As you all know, being eco-friendly and using natural spices is a huge cornerstone of Spice Grove Designs. This year I decided I’d like to make that more of a goal for our family too. This means I’ll be trying out making everything from laundry to dish soap. Then I thought I’d do some looking around for all natural shampoos and conditioners since I can’t even pronounce most of the ingredients in my store bought ones. I was sure that with all the focus on ‘natural’ and ‘green’ living that I was sure to find someone who made a more healthy product. (My other concern was how much this would all cost!)

WOW!! Was I surprised at what I found!! A HUGE thanks goes out to my good friend Ann Belonger from Ann’s Herbals for being our expert! I invited her by today to show us an amazingly simple routine that will be good for your hair and your wallet!!

Come on and join the ‘Natural Shampoo’ Experiment

Ann, thanks for stopping by! I have a few questions about natural shampoos and conditioners and switching over to a more natural routine.

Ann's Herbals

1. Is there a natural shampoo that is also eco-friendly that you would recommend?

I am not a big fan of even so called “natural liquid shampoos,” they still may contain preservatives to combat bacteria. They may also contain water. Watch your labels. Anyone with skin sensitivities could have skin reactions to these preservatives. Also any time you introduce water into a product, you are faced with bacteria. You then need a chemical to keep the bacteria out. Here is another thing about water in a product, I don’t like having to pay for any product that the main ingredient is water. Why would I? It’s not economical to pay for a product that is mainly water.
With that being said I like to use a shampoo bar, actually I use my bar soap. It’s not specific to “hair” but I use it as a body and hair soap and I’ll tell you why. It contains no water, no chemicals or chemical preservatives. I use rosemary oleoresin in my soaps to keep the oils from going rancid. There is no water so no worry about bacteria in the soap and it has the most nourishing organic oils. Now you can buy soap bars specifically called shampoo bars that’s up to you. I just find it more economical to use a regular handmade soap with rich moisturizing oils. I think I got off on a rant here back to the question. Using a shampoo bar soap is the most economical and eco friendly shampoo you can get. You have no plastic bottle to recycle and handmade soap is a “greener ” product because it is biodegradable. Chemical soaps basically are “detergents” and are not biodegradable. Did you know the same petrochemicals in commercial soaps/shampoos is used to wash your car at the car wash and to degrease your car engine. Amazing!

Ann's Organic Oatmeal Shea Butter Soap

Ann’s Organic Oatmeal Shea Butter Soap

2. How about a recommendation for natural conditioners?

I am a big fan of apple cider vinegar (yay) as a conditioner. You want a conditioner to make your hair soft, smooth, shiny and manageable, that’s what a vinegar rinse will do . It also helps an itchy scalp, opens up pores and lets your hair breathe. I should mention to take care applying the rinse, it can really sting if you get it in your eyes. If that happens just rinse your eyes really well with your shower water.

3. If I’m switching to a natural (chemical free) shampoo, will there be an adjustment period?

There will definitely be an adjustment period of about two weeks. If you have been using a commercial shampoo there will be a lot of chemical build up on your hair. Many commercial shampoos contain petrochemicals. These are the chemicals that make your shampoo foamy and preserve it. Sulfates, parabens and phthalates are all either derived from petrochemicals or contaminated with them. Scary right? This is why there will be an adjustment period to get your hair healthly and to let it breathe again as chemical based shampoos tend to suffocate your hair. When you start using an all natural shampoo you will notice your hair will have a waxy feel to it, this is your new all natural shampoo breaking down all the build up, opening up the pores and nourishing your hair and scalp.

