Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Roller Coaster Week

You've probably noticed my absence the past few days....this past week has been an absolute roller coaster ride for our family.

On Monday, our daughter and son-in-law had a doctor's appointment for an ultrasound that would hopefully tell us what they are Grandpa (my hubby) and I went along to learn the good news. Welllllll, the doc didn't see any boy parts, but doesn't like to say it's a girl unless he sees girl parts, and with the little critter bouncing all over the place like a ping pong ball, he had trouble getting a good "butt shot"...he thought he saw the girl parts, but not well enough to call it. He's calling it a "girl" with the option of changing his mind when she goes back in 4 weeks for the next ultrasound.

I'm calling "her" our little alien baby as to me that's exactly what "she" looks like in this pic (the left eye is directly under the word left, with the right eye directly below the left eye and you'll notice to the right of the eyes is the little pointy chin....her right upper arm is directly above where I've typed in right arm) So to me..."alien baby" since I can't really call it/him/her a girl yet!

Even without finding out for sure what they are having, it was still very exciting and was definitely the "UP" part of our roller coaster week!

Now for the "DOWN" part....


(In this photo is "JIMMIE" with my hubby giving Gus his first horseback ride, video at end of article)

Meet Jimmie...our daughter and her hubby purchased him last July, he was to be HER first horse (meaning mom and dad didn't own him). We all fell in love with Jimmie when we saw him run the barrels at the NBHA Ohio State Finals last July 4th weekend. He was just a 4 year old at that time and had been run in a couple futurities, but still needed a lot of work. So they purchased him and brought him to our farm for her dad to continue with his training which he did the rest of last summer and fall. Her plans were for him to continue the training this year, then maybe she'd start showing him later in the season....but.... she found out at christmas she was "expecting" and knew she wouldn't be able to ride this year, was okay with that as he'd just get more training with dad and be even better for her next year.

What is that saying about the best laid plans???

Anyone in the horse business knows that horses are not the most healthy of animals, and Murphy's Law is always in effect. Take an old horse with no pedigree or specialized training, just out in the field munching on grass -- he's considered a "yard ornament" and NEVER has any health issues. Now take the horse with a great pedigree, awesome conformation, speed (very important for a barrel horse), spend some money on him, vaccinate him, have his teeth taken care of by a professional equine dentist, feed him all sorts of healthy vitamin supplements, regular vet care, specialized feed, (lot's of training, money and work is going into this horse, not to mention the bonding happening as you work with your "partner")....You can probably see where this is going...

After the ultrasound appointment on Monday morning, we had to hurry home as our equine dentist was scheduled to be here to float (file) Jimmie's teeth as he had started having trouble eatting his grain in the past week...when we brought him into the barn, he just looked SICK, all over sick, his coat was dull, his eyes sunken with discharge, he had lots, I mean lots of discharge coming from his nostrils and we thought he had a tooth that had abcessed and were thankful the dentist was due any minute.

Dentist arrives, takes care of the teeth, which really were sharp, plus removed a cap (baby tooth that had not fallen out) that was making his gum very sore, so this certainly explained him having trouble eatting, but he thought he might have a sinus infection (I've gotta admit, I didn't even know horses could get sinus infections).

Next call, the vet..scheduled to come out the next morning which was arrives, Jimmie has not consumed any grain or hay or water, although he tried and we figured his mouth must be sore from the dentist, so we're really not worried yet. Vet checks for an impaction in the intestine and can find none, he IS dehydrated, not surprising, she then tubes him (tube up his nostril and into his stomach)...she gives him lots of saline water with added vitamins, some pepto and other things to help with his dehydration and to help soothe his tummy in case it was bothering him...she determined that he had a "choking episode"...this is where a horse maybe takes too large a mouthful of hay or grain without enough saliva and it ends up balling up in their esophagus where it enters the stomach, this would have caused the discharge from his nostrils and eyes. To learn more about "choke" check out this link Choke in Horses


She is worried about how depressed he is...she thinks there is something else going on that caused the "choke" in the first place. She takes blood, mentions a couple different causes and leaves us with instructions and the recommendation to get him to a vet hospital if he gets worse or doesn't improve within 24 hours.

Okay, time to start worrying....we make his stall as comfortable as possible, make a quick dash to the local feed store for some expensive alfalfa pellets that we make into a mushy mash hopefully to entice him to eat as he needs to rebuild his strenth. We notice really quickly that he is going down hill fast and needs to get to the vet hospital.

Enter MURPHY'S LAW....our pickup was in the shop, and our son-in-law was on his way back from out west picking up a horse trailer for someone else, so we had to wait until he arrived and while we waited we called the vet hospital to give them the heads up.

As soon as Brian arrived, they loaded Jimmie up and took off for the 45 minute drive. The hospital started him on intravenous fluids and said they'd call the next morning. And call they did with the prognosis....Rabies OR Botulism, but the vet was pretty sure Botulism, which is FATAL. To learn more about botulism, check out this link Botulism in Horses

The vet recommended humane euthanasia, so as of Wednesday, March 30th at approximately 11:30am, Jimmie was put to rest.

Our family has gone from the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows in the space of 3 days...we lost a family member. Our grief is not just from the money that was spent and lost, it is more from the loss of a wonderful partner that showed awesome potential. We are grieving the loss of his future possiblities, the future that he won't be a part of now and how we are already missing his truly sweet personality, his soft eyes and his easy going and loving disposition. I've included a video of one of his last runs from last October, hopefully even if you don't know horses or barrel racing, you'll be able to see a small glimpse of the possiblility of what he could have been. It is by no means a perfect run or even close to perfect, he still had a lot of work to do and a lot to learn, but it is still enjoyable and you can see how much he enjoys what he's doing (both he and my hubby that is).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Inspirational Message

A Secret Scrolls message from Rhonda Byrne
Creator of The Secret and The Power
the Secret

From The Secret Daily Teachings

When a big change occurs in your life it forces you to change direction. Sometimes the new path may not be easy, but you can be absolutely certain that there is magnificence for you on the new path. You can be absolutely certain that the new path contains things that you could not have experienced otherwise.

