Thursday, January 22, 2015

DIY Deodorant

      The past few months, I've been inspired to really take this year to live cleaner and healthier. I, in no way, have this perfected and have a long way to go before I've reached where I want to be. Ideally, I would like to be able to make my own makeup, shower products, etc for a cleaner, healthier me.

     My first step, was cutting out deodorant. I know. Ew. But, it's been brought to my attention again and again how terrible the ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants are, and I know I could go to the nearest Trader Joe's or whatnot and probably pick up a natural choice, but being the DIYer that I am, I wanted to make my own (run on sentence much?).

     So! Here is my shot at my own deodorant. 

     Grab a cute little jar, and make some for yourself. It's seriously so easy, and most of you probably have these ingredients around your house already.

     Are you ready for the secret recipe? Here it is! 

1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
6 Tablespoons Corn Starch

Scoop in to your cute little jar, and give it a good shake. And bam! Your very own homemade deodorant. It's that simple.

     I apply mine with a cotton pad, but you can use cotton balls, your fingers, what ever floats your boat. It's inexpensive, and you're not polluting your body with aluminum and other unwanted materials. 

     I found the recipe on the Frugal Ain't Cheap Blog. Please check out her experience of this deodorant! 
     I have been using it for two days, and I definitely have a...natural...scent. BUT it's not strong, and I spent most of the day outside in the California sun and I can't really smell myself unless I am trying to smell myself. 

     I might try adding another scoop of baking soda in a day or two to see if that helps. The original source talks about having a natural "funky" smell, that will eventually go away as your body detoxes after the years of deodorant use. Fingers crossed that it works! One woman commented and suggested putting a few drops of lavender or other oil on a rag and putting it in the jar so the powders take on the scent. Might be worth a try! 

     What are some healthy changes you want to make in your life this year?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Number Eleven

     Yesterday, was my baby sister's 11th birthday! How is that even possible....

     Her special day started off with donuts for breakfast, and then we all loaded in to the car for a trip to the aquarium (her personal request). Here's some photos from our fun day!

     The only aquarium I've been to, is the small one in Denver, so this was a treat not only for the birthday girl, but for me as well. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Not gonna lie, haha!

Look at this cool floor! Doesn't it make you want to be somewhere warm and tropical?

     Let the journey begin! It's pretty rare that our whole family gets to go on an outing of this magnitude together, so of course we needed people photos as well as marine life photos!

From left to right: Mikayla (17), Silas (7), Mom, and the Birthday Girl Amelia (11).

As we're standing under this massive mammal, my sister says "Imagine if this fell on us...." Thanks for that image.

Don't you think he's cute!?

     Fun fact about me. When I was younger, I was extremely in to marine biology and seriously considered going to college with this career in mind. I took a marine biology course when I was around 16 and fell in love with all things having to do with the ocean. I was constantly checking out books from the library and fell in love with the beautiful artistic images of corals, fish, and mammals and decided that I wanted to be a marine photographer. As you can see, that didn't exactly pan out how I expected. At least it hasn't yet.

This little spiny crab is so adorable!

This is a real shark baby. It's due to hatch in February!

     Throughout the Aquarium, they had stations set up to be able to touch some of the animals. We touched moon jellies, rays, bamboo sharks, starfish, and anemones! 

The colors are so dreamy.

Jellyfish are one of my favorites. I wish the photo was a little clearer, but you can still appreciate their beauty.

So dreamlike and beautiful.

     Did you know that jellyfish do not have brains? And a group of jellyfish is called a smack? I will tell you, that they feel exactly like you would think. Squishy! "I shall call him Squishy, and he shall be mine!" There were a lot of Finding Nemo references on this excursion....

Parker (on the left) and his friend.

     Meet Parker and his friend. They had just finished a show with their trainers, and were soaking up the attention. After their handlers left, they continued to flirt with who ever was watching and posing when you told them how cute they were. I need one for my own, so if anyone is feeling generous...?

Me and Mom.

     After hours at the Aquarium, we decided to walk the boardwalk right outside and see some of the views. It was a foggy, gorgeous day at the harbor.

     We finished exploring and went to Panda Express for dinner and then Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour for dessert. Farrell's is an experience in itself! If you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend it.

