Monday, May 31, 2010

My Face

This is me.

Pretty cute, right?  Sorry, had to throw that in there.  Hehe.

As a kid, I had pretty decent skin, even through my teen years. I got lucky.  Sure, once a month or so, I was likely to break out a bit, but for me, "breaking out" meant a bit of an issue on my chin or nose.  Once I hit my 30s, though, my skin changed, much to my dismay.  I'm more prone to a mild rosacea, especially when I'm stressed.  And I'm more prone to dry patches here and there and the occasional breakout.  Still in limited areas, still not a huge deal, but annoying to me.  Like a lot of women, after all, I'm my own worst critic and have a tendency to sometimes examine every millimeter of my face in my light-up magnifying makeup mirror.

Yeah, I'm nuts like that.  You know you are too.  Admit it.

Well, the other day, Eric looked at me and said, "Your face looks better."  And it does.  I noticed it too.  Me, the critic.

What's the difference?

I've been alternating, depending on my whim, between using Purity and Oatmeal Honey as a facial soap, rather than my old fancy facial cleanser (the one that is $32 for 8.3 oz and contains both sulfates and parabens, harsh and potentially harmful chemicals I definitely neither want nor need).  Hm...

Oh, and when I'm not using Purity or Oatmeal Honey, I'm saving time by washing my face in the shower... with my favorite Mock Turtle shampoo bar!  Reef Botanicals shampoo, you see, is just as healthy and harmless as the soap; it's just formulated to be more lathery and have extra hair-healthy ingredients.  That way, it's just as good as any of the other soap for skin, but even more healthy for hair.

With cocoa butter, chamomile, tea tree oil, eucalyptus, sea kelp, and honey, it's bound to be great for both hair and skin.

In fact, we have some customers who save time in the shower by just using their favorite Reef Botanicals shampoo from head to toe!

As for me, I'm curious to see the progress on my own face.  I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Part Twenty-One

The artist to whom I have the pleasure of introducing you this week is Kazumi, a multitalented woman from Japan.  You can read all about her various projects on her blog.  Not only has she tried her hand at beading and bead making...

... but she makes beautiful purses, totes, card holders, and keychains that you can see and get at her Etsy shop.

You may have noticed a sock monkey keychain up there.  That's not all Kazumi does with sock monkeys.  Here's a sock monkey card holder.

Here's a sock monkey card.  She's got a lot more cards at one of her Zazzle shops.

Like this wedding card.

Also at that shop is cool apparel, featuring her designs, like this.

Don't think we're done with the sock monkeys, though.  Oooooooooh, no.  See, here is an assortment of actual sock monkeys you can see and purchase here!

Want a 2-D version?  You really need to check out her sock monkey chalk drawings!

If you're into sock monkeys, though, she's got many other chalk drawings available here, here, and here.  There are signs for your shops or restaurants.

Her chalk drawings have also been commissioned as wedding welcome boards or anniversary party boards.

Many of her chalk drawings, though, are simply beautiful artwork for the purpose of art alone, like these.

Speaking of art for the sake of art, Kazumi's isn't limited to chalk drawing.  She's also got these wonderful mixed media pieces.

Definitely check her out!

Monday, May 24, 2010

We've Gone International!

We've had our first two international orders, both from Canada.  It's really kind of exciting.

Both are face painters.  The first, award-winner Shannon Fennell, blogged her experience with our Purity, of which she purchased four bars, sight unseen.  That's commitment!  And then she blogged her thoughts here.

Of course, Shannon had to try Purity on her face painting sponges.  She photographed the results, and I think they're pretty amazing:

That's really something, isn't it?  Its effectiveness doesn't mean it's harsh, though.  Shannon and her mom both have allergies and sensitivities, and neither is experiencing difficulty with the soap.  It's just three ingredients, and we've superfatted it just a bit to ensure that it's not terribly drying.  It's gentle enough that I use it on my face ever day, and I've seen it recommended for washing babies.

Just keep it away from the eyes, of course.  This is old-fashioned soap, and old-fashioned all natural soap with no chemicals will hurt if it gets in your eyes.