4. Is there anything you’d recommend to get through this period?

The most easy and economical way to deal with this transition period, to me, is to use a apple cider vinegar rinse. Apple cider vinegar is very good at cleaning out the gunk and restoring your hair to a health state. It makes your hair soft, smooth and gives it a great shine. To make an apple cider vinegar rinse you will need a quart jar and a jug of apple cider vinegar. You can purchase a store brand for about $4 a gallon. Add 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar to your quart jar and fill the rest of the jar with water and wallah! there is your new inexpensive hair rinse and conditioner.
I recommend the first time you use your new all natural shampoo and vinegar rinse to run one rinse through your hair prior to shampooing. Wet your hair again and then shampoo. After shampooing run a vinegar rinse through your hair again, working it through your hair and then rinse with plan water. The vinegar smell will go away once your hair is dry. It’s that simple! I keep a gallon jug in my bathroom cabinet and fill my jar prior to showering, once in the shower I add the water.
Oh by the way you can use white vinegar too I just prefer apple cider vinegar. An important thing to note is frequency of shampooing, one really does not need to shampoo every day. I think the shampoo companies drilled that into our heads quite well. After using a natural shampoo your hair will have a different feel to it, not that squeaky clean feel, which actually is the feel and sound of your hair being completely stripped of any nourishment, but a soft and smooth feel to it. It’s an adjustment remember?

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar

5. Any idea’s for people with dry hair?

I don’t have dry hair but many people have asked me about it. Again apple cider vinegar is your go to conditioner for dry hair. Isn’t it just the most amazing thing? Big fan! If your hair is very dry you could go one step further and make a vinegar herbal rinse, using some well known herbs that help with dryness. These include sage, dandelion leaves, comfrey, marshmallow, elderberries, burdock root, just to name a few. Here is how you make a herbal vinegar rinse. Fill your jar (a quart canning jar works well) with your selected herb, fill it to the top. Then add your apple cider vinegar filling it up to 1/2 inch from the top and using a knife to work your herb down and release any air bubbles. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the jar opening and screw on your lid. Next you’ll want to label your jar and date it. Place this jar in a cool dark place (I put mine in my kitchen cabinet my house is always cold!) You can place it anywhere that’s cool and dark but also some place you won’t forget about it. For the 1st week, (your infusion will steep for 4 to 6 weeks) shake your jar once a day just to make sure all your herb is being saturated with vinegar. After the 4 or 6 weeks you will strain your vinegar infusion through cheese cloth or a strainer, I use panty hose, you can buy like 12 pair for five bucks and they work great. Strain your vinegar infusion into another container preferable glass and it’s ready to use. Again label your new jar with name and date. Condition your hair once or twice a week with your herbal vinegar, the same way you would with the apple cider vinegar rinse. If you have extremely dry hair you can wet your hair with the herbal vinegar from your jar or use a spray bottle, wrap you hair up in a towel for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse it out. You may need to do the rinse more often or less often depending on your dryness. You know your hair best so you be the judge.

My Conclusion

my hair

My hair! Comparison pic’s to come in 2 weeks!

I have to say I’ve been a HUGE fan of Ann’s handmade, natural soap for a while. (We use it as well as using it on our kids too!) BUT when she mentioned the apple cider vinegar I was more than skeptical! While I was using vinegar to clean our bathrooms and kitchen I wondered, could this stuff really be that amazing?? (It seems to have a wonderful natural use for any aspect of life!) So I started my experiment and was astonished!!!

My hair is very long and thick so I thought I’d really put all of this to the test go an extra 2 days before trying it. I didn’t even brush it before showering which normally is a huge mistake. It can usually take me about 15 minutes just to untangle and comb through my hair after a regular wash and condition.

I was amazed at how clean my hair felt after using just Ann’s bar soap but still unsure of the vinegar treatment. Holding my breath I poured it on just as she recommended and waited about 5 minutes for it to soak in. Stunned, my hair felt smooth and soft as if I’d just used a regular conditioner BUT without the waxy feel! I was so excited but I still had to do the untangling mess to make sure.

5 minutes later I was tangle free and my hair felt lighter and softer than it had in YEARS!!!! I’m on day three since trying this and my hair and scalp aren’t oily or dry just soft and lightweight! Unbelieveable!! I’m so thankful to Ann for sharing this with us. I’ll do an update after the 2 week adjustment period and let you all know how it feels but I’m pretty excited about it!! (My hubby was amazed that the vinegar smell was gone after it was dry!!) Just think, we can do something healthy for ourselves while helping the environment! A real WIN-WIN!

Are you up for trying something new and more healthy this year? Let me know if you try out this formula! I’d love to hear your results!!

