Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

Foraged Wreath DIY

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

On our way back from Southern California, we stopped on the side of the road for lunch and I took this opportunity to get the supplies I needed for a project I had in mind.

Inspired by Max Turk's creations, I had been meaning to give wreath making a try.

So while Octave was preparing lunch, I grabbed a knife and a bag and went for a stroll to forage. I had no idea about how much greenery I would need and pretty much eyeballed it. My advice: take more than what you think you'll need. A wreath can never be too crowded, and, worst case scenario, you'll have enough supplies to make a second one and give it to a friend or neighbor!

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Back home, I unwrapped my bounty and tried a couple designs on the floor of the living room.

Some people create the wreath by making a circle of branches. Others like to use wire to secure the strands around the wreath. I chose the easy route and found frames for 75 cents each at SCRAP, my local second-hand artist's supplies store and decided to just use some cotton thread to wrap the straw around the frame.

The end result looks nothing like what I had in mind, but I'm happy about where trial and error took me.

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé


FORAGED WREATH DIY

Wreaths are a great way to decorate your home on a budget at any given season. They're common for the end of the year celebrations but can be created at any time of the year to bring the look and smell of nature into your home!

Active time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours

Supplies

Tools

  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Forage seasonal greens.
  2. Arrange your greens on a flat surface and test various patterns.
  3. Tie a knot around the frame.
  4. Roll the thread around the greens all around the frame to create a base.
  5. Slip bits and pieces to cover the thread and create a pattern.
  6. Hang your wreath and take a step back.
  7. Add more greenery to create balance.
  8. Enjoy the view and the smell of your creation as long as you deem necessary.

Notes

For this wreath, I foraged crested wheatgrass, sagebrush, and rabbitbrush in Southern Oregon. But any kind of greenery will do. Go for a hike and work with what nature offers you. The secret is to have some thicker material for the base (to cover the frame) and tons of little bits (dried berries, pine cones) to use as ornaments). After you take your wreath down at the end of the season, compost the greenery, reuse the thread, and store the frame for the next season.

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Foraged Wreath DIY by Conscious by Chloé


Have you ever made your own wreath? What did you use? I want to see pictures (tag me on social media so I can see them)!

Soy Candle DIY

Soy Candle DIY with Jessica Pezalla of Bramble Workshop by Conscious by Chloé

I met Jessica Pezalla a year and a half ago when I attended one of her shibori dyeing workshops and we've kept in touch ever since.

We like to meet up once once in a while, to attend an event, to share a cup of tea or to brainstorm and discuss future creative endeavors. The last time we met was at a friend's studio tour. There, Jessica mentioned that she was planning on making bath salts as gifts for her family, and I mentioned that I've been wanted to make more candles ever since I had taken a class a couple weeks ago. She was interested in the project too, so we decided to do this together and set a date.

Soy Candle DIY with Jessica Pezalla of Bramble Workshop by Conscious by Chloé

We did a little research, figured out what tools we needed, went shopping for supplies and met up at her studio for our little collaboration on a very cold December day.

The day before, Jessica had been foraging wicks and trims. So while we were waiting for the wax to melt, she taught me how to make a wreath (no picture was taken, I am not super proud of my oval shaped creation).

Soy Candle DIY with Jessica Pezalla of Bramble Workshop by Conscious by Chloé

This is what I love about Jessica, her ability to create. I admire the work she does for her studio, Bramble Workshop, from papier mâché icebergs to flower mandalas. Oh and did I mention that she's the owner of Hazel, the most well-behaved and the sweetest dog I've ever seen?

The afternoon flew by and by the time I went back home, the streets were covered by a thick blanket of snow. As soon as I arrived home, I started baking the bread I had left rising all night long, attached the wreath to my door, turned on the fireplace for your home series on Netflix for a cozy night at home and patiently waited for my candles to cool down until the next day.

Soy Candle DIY with Jessica Pezalla of Bramble Workshop by Conscious by Chloé


SOY CANDLE DIY

Candles are the perfect hostess gift, stocking stuffer and are very easy to make. The hardest part is to decide on a scent. There are so many to chose from!

