Monthly Archives: January 2017

Create - Gift

21 Unique Galentine’s Gifts to Buy + DIY

January 27, 2017

galentine's gifts

I love holidays where you can go all out, and Valentine’s Day can be one of the most over the top! You can gush all you want over your friends and loved ones and they won’t bat an eye!

Show some extra love to the friends who¬†are always there for late night talks or dubious testers for new recipes. They deserve some really nice Galentine’s gifts this year ūüėČ

HL card

Cards are nice, easy way to start! If you and your bestie share the love of Galentine’s Day via Knope & Ann, honor the original Galentine’s crew with printable Knope compliment cards.

Another reason Valentine’s is one of my favorite holidays, the puns are out in full force! Grab a pack of¬†punny dog cards for your pack.

And is there anything more luxurious in a card then letterpress? How about the letter pressed, hand illustrated goodness that oozes from Hello!Lucky? Honestly, I couldn’t just pick one card from them, so go check out their ‘Love & Friendship‘ cards.

flower cocktail

Pink is a flavor, right? It is if you gift some diy sweet, emoji heart chocolates or some savory chocolate chocolate chips.

Or toast to your friends in style with a rose cocktail.

P&S bar chocolate

Flowers are a classic, but try one of these twists instead. Give a felt flower bouquet that will last beyond February or drive home how much you really love her with a floral heart wreath.

And if you’re looking for a two-fer gift, this colorful¬†flower chocolate bark¬†is a treat and flowers!

Asos heart socks

Small Surprises
The best gifts are sometimes the unexpected. Deliver a breakfast surprise with a punny doughnut¬†&¬†DIY Galentine’s balloons so they can start the day with love.

If you & bestie are long distance, snail mail some¬†heart socks¬†and a ‘You’re toe-tally awesome’ note ;). (I did say Valentine’s Day has the best most puns)

bando love potion

Pretty Things
Probably the most traditional Galentine’s Gifts on the list, but with a twist. Makeup is more fun from¬†Too Faced chocolate bar palette¬†and on trend X.O. stud earrings say I Love You.

Or send along a love potion from I’m partial to the flask, but the tumbler & mug are cute too.


I’m waiting for the time when my friends and I are all in the same city again. If you’re so lucky, gather everyone together and throw an amazing party! Studio Diy’s throwback slumber party is a nostalgia trip. Or try a daytime soiree with sweets, crafts, + cocktails.

Style Me Pretty planned a whole event with treats + printables for you as well!

boy tears phone case

The Anti-Valentine’s Crew
For the crew that is anti-valentine’s, these gifts share the sentiment. Boy’s suck?¬†Boy’s Tears phone case. Flowers passe? Wilted flower pin.¬†Overall meh-ness about the holiday?¬†DIY broken heart pinata.

How are you celebrating Galentine’s this year?


No Weaving, Knotted DIY Large Wall Hanging

January 19, 2017

It’s taken me awhile to figure out a ‘mantra’ for 2017, but I think I got it now. 2017 is the year I ‘say no to being timid’. But because this isn’t a resolutions post, I’m just going to say this diy fits the bill. This¬†had been sitting in my project queue for too long but I was scared when there were so many great wall hanging tutorials already out there and how much it would cost for a project I wasn’t sure I could pull off. Well I’m glad I finally got off my butt and did something about it because look at this Pantone cutey!

wall hanging

This started with a trip to the holy grail of inspiration, IKEA. I was looking for picture frames when these rattan hula hoops caught my eye. $18 for 2 ginormous, natural rattan hoops! I might have squealed and happy danced all the way to check out! Besides the hoops (I used the smaller of the two to better fit the standard dowel length) you’ll need:

 rattan hoop | wool roving | knotted yarn | oak dowel | natural rope

I used 4 oz. of each roving (the green fluffy stuff) and half a skein of yarn. The knotted white yarn was an easy way to add texture to the hanging without any extra effort on my part (win!). PSA: Oak dowels best match rattan’s color and texture.

wall hanging

To frame out the piece by securing the dowel to the hoop using a Japanese Square Latch with natural rope. This knot is perfect for 2 perpendicular pieces and looks just as pretty from the front as the back. After this project I’m convinced I could build a raft.

wall hanging

With the dowel secured, start tieing on the yarn and roving using lark’s head knots as seen above or in this video. This¬†basic macrame starting knot is very therapeutic once¬†you get into a rhythm!

wall hanging

Use a¬†Dropper Loop Fishing Knot and secure it with a basic hitch on both sides to create a hanging loop. I’m pretty amazed that a few simple loops are so secure, but here he hangs proudly on the wall.