**The vinegar can bleed out the color if you have dyed hair as well as affect permed hair so I’m not sure I would recommend the vinegar rinse for that situation.****I was not paid for this post, I was just trying something new and more healthy!! All opinions contained are my own.***

***UPDATE***
I tried the ‘Natural Shampoo’ and vinegar rinse for the 2nd time today and was just as impressed as the first time! I was left with amazingly soft, manageable and tangle-free hair!! Have you tried it yet?

Blessings to you friends,
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Make sure and come by next week for some handmade Valentine gifts! You won’t want to miss it!

Our new Canella berries

Our new Canella berries

Inspired by the beloved “12 Days of Christmas” song we hear so much this time of year, I thought we would enjoy some of our regular desert birds of Winter! All of these lovely birds have been found in our backyard or on hikes within an hour of home!! Sometimes with the busyness of the Holidays it’s nice to sit back and enjoy the gifts you already have! Enjoy friends!!

I thought I’d start with one of my favorite desert dwellers, especially since they have so much in common with the partridge from the song! These guys love to sit on our back fence all in a row. We had a family who lived right behind our house and it was so amazing to watch the little family with their 5 babies! What a wonderful experience to hear them calling to each other everyday. Click here to hear and see a quail call that JIceBirdsandMore caught on video.

Gambel's Quail

Gambel’s Quail

The adorable little Arizona Woodpecker we found on a hike not too far from our house. The girls just loved seeing him peck away at the tree! I just love the colors he sports!

Arizona Woodpecker

Arizona Woodpecker

Arizona Woodpecker eating

Arizona Woodpecker eating

Next, also seen behind our home, is the amazing Red Tailed Hawk. (Sorry the picture isn’t better.) I love to watch them soaring silently over the desert surveying all that they can see! I assume that his huge talons help protect against the Ocotillo that he’s sitting in!

Red Tailed Hawk

Red Tailed Hawk

One of my very favorite birds we found on a little hike close to our house! I’ve loved seeing Stellar Jay’s when I lived in Colorado and Northern Arizona but I had no idea these lovely guys were found down here! These gorgeous Mexican Jay’s were talking and enjoying hanging out together on a beautiful day! I just love the blue against the yellow of the fall leaves!

Mexican Jay

Mexican Jay

The state bird of Arizona, the Cactus Wren also spends a lot of time in our backyard and they are so cute to watch! We love to watch them in the grass or just sitting on the Ocotillo watching their surroundings.  This little guy kept watching me to see what I was doing!

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren

Then there were the huge wild turkeys we found right before Thanksgiving! The girls used to love to watch them in NY with their little flock and hear their ‘gobbles’ so we were super excited to find them here in the southwest!

Wild Turkeys

Wild Turkeys

Unfortunately a couple of birds that most frequent our house I was unable to catch on film…..the Roadrunners are just too fast as are the tiny hummingbirds. Hopefully soon though friends! Instead I thought I share some of the gorgeous landscape and other friends that are close by that I’ve been blessed to enjoy recently! We have a flowering bush out front that regularly attracts 30-40 butterflies at a time! What a wonder!

Various Butterflies in our front yard

Various Butterflies in our front yard

The hummingbirds have been going crazy over these Palo Verde Tree blossoms!  Not sure why the tree next door was blooming in late November though??

The delicate Blossom of the Palo Verde Tree

The delicate Blossom of the Palo Verde Tree

These gorgeous Desert Broom shrubs were so soft and pretty!! Apparently they suffice here in AZ for snow in the Winter! :)

Desert Broom Shrub

Desert Broom Shrub

And what nature feature would be complete without a couple of beautiful sunset photo’s? Taken from our backyard…..we are so blessed!!

Arizona Sunset

Arizona Sunset – Elapsed time about 5 minutes between shots!

I came out on the back patio one afternoon to discover this amazing birds’ nest! To my surprise it was made by my ever creative 8 yr. old out of dry grass and white rocks! Love her imagination!

Backyard Birds' Nest

Backyard Birds’ Nest

One last picture wishing you all a beautiful Christmas Season from our Home to Your Home! Thank you so much for stopping by and enjoying Nature with me! Have a wonderful week and don’t forget to enjoy the little gifts you already have this season! Maybe they are even in YOUR backyard!

Merry Christmas from Arizona!

Merry Christmas from Arizona!

Blessings to you friends,
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PS – I’d love to hear what amazing things inspire you in Nature this time of year!