When we look back at a negative event that occurred in the past, we often see how in fact it transformed our life. We see how that event directed us toward a life that we would not change for anything.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Listing -- My 1st "Wubby" a Baby/Toddler Security Blanket

I recently had etsy member Jennifer of My Sweet Baby Love Boutique contact me about a CUSTOM order for a small baby security blanket, for her toddler to carry around. (Jennifer makes the most adorable baby shoes, so be sure to check out her shop) She told me the colors she wanted but left the design up to me...and this little beauty is what I came up with. (the colors remind me of dyed easter eggs)

I was in the middle of making it when I had a "AHA moment", I don't have too many of those and am always thrilled when I do. I've never seen these small blankets made before, and my baby (who just turned 23 on the 1st day of spring) had a favorite "blankie" that she carried everywhere and HAD to sleep with everynight. By carrying it everywhere, it of course, was drug on the floor, tripped over and needed washing often. (wish I had a pic of it to show you, I know she still has it)

Raspberry & Orange Creamcicle--My 1st "Wubby" Baby/Toddler Security Blanket

Sooooo, how great would it would be for a little one who's toddling around, to have their own "blankie" or "wubby" that you don't have to worry about them tripping over, and they can take everywhere with them so they always have something familiar to snuggle up to!

And Jennifer mentioned that her little one (6 months old), puts everything in her mouth, so decided on 100% organic cotton yarn for her blanket and I plan to do all future ones in organic cotton as well.

I made up the crochet pattern as I went, Jennifer wanted 18"-20" approximate size and it ended up around 19" (I think the size also makes it perfect for a doll blanket)...since making hers, I've made the Raspberry & Orange Creamcicle--My 1st "Wubby" Baby/Toddler Security Blanket in the other pics, and I've just finished a 3rd one in Spring Green, cream and white colors (still have to wash and block it and take pics, but hopefully I'll have it in my shop by the weekend).

I am having so much fun chosing the different color combinations and making up the different patterns (I hope to offer the patterns in my shop eventually). I keep making different items and searching for my selling "niche"....we'll see how these sell, and I'm really hoping they do, because I LOVE making them!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me know what you think of them or what color combinations you think go well together, I love constuctive criticism and suggestions!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My 1st Wreath Craft...& new Etsy item Listing

I previously posted about this afghan in my new series "What's on my needles...(or hook)". It was commissioned by etsy seller Nikki of Bond Girl Creations 26, and she loved it. Here's what she said in her feedback...
"Such a pleasure to work with...she bent over backwards to make me exactly what I wanted and the blanket is simply gorgeous and such high quality! The packaging was exceptional too! :)"
What wonderful compliments! Thank you Nikki.

I've decided to offer it for sale in my etsy shop, the new listing is here. It will be a CUSTOM order, which means I will make it to suit the buyer after they purchase it. I'm also writing up the pattern for possible sale too, (haven't yet decided if I want to do that).

I call it Nature's Gradation as I made it using all Earth Tones and it graduates from the darkest color at the bottom to the lighest at the top. I also made it out of organic cotton yarn in a very open design crochet so that it can be used all year round. One of the best things about using cotton is that it just gets softer and softer with use.

And here is my very first door wreath!!!! I was so excited when I finished it, that I just had to share.

I've never considered myself a "crafty" person, to me knitting and crocheting are skills that I've learned, but when I was watching Martha Stewart a few weeks ago, they made the cutest little oval wreath and I had a very strong urge to give it a try (they made it look sooooo easy, and it really is).

I really liked the little one they made but I wanted a big one for my front door, and I wanted it decorated more for easter. So, first thing I had to do was take to a trip to Hobby Lobby (all their wreath making supplies and flowers were 50% off, yay). So now I have what I need to make more in the future (cause, yeah, I enjoyed it so much I'll probably be making one for every season)...

But for this one I purchased a large round grapevine wreath

some dried eucalyptus

light pink gerbera daisies, hot pink gerbera daisies

chartreuse hydrangeas

a very small bag of dried moss that had a nice variety

a bag of plastic easter eggs in assorted sizes (all the easter decorations was 50% off as well, double yay)

thin gauge wire


and wide green and white stripe roll of ribbon (also 50% off, yayyayyay)

And my mom (who is one of those people that can do anything she sets her mind to) came for a quick visit, so I roped her into helping me...THANK YOU MOM!!!!

First step was to soak the grapevine wreath in water, I did mine in the tub with a bath towel on top of it to keep it submerged, overnight. To make the wreath oval, I just used my hands and squeezed the top until it was the shape I wanted.

Next I used some shears to cut away some of the grapevine along the small end of the oval (which was going to be the top of my wreath) along the outside edge just to get a more oval shape.

I started adding the dried eucalyptus by just sticking it into the wreath where I wanted it, then started adding the flowers the same way.

I left space at the bottom to attach the moss which we had soaked to rehydrate (because I wanted living moss not dried)...and WOW, that teeny tiny bag of dried moss completely covered my center kitchen island once it plumped up! I attached it using the floral pins just shoved down into the grapevine.

Next job was to attach the easter eggs using my hot glun gun.

Last, we made the bow (going to have to get some bow-making lessons from my sister-in-law Kelly), but I think we managed to make it presentable.

To keep the moss alive, all I have to do is keep it spritzed with water! I LOVE it! And mom and I had so much fun making it. I'm already thinking about the ones I want to try for the other 3 seasons...

I would recommend going to for the full tutorial, I'm sure it's much more detailed.

Can you see who's peeking out at the bottom of the door, and I don't mean my reflection taking the pic???

