Christmases Past Crafts

 My daughter and I have a bit of fun each year creating Christmas lovelies for ourselves and to give as gifts.  We are almost always on a budget so here's just a few of the pretties we've put together  in previous years....almost all of these materials can be found at either the Dollar Tree, Goodwill...or any other thrift store.  All you need is a bit of paint, glitter and a lot of imagination....and Pinterest helps too....
 These are Dollar Tree churches and houses...we spray painted them all white and then glittered them up!
 These are Dollar Tree bottle brush trees perched on top of glass salt and pepper shakers found at our favorite thrift store...just add some fake snow and Voila!
 Love these....thrifted canning jars filled with fake snow and white trees from Dollar Tree...we glued on little pearls and added ribbon garland...don't forget to glitter up the lids for some extra sparkle!
 This made a cute vignette...thrifted glass vase...with faux snow, Dollar Tree trees and we perched a tree on top of a Matchbox car!
Cute, cute, cute.....my son had this adorable little red matchbox truck and I borrowed it to add to my vignette.  It doesn't cost a lot of money to add some Christmas charm :)

My daughter is visiting us for Thanksgiving...and we're going to work on our next project then too....I will give you a hint....it involves these:
Stay tuned to find out!! Have a great week and a wonderful Blessed Thanksgiving!

~Robin

The Verdict on the Homemade Deodorant.......

....the homemade deodorant works...and it works WELL.  We've had temps in the mid 90's here recently so it was a good week to test out the homemade deodorant (recipe below).   My husband has been using it too and it passes the sniff test for both of us.  I was waiting to see how it performed before chucking my commercial deodorant in the trash...so in the trash my tube of Secret went!  My daughter stopped by on her way home from a vacation in California and I gave her a jar to take home with her and so far I think she loves it too, she even texted me later for the recipe.
It's a winner for sure, and now that we have a safe, natural and cost effective alternative to the toxic commercial brands....there's no going back for me.

Blessings
~Robin

Homemade Natural Deodorant

   Hello!  Long time no post, I am bad...I know.  I'm working on getting my life back in order and my goal right now is to simplify by purging the unnecessary and save money at the same time by changing some of the things that I do and products that I buy.  Some of you may know that I eat a mostly meat-free diet and have gone whole food plant based...meaning fruits, vegetables,grains, beans and nuts.  I am very conscious of how much we waste as well as all the toxic chemicals that are in the products we rely on.

  I recently decided to start making my own homemade deodorant after reading the label of my commercial solid deodorant.   The active ingredient in my commercial deodorant is "Aluminum zirconium trichlorohydrex" along with other ingredients such as cyclopentasiloxane, petrolatum, phenyl trimethicone, cyclodextrin, behenyl alcohol ....among many others.  After researching these terms...what stands out to me are the following:  "generally safe", "a derivative of a silicone based polymer", "produced by means of enzymatic conversion", "not natural".

....Think of it this way, we put this product on our underarms day in and day out year after year as not to be stinky, and as most of us shave our armpits, these chemicals can enter our bodies through small cuts and open pores.  I knew there had to be a more natural and safe way to be smelling fresh as a flower so I did a lot of research on homemade deodorant recipes and came up with one that, so far, seems to be effective and user friendly.

   From the photo above, the ingredients are baking soda, arrowroot powder, organic coconut oil and essential oil (if desired).

  The recipe is 5 tbsp Coconut oil
                       1/4 cup baking soda
                       1/4 cup arrowroot powder
                       10-20 drops of essential oil of your choice (I had orange on hand so I used that)

Mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl, force the baking soda and the arrowroot powder into the coconut oil (just as you would cream sugar into butter when baking) then add the essential oil.


