Thursday, September 30, 2010

Glen Rock Street Fair

We're stocking up like crazy (PurityHealing Tea tonight, plus prepping Smooth Operator for tomorrow), 'cause we're vending at the Glen Rock Street Fair on Sunday!  We plan to make at least two batches of soap tomorrow night, more Friday night, and tons all day Saturday... not to mention scrubs!

I'll be face painting in our booth as well, and our friend Kerry will be there helping us.

We'll be there all day, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., so come find us and meet us, and mostly... come shop!

See you there!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Relaunch, Baby!

We're back and better than ever - new web host, new shopping cart, new site design!

And we're so happy that we're celebrating with a sale:

15% off anything and everything
through October 5

Now's the time to stock up on your favorites, try something new, or get a jump start on that holiday shopping!

Monday, September 20, 2010


OK, so sometimes it takes a second brain to start thinking outside the box.

The primary Reef Botanicals site has been down for a while, while we're moving to a new web host and doing something of a redesign.

However, we've still been running, with all of our great products you know and love, at our Handmade Artists' Shop (lovingly called the HAFshop for short).

Thing is, the way the HAFshop is designed, we couldn't offer combined shipping, which is our policy - flat rate $5 shipping for all orders no matter how big via Priority Mail in the U.S. and via Regular Mail in Canada.

The lack of a combined shipping option has been a pain for our customers and for us, since we've had to either have you email your order to us and then paypal the funds directly, or pay the excess through the shop and then have us refund the overage.  Either of those options is admittedly pretty silly.

And then the brilliance kicked in, and I'll admit this time Eric had the brainstorm.  From now on, when you order from the Reef Botanicals HAFshop, simply add every item you want to your cart... and then add one more item, the one labeled "Flat Rate Shipping," that's denoted by the USPS logo above.  Problem solved!

So... feel free to check out our HAFshop by clicking the link above or the button below, and shop to your heart's content.  See you at HAF!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

I've Been Lucky!

Remember Christine, this awesome mosaic artist I spotlighted back in April?

Well, she hosted a giveaway on her blog, and of course I had to enter, I love her work so much!  The giveaway was for a beautiful vanity tray... and I won!  I was so excited to get it in the mail the other day.

She does not kid around with the wrapping.  This is what I got in the mail:

See all that tape?  Every single seam in the plain brown wrapper was taped up to the hilt, so I had to pull out a sharp-pointed scissor to get in.  I was laughing at my own impatience and the fact that she foiled me so well.

Inside that, the box.

It was like opening a present!  Which, I guess, is what it really was...

That was taped too, end to end.  Once I got inside, lots of wrapping to protect the tray.

I've already re-used all the bubble wrap, splitting it among four outgoing Reef Botanicals orders!  (Because yes, while the primary RB site is still down during renovations, you can shop at our HAF Shop.)

And then, the part I'd been waiting for, I got to my tray!

Isn't it pretty?  Even Eric commented that it was really cute, and he's not exactly a fan of the flowers and floof.  And here it is, sitting nicely on the corner of my dresser.  I'm almost loathe to put anything into it and block the view of the mosaic!

Want one of your own?  Check out Chris' shop!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Knew Sesame Street Was Cool

It's hard for me to believe it hit the airwaves only a year before I was born, considering how iconic it seemed when I was a kid.  It's quality children's programming, unlike so much of the garbage that's out there, as is evidenced by the fact that my sister, seven years younger than I, watched it as a kid too, but also by the fact that it's still around, 40 years later.  And it's still fresh!

It's so fresh that Will.I.Am, of the Black Eyed Peas, appeared on the show.  Look:

And be sure to take the message to heart.  It's a good one for big kids as well as little ones.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mmmm... Dinner...

Remember how I've said that Eric likes to cook and is really creative about it?  I was not kidding.  Our new house is still slightly in a shambles, but we've managed to get the kitchen mostly straightened (I'll admit it, Eric did most of the work), so tonight he decided he'd cook us a nice dinner.  We went shopping and ended up with...

First Course - A salad of dandelion greens, rainbow chard and fennel salad in a parmesan crisp bowl with a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.

Second Course - Blue Point oysters served with an onion, apple cider and balsamic vinegar sauce.

