DIY Natural Lip Balm (Simple Recipe!)

DIY Natural Lip Balm (Simple Recipe!)

I’m really enjoying concocting my own homemade products and working towards a more low impact/high quality lifestyle.

It just feels right. It contains clean, honest-to-earth ingredients. And it works!

In case you’re new here, I made my own deodorant a little while ago but what I didn’t share was that I also made my own lip balm. It’s so so so easy. So in case you’re feeling crafty and want to give it a go, here’s what you need to know!

Clean out and reuse old lip balm containers

I’ve had this EOS lip balm since right after college which was (omg) 7 years ago! It was a spare one I carried around in my various bags and miraculously didn’t lose. It started to get stale after so long and I didn’t have the heart to throw it away.

Then I came across this idea to make my own lip balm, and found a whole plethora of ways to reuse the EOS container. Here’s how to empty and clean out your EOS container to be reused.

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

1. Open EOS lip balm. Notice the removable cartridge holding the balm.

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

2. Remove the balm cartridge using a sharp utensil (I used a butter knife)

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

3. It might take a bit of prying, but will come out with a bit of leverage

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

4. Scrape out the old balm from the top and bottom of the cartridge

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

5. Then clean it all off under warm soapy water

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

6. Let dry. And you’re ready to reuse!

DIY Lip Balm & What You’ll Need


1 tsp Cold pressed extra virgin Coconut oil
1 tsp Shea butter
1 tsp Beeswax
5 drops of preferred essential oil (optional – I used lavender for its soothing effect)
½ tsp Cinnamon (optional – add to naturally exfoliate your lips!)

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

Directions for Making the DIY Lip Balm

Mix all the ingredients in a double broiler (the exact same way I made the deodorant here).

While it’s still warm, pour into your lip balm container!

Place the cap back on upside down and let cool at room temperature.

Or you can put it in the fridge for a few minutes.

Once it’s dry – voila!

That it! That’s how easy it is!

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle

I poured the ingredients into both the EOS lip balm container and a regular lip balm container – both of which I cleaned and disinfected before reusing.

DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle
DIY natural lip balm | Nerelle
DIY natural lip balm | Sustainable living | Nerelle

So I hope you clean up those old cute lip balm containers, play around with these natural ingredients and and DIY your own sustainable lip balm!

xo, Nerelle

DIY easy sew wrap top using a pattern

DIY easy sew wrap top using a pattern

Yay – I’m so so so stoked on the newest addition to my slow fashion wardrobe, this wrap crop top! It can be worn both in the front and the back, and I love that it has clean french seams.

For this project, I followed a pattern for the first time ever. And thank goodness, because it was so easy! It’s a PDF pattern called the Morning Glory wrap top. You can download it as a freebie thanks to Sarah Kirsten – visit her site here. I also watched this YouTube video (which was how I found the pattern) by Hemmed by Em that was super helpful in visualizing how the process of following the pattern.

What you’ll need

I won’t go over how to make it since you can easily find out how by following the pattern on Sarah Kirsten’s website, but here’s how my cuts turned out, and after about an hour of sewing, the finished product!

Here’s how it turned out!

I love it both in the front and back! I wore it all day today, and I’m excited to wear it out for whatever, grocery shopping or hanging out with friends… at a safe social distance, of course. I feel like I could even wear it to work… or is that too spicy? Haha. It turned out pretty much exactly the way I wanted it to, and I’m so excited to make more with the other fabrics I got!

Please don’t mind the hair tangled in my necklace chain haha, I’ve been shedding like an old dog!

stay home, drink water, and make your own clothes 🐚

How I started with sewing + a fabric haul

How I started with sewing + a fabric haul

I’ve always loved making clothes

Ever since I was a very little girl, my sister and I would drape blankets and sheets into gowns and have mini fashion shows in our shared room, with a table as a catwalk and everything. I taught myself how to sew and crochet in high school, and asked my parents to buy me a sewing machine. They gifted me with my first Brother sewing machine, bought at Costuless at the time. I’m so grateful that my parents were always supportive of my creative pursuits, whether it was my sticker collection, diy scrapbooking, digital collaging, photography, crocheting, and sewing. Now that I think about it, all my hobbies back then are still what make me happy and fuel my passion for creative work. I owe my inspiration to my Nona (my grandma on my dad’s side) though. She was a very crafty woman, and I still strive to be like her.

