Coming next week!!
We are so excited to add a new ‘branch’ to our Spice Grove Designs forest!!
What will it be?
Tune in next week for the big launch!!

The New Branch

You won’t want to miss the HUGE giveaway that’s coming next week too!! We will even have 3 huge winners so you’ll have 3 chances to win!! Yay – we only have to keep the secret for one more week!!

Have a great week friends and we will see you back here for the BIG reveal!!

Blessings,
Charlotte
Charlotte

A big ‘Welcome’ to Fall and all of it’s amazing colors, scents and weather!! I can’t think of anything I don’t like about Autumn! So here are some of my favorite inspiring quotes and photos of this lovely Season!
Welcome Autumn“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”
Albert Camus
Fall Colors
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Pumpkin quotes
“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.” [Indian Summer]
William Cullen Bryant

Fall Hiking

“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” [Notebook, Oct. 10, 1842]
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks
Autumn log
“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”
Jim Bishop

Spiced Fall Mini Wreath

I hope that you are enjoying your first week of Fall and that these words and photos have brought a smile to your face!! Have a wonderful week friends! Let us know what your favorite thing about Fall is in the comments below!!

Blessings,
Charlotte
Charlotte

A gorgeous rose in Mom's garden

A gorgeous rose in Mom’s garden

Mother’s Day.
What does that mean to you?

Flowers, chocolate, a meal out, a Hallmark card, a nap (my personal favorite?)

Or is it a job description? Taxi driver, short order cook, nurse, laundry service, counselor, nightmare comforter, supporter, cheerleader?

While ‘thank-you’ will never ever be enough to voice our appreciation for all our Mom’s do for us….here’s my feeble attempt at doing just that! I hope you enjoy!

Here are some of my favorite things my Mom taught me that still ring true today, whether in my family life or in business.

~ Have more faith than fear.
My Mom, while not perfect, really tried/try’s to walk her journey of Faith out. I don’t remember any morning growing up that didn’t start with her doing a devotion and talking to God. This was regardless of good or bad times our family was having. How this still inspires and challenges me. Taking a step of Faith, knowing that someone is there to catch you is never a bad idea……even if you fall you’ve learned something you’d never otherwise learned!

Mom and I enjoying Nature

Mom and I enjoying nature!

~ Appreciate Nature and all of Creation.
I credit my Mom with the sense of wonder I have for Nature. Whether we were up to our elbows in plaster of paris taking a tracking sample, or hiking in the mountains or camping under the stars, she always approached the outdoors with a passion and reverence that has rubbed off on both of her children. My love of flowers and growing things stems from my Grandmother’s love of her rose garden and the memories of my Mom fighting the big fat tomato caterpillar worms in our large vegetable garden. How wonderful these dirt filled memories are! (I still catch myself singing an old girl scout song to my girls that Mom us kids used to sing while hiking……)

~ Show kindness, no matter how small it may seem.
My Mom was always the first to reach out when someone was hurting. Whether it was baking a casserole or driving kids where they needed to go she was always willing to help out. She taught us to think of others first. Even when we didn’t have much we learned to give first!

~ Hold tight to your family, through good and bad.
These are the folks that will be there through good, bad and otherwise. No one has the perfect family of course, but we all have the people with us to teach us the lessons we need to learn. The folks that know us at our best and our worst and still love us anyway!

~ Learn how to do it on your own.
My Mom was great at encouraging us to try things on our own – to make mistakes while thinking for ourselves. With trial and error came creativity, thinking out of the box, and learning to deal with failure and success.

~ Follow your dreams, they will lead to an amazing life!
My parents both encouraged us to follow dreams that fueled our passions. Now that I’m a Mom too, I can only imagine how it tugged at my Mom’s heart when I announced that I had decided on being a music major in college, yet she rarely voiced her concerns, but let me find out what chasing that dream meant.

Another rose from Mom's garden

Another rose from Mom’s garden

I have been truly blessed with an amazing Mother and I’m thankful for everyday that I can learn from her wisdom and bravery. She has no idea how strong she is, but I’ll always pray she knows how very beloved she is……

I love you Mom…..and I pray that I can pass on these lessons to our girls as they grow up….

Our girls in my beloved Aspen trees....

Our girls in my beloved Aspen trees….

Wishing you all a beautiful Mother’s Day,
Charlotte
Charlotte

Hellebores Headband from Fleuropean

Hellebores Headband from Fleuropean

As you know, we just love Nature and all the beauty found in her here at Spice Grove Designs! Two of the most important things that the business was founded on are sharing the beauty of Nature with others and helping others by giving back! That’s why I was so very excited to meet Emily from Fleuropean!! Not only does she make the most amazingly natural flower arrangements and bouquets, but her heart for others is inspiring! Her graciousness in ‘giving back’ has inspired thousands all over the globe to make others’ lives a bit brighter! Well, I could go on and on……. A big welcome to Emily and Fleuropean!……..(See if you can spot the strawberries, pears and blackberries in her beautiful bouquets!)