Third Course - Seared scallops with grains of paradise and saffron cream sauce and foam.

Intermezzo - Coconut and Mango - Sunny side up.  That's actually coconut milk, gelled with sodium alginate and calcium chloride, and mango juice spherified the same way.  He was just having fun trying this, but it turned out to be really yummy!

Fourth Course - Thinly sliced chicken seared in white truffle oil, served with mango caviar and red onions over quinoa.

It was as delicious as it looks!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I've got a collection of 'em. Hairsticks, I mean. Can it still be called a collection when I use them, though? I always think of my art glass as a collection, or the carousel horses with which I used to be obsessed, or those little David Winter cottages.  Stuff that goes in curios, y'know?

I guess this is a collection, though, though, albeit a useful one.  For those who've never heard of hairsticks or seen them, they're basically a pair of thin sticks that you insert into a bun to hold it in place.  Like this.

Now, I did that one late at night, when I finally checked the mail and saw they'd come and got really excited, and without the benefit of a mirror, so it's a little messy.  Here's what it all looks like when done right.

Pretty, right?  And despite the fact that I've got a bunch, made from different woods, some with beading and other embellishments, and one pair in brass (those are a little heavy for holding up hair, if I'm going to be honest) that I bought at the Renaissance Faire, I'm wearing these.  These are my newest, you see, and I'm a little obsessed with them.

And a friend of mine made them, one I met on the Handmade Artists Forum.

Jan's specialty is  making jewelry from exotic wood, and her stuff is gorgeous.  Wanna see?  Look here.  That's not enough?  She's got a shop here too.

In case you don't feel like clicking, and example.

That's a neck cuff made from Honduran Rosewood, and I'm in love with it.

These hairsticks, though, are made of pink ivory, which I'd never heard of before, so I checked it out on her blog.  That blog is an amazing source for learning about the beautiful wood she uses.  Pink Ivory, according to her blog, was once thought to be more rare than diamonds!  In the 1800s, only the Zulu royal family were allowed to possess it.  Even now, special permits are required to harvest the wood.  Geez, that makes it even more special that I own some and can wear it every day!

Jan cuts and shapes her wood, sands it on a belt sander, soaks it in oils, then polishes and buffs it to a beautiful shine.  In the end, there were these.

As something of a hairstick aficionado, I can tell you they're perfect.  I took these photos yesterday morning, and took the sticks out at 11 p.m., and they hadn't moved.  In fact, that was the original idea.  Jan sent them to me to test, as someone who knows hairsticks and also as someone who has a lot of hair.  I ended up buying them because I couldn't bear to send them back.

And yes, they were the only things holding up my hair all day.  For those of you who've never used hairsticks, here's how you do it:  You form a bun of whatever size you choose (there are days I just use the top part of my hair and leave the bottom hanging down to keep the length but get the front part out of my face) and hold it.  You take the pointy end of one stick and insert it in the bun.  At the edge of the bun, you want a small bit of the rolled hair between your head and the stick, but then you get it as close to your scalp as you can as you push it through.  At the other side of the bun, lift the point again, to get a bit of hair between your head and the stick.  That anchors it.  Then you do the same with the other stick, perpendicular to the first stick.  If you've done it right, they hold nice and tight for hours and hours, 'til you take them out.  Yesterday with my hairsticks in, I did office work, work around the house, went to watch a band and a movie in the park with my sister and brother-in-law, came back home, and watched some TV, and the sticks stayed all that time.

Today I'm face painting.  Those sticks are going in again!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What I Bought

Remember this contest on the Handmade Artists Forum, for which I made this puppet?

And how I won the contest?

Well, part of the prize was $25 in cash.  Since it was "found money," I decided to spend it frivolously, and buy something from another HAF member.  It took a while to decide, but finally settled on this awesome bracelet.

It's the creation of Deezie, and it's made from silver, sea glass, beads, vintage buttons, and shells.  As a kid, I was very into collecting shells and anything made from shells, and in fact I still have my entire collection, so this bracelet really called to me.  I got it today!

The details on it are really something else.  She used the most interesting bits of glass, beads, and buttons!

Isn't that great?  You're jealous, I know you're jealous.  There's a lot more in her shop, though.  Check her out!
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