Anyway, I’m still an amateur sewist. I can still barely sew straight lines, especially on thin twice-folded edges. I’m still learning, but as you may know, I love learning! I’ve mostly done easy sewing work, like pillowcases, curtains, and tote bags. I’ve made a couple items of clothing over the years, but I’ve always kept it super simple, and I avoid buttons and zippers at all costs… The hard part is putting a pattern together for clothing. I’m slowly getting the hang of conceptualizing and piecing together pieces.

I also loooove fabric and textiles. My dad used to have a swatch book of furniture textiles, and when I was a kid I loved pulling it out and touching everything, observing the fabric weights, textures, and knits. These days, I enjoy taking my time and touching all the different fabrics at the stores. We have limited options, but the selection has definitely gotten way better since I was in high school. I always gravitate towards sustainable, naturally sourced fabrics such as cotton, rayon, mull, and linen. We only have certain types of cotton and rayon, but I’ll take what I can get. The soft linen on island is usually a polyester mix, so I avoid those.

Here’s my most recent fabric haul from the Manu’a Store in Tafuna. So excited to be picking up sewing again, slow and steady. Hoping to make more of my own clothing this year, as it’s been my goal to have a fully sustainable versatile and repeat-worthy wardrobe.

My Haul

I personally love the Manu’a Store fabric aisles! These are the fabrics I picked out:

  • Plain white 100% cotton – 3 yards at $1.25/yd — finally, some decent white cotton on island!! Contemplating stocking up on more of this fabric. (PS – I made this really cute wrap top with this fabric, and it’s my favorite piece to date!)
  • Elastic gold crepe – 4 yards at $1.99/yd — This marigold color has been a recent fave, and I’m obsessed with it! It’s actually one of my main colors for my wedding, along with other favorite colors, green and blue. The crepe isn’t really elastic even though it says it is, but I love how thin this crepe is and the value for the fabric is amazing so I bought the last 4 yards. Thinking about making a dress that I could wear at my wedding party… we’ll see!
  • Yellow spun rayon – 2 yards at $2.99/yd — I love how soft and flowy rayon is, and this color is a winner. I can’t wait to make something flowy with this.
  • Gray/black cotton with Polynesian tribal print – 2 yards at $3.99/yd — already have about 2.5 yards of this fabric at home that I used to make seat covers, but needed more to make a matching cover for our papasan chair.

I also bought:

  • Assorted plastic needles – $1.50 — got this because I’m going to try using them as loop turners, because I’m over using safety pins to thread a loop through. Hopefully this works.
  • Elastic – 10 yards at $0.40/yd — I avoid buttons and zippers, so I use elastic a lot haha. I also need it to make the seat cover for the papasan chair.
BTS shell painting

BTS shell painting

Behind the scenes ‘before’ photos of a very large painting in progress earlier this afternoon. Ian sat down to help me with the blue background to make the shell really pop. We finished the painting tonight, so I’ll post the completed ‘after’ photos tomorrow!

Love these pics because it really looks like Ian did the whole painting, haha! He took a couple photos of me painting too but I was in my underwear and it’s on his phone lololol

DIY Upcycled Tahiti-Inspired 2-Piece Outfit

DIY Upcycled Tahiti-Inspired 2-Piece Outfit

My best friend was doing a closet clean out, and said I could keep whatever I wanted.

This bright red puletasi skirt, a hand-me-down from her mom, stuck out among the pile, and the color and print reminded me vividly of French Polynesia.

During that amazing trip last year, I actually really wanted to get a lavalava with pretty much this exact color/tropical print, but I couldn’t find it anywhere except on the beautiful dancers at the Heiva i Tahiti.

