Sunday, January 18

Shampoo and Conditioner

My family teases me that I'm part Hippie.  I have to say, I'm convinced that there are some great things attached to the Hippie name, and one of those that I really appreciate is the desire to be more "green".  When I look at the ingredient list of most store-bought items (food and otherwise), I'm appalled at the length and non-pronounceability of the words!  So when I recently started using essential oils, it was a no-brainer to seek out recipes for making my own cleaning products with just a few ingredients.  I came upon recipes for shampoo and conditioner, ran to my health food store to buy a couple of ingredients, came home, and whipped this up in lickety-split time:

My girlie likes to help with my fun projects, so I put her to work making some "bling" to go around the neck of each jar to help differentiate the shampoo from the conditioner.  (They look a lot alike otherwise!)

"C" for Conditioner

"S" for Shampoo.

I found the jars at Marshalls, and they're perfect for dispensing the products!

After washing my hair yesterday, I felt that it was a bit "heavy", even greasy feeling.  So today I made some more (just adding more to the jars, as the recipe doesn't make a huge batch), and I used less carrier oil in the conditioner, as well as a little less essential oil.  We'll see if that does the trick.  It certainly smells nice!  And I'm Hippie enough that if that doesn't do the trick, I'll stick with it anyway just 'cause I like being more "green".

Thursday, September 25

Best Use of a Ball of String

I started out knitting twelve years ago with a chip on my shoulder against crocheting.  I don't know why.  Knitting looked harder, and I wanted the challenge.  Pretty lame.  So I learned to knit, and learned to pick up dropped stitches (sort of), and then I got busy with life and decided something less of a challenge would be nice.  I didn't need to stress over dropped stitches anymore.  So I started looking online at patterns, and went down the rabbit trail to Amigurumi.  Yeah, I told you I like a challenge.  I found this really cute pattern for a bunny rabbit, and picked up a leftover ball of string and a tiny crochet hook.  The pattern was really pretty easy, as it was more like knitting than crocheting (sort of), but in my driven way, I ended up with a numb fingertip due to my unique way of holding that crochet hook.  Anyway!  Here is the product of that sweet pattern, with a tweak only to the legs.  (I made them straight rather than bent like the pattern showed.)  Thanks for the sweet pattern, Askina!

Thursday, December 6

Bird's Nest

A year ago,  I found a vintage picture of a bird's nest.  I fell in love with the picture.  Something about the clear blue eggs, the browns and greens of nature. 

Yesterday I decided to try it out with my own hand, pencil, ink, and watercolor.  I decided I couldn't have picked a more complex picture for a fairly novice watercolorist as myself, but by ten o'clock last night I was actually pleased and excited with the result.

I learned a lot while doing it, like why you start with your light colors.  After painting the first twiggy sticks (at the top of the picture), I did a yellowish wash over the rest of the picture.  Then a darker yellow wash, then a light brown, leaving the lighter colors showing through in various places.  Eventually I started filling in the detail.  I think this is what you're actually supposed to do, and I finally realized this and followed the directions.  (Yes, amazing what happens when you do that!)  Anyway, I couldn't be happier with it.

Now what can I try next?  :)

Friday, November 23

Happy Thanksgiving

In anticipation of the Thanksgiving holidays, we have been reading about the Pilgrims' arrival to America, their meeting with the Indians, and the first Thanksgiving.  I am always moved by this story, my heritage, my country.  In celebration of this special day, we made some peg people Indians.  We each made one representing ourself.  This was a lot of fun!  Son enjoys shooting a real hand-made bow, and he was gifted with a beautiful quiver from Africa a few years ago.  So of course his peg person had to have a quiver and bow as well.  Daughter helped him with the quiver, and I made the bow from a toothpick.  Daughter crafted the feathers by cutting down larger feathers.  Husband's fish are little beads.  We are all quite happy to stop and smile at our Indians when we walk past them on the shelf.  :)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 11


Completed! . . . That took a long time!

I've never tried stippling before. While laborious, I liked the outcome.

Wednesday, July 6

Candle Stands

It has been a busy summer, and it's not over yet! For one thing, we have finally painted the ugly behemoth of a fireplace in the corner of our living room. We have a long room, with the dark brick fireplace in a corner. This fact has made the long room feel terribly off-balanced. Painting it white brought so much peace to my vision. :) I LOVE this room now! (Does anyone need inspiration about what one can of paint can do?) I wish I had "before" pictures, but I have always avoided taking pictures of this thing because there has been no appeal to me in looking at it, so why would I want a picture of it?! Well, no more! I love this corner now!

But this post is not all about what white paint can do to a heavy fireplace.

I want to show you the candle stands that adorn the fireplace.

Some of these did indeed begin life as candle stands, but all but one of them got a coat of paint and a little more work. The one on the far right started out life as a brass lampstand some 20+ years ago, and was bought for $3.00 at a thrift store.

Here's how to achieve the look:
1. Re-paint with Krylon spray paint your choice of color. (This transformation from brass to -- in my case green or aqua -- is stunning all by itself. I could have left it plain and been plenty happy. But I wanted a more antiqued or textured look, so continued on with the next step.)
2. Take a dry (or slightly moist) non-shedding cloth and pour onto it some acrylic paint. I used a dab of medium brown, dark green, and navy blue. Slap it on the stand. Rub and rub and rub till you get the look you want. You'll have to work quickly, as acrylics dry quickly. If you don't like the look, take a damp cloth, rub it off, and start over. Once you're satisfied with the look,
3. Take a small, stiff paint brush and dip it in some black acrylic paint. (I used my kids' art brushes -- nothing fancy.) Practice flicking paint using your thumb brushing firmly against the tip of the brush. Paint will fly, so do this outside or with a well-protected surface. Random dots of black should cover your candle stands when you're done.
4. Spray paint at least 2 layers of high gloss glaze over your finished work. This will not only protect your acrylic layers, but will also give a nice finished look to your candlestands.

By the way, with my brass lamp stands, I removed all old wiring and weights from inside. I ended up with two separate pieces because of this. I then found (also at a thrift store) some separate brass candle bases and painted these correspondingly. I then glued (with hot glue gun) all three pieces together.

Saturday, June 11

Drawing Work-in-Progress

I've enjoyed working on this butterfly over the past 6 months. I pull it out when I am stuck at home with a sick child or two. This is my first ink drawing, and I'm having a lot of fun watching it progress.

I used dots for the shading, and I really like the effect.

It's put away again for another one of those days the kids are under the weather.