If you are still searching for a few Christmas gifts here are some of our favorite rustic designs. I just love that most of them are eco friendly and GORGEOUS!! You are sure to find something for everyone on your list! Be sure to click on the links to check out these fabulous shops and their work!

FOR HER

Laurel Oak Wood Stud Earrings from Laurel and Lime – I love the delicate design of these amazing earrings and that they are made from fallen branches!! Such a lightweight accessory and they even have choices of types of wood.

Laurel Oak Wood Stud Earrings from Laurel and Lime

Laurel Oak Wood Stud Earrings from Laurel and Lime

Pinecone earrings from Magpies Shop – Look at these lovely pine cone earrings! Inspire the Nature lover in your life with these one-of-a-kind accessories that are handpicked for their beauty! Look at all the gorgeous designs they have in their shop!

Pinecone Earrings by Magpies Shop

Pinecone Earrings by Magpies Shop

Gray Double Infinity Scarf by Vera Jayne – I just love how softly this falls around the neck and how warm it is!! Everything in Vera Jayne’s shop is so feminine and beautiful. She is sure to love anything you might pick out! Make sure to take a peek at her adorable hair accessories too.

VeraJayne double infinity scarf

Gorgeous Infinity Scarf by Vera Jayne

FOR HIM

Cedar and Copper Holiday Ornaments from Laurel and Lime – Surprise him this Christmas with an ornament that says ‘rugged’ and ‘handsome!’ I love that these are made completely from reclaimed materials!! Check out more of their shop here!

Cedar and Copper Holiday Ornaments by Laurel and Lime

Cedar and Copper Holiday Ornaments by Laurel and Lime

Stoneware Mountain Keychain from Studio by the Forest – Let your special hiker/hunter/outdoorsman know you appreciate his love of Nature with this rugged, one-of-a-kind key ring! Make sure you check out her handmade little pine trees too! Perfect for cabin decor!

Stoneware Mountain Key Chain from Studio by the Forest

Stoneware Mountain Key Chain from Studio by the Forest

Personalized Toothpick Case from Midnight Coiler – I just love the look of these and how practical they are! Small enough to fit into a pocket yet handsome enough to make an impression! Lynn will even customize it with the initials that you need!! Such wonderful gift ideas from this shop! Take a peek!

Toothpick holder by Midnight Coiler

Toothpick holder by Midnight Coiler

FOR THE HOME

Brown and White Birch Tree Bark Throw Pillow Cover from Brooke Ryan Photography – I have loved Brooke’s photography for a long time, but when I saw that she has her photo’s available as pillow covers I was won over completely!! Such a rustic look for any room! She has so many choices that would go with any decor! I have one this one on my Santa list for my Hubby! (hint, hint honey!!)

Birch Tree Bark pillow Cover by Brooke Ryan Photography

Lovely Birch Tree Bark pillow Cover by Brooke Ryan Photography

Violin Wall Clock by Beau Miracle – I love the vintage rustic look of this amazing clock! She has such an amazing shop with such unique designs that will delight anyone on your list!

Violin Wall Clock by Beau Miracle

Violin Wall Clock by Beau Miracle

Rustic Coat Rack by Tumbleweed Cabin – I just love the fact that they use upcycled barn wood and other beautiful items to make their amazing designs! You’ll find everything from furniture to home decor all with an amazing rustic look!

Rustic Coat Rack from Tumble weed cabin

Rustic Coat Rack from Tumble weed cabin

Set of 3 Organic Balsam Sachets by Swamp Angel Soap – One of my favorite scents is that of a pine forest and these sachets would freshen any room in your home! What a great stocking stuffer! Be sure to check out all her adorable products!

Set of 3 Organic Balsam Sachets by Swamp Angel Soaps

Set of 3 Organic Balsam Sachets by Swamp Angel Soaps

Natural Cedar Soap Dish by Pine Branch Designs – I love the simplicity of these beautiful soap dishes!! And the fact that they are eco-friendly and long-lasting is an added bonus! Make sure you take a peek at all of her gorgeous rustic designs! I feel like I’m walking through the forest while browsing her shop!