So I was stoked to get this skirt, and continue its life cycle in slow fashion.

It took me a while to figure out what I should do with it, but I loved the simplicity of what the skirt was before and decided to keep the structure of the skirt, only shortening it to use the rest of the fabric as a stretchy tube top.

It was a quick and easy upcycle project, but I loved the end result!

Upcycling scrap fabric for closet portière

Upcycling scrap fabric for closet portière

Now that our home office is set up, I wanted to hide all the crap that we moved into our closet. I figured the easiest thing to do was to sew a curtain, but didn’t want to buy new fabric, so I gathered up some scrap fabric from old projects and set out to work.

How I made it

The first step was to choose fabric with colors that sort of matched. For me, most of my projects involve a mix of blue, green, and yellow, so I had lots to choose from.

I measured the width of the closet and multiplied it by 1.5 to give the portière a gathering effect that makes it easier to cover the entire space, and measured the height of the closet plus a few inches for the hanging loop.

Then on the fabric, I cut any funny edges so that each scrap was rectangular, and laid out the scraps on the floor to roughly fit the width of my measurement and added more scrap fabric pieces in areas where the mismatched fabrics didn’t align.

Took each scrap bit by bit and sewed them right sides together with any zig zag stitch–I used the shell tuck stitch–on your sewing machine. It took a little while to get all the pieces sewn up, but once that’s done, you’re almost there! The scrap fabric ‘quilt’ should roughly fit the dimensions of the closet frame.

I left my edges raw, but if you want to have clean edges, fold the edges twice with a half inch seam and sew along the entire curtain.

Next, I folded the top of the nearly completed portière twice and sewed a two inch seam to allow space for the string that would be looped through to hang.

My fiancé screwed two nails inside the closet on either side of the frame, then we looped our string and tied it up real tight.

And voilà–the portière is complete!

It definitely gives me country homemaker vibes, but the color and prints of the fabrics are bold, and overall, does the job of hiding our crap in the closet!

Glad to get finally make use of some scraps I’ve been hoarding for far too long. I hope you enjoyed this badly written tutorial hahah, and have a wonderful day or night, wherever in the world you are!

Made Box Cushion Covers

Made Box Cushion Covers

Ian had previously mentioned that our seat covers for the living room chair was getting old and had some water stains we tried washing out but wouldn’t budge. So last weekend, I picked up a few yards of this gray cotton patterned fabric from Manu’a store, and sewed these box cushion covers to update one of our second-hand chairs in the living room (both are secondhand from neighbors).

Because we’ve been using our studio office space primarily as our WFH stations, I set up Sista (my sewing machine) on the kitchen/living room table, and used the floor as my cutting space.

I liked both photos with exposure of inside and outside views. It was a beautiful day, but it was so humid and hot. At a later point, I had to ask Ian to put up a makeshift curtain to keep me shaded.

I was actually in a grumpy mood (probably because it was so hot and I was sweating bullets) when I made these so the covers are sewn quite a bit sloppy and a little too large for the actual cushions, but more importantly it’s functional and still looks nicer than the old covers.

Here’s the completed sewn box cushion covers! I like the color and the pattern a lot, it fits our tiny bright living room space. I have leftover fabric, so will probably make a fitted cover for the circle papasan chair too.

DIY Beeswax Wraps ft. Alafaga

DIY Beeswax Wraps ft. Alafaga

In 2017 I started my journey with zero waste, making small changes to adapt a more natural lifestyle. One of my big goals in 2018 was to reduce my plastic usage drastically, and now in 2019 I’m committed to making steady strides in sustainable living. It’s been a fun learning experience.

Enter: Beeswax fabric wraps.

What are beeswax wraps? They’re a reusable alternative to plastic cling wrap that’s super easy to make! They are great as lids for jars, bowls, and containers, and can be used to wrap sandwiches and snacks.

I hung out with one of my bestest friends Gabby Faaiuaso (@Alafaga) and it was her idea to blog about our creative afternoon adventure, so I hope you enjoy this post and get inspired to make your own beeswax wraps!

