Beard Hat Pattern Christmas Knitting Kit

Hello, faithful readers!  How’s everyone’s Christmas shopping going?  I still have quite a bit left to do and not a whole lot of time to do it!  If you’re like me, I’m always looking for new easy and inexpensive ideas.  If holiday shopping and DIY gift-making is your plan this week, I’ve got a special treat for you today!

DIY Knit Beard Hat PatternI’m sure many of you remember the DIY Beard Hat Pattern I shared earlier this year.  I made this beard hat for Daniel as a Christmas gift last year.  He loved it so much, I wanted to share it with all of you, since I know I had a hard time finding the perfect pattern.  I had no idea so many of you would love it too!

Knitting a beard hat for someone is a great DIY Christmas gift on its own, but if you know someone that wants to learn to knit, there’s an even better way to present this gift.  A knitting kit!

I had a very sweet and talented reader contact me with this great idea.  She’s a graphic designer from Spain, and she created a wonderful printed tutorial based on my beard hat pattern.  She originally created it for her sister-in-law to include in a knitting kit for her, but she generously wants to share it with all of you as well!

You can download the Beard Hat Pattern tutorial here, and then simply print out the guide on standard letter sized paper.  You’ll notice there are small black lines on each corner.  Those are just guide lines for cutting each side, as the graphic is smaller than the paper.

She also included this handy guide on how to fold the printed tutorial.

Knit Beard Printed Tutorial How To Fold

Here’s how I followed the guide:

  1. With the blank side of the paper facing up, and the Knit Beard Pattern cover closest to me.  Fold the cover side up.  You will now have steps 7-16 facing up and upside down.  This is Step 2 on the graphic.
  2. Fold over the right side of the tutorial, you will now have steps 3-6 facing up (upside down).  This is Step 3 on the graphic.  This is just to create a crease, so then you will unfold the right side of the tutorial.
  3. I then flipped the tutorial over, so steps 1-6 were facing up.  Then following Step 4 on the graphic, I folded both the left side and right side of the tutorial to the crease I just made.  You will now see the Knit Beard Pattern cover and steps 7-10 facing up.
  4. I then folded the right side of the tutorial back (steps 7-10).  You should now be left with a little accordion booklet, with the cover facing up at you.  You can flip through to make sure all the steps are in order.

Knit Beard Pattern Knit Kit TutorialHere’s the finished Beard Hat Pattern printed tutorial!  Super cute, right?

This is such a great idea to include with a knitting kit, and a really easy, fast and inexpensive DIY Christmas gift!

If you’re not sure what to include in a knitting kit, you could always buy a pre-made kit.  This is actually the one I got as a kid, and how I taught myself to knit.  I still use a lot of the tools that came with it!

Here are a few more options for those that like to comparative shop:  Red Heart Knitting Made Easy Kit and the Learn Knitting! Kit.

I want to say a BIG thank you to Laia for her awesome idea for a printed tutorial and knitting kit.  And especially for being so kind and sharing her wonderful tutorial.  Be sure to head over to her website and check out more of her work!

DIY Blackhead Remover Recipe Popular on Pinterest

Ok, so today I’m going to share something a little embarrassing for me… some close up, no makeup, photos of my blackheads.  Plus, my pores and red blotchiness!  But hopefully it will be for the benefit of all of you!  I’m sure many of you have seen this DIY blackhead remover photo circulating around Pinterest lately…

DIY Blackhead Remover Original Before and After Picture

Clearly, this before and after shot is showing some pretty amazing results.  I was a little skeptical, but also secretly hoping these results were true.  I decided, what the heck, I have all the ingredients, and I would LOVE to get rid of my blackheads.  So I decided to test this DIY out – check out my results below!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 Lemon
  • Baking soda

Here’s what you do:

  1. Mix about a tablespoon of baking soda with enough lemon juice to make a thick paste.  Adding more lemon juice or baking soda until you reach desired consistency.
  2. Gently massage the mixture into blackhead prone areas.
  3. Leave on for up to 20 minutes (I did it for 10 minutes), and then gently rinse with luke warm water.

Here’s my before shot…

DIY Blackhead Remover Before Picture

And my after shot…

DIY Blackhead Remover After Picture

As you can see, not really the kind of results pictured in the original photo.  Although, I can see a little improvement, even with some of my redness.  So perhaps if this DIY blackhead remover is used several times, it may prove to be effective in eliminating blackheads.  I’ll continue testing out this DIY for a few weeks and let you all know if I have improved results.

Do you have any tried and true DIY’s for removing blackheads?  If so, please share in the comments section!  I’d love to try them out!

Learning to Highlight and Contour Part 2

Hey guys, so I know it’s been forever since I posted my first Highlight and Contour results, BUT I have been continuing to add highlighting and contouring into my makeup routine.  I’ve also continued taking pictures, so when I finally kicked my butt to make another post I’d already have the photos ready to go!

I’m still mostly following the techniques I’ve learned from Maskcara, but in this second round of photos I’ve also implemented a blush technique I learned while watching videos by The Makeup Chair.  Basically the technique is to apply blush straight out toward your ear, instead of following the natural curve of your cheekbone.  This will help anyone who has a long face.  What do you think, can you notice a difference between my before and afters?