Cedar Natural Soap Dish by Pine Branch Designs

Cedar Natural Soap Dish by Pine Branch Designs

Winter Pinecone Photo by Dull Blue Light Photography – I love the perspective that Crissy gives to these rustic pine cones with the light! She has the ability to give ordinary things such a magical feel! Make sure to check out her lovely shop!

Winter Pinecone Photograph by Dull Blue Light Photography

Winter Pinecone Photograph by Dull Blue Light Photography

FOR THE KITCHEN

Vintage Spice Drawers Print by Jarrod Erbe Photography – Oh how I love this photo! I really hope Santa brings this for my studio wall so I can enjoy the lovely colors while I work! I love to imagine someone putting their spices in the little drawers after baking something special during the holidays. The light and life Jarrod brings to his work is simply beautiful! Make sure and look at his other photo’s he has in his shop!

Vintage Spice Drawer Print by Jarrod Erbe Photography

Vintage Spice Drawer Print by Jarrod Erbe Photography

Natural linen hemstitch christmas table napkins set of 4 from Linen Home Shop – This is one of my favorite shops to look at! Everything is so beautiful and rustic I had trouble choosing just one item! I love the quality and love that these linens were made with! They would be so perfect for any celebration!!

Natural Linen Table Napkins by Linen Home Shop

Natural Linen Table Napkins by Linen Home Shop

Vintage Pewter Teapot by Olives and Doves – I just love the charm of this old teapot – the stories it could tell! They have such a lovely shop filled with all sorts of rustic vintage finds. From housewares to fashion you are sure to find that special something that you’ve been looking for!

Vintage Pewter Teapot by Olives and Doves

Vintage Pewter Teapot by Olives and Doves

Test Tube Spice Rack by Meriwether of Montana – You all know how we love our spices here at Spice Grove Designs, but this spice rack left me speechless!! I love the rustic design and handmade quality of this design, not to mention the view of all the colorful spices! Make sure you check out all of their handmade designs!

Test Tube Spice Rack by Meriwether of Montana

Test Tube Spice Rack by Meriwether of Montana

Salvaged Apple Wood Serving Platter by Storyboard Furniture – I am amazed that the gorgeous designs are all made from salvaged wood from a Toronto area apple orchard, giving life once again to these amazing trees! Make sure you check out all of their beautiful designs!

Salvaged Apple Wood Serving Platter by Storyboard Furniture

Salvaged Apple Wood Serving Platter by Storyboard Furniture

FOR CHRISTMAS

Rustic Christmas Ornaments by Cranberry Dreams – I absolutely adore the color of these rustic and heart warming ornaments! They would look at home on a tree or barn door I believe! Check out their amazing selection of Christmas baubles!

Rustic Ornaments by Cranberry dreams

Rustic Ornaments by Cranberry dreams

Plantable White Dove Gift Tags by Pulp Art – Being eco-friendly is one of the pillars of our business here at Spice Grove Designs. That’s why I was so elated to find these gorgeous gift tags that don’t have to be thrown away or even recycled!! Plant them right in the garden after the gift is given!! What a wonderful way for your family and friends to remember you each time they see the flowers! They may even like the tags more than the gift itself! :)

Plantable gift tag from Pulp Art

Eco friendly Plantable gift tag from Pulp Art

Keystone Ornament by STRUCTUREbags – I just love all of the amazing accessories, bags and gift products at STRUCTUREbags but these little trees are one of my favorites! Brenda’s attention to detail and use of organic materials shines in all of her work! I love that all of her designs in her Camo with a Cause line give back to military families too! Win-win!

Keystone ornament by STRUCTUREbags

Keystone ornament by STRUCTUREbags, Photo by Torin Olsen.

 

I hope that you have found some new rustic favorites and maybe crossed a few names off your Christmas list too! As always I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and say hello! I’d love to know what your favorite finds were today! Wishing you and your loved ones a Blessed Christmas Season!

Blessings to you friends,

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*All opinions expressed are mine. I was not compensated for this gift guide. I only share products that I think our valued readers will enjoy. Links will take you off of the Spice Grove Design website. We are not responsible for other sites.*

As we near the end of our week of inspiration I have to say thank you to all the amazing ladies who by being who they are inspired this week!! What an amazing group I am blessed to know!!