What You’ll Need:




  1. Bees wax
  2. Cotton fabric
  3. Scissors
  4. Grater
  5. Baking sheet
  6. Parchment paper
  7. Tongs (optional)
  8. Paintbrush (optional)



1 / Choose a medium weight pre-washed cotton fabric and cut into desired size and shape. We decided on larger square pieces that were 12 inches x 12 inches, so that it could be used to cover most bowls easily. For a clean cut with no frays, you can use pinking shears (zig zag scissors) but since we didn’t have any, we just used regular scissors.


2 / On a baking sheet, lay parchment paper over the entire tray and place your cut fabric on top. It’s important to use parchment paper (do not confuse with wax paper as it cannot be used in the oven) so you can safely continue using your baking sheet for other obvious reasons like baking cookies.


3 / Then use a grater to shred your block of beeswax down into smaller bits and scatter an even layer on top of your fabric. This will require some elbow grease so be careful and go slow. Make sure that you have enough wax to cover the entire fabric, but not too much that it will melt into a thick glob. We found that a handful of shredded beeswax was enough to evenly cover the fabric.


4 / Next, preheat your oven to 250°F, then place baking sheet in and set timer for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on your project. Once all the beeswax shreds have melted, check to see if the fabric is evenly covered in beeswax. You can use a clean paintbrush to spread the melted beeswax around.


5 / Pull your baking sheet out of the oven and immediately remove the fabric from the parchment paper using tongs. Be careful as the wax will be very hot. Hold it in the air to let it cool for about 30 seconds before touching. You’ll notice the fabric become stiff once it’s dried.

Uma lava  – That’s it! You’ve made your own reusable beeswax wraps!

Mold your beeswax wraps around containers, bowls and jars to keep your food fresh in the fridge. Beeswax wraps are great as gifts too so grab a friend, choose fun fabrics, and spend an afternoon making a batch to share!
To care for your beeswax wraps, wash with cold water and gentle soap, then air dry.
To store your beeswax wrap, fold and keep in a cool dry place.

My first real Christmas tree DIY

My first real Christmas tree DIY

This post’s a little late but I wanted to share because I got my first real Christmas tree!
American Samoa is a tropical little island that doesn’t have a lot of pine trees, and certainly not any of your typical Christmas-tree looking ones. So every year, the local Rotary Club and Tool Shop collaborate to bring in a shipping container filled with nothing but Christmas trees. It’s not a lot a lot, but plenty enough for those of us on island who are pining for that holiday pine scent.
Growing up, my parents always had an artificial tree which was at the time way more economical and of course cost effective. Now, living in a small apartment with my boyfriend, we don’t have a lot of space to store a fake tree in the off-season. You might remember my little DIY Christmas tree last year – check it out here.
This year, since we’ve cut down on more of our material possessions and because Ian’s parents were visiting us for the holidays (and will meet my parents for the first time!!), I decided it would be fun and memorable to get a real Christmas tree!
We set the six foot noble fir in our living room and wrapped an old tapestry around the base to make it look cozy. I didn’t have a plan on how to decorate it but I knew I wanted it to be a little different and I wanted to use what I had.
I spent several hours one arvo cutting pieces of mis-matched fabric scraps I had leftover from other projects and sewed together a long string of colorful bunting to use as a garland for the tree. Ian and I put on some holiday music and hung up the upcycled bunting and string lights we had used for years. Our only actual ornament was a little stuffed knit snowman that Ian received in a care package his parents sent for his first Christmas in American Samoa almost five years ago. Other than that one which we’ve kept over the years, I don’t want to collect ornaments. So instead, I picked out my favorite instax film photos taken of friends and family over the last seven years and hung it up with colorful binder clips. I also made a few (like, literally three) other ornaments from air dry clay, and picked up a random few things around the house like rattan coasters and strung it up too.
It’s such a simple but meaningful Christmas tree to me!

