Thanksgiving Dinner Trophies

Recently I got together with some friends for a pre-Thanksgiving “Friendsgiving Dinner.” It was a fun night of soup and rolls. The twist? We had the teenagers all prepare either an appetizer or a dessert, and then as the parents, we all judged the winners. To make it even more interesting, and because I had just watched a Thanksgiving episode of Friends where they had a Gellar Football Thanksgiving Trophy, I decided to make a trophy for the best dessert and best appetizers.

To make the trophies, I used the following:

Thanksgiving Dinner Tropies:


– Wooden plaques 
– Wooden decorative pieces (these look like miniture candle sticks)
– Sculpty clay (or generic)
– Metallic spray paint
– E600 glue

You can get all of these supplies at any hobby or big box store in the craft department.


1. Open the package of Sculpty clay and form a dessert or an appetizer. I made a piece of pie and a crab rangoon, but you could do anything.

2. Place clay items on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes at 250 degrees F. Remove from oven and baking sheet and let cool. They sometimes don’t feel hard when they first come out of the oven and still warm. Once cooled, they should be hard.

3. Glue the wooden plaque to the decorative wooden “candle stick” piece with the E600. Then glue the clay item to the top of that. 

4. Let dry for several hours (overnight to be safe) and then spray with metallic spray paint to finish. 

Your friends, family and other Thanksgiving guests will love the trophies and the novelty they bring. Don’t like to use clay? Find play-food toys and glue them on the top of the trophy and spray paint them. It’s what I normally do, but I didn’t have anything this time around or time to go shopping. 

Easiest & Best DIY Laundry Detergent – Good for Front & Top Loaders

Two-minutes, two ingredients and less than $2 laundry detergent. Think making your own laundry detergent is a lot of work? We’re here to tell you it doesn’t have to be. Learn how to make Lazy Girl’s DIY laundry detergent…that takes two minutes, has only two ingredients, and cost less than $2. Read on to learn more or watch the video!

Lazy Girl DIY Laundry Detergent

What you’ll need…

– Bar of laundry soap, like Zote or Fels Napa. I like the pink Zote because, well, it’s pink 🙂

– 1 cup of washing soda (This is different from baking soda and can be found in the laundry isle.)



1. First, unwrap the soap, and cut it into long strips that will fit in your food processor.


2. Next, put the shredding disk attachment on your food processor. Shred each piece of soap one at a time.


3. Sometimes after shredding the soap, there a little piece at the end of the bar that doesn’t want to cooperate. Set those aside, and coarsely chop them up with a knife.


4. Then put those chopped pieces in a bowl. Take the shredded bits of soap and dump them into the bowl as well.


5. Next put the mixing blade into your food processor and put all of the soap back in. If you have a smaller food processor, you might only be able to fix half of the soap at a time.


 6. Next, add 1 cup of washing soda and dump it into the mix. (I’ve heard you can make your own washing soda by cooking baking soda in the oven, but I’m a bit too lazy to try that. I’ll stick to buying the washing soda, thank-you-very-much!)


7. Now, blend the washing soda and soap chunks together until it makes a course powder. Why are these two ingredients so special? You can put a lot of different things in laundry detergent, but you only really need two basic ingredients — soap and a water softener. In this recipe, the washing soda acts as the water softener. Softer water allows the soap to do its job better. The soap…well, it’s there to clean the clothes. You can add other things to your detergent, but that’s all you really need. I’ve tried many other detergents before settling on this one. We’ve been using this recipe for two years now, and we love it because it’s so simple, its inexpensive and it gets the job done.


8. And there you have it. I place my detergent in a pretty crystal cookie jar (because who doesn’t need a little boost of pretty when doing the laundry?!) and use a about a tablespoon for each load. To help ensure the detergent doesn’t dry out, I put this brown-sugar bear in the jar as well.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Let me know if you’ve used it and how you like it.

Watch the video on the Lori Garcia Studio’s channel on Youtube:


1-Minute DIY Foaming Hand Soap, That Smells Better Than the Original!

I love good smelling soap. We’ve proved — at least in our house — it helps reinforce hand washing in our kids. And as much as I love rich, thick, foaming hand soap, I sure don’t like shelling out all that money…especially for our favorites at Bath and Body Works.

