Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Body Lotion Bar Giveaway

Mmmmm. My kitchen smells of lavender and peppermint. I've just finished my final batch of lotion bars for the holiday season. As with the first batch, these are also going out as gifts, and I've saved some for YOU! 

Since this is the FIRST giveaway I've done on my blog, I've decided to try Punch Tab for entries and winner selection. I'm excited to see how it works. The winner will be able to choose from a Christmas themed or winter themed package.  I love them all! Merry Christmas and good luck everyone! (Scroll down to the bottom of the page to enter.)                  

The giveaway starts today and ends on December 28th at 9:00 pm.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Quick and Easy DIY Body Lotion Bars

Last year, while searching for some easy recipes for DIY bath and body products, I came across a great idea on Pinterest. Sarah, from Frugal by Choice, had shared a 3-ingredient recipe for making the best body lotion bars on the planet! I made them last year and they were so amazing that I've made them several times since then as birthday gifts, thank you gifts, and again recently for Christmas gifts.

If you are looking for that last minute gift idea, these are quick and easy to make! There are many molds to choose from... gingerbread man mold, christmas tree mold, or something else, and with three main ingredients: beeswax pellets, organic coconut oil, and almond oil  you're ready to begin! 

Gather your ingredients and get started by following the directions below:

Ingredients: I used one cup of each ingredient which made 19 lotion bars. This will vary depending on the
mold you decide to use.

First, melt your beeswax. I used my double boiler and placed it on medium heat.

Next, add the coconut oil and allow it to melt.

Finally, add the almond oil and allow it to melt too.

I placed the melted mixture into a large measuring glass
for ease in pouring. (Otherwise it may have ended up all over the counter! )
If you want to add essential oil, do it now before pouring into the molds.

Choose your mold and pour.

Allow to set for several hours to overnight.

Since I am sharing these as Christmas gifts, I wanted a festive package. I purchased several decorative fabric bags at Wal-Mart (I've also seen them at Hobby Lobby), used some handmade papers for the typed ingredients list, and a gold ribbon to tie the bar to a separate piece of paper. Then I neatly tucked it all inside the gift bag. Adding a Starbuck's gift card made my present complete!
Homemade body lotion bar...ready to be packaged and shared with others!
Packaged and ready to give as a gift!
This is one of my favorite DIY recipes. I hope that you enjoy it as well!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Journal Pages

I've been working on several projects lately, but at the top of my list was finishing LB journal pages. I can't believe it is almost time to bind them all together in a book! So, in preparation, I spent some time yesterday putting the final touches on each page.

This page resulted from the "Favorite Words" lesson by Monica Zuniga. I love how this page turned out.  I used the book, Creative Lettering, to practice some of my lettering techniques. I was even inspired to dream up a few of my own designs. 

"Graphite Feather" lesson by Tamora Laporte....Wow! Another great lesson in which I learned so much...the instructions for creating the feather were perfect. Originally, I hadn't added much color, so I went back and added more...along with a decorative border around the feather. I thought about adding a quote, but then decided against it. Sometimes it is hard to know when to stop. :)

I'm feeling good to have finished two pages, and now really need to start work on some Christmas gifts! I really should do this in the summer when we are on break, but I always seem to get sidetracked!

Anyway, I have decided to sign up for Lifebook 2014!! That's where I'm headed after I finish this post. I can't imagine not participating next year. It has been an absolute joy to work on the projects from 2013 and learn so many different techniques from various teachers. The teacher line up for 2014 looks incredible! Come join us!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Break

The last several days were filled with family, new recipes....which lead to some great food, art collaborations, and FUN!

When my niece came to our house, she was excited work in my art room. So, I gave her a block of gessoed wood, acrylic paints, stencils, stickers, and collage papers. With a few tips, it wasn't long before her imagination took off and she had a design in place. It was fun to watch her work as her fingers tapped across the wood creating snow-like impressions on the background.

Carly creating a mixed media piece on wood.
While the paint was drying between layers, we took a break to walk the dogs (and burn off a little pumpkin pie!). It was a beautiful day!
                                               Carly and Roger walking the dogs.
Later in the week, I met my parents, sister, and brother-in-law for round 2 of Thanksgiving gatherings. (Poor hubby was sick!) We had an un-traditional meal of Panera Bread and chatted the day away. It was fantastic! I even gave my sister a cool braid! (It reminded me of when we were kids and I often gave her various styles...from braids to side ponytails....ahh, the 80's!)