[Sorry for the bad lighting in these photos!  I still haven’t been able to find the best lighting to take makeup photos in my new apartment.  Hopefully I’ll be able to create better lighting next time!]

In this photo, I’m not only showing a before and after of HAC, but also a before and after of filling in my eyebrows.

Highlight and Contouring Before and After

Not sure if I notice much of a difference in the set above, but I think my face definitely looks a bit more wide than long in the set below.

Before and after of Highlight and Contouring

In this next set, I see a general difference in bone structure between the before and after shot (even though I’m completely washed out).  My features are definitely more defined and my face looks thinner.

Highlight and Contouring Techniques Before and After

I’m still deciding whether or not HAC makes much of a difference in the long run.  I can’t seem to exclude it from my makeup routine anymore, but I’m not entirely sure if it’s worth the extra time.  There is a fine line of:  if you don’t do enough, there isn’t a noticeable difference.  Yet if you want a big difference, you can easily do way too much and look like a clown.  I guess we’ll see as time goes on and I continue to become better at this technique!  I will also be trying to experiment with different products more in the future.

I’m still using the highlight and contour products I mentioned in my original post, which are the L’Oreal Paris True Match Foundation Powder in Deep Cool and Maybelline New York Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Nude.  While they still work pretty well, I am on the lookout for a better bronzer for my complexion, and a concealer with better coverage (but still inexpensive).  If any of you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below!

Bonus!  I’m including this photo because I managed to capture the eye shadow pretty darn well.  So I wanted to share this awesome 60-second smokey eye by Maskcara, which is seen in the photo below!  It’s become my go-to whenever I want to do something extra with my eyes, but don’t want to spend too much time on them.  The only difference is that I used the Sephora Collection Pro Lesson Palette for Brown Eyes.

60 Second Smokey Eye

In case you’re interested, here’s a list of some of the other makeup products I used in these photos:

Knit Bowtie Headband on Etsy + Free Pattern Coming Soon!

Happy Day After St. Patrick’s Day!  Hope you all had an awesome holiday, and hopefully you’re not feeling the after effects of last night too hard today.  Daniel and I had a low key St. Paddy’s, which included a homemade meal of corned beef, cabbage, and mashed potatoes.  Plus a couple of pints of Guinness (of course), mint green cupcakes, and a few Irish movies!  It was nice not dealing with the typical crowded bars, and since I didn’t have too wild a night, I was able to put up a new Etsy listing today!

My newest knitted creation is this super cute knit Bowtie Headband!  It is 100% handmade, super soft and warm, and looks great with a top knot.  It’s my new favorite winter accessory to wear for the last bit of the season.  Check it out!

Handmade Knit Bowtie Headband on Etsy

Side View of Knit Bowtie Headband

Knit Bowtie Headband Pattern

Close Up of Knit Bowtie Headband

DIY Knit Bowtie Headband

Free Knit Bowtie Headband PatternThis is another original design by moi, and you can get it at my Etsy Shop: MicheleVenleeDesigns!  You can also find other fun items there too!

As always, if you love it, please share it!  And be sure to come back soon, because I’ll be sharing the FREE pattern for this Knit Bowtie Headband in the spring!

Spicy Cashew Brittle Recipe

Spicy Cashew BrittleHey guys, so today I’m going to share an outrageously delicious Spicy Cashew Brittle recipe.  I made this for Daniel for Valentine’s Day, and he said it was the best brittle he’s ever had!  Not only is it delicious, but it’s also ridiculously easy to make!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup cashews, chopped
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

The original recipe called for a 1/2 tsp of rum extract and a 1/2 tsp of vanilla.  I couldn’t find rum extract anywhere, so I just upped the vanilla.  I also upped the cayenne because Daniel loves spicy food, but the brittle is still easy to eat for someone that can’t handle a lot of spicy (aka, me).  And my last deviation was using all cashews (original used 1/2 cup of pecans), because they are Daniel’s favorite!

Here’s what you do:

  1. Butter a cookie sheet and set aside.  I also highly suggest setting up all your ingredients, as each step happens pretty fast and you’ll need to move quickly.
  2. Lightly grease a 2-qt. microwave safe bowl, and combine sugar and corn syrup.  Microwave uncovered for 3 minutes, then stir.  Microwave an additional 2 1/2 minutes.  Stir in cashews, butter, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and nutmeg.
  3. Microwave uncovered for 2 minutes, or until mixtures turns a light amber color (caution:  this will be extremely hot, so please be careful!).  Quickly stir in baking soda and extract until light and foamy.  Immediately pour mixture onto prepared pan, and evenly spread with a greased metal spatula.  Cool completely.

    Spicy Cashew Brittle Recipe

  4. Once cooled, break into pieces and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container.

Recipe for Spicy Cashew BrittleI’ve never been a huge fan of brittle, but I seriously can’t get enough of this one!  I thought it worked particularly well as a Valentine’s Day gift, because of the spice and heat.  It would also make a great Christmas treat as well – the cinnamon and nutmeg definitely give this brittle a holiday flavor!