Linked to: BetweenNapsOnThePorch check it out for other before and after ideas AND Swing Into Spring Party at DIY by Design Blog

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Interview -- Etsy seller Brenda of Phydeaux Designs

Brenda of Phydeaux

I first found Brenda on Etsy when I was browsing through the knitting pattern own knit and crochet patterns are really pretty basic so I don't consider myself a designer. Brenda is definitely what I consider a designer...and a pretty awesome one at that. She designs and sells knitwear, handmade home decor, knit and crochet patterns, and THE MOST amazing hand-crafted buttons I have ever seen, yes, EVER! You can find Brenda in several different places...

Phydeaux Etsy Shop
PhydeauxDesigns Etsy Shop
Phydeaux Designs Website

I am so glad that I decided to do this interview series, I am learning a lot from these lovely ladies of Etsy, 1st Interview with Nikki of BondGirlCreations26 Etsy Shop
and 2nd Interview with Gennifer of sageandmage Etsy Shop is all about Brenda, her lovely kitties, her knitwear, buttons and patterns.

1. What is life like at your house? (husband, pets, children, etc)

Life is fairly quiet at chez phydeaux, with just me and my two kitties, Molly and Fiona. We live where the Santa Cruz mountains and Silicon Valley meet, which is a pretty amazing place. After a busy day in the rat race of the city, I get to listen to critters all night long (oh, coyotes and the like).

2. What is your morning routine?

I'm more of a night owl, but do pop out of bed, check my business and Etsy shops, get ready for my day job, feed kitties, and head out the door. :) I remind myself every single morning that the sooner I get up and go, the sooner I can come home and get to work (I work halftime right now for my day job, and then my business fulltime evenings/nights/weekends)!
(I love that she says "halftime" instead of "parttime", I've always felt that "parttime" sounds like you're not working hard....don't ask me why I think that.)

3. What hobbies do you enjoy?

Once upon a time, I loved to knit and crochet as hobbies. Luckily, I still love doing both, and really really miss them, particularly knitting, when I'm swamped with the business side of my business.

I am really trying hard to make more time for this thing I keep hearing about, "relaxing," including my other hobbies/loves: cooking, gardening, family history research, writing and reading. I have so many wonderful books to read!!! Soon. I will soon read an actual novel.

4. How did you become a designer?

I have always, always created. I cut out and hand stitched little dresses for my Malibu Barbie when I was in grade school. I knit, crocheted and embroidered as a little kid. I love to draw and paint and have done so as long as I can remember. I thought I'd be a world famous artist growing up. I took home ec classes in junior high and high school, which is finally paying off!

I seriously crocheted during my teens/20's and picked up knitting every few years, but more seriously five or 10 years ago, and super seriously in 2007, as I was deciding what kind of creative business to start. I started my little knitting business with serious, big intentions, but had no idea how much I would learn or how my business would develop. Amazing! Terrifying! And so much fun!

So, I suppose I was born an artist and ended up a designer, though the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive!

5. How did you start your etsy business?

Someone - I'm not sure who anymore - told me about this great website called "Etsy" back in 2005 or 2006. I would periodically get lost in the jewelry and plushie listings for hours. Another friend kept telling me I should sell on Etsy, but I didn't even consider it. I did finally place my first order in 2007, probably for earrings (knowing me). By the end of 2007, I was dying to do something creative, after years of working a 50+ hour/week job in university management plus completing my own college education evenings and weekends. I spent Christmas week deciding between jewelry (I made my own jewelry for years and years) or knitted scarves. I honestly thought that knitting would be less expensive - that I would spend less money on yarn and fiber than on beads and findings. Ha ha! I opened my shop in January 2008 and the rest, as they say, is history.

6. How does your creative process work…(where do you find inspiration?)

Creativity, for me, comes from just about anything. While watching a movie last week, I was suddenly mesmerized by the rich, vibrant colors in the sets and costumes, which inspired a whole new line for Fall. Yarn always inspires me - a huge knitting expo like Stitches West is one big inspiration-fest!

I'm also inspired by texture: fiber, knitting stitches, nature (leaves, bark, the lilies in my back yard), new beads, you name it!

And my many (many, many) stitch pattern dictionaries and other sources play a huge part in all of this, particularly when I'm not feeling very inspired at all, just to get the creative juices flowing again.

But design is about form and function. Most of what I do ends up being about problem solving. I may work out the technical issues behind a new design for months prior to actually finally creating a working prototype that I don't hate. Or revisit a design after picking up a new technique or skill in order to improve it!

7. What one thing do you keep close to you at all times?

What a great question! I suppose the true answer is ... my eyeglasses, which I have to wear during all waking hours (being blind as a bat!). When at home, the answer is also my trusty laptop, which I use in some form nearly all day! Or yarn ... I'm surrounded by more yarn than I can probably knit up!

8. Since starting your etsy store, what one thing are you most proud of?

Oh gosh, I knew NOTHING when I first decided to open my Etsy shop. Nothing! I'm rather proud of every bit of hard won knowledge I've mastered! But the most unexpected accomplishment, I think, is the development of my knitting pattern business. First because it's so not what I started out to do, second because I was never able to follow patterns myself, so being able to write them is pretty big for me! I was pretty excited to write patterns for scarves and cowls and now I'm pretty blown away when I write a pattern for a lace shawlette!

9. What is one thing you would do differently (in your etsy business)

Another great question! More time acting, less time analyzing. I am easily frozen by analysis paralysis, researching things to death, rather than just DOING things. This year, I'm working on making things happen rather than planning how to make things happen.