I can go on and on about the amazing things that move me, such as Nature and Faith and Family, but I want to make sure that you all know that YOU inspire me too!! YOU make my days of creating brighter by your feedback and your response to my designs. You make my long computer nights sweeter with your kind comments on Facebook! Your encouragement after a rough day makes more of a difference than I can ever say!! Your creative ideas, shared opinions and moving stories are priceless, valued and appreciated!

In short, YOU inspire me!! YES, you!! The one who takes a second to like a quote on my Facebook page. The one who browses our shop and comes up with an AWESOME idea for a custom design. The one who shares their heart and story with me. I treasure each and every one of you. YOU are the reason this dream has gone forward. You are the ones in my heart when I sit down with a blank piece of paper to create a new design. Your lives are the ones I think of when I find a new up-cycled beauty that I just have to share! And you are the ones who make all of this possible. It still boggles my mind to imagine my little designs sitting in their new homes……

So from the depths of my heart I can only say a humble and sincere ‘thank-you.’

I’ve never had a giveaway this HUGE, so make sure you enter the drawing below and WIN any design of your choice from the Spice Grove Designs shop, PLUS free shipping!! The best of luck to all of you friends!

Spiced Thankful Card from Spice Grove Designs

Spiced Thankful Card from Spice Grove Designs

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you haven’t already, make sure you stop by Facebook and Twitter to say hello! Or stop by and check out our inspirational Pinterest boards! Make sure you sign up for our newsletter on the right so you don’t miss anything! To view see all the giveaways offered this week click here!!

Blessings to you friends,
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Art For Happy People

I met Miss Rakhee from Art For Happy People on Facebook and was instantly charmed with her big heart for others as well as her beautiful, dream-like paintings! I’m reminded of what a small world it really is when I get to chat with my amazing friend halfway around the world. Although someday Rakhee, we will share a coffee, tea and chocolate in person!! I currently have one of her paintings, ‘Go Back To Sleep‘, hanging in my studio. I like to imagine having coffee with all my wonderful friends I haven’t met in person yet! As she shared her story with me, I was so inspired at just how much she loves people and truly seeks to help them out and make a difference! She has challenged me to do more to give back and just to love on people! I truly admire the adventure that she is on with her life and I’m so blessed to call her a dear friend!!

Her vision truly shines through her art and it’s so exciting to catch glimpses of how her work comes together! Her little wooden hand painted dolls are truly treasures!! (Don’t tell my girls, but I know what will be in their stockings this Christmas!!) I’m so excited that in addition to her original paintings she now offers everything from prints, to greeting cards to phone cases displaying her art!! Make sure to check out her little doll Christmas ornaments which are beyond cute! Rakhee has generously offered to giveaway a wonderful collection of 3 of her beautiful greeting cards (your choice) along with free shipping! ($10.50 value plus free shipping!) So make sure to enter the GIVEAWAY below her story!

Tell us about yourself and your Art.

My name is Rakhee Krishna. I am born and raised in India and later moved to The Netherlands. I have a masters degree in philosophy and religion and I try to combine my love for art and philosophy by making Art For Happy People. Art For Happy People is a journey towards finding and sharing peace and happiness. I welcome you to come along with me on this journey.
My shop is filled with happy people and art that will make you happy! I also make custom-made dolls, non-toxic dolls for children and wooden bookmarks. You can also find greeting cards, book marks and calendars made of my art and also nursery decor.

Anne Frank Doll

Anne Frank Doll

What makes your work different from other artwork?

I am self-taught and I am inspired by what I feel and how I feel. I make what I feel in my heart. And that makes my art unique. I try to tell a story; a philosophy every time I create and the best thing I like about my work is that everything is possible. My art is colourful (depending on my mood), unique, meaningful, positively mysterious and philosophical.

There must be an angel

There must be an angel

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

The process of creating something which can possibly bring a smile on someone’s face or inspire someone in some way or make them think truly makes me feel humble. My work is philosophy presented in an artistic way. I believe in the power of a smile, so if you are smiling while looking at my work, I am happy!

If you had to choose just one of your works as your favorite, which would it be?

The Dream catcher

She has carefully mended all her broken dreams into hearts, what if she can do that for you too? Imagine if she can learn you to mend your broken dreams?