At any rate, Shannon's post spurred a second order over the weekend, a face painter in Toronto.  We're officially international!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Artist Spotlight: Part Twenty

This week's artist is Sandi Levy of iKnitQuiltSew, in Cedar City, Utah.  And this chick's not kidding!  Knit, quilt, and sew she does indeed!

Would you believe this talented fiber artist spent nearly forty years creating her wonderful things and hearing "you should sell these!" before actually taking the plunge to do it?  Her grandmother taught her to knit and sew before color TV was even invented, and most of her knitting comes from her grandmother's patterns.  Better yet, her grandmother claimed that the patterns came from her mother, which means they'd date as far back as the late 1800s!  As a fan of antiques myself, I just love that.

And it makes her pieces classic.  These hats and booties can be passed down between siblings or even generations.

Not into the traditional pinks and blues?  Me neither.  Sandi accounts for that, so how about this awesome unisex set in bright, cheery primary colors, or the camouflage set, perfect for the young woodsman?

You can find any of those great pieces in her Etsy shop, together with this beautiful receiving blanket, a great gift for expecting parents.

She loves what she does, and you can tell.  She refuses to have tons of items in her shop at the same time, because she wants to make sure that each and every piece you see has gotten the care and attention to detail that it deserves.  She's also my favorite kind of artisan - the kind who recognizes that she really is an artist and isn't afraid to say it.  Score one for the artists of the world!

Enough of the knitting, on to the quilting... would you believe that she's a self-taught quilter?  She learned it from a book!  Now that's talent.

And I haven't even gotten to the sewing yet!  Sandi makes the absolute cutest dolls and teddy bears!

You just have to love that hair!  There are other great ones in her shop too.  But the bears... oh, the bears.  I want one of these bears.  Or maybe all of them.

The problem is picking.  Do I want those cute friendly-looking bears with the scarves or that awesome curly bear that looks like it really needs a good home?

Sandi's blog is fairly new, but with such great things coming from her, it's worth following to see what she does next!  Check her out!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blogs I Follow: The Flying Chef

Like many of you, I'm a blog-follower.  In fact, I follow a lot of blogs.  I may not read every post of every blog as they show up in my Blogger Reading List, and sometimes when I've skipped or missed posts, I may go back and read them later.  Or I may not read them at all if they seem not to be of interest to me or I simply don't have time.  But I do follow a lot of blogs and I like to read them.  I've always been a voracious reader, so this makes sense.  In fact, the appearance of blogs into my life is a wonderful thing; I'm someone who used to joke that I'd read the box of cereal if nothing else was around.

So I thought it was time to mention some of the blogs I read and call your attention to them, especially if they don't yet seem to have a lot of followers.  Get the word out, as it were.

Today, I thought I'd tell you about The Flying Chef.  The author is a woman named Heather, who lives in Pennsylvania, and I don't know her but I do like her.  It's kind of a given that I'd like someone who's a fan of antiquing, tea parties, classic rock, Jane Austen, Paris, and Beetlejuice.  I mean, really.  Plus, the banner has a witch!

Her blog started off as a sort of advertising medium for her impending webstore for kitchen gadgets and hostess gifts, but real life has gotten in the way and put that endeavor on hold for her.  I honestly don't know at this point whether she still intends to open the store, but it doesn't matter.  She keeps her blog current and there's a lot of good stuff on there.

Plus, she's got an in-real-life Craftique booth at the Seabase Shopping Center on Pittsburgh Street in Greenberg, PA.

Back to the blog, though.  She's got some great decorating ideas there, like her idea to decorate her bay window with real pine and use scrapbook paper as placemats.  There's also some incredibly random but cute stuff, great hosting tips, amazing-sounding recipes, lots of good information about various ways to help others, housekeeping tips, and bits of her own childhood.

The funniest thing is that she also posted a photo of her puppies, just like I did mine!

And she cares about health and keeping things natural, the same way Reef Botanicals does.

One last plug, check out one of the cute things she shows you how to make:

Isn't that great?  And she featured Reef Botanicals too!  Definitely check her out!
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