10. Is there anything new you have an idea for or are currently working on to add to your etsy store in the future?

Yes! Several new things! Which I wish I could tell you about! I can't imagine doing the same thing over and over forever. Or five years. I started out knitting super easy scarves, using the most beautiful yarns I could find. Now I'm also creating knitting patterns, making buttons and ornaments, and knitting lace shawlettes. The sky is the limit - I love testing that limit!
(If you want to keep an eye on what Brenda has in the works, you can follow her website like I do)

11. Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny? (why)

Bugs, all the way. I grew up with both Bugs and Mickey, but think about the best Bugs Bunny episodes! The wonderful red furry monster with the black sneakers. The Wagnerian opera with Elmer Fudd signing "kill the wabbit" to the Ride of the Valkyries. Bugs Bunny is pure win.

12. Handmade vs Manufactured (your thoughts)

Both. I know, I know, the PC answer is probably "handmade." However, not everything is practical (or possible) handmade. I've worked in medicine for more than 20 years - the technologies and science that save millions of peoples' lives every year are often based on natural or handmade sources; however, massive deployment does require manufacturing. Not just for medicines, but for syringes, IV tubing, imaging equipment, you name it.

I'd prefer to see more responsible and ethical manufacturing. I do always support local agriculture in addition to handmade, vintage. I can go on and on about why you should only buy free range, organic, no hormone, etc. eggs.

And I have a huge and well loved collection of handmade earrings!

13. What is one piece of advice you'd give to other women who are fortunate not to have to work outside the home?

I do work part time outside of my home (California is expensive!), but love love love working from home most of the time!

My top piece of advice for anyone working from home is this: work! You can spend time on forums, Twitter, playing Farmville, etc., but schedule that as a small part of your day. Spend the majority designing, making, testing, releasing. You will be amazed at how much your productive increases. Mine skyrockets every time I turn my computer off in order to crank out the work!
(Amen Brenda!)

I have to balance that with this piece of advice: have fun! You can burn out really quickly working around the clock. Take a break, go outside, breathe fresh air, go for a walk, go out for lunch, hug your spouse, play with your kids. You'll rejuvenate yourself with new energy and creativity in addition to just being happier and healthier.

What I love most about her website is that she offers advice and tutorials on knitting. As for her knitting patterns, not only are they gorgeous items to knit, but her patterns are very easy to understand, and if you have a problem, she'll walk you through it with her superior customer support.

Brenda calls this photo "Secrets"...and it really does look as though the one kitty is whispering to the other.

So Thank You Thank You to Brenda from ME...thanks for taking the time to do this interview, for providing me with lots of great knitting knowledge AND all the wonderful inspiration!!!!!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Week of Beauty -- Product Review

I received my first order from Gennifer of sageandmage Etsy shop, you'll remember her from the sageandmage Interview we did a few weeks ago. I placed my order with her based on her outstanding customer feedback AND after messaging back and forth with her about a "winter skin issue" I was having on my legs...dry, scaly, itchy spots. I've tried so many different products I found at Wallyworld and lotions I already had, but nothing was really doing the job. After a few emails, I went with her recommendations AND she sent me some samples of items that she mixed up especially for my problem areas. So I thought I'd share with you my findings...

Cocoa Chai All Natural Perfume

The perfume has nothing to do with my skincare issue, I just couldn't resist trying it after reading it's name..."Cocoa Chai"...well, I love all things cocoa, and I love chocolate chai tea...sooooo, I took a chance and ordered it...and can I just say "WOWZA" & "SHAZAM"!!!

I am normally attracted to light, floral fragrances...but I fell in loveeeeeee (singing)...with this puppy! Smells are so subjective, that I normally wouldn't try to recommend a fragrance to anyone, but I just had to share this one. Here's what she has in the shop description...

"This smells so heavenly - good enough to eat at first, then winds down to some smoky notes. It's a sophisticated, smoky, spicy, chocolatey, vanilla-y scent.

Cocoa chai is a very concentrated perfume blend of over 60 essential oils, tinctures, absolutes and co2s. I steeped organic vanilla beans in perfumer's alcohol for one month to create the vanilla tincture used in this fragrance, and it was worth the wait."

I would not have been able to explain any better than that!

Now I can't wait to try her other perfume's!

Rose Geranium and Lemon Deluxe Body Creme with colloidal oatmeal and honey

I forgot to tell you that when my order arrived and I opened my mailbox lid, the smell that hit me immediately was HEAVENLY!!!!!(that is the word I would use to describe each and every product and sample she sent me).

Here's the product desription for the Deluxe Body Creme...

I first formulated this creme, unscented, to soothe my toddler niece's eczema. It was such a lovely, emollient blend that I made some for more grown up skins, with strengthening and balancing oils of rose geranium and lemon.

You only need the tiniest amount to deeply moisturise your whole body - even less if you apply directly after showering. It has a non-greasy skin-feel, absorbs easily and though it is rich, is surprisingly light.

Honey powder and colloidal oatmeal soothe irritation and impart a cushiony softness to the skin while shea butter and extra virgin olive oil nourish and protect.

It smells refreshing and soothing at the same time

Moroccan Rose Dead Sea Facial Mud

Item description for Facial Mud...

Although Dead Sea mud is amazing on its own, I have added precious skin-healing oils to enhance its antibacterial, healing, soothing and nourishing qualities. There's Moroccan rose and rose otto absolutes as well as chamomile for soothing; rosehip, calendula and carrot oils for healing, lavender for its antiseptic and antibacterial qualities; rose geranium for sebum-balancing; and many more .

This mud blend leaves your skin feeling soft and hydrated. It does not strip the skin or leave it feeling dry. It smells like heaven mixed with...mud. There's no escaping that. I love the smell personally - very earthy.

Moroccan-Rose and Sandalwood Facial Oil

Full of skin-loving essential oils and absolutes and deeply nourishing, healing and cleansing herbal extracts and botanical oils like calendula, carrot seed and natural vitamin E, Moroccan Rose & Sandalwood Facial oil is great for all skin types, but I formulated it especially for dryer or mature skins. It smells just lovely - the divine marriage of Moroccan rose and sandalwood with hints of patchouli, lavender, turmeric, benzoin and neroli.

