Cleaning Chronicles

Resetting our Home for the Week.

Hello, my dear friends! A happy Sunday to you all. And what a cozy, productive Sunday it’s been. I usually try to get as much done on Sunday’s as I possibly can, but today I’m taking it a little bit slower, because I woke up feeling a bit ill. Bobby got sick right after the wedding, and as soon as he started getting around to feeling better, I began to feel sick.

That being said, we have been able to get things done. Such as grocery shopping! The older I get, the more and more I enjoy grocery shopping. My dear, sweet, HUSBAND (hehe!) does not enjoy grocery shopping as much as I do, but it must be done, all the same. Our poor fridge hadn’t been filled up in weeks. We didn’t go grocery shopping the week leading up to our wedding, and this week we just ate up our wedding leftovers, so it felt nice today to fill our fridge back up with goodies.

I made up a big batch of white chicken chili, one of Bobby’s favorites. I find that on a rainy day, when you’re feeling a bit sick, it hits the spot even more than usual! And whenever I make chili, there are always leftovers. I am of the opinion that leftovers are even more exciting than when you initially make a meal.

Even some tidying around the home got done! I cleaned out the fridge and organized it, and Bobby did some speed-cleaning. Speed cleaning is his speciality, and coincidentally it’s something I am absolutely horrendous at. I’ll start out cleaning the living room, get distracted, and end up in a different room, doing a completely different project. I fear my attention span isn’t the best. HOWEVER, I am a fantastic organizer. I would say that’s my strong suit when it comes to cleaning.

And to top it all off… watching Harry Potter 1 & 2! These two in particular are such cozy movies, perfect for autumn viewing. Rewatching them makes me giggle, because I remember watching them when I was younger and thinking that Ron, Harry, and Hermione were all so big, and now, they look like absolute babies!

I even got some reading done today. I’m so happy that I’ve gotten back into reading, and it makes me so sad that I went for years without reading for fun. I think I may make a blog post soon about what books I currently have on my bedside table. I always enjoy reading other people’s lists of books they plan on reading.

And then, to finish the day off… a tasty bowl of caramel praline ice cream. Today was such a happy little day. I’m loving married life, my friends. A blog post talking about the wedding coming shortly! I know that I don’t post on Sunday’s much anymore, but today I found myself missing writing something fierce. More about that in my next post!

I’m so happy to be back blogging, my dear friends. I missed it a whole lot.

Thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

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Makeup Looks · My Favorite Recipes

My No-Nonsense Homemade Garlic Mashed Potatoes Recipe.

Hello, friends! Happy Wednesday to you all! I can’t believe that every day is bringing us closer and closer to September! How the heck did summertime pass so quickly? Personally, fall is my favorite season, so I’m getting really excited. I can’t wait to start decorating for fall.

Today’s blog post is all about my mashed potato recipe. I’m sure it’s nothing new or too unique, but Bobby and I really enjoyed it when I made it the other day.

Ingredients Needed.

  • Four medium red potatoes. (You can, of course, use whatever type of potatoes you prefer, but red potatoes are my absolute favorite. And of course you can use more or less potatoes, depending on how much you want. This ended up making six servings!)
  • Earth Balance Vegan Butter. (You don’t need to use vegan butter, but Bobby and I love how the Earth Balance tastes.)
  • Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk. (AGAIN, you don’t have to use almond milk, but it’s just what we end up buying instead of other types of milk.)
  • Garlic Powder.
  • Kernel Seasoning’s Garlic Parmesan Popcorn Seasoning.

Okay, friends! Here we go. When I cook, I tend to freestyle it. I taste it and then decide if it needs more of this or more of that. SO, this “recipe” isn’t going to be very exact.

Steps.