    I had enough for two small jars which should last a very long time as a little goes a long way.  What you do is just swipe a bit with your finger and apply it to your underarms, it dries beautifully and is not cakey or oily. If you find that your environment is a bit warmer and the coconut oil melts a bit, pop the jar of deodorant in the fridge or freezer and it will set back up nicely and you can either keep it in the fridge or keep it out at room temperature. The consistency should be creamy but not runny. (see photo below)
      I glued a bit of pretty paper to the top of the canning jar lid so the jar would look pretty sitting on my vanity.  :)  I have seen some Etsy sellers selling this same/similar creme deodorant for $6 and upwards of $12 per jar!!!!  All my ingredients came to about $6 *total* and I can make batch after batch from my original investment...and it will yield 2 jars per batch..so this is a real money saver here by making it yourself.

       Let me know if you decide to try this recipe or if you have any tips you'd like to share.

     Blessings for a great week!
     ~Robin
So, it's been awhile.  We have moved from a very large house to an older cottage...so far I am loving it.  I do not miss the wasted space the previous house had with it's vaulted ceilings and open concept living area.  I know lots of people would love to have an open floor plan but really, unless you are a very immaculate house keeper......you can always see the dirty dishes from the living room. :)
This house is an older house and reminds me of a cottage, it has plantation shutters throughout...which I love.  All of my vintage and antiques fit much nicer in this home, our previous home was built in 2004 and was very new construction looking...it's kinda hard to make old things fit into a newly built home that doesn't have such characteristics as chair rails, wainscoting, or crown molding.....but we got by...I made my shabby, chippy and peeling furniture fit the best I could.

We've been in this house for less than 6 months and are still settling in.  Recently, my brother sent me a few boxes of Bittersweet vines from New England that I am still working into my decor.
I adore Bittersweet...I really do. The last time I received bittersweet was about 10 years ago so I was so thankful to receive a freshly harvested supply.

I recently made a label for my vintage cream can that I've had for many years.  i printed an image off the web and then aged it with Krylon paper Finishes Antiquing Spray and a permanent marker (a tip I found on Pinterest)
I LOVE Pinterest...I have come across so many clever folks and lots of great blogs in the process!
I am going to try to keep my little bloggy going as I realize I've missed it...as well as visiting my neighbors here on the web.
Blessings to all.
~Robin


My Hidden Hoard

  You are probably wondering what exactly I'm hoarding here...lol.  It's not sheep...although I am constantly on the lookout for vintage orphaned nativity sheep.  I bought this prim little cubbie years ago, I believe from Goodwill, it has been moved around from room to room over the years and this is where it sits currently...in my hallway.
  Each of the little drawers holds different treasures....while going through them I found: a tiny eyeglass repair kit, dice, thumbtacks, a pop up turkey timer, needle and thread, batteries, bobby pins, various lone earrings, replacement led for a mechanical pencil, one of the pets old and worn rabies tag as well as various other things.
  What is MOST unusual is something that has an entire drawer dedicated to the collection....here it is folks...my hoard:
Bread tabs....93 of them to be exact.  Why? I really don't know...it just got to be a habit of mine to toss one or two in the drawer because I hated it when the tabs went missing and you still needed one to keep the bread fresh.  So, that's it, that's my hoard...if you need any bread tabs let me know. I think I can spare a few. :)

Good Tidings and Great Joy

Did you have a fabulous Christmas?  I did, and I hope the New Year is even more fabulous......I have high hopes for 2014.  I will be blogging more in the new year, this past year got away from me and although it was kind of nice not having to worry about blogging or my etsy store (which has been on hiatus), I'm ready to get back in the loop. Mr. Bittersweet has gifted me with a lovely new laptop so I don't have too many excuses now....

My daughter gave me this Underwood typewriter for Christmas and my son gave me a vintage kitchen scale to go with my collection.....once I start taking down the Christmas decor, I'll be sure to post my lovelies as I get them displayed.

Peace to all and a Joyous New Year.
~Robin

I crown thee....