I use Moroccan Rose & Sandalwood Facial Oil mainly as a night moisturiser so that it can absorb into my face while I sleep. It's really lovely as a cleansing oil - gets rid of eye makeup beautifully - and also as a healing oil for lingering acne or rough spots. Of course, I can't 'officially' claim these benefits, but it is a lovely oil, and I have found it to be very softening and soothing.

Even with super dry skin, I've never used an oil on my face...and I was very leery of of trying this one, I guess I had visions of a greasy, dirty look with adult acne making an appearance, but Gennifer recommended it, so I gave it a try....AND...."COWABUNGA" face has never felt softer, or smelled better! No oily or greasy feel AT ALL! I use it as my nighttime moisturizer AND add it to that yummy deluxe body cream....yep, Heaven...

You could say that Gennifer has a new lifetime customer...I'll definitely be reordering, and as I said, can't wait to try her other perfumes, I also can't wait to try some of the other items in her shop!!!! She was a pure pleasure to work with so I know if you place an order with her, you'll be very pleased, and don't forget to use the special coupon she is offering my followers...just type MYBLUEPEACOCK in the coupon code box when placing an order with sure to let her know that I sent you!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Week of Beauty -- Hair Styling -- Part 5

Note: I am not affiliated in any way with Kenra Hair Care Products or Pureology Hair Care Products, nor is this a paid advertisement.

Here are a few fun facts about hair...

Lifespan of hair: 2 to 7 years

Humidity stretches hair

Combing is less detrimental than brushing

Male hair is denser than female hair (duh)

Split ends canNOT be repaired, they must be cut off (otherwise, the splits continue to travel the length of the hair shaft which weakens it, causing it to break off easily)

Next to bone marrow, hair is the fastest growing tissue in the human body

Forty percent of women by the time they reach menopause will have female pattern hair loss.

Hair grows at a rate of approximately 1/2 inch per month

Hair grows faster in warm weather

All these fun facts were taken from these great websites...

Choosing the right styling products for your hair type needs, is easier when you understand what they are designed for. And most hair styling products on the market today list exactly what hair type they were designed for, but for best results and to save yourself some moolah by buying product that just doesn't work for you, I HIGHLY recommend discussing which products to use with your stylist, he/she will steer you in the right direction and most salons offered 100% money back guarantee, so if you take something home and just can't get it to work for you, they will replace it with something that will. Win Win!

The different hair types are: fine, coarse, normal...AND the denseness can be thick, thin or average. Your stylist will help you determine which combination you have. You'll also have to factor in if you have virgin hair (hair that has not been color-treated or had any chemical processes
used on it).

Here are just a few tips for what to look for...
If you have fine hair, you are going to want shampoos, conditioners and styling products that add volume and fullness.

If you have coarse hair, you are going to want products that add moisture and help smooth the hair shaft. Even if you have curly hair and want to keep the curls, you'll still need to smooth the hair shaft to avoid frizziness (smoothing products with silicone work great on this hair type)

If you have normal hair, you can use just about any combination of products depending on the style results you are looking for.

If you have color-treated hair you DEFINITELY need to be using products specifically for color-treated hair as the coloring process dries the hair shaft out,...if you want your color to last AND you want healthy looking hair, you must use a deep conditioner at least once a week, preferably twice, in addition to shampoo and conditioner developed especially for color-treated hair. (please forgive me if I'm repeating myself) It is EXTREMELY important to get moisture back into the hair shaft and keep it smoothed down.

There are way, way, way too many styling products on the market today, so I'm just going to talk about the specific ones that I use on myself, if you have questions about your hair type, I'd be happy to answer what I can with the information you give me, just email me at , but you're best help would be the person who cuts and/or colors your hair as they're the ones that get up close and personal and with their fingers in your hair.

Kenra Volume Mousse Extra 17

I mostly use Pureology Shampoos and Conditioners as I stated in yesterday's post, switching off once a week with Kenra's shampoo and condioner for fine hair, although I have a lot of hair, it is fine which makes it appear thin so I have to use products that help "plump" it up.

After towel drying (don't rub your wet hair harshly, just squeeze with your towel), I will usually apply either Kenra's Mousse or Styling Creme 10 both of which I mix with just a dab of Kenra's Silkening Gloss. The reason I add the gloss is to tame and smooth the ends, you can also use it on your skin to revitalize it.

I then apply Pureology's RootLifter directly to the roots of my wet hair in the crown area. I blow dry my hair using the medium heat setting (if you use the hottest setting you risk damaging your hair, not the end result I want) and my fingers, going in all four directions (think north, south,east and west) on every area of my head. When almost dry, I then use either a round brush or a flat, wide brush to help style. (using a brush before hair is almost dry is just wasted effort) When I feel it's dry, to add volume I hold my head upside down and use the cool setting on my dryer for just a minute.

I use hot rollers when I want tons of volume and curl, a straightening iron for when I want a more casual look, and sometimes just a couple of velcro rollers in the crown area for just a bit of extra volume.

To finish it, I'll use Kenra's Platinum Texturizing Taffy and Volume Hair Spray 25
I use the Taffy with my fingertips and just smooth it over the ends (kind of picking at the ends), I love that it doesn't get stiff, ...then finish it off with the hairspray.

So, here's my unsolicited advice...

Get with a good stylist (if you don't already have one), and have him/her help you figure out what hair type you have and what styling results you are going for.

Decide what hair products you want to use and follow the directions and your stylists advice (they will gladly teach you how to use your styling products).