Today's hairstyle: a "Katniss" braid! I love it!
There was even extra time over the break to work on projects and journal pages! So...I continued my work on the below piece for my sister and also started a new page. 

A work STILL in progress for my sister. 
New work in progress....color to be revealed soon!

I hope each of you also had a wonderful break!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Vegan Journey

For the last couple years, since reading Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet book, I've been tossing the idea around about eliminating animal products from my diet. Healthier foods, reducing the impact on the environment, and reading about the treatment of animals (which would soon be on my plate) really weighed heavily on my mind. I wasn't much of a meat eater to begin with and didn't think eliminating meat would be that much of a challenge. It's been four weeks since I ate any type of meat and I don't miss it at all. Cheese. That's going to be the tough one. Eventually, I plan on removing it too.

Over the last month, I've been excited about trying new recipes. While searching for a new veggie burger recipe, I came across Angela's blog, Oh She Glows. Not only did I check out several of her recipes, but I also read her series titled "Vegan How To". This confirmed that not only was this something that I wanted to do, it  was also a goal that I could achieve!

I found amazing recipes and much needed encouragement. Thanks, Angela! So begins my vegan journey. Eating healthier had been a goal mentioned in my In a Slump? post. It's the one that I've been good at keeping this month!

I've tried several new recipes and enjoyed every one of them. Below are a few pics from last week's meals.

Italian Bean Balls that were placed on top of spaghetti squash
and cover with marinara sauce. One of my favorites!

Luxurious 7-Vegetable and "Cheese" Soup...wow. It was amazing! 

Without a doubt, her new book (due out in March of 2014), The Oh She Glows Cookbook, is on my Christmas wish list!

Another great blog I've been reading lately is The No Meat Athlete. I wanted to learn more about how a plant based diet could improve my running performance and in general help me feel more energetic. So, I bought Matt Frazier's book, The No Meat Athlete. Today I made my first recipe from it...Hearty Chickpea and Pasta Soup. It was perfect for a somewhat snowy and extremely chilly day! We liked it so much that we also ate it for dinner!

MMMM....after this meal I had a fantastic 70 minute run!
I'm excited to try some additional new recipes this week! (And also get back on track with my goals for this month...maybe I should have started with just one??)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Life Book Lesson with Rachelle Panagarry

Several weeks ago, the Life Book 2013 lesson was taught by Rachelle Panagarry. As with each week, I'm always learning something new. This time....using mulberry paper. It was very cool! Below are a few pics of the process from start to finish.

Facial Sketch


Before mulberry paper

Mulberry paper + more paint + stamping = finished journal page!

Once I get caught up with a few more lessons, I'd love to go back and try another page using this technique. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed using this technique. To see other beautiful student work, visit Rachelle's page at www.arteyecandy.com.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Works in Progress

I've been trying to incorporate more creative activities into my days lately, and have recently started two new journal pages. I had originally started the face below to submit for the Cloth, Paper, Scissors colorful faces challenge. I had it completely drawn and then remembered the requirement for using colored pencils and markers. Since I had drawn it on watercolor paper (oops!), I didn't like the texture for this project. I did like the face, so I decided to use watercolors and continue working on the page. You can't tell by looking at the photo, but it's small. Just a 4 x 4.

In case you missed it in my previous post, the face below is what I submitted for the challenge.  I used mixed media paper, Prismacolor pencils, and neon Sharpie markers! I love how the colors turned out. I even used the neon Sharpie markers to address my envelope. 

The other work in progress is a journal page that I am creating for my sister. A few weeks back, I shared with her a Halloween page that I had created with a cat. She wanted one, but requested a dog instead. My sister is not only a dog lover (she has five of her own), but also rescues dogs, and finds many of them new homes. She's awesome like that! So, I started the page below for her. 

Have you created anything this week? Please share! I look forward to looking at everyone's work. 

“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” ~Thoreau

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Colorful Run

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."
-Albert Camu

Every year I look forward to the autumn season. It's my favorite! The changing colors of the leaves, pumpkins on the porch, and best of all....COOL air (refreshing after the hot, steamy summer).

This time of year, I love being outside whenever possible...especially going for a run. This past weekend, I laced up my running shoes, grabbed my iPhone, and headed for a nearby trail. About a half mile from our home are two short trails, one newly built around Oklahoma Christian University and another near the dog park.