Recently, though, I discovered this 1-minute trick that lets us have delicious-smelling foamy hand soap year round, for pennies. If you’re read other tutorials before THIS ONE IS DIFFERENT! This tip, will let you DIY your favorite Bath and Body Works soaps…and you won’t be able to tell the difference from the original!

Check out the video and see how simple it is or keep reading below:

1-Minute DIY Foaming Hand Soap, That Smells Better Than the Original!


Foam Soap Dispenser


Favorite Shower Gel

Food Coloring

Hot Tap Water, in a pourable measuring cup



1. Open your foaming soap dispenser, and set the pump aside. Grab your favorite shower gel – we’re using the same brand and scent from Bath and Body Works, as our foaming soap. This way, our soap will smell the same as the original. This really is key to having your soap smell like the original.

2. Measure out a tablespoon of the shower gel and pour it into your foaming soap dispenser. If you like very fragrant soap, like we do, you can add a second tablespoon. The second tablespoon will actually make a stronger-smelling soap than the original Bath and Body Works foaming soap.

3. Next, you may want to add a couple of drops of food coloring to your foaming soap dispenser. That’s because when you water down the shower gel, it can water down the color. Food coloring is optional, but my family liked it better with it.

4. Lastly, we’re going to fill the soap bottle almost to the top, with hot tap water. You don’t need boiling water, just make sure it’s the hottest tap water you have. Hotter water will help dissolve the shower gel easier.

5. Then, all you have to do is tightly screw on the soap dispenser, and shake until the shower gel is dissolved.

And there you have it, luxurious, foaming soap, that smells just like the real thing. In fact, friends of ours didn’t even know it was a DIY version.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Until next time, I’m Lori and this is Lori Garcia Studios.

DIY Drawer Organizers


I just love the Internet…..sigh….no, this is not a love letter, but rather I marvel how we lived (or crafted or decorated) without it! I came across this organization/craft idea the other day about how to make custom drawer organizers for your kitchen and knew I HAD to do this for mine — it is a hot mess! I had bought the organizers we all have, but nothing seemed to fit my drawers. They were either too big and wouldn’t fit or too small, leaving a lot of random leftover space and no good way to organize them. Thus, my life looked like this:

My first plan of attack was the main utensil drawer, but since I’m not that proficient with construction (or a saw for that matter) I thought I would start small. In this post you will see my large utensil drawer and my junk drawer and how I organized them.


– ¼” x 2″ x 3′ boards

(I used aspen, which I assume is pine? but Home Depot also had red oak as well. The aspen ones were cheaper — $1.25 in my neck of the woods — so I went with that. I found the wood in the lumber section. Note, there were some boards that were warped. Be sure to check that first.)

– Gorilla wood glue

(This is my first experience with wood glue as an adult — oh, the projects we made as kids in my dads workshop, unsupervised! — and it seems stronger than your average wood glue.)

– Saw

(I used my hubby’s miter saw as it makes quick, relatively clean cuts, but you could use a hand saw as well.)

– Sand paper

– Pencil, measuring tape

1. Draw a Plan

Measure your drawer and draw a plan to include the items you would like to organize. (I wish I could say, I drew my to scale, but I’m not that precise or patient, so I sketched a quick drawing.)

2. Cut One Board at a Time

Measure your first board and cut it slightly longer ¼”. (Note, it is easier to recut or sand your boards down if you’ve cut them too long. Once it’s too short, there’s not much you can do, except use it later on a shorter piece. You want it to be nice and snug. )

3. Measure and Mark Your Drawer

Measure and mark in pencil where you want the divider to go. Place the wood divider in the drawer and run a bead of the glue on the side seams. Wipe away extra glue with a damp cloth or napkin, but don’t be overly concerned, as the glue will dry clear.

Continue on to the next piece until you have them all glued into place. (Tip, measure, cut and glue one board at a time. I tried to make several cuts first and then glue them into place and it didn’t fit correctly.)