Get your hair trimmed (at least 1/8" every 6 weeks if you are trying to let it grow, 1/2" every 4 weeks if you want to maintain your current style)

If you cover your gray...Ladies! paleeeeeeze keep those roots covered...(just my opinion, but roots that show are just sooooooooooo tacky)

I had planned to split this post up into 2 segments, but I got a little carried away and probably a little too wordy, and once I got started it was very hard to stop (in case you haven't noticed, I'm just a wee bit passionate about skin and hair care, BECAUSE "when you look good, you feel good") I think for the next post, I'll let you know about a few of my fav new skin care products I've just recently come across.

My hope is that some of this information is helpful to you, if not, I hope that it at least entertained you!!!!

My hope is that we all start taking care of ourselves first, so that we can then do a great job of taking care of everyone else!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Week of Beauty -- Hair Care --Part 4

Note: I am not affiliated in any way with Kenra Hair Care Products or Purelolgy Hair Care Products, nor is this a paid advertisement.

Today's post is about hair care and the products that I personally found to be the best for achieving the results I needed as a hair care colorist and stylist for over 20 years. When I first opened my own salon fourteen years ago, the hair care line of products I started out with was Graham Webb, I was determined to only offer the highest quality products that produced superior results and Graham Webb certainly fit the bill. Over the years, I tried every old and new product available, just to see if there was something better, and what I found was Pureology. Loved it..........

But at first, I was worried about the higher prices being off-putting to my customers, until I realized that, yeah, you might pay a bit more at first, but as their products are not made with "water", making them ultra-concentrated, you end up using a fraction of what you use with cheaper brands, so the result is the products go so much further, you really aren't spending much more than you were before. (ex: if you normally use a Quarter-sized dollop of shampoo in your palm to wash your hair, you would use a Dime-sized dollop with Pureology)

Pureology Super Smooth System

Here are a few facts about Pureology...

Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that attack hair follicles and colour pigments, compromising hair health and colour vibrancy. Pureology’s exclusive AntiFadeComplex® contains a blend of potent antioxidants and full spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreens to protect colour from free radicals.

Surfactants are an essential part of a shampoo’s cleansing system, but common surfactants, known as sulfates, can fade colour vibrancy. To gently cleanse without stripping colour, our ZeroSulfate® shampoos include a mild cleansing system, with no added salt, derived from coconut, corn, and sugar to deliver a rich lather and help optimize colour retention.

Pureology combines the best of nature with advanced technology to ensure pure performance and radiant colour, and our products are made without animal products or by-products.

We are committed to developing naturally-based formulas infused with organic botanicals harvested from plants grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or chemicals.

Indulge in the ultimate multi-sensory experience with highly concentrated formulas bursting with superior ingredients that deliver up to 80 shampoos—two times more than other shampoos. Our rich lathers, featherlight textures, and decadent masques surround the senses with aromatic essences, creating a luxurious experience and incredible results. Colour-treated hair is silky soft with dramatically improved condition and remarkable shine.

From the beginning, Pureology’s philosophy has been uncompromising. Our superior colour care is created with integrity to preserve the future well-being of our environment while still providing 100% guaranteed product performance. Pureology is against animal cruelty and proud to use post-consumer recycled and recyclable packaging

Pureology Pure Volume System

It's only my opinion, but I've personally used Pureology on my clients AND myself with the exact result I wanted. Let me tell you the circumstance that orginally got me to try Pureology for the first time...

Salon Testimonial

I had an on-off client, she colored and lightened her own hair and just came to me for nails and hair cuts...she came to me one day with her hair literally "fried"...she had colored and highlighted, then gone to Florida, and into a chlorine pool...DISASTER!!!! She was practically in tears. Her hair had just a tad of a green cast AND about 6 inches that looked and felt like "cotton candy" (very gummy and stringy). She had hair that was normally very dry, SUPER curly, corkscrew curls, and we were going to have to cut at least 6-8 inches of it off just to get rid of the worst of the damage. In the hair care world, once hair is damaged, it has to be cut off, there is no "repairing" it no matter what products on the consumer market advertise.

Well, needless to say, she begged me to help her find some way to save what we could...I told her to give me a few days and I'd call her with whatever I found. Enter...Pureology

I had already been reading about it, so I checked into it some more and I decided to try Essential Repair Instant Repair Treatment and Nano Works Luxury System . I gave them to her with complete instructions and for her to come back in a week and we'd see what we had to work with.

She came 3 DAYS! Walking on air and sporting a beamer of a smile! "LOOK at this"...I gotta tell ya, I would have sworn to anyone that asked, we would be cutting off 6 inches of her hair at the end of her trial...but the Pureology products had REPAIRED, yes REPAIRED almost ALL of the damage, we ended up cutting off 1 inch!!!!!! Their products became my shops featured line the very next day, and flew off the shelves after that.

Whether you have thin, coarse, color-treated, damaged, or even healthy hair, they have products that will work STUPENDOUSLY for your specific needs. I really just can't say enough good about them.

I find that hair gets "tired" of using the same brand ALL the time, so my favorite switch off brand is Kenra Hair Care Products. I will use my Pureology all week, and then switch to Kenra for a couple of days, then switch back. I am, with hair care products the same as I am with skin care products...always trying out whatever is new on the market, cause you just never know when something better might come along...but for the past 10 years, both of these hair care lines are my go to's.

Kenra Color Maintenance Shampoo

Tomorrow I plan to go more into the different hair types and the specific needs for those types, and I hope to finish up my "Week of Beauty" series on Monday with Hair Care Styling Products.

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask here in the comments section or email me at and if you've found a great hair care product or have your own testimonial, I'd love to hear about it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Week of Beauty -- Color -- Part 3

Note: I am not affiliated in any way with Mary Kay Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics or Maybelline, nor is this a paid advertisement.

In previous posts, Part 1 we discussed the importance of proper skin care and Part 2 the list of tools you will need for make-up application. Today I'm going to talk just a little about color. I'm not going to go into different looks and how to apply them, as I stated yesterday, you really need to get with a representive of one of the make-up companies of your choice, schedule a make-over (they are usually free) and they can help you out when choosing your look and what colors look best on you.

