Crystal Madrilejos

Design & Creative


I mentioned that I’m a bit of a crazy when it comes to gifts, I prefer to make them if I am able. This past Christmas was no exception. I made this linen tunic for my niece Layla , who will be turning five in a few months. I’ve really been into linen lately and wanted to give this style of shirt/dress/tunic a try in hopes to eventually make more for Ellis and, one day, myself.

I haven’t made too many wearables other than crochet or knit things. Sewing isn’t my specialty. I’ve never taken a sewing class and a lot of times I’m just winging it as I go and always present it with the caveat of: don’t look too closely. I know the basics and I can follow instructions, that’s about my level of expertise in the matter. I also don’t sew with knits if I can avoid it. Not for lack of desire, but the whole stretchiness thing throws me for a loop. But I’m happy with how these turned out. The embroidery was also a new adventure for me too. I’ve embroidered before, but not on clothing and nothing so complicated, but all-in-all, it was a success. (more…)

If you have lots of little humans in your life, legwarmers are great gifts that work up quick, and are fun and unique. When I first started knitting and crocheting, like most beginners, I didn’t work much outside the realm of scarves. They are simple and easy, but there are only so many winter scarves a person needs. However, legwarmers are a little out of the ordinary unless you are a dancer. And there are so many different ways styles and patterns you can make, but they still look cool and work well when they are really simple.


Ever since the babies started arriving in our family almost 13 years ago, Andrew and I have been hand-making gifts for the holiday. It’s something we enjoy doing because we like to be able to make things that are really personal and specific to their personality and interest. But also, we like that it’s not something that they can go out and buy themselves. In the coming weeks, I’m going to highlight some projects we’ve made in the past in case you want to give them a try yourself. (more…)

So, as a follow up to my previous post on the DIY “Deo for Your B.O.”, I figured I’d do a little round up of natural beauty products that I’ve used recently.

So, just a couple things about me personally. I normally don’t wear a ton of makeup. I prefer a dewy look to my skin, rather than a matte look. I’m really into moisturizing for fear of getting a wrinkly neck. And I’m almost positive that chapped lips run in my family.

1. Waxelene – This has been my lip balm of choice for a little while now. But I’ve also been known to slather it on like lotion when in a bind. Andrew uses it on his entire body (good thing it comes in a huge jar) because he’s got really bad eczema and uses this when he needs to break out the heavy artillery. It’s a great, natural alternative to Vaseline. My only complaint is that it doesn’t smell super great. It doesn’t smell bad, but it has a distinct smell to it.

2.) RMS “Un” Cover Up & RMS Lip2Cheek – I love how creamy these two products are. They cover without making you look like you have a ton of makeup on.

3.) JASÖN Vitamin E Oil – I’ve used this on my face and body and never had any problems with breakouts. It has a nice scent and doesn’t make you look greasy, like you would imagine slathering oil on your face would do. I also use this to cleanse my face. I rub an excessive amount all over my face like you would with a normal cleanser, but instead of washing it off I wipe off the excess oil with a tissue/soft cloth and all the dirt and stuff comes off with it.

4.) Love & Toast Honey Nectar Body Butter – This is a new acquisition for me and it’s not heavy in rotation. I mainly got it because I needed a moisturizer that I could carry around in my purse because I hate driving to work with dry hands! I had been using the Waxelene in such situations, since I always have a little container of that in my bag, but again, the scent wasn’t ideal. This stuff smells great!

5.) Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil – We started using coconut oil when Andrew read somewhere that it was really good for eczema (which I’m sure works for some people, but didn’t really do much for Andrew’s extreme case) but I really like it as a light moisturizer. This is also what we used in our “Deo for Your B.O.” from our last post. Another thing that it’s great for is baby moisturizer. It’s not super greasy and you can rest assured it safe for their sensitive skin.

6.) Dr. Hauschka Liquid Eyeliner – Like I said, I don’t wear much makeup. But I HAVE to wear liquid eyeliner. It’s the only thing that stays put on my oily, Asian eyes. I swear. That being said, this eyeliner is okay. I find that I still have to do a lot of prepping to get it to stay put. But I’ll deal with that rather than use something that stays on longer, but has bad stuff in it.

7.) Zoya Natural Nail Polish in Avery – I wish wish wish I could have perfectly manicured nails all the time. However, it’s just not possible for me. Too much time and money that I don’t have to spare. Plus, the more I read about nail salons and the chemicals they use and the chemicals in non-clean nail polishes the more I think it’s best to just do it myself. This polish works great and doesn’t seem to last any longer (or shorter) than it’s non-clean counterparts. I’m considering this color and this color too because I’m really into just having neutrals on hand when I’m feeling the urge to get fancy.

8.) John Masters Pomegranate Facial Nourishing Oil – I’m really into using oils on my face. It seemed crazy and scary at first, but then the more I read and thought about it the more it started to make sense. I always thought that I had oily skin. Turns out that I have dry skin! My skin was just overproducing oils to compensate for the fact that it wasn’t properly being moisturized. Now that I use oil on my face, I never get greasy/shiny.

9.) Nubian Heritage Raw Shea Butter Soap – This is also a new acquisition for me. I’ve tried a few Nubian Heritage products and have been pleasantly surprised every time. When I first bought, I was worried that maybe it was too manly a scent, but I’ve found that it’s really subtle and I don’t smell like a man at all (or at least no one has said I do!)

10.) Nubian Heritage Olive & Green Tea Lotion – Okay, so I’ve been saying how much I love oils and such. But sometimes, I just want to put some fancy smelling lotion on my elbows. So, sue me! One thing about this lotion is that it is VERY VERY thick. And sort of hard to get out of the bottle. It’s more like a cream and probably should be packaged in a tub rather than a bottle. There is no way you are getting every last drop out. You’ll have to cut that sucker open. Which I plan to do.