And there you have it….a nicely organized drawer. I have done two now in my kitchen and I plan on doing the main utensil drawer, the baking drawer and then venture into the bathroom for my makeup drawer (oh, I could do some damage there!). My hubby was concerned what if we moved and the new owner didn’t like my custom dividers? I think they would be easily enough removed. Just score the glue seams and remove. If there is glue left over that wouldn’t easily remove, you could place contact paper over it..

I hope you enjoyed this post. I was inspired by this wonderful post by Stephanie Lynn from Under the Table and Dreaming. She’s awesome. Check out her blog!

Drawer Organizer to Jewelry Organizer! – Fish Tackle Box to Earring Sort

Necklace/Bracelet Organizer

Now that you’ve created your own custom drawer organizers (last week’s post) you might be like me and have a plethora of wood organizers with no home….so sad… Not to worry, a little spray paint, hooks and you can re-purpose them to organize your necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

Fish Tackle Box to Earring Sort

I still had lots of earrings that needed a home. I checked out the fancy clear organizers they had at Target (oh, Target, how I love thee…) but they were rather pricey. I stumbled over to the sporting good section and saw these — fish hook organizers — I think they are called tackle boxes…yes, my hubby confirms indeed they are. For a fraction of the price of the original organizers, I had just about the same thing — and these are customizable! You can make the compartments bigger or smaller instantly. (Another case of the Sporting Good section saves the day. I’ve opted for a $4 tackle case for makeup travel and for sewing organization. Gotta love thinking outside the box….or even close by the box….or is that even a box at all?)



Jewelry Boutique Display

I found two of these at the local Goodwill and I knew they needed to come home with me. One of them practically jumped in the cart — thanks to my 5 year old. I cleaned her up — I call her Jade — (the jewelry boutique display, not the 5 year old). I use Jade as a decoration and also a holder for the jewelry I plan to wear the next day (as I wear full jewelry every day — don’t you….aren’t you planning on sporting the pearls to vaccum later?!) Okay, so I only dress Jade when I have an event the next day that requires jewelry. I think she makes a nice addition to this jewelry station in my master closet.

Speaking of master closet, it’s one of the three projects I’m currently working on right now…(I need to stick to one and finish, but you know how inspiration goes…) Look for more coming soon.



DIY Tile a Table

To surprise my hubby for Father’s Day, (and after watching too many DIY shows) I got the courage to convert our back deck to a Tuscan retreat (or as close as you can get in the Midwest. Instead of heading to Target, like I used to whenever I needed something relatively inexpensive and chic, I headed to my local thrift store where I picked up this old restaurant table. It was sturdy and the right size (big enough for our family of four to eat dinner, or big enough so that we can play games with our friends — Ticket to Ride, anyone?) The table I found wasn’t pretty, though. It didn’t say “outdoor retreat,” it said, “Do you want fries with that?” But thanks to all my new online blog friends (I’m talking about you Centsational Girl & House of Smiths) and their resourcefulness, I took a chance on it. And for only $15, why not.


After seeing a “Design on a Dime” where the designer made a table and covered it in tile, I decided to take a stab at it. Here’s what it took:

– Spray Paint (I used Rust-oleum Hammered Bronze)

– Tile

– Trowel

– Rubber Tile Float

– Grout

– Tile adhesive

– Grout Sealer

– Tape Measure

– Pencil

– Damp rags (that you will never want to use again)

1. Paint the Table

First I started by spray painting the sides and legs of the table, after having the boys hose it down in the driveway. Did I mention there were spider nest/eggs underneath the table? Yep, gross. Thankfully I have boys!


2. Shop for Tile

This is where I tell you how I mathematically figured out how much tile I would need, but it was more like guessing. Then, a Home Depot worker suggested I turn some of the square tiles around like diamonds to save save money. Save money? Yes, please. When it was all said and done I spent about $100 for tile and grout. A bit pricey, but I think the results are worth it.

3. Adhering the Tile

I bought this cool tile that had a preset pattern that would serve as the center of the table. I measured to find the center of the table and applied tile adhesive (like frosting) and made sure to scrape with the trowel’s notched edges to ensure an even coat of adhesive. I carefully placed my center tile. The adhesive doesn’t set immediately, so you can easily move it around if you make a mistake. I made sure I worked in small sections so the adhesive didn’t dry out.