I just want to give you a list of possiblities and highlight items that I personally use and like. To start with, foundation...I have almost always used Mary Kay foundations because I can try them, and if the color is wrong, I can exchange it for one that does. Keep in mind that your color will probably change during the seasons, I tend to use one color for summer and another color for the rest of the year. The range of options for what type of foundations can be a little overwhelming (another reason it's good to go to someone who can steer you in the right direction)...there are moisturizers with added color if you like a really natural look, medium-coverage foundations, full-coverage foundations, powder foundations and sheer foundations. Different brands also make them for either dry/normal skin and normal/oily skin types (this is a huge help).

Mary Kay Luminous Wear Foundation

If you choose to wear eyeshadows, your choices are almost unlimited. Most companies offer a huge range of colors and even sets that go well together, taking a lot of the guess work out it for you. What I can tell you about color is that the most important part about choosing them, is first determining whether you are a "cool" or a "warm", meaning do cool colors look best on you or warm? If you've never had a make-over, look to your wardrobe, do you tend to gravitate more towards the pink family, or the yellow/orange? If you wear a lot of black, tan, navy...these are considered neutral, which means no matter what you choose to wear on your face, you're not going to clash. You could of course choose to go neutral in your selection of eye colors, white, taupe, grey, charcoal, navy...these are all neutrals and go well with just about everyone.

When choosing your eye colors, you'll want to probably plan on a very light base color (apply all over the eyelid), a contour color (usually in the crease, extending from the outside corner, up towards the inside of your eyebrow), and an accent color (usually a darker or brighter color that will go along your lashline and /or the outside corner of your lid.) And here I said I wasn't going to get into teaching application, it's just so hard to do in writing, much, much easier in person!

Mary Kay Minerals Eye Colors

Cheek colors "blush" are great for helping to accentuate your cheek bones or just to add a bit of color to the apples of your cheeks. There are actually many different ways to apply blush, get with someone who knows and you'll really learn a lot.

Bobbi Brown Blush

You're last step should always be adding mascara, if you choose to wear it, it really "opens" and "brightens" your eyes and finishes your look. Again, the nearly unlimited options can be daunting...waterproof, adding volume, goes on and on. All I can tell is you is that I will personally try one and if I'm not jumping for joy, I'll still use it for 3 months then throw it away and try something new, till I find what I like...I'll use that until something new comes along and I'll give it a try, if I like it better than what was using, then I'll keep using it, if not, then back to my ole fav I go! (It's important to always throw away mascara 3 months after it's been opened as each time you put the wand back in the tube, you are introducing bacteria that will grow, possibly causing eye infections at some point)
Right now, my personal fav is Maybelline's Colossal Volum Express Mascara...for me it adds tons of volume and thickness (my lashes are definitely changing/thinning as I get older).

Maybelline Colossal Volum Express Mascara

There are many many many more products out there...concealers, powders, brow liners, eye liners, lip liners,.....just too much to get into here, so I really just high-lighted what I tend to use most days.

Whatever colors or look you choose, you really should just have fun with it, and remember...
your goal is to enhance your natual God-given beauty!!!

What products do you personally use and love?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Week of Beauty -- The Tools -- Part 2

Note: As stated in yesterday's post, this is not a paid advertisement nor am I affiliated with any of these companies.
In Monday's post, I explained the importance of proper skin care in it's relationship to good make-up application. I have a few more thoughts on that before moving on to today's topic of the tools you need for beautiful make-up application.

The application of make-up will enhance your God-given natural will NOT cover up bad skin! (just in case you missed that message on Monday)...Being diligent with cleansing and moisturizing EVERY morning and evening, and exfoliating at least 2x a week EVERY week...will help you achieve and showcase your God-given natural beauty.

So now, on to today's subject....The tools you will need for beautiful make-up application, and yes, EVERYONE that chooses to apply make-up needs all these tools...they don't have to be the same brand or necessarily expensive, but you will need them to make this job easier and gets the results you are going to want.

First up are make-up sponges, I use inexpensive disposable ones that I buy at Wal-Mart, use them a few times, then throw them away. Mostly for applying your make-up foundation, I like to wet mine just a tad first, then smooth the foundation all over your face including your eyes, mouth, making sure to go a bit below your jawline. You may prefer using your fingers or a foundation brush for this step, but you'll still need the sponges to get a proper blending,especially at the hairline and under your jaw. Mary Kay Cosmetic Sponges

Make sure that the brushes you use are made of natural materials, such as sable, they clean up easily and will last you years if you take proper care of them. I wash mine weekly with a good mild shampoo, rinse well and lay flat to dry. Again, they don't have to be expensive, but keep in mind that you will definitely get your money's worth if you are willing to take care of them. The ones you will need vary depending on the look you are going for...if you don't like to wear a lot of make-up, you might just need a blush brush...but if you like to wear eyeshadow, liquid eyeliner, powdered brow liner, etc, you'll need a variety.

If using a gel or liquid eyeliner, you'll certainly need an eyeliner brush, but if you like a pencil, you won't...same goes for eyebrows and what you choose to use.

If you like wearing eye shadow, you'll need at least 3 brushes, whether you're going for a natural look or a full glam look. You'll want one for your base color, one for the crease and one for the outside corner accent color. I'm not going to go into eye looks and their application here, that's something better learned in person with someone teaching and showing you how to get the look you want. For those wanting a natural look, you still need to use 3 colors, hence the 3 different brushes. Blending is the key in any look you are going for, and to blend properly, you really need at least 3 colors!

