My Makeup Brush Collection and Care!

Makeup Brush Collection and Care - JanessaMann.Com

A short while ago I posted my vanity tour, and promised that I would be featuring my brushes and brush care soon. I have quite a few brushes in comparison with many women, but I don’t have any doubles. That would probably be useful!

Real Techniques Core Collection Set

I ordered the Real Techniques core collection on Amazon a few years ago.

Contour Brush – I alternate using this for my matte or shimmery bronzers
Buffing brush – what I use for my foundation brush
Pointed foundation brush – my under-eye concealer
Detailer brush – If I’m putting eye shadow under my eyes

Sephora brushes

Sephora #55 Pro Airbrush – for blush, soooo soft
#49 Pro Angled Brush – Contour
#73 Classic Crease Brush  – definitely can tell it’s worse quality than the pros, so someday I’ll invest in a pro one.

The Body Shop

Blusher Brush – Do not buy this for a blush brush. I now use it for my translucent powder.
Slant – Perfect for eye shadow liner

Sonia Kashuk, Loose Button & Quo

The only brush I use from these four is the Quo shadow brush, which gets the job done, but I definitely need another one, or to clean my brushes more frequently.

Wash with baby shampoo and warm water

Don’t bother buying expensive brush cleaners- baby shampoo works really well, and it has to be super gentle. I haven’t had any fiber loss over the 2+ years I’ve had most of these brushes, and it’s very cheap. I use Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo- the same $5 bottle I bought two years ago is still going strong!

Don’t go too hot on the water or it can damage the fibers. Keep on lathering and rinsing until the brushes are back to their original colour.

Letting it dry

I always set my brushes on a towel on the windowsill to dry over night. If you can, wash them once a week to prevent buildup of product and acne, but I usually go for twice a month.

DIY Wedding Flowers -

Wedding Wednesday:How to DIY Your Wedding Flowers

DIY Wedding Flowers

If you’ve read any of my other wedding posts,(see here) you know that since Nic was in grad school and I was saving up to pay off my debts/get ready for grad school, we had to cut costs wherever we could. One was was to do our own flowers. This is not for the faint of heart. If you’ve never arranged flowers before, you probably should skip this unless you know someone who has. I was fortunate that Moira, the mother of one of my bridesmaids, had done the flowers for another wedding Ally had been in, so she was able to direct us on how to make the centrepieces, bouquets, boutonnieres, and aisle pieces. In all, we spent about $300 on the flowers, containers, and supplies–way cheaper than typical wedding flowers!

View More:
My bouquet

If you think you want to go this route, there are a few steps:

  1. Start a physical or Pinterest board of what floral styles you like
    1. (See mine, here)
  2. Make sure you have friends and family who are willing and able to help with the flowers- we worked on them for 5 or 6 hours on the Friday before, and the day-of people had to make sure there were no dead blooms.
  3. Research places to buy flowers in bulk
    1. Some cities have flower markets, but I wasn’t willing to risk not getting flowers I loved
    2. We went with, who sells bulk orders of flowers online, and then we picked them up at their dealer in Ottawa
    3. Stores like Costco also sell them
  4. Once you know what styles you like, check to make sure you can get your preffered flowers in your wedding season.
    1. My favourite flowers are peonies, so I had this ridiculous dream of having white peonies at the wedding. I knew it’d be tricky for a June 20 wedding, but I held out hope. Moira surprised me with 3 beautiful blooms for my bouquet, and it was one of the best gifts I could have received! However, I didn’t go and order beautiful flowers like anemones, which would have fit the theme, but are in season in October, and therefore much more expensive.
    2. Hope but don’t obsess!
    3. Be willing to give up something you want for something else interesting: I wanted stocks, but BunchesDirect was pricing them too high, so I went with Irish Bells instead, and they ended up being really cool and unique.
DIY Wedding Flowers -
Bridal bouquets – it was a lot of fun for each of us to make them unique. Each bouquet worked together because of the colour theme (white and green) but I had each woman pick wahtever they wanted.

List out what elements you need, then edit it to make sure it fits your budget:

  • Bridal bouquet
  • Bridesmaids bouquets
  • Boutonnieres
  • Corsages
  • Headpieces
  • Centrepieces
  • Altar bouquets
  • Aisle runners
  • Wreaths
  • Garlands
DIY Wedding Flowers -
Nic’s boutonniere – one of my bridesmaids saw what I was putting in my bouquet, and made Nic’s have some of my elements!