     This is a very popular birthday destination. My mom told us that growing up, you were one of the cool kids if you had your birthday party at Farrell's. When you walk through the door, you're greeted by friendly staff, appropriately dressed for the theme. Think barber shop quartet style. They ask if there is a birthday being celebrated, and give you a birthday sticker with your name on it to wear. You get a free sundae with a candle in it on your special day, and the staff pound the drum, blow the siren, and then they sing a song just for you. In the hour or two that we were there, we witnessed them sing to 20 that's right, 20 people celebrating their birthday! Yeah, we counted, haha.

Their menu is presented in an old fashioned newspaper style. So cute!

     We shared a mountain of shoestring fried onions dipped in plum barbeque sauce before we ordered our desserts.

The coffee passed my "coffee snob taste test".

     Amelia was a little shy about having strangers sing a song to her, but she dealt with it well (better than I did at her age!). The waitress came up with her staff playing the drums, whooping and hollering to get everyone's attention, and they sang and danced for her.

Enjoying her birthday sundae!

     The rest of us shared a peanut butter and chocolate sundae, and a banana split. I would have been completely satisfied had it been my birthday, and I know she had a wonderful time.

     Here's to another year of being your sister Miss Amelia! Big things are waiting for you and I'm so happy we got to share this day all together. Love you baby sister!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Reflecting and Gettin' Real.

     As my time in California is drawing to an end, I've been reflecting on the time I've spent here. I will fully admit, this adventure did not turn out the way I had envisioned 3 months ago....

     When the plan to move to California first sprouted, I saw it as an opportunity to do all that I've dreamed of doing. Spend every weekend at the beach, find local and cozy coffee shops, discover off-the-beaten-path bookstores, meet new and interesting people, wander around L.A., find some random restaurant that ends up having the most fabulous food. You know...the stereotypical SoCal experience that's always portrayed in the movies. But, like most things that happen in movies, LIFE tends to take a different course.

     But, I've spent these past few months living with my mom and siblings; an experience I haven't had in 3 years, and a time that I can't replace. I could say I've met new people, as my youngest siblings (age 7 and 11 today) were so young when I lived at home, and I've only just now had the opportunity to see who they are becoming.

     I've become closer with my 17 year old sister. A new best friend. Which is going to make leaving that much harder. I've had someone to talk to, someone to complain to, someone to adventure with, someone to be silly with. This is time I won't ever get back as I leave them here to pursue their new life, and I head home to pursue mine.

     I've been able to live with my Grandma again (after about 20 years!) and that is something I will treasure forever. We've had lunch dates, gone to the gym together, and spent time talking about life and my Grandpa.

A song my Grandpa would play and sing for my Grandma. It always made her cry.

   I may not have had the ideal experience I was hoping for, but we did discover an adorable Japanese General Store, visited an Asian Market, tried new coffee shops, and even made an evening trip to the beach on New Year's Eve.

     If I had been galavanting around constantly, I wouldn't have taken the time to get to know myself. I wouldn't have taken the time to pursue what I love, to write, to paint, to create, to play music....

      I would have been too "busy" to want to focus on a new study my mom, sister, and even a good friend have been doing an online. The women leading the group have inspired me even more to not believe the lies that the world can throw at me about what I love to do. Maybe I'm not the greatest writer or painter, and I'm not rich from selling the jewelry and other things I make, but it brings me joy, and if it makes me happy, surely it can bring inspiration to others. 

You can read about my "Becoming" stories here and here!

     I've learned to embrace me and who God has designed me to be. If you would like to join in the 8 week, totally free study, visit this link. The study has been empowering for me, and I think it will be for you as well.

     These past 3 months have given me experiences that I can't recreate from the movies. This has been real life; time that can't be replaced. Life can change so suddenly, you have to hold on to these precious moments.

     As life slowly begins to become "normal" again, I pray that I won't lose sight of everything I've learned about myself. I don't want to lose momentum with my Etsy pursuits. I want to be able to continue painting and writing. It's going to be a huge adjustment as I head back home to the snow, move in to an apartment I've never seen, find a new job, and rediscover my relationship with my best friend, my love....

