9/1/14

Illustration Friday / Music Monday Mashup


Doodling along to Kishi Bashi (of course, right?) 


for the latest Illustration Friday challenge, Metamorphosis. 


Sorry about the poor quality photo. My ancient scanner has finally given up and my new phone camera is rubbish. Materials are Derwent watercolor pencils on petal-inclusive paper.

Click here to check out more takes on the prompt. Feel free to add your own. Let me know if you do and I'll be sure to check it out.
--------------

By the way, I'm giving away some art on 9/18. To enter simply leave a comment on the blog before then. To check out the prizes click here.

8/31/14

Apothecary Extracts 100% Pure Australian Tea Tree Oil Review


Disclaimer: I received a 4 oz bottle of Tea Tree essential oil from in exchange for promotion and an honest review. Also, am not a doctor or health professional and make no medical claims about this product. I am simply relaying my family's experiences using tea tree essential oils. All opinions are my own. 


First I have to tell you that I am a long time fan of essential oils. With anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, tea tree oil is one of our favorite home-remedies for all sorts of skin ailments. For years we have applied it literally from head to toe, to help with everything from cradle cap to athletes foot. So when the opportunity to review Apothecary Extract's 100% Pure Tea tree oil in exchange for a sample came up, I jumped at it. 

If you are new to Tea tree oil, the powerful scent, sometimes described as medicinal, might surprise you. Folks seem to love or hate it. In our house, my son and I like the smell but my husband does not. I have found that when he will be exposed to it, it is best to blend the tea tree with other essential oils, such as lavender or lemon. This changes the odor to one that he finds more appealing.

Upon opening my 4 oz bottle, I noticed that the Apothecary Extract's product had a stronger scent than other brands of tea tree oil that I have used before. (I've read that the scent can fade over time, even in the bottle, and this makes me wonder about the age/strength of some other oils I have used in the past.)



If you decide to incorporate Tea Tree oil into your home, please do not ingest it. It is for external use only. Also, test a tiny dab on your skin to make sure you do not have a negative reaction. It will most likely leave a tingling feeling but should not cause a burning sensation or rash. Some people are allergic or sensitive to it, so best to test in an inconspicuous spot. Essential oils are potent and little really does go a long way. Small amounts will be added to a carrier of some kind such as neutral oils (like almond or coconut), an astringent (like witch hazel or vinegar) or even distilled water. These mixtures are what you will be working with.




My free sample also included an ebook loaded with info about tea tree oil, as well as 53 recipes for health and home. The first thing I made with my sample was a simple recipe to soothe aching muscles:

Add 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil and Epsom Salts to a tub of very hot water. (Then soak. Easy Peasy.)

I had been gardening earlier, so this seemed like a brilliant idea! I was bit worried about hubby's reaction to any lingering scent, so I also added a couple of drops of lavender oil to the water. I then enjoyed a relaxing soak. As an added bonus, the steam opened up my sinuses, relieving a lingering head cold for a time. 

Bath Time

This didn't even make a dent in bottle, leaving plenty of oil for upcoming bath and home projects. First up will be a shampoo. We have used both Paul Mitchell and Trader Joe tea tree shampoos and I can't wait to make my own. I am also looking forward to testing the Minty Tea Tree Oil Toothpaste recipe. 

Then I will tackle the truly intimidating hurdle: improving my son's funky gym shoes and stinky feet! Eek! Some home-made shoe powder, soap and foot balm recipes found online will be put to the toughest test. I will be sure to share (or debunk) these and other projects on upcoming Tutorial Tuesdays. Be sure to pop back and check them out.


Curious to try tea tree essential oil at your house? I confidently recommend the Apothecary Extracts brand. If you would like a copy of the ebook too, you can order both from Amazon.com at this link.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

8/28/14

New Thursday Giveaway - Original Nature Art magnet and print - Ends 9/18

First I want to give a Giant Thank You to everyone who voted for my Dahlia at Dusk photo in the Flower Contest over at Twenty20.com! With your help I made it to #25 of 2,892 entries. It wasn't enough to pass to the next round, which includes only the Top 20 - but it sure was close... and what a great ride! If you'd like to see the top 20 flowers, click here.