The lower  loop off the dog park trail. Wow! Check out those leaves. 

One of my favorite places along the Oklahoma Christian trail....the loop around the pond.

 These vibrant yellow leaves caught my eye and I had to stop and take a pic!

I had an amazing run and enjoyed the beauty of nature along the way. Being outdoors can lift your mood and brighten your day. I hope each of you will get outside and enjoy the beautiful surroundings in your area!

"Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind."
-Amit Ray

Friday, November 1, 2013

In a Slump?

Lately I've been in a slump. A big one. Exercise...eating....creating...I just hadn't been feeling like doing anything. It all started with a running injury a few weeks ago, after the Tulsa Zoo Run. I couldn't run, then I became lazy with my eating habits, and eventually quit doing the things I love. I was allowing myself to get into a bummed state of being. It's taken me about a week to work myself back to some "normalcy," if there actually is such a thing!

Last weekend, I had a choice to make....continue in my miserable slump, or kick myself out of it. I needed to get moving in a different direction, so I decided on the later....a good kick in the pants. My husband and some friends were going to Tulsa (yes, again!) to participate in a 15K, the Tulsa Run.  My leg was on the mend, so I decided instead of sleeping in that morning, I would get up and go. The plan was to take it slow and easy, have fun, and finish the run. If I could do that then it was a total success.

Before the run, getting ready to head to the start line.

The weather could not have been more perfect! Not only did I enjoy my run, but it helped me get back on track this week. Feeling great, I have been able to run all week.

The next step....start making some healthy meals. I'd been reading an AMAZING blog, Oh She Glows, the last week or so and drooling over the recipes. Set on making a veggie burger, I tried the recipe HERE. WOW!! It was love at first bite. Definitely one of the best veggie burgers I've ever made! It was even "husband approved." I also made the spaghetti squash recipe HERE. Two great recipes in one week! It made me feel good to be eating better once again. 


I'm looking forward to purchasing her book when it comes out next year. Next week I will be trying more recipes from the blog. Possibly the Raw Pecan Pumpkin Butter? Mmmmm. I think YES. I'm already looking forward to it!

Finally, I had been seriously neglecting any creative endeavors. A month or so ago, I had thought about participating in the Colorful Faces Challenge in Cloth, Paper, Scissors Magazine. I decided I had nothing to lose, and started creating a colorful face. I mailed it today! 

Mixed Media paper, Prismacolor pencils and neon Sharpie markers

I am feeling much better having set a few goals and worked towards achieving them. It's easy to get in a slump at times, but by setting goals, I was able to get back on track. To make sure I stay on track, I've set a few more goals. I'm starting with three....I want to be successful, not overwhelmed. My goals for November include:

1. EXERCISE: Resume half marathon training by running 4-5 days a week and staying healthy.
2. EATING: Try a new, healthy recipe at least once a week. Add in more fruits and veggies. 

3. CREATIVE LIVING: Blog at least TWICE a week. This has been a huge weakness for me lately. Seems like I'm always being sidetracked, so my goal is to post on Sundays and Wednesdays throughout the month of November. Hopefully this will become a habit! Also, create something every week (painting, art journaling, watercolor...anything!)

I'll keep you posted on how it goes throughout this month!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lions, Tigers, and Bears...RUN!

And you better run fast! Last weekend, Roger and I drove to Tulsa to take part in the Tulsa Zoo Run. We chose to do the 10K, which was my first 10K in over a year! It was definitely a challenge. I think my muscles are just now starting to feel a little less sore. 

The weather could not have been more perfect! Storms had rolled through the night before and brought with them clouds and COOL air. The temps that morning were in the 50's! I loved it.  

We left Saturday morning about 6:00ish and made our way to Tulsa. It's about an hour and a half drive from where we live, and race bibs/timing chips/t-shirts had to be picked up by 8:00. With road construction along the way, we made it just in time to get everything and even do a couple miles warm up before the race (which started at 9:00). 

Perfect weather for The Tulsa Zoo Run 

Many people crowded together at the start, but after the first two miles, the crowd spread out. It wasn't long before two women, running at a consistent pace, were passing me. I decided if I sped up, I would have a small group to run alongside for the remainder of the race. We ran together for several miles until the finish line.  Not only was it encouraging, but I enjoyed running with a group. We all finished right around the same time, and even high-fived one another after the finish line.  I was able to finish in just under 48 minutes, which earned me second place in my age group. Roger also ran well and finished second for his age group.