Dream Catcher

Dream Catcher

What does a day in your studio look like?

A day in my home studio looks like a musical where a mom and her 2.5 year old son plays the main role.There is a lot of painting happening along with making lego towers,reading, singing, dancing , making funny faces, building train rails, drinking tea and eating cake and chocolates.

Where can our readers find you?

You can find me here:

www.etsy.com/shop/ArtForHappyPeople

For prints or my paintings: http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/rakhee-krishna.html

Like me on Facebook :https://www.facebook.com/Artforhappypeople

Yes, I have a blog too : http://thetravellingartist.blogspot.nl

Thank you so much for sharing your heart, soul and artwork with us Rakhee! You are truly a treasure! Make sure and enter to win an amazing Art For Happy People collection of 3 greeting cards below! Rakhee has also made a special discount code for 10% anything in her Etsy shop just for my awesome readers! Use ‘FREQUENTBUYERS’ at checkout to 10% off your entire order!!

Your choice of three cards from 'Art For Happy People'

Your choice of three cards from ‘Art For Happy People’

Blessings to you friends,
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Giveaway open worldwide.*
**Opinions expressed on this feature are mine. I was not compensated for this review.**

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

Winterdays

Once in a while you find someone who is just so creative and wonderful you have to get to know them better! I’m so thankful to have Jill from Winterdays in my life! Her humility and honest kindness is rare these days and shines in her work as well as her life! Our shared passion for rustic design and of course coffee has fueled our friendship! Her designs are so unique and inspiring! Where else could you find magical gnome houses alongside gorgeous mosaic work? Whether it is a hand engraved rune stone, a piece of jewelry or a woodcutting you will find something that will speak to your heart in her shop!! I love the fact that every time I visit her shop she teaches me something new about the amazing country of Ireland.

When collaborating on a piece with Jill I was so struck with the quality of her work and passion for all that she creates!! I can’t wait to hang the ornaments that I have from her on my Christmas tree this year! I just love that they are beautifully handmade with huge amounts of love!! She is forever adding “extra’s,” as she calls them, into orders and sweetly shrugging off the awesome praise that her amazing customer service has garnered. She has generously given our Spice Grove Designs friends this AWESOME coupon to use until January 1, 2014! Take 10% off your order with thanks13 at checkout!  Here is Jill speaking from the heart about Winterdays!

Gnome Kaffi (coffee) Shop

Gnome Kaffi (coffee) Shop

Tell us a bit about yourself and your designs.

Hi, my name is Jill and my story about Winterdays; although my shop has only been open for 3 years, it actually started 19 years ago. I married a Viking whose family is from Iceland. When I visited Iceland for the first time I became instantly in love with the landscape and the history.

What makes your designs different from other designs?

The Runes and the symbols are unique and something that I wanted to learn more about. In my shop you will find wood items, engraved stones and painting of the Runes, symbols and Iceland.

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

Every piece in my shop is made with thoughtfulness and passion. There are symbols that represent love, warrior, luck etc. So to have a engraved stone, piece of jewelry, or even Icelandic words cut out of wood is a special and unique find that represents something going on in your life or in others.

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

One of my favorite items that I love in my shop is the bracelets that have a symbol engraved on it. It is a constant reminder of what I need to work on or what I have overcome.

Viking Rune Symbol of LUCK bracelet

Viking Rune Symbol of LUCK bracelet

What does a day in your studio look like?

My day in the studio starts with the music playing rather loud. Sometimes the music is slow or fast, but it is always loud. The studio starts off very organized but by the time I get done at the end of the day it represents a lot of creativity going on, so there is a lot to put away!

Where can our readers find you?

I would love for you to join Winterdays at Twitter, Facebook and of course my Etsy shop.
I appreciate Spice Grove Designs for the opportunity to share my story with you and for that I am blessed.

I would like to offer 10% off your order…enter code thanks13 for that discount…this coupon is good until Jan. 1, 2014.
Make sure you check out Jill’s other shop Saw It For You too to see more of her amazing hand crafted items for weddings, holidays and your home! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing designs and your heart with us!

Blessings to you friends, with lots of coffee,
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*All opinions stated in this feature are mine. I was not compensated for this review.*

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

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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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*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!

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