11.) Alima Pure Satin Matte Mineral Foundation – I used Bare Minerals forever but then for some reason (maybe the pregnancy?) it started to dry out my skin. Plus, I could never find the perfect shade for my skin tone. Alima Pure has A MILLION shades and you can order samples to try before committing to one shade. I think I ordered like 10 of them or something crazy. I prefer to mix it with my face oil to make it more like a liquid/tinted moisturizer rather than apply it just straight as a powder. I like the coverage better and plus I can kill two birds with one stone.

12.)  John Masters Lavender Rosemary Shampoo for Normal Hair – Natural shampoos were one of my first forays into “clean” products. I remember my college roommate telling me how chemicals were absorbed through our scalps and that freaked me out. Scary facts aside, one of the best things about switching to all natural shampoos has been the fact that my hair hardly ever gets greasy. I used to have to wash my hair every single day or risk getting a bad case of the greasies. But now I can go 3 or 4 days without washing my hair! Yes, I go 3 to 4 days without washing my hair.

Only after I did that fancy photo collage above, did I realize that I forgot a few others so I’ll post about those another day. Plus, this post is way too long and I’m positive no one is reading at this point. Bonus points if you made it this far.

Without sounding too preachy, I know some of these things are pricey. Hell, all of them are pricey if you are used to buying drugstore cosmetics these days. But I think it’s worth the investment to live healthier even if it means just switching out one of your products for a clean one. Less chemicals is always better. Anyone else have products they recommend?


I’m not sure if this is vintage or not. I got it at an antique store, but it could easily pass for something a kindergartener might make for Mother’s Day. Either way, I like it a lot. I couldn’t get a good picture of me wearing it that didn’t look weirdly staged.

I just really love the colors and the size and shape of the beads. It’s pretty chunky and awkward, but charming nonetheless.

I’m starting to realize that a pretty good gauge of my tastes is whether or not something looks like it could be candy. That’s what I think of when I see this necklace. Little candy cubes. With bubble gum in the center.


They weren’t kidding with the whole “April Showers” bit, were they? Yesterday was quite horrible. Walking to my car after work, I was almost that person with the inside-out umbrella. I definitely was that person who wore the wrong shoes and had silt and all matter of disgusting things washing over the sides of my ballet flats. So much so that I looked like I had hobo feet by the time I got in my car. Anyway!

Thanks to our good friend Rachel, this boy can now weather all types of… weather! Isn’t this raincoat awesome? It is a hand-me-down from our friend Rachel’s little boy (who is now getting to be a big boy) and was sent to us when Q was a wee one.  I remember thinking “it’ll be years before he fits in this!” What the heck? When did our baby boy become a little boy with little boy things like raincoats and jeans? Sheesh.


This hoodie was another great find from the Kids Garage Sale I posted about the other week. Elbow patches? Hell yes.

Q is modeling his new look in front of our Tetris screen door.


As promised, I whipped up this tutorial for the ponchos I posted about a couple weeks ago. This is my first tutorial, so bear with me. Writing tutorials is hard work. Especially when I could only work on it for mere minutes at a time. I’m hoping that I don’t confuse anyone with my directions.

Granny Square Poncho Tutorial
Materials: Yarn, Crochet hook, embroidery needle and safety pins
Step 1: Crochet four Granny Squares of equal size. If you aren’t familiar with how a Granny Square is made, read Purl Bee’s tutorial on the Classic Granny Square Pattern.

The size of the poncho is going to depend on the size Granny Square you make. The diagonal measurement of the square equals the length of the poncho from neck opening to the bottom of the poncho point, like so:

Step 2: When you’ve completed your squares (i’m sure they look lovely), arrange the squares according to this diagram and attach edges together using safety pins.

Step 3: Using an embroidery needle and yarn, begin sewing together sides. Remove safety pins as you go.

(Optional) Step 4: To create a smaller neck opening or to build up a little bit of a cowl neckline: Single crochet around the neck opening to the desired height. Done!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment of email me directly. I’m not sure such a simple project warranted such a lengthy explanation, but oh well! You’re welcome! :)

I also spent some minutes putting together a printable version of this tutorial, you know, just in case you’re like me and have binders full of project ideas that I never get around to doing. (Though, I really hope you try this one and tell me how it goes. Oh! And send pictures of your creations too!)

Download the Granny Square Poncho Tutorial here.

– c.

P.S. Just one last thing before I let you get crafting, this pattern is for personal use only. Please don’t sell this pattern or any project made from this pattern. Feel free to share this and make as many as you please for everyone you know, BUT please please don’t sell them.  Thank you!

I think we paid $1 for this cuteness. (The jacket, not the boy.)

Last weekend we attended the bi-annual Kids Garage Sale at our local rec center. Twice a year you can browse, garage-sale style, an ungodly amount of baby and kid stuff all under one roof. Most of the stuff is a really great deal, especially if you hit it up towards the end. People are practically giving the stuff away just to get it out of their house! Though I have to admit, it’s a bit overwhelming. If you go with a purpose, it’s a lot easier to manage. This was our second time going and I think we made out pretty well. We got a few great outfits for Q and I think we spent less than $10 total. How awesome is this?

There are other items, but I haven’t had a chance to photograph them. But I will at some point. The cuteness is extreme around here.


Remember this sweater I made when I was pregnant? Quil wore it on his first outing to his Lolo and Lola’s for his Cousin Layla’s 1st birthday party.

He was so tiny!