Second place in age groups
Afterwards, we decided to run a few more miles, but ended up missing the post run food (I was STARVING) and almost missed the awards! We did get to walk around for awhile in the zoo, and saw many of the animals that were out and about....like TIGERS!

TIGER!! Good thing I still have on my running shoes. ;P
Upon leaving, we saw the "Poo at the Zoo" t-shirt. We thought it was hilarious, but it was only available in kids' sizing! What grown up wouldn't want to wear a shirt about animal poo?? 

Poo at the Zoo t-shirt....if only I were kid-sized. 
Overall, it was a great day and we had a lot of fun. I would definitely recommend this run to others in the area! Besides the 10K, there was a 5K and a 1mile fun run as well. A huge plus is the free entry into the zoo after the run. (The run actually finishes in the zoo! Pretty cool.) Want more info? Check it out HERE.

Next run...two more weeks at the Tulsa Run! It is a 15K, and the best part? The "Trick or Treat" finish line! So basically, you are running towards chocolate. What could be better than that?? (Maybe the hilarious costumes along the way....nah. Chocolate!)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chickpea Burgers, Laundry, and Using a Gelli Plate....

So, while trying to decide what to write about this week, I"m making dinner, chickpea burgers, working on laundry, and hoping my Gelli Plate photos eventually show up on Photo Stream. If only I were a little more tech savvy!

The burgers turned out to be delish. It's one of my favorite recipes and I've made it often. I usually make sweet potato fries (from this cookbook) to go along with it, but was a little on the lazy side this evening. 

Better than a real burger! Seriously.
After dinner, I noticed that the photos finally made it into Photo Stream. YAY!! So, I can now share how much fun it was using this new art tool. But before I do,  if you've never heard of a Gelli Plate, it is used for mono printing. It resembles a pan sized square of clear jello, and I must add that is it extremely cool. Check it out HERE to learn more about what all it can do.

There are so many tutorials, tips and tricks for using the Gelli Plate. However, I just wanted to get started quick, so I visited the Gelli Arts webpage and watched a short tutorial.  My goal was to learn the basics. So, what I am sharing today is just that....the very basics of getting started using a Gelli Plate.

First step....get all my goodies together. 

Golden heavy body paint (or any other acrylic paint), various stamps and stencils, string, brayer

The gelli plate with the first layer of paint....blue. I spread the paint using the brayer, then used stamps
and stencils to create texture within the paint.

My first layer of paint....from Gelli Plate to paper. I covered the plate with a
sheet of watercolor paper then pressed and pulled away to reveal the first layer.

You continue to repeat steps two and three until you have the desired amount of color/design on your pages. I chose to do 3-4 layers, but you can do as many or as few as desired to achieve whatever look you prefer.

A few of the finished papers.....

Future art journal pages....

While I loved this process, I can tell that I really need more practice! There are MANY online tutorials to choose from, plus the Gelli Arts blog and Facebook page are great for suggestions, upcoming workshops, etc.  

If you'd like to have a Gelli Plate, keep your eye open for special deals at Dick Blick art supplies. I was able to purchase mine at a discounted price there.

Happy Creating!!

Oh....one more thing. I wanted to share another one of my favorite journal pages that was recently completed....

Journal page created with Tamara 's lesson in LB 2013. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Finished Art

Finally!! Journal pages from several weeks ago have been completed! The larger piece that Dylan and I worked on together is probably the most unusual page I've ever created, but I love the colors and it was super fun. It was a page from a lesson taught by Mitsi B. Check out her cool art work HERE

Dylan let me know it was time to get to work....after paint slinging several weeks ago, he was eager for more. 

Time for art??? I want to paint!

Can you tell what Dylan added to the journal page?

Being an artist is tough work.
While Dylan decided to catch up on some much needed rest, I finished another journal page and even started one for this week!

Completed page from several weeks ago. Creating texture and adding bright
colors to this page was just what it needed!

New page...just getting started...Tam's lesson this week. I love her already!
 I have truly enjoyed learning and creating in the Lifebook 2013 class. Registration for next year is coming up soon! If you are interested in joining the fun, visit Tam's Lifebook 2014 page. You can view the teachers for the upcoming year and learn more about the program. Registration opens October 7th and classes begin January 1st.