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I am so excited to let you meet my friend Ann from Ann’s Herbals! Not only is she a wonderful, kind and caring friend, BUT she makes the best soap in the world! As you know natural ingredients are super important to us here at Spice Grove Designs which is one reason I was so over the moon excited to meet Ann and her shop! I love that she grows the very ingredients she puts into her soaps and body products so I know they are chemical free. She makes them with such love and care, from the actual product to the packaging to the communication. Each time I order she makes me feel like I am her favorite customer! Plus there’s always a special treat she includes!! (And who doesn’t love a surprise chocolate?) I know what most of my Christmas list will find in their stockings this year!

I have to share that I’ve always had trouble with dry, cracked and bleeding hands, especially in the Fall and Winter. I’ve been buying Ann’s soaps for a while now but only used them in the guest bathroom or for ‘special’ occasions. (I know, I’m silly right!?!) Anyway – I decided I would use them at every sink for a week and see what effect that had on my hands. Within 1 week they were about 60% better and by the end of week 2 they were 100% healed, and softer and smoother (and more pain-free) than they’d been in YEARS!! Amazing!!

I also LOVE the different scents she offers, not just in her soaps but in her lip balms, salves and lotion bars! (Who doesn’t love a mocha lip balm!!) They make such great gifts! Just make sure you buy enough, as my 8-year-old is always running off with my lip balms after Ann sends me a new order!! I just love that they are safe enough to use on my little ones. She even has a new baby soap that I just bought and I can’t wait to try on my 20 month old who has eczema!  She has so generously offered to giveaway one of her Ditch the Itch Soap and Herbal Salve Gift Set!  ($17 value!)  So make sure to enter to win below the feature! Trust me – you don’t want to miss out on this! Now here’s more about Ann in her words.

Tell us about yourself and your products.

I have been fascinated with the healing power of herbs for over 30 years. My whole adult life I suffered from eczema. In the 1990’s while studying Natural Health I decided I needed to find something to help my eczema flare ups. In one course of study the class was to make an herbal remedy from any of the herbs that were covered in the course. It was a perfect opportunity for me to try to “solve” my skin issues. After deciding on the best herbs to use, I went into my backyard and found them all, right there, waiting for me to put them to work. Simple weeds, medicinal powerhouses. Chickweed Calendula and Comfrey. From that moment I made a connection with nature that has never left me. This was the start of annsherbals, my herbal salve. I later changed the formulation by replacing the Comfrey with Plantain and it proved to be equal if not better. From there the inspirations flourished.

My son taught me to make soap. My soaps are not fancy, not pretty colors but they are made from high quality organic plant oils, pure essential oils and organic, wildcrafted or homegrown herbs. They are cut straight from the mold no trimming or polishing just a delightful slice of annmade soap.
I also have two herbal salves that I created, lotion bars, body butters and lip balms. Nothing fancy, my focus is quality and synthetic free. I also have a liniment that I sell locally. A local Physical Therapist uses it when she does massages. I originally formulated it for myself, I was having some leg pain. It worked so well I started letting others try it and by the wonders of nature, it works great!

Ann's Beautiful 'Ditch the Itch Soap and Salve Gift Box'

Ann’s Beautiful ‘Ditch the Itch Soap and Salve Gift Box’

What makes your products different from other similar products?

I have always had very sensitive skin, metal allergies, and some allergies I haven’t even figured out yet. Many many people suffer with skin sensitivities and by helping myself I knew I could help others. My products bring to the customer:
1. High quality oils and herbs.
2. Synthetic and chemical free skin care products made especially for sensitive skin.

What brings you joy/encouragement in your life and in creating your products?

I can’t stress enough the wonders of nature and what nature provides for us. Everything we need nature can provide. I feel joy and great pleasure in using the natural remedies that nature provides. I am also in awe and amazement at their selflessness in providing for us nourishment, medicine and beauty. I am well aware of their gifts; it is the most extraordinary feeling to create something from nature and watch it work. Seeing my salve help a rash, a bug bite, an eczema flare up, diaper rash, a cut or burn and so much more brings me the greatest pleasure and makes me humble at the same time. I am only the vehicle by which nature can fulfill its purpose.

If you had to choose just one of your products as your favorite you’ve created/made which one would it be?

I have to say my herbal salve, it’s my baby, my first creation that saved my skin and helps so many others. It’s sister salve (simple no pimple salve) which is my latest product is amazing too. So I think I will say my salves!

What does a day in your studio look like?

