Before I begin any crafty project (or USED TO for that matter), it could be reorganizing, styling a photo session or simply creating something for fun. There is this instant impulse to browse Pinterest & run to the craft store. I know I’m not alone here. While craft stores are fun and beautifully staged in their own right, as the cart fills up, hours evaporate and the vacuum begins to take suction on the wallet. I end up feeling like I’m swimming in the ocean with no land in sight.
The little light bulb goes out and that right there is death to my creative mojo.
I become blocked and sometimes completely derailed. I’ll begin to aimlessly wander the aisles wondering… who am I and how did I get here??? Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but still, it’s something I’ve experienced more times then I can count. Regardless, nothing will kill my creativity more than the sensory overload of awesomely packaged supplies & home decor items in a craft store. New paints, canvases, oh my! Oh and I could really use those matching 4th of July pillows… new spring door mat, check! Oh WOW! Are those wreaths 75% off??? Wait, what? What am I here for again?… oh yeah, packaging for cookies, but I didn’t really like what I found, so now my cart is full of crap I don’t need.
Now maybe if I had an endless budget, an endless amount of storage space and Marie Kondo’s cute Japanese accent wasn’t SCREAMING in my ears, “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” I wouldn’t feel this way and I’d cash out like a normal person. Yes, of course, I read the book and you should too, but don’t buy it. Your local library has it free in audio format for greater efficiency. You’re welcome! And trust me, Marie would have wanted it for you that way
Which brings me back to my original point, where was I???… Haha, Oh yeah… Use What You Have. Those 4 little words have brought me back to where I need to be like nothing else.
Use What you Have, because unnecessary amounts of waste & plastic are something that happens with EVERY styled photography session, party or project, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
Use What You Have is more than what it sounds. It’s finding the beauty in the basics. Up-cycling in all its glory. Turning something so many discard into something beautiful. It makes my heart sing. It sparks joy! It’s kind of like purging, but better
This past Valentine’s Day, my friend Heidi with@flourpetalsbakes came over and we (and by we, I mean she) made adorable heart-shaped vegan sugar cookies with marble royal icing. I wanted to package these beautifully to gift, but I didn’t want to have to purchase additional supplies (aka waste) to do so.
I’m a hoarder, I mean collector of jars Next time you purchase marinara sauce or jelly sauce or anything else that comes in a jar – take special note of the jar, even the lids. Basic Jars can be really beautiful and they have so much utility. Aldi Grocery stores (Aldi gives me nothing to promote them. I just love them! Oh and Costco too!) have some of the best jars. The labels always come off super easy and the lids are typically unmarked, which means they upcycle amazingly. They have so many uses – the limits are endless. For this project, we upcycled basic marinara sauce jars into adorable cookie jars. We cut white parchment paper using scalloped scissors and my daughter drew adorable little festive designs to compliment the theme.
For the photos, I also wanted to put my daughter in a themed apron to match. I scrolled the internet for aprons when I had to again remind myself… Use What you Have, B_____! <— I omitted a bad word because the Google algorithm doesn’t like it. Haha!
Fortunately, I already had a plain white apron. We cut out a heart with some leftover foam from another project, hot glued it to a piece of wood, then used it as a stamp to create a lovely heart-shaped pattern all over her apron with acrylic paint.
Another little before and after
Now there are a million sugar cookie recipes out there, so I’m not going to list that here for the sake of taking up space on the internet. But, I will share Heidi’s icing recipe because it was AMAZING and super simple.
Vegan Marble Royal Icing
- Powdered Sugar we used Aldi Simply Nature Powdered Sugar
- Coconut Milk we used So Delicious
- About a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or to taste
- A few drops of plant-based red dye <—- this part is important! Not only because we hate synthetic dyes, but also because they taste like crap. Synthetic Red #40 leaves a horrible after taste – YUCK! We used the Watkins brand and it was super yummy!
Mix these ingredients until the consistency is like a syrup. Then dip your cookie into the glaze and lay-flat to dry. Once completely dry, you can store your cookies into your beautifully up-cycled cookie jar and gift to your favorite people. Enjoy! I know we did
Use What You Have – is my personal motto and philosophy. For me, it’s a more joyous and creative way to create. One day I need to make it into a sign and hang it in my home.