Easy DIY Natural Wood Butter

Easy DIY Natural Wood Butter

I’ve never put much thought or care into how I’m supposed to clean and condition my wood cutting boards, bowls or utensils… but this super easy homemade wood butter is everything I need to get shiny buttery wood! Lollllllll



Natural beeswax
Cold pressed coconut oil


Mix 1 part beeswax with 3 parts coconut oil in a bowl. Heat in microwave for ~30 seconds until it’s all melted. Squeeze the juice of a lemon in the bowl and stir. Pour into a wide glass jar. Let it cool for a few hours, and voila! Apply a thin layer to condition your wood to give it a brand new sheen so it lasts longer and prevents mold. Plus it’s totally food safe!

DIY Natural Wood Butter

DIY Natural Wood Butter

Photo Journal: I made a duvet cover!

Photo Journal: I made a duvet cover!

Last weekend, I mustered up all my creative energy and patience and got to work behind my sewing machine to make my own DIY duvet cover. Now if you’re reading this and know where I live, you’re probably wondering to yourself – why the heck would she even have a duvet? Isn’t it disgusting humid in American Samoa most of the year? Welp, yes. BUT if there’s one thing I love more than falling asleep to the sound of this tropical rain, it’s getting all snuggled up under a down feather duvet while it’s absolutely pouring outside. Can you say #hygge? Look it up. Also, I found out the a/c in my room works and it’s changed my life.

SO the past few years I’ve had a naked white duvet. And after many breakfasts in bed, dinner over movie nights, and just general klutziness and spillage, it was time to literally put a sheet over it. I wanted to order a cute minimalistic duvet cover but figured I should change it up, go for a full color/print fabric, and make my own. Ian and I hit Forsgren’s fabric aisle and both agreed on this forest green island-y print cotton fabric.

All in all, I spent a little less than $50 on fabric, and probably something like 6 hours on measuring/cutting/sewing (give or take a couple of hours for in-between breaks haha) since we have a massive cal king-size bed. It was quite an undertaking for me since it’s just such a huge piece, but it was fun and I felt so proud of myself for doing beautiful french seams. Also major props to Ian for keeping me entertained when I needed a break, and I think he cleaned the whole house and like, fixed the car or something, while I did just this!

Anywayyyy- here are photos of me and Office Scruffles taking up the task. Please excuse my sewing outfit and shoes! Comfort for comforters… I’m also writing this at 1am so please bare with me and my sass. Photos by Mr. Ian-credible.

DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |
DIY Duvet Cover in island print fabric |

DIY: Cloth Bento Bag

DIY: Cloth Bento Bag

Please welcome the newest addition to my zero waste kit – this 100% cotton cloth bento bag!

I love the florals, the elephants, the colors and the paisley pattern. And it’s so so soft. I’ve been loving my lime green cloth bento bag that I made several months ago as a draft but the seams are messy. I’ll continue to use it as a backup bento bag and for grocery shopping. This new bento bag is extra special to me because the fabric is from an upcycled circle skirt that I bought from a market in India back in 2012. I’ve always loved the soft cotton material and the earthy tones so I kept it over the years even though I almost never wore it.

Cloth bento bags are useful for carrying leftovers in containers, produce from grocery stores (instead of plastic), and I’ve even used it for pizza takeaway (the only time I ever had to wash it). They’re also great as reusable gift wrappers.


Measure 10 inches x 30 inches of fabric and cut with some space for seam allowance. Width to height


From bottom left corner of your rectangle, fold  up so it’s aligned with the top of the fabric, making a triangle.


From top right corner of rectangle, fold down so it’s aligned with the bottom of fabric, making another triangle.


Now from bottom right edge, fold up diagonally so that your folded fabric looks like the photo above.


Sew up where the edges meet on the front and back so you have this open box shape. Swipe right to see the finished project above.

And voila – you’re done!

To use, simply put your tupperware/ produce/ gift inside and tie a knot. It may not look like much but the knot will hold and you can easily carry it around in your lunch bag or tote.

Thanks to everyone who wrote me about my sustainable living posts!

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