I actually do my best creating at night. Paperwork and promoting is my day job. At night it’s quiet and peaceful and I do my best creating. I have a very long to do list that gets put off by keeping up with current products and orders. I usually prepare the ingredients for a loaf of soap one night and then actually make it the next night. After preparing the ingredients I will make labels, experiment with scents or a new product. I just finished a skeeter spray after working on it for 2 years. I think I finally got a great blend! My next project is a natural deodorant. I would have liked to of started the deodorant months ago but when you are a one woman show wearing all the hats of the business it takes time and patience to accomplish all you want to do. Most nights I lose track of time and it gets into the wee hours of the morning. I have to say though, there is nothing I would rather do. It’s who I am and what I am good at. I admire anyone who sings their own song, whatever that song may be.
I will end with my favorite quote.

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to have my senses put in order.”

Where can our readers find you?

I have an Etsy shop, annsherbals.etsy.com. I have a website for products I can’t sell on Etsy, Ann’s Herbals. You can find me on Facebook at facebook.com/annsherbals or on twitter, twitter.com/annsherbals.

Ann has so graciously offered to give away on of her amazing Ditch the Itch Soap and Salve Gift Set to our readers!* ($17 value + free shipping) So make sure you enter to win below! Thank you so much Ann for sharing your story with us and for being such an inspiration to me!

Blessings to you friends,
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Giveaway open to all US residents only. Thank you!*
**All opinions expressed are solely mine. I was not compensated for this review.**

To see ALL the amazing Giveaways from our ‘Week of Inspiration’ just click here!

What You Will Need

What You Will Need

If you are like me you have great intentions of baking the fall pumpkins that graced your tables or maybe your entryway, but life gets in the way sometimes. (Especially now that I’ve learned pumpkins don’t last as long in the hot Arizona sun as they did in the cooler New York weather!) Since I won’t be baking the little guys I just had to try this idea that I saw online from DIY Home World I changed it up a bit since we here at Spice Grove Designs love to reuse things.

Here are the things you will need!

~Pumpkins – the sweet ones or mini ones work great!
~Wicks
~Wax (reused or flakes)
~Cinnamon sticks or other spices you enjoy
~Knife

Steps 1 and 2

Steps 1 and 2

Step 1:

Cut off the top 1/4 – 1/2 of the pumpkin and clean out seeds and pulp. I did use a beautiful acorn squash here too as I just couldn’t resist the gorgeous colors!

Step 2:

Melt wax in a double boiler. You can buy new wax bricks or flakes, but since I’m in a reusing frame of mind I pulled out candles that I’ve saved that are no longer usable as the wicks have disappeared. I melted the wax back down in an old pot that has been deemed my ‘craft pot’ by a very thankful Hubby! This was by far the most time-consuming part of the project.

Steps 3 and 4

Steps 3 and 4

Step 3:

While your wax is melting get out those wicks! I just happened to have some that I rescued from some old taper candles. I wrapped the end in tin foil about 1/4 of and inch up. This end will sit in the bottom of the candle. I then put more tin foil around it making it lie flat in the bottom of the candle. Then I tied the long end of the wick around a pencil so that it would stand up straight as I poured the wax in.

Step 4:

Pour the wax in the pumpkin adding whatever spices you desire! I did this in stages so that I could add the spices throughout the candle. In the photos I’ve shown the 3 that I came out with; pumpkin cinnamon, pumpkin cinnamon anise, and pumpkin cinnamon coffee bean! (Which smells FANTASTIC!!)

Step 5:

Trim your wick after the wax has cooled and enjoy!

The 3 types of candles we made

The 3 types of candles we made

What a lovely way to bring these harvest scents into your home. And just think – if you are a packrat like me – the only thing you’ll have to buy are the pumpkins!! This was a very easy and budget friendly craft for the holidays. (Although I do recommend caution when pouring the wax into the pumpkins and maybe having some tin foil under your Hubby’s beautiful handmade cutting board so you don’t spill!) I can’t wait to see what the family says about these beauties. What a wonderful Holiday gift to bring to someone’s home for a Thanksgiving meal!

What other pumpkin crafts are you doing this time of year? Let us know and send a picture! We’d love to share your creativity!

Wishing you a wonderful week of yummy fall scents,
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PS. Make sure and check back next week!! You won’t want to miss meeting 5 amazing friends of mine that have so kindly shared their work with us! I’ll have some amazing coupons, 3 giveaways and a ton of fun and inspiration so come on over!! Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss a word!

The scents are heavenly!

The scents are heavenly!

Autumn Inspiration Collage

GETAWAY

I wanted to share some gorgeous fall loveliness with you from our past weekend. We took the whole Spice Grove family up to the mountains to see the colors and breathe the cool air! I thought I’d do a little introduction to the family today so that you get to know my team of amazing support!