  1. Wash your potatoes!
  2. Cut up your potatoes into evenly sliced pieces. I cut mine up pretty fine because I like my mashed potatoes to be very smooth, but if you like your mashed potatoes a little chunkier, I would cut them into slightly bigger pieces.
  3. Put a pot of water on the stove to boil.
  4. After the water has begun to boil, you can plop your potatoes into the water. I cooked them for about twenty minutes, which made them VERY tender.
  5. Once the potatoes are cooked, I put them into my mixer.
  6. At this point, I began to put in some almond milk. I poured some in, turned on the mixer, and repeated until it was the consistency I wanted. I would say it ended up being around half a cup.
  7. After the almond milk, I put in about two tablespoons of vegan butter.
  8. I mixed it all together so it was nice and creamy.
  9. My last step for all of this was to put in some of the garlic powder and then the garlic parmesan seasoning. I alternated between the two until I got it tasting juuust right!

I served it with a protein and a vegetable and it made for the perfect meal! It’s nothing revolutionary, but I thought I would share it with all of you, my dear internet friends!

Thank you so much for reading, friends!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Musings

A Clean Home is a Happy Home.

Hello, my dear friends! A happy Friday to you all. Perhaps this is a bit of wishful thinking, but it did feel like there was a slight autumn chill to the air today…Which has me thinking about how I’ve almost been writing on this blog for a whole year. That is so amazing! Perhaps I’ll do a post about what I’ve learned in my first year of blogging. I’ve enjoyed this yearlong adventure, and I can’t wait to continue on this journey!

Today’s blog I wanted to talk about the notion that a clean home is a happy home. I’ve written in previous blog posts that our homes needn’t be impeccable to be cozy and homey, and I still stand behind that. HOWEVER, I will say that a clean home makes for a happy home.

I write this blog post from my room that is a bit more messy than I’d care to say. And it’s making for a hectic mind. Too much stuff laying around has a way of making our minds reflect the state of our surroundings. I’ve always struggled a bit with being a messy person. It takes a very conscious effort for me to put things away instead of leaving them where I set them down. And the older I get, the harder I try to be a tidier person. And I will say that I have gotten quite a bit better at it, but there is certainly always room for improvement.

I’ve seen a sentiment floating around the internet that I absolutely adore. The idea that we need to begin thinking of cleaning in a brand new way. Instead of thinking of it as a chore and something we do NOT want to do, we think of it as an act of self care. The idea that we DESERVE to have a home that is clean. It seems like such a simple change, but it really has had quite a profound impact on the way that I view cleaning. And it’s really changed me, because as I write this, I’m compiling a list of all the things I’m excited to do around the house tomorrow.

For example, I’m excited to do my laundry tomorrow, because how wonderful is it that I have a washer and dryer to clean my clothes with? And how wonderful is it to have clean clothes?

As always, it’s the little things in life…

And on that note, my dear friends… I will sign off and wish you all sweet dreams, as this is another late night post.

Thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

 

Eco-friendly

I Made the Switch to Reusable K-Cups!

Hello, my friends! I hope that you are having a wonderful, caffeinated Wednesday! Or if you are less  caffeine addicted than I am, I hope that you are having a wonderful Wednesday all the same!

I drink coffee every single day, one or two cups per day. Last summer I was able to ween myself off of drinking coffee, but here we are… there are certainly worse vices…

A vice related to my coffee drinking, but not a result of the actual act of coffee drinking… was using k-cups that WEREN’T REUSABLE. I had even tried to use a reusable k-cup! I bought one and everything, but it did not work! For whatever reason, it wasn’t compatible with my Keurig. And as guilty as I feel saying this… I just didn’t try to make it work or even buy a new one… until now.

Today is day one of using my reusable k-cup and I am NOT going back. I will say that it is a little bit more labor intensive, as you have to clean it out, but that’s really not a problem for me.

On the Midwest Mattie blog we are all about saving money AND saving the Earth. Making coffee at home is already better for your pocketbook and for the Earth, but if you are using a Keurig, I couldn’t recommend purchasing a reusable K-cup enough.

I’m trying to make changes in my lifestyle that are doable, and sustainable. It doesn’t do much good for us if we try to make too big of a change at once, and then ultimately give up because it was too much, too fast. And I understand the allure of going big or going home, but I think that going at a pace that works for us and will continue to work for us is the best way to go about change. And being HONEST with ourselves. Only we can know 100% if we are doing our best to be sustainable. People have different factors in their lives that may change their ability to make an assorted amount of change in their own lives.