Don't be so hasty to throw those broken ornaments away....pieces from old broken jewelry work well too!
There's always room for more than one Queen. :)

Spring Cleaning

Our Winter here where I am is a very long season of rain, rain and more rain.  We finally have a few days of sunshine and we're ready to welcome Spring.  I took the leaf out of my table to allow for a bit more room and since we all have our own schedules....it seemed more like a catch-all than a place for people to gather.
My son and I sit at the table to do school during the day and this will suit us just fine. My daughter works full time and will start college in a few weeks so very rarely do the four of us gather here for a meal all at the same time.
I've always had a rocking chair in the corner...sometimes it's this green one, or an old white one, or the one I got 20 years ago for a baby shower gift.  Some of you may remember our kitty Flynn that passed away a few years ago....this was his spot...he loved sleeping in the rocker in the corner.  I embroidered his name on the pillow but you really can't see it well due to the floral pattern...so I have plans to make another one soon.
Our youngest cat, Simba, has taken over the rocker but it will always be Flynn's chair.
Simba is quite adventurous, he recently discovered that he can jump from the red armoire to the cabinet tops...
Our other two cats are between 11 and 13 years old so they're not quite as daring, which suits Simba just fine.  He has this space all to himself.
Walter has been waiting for Spring also, he spends a lot of his time in the window overlooking the common area behind our house....even he is getting tired of all the rain.
He's very resourceful though and makes his own fun ...almost daily after running around in the back yard, he finger paints for me on the back slider. This is one of my favorites, you can see his little paw prints :)
I hope you all have a Blessed Week and I hope the sun is shining in your part of the world!

I am Here

                                                         Photo via Pinterest

    I am Here. Just very busy and have had many things on my mind that have nothing to do with the blogging world.  My husband told me that I had over 40 spam messages on my last post so I changed my settings and now I have to approve comments.  When the cat's away the mice will play I suppose:)
    We have had no snow accumulation this Winter, and the past few days have felt very much like Spring.  I am cleaning and rearranging and throwing things out and actually enjoying it very much. It is very rainy here and the dog has tracked in so much muck all over my floors it's hard to keep up.
   I have slowly begun to come around and visit all my neighbors blogs....I have missed so much. I will be back soon....my computer is in need of a new cord so while I am waiting on that I have been stealing moments on my husband's office computer....it's very hard to read blogs from a smart phone...and it's a horrible strain on my middle-aged eyes. :)

Blessings to all for a great Weekend.
~Robin

I'm on vacation from my vacation...

  Well, first I'll start off by saying I'm not very fond of the new blogger format....it's very unfamiliar to me and kinda of "stark" looking, I know I've been gone too long but all I have to say is ICK. I'm not even sure if I'll stick with this background but I was feeling pink last night when I chose it. I'm trying to surround myself with loveliness and JOY since I'm very sour about the election results....I'm sure it was a steal, if you know what I mean. I personally feel America took the wrong turn at the fork in the road but I can sleep well knowing I had no part in it and whatever happens the Lord is in control.

   My vacation back to New England was...how shall I put it....the worst vacation I ever took in my adult life. I hadn't been back to New England in 10 years and I was so excited to see not only my family, but my husband's family as well. My son went with me, the last time he was in New England was when he was 6 so he really didn't remember much about it. I, on the other hand, was born and raised there and didn't move away until I was 32 so I had SO MANY places I wanted to revisit that brought me so many great memories. I was sad to discover that the quaint little New England town that I remembered was no longer quaint or little....growth made it boom into a town I didn't recognize and I swear to you there was a Dunkin Donuts about every half mile as you traveled down the roads (roads that used to be single lane in each direction but now were widened to two and three lanes in each direction, some even rerouted entirely). You know when you have fond memories of something and it always stays the same whenever you think about it? I kind of wish I didn't go back because now, when I think of my hometown, I think of how I saw it last and not how I remembered it...or expected it be...the same.  I'm very nostalgic, I remember smells, feelings, sounds from a certain time and place and I keep the silliest things as souvenirs ...I think this is important, it's important to hold onto something that once was because you will never get it back.  Sometimes you can't go back and then there are times when you should not go back.