My Family

My Family

My family is an amazing source of grace and unselfish love toward me which I am so very thankful for. My sweet hubby puts up with things that would make most men cringe. Whether it’s smelling a design for the 100th time, playing search and rescue to find a knife or tool that I’ve ‘borrowed’, stopping to pick up ‘just one more thing’ from the craft store that I forgot, or just giving me honest feedback – he amazes me with his willingness to help me. I am truly blessed! (And someday soon I’ll get that knife back in the kitchen where it belongs!) He is also my in-house editor and proofreader so if I’ve messed something up, chances are I haven’t let him look at it! As you’ve probably noticed I use WAY too many exclamation points! Believe it or not I’m doing 75% better than before he started helping me whittle them down. Hee-hee!

Girls collage

Our girls exploring Nature

Our girls – my creative inspiration and gifts I thank God for daily! They have taught me to enjoy the little things in life as well as to dream big. Our eldest is a gentle soul, always helping me with design ideas as well as making things for the special people in her life. She was the push behind our Giving Back line and has helped us learn to give more joyfully and freely! I’m so thankful for her heart. Our littlest one is a bundle of energy and excitement and has taught me to be more flexible and compassionate than I ever knew I could be. She too loves to ‘help’ and I often have to ask her where she has put a roll of ribbon or jar of spices! (I forget how fast little hands are!)

They both had so much fun exploring the golden leaves and crunching through the pine needles. I’m so thankful we could share a bit of God’s glorious Autumn colors with them. I hope that they will grow up inspired by Nature and the Creator just as I am! We were able to end the night at a wonderfully rustic little restaurant served by a sweet lady who made all of us feel special. Both girls were fast asleep as we reached home and once we had them in bed I finished up my latest recipe I wanted to share!

GIVEAWAY

Delicious pumpkin footballs

Delicious pumpkin footballs

If you are looking for a festive pumpkin treat that only takes minutes to prepare then head on over to the Structurebags blog! Here you can find our super easy recipe for these amazingly yummy pumpkin footballs that will be the perfect fit for any tailgating party. While you are there make sure to enter the GIVEAWAY for our new Spiced Burlap Topiary – perfect for the Fall Holidays! A big thank you to Brenda for letting us share both the recipe and the giveaway.

 

Autumn Spiced Burlap Topiary Tree

Autumn Spiced Burlap Topiary Tree

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful week filled with inspiration and beauty! Thank you so much for stopping by! Make sure you sign up on the right to subscribe to the blog. We have some HUGE things coming in the next two weeks that you won’t want to miss!

Blessings to you friends,
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FALL INSPIRATION IN NEW PLACES

This time of year always finds me looking for colors and scents that bring me back home. The bright yellow of the aspen trees remind of childhood in Colorado. The campfire smells of Northern Arizona and college days bring back memories of dear friends. The bright reds and oranges take me back to Maryland and leaf raking in the fall when my now 8-year-old was only 2, ‘helping’ Mama rake. (This meant me raking and her jumping in the leaves!) The smell of cinnamon reminds me of Holiday mornings with home-made cinnamon rolls baking in the oven.Fall in NY collage

I truly hope to pass on the appreciation of these simple things to our girls so as they grow up things in Nature and at home will bring a smile of remembrance to their faces. I find it’s these simple joys that speak the most loudly and honestly to my heart and soul.

Now that we are living in Southern Arizona, if I’m honest, my heart still longs for the woods and the colors and scents of Autumn. BUT, I’m so thankful for the treasures that God has given me here! The bright yellow of the ocotillo cactus is something I make sure to show the girls.

Ocotillo in Fall Colors

 

And the brilliant oranges of the barrel cactus blooms is stunning! I even smell that old campfire smell on evenings when it cools off! (Yes we are finally below 100 degrees now!) And I even plan to make some more of those yummy home-made cinnamon rolls for Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Let me know if you want my Grandma’s recipe!)

So today I wish you the blessing of Fall inspiration, but I hope you look for it in the simple things. May you find joy in pulling that favorite sweatshirt out of the ‘Winter’ box, or in looking at your child’s treasured leaf collection! I wish you colorful, childlike JOY!Autumn blessings

Blessings,
Charlotte

PS. I’d love to hear what inspires you during this Autumn season!

Welcome

September 20th, 2013 | Posted by Spice Grove Designs in Spice Grove Designs | Uncategorized - (353 Comments)

Welcome! Thank you for joining me as we meander through life in the forest! I hope you’ll find serenity and encouragement here. From DIY projects, gorgeous eco-friendly decor tips, inspirational stories, ways to give back to your community as well as hosting some awesome giveaways, you will always be encouraged! It is my hope that we can share, learn and grow from one another by ‘doing life together!’ (After all, isn’t it more fun that way?)
Forest Path

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled, and that has made all the difference.” ~Robert Frost

Since you all are at the foundation of Spice Grove Designs, help us out and let us know what we can talk about that interests you!

Blessings friends,
Charlotte

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