Thinking about things that we do EVERY SINGLE DAY that we can change is important. Despite my best efforts, there are days when I get a coffee from a coffee shop and it’s in a plastic cup. And I always feel guilty when I do that, but it is not an every day thing. We will all make mistakes. We cannot be in complete control of our lives and our surroundings 100% of the time. We just can’t.  We have to do our honest best.

Thank you so much for reading, friends!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Monthly Favorites · Uncategorized

My July Favorites.

Hello, friends! A happy Friday to you all! Can you believe it’s August already? My wedding is in two months! What!!! I’m so excited!!!

I thought that I would do a July favorites for this month, as it has been quite some time since I’ve done one! Here we go!

  1. Eyeliner! I’ve gone through many a phase with eyeliner. Middle school I was very addicted to black pencil eyeliner, messily applied to the top lid and bottom waterline. Then I moved onto black liquid liner in high school, and I went a little crazy with the winged liner there. And then, at the beginning of college, I did a little bit of brown pencil liner. And after that, I didn’t really do much with eyeliner. But for the past week or two, I’ve been getting back into liquid liner. I’ve had an Elf liquid liner in a navy blue shade for longer than I’d care to admit… but I’ve been putting a thin little line of it on my lash line. I thought it would look a little strange with my black mascara, but it really doesn’t!
  2. My kitchen table! I ordered this table a couple months back, but we finally had it delivered! I love this table so much, and I think it’s a very classic piece that we will have for many, many years. It seats six and has an insert that makes it quite a bit longer. We keep the insert in it at all times, so we don’t have to worry about storing it somewhere. (Ha!) I love how neutral it is, and that it will match whatever decor our hearts desire.IMG_3567.JPG
  3. L.L Bean Dress. This dress!!! I am so in love. It is so cozy, and even though I bought it only a little bit ago, it’s safe to say that it’s going to be a favorite for a very long time. Which is what I consider before making a purchase! And blue is one of my favorite colors, and one of the colors I think flatters me the most.IMG_3772
  4. Journaling. Although journaling is nothing new for me, I’ve been making an extra effort to make time to journal EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s such a wonderful way to work through problems you may have, or even to document the small joys in life. As much as we’d like to hope we’d remember all these wonderful memories, we can’t possibly remember every single day of our lives. And that’s where journaling comes in!
  5. Bar soap. I remember being a kid, HATING using bar soap. To be fair, the ones that foam and bubble are far more whimsical, but not as good for the environment, as I’ve learned. Bar soap requires little to no packaging, and can last you for such a long time! I love it!IMG_3767
  6. Brown Boots. I’m a fan of all things fall, and these boots just scream fall to me. And what’s even better is that they were less than ten dollars! Just like the dress I’ve listed, I foresee these being a favorite for many a year.IMG_3742
  7. Trip to Frankfort . This was such a wonderful day! I had such a lovely time going to Frankfort with Bobby’s family for the fourth. It’s such a cute little town, and being on the beach all day… pure bliss. I can’t wait to take another trip to the beach.IMG_3411
  8. Wedding bands. I was SO happy to find our wedding bands. And they are so beautiful, and so us. The fact that after the wedding, we’ll be able to wear them for the whole rest of our lives is so amazing! How blessed are we???IMG_3325
  9. Banana bread. Perhaps banana bread will be my claim to fame… although I cannot take credit for the recipe. Bobby LOVES when I make this, and I even made some for his boss the other week! And the smell of banana bread… is there a banana bread perfume? If so, I desperately need it.
  10. Anne of Green Gables! This book has been a favorite of mine since childhood, and I reread it for the first time in such a long time, this month. And no surprise here, I loved it just as much, if not more. A classic book that I think everyone should read. It’s such a lovely book to read when you want to fall back deeply in love with life.IMG_3604

Thank you so much for reading, my friends! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!

Xoxo,

Mattie Mae

Photography

My Momma’s Garden.