Twenty20 regularly hosts themed photography challenges. These are easy to enter, fun to participate in and the #1 winner usually gets a cool prize, such as their winning photo published in a book or sold as a poster in shops like West Elm. 

My two other pictures on this page also made it into the top 10% of their challenges, Relax and Pastel. To celebrate, I have decided it is time for a new Thursday Giveaway: 

On Sept. 18th two (yes, 2) winners will be randomly selected:

#1 takes home a signed 8" print of their favorite image in this post. 

#2 wins a 2" photo magnet of their fave picture on this post.

How can you enter this random drawing? 

Easy Peasy. Everyone who leaves a comment on my blog between 1 a.m. (EST) on 9/18/14 will be entered. No hoop jumping needed.

This giveaway is open worldwide and prizes ship free to winners. Good Luck!

8/16/14

Vote for Dahlia At Dusk

Dahlia at Dusk
My photo of this natural beauty is in the Twenty20 Flower Challenge today. As of this writing, it is #30 from a total of 2,790 entries (& growing). For the next 13 hours the public votes up their favorites and the Top 20 photographs will move on to the next round. Then a Twenty20 judge will pick their favorite flower to include in their upcoming book.

If you like my dahlia closeup and it is not yet 3 a.m (EST) on 8/17 please click here and add your vote! If you'd like to share the link with friends: http://tinyurl.com/k65s3zq. Please note, Twenty20 will ask you to sign up/log in with either email or facebook but it is quick and easy.

Thanks in advance for all of your support! I'll let you know how it plays out. Best wishes for wonder-filled weekend!

8/15/14

Odds & Ends of Summer


Where has the summer gone? 
Life has been busier than expected with work and play around here. 


Summer's highlight was a visit to Acadia National Park, a welcome break from routine and the sticky Florida heat. I've shared few photos on Instagram and facebook and will pop more up here one day soon.


A close second was catching Kishi Bashi at Tampa's New World Brewery last week. 


Ever wanted to step inside a lovely decor magazine? As always, a visit to the restaurant/ bookshop/ decor store/ coffeehouse/ teashop/ eventspace Oxford Exchange was a pleasure. If you are in Tampa this space is a must-see. Also check out their online calendar; there is always something intriguing on the schedule. That's where I spotted the recent Instameet. I love a trip to OE and it was fun to meet fellow shutterbugs. Below is panoramic of the book shop. (Click the pic for a bigger view). For more photos of the meet up search the Instagram app for #OEInstaMeet. 


I also returned from my holiday in time to catch Jobsite Theater's performance of  Steven Deitz's Inventing Van Gogh. While a bit over the top (especially the second half), the play was an interesting study of truth, myth, art and obsession. There were some outstanding performances,with most cast members jumping through time to play two different characters. I look forward to seeing what actors Ned Averill-Snell (who played both Gaugin and a modern-day art expert/con man) and Greg Thompson (Van Gogh's friend Dr Gachet and a present day obsessed art professor) get up to next season. 


My next few days are filled with a bit of back-to-school prep and some projects I've committed to but procrastinated (surprise,surprise). It is all a bit hush hush for now, but I'll share when I can. 

So, what have you been up to this summer? Anything planned for fall fun?

7/27/14

A little R&R



Hey, All. What have you been up to lately? 


I've had my traveling shoes on the last couple of weeks. I meant to catch up on some belated blogging, but with only sporatic internet access that hasn't been happening. 


I'm still more off line than usual for a few more days. Hope you enjoy your week!

7/10/14

We have a winner!



Congratulations to LaTanya T., the winner of today's random drawing! 

She takes home a Snap Ray's Guide Light. For more info on this illuminating prize, click here

Thank you to all who entered this drawing. Be sure to pop back soon for the next prize announcement.