     My husband will be getting here today with his best friend and my brother-in-law. In a weeks time, I will be loading all my belongings in to the back of our Subaru, and making the 12 hour drive home with these three. It's going to be a bittersweet moment. 
     I know while they're here, we'll be able to create some of the memories I've been longing to make while I've been on my "adventure". I will be photographing every day and sharing them as I find time. Here's to squeezing 3 months time in to one week of adventuring!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Do What Makes Your Heart Sing

      I don't know about you fellow artists, creators, DIYers, but a lot of times when I'm creating, I do it with the purpose of pleasing others. I tend to lean towards things that I know are trendy right now and that a general audience might be drawn to. And, I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with keeping your intended audience in mind, but only if  you plan on selling what you're making. 
      For me, I'm trying to switch gears in my brain. I'm trying to break free from the mindset of "following the crowd", and I want to make what makes me happy and inspired. Because chances are, if I like it and I am inspired, that someone, somewhere will also enjoy it! Obviously, this is how many people launch their own businesses and whatnot, but it's been something I've struggled with for a while. Create something I know will probably sell because it's trendy, or create something unique that may not be well received, but it brought me joy making. And the number one game changer for me has been to only make things that I would personally pick up in a store and say "hey! I need that!". A little taste of my own personal style you could say.

     I'm still a work in progress, but I find that when I do what makes my heart sing, my products are better received, and I'm happier because I don't feel like I've copied a million other people or that I'm trying to appeal to the masses. I've made something that is personal to me. 

     I would like to take you through a little bit of my creative process I guess you could say, and show you some of my newest listings that you can find here!

      I'm pretty sure that those who know me well, know that I love me some infinity scarves. When I first started making these scarves, I would knit one (with the intention of selling mind you), and before I knew it, I had finished it and was keeping it for myself. Yeah. This happens frequently. I personally own three or four of my own circle scarves now, and I have every intention of adding cream and black to my collection before it's too warm to wear them anymore! Hey, free advertising right? 
     My very first scarf was supposed to be part of a blanket. I had just started getting back in to knitting, and was making googly eyes at all the lovely knit and crocheted blankets I was seeing on Pinterest. I am an extreme DIY girl, and if I see something that I can't afford to buy, I will make it. Or at least...attempt to make it.

      This is what was supposed to be a blanket! I quickly realized, that it was going to take a lot of yarn to complete. So I knitted a rectangle, and then let it sit for weeks with every intention of finishing it. 
     One day, I was fed up with looking at this blue mass hanging from my knitting needles, so I finished it off and sat there staring at it. It suddenly occurred to me, that if I sewed the ends together, I would have myself a long coveted infinity scarf! And thus, the scarves were born. From there, I started posting about them on Facebook, and soon friends became interested (another great way to achieve free advertising!). One friend traded me a TV for scarves for his whole family! Uhm, win-win there!

You can view all the scarves I have available at Also, check out my Scarf Happy post here!

     Imagine if I had finished that blanket. I never would have launched a "business" of my own if I hadn't started with that simple pile of blue yarn. They are what made me want to truly pursue becoming an Etsy seller. And hey, if nothing else, I have my own collection of glorious scarves just for me, haha!

     Jewelry has been an area I've struggled with the most. I know what I like. It should be that simple right? Wrong! This is where I have had the hardest time creating for me and not for the crowds. I recently made my first sale on Etsy, and that was a slight ego boost my friends! Especially since it was something that I wasn't sure how well it would be received. It was different, it was big, and was sparkly. And it was the first thing to sell! I cannot tell you how that has helped change my thinking about what I do. It just reassured me that creating with my own originality in mind is the best way to go.

My first sale on Etsy!

     Making this first sale gave me the motivation to continue doing what I love. It inspired me to create a second, similar piece.

I am obsessed with these harem style bracelets!

     I had this deer charm sitting around for so long. It's when I let go, and let the piece create itself in a way, that it all comes together in a magical way. I know it's not everyone's style, but I love it so much!

   A recent trip to Hobby Lobby, in search of a birthday gift, quickly turned in to a shopping-for-myself trip (anyone else do this?). I will admit, that I did not come home with a gift. I came home with supplies for myself. Yeah. Uh huh. It happened. But, just look at these darling feathers! Can you blame me?

I bought these purple/floral beads years ago and have never found the right project for them. It got to the point where I hated the sight of them because they had been around for so. long. Clearly, because they were waiting to complete these earrings! Sometimes I think the pieces just know what they're going to become one day.

I adore these white and pink speckled beads! They remind me off tiny eggs. And those turquoise glass beads? Love this combo!

      I know I'm doing something right, when I sit down to make something and there isn't the slightest hesitation in my mind. Everything flows together in a magical way, and the pieces are created effortlessly. I know I need to take a break and reevaluate what I'm doing if I've hit a creative roadblock. 