Active time: 1 hr
Total time: 15 hrs

Supplies

Tools

Instructions

  1. Melt the wax.
    Fill the pot with wax flakes and place it on the hot plate or double boiler. Heat the wax to 185 F. It is also a good idea to pre-heat the containers in which you will pour your candles to about 125 F to keep the wax from pulling away from the sides.
  2. Add scents.
    Remove the pot from the heat, add your fragrance and stir well. If you keep your pot on the heat source when adding your fragrance, it will evaporate out of the wax.
  3. Glue and center the wicks.
    While the mixture is cooling, place a glue dot on the bottom of each container and stick a wick at the center.
  4. Pour the candle.
    When the mixture temperature cools to 135 F, pour the wax into the containers.
  5. Center the wicks.
    Place a wick centering bar on the top of each container and pull the wick into the opening. It will keep the wick straight and centered while the candle is cooling.
  6. Let the candle cool down.
    Let the candles cool at room temperature overnight before first lighting them up.
  7. Trim the wicks.
    Trim the wick to 1/4 in. before lighting.
  8. Light your candles.
    Be aware that candles have memory. So the first time your light your candle, make sure that the wax melts all the way to the edge to prevent tunneling.

Notes

Scent-wise, the options are limitless. For this batch of candles, I used a fragrance/essential oil blend (the flashpoint is indicated on the bottles) and Jessica used essential oils. Whatever you chose, remember that not all essential oils are safe for burning, so read the labels carefully.
As for containers, I also used some Bonne Maman jam containers and a ceramic cup that I collected from the "messed up shelf" at my ceramics studio (#reuse).


My favorite fragrances are sandalwood, palo santo, birch... All the scents that remind me of an evening by the campfire in the middle of the forest. What about you? What are your favorite scents?

Hairpin Leg Bench DIY

Hairpin Leg Bench DIY by Conscious by Chloé

Last week-end was meant to take place a whole different way.

We had a whole road trip planned to the Northwest Overland Rally. But on the way there, Charlie (Octave's Land Cruiser) got a mechanical problem. So we drove back home to fix it.

I guess I must have had a premonition because I hadn't deleted all the events taking place in Portland on that week-end from my calendar. So I looked at the bright side and made the most of these 2 days in the city.

As some of you might have seen on Snapchat, I woke up early on Saturday morning for an outdoor yoga session followed by a (free) açai bowl for the one year anniversary of Carioca Bowls.

Later, I walked to the Woodlawn Farmers Market, which had reopened while I was in Europe, to get a little mint starter for my garden and some blueberries to snack on during the day.

After that, I rushed to one of my favorite shops in Portland, Johan, for its moving sale and splurged on ceramics. I also scored the vintage silk shirt I'm wearing on the picture and an amazing bodycon dress, made in the USA!

Ceramic cup found at Johan by Conscious by Chloé

Then I checked my phone and realized I had forgotten about the book launch of Becoming Minimalist's Joshua Becker. I was happy to see some friendly faces from the Portland Minimalists Group and get to meet Minimalist Baker Dana Shultz who was here on stage with Joshua.

Later in the day, I dragged Octave to Salvage Works to get some wood for a project I had in mind, and the main subject of today's article: a hairpin leg bench.

Hairpin Leg Bench DIY by Conscious by Chloé

So here's our little tutorial:


HAIRPIN LEG BENCH DIY

A hairpin leg bench is a pretty easy and inexpensive project that will immediately add style to any room in your home.

Active time: 1 hr
Total time: 2 hrs

Supplies

Tools

  • Hand file
  • Orbital sander + sandpaper
  • Drill
  • Screws

Instructions

  1. Carve the edges.
    We used the hand file and finished with 60 grit sandpaper.
  2. Sand the wood.
    We used the orbital sander starting with 60, then 160 and finally 220 grit.
  3. Seal the wood.
    We used a polycrylic spray we already had from a previous outdoor sign project. We sprayed 1 coat and sanded after.
  4. Attach the legs.
    We more or less eyeballed the leg placement, but you can definitely measure it properly, and even clamp the legs and flip the bench over to see how it will look.

Notes
You can try different ways to seal the wood. We used what we had on hand, but wood sealer and Danish oil may be better options.


Hairpin Leg Bench DIY by Conscious by Chloé

I love the idea of making something new out of something old. Of course, the project is not 100% made our of reused material, but I'm glad we decided to go to a local shop rather than the usual hardware store. This quick DIY, which happen on the very same week-end Rachel made hers definitely gave me more DIY envy.


What about you? What was your week-end like? Lazy? Productive? This one was definitely on the active side but I promise it's not always as busy or inspired. But my Pinterest inspiration boards are here, in case my hands are itching.