A blush brush is a must no matter the look you are going for, everyone needs at least a touch of color on the apples of their cheeks, unless you spend a lot of time at the beach, in which case I would say (sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen). Not to take a detour from our subject, but I just realized I didn't mention sunscreen in Monday's post and it is sooooo important!!!!!! Make sure if you are not using a sunscreen daily that at least your daytime moisturizer has it.

Mary Kay Brush Collection

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Brushes

And finally, for touch ups, blending, and correcting, I make sure to keep q-tips in my make-up drawer. Great for smudging eyeliner, blending shadow, wiping away any shadow that falls below the eyes and for when mascara ends up where it's not supposed to.
And the last most important step in make-up application is...


Then be sure to use a nighttime moisturizer specifically for your skin type.

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Week of Beauty -- Part 1

Note: I am not in any way affiliated with Mary Kay Products at this time, nor is this article a paid advertisement. It is my own personal opinion based on previous experience.

I thought it might be fun this week to talk about "Beauty", that is, the outside as opposed to the inside. You might ask "what qualifies" me? I've been involved in several different aspects of the Beauty business for the past 26 years, up until 3 years ago.

I started out as a hairstylist, colorist and nail technician and worked in a couple different local salons for a few years before starting my own. Over the years, I was trained in make-up artistry by a Bendel's representative...was the make-up artist for model's at several hair shows AND was a Mary Kay Cosmetics Consultant for 3 years. Having my own salon also afforded me the opportunity to offer my make-up application services to many, many bride's, bridesmaids, mother's of the bride's and girls going to the prom. Loved doing ALL those!

But I would have to say, my biggest teacher was my mother. She became a Mary Kay Consultant when I was around 13 years of age, the perfect time to teach a young girl about the importance of taking care of her skin. I would have to give Mom credit...teaching me to take care of my skin has to be in the top 10 of my all time most important lessons learned...Thanks MOM!!!!

One of the reasons taking care of your skin is sooooooo important, it is the surface you will apply your make-up to. If it is not properly prepared, there is not enough make-up in the world, nor high-priced brand that will make it look good. (Ever notice women with cake-y foundation or too much concealer giving them a yellow-ish look? They're probably trying to cover up what they never took proper care of in the first place).

Not taking care of your skin and properly preparing it for make-up would be similar to a painter, coming to paint your dining room walls, but doesn't take off the old wallpaper first. (ugh)

Like I said, Mom started me off right as a young teenager. As a Mary Kay Consultant, she taught me about the importance of starting my routine with the right cleanser for my skin type (which has always, always been dry), followed by the right moisturizer, and using a skin care mask to really clean things up 2x weekly.

Mary Kay's products have only improved over the years, trust me on this, I've tried nearly everything out there... every time something new comes on the market, yep, tried that. I'm not saying I don't come across good products, I do, but it'll work for a while, then I end up going back to my tried and true favs, which just happen to be Mary Kay Skin Care. They've changed, improved and added to their product line over the years, so I've gone from using the skincare for teenagers to now using their TOTALLY AWESOME TimeWise Miracle Set for it's incredible age-fighting results to help you maintain younger-looking skin. (I started using age-fighting products in my thirties and HIGHLY recommend it)

The Time Wise Miracle Set also has the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval!!!! HA, guess they know what they're talkin' about!

If you want your make-up to look good, you've got to have clean skin, well hydrated skin...the surface needs to be as smooth as you can get it, otherwise make-up will only highlight these problem areas. Do I use Mary Kay's make-up in addition to their skincare? You betcha! For the ease of application, staying ability, quality and the reasonable prices, I just don't believe it can be beat...although I do tend to try a lot of others out there, just to see if I can find something better.

If you want to try their products for yourself, you can order order online or you can find a consultant neat you. (I personally highly, HIGHLY recommend contacting a local consultant as she will work with you on finding the right products for your skin type AND give you a complete makeover FREE... you get to try before you buy AND they have a 100% money back guarantee, you can't lose by trying their products, so it's a WIN WIN situation all around).

If you have any questions, you are welcome to ask them in the "comments section" here, or email me at

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Nonteam Treasury Challenge

I've been enjoying composing etsy treasuries featuring some amazing etsy artisans as I've talked about in previous posts, but yesterday I entered one in a treasury challenge. The challenge was to compose a treasury around a specific item, which happens to be this absolutely Awesome Leather Folio/Case made by RuneLeather

As soon as I saw it, I knew EXACTLY what my treasury would be, and if you've been checking out my previous treasuries, you'll probably have a pretty good idea what I'll be doing with it...

If you'd like to learn more about this challenge, check out the blog

Here are a couple more items in the treasury, to see the whole treasury, go to the bottom of this post...

Blue Ball Mason Jar Lantern by BrigidsFancy

White Horse and Mountains Fine Art Photograph by TailedBluePhotos

And here's the complete treasury...Prairie Style my way...Collection #3

Go check it out and leave comments at the bottom of the treasury page...this will go a long way towards helping it get noticed!!!! Then come back here and let me know what you think....

Friday, March 4, 2011

What's on my needles...

In my newest series, What's on my needles..., or "hook" as the case may be...this is my 2nd post. In the 1st post I talked about a round lap blanket I'm working on, which had to be put on hold for this one. (Not quite finished in this pic)

Nikki, of and BondGirlCreations26 etsy shop contacted me about a custom order. The idea for this lap blanket had been in the back of my mind, so when she mentioned that she wanted neutral colors in the brown family, I knew this one would be perfect. She also mentioned that she liked my Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Baby Blanket, she remarked "I love how cozy it looks".

Since I made that pattern up as I went, and didn't write it down (bad me), I had to go back and look at it, write it out, then try to adjust for the size difference. As I am NOT one to EVER use a "guage swatch" (very very important when size is an issue in BAD ME), this was more difficult than I imagined.

For the colors for her custom blanket, I knew I wanted it to graduate from the darkest to the lightest. I planned to do this by using two stands of yarn of the same color together for the first stripe, then for the next