This gorgeous turquoise color is just speaking to me lately. And there are those speckled "egg" beads again!
     Sometimes when I'm out shopping for supplies, I see something and I instantly know what I'm going to do with it. That's how it was with these metal Indian head charms. And also, with these cute, geometric wooden beads.

I love the natural feel of wood. It's simple and beautiful. How about those speckled beads again though? Haha.

     These little treasures were another one of my birthday-gift-shopping-but-shopping-for-myself finds. Can we just talk about how cute these are for a minute? Please? They are so tiny, to minimalistic, so adorable! And the best thing, they came in a pack of about twenty, so there are endless possibilities here! Suggestions for the next project?

     My bird nest jewelry has been my "best seller" through friends and family. I've made rings, earrings, and necklaces. This was my first stab at a bracelet. And I am in love with the leather/wire combination! This was time consuming. Probably the most time I've spent on a single project. Mostly because it was a trial and error project I think. I've had the leather cord for quite a while, and every time I've attempted to make a bracelet or necklace out of it, I've hated the outcome. This one came together pretty effortlessly as far as design. It was simply the assembling that took some brain power, and creativity, and left me with sore fingers afterwards!

I love the contrast between the delicate wire, and the more masculine leather.

     I will say, my "Eternity" bracelets were definitely inspired by other sellers. I have longed for one for quite a while, and have tried making my own and just wasn't happy with it. Somehow, this happened. And I think it it absolutely darling! Ideally, I wanted a more delicate looking bracelet, but I'm quite happy with the results, and even made one just for myself which I wear on a daily basis.

     For now, I am content with what I am making. It's inspired by my heart and what makes me happy, and I want people to feel that when wearing my pieces. Each item is made with love! I am looking forward to branching out, and moving up, and getting the chance to work with more materials, and creating higher quality products. That won't be tomorrow, but I know it's coming and I am excited to see where this adventure leads me next!

What words would you use to describe my style? Please comment below or head over to the Forest and Sea Creative Facebook page and leave your words! And as always, if there is something you would like to see, I love suggestions!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Embracing Life

     When it rains, I feel somber. Melancholy. Pensive. And I love it. Sometimes, I wish it would rain for weeks on end. It's the perfect time to be still and reflect. To sit cozy with a book and a mug of coffee. To paint a picture....

     I've found myself the last two days writing. The thoughts just flow into my head and I record them without rhyme or reason. I'm not sure what the cause of this is, perhaps Holy inspiration, but I'm loving the freedom of expression. 

     I've been sitting down and letting the words flow from my pen onto the paper without really even knowing what I'm saying. No deep thoughts. No profound ideas. Just writing. Releasing emotions and thoughts that were hiding for no reason other than being afraid of my own judgement towards myself. Towards my words, my thoughts, my art.... The words seem disconnected; but it feels like another person has written these streams of sentences. I like it that way.

     I am praying to adapt this mindset always, starting in 2015 and beyond. My words are no less great than Charles Dickens or Jane Austen. My ideas and thoughts are no less profound than Albert Einstein. At least in Jesus' and my eyes. 

     I am the unique individual. From here on out, I will stop trying to please the crowd. I will begin to focus on me and the impact I might have on those around me. I won't be judgmental of my words and ideas because they are mine. They were given to me by Someone who knows my heart, my mind, my life. They should be used to inspire others and not meant for my own selfish want of the perfect sentence, the perfect journal entry. Does anyone else have this obsession with the "perfect journal"? 

     I have many empty journals. Yet I keep acquiring more. Why? Because I want to fill these pages with life, with passion, with love. I want the words to drip from the pages as someone reads my story and cries. I want my words to inspire laughter. Yet here sit these empty books. Many times have I begun to write my "story" only to rip out the pages when the thoughts don't flow, and the words become jumbled, and the story isn't perfect. Selfish. Absurd. Wrong. 
     I look at old photographs of people in days gone by, and I want to know them. I want to hear their story, I want to know their thoughts. But who will want to know my story? Who will wonder what I thought on a rainy day in 2015? 

     No story is more worth telling than my own. And that is a truth I have only recently accepted. The words of the world, their lies, have led me to believe that because I'm not a world traveler, wealthy, or a genius, that my story isn't worth people's notice. Not true. Each story, each of our stories, your story is special. Don't be afraid to tell it. There's no greater time than now, for there may not be a tomorrow.