Hellebores Buttonhole

Hellebores Buttonhole

1.Please tell us a bit about yourself and your business.

Hi there! My name is Emily. Thanks so much, Charlotte, for the opportunity to share my passion for flowers with you and your followers. How fun!

I’m an ex-pat (originally from California) who uprooted everything shortly after graduating college to move abroad and start a new life with my (now) Dutch husband. About 5 years ago, we bought a rural farm nestled among the rolling hillsides of Belgium. Lucky for me, it came with grassland… some of which I chose to turn into my own little floral paradise.

What started with one flower border quickly grew throughout the years to a decent-sized cutting garden full of roses, dahlias, sweet peas, larkspur, clematis, annuals, and perennials. I enjoy challenging myself each year by trying out new flowers, starting lots of plants from seed, and experimenting with unique varieties. From gardening, a passion for flower arranging and floristry grew. Now, here I am, still working hard in the garden and enjoying using the fruits of my labor in bridal bouquets, birthday bouquets and seasonal arrangements.

2.What makes your business different from other floral shops/gardens?

The thing that makes Fleuropean most unique, I think, is my dedication to remaining personally involved in all aspects of my business. Especially here in Belgium, it’s hard to find a florist who grows their own flowers and strives to create natural-looking, freshly-picked arrangements. Without a little elbow grease, my business wouldn’t be what it is today.

3.What brings you joy/encouragement in your life and in creating your arrangements?

Being able to work in the garden, get my hands dirty, and then see the beauty that nature and I are able to create together… that’s what gives me most pleasure. Working in harmony with Mother Nature gives me never-ending inspiration, encouragement, and joy.

Pear Bouquet

Pear Bouquet

4.Can you tell us more about the lonely bouquets program that you started?

The Lonely Bouquet project grew (literally) straight from my garden. Faced with a surplus of flowers and the dreaded task of deadheading spent blooms, I looked for a way to use the excess flowers in a positive and productive way. After a bit of trial and error, I figured out a fun way to share the fun of flowers with locals… leaving little bouquets of fresh-cut flowers with “take me” tags attached scattered around local villages and cities.

Hoping to get lots of others involved, I created an “International Lonely Bouquet Day” and invited anyone to join in. Before I knew it, there were over 1,000 people all over the world who had signed up to participate. The Lonely Bouquet community has continued to grow since, and we’re already planning our second annual International Lonely Bouquet day for Sunday, June 29th, 2014. Woo-hoo! Maybe some of you guys want to join in as well? :)

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

Gosh… that’s such a tricky question. I guess my favorite arrangement would be the first of my “fruits and flowers” series, featuring pale pinks and strawberries.

6.What does a day in your garden look like?

Although it varies throughout the seasons, a day in my garden always starts out with a coffee in bed. :)

After I’ve had my fill of coffee and sweets, I head outside to take a peek at what needs to be done. The springtime garden is all about working the soil, spreading compost, starting seeds, and weeding. During the summer and autumn, garden work mostly consists of weeding, deadheading, and flower cutting before heading back inside to condition the flowers and arrange them into bouquets.


7.Where can our readers find you?

Other than my website, I’m most active on facebook. You can also always feel free to shoot me an e-mail at emily@fleuropean.com. I love hearing from fellow flower lovers and interacting with readers! (Make sure you check out the Lonely Bouquet Project on Facebook too for uplifting stories of flowers worldwide!)

Ombre Bouquet from Fleuropean

Ombre Bouquet from Fleuropean

I am truly blessed to have found such a wonderful friend in Emily and am so happy to be able to share her passion for flowers with you!! Let us know if you will be taking part in International Lonely Bouquet Day or just making someone’s day brighter today! Let’s all make a difference! (And someday, I will have to come have coffee with you and see your garden firsthand Emily!!)

Blessings to you friends,
Charlotte
Charlotte

PS. Make sure to tune in next week for a glimpse at how Emily inspired us to start our own garden!! (Be ready for some recycled beauties!)

ocotillo birds with Thoreau quote

As signs of Spring seem to be peeking out all over in the desert, I wanted to share with you a glimpse of our amazing views! We have 4 huge Ocotillo plants in back of our home and I was struck the other night at sunset with how much the budding blossoms look just like birds from a distance. Aren’t they amazing!?!

backyard birds

A close up of our ‘Ocotillo bird.’

backyard birds, ocotillo in bloom

The ‘flock’ at sunrise.

Perspective is everything isn’t it? Who knew the delight I’d find in some blooming cacti in the backyard? Here’s the important part though……I never would have seen this, or noticed had I not stopped for a second to really see!

From birds to the smallest details in life, so much of our outlook depends on how we perceive each situation we are given. Here’s hoping that you find inspiration and joy in the smallest parts of your vision today!!

sunrise ocotillo birds

Sunset as the 'flock' goes to sleep

Sunset as the ‘flock’ goes to sleep

Take a moment and stop to ‘see’ what you ‘see!!’ You just might find a flock of birds waiting for you!!

Blessings to you friends,
Charlotte

Charlotte

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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*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!

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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!

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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