  • Flowers
  • Floral wire
  • Floral tape
  • Scissors and wire cutters
  • Vases, bowls, whatever else to put the arrangements in
  • Tubs to put the flowers in
    • When we first got the flowers, they were in boxes and very flat. We let them soak in the water for a while, and they opened up
  • Fridge to keep them fresh in

How to have a floral party:

  • Willing participants
  • Supplies
  • Pictures of your ideas
  • Good instructions on floral care and assembly
  • Lots of time
  • Don’t rush it, have fun!

Two final tips: don’t make your centrepieces super tall, people want to have conversations. Also, stay away from super smelly flowers, or some people might get terrible allergies and sneeze all through your vows!

Some Resources:

Let me know how it goes!

Our Kitchen Herb Garden

Kitchen Herb Garden

What’s better than fresh herbs for your cooking? Not much. Nic and I picked up some more potting soil, a window planter, and four herbs to plant for our use this summer.


This is an adorable and perfect size for our kitchen window. We had thought about putting it outside in a real window box, but Nic pointed out we wouldn’t use it much then. You have to go around outside the building, unlock the gate to the alley, and then get what you need. We decided to use the windowsill instead, which will be much more convenient, and we get to enjoy the scents more!


We got basil, mint, lavendar, and parsley. This is going to be a great summer! I already used the mint last night for some fresh tea with honey.


Want some gardening resources?

  • You Grow Girl with Gayla Trail – I have her book by that name, and she also has an Instagram which documents her urban organic gardening in Toronto
  • My Pinterest plants board
  • Grow It – helps you determine which plants will do best in your area, and crowd-source answers to your gardening questions
  •  Inhabitat Herb Garden Infographic – lots of info on when in the year to grow, how to propagate, etc.
  • Homegrown Remedies” Anne McIntyre – includes recipes and tips on what to grow together


DIY Lamps

In third year of university, I made this adorable dinosaur lamp. I bought a lighting kit from Home Depot, found some plastic dinosaurs at the thrift store, picked up gold spray paint, a lampshade from the thrift store, and used a scroll saw to create the wooden base. Making a regular lamp is obviously a little easier (but make sure to read the instructions to do the electrical parts!) because there’s less drilling and sawing etc.

The awesome thing about making your own lamp is that you can have whatever base you want: I’ve seen people drill holes into piles of books (aaagh how!?), mason jars, pieces of driftwood… The sky is the limit. Every day that I look at my lamp I feel super proud because I made it.
Side note: Nic’s not super fond of it, though he does think it’s cool that I made it. I told him that once we have kids it’ll be a dinosaur-themed nursery so that I can keep making gold dinosaur DIYs! (My parents even made me gold dinosaur bookends the year after I made this!)

Here are some YouTube tutorials to give you some tips on how to make whatever lamp you want to make! You can also check out my “Lights” board on Pinterest.

 DIY lamp Terrarium – Live Your Style
This one is the most similar to how I put my lamp together. You’ll notice that for the height of my lamp I have some plastic tubing (probably leftover from a plumbing project) that was the correct width for the base of the lightbulb to sit on. This means that you don’t see any of the wires except the ones coming out of the base.

Copper Tripod Lamp – The Sorry Girls
I hope to make this or something similar to it when we get a bigger place, because it’s so art deco! These two girls are so great at their explanations for their DIYs, and super creative.

DIY Concrete Lamp by Rachel Aust
Rachel has an example of when you wouldn’t even be using a lampshade. Her style is super cool and minimal, so that’s always an option.

Marble Easter Egg DIY

Marble Easter Egg DIY -
Do you love Easter and Easter eggs? I do! Keep reading to find a super cool way to decorate your eggs this year!
Marble Easter Egg DIY - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

I spent several days looking at different and cool ways to do Easter eggs. As you can see on my Pinterest board, you can use natural dyes (plants and spices), gold leaf, decoupage, or my favourite but most complicated, Ukrainian Easter eggs. In order to make it a super cheap DIY, I went with this awesome marbled egg design.

What you need:
Real, hardboiled eggs, or fake eggs with smooth surfaces
A container you’re okay to throw out
Room-temperature water (the nail polish will sink if the water is cold)
Nail polish of your choice
A stirring stick
A tray to hold the eggs while they dry
Rubber gloves

Marble Easter Egg DIY - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

Pour several drops of the nail polish into the water. Let it spread out by itself first on the top of the water, and then stir it so that you get a cooler design.

Marble Easter Egg DIY - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

The nailpolish makes a film on the water, so when you dip the eggs in a spot, that’s what you’re getting. You can do one side at a time, then lay the egg down to dry. They dry relatively quickly, and then you can get to the other side.