     I strongly encourage you to embrace yourself this year, this great 2015 that is just begun. Move past the lies in your head, the lies that are fed to you. Become who you are destined to be. It's not somewhere down the road, it's not something you missed out on, it's now. Now. "The enemy lies to you heart to bring you down, but God is for you."

     He is for who you are right now. Be that light, be that love, be that story that you are destined to be. Explore your mind, your words, your actions. Trial and error is life, and the imperfection is what makes it perfect. 

     My theme for this year: I will judge myself no more. 

Empowering. Freeing. Peace inspiring.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Day Dreaming With Jesus

     Hi everyone,
I started participating in an online "Bible study" (it's free to join; just follow this link) and it was strongly encouraged to take time out of your day for quiet. For stillness. For alone time with your thoughts and with God. I took the advice (which I've heard many times and only today have put it in to action), and chose to spend this time out in the semi-tranquil backyard, painting. Here's what I ended up with.

     I had been wanting to do a dream catcher painting because 1. I love them and 2. a friend of mine did a dream catcher painting recently and it was gorgeous and inspired me! 

     I had a..."moment" I guess you could say as I was watching today's video from the study. Jeanne, who starts the study off, was talking about how we are all born with gifts. We are all unique. We all have a path of our own to travel. Obviously, the old saying "life is a journey" is true. But today (with the help of Jeanne), I realized that I alone was born for this. I have been called to this life, right here, right now. And it may not be perfect, and it's always a little messy, but it's the life I was born to live. That is an empowering thought! It also gave me a little perspective on my creative endeavors. It made me switch gears in my brain, and I suddenly don't feel this harshness and judgey feeling towards my own work. Because what I am doing right now, is what I am meant to be doing right now. Talk about the pressure being lifted!

     Jeanne talks about not focusing on others lives and gifts because you may miss out on your own life! You cannot shine if you are not being you and doing what inspires you. She encourages us to not hoard our gifts. We were given our talents, our brains, our passions, our gifts to share with one another, and to share the gift of God. 

     So be encouraged, dear friends! You are where you are supposed to be, right now! God knows your heart. He knows your desires. And he made this day, this moment, with you in it for a purpose. This is your calling!

     A little Scripture as I leave you this evening...

      So use your gifts, whatever they may be. They were gifted to you by the One who loves you and knows you best. This is your calling, your path. Take pride in it, don't hoard your gifts, and give the glory back to Him.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

DIY Nail Polish Flower Crown

     Can we just take a minute to oooh and aaah over this please? I am quite proud.

     I saw a photo going around Pinterest of this gorgeous little flower crown. And my mind was blown when I realized they were using nail polish to create these beauties! That's right, you heard correctly. Nail polish. So, I decided to give it a try. I unfortunately don't have a tutorial of my own, so I will have a link to the original post below. Here are a few things that I had to deal with while creating these beauties.

     There was a little trial and error here, because the wire for the petals had to be touching to keep the nail polish in this bubble wand like state. And first my wire was too thin and flimsy, and then it was too heavy and hard to shape. Thankfully I have a mandril so it helped with the shaping process, but honestly, a spoon or pencil or any other object with a similar shape will work great! 

     You can see the original tutorial that I found here. I absolutely love their color choices and I hope to make a full flower crown some day. Just to warn you, it is extremely time consuming, but so rewarding when you get to see the final project!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sisters Chasing The Light

     Today started out taking photos of my newest Etsy item. It quickly escalated in to laughs, funny photos, and a good time with my sister. The lighting was gorgeous today and it seemed to turn in to the theme for our impromptu photo shoot. Here are some photos from our day.

You can find this new bracelet here!

I don't know what it is about this big bush/tree, but I seriously love it.

Things started to take a turn for the crazy right about here.
Confused a bit...?

We become "one" with nature around here.
Did someone say "ethereal"?
Even the brother wanted to be involved!

     We decided to continue on with our "light" theme, and headed up to the Diamond Bar Center to take some pictures of the sun setting over the city.

It was finally warm enough to wear shorts again today!

Natural beauty I'm afraid.

The Honda checking out the view.

     It was a gorgeous, warm, sunshiney day. As cheesy as it is, sunshine on my shoulders, really does make me happy!