4. Design Away

This next part was easy (and fun). The small tiles are sold in tile sheets that can be placed directly on your project or you can cut and design them any way you want. I alternated between small gray tiles and larger cream ones. (Note, they didn’t always line up perfectly. I think they make it look more authentic — like it was handmade by a sweet old Italian woman in Tuscany — or a 30-something mom in the Midwest :o) Also, another tip from our friends at Home Depot, use the smaller tile on the outside edges of the table. That way, it’s easier to make it fit and you don’t have to cut them.




5. Let the tiles cure for 24 hours (or whatever your adhesive suggests).

6. Grout The Table

Dip your tile float into the grout and load it up. Push the float at an angle onto the table, so the grout really gets into all the cracks. As with the adhesive, work in small sections. Once the cracks are filled, use a slightly damp rag (I found an almost dry rag worked best) and rub over the tiles to get rid of the excess grout.



7. Seal the Grout

Use a grout sealer and follow the instructions on the package. This will help prevent staining of the grout, as it is a porous material.


The finished product: I was surprised at how good it looked. It was hard to believe it was a yucky thrift store table just a few days before. To think that I almost overlooked it in the beginning. And my (picky) husband was very happy, too.


I hope you liked this DIY. Feel free to send me your tips on working with tile or your pictures of tile projects and I’ll post them.



Dishwasher Tablets, DIY

I am always looking for ways to save money, and I love a good project. I have seen recipes for homemade dishwasher detergent before, but a recipe for making your own dishwasher tablets or pellets, now that got my attention.

Not all Pinterest projects are pin-worthy. But, this one, my friends, definitely is. This lady is a genius, and here is my take on her wonderful tutorial:

What you need:

1 – 54-55 oz box of washing soda / detergent booster (3.89)

1 – 76 oz box of borax (4.49)

1 – 2 lb carton of epsom salts (.99)

1- bottle reconstituted lemon juice (32 oz for .99)

$10.36 for over 300 pellets

(Note, you do NOT need baking soda. I’m not sure why I included in the picture….maybe it was lonely.)

Step 1: In a 5-gallon bucket, mix all of the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. 
Step 2: Scoop out 2 1/2 cups of the mixture and put into a large mixing bowl. (Keep the rest in the bucket with the lid on tight so kids and pets don’t get into it. 














Step 3: Add lemon juice 1 TB at a time into the dry mixture until it clumps and is sticky. 

Step 4: Scoop the mixture into the ice cub trays loosely to about the top. I got my trays from Wal-Mart.
(Note: you might want to fill them even less full so that when they are tamped down they are small enough to fit into your dishwasher compartment. Some of mine were a bit big and had to be chopped in two.)
Step 5: With gloves, tamp each down pretty tightly. 
Step 6: Let them drive overnight. In Budet101’s tute, she said it takes days for hers to dry out. Mine took less than 24-hours, and it was winter. You know when they are ready when you flip them over and gently tap them and the tablets fall out. 
Step 7: You can now use them as you would Cascade or Finish’s dishwasher tabs. I also use vinegar as a rinsing agent. Place extras in a storage container.
The results? It worked out great. I couldn’t tell a difference from my normal detergent. Did it work for you?
——————————- UPDATE, 3-7-13 ———————————–
So it has been a few weeks and we are loving the results of the homemade dishwasher tablets. Sparkling, I tell you! We have learned a few things….
1. Size Does Matter
Check out your dishwasher’s detergent compartment FIRST to see if the molds you have chosen (and the resulting tablets) will fit in. Some of my first batch were too big and had to be cut in half. 
2. There’s More than One Way to Make a Tablet
So I enlisted my kids help to make another round of tablets. The 10-year-old was very capable. He asked if he could make Lego ones…. of course! They worked out okay, but the more intricate the mold, the harder it is to come out perfectly. Also, we found that the silicon molds we had worked so much easier than the ice trays. 
3. It’s Not Exactly a Science
So, I realized that once you have the “big mix,” it’s not exactly a science when you mix in the lemon juice. Just grab a cup or two of the “big mix” and then add enough lemon juice to wet it and make it a sticky consistency. I like things that are not exact.