Leaf Skeletons

Aside from bringing home pine cones, sea shells, rocks, sticks, worms, and anything else Burl finds along our walks, we've been gathering leaf skeletons. There are several tutorials online on how to prepare your own, but they involve chemicals and tedious work. I've learned that if you look hard enough you'll be able to find them all on your own, just outside. I find them under hydrangea and camellia bushes during Fall, Winter and early Spring.

I've been tucking these little leaves into gifts and samples and other things that I give away. I think they'd look pretty in a simple frame as well. Happy Hunting!


Eggs Done Naturally

Enough with yesterday's heaviness....On to happier things!

Like dyeing Easter Eggs with natural dyes. This was my first experiment with dyeing anything since my childhood. I had several herbs and vegetables already on hand that can be used for natural dyes; spirulina, black walnut, turmeric, beet powder, red onion skins, and alkanet. The eggs didn't turn out has vibrant or bright as I had hoped; did I add too much vinegar? Not enough? I don't know, but the whole process was so much fun, and something I'll be doing more of. In fact, I have some yarn soaking in some dye right as I type. I'll reveal those results in another post.

For these eggs, I loosely followed Martha's instructions. A simple google search will bring up unlimited links as well.

I'm extending my candle/ lip balm giveaway until Monday. Happy Easter, my friends. It really is a very special time of year that has much meaning to me.

With love ~ Amber


Earth Day and Copycats

Happy Earth Day, friends! I love this day of the year, and am especially happy that it's here today. I've had a rough few days this week, and am looking forward to relaxing today.

Earlier this week, I learned of a copycat shop on Etsy that has been stealing my ideas and creations and claiming them to be their own. I stewed and fumed over it for a few days, but them calmed down and came to this conclusion: This shop really isn't a threat to me. I don't feel that this shop has the potential to be taking business away from me. It's just the principle of the matter really gets to me. The shop is run by a repeat customer of mine, who obviously bought items they planned on recreating and selling in their shop claiming them to be their own creations.

I admit that my shop isn't filled of novel ideas. Essential oil blends like Grapefruit Mint or Lavender Citrus are not things that I invented. And brown paper packages tied with string, not my idea. But my Lip Balm? And my Spring blend? My verbiage and photography? My packaging and labels and designs? Those are absolutely things that I solely created that this person has ripped off from me. And those aren't the only things that were stolen. The entire shop is basically a knockoff of my creations.

Here are some of my thoughts: my shop is original and authentic. I've spent years and years and countless hours and hard work (and money!) developing my products, my style, my customer base, etc. And I'm still growing as a crafter and shop owner. And for this person to just swoop in, and within a few months of ordering my products expect to have a successful little shop that is just a copy of mine, it really upsets me. I've had many, many artists, crafters, friends, Etsy shop owners, and prominent bloggers step up to support me. Many of these friends of mine are creative and talented artists who have had similar situations happen to them. Unfortunately, copycats seem to be a growing trend with artists on the internet.. Read a little about copycats here and here. If this person follows anything I do online, which obviously they do, they'll become aware that I know what they are up to. This person has temporarily closed their shop claiming "vacation", and hopefully they are taking time to seriously reconsider the direction of their shop.

Anyway, I've decided to take the turn-the-other-cheek approach, for now. But I'll have a close eye on this person. I have better things to do than to deal with this. Better things like nourish the growing babe in my belly, and wash sap off my three-year-old's feet, and finish making critter barriers to protect my fruit and vegetable crops, and snuggle my Baby Kitty (that's what Burl prefers me call him these days, "I want you snuggle me, Mama Kitty") and plant more seeds, and make more soap, and read this book, again, for the gazillionth time today.

So let's get on with celebrating Earth Day! Today, in honor of Earth Day and ORIGINALITY!, with each order over $10 (before shipping costs), I'm giving away your choice of my Sweet Peppermint Lip Balm or a 3-ounce Spring Soy Wax Candle.

Enjoy your day, my friends! And enjoy this beautiful Earth we live on!

With love,


Simple Potato Saute

Our lunch today, inspired by the ingredients I had on hand and a dish that was served at a cafe where I used to work.

Simple Potato Saute:

Saute 8 diced red potatoes from the garden in a couple tablespoons of butter for about 10 minutes. Add 1 diced red pepper and saute another 5 minutes. Add 1/2 diced sweet yellow onion and saute another few minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika, salt, pepper, and chopped fresh cilantro.



Curry Lentil Vegetable Soup

Before I forget how I made it, I thought I'd share what I just put together for lunch. Burl devoured it.

Saute in olive oil:
1/2 small white onion
1 small russet potato
3 celery stalks
2 carrots
1 yellow crookneck squash
1 zucchini
about 1 1/2 cups cauliflower

Simmer about 1 1/2 C lentils in a separate pot, add to veggies. Season with salt, pepper and curry powder (about 2 T).

The sun is shinning today (kind of), Burl and I are taking a quick break from seed planting to enjoy our soup outside.

Enjoy your day!


Flower Friday

For months it's been so dreary around these corners! I'm so very anxious to see some sunshine. It's a wonder how all the flowers are starting to bloom. But sure enough, they are. And that gives me hope that sunny weather is on it's way.

Enjoy your Friday, my friends!


Out Collecting

Burl and I take a lot of walks and collect little things along our way. Among many evergreens in our neighborhood are two beautiful pine trees with long needles and big pine cones. We've been saving the larger pine cones along our way. Last fall, we made some pine cone candles for fire starting, which were quickly burned up. I plan to make more this coming fall. I make mine a little differently, but DesignSponge has a great post on how to make them.

I'll share more of our collections in another post. Happy Tuesday, friends!


Old Windows

I'd love to have a little greenhouse like this or this. I've been collecting old wooden framed windows that I find for free on Craigslist, in the hopes that someday I'll be able to construct some sort of greenhouse. I have about 50 windows so far, and no idea how to transform them into a structure.


Ravenna Gardens has some beautiful sheds, made by John Akers.

There's also a man on Whidbey Island who makes some pretty beautiful sheds out of reclaimed materials. Pretty creative folks, if you ask me.

Happy Monday, friends.