Hello, friends! A happy Wednesday to you! I’m currently in Mount Pleasant, visiting my family! And today is my little brother’s eighteenth birthday, so I did not want to miss that! It’s certainly a hot little day, mostly spent in front of the fan, but I did wander outside to admire my mom’s garden.

I don’t know if I could possibly be any more thankful that I live in a world where flowers exist. If I had to choose my top three, it’d probably be daisies, daffodils, and lilacs, but I’ve never seen a flower that I didn’t like.

I eagerly await the day where I can have a garden all my own. I would love to have a mix of flowers, vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Just imagine: you’re cooking dinner and you realize you don’t have enough cilantro for the salsa you’re making, and you go outside to pick some from your very own garden! I can’t think of anything better. For now, I’ll content myself with my windowsill strawberry plant and its adorable little sprouts.

I’ve mentioned my mom’s garden before, but as I come home from Traverse City for the first time, I’ve become more and more nostalgic about things. My mom’s garden being one of them.  How lovely is to be able to come home. 

This garden is the result of hours AND hours of hard work that my mom has done. It gets more and more beautiful every single time I saw it. I thought that I would share some photos that I’ve taken of this beautiful garden.

I hope you enjoy, my friends!

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Thank you so much for reading, friends! Have a great day!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Eco-friendly

Five of my Favorite Eco Tips.

Hello, friends! And a happy Monday to you! As we settle back into our routines after that wonderful long weekend, I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to be eco-friendly on a day-to-day basis! I think that they’re all super simple, and easy to add to most routines!

  1. Use the backs of paper before recycling them. This one may seem a tad obvious, but I thought I’d mention it all the same. I use old pieces of paper for many things, grocery lists, to-do lists, and just small little reminders. I don’t buy sticky notes at all, I can’t seem to find a need to. I will cut up bigger sheets of paper into fours and have a little pile of paper that can be used for notes! Such a simple thing, but I make sure that I don’t recycle a piece of paper before I’ve used both sides!
  2. Reuse spaghetti jars. I know how tempting it can be to want to buy brand new jars that all match to hold bulk items in, but that’s really not necessary. If you’re buying food items that come in glass jars, they’re super handy to keep and use when buying bulk items, or even for organization of smaller items. I like to use old jam jars to hold bobby pins or makeup brushes. If the sticky adhesive doesn’t come off right away, you can always use a bit of an essential oil, and that generally does the trick. If you’re wanting jars for a bit more of a decorative use, you can always wrap some twine or fabric scraps around it to make it look a bit cuter.
  3. Do not buy things simply because they are cheap. Even if you’re buying secondhand. It’s so easy to get swept up in a good deal, but it’s not always in our best interest to purchase things. If we have no use for an item, it’ll just sit around our home, collecting dust. There could be someone else out there that could genuinely make use of it, so we ought to leave it for them. This would also probably be my number one tip for thrift shopping.
  4. Know when to buy things NEW. I’m especially guilty of doing this when it comes to jeans. I’ll buy a pair of jeans from Goodwill that don’t fit me especially well, and wear them until they inevitably tear from being ill-fitting, only to have to go back to Goodwill to buy a new pair. After doing this for a couple of years, I finally bit the bullet and bought two new pairs of Levi’s, because they fit me very well, and I know that they will last me for years. This may not always be in one’s budget, but I would definitely recommend figuring out if items you buy will be costing more money in the end.
  5. Opt for no receipt/do bills online. Some stores do not offer this option, but I try to do it whenever I’m able. For example, with Consumer’s Energy, I only receive my bill online, as opposed to also getting it in the mail. This saves some paper, and you’ll also have a record of your bills online. Additionally, some stores will allow you to opt for a receipt sent to your email, instead of a physical one. Not all stores do, and if that’s the case… look to my first tip for how to deal with that!

 

And remember, something is better than nothing. As long as we’re doing on our honest best, I think that we should be proud of ourselves.

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Travels

Spending the Fourth in Frankfort.