Keep in mind: sometimes there is a very, very faint layer of nailpolish in the surface which will make the drops not spread out properly. Clear away the film before you go again.

Marble Easter Egg DIY - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

Don’t you just love that bunny cookie jar and bunny bank? You can tell I have a thing for bunnies.

Marble Easter Egg DIY - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

Marble Easter Egg DIY - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

I made this adorable centrepiece to go with it, and I love the white and blue theme.

Easy Spring Wreath DIY From the Dollar Store

Easy Spring Wreath DIY From the Dollar Store -

Every season in our apartment I have loved making a wreath for our door. It’s a little old-fashioned, but it brings a lot more life to the hallway. I went to Dollarama, my favourite super cheap crafting store and picked up a bunch of things for my wreath. Of course, I have a Pinterest board dedicated to wreath ideas.
Check out my previous wreaths: Christmas and early fall (at the bottom)

Easy Spring Wreath DIY From the Dollar Store -

What you need:
Base for the wreath – anything round in the correct size will do. I contemplated using a steering wheel cover from the dollar store, then found this planter which has removable side posts. You can also take a regular wire clothes hanger and bend it into a circle.
Floral wire – or twine to attache all the pieces together. I used twine on my fall wreath because it blended in with the grape vine I was using. I got the super thin, flat stuff that is easy to bend.
Garland – it’s obviously super easy to just wind garlands around your circle, so that makes it a lot faster than individually attaching pieces
Any filler – if you want other greenery or flowers to attach to it, get some too.

Easy Spring Wreath DIY From the Dollar Store -

Step 1
Separate the greenery from the extra stuff that you want.

Easy Spring Wreath DIY From the Dollar Store -

Step 2
Use the wire to attach the greenery to the hoop so the flowers will have something to fix to. If you’re using rope instead, tie little loops with double knots around the hoop. With the wire method, you can wind it around to hold it especially tight.

Easy Spring Wreath DIY From the Dollar Store -

Step 3
Finish attaching all the greenery and make sure you like it’s placement before you add the garlands.

Easy Spring Wreath DIY From the Dollar Store -

Step 4
Wind the garlands around the wreath. I went pretty slowly and wound fairly tightly so that the flowers would stay front-facing when you’re done. For my wreath I used two garlands which were both over a meter long.

Easy Spring Wreath DIY From the Dollar Store -

Easy Spring Wreath DIY From the Dollar Store -

Step 5
When the wreath is hanging up, adjust it so that the greenery and flowers are showing the way you want them to.

What do you think? Do you love wreaths like I do? Have you made one for Easter yet?

DIY Valentine’s Day Cards

DIY Valentine's Day Cards - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca
One of my favourite things to do is to make my own cards. Whenever I run out of my packages of blank cards and envelopes from Michael’s, and have to give someone a card, I feel disappointed. How can I find the exact words I want to say in a store-bought card? It’s impossible. 
I’m just way better of an artist and writer. 
DIY Valentine's Day Cards - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca
If you are in a pinch, you can always buy the packages that every store seems to sell, but there are always a bunch of duds in there. What you can do, is take a picture of it, or buy it and scan it, and recreate whichever card you liked most. 
In all seriousness, receiving a handmade card is a lot more heartfelt- even if you’re terrible at drawing, and you just scribbled a heart on a piece of scrap paper and folded it in half, you cared enough to do so. 
DIY Valentine's Day Cards - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca

There are many different routes you can go with Valentines, and my favourite is the funny way. Of course, I don’t mind the cheesy ones, but it’s way more fun to be sassy and unexpected, so most of the ideas posted above are humorous (hah, get it? with the skeleton?).

Looking for inspiration? Check out my Valentine’s Day Pinterest board here, and you’ll find some of the sources. Another great source for inspiration (other than wandering the aisles of card stores) is Etsy.

Once you have ideas that you like, practice them- or just free-hand it. I tried doing a cat for one of my friends, but it was her cat, so it actually had to look right. And she has a Persian, which I’d never drawn before. I’m still working on that one.

Michael’s has lots of different options for packages of envelopes and blank cards (sizes, colours etc.) so check them out. If you’re not mailing the card, you can always just use construction paper, or any other paper you find to draw on.

DIY Valentine's Day Cards - TheCraftyMann.Blogspot.Ca
The cards I drew above are:
-Dinosaurs “I’m horny.” “You always are.”
-Dat Ass Tho
-You are the ketchup to my fries!
I drew the cards, wrote my messages, and popped them in the mail for my 3 bridesmaids because we don’t live in the same city, and they’re my best friends.