   Family also changes, people in your family have their own lives, their own problems and worries, and you may even discover they no longer share the same values.  I found myself in the company of a lot of unhappiness and let me tell ya, I'm pretty happy-go-lucky but if there's an elephant in the room I will be the first to acknowledge it and ask about why it's there (that doesn't always go over so well).  I've never been the kind of person who dances around a subject, if I have something to say-especially if it concerns someone I love-then I say it.  Sometimes, to find out if someone needs help, you need only just ask.... but then, there are times when you have to realize that there is absolutely nothing you can do because once a person has it in their mind to be miserable...then you have to accept that and walk away.

  I have my own family, my own worries and my own day to day issues.. but from this experience....this vacation...I realized just exactly how happy I really am. I had an "Ah Ha moment" from a horrible vacation....and so I believe my vacation had to be that way...to show me just how Blessed I am.  It served it's purpose I suppose....that's what God wanted me to see.

    So...in a nutshell....there you have it.

   
  Here's my kitchen Christmas tree we just put up....after it got knocked over 3 times by the cat and dog, we put it in a #5 Redwing shoulder crock.  I love it!  I am slooooowly eeking out my Christmas decor...how about you?

Have a Blessed Weekend!

I'm back

...been back for a while, just been neglecting my little blog. It's late night right now and after picking out a new background for my blog I've decided it's too late for a long winded blog post. I'll be back on tomorrow night (Fri) Catch up with you then and I'll talk about my vacation and whatnot. :) ~Robin

Private Spaces

I just thought I'd give you a peek into one small part of my bedroom....this space includes a vintage dresser that I repainted and adorned with some vintage lovelies.  This old dresser used to be Mr. Bittersweets when he was a child...it was dark brown, then a turquoise blue, mossy green and now it's an ivory color but I distressed it so all the colors from it's previous life are visible.
I also changed out the hardware because at one point, when it was green, my son was using it as a dresser in his room and I wanted it to have a more updated feel.
Right now, it's acting as a catch-all..it holds craft and wrapping supplies.  I have a desk in my room that I use for crafting but it doesn't have as many drawers as it should so this dresser really came in handy for me.
I recently picked up an antique cast iron soap dish at a local antiques store so I thought it made a nice holder for my collection of old skeleton keys.  I placed a tattered piece of lace between the keys and the dish to make the keys stand out a bit.  I adore old keys don't you?
A vintage bell jar holds a collection of white and pearl antique buttons.  Some are from my Great Grandmother's collection.
Some of you may remember my assistant Charlotte,,,she used to sit on my desk and help me craft but while on a recent foray at Goodwill I found her a boyfriend.....
...actually I found this boy AND another Charlotte.  I was very excited and snapped them right up!  Actually, the busts are Louise AND Alexander Brongniart the original busts were sculpted by Jean Antoine Houdon and are on display in the Louvre. ( I have an extra Charlotte (Louise) in my Etsy shoppe if anyone is interested)
Love this tiny little painting on silk...I bought it to resell but I haven't been able to bring myself to part with it!
A beautiful rosewood box that holds my heart  topped with some lace and antique books.....
..these books belonged to my Great Grandmother Emma who is pictured in my header.  They mean so much to me.
I love this vintage creamer, it has just the right amount of patina on it...it's the perfect resting place for this glittery pink fabric rose. Another item I bought to resell but couldn't part with.
I've had this vintage print of a painting for over 10 years and before that it spent 25 years hanging in a shop in Connecticut as part of the decor and before THAT it was purchased at an antique store.  I recently found out it is a painting of Lady Emma Hamilton who lived from 1765 to 1815...very cool indeed.  I also adore the  pillow sachet I have on the dresser top, made from an antique monogrammed handkerchief...stuffed to capacity with lavender..... it smells so heavenly.

I hope you are all having a lovely week....
Blessings,
Robin