Hello, friends! Happy Friday! I write this post, sunburnt as can be. I had such a wonderful Fourth of July yesterday, but definitely could have used some more sunscreen. Luckily, I had a sun hat on so that I didn’t get burnt on my face at all. Bobby’s family and I spent the day in Frankfort, Michigan. We sat on the beach, we wandered downtown, and we enjoyed the fireworks. Such a wonderful day!

Below is a picture I took whilst on our way to Frankfort. I love barns and always watch out for them while on a road trip. And hey, red, white, and blue! And that fence is so endearing to me. Absolutely loved it!

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This cutie pie yellow shirt is actually Bobby’s cousin, Jaden’s, but she let him wear it because it was starting to get a little chilly out! And how cute is it? I love it!

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I’m such a sucker for all things Michigan, cabin decor, or beach decor. The little shops in downtown Frankfort were really speaking my language. I have such a soft spot for knick knacks, but I am proud to say I bought zero knick knacks! Go me!

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How beautiful are lighthouses? As it got later, we were able to see it shining out on the water. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to capture any really good photos of it at nighttime, but that’s okay. I still had the experience. As great as photos are, it’s even more important to enjoy ourselves in the moment. 🙂

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Nothing much to say about this photo, other than I love looking at signs for businesses. I don’t know much about graphic designs, or such things, but I know a cute sign and lettering when I see one!

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How beautiful is this place? Truly so blessed to live in the Midwest, and even more blessed to live in Michigan!

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As the we furthered into the night, we began to get apprehensive that there would be a thunderstorm, but luckily for us, theses intense skies produced no rain, thunder, or lightning!

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Ah, the feeling of cold sand in your toes… or in this case, scalding hot sand that makes you wish you hadn’t left your sandals by your beach towel. When nighttime rolled around, the sand definitely cooled down, and felt MUCH better.

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Again, how adorable are downtowns and their signs? I adore them endlessly.

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How I wish I could’ve captured a photo where the lighthouse was in focus, but try as I might, the grass wanted to be the star of this photo. Oh, well!

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And the fireworks! It was so fun being able to watch the fireworks from our beach towels.

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This post is quite short, but I like the idea of being able to capture my day in photos, as opposed to always capturing them with words. In addition to my blog being a place filled with my thoughts, my outfits, and my home decor, I would like it to be a sort of photo diary as well. A great way to capture memories.

I hope that you had a wonderful fourth as well!

Thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Musings

Simply Summertime: Five Simple Living Activities for Summer.

Hello, friends! A very happy Monday to you all! Today I wanted to write a post that is slightly reminiscent to this one, but different enough that I thought it was worthwhile to share. I felt compelled to write this in order to provide some inspiration for summer activities that are simple and don’t include spending unnecessary amounts of money.

  1. Admiring the flowers. I suppose that this one could work for spring as well, but I’m from Michigan, and you never know when these beauties will finally make an appearance. Appreciating flowers can happen all sorts of ways. You can find flowers in their natural habitat, or you can go to a grocery store to admire all of the beautiful pots of flowers they have. And maybe buy one or two… Or, see if anyone you know has a garden and would be willing to donate to your flower fund! I especially like the thought of that because then you have a patch of flowers that represent so many wonderful people that are close to you! My mom has a beautiful variety of flowers that come from many loved ones’ gardens.
  2. A picnic lunch. I absolutely adore picnics. I think they’re a lovely way to feel as though you’re eating out for much smaller of a cost! You may even be able to make a picnic lunch using food you already have in your kitchen. It’s a wonderful thing to do, especially when all you have are bits and pieces. A couple odd carrots, a handful of berries, and a chunk of cheese could be the base to an absolutely lovely picnic. And if the weather isn’t being kind, it’s also fun to have an indoor picnic! It’s the perfect rainy day activity. Rainy day picnics with a board game are such a wonderful way to pass the day!
  3. A scenic bike ride. Owning a bike is so wonderful because it can be put to practical use, when you have somewhere you need to be, or a leisurely purpose, when one has nowhere they have to be, but they just want to be out and about. You can look and see what sort of trails your town has, and take advantage of them. Some towns may not have such trails, but you could still bike all the same! You could maybe even sneak in an errand or two, especially if you have a nice little basket attached to your bike. Maybe a quick trip to the farmer’s market or to return some books to the library.
  4. An air-conditioned read. Speaking of libraries… I think that libraries, of course, are wonderful year-round, but there’s something about summertime library visits that are all the more magical. Maybe it causes me to reminisce of my summer breaks as a child, or maybe it’s because the air-conditioning in the library is such a wonderful refuge from the heat outside. Either way, this is one of my favorite activities to do in the summer. And once you have gotten your fill, you can continue your read under a nice and shady tree. How lovely!
  5. Wandering the Farmer’s Market. And speaking of farmer’s markets… I love a good farmer’s market. It’s so heartwarming to see so many hardworking individuals with so many wonderful things to sell. Maybe switch out getting your green beans from Meijer one weekend to buy a package of them from your local farmers. Or skip baking a loaf of banana bread to buy one from a local baker. I love making my own food, but I also love supporting local people as well. Bigger companies won’t care if you do or don’t buy one single loaf of bread, but for small businesses and local farmers, it will mean much, much more. I think it goes without saying that you shouldn’t spend yourself broke at farmer’s markets, but I definitely would suggest going and supporting your neighbors!