Tips on working with roving: Roving is very soft and will loose it’s ‘togetherness’ if played with too much! The extra knots originally¬†came from tying extra roving on to give it more length and volume. Then I discovered bobby pins work just as well on keeping roving in place as hair and kept the knots for looks ūüėČ

To get nice, soft tails on the roving (if you cut straight across a bunch you’ll get a very blunt end) take a small comb and pull the ends through.

wall hanging

wall hanging

Now I just can’t decide where he goes- he was always supposed to go above our bed, but he looks so at home¬†in the dining room. Though with the rattan 2-pack, I can always make another!

What are your goals for 2017? I’d love to hear from you!


2016 + 1 Year Anniversary Recap

January 10, 2017


I’m a mite late to the recap game, but I couldn’t help but take my time. It’s been 1 year + 3¬†months since I got started here and I have to say, I can’t believe it!

I started this blog while job hunting in a new city to keep myself from going crazy with resume edits and job applications. A lot of the posts from this year came out of¬†looking for ways to solve our ‘just starting out’ problems on a minimal savings account. 2016 was also the first year Michael + I were in the same city again after 4 years of long distance college dating! With getting engaged, finding jobs (jobs¬†plural, if anyone is interested in that story), and trying to find a voice for this blog, it was immensely stressful but led to a lot of personal growth.

Minimalist Nail Art: The Wave

And so a huge thank you to all of you for reading + following! This year I’ll be pushing ctrl + curate¬†with more content, better branding, and more engagement with you. Keep me honest everyone ūüėČ To celebrate the end of 2016, here’s a quick recap of my favorite recipes + diy’s.

wood butter

When I thought about what kinds of posts I wanted ctrl + curate to be known for, I wanted to share diy’s that could be used & adapted for the everyday. These diy’s have had¬†a year of being put to the test, and I can happily say these guys are still going strong!

Oils and waxes in all forms were especially great this year. I’m still using the¬†Winter Hair Care Hot Oil Treatment¬†now during Chicago’s drying cold, wood butter monthly to keep my wood tools supple, and found a new use for December’s beard oil as an Eczema soother.

In the kitchen, our Herb Drying Shelf has helped us build a small collection of dried herbs until the next market season. Cord organizers are tucked all around the house in different sizes to wrangle everything from lighting cords to phone chargers.

My most ambitious project would have to be my sister’s Mini Fridge Makeover! Good lord that was an undertaking. But she’s happy with it and I’m thrilled we could hack the Smeg look for cheap.

And an update about that¬†Chalkboard Candle¬†post from last Valentine’s Day? It worked perfectly with the chalkboard paint all the way to the end. It also makes a great present for this year’s V-day ūüėČ

brussel sprouts

I like to think this blog is mostly useful diy’s, though¬†with the number of recipes I posted this year it’s starting to look a lot like a food blog. Most 2016 dishes were centered around being quick, easy, and healthy with one or two indulgent Dark Chocolate, Red Wine Valentine’s Desserts¬†or Spiced Stout Pancakes.

Doubled amounts of Savory Crepes, Pasta Al Pomodoro, 10 Minute Healthy Stirfry, & the balsamic glaze with Roasted Brussels Sprouts make frequent rotations during the workweek for lunch & dinner here.


This category gets the most everyday love from me. I sometimes buy groceries just if they come in glass jars to horde them all. And with the Non-Toxic way to Remove Labels I can have clean, free storage for quiptips, paint, and all the bits and ends!

On workdays I’m up in time and my coffee is strong, ¬†I throw my hair up into a¬†Curly French Twist¬†and take care of my¬†small apartment¬†garden. Those little babies have really grown!

I can’t wait to share more diy’s, recipes, and small space living posts in the new year! A big virtual hug from Chicago to all of you and let’s make 2017 a fantastic year