simplify things and make it more clear for you.

    Using a Fat quarter

    Take your fat quarter piece of fabric and fold the bottom up so the side piece is aligned with the top edge. It will make a triangle.


    Cut off the excess fabric on the side.


    Cut along the diagonal crease.

    Take the bottom right corner up to meet the top left corner, to make a smaller triangle. Flip the FOLDED EDGE so it is on the bottom, and the cut bias edge is now on the left.


    Cut 2 inch strips (about 3-4 strips) and save the leftover for your scrap box.

    sewing the strips together

    To get one continuous strip of bias tape, you’ll need to sew the strips together.  NO PROBLEM!

    As you can see you will end up with three different lengths of strips. You’ll want to mix them up so you don’t have a bunch of seams close together.

    If using a ½ yard piece of fabric:

    Square off one of the cut edges so you have a straight edge to work with. You’ll basically do the same thing but you will be working with a double layer of fabric and the strips will be longer.

    Place one of the strips with the RIGHT SIDE FACING UP. Take another strip and place it RIGHT SIDE FACING DOWN on top of the other strip at a 45 degree angle. If it doesn’t line up like this, flip the strip and the other end will meet up.

    Line up the edges and slide it up or down so it overhangs at least a 1/4 inch, as indicated above.

    You will be sewing from the notched corner to the other notched corner. VERY IMPORTANT! It doesn’t really matter how big the seam allowance is, but it does matter that you are sewing from those notched corners to notched corners.

    I drew a line with a pen to show where the seam will be. ( You don’t have to mark it ).


    Take it to the sewing machine and sew together. Back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam.


    Clip off the little tags. Go to the end of the strip and add another one.

    Continue until all strips are sewn together.

    Using the bias tape maker


    Poke the end of the fabric strip into the big end of the bias tape maker. (If the strip is cut at an angle, which it will be, it will be much easier to feed through the tool). If it gets stuck, simply get a pin and stick it into the hole in the top and pull it out.

    Start pulling the strip of fabric and it will automatically fold the ends over. SO COOL! Use the iron to press as you pull. USE THE STEAM SETTING to get a good creased edge.

    ***When you come to a seam, you may need to tug a little harder, but no big deal. Continue pulling and pressing until the whole strip is folded. 


    To make DOUBLE FOLD BIAS TAPE, simply fold it in half again and press.

    Manually folding

    To manually fold the tape, fold the tape in half first, then fold the edge up to the crease you just made. Press. Then fold the top edge down to the halfway point and press. Then if you want double fold tape, fold it half again and press.

    So that wasn’t hard, was it?

    Oh, the fun things you can embellish with a cute printed strip of bias tape.

    This is a blanket bound with a strip of printed double fold bias tape.


    Although you usually use a cotton fabric to make bias tape, you can also make trim with knit fabric. This is a t-shirt that I just added a strip of knit binding over the existing neck ribbing. Cute Hugh?


    So many fun things you can do.

    I hope this opened your eyes up to a whole new world of bias tape.


    Don’t settle for the drab and boring tape at the store, MAKE YOUR OWN!

    You got this!

    Have fun sewing,




    Fleece Binding Sewing Tutorial

    fleece binding

    I love using fleece to bind the edges of a lot of my upcycled sweater sewing projects. Like sweater slippers, hats and cozy blankets. This fleece binding technique is so easy and it makes the finished edge look so sharp and crisp.

    So without further chit chat, let’s get to it.

    Play Video

    Choosing the binding fabric

    The great thing about using fleece fabric is that is DOES NOT FRAY! You can use a knit fabric as long it is doesn’t have too much cotton in it. If the knit has a lot of cotton, it will fray.

    If you have a knit shirt that you don’t wear anymore, but you like the color or print, reuse for binding! I do it all the time.

    You can test the fabric by cutting a strip and then pull and stretch it. If the edges fray, then it won’t work for binding. If it doesn’t fray, you are good to go.

    Bulky fleece, like Polar fleece tends to be a little too bulky. Have fun mixing up colors and prints with your projects.

    Cutting out fleece strips

    Cut out strips of fleece (on the stretch) 2 – 2 1/2 inches by however long you need for your project.

    If you don’t have a fleece piece long enough, no worries, you can join several strips together. I will show you how easy it is.

    Joining strip together


    Place the strips Right Sides Together (RST) and overlap the edge by 1/4
    inch. Make sure the top piece is on the right side as shown above.

    Stitch from point to point as indicated in photo. I just eyeball it, but if you needed to, you could mark the edge with a piece of masking tape.

    Back stitch at the begging and end of the seam.

    Trim the seam leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

    Now clip the edges.

    Finger press the seam open.

    Ta dah, now you have one continuous strip of binding.

    This technique alleviates the bulk that you would get with a straight seam.

    It offsets the seams so they are not all in one place and still gives you the bias stretch.

    Fleece binding application

    Sew, using a 1/4 -3/8 inch seam allowance. (Which is usually the edge of your pressure foot) Stretch as you sew.

    Back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

    If your binding is going to be on the thinner side, trim the edges.

    Finger press the seam towards the binding.

    Fold the binding to the width you want over the the inside.

    Pin in place.

    Stitch IN THE DITCH of the previous seam.

    You will have extra fabric.

    CAREFULLY trim the excess fabric close to the seam. Be very careful not to clip the fabric underneath. I have sadly done this.

    Now wasn’t that a snap!

    Look how nice and even and crisp the edges are.

    Whether it is a cozy blanket or a pair of sweater slippers that you need to bind, get out your fleece and give it a whirl.

    Learn how to make and bind your own mini weekly planner with these cozy sweater strips.

    Any questions or suggestions, please, let’s chat.

    Have fun sewing!
    Be sure to check out my TEACHABLE SITE for classes and tutorials, and my YouTube station.




    How To Make Tooth Powder – Easy DIY Recipe

    Why in the world would you want to make your own toothpaste or tooth powder? It’s not like you already have a million things to do! Right?

    Well, trust me, this is well worth your time. This is a simple, cost effective way to care for you and your families teeth!

    Here are 4 SIMPLE reasons why I stopped using commercial toothpaste years ago and started making my own or buying natural stuff.

    Have you ever looked into what is in your toothpaste?  Here is a quick little post that is a great read about what is actually in commercial toothpaste.  Makes you think twice about what you put in  your mouth two or three times a day!

    With just 4 simple ingredients, you can make a batch of tooth powder up for under $2.00.
    If you have ever purchased or checked into NATURAL toothpastes, they are not cheap.  Worth it if you can’t make your own, but why not Do It Yourself and save money?
    Tom’s Natural toothpaste runs around $5.00- $6.00.
    Redmond EarthPaste is $7.99 plus shipping.  (good product, but make your own for a lot less).

    You can whip a batch of this up in only 5 minutes!!!

    This makes your teeth feel squeaky clean, like you have just had your teeth cleaned by the dentist.

    I posted about this back in 2014, so it has been a while. Well, today I ran out of my tooth powder and decided to while I was whipping up a batch I might as well video it to show you how simple it is. So here it is.

    Play Video

    tooth powder ingredients

    • 2 Tablespoons Baking Soda
    • 1/3 cup Redmond Clay or Bentonite Clay
    • 2 teaspoons Redmond Sea Salt or Sea Salt  ( I like Redmond Salt)
    • 10-20 drops of essential oils of your choice

    1/3 cup Redmond or Bentonite Clay


    What are the benefits of brushing with tooth powder?

    Bentonite clay has the ability to bind to heavy metals and toxins as well as to provide minerals. Redmond or Bentonite Clay is great to help the body detox and whiten and remineralize teeth. I buy the Redmond Clay bulk in a three-pack. It saves money and I like having a few extra for my pantry. We use it for cooking too. 

    2 Tablespoons Baking Soda


    The major benefits of brushing with baking soda are its teeth whitening and plaque removal properties, as well as its affordability relative to other commercially available teeth whiteners. Brushing with baking soda removes plaque deposits from teeth that contribute to tooth decay.

    2 Teaspoons Real Salt or Sea Salt

    Salt is known to soothe inflamed gums and help prevent bacterial growth, which is a big cause of bad breath. We use the REAL salt for cooking as well because it has the minerals left in it.

    Adding Essential Oils

    10-20 Drops Essential Oil
    I like to use a mix of Peppermint oil and Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca). Tea Tree oil is great to protect against environmental and seasonal threats.
    Experiment and try other essential oils. Mix a few oils to make a flavorful blend. Make sure the oils are safe for internal use and good quality therapeutic grade oils. Some other oils you may try are lemon, spearmint, cassia and wild orange.
    Mix well using a whisk.
    Using a funnel, pour tooth powder into a glass container.

    I like to use a simple, recycled “better than bullion jar”.

    If you have several flavors in the same bathroom, you may want to label them as they will look the same.

    Wet your toothbrush and dip it into the jar of tooth powder. Brush and enjoy the freshness and clean teeth feeling you get after having your teeth cleaned at the dentist.
    We make one for each person in the family so we’re not spreading germs and we choose our flavor.

    You can find this recipe in my Alternative Remedies for the Body, Mind & Spirit Booklet. This booklet is a great collection of tried and tested alternative remedies that really work!


    DIY Tooth Powder

    Simple non-toxic ingredients leave your teeth and mouth feeling fresh and clean. This is simple and cost-effective to make!

    • Prep Time10 min
    • Total Time10 min
    • Course
      • household recipe


      • 2 Tablespoons Baking Soda
      • 1/3 cup Redmond Clay or Bentonite Clay
      • 2 teaspoons Redmond Sea Salt or Sea Salt
      • 10-20 drops essential oil



    Add all ingredients to a small glass bowl


    Mix well using a whisk


    Using a funnel, pour tooth powder into a glass container


    If you have several flavors of tooth powder in the same bathroom, you may want to label them!


    Either dip your toothbrush in a jar of tooth powder or use this spiffy oil & vinegar jar for easy dispensing.

    Cheers to a non-toxic mouth!





    Felt Flower Wrist Corsage

    felt flower wrist corsage
    felt flower wrist corsage

    It’s time for the prom, spring dances, and Mother’s day is just around the corner. Why not give a wrist corsage that is made from the heart. I posted years ago about this felt flower wrist corsage and I think it’s time for an update.

    This is how this wrist corsage came about: My son who is quite the artist and who likes to be original and unique decided that he wanted to make his date’s corsage for the senior prom. So we got out the felt and ribbon and had a fun late night experimenting. This is the felt flower wrist corsage we came up with.

    felt flower wrist corsage

    Sam embroidered the leaf. (Yes, this is my tough rock climbing, lacrosse-playing, ski freak boy)  You gotta love him!

    We sewed a nice black ribbon to the back of the flowers so you could tie a bow around her wrist.

    felt flower wrist corsage

    I wish I had a better picture of it. Turned out pretty cute, didn’t’ it? This was a fun easy project.

    Felt Flower Wrist Corsage
    There are so many fun different flowers you can make with felt and fleece. You can get the patterns for all these flowers HERE in my shop.
    The pattern includes instructions on how to make
    • Fleece Daisy
    • Fleece Rose
    • Felt Mum Flower
    • Felt Daisy
    • Fleece Cone Flower
    • Felt Rose
    • Instructions for the wrist corsage, brooch, or pin corsage.

    Sew a pin to the back to make a brooch.

     Here is a FREE TUTORIAL on how to make some fun coneflowers from fleece.
    Felt Flower Wrist Corsage
    Have fun sewing!
    Jan Howell

    Jan Howell

    Whether it’s a new recipe, a fun craft, or some handy tips for your garden and home, I hope to empower and inspire you with skills that you can use to create joy, improved health, and to do it in a simple way.

    Read More

    DIY Wicker Basket Drawer Tutorial

    Do you have a deep shelf or storage bin that you just can’t keep organized? In this diy wicker basket drawer tutorial I am going to show you how to make a drawer using a simple square basket.

    wicker basket drawer

    The nightstand shown above is the nightstand I had in my bedroom growing up. We just keep painting it and using it because I love the simple design, however I did not like the deep shelf. Books would fall back in there and it was a hard to keep it organized.

    wicker basket drawer

    I found a square wicker basket that fit perfectly. The problem was pulling the basket out of the shelf. So I simply added a cute crystal handle.

    wicker basket drawer

    I remembered these cute antique knobs that I have been saving for just a project like this.

    You can find them at most hardware stores, specialty shops, and home decor shops. Amazon also have a cute set that would work perfectly. Ikea ( I love Ikea) have several storage bins that would be so cute with wicker baskets that have cute handles on them.

    wicker basket drawer

    Here is what you do

    • Cut a piece of thin wafer board. Approximately 4 x 5 inches. Depending on the size of your basket.
    • Drill a hole in the center so the knob can go through. (This anchors the knob so it won’t pull through the wicker).
    • Take the bolt out of the knob and stick it through the wicker and the board, then screw the knob on.

    BAM! Simple as that.

    This could easily be done with any basket and would work great for baskets under your bed or in any cabinet.