Thank you so much for reading, my lovely friends. I hope that your day has been wonderful so far, and that you’re able to take a minute or two today for yourself. A small thing or two that makes you happy!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Crafting · Eco-friendly

Sewing Stories: Reusable “Cotton” Pads.

Hello, friends! I hope that you are having a wonderful Monday so far! I had a lovely weekend, which was, of course, too short. A wonderful, simple, little weekend. Going to lunch with my friend Tenley at Ponder, wandering around an estate sale, and SEWING!

I’ve seen so many different DIY’s for making these little “cotton” pads, but I thought I’d share my experience. In everything I do, I’m quite utilitarian. Food? Tasty, but not pretty. Home decor: Useful first, cuteness last. (I know, shocking!) And sewing… As long as the stitches keep things together, I’m fine. Pretty stitching is not my top priority.

I find these pads to be pretty darn cute, but that’s mostly likely because I find everything small to be adorable. I’m sure that someone who is better at sewing could make these even cuter, but I think that all in all, they turned out pretty well! They did what they were supposed to do — remove makeup!

Materials Needed:

  • I used terry cloth. If you have any old towels that are getting a little dingy, you could use those as well.
  • circle stencil. This can be all sorts of things, get creative! I used a small glass, but you could choose so many different things. A cookie cutter, an old jar, or even the bottom of a shampoo bottle! Whatever you choose, make sure that it’s just a bit bigger than your desired size, because you’ll lose a little material from cutting and sewing.
  • Some paper, for said stenciling. I recommend reusing some recycled paper for this step! I used the paper that came attached to the fabric.
  • Pins, for two different steps. Very important!
  • Sewing needle, or a sewing machine. (I sewed this by hand. A sewing machine is on the top of my want list, though…)
  • Thread. I used a thread that was close to the color of my cloth, but it could also be cute if you chose a contrasting color!

Okay, friends! Here we go!

Step One. I used my stencil to make a circle on the piece of paper. I suppose some people may be able to free-hand this, but I wasn’t taking any chances! Once you’ve traced it, cut it out!

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Step Two. After you cut out the stencil, pin it to the fabric. I also pinned the fabric to itself so that it wouldn’t shift at all, as shown in the below picture.

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Step Three. I cut out the circles two at a time. You could do more or less, depending on how thick your fabric is.

Step Four. Depending on how thick you want these to be, you can do varying layers of fabric. I chose to do three.

Step Five. I sewed all three of the pieces together! There are so many ways that you could go about this, but I just sewed all the way around the little circle, nothing fancy. If you want to speed up the process, you could definitely use a sewing machine.

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Step Six. Remove any loose strands and snip any excess fabric.

Step Seven. Remove your makeup! Yay!

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Thank you so much for reading, my friends! I had such a fun time with these. They were SUPER easy to do. And they worked like a charm, too!

Happy crafting!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae