Painting a canvas pumpkin

I've always wanted to learn to paint.  That would be the left handed, creative side in me determined to learn all levels of craft, no matter the cost.  But, honestly, I never thought I was all that good at it.  I wanted to be a master without taking the time to work as the apprentice first.  

I surely do appreciate the talents of other bloggers though.  I am ever so grateful to pinterest and the hard work of these men and women for the amount of time they take in teaching me and providing avenues for me in which to learn.

In this quest to learn, I wanted desperately to start out simple so as not to get discouraged in this process.  I also wanted a tutorial that wouldn't take me hours to watch through.  Who has time for that?!? And since we are inching on Fall here, my brain immediately went to pumpkins.  Could I really do it though????  I challenged myself and went on the hunt where I ran into this blog and tutorial:

Now, I like the look of clean and simple.....yet elegant.  And I didn't want complicated.  Let me tell you!  Jennifer Rizzo has got some talent and she shares it in the most 'newbie friendly' way I have ever seen.  Her instructions and pictorials were so precise and spot on!  She made this look like child's play.  And you know what?  I did it!  I'm pretty proud of how it turned out too.  And I owe it all to her hard work.  So, Jennifer, if you happen to stop by this blog, thank you for sharing your talents with us.  Oh yeah, and here's my completed pumpkin:

Trust me.  You can do this! Here is My 12yr old working on the same project too:

So proud of her!



Fab Formula No. 7 -- Bug Spray

Make Your Own Bug Spray

 Fall is on its way!!!  And along come those long lazy nights of sitting by the firepit in our sweatshirts roasting marshmallows and conversing with friends.  Some of my favorite memories and most relaxing moments are around the fire.  Only one problem:  MOSQUITOS! Who really likes those buggers anyway?  I have the perfect solution:

Make your own bug spray!!!  
There are so many benefits.  
1. You are using all natural ingredients- NO DEET!
2.  Bugs build up a tolerance to the chemicals in store brand products.  They are NOT able to do the same with essential oils.  There are literally THOUSANDS of chemical compounds in essential oils so these buggers just can't cut it!  Combine more than two, and your results are even better.
3.  Once you purchase essential oils, they last forever.  You are only using DROPS from each bottle.

Here's your list of ingredients:
2 Tb of a carrier oil (I tend to use grapeseed)
1 tsp cheap vodka
6 oz. witch hazel
2 oz water
45 drops lemon eucalyptus essential oil
15 dr rosemary essential oil
15 dr lavender essential oil
8 dr. citronella essential oil
8 dr tea tree essential oil 
spray bottle

Mix all ingredients together.  Shake well before each use.  Apply liberally ever 4-6 hours.  We have used this recipe with much success while camping as well.  Good luck with your creations!

****I am not a doctor/expert nor do I pretend to be one.  I am sharing personal information only as to what has worked for us. Essential oil benefits listed for informational purposes only and are not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any of your ailments.  If you have any concerns about the ingredients listed, please seek a physicians advice.****



Fabulous Formula No. 6- Bath Bomb Basics

Bath Bomb Basics

Bath bombs are always a treat.  But they can come with a hefty price tag. That's why I want to share with you how to make your own. While I have made my bath bombs whole, most of the time I like to make them in halves.  They get stretched a little bit further and it leaves me the option of adding more bombs if I need it while not wasting any if I don't.  So, here ya go:
My Basic Bath Bomb Recipe

8 oz. Baking Soda
4 oz. Citric acid
4 oz. Corn Starch
4 oz. Epsom Salts
4 Tbs. Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp. Vitamin E. Oil (optional)

Mix all the dry Ingredients except the citric acid.  In a separate container melt your coconut oil if it is in its solid state and combine it with your vitamin e. oil if you choose to use it.  Its a great skin conditioner but not necessary for the bomb to work.  Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and start to combine.  Lastly, add the citric acid.  The reason you wait for the citric acid is so that it has less opportunity to react and begin to 'fizz' when you don't want it to.  When you pick up a handful of the mixture in your hands and squeeze it, if it stays in its form, it is ready to mold.  If it crumbles, you may need to add more oil, no more than 1/2 tsp. at a time.  Pack very tightly into your molds and release gently.  Let them sit for at least 24 hours to harden before you take them out of their molds. I hope my directions are clear.  

Stretching your Vanilla beans

I have recently started making my own vanilla extract for a multitiude of reasons:  its easy, its economical and I can control the ingredients.  Check your bottles; there is actually added sugar in there.  Vanilla beans can be expensive so the best option I have found are these ones from Amazon.

  I have more beans than I know what to do with so I have been trying to do some research and experimenting with ways to stretch these beauties to get the most for my money. Out of the same beans/pods I can do the following four things:

1.  Vanilla extract-cut the beans down the middle and soak 3 beans per 8oz. of vodka
 for approx. 2 months.  You can always continue to  add more vodka every time you use half the bottle to have a never ending supply.
2.  Grind the beans up and add them to a vanilla sugar/salt scrub.
3.  Let the beans dry out and add them to your sugar for vanilla scented sugar.
4.  Once the beans have lost most of their fragrance you can grind them up and add them to your coffee grounds when making coffee.  The flavor is subtle and smooth and always yummy. 
5.  Take that same dried bean pod and grind it up to use in your own melt and pour soap recipes.  It will add a slight vanilla aroma but also some "grit" for extra scrubbing. 

I'm sure there are many other uses for these crazy pods.  I would love to hear yours.  I keep thinking there may be a new cleaning product in my future for these things.  Carpet deodorizer with baking soda???  I'm working on it.  Please share your creations.  I still have a ton of these beans!


Fabulous Formula No. 5- Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub

Coconut Lime Sugar Scrub

So, we are soon coming to the end of another summer and we want to make these last few weeks last.  How about pampering yourself with a bit of the tropics?  Nothing feels as silky smooth as skin that has just gone through a vigorous sugar scrub.  And nothing smells more tropical than coconut.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have.  This stuff smells good enough to eat!

1/4 C. Coconut oil, melted
1 Tbs. Grape seed oil
1 C. white sugar (can always substitute if you prefer)
1 Tbs. shredded coconut
15 drops Lime essential oil

Melt your coconut oil and combine with the grapeseed oil.  Stir in remaining ingredients and store in an airtight container.  To use:  rub into your skin gently while bathing or showering and enjoy.

*this particular recipe has a firmer consistency than most sugar scrubs as the coconut oil becomes a solid state in temps under 76 degrees.  If you live in warmer climates and/or prefer a more liquid consistency simply adjust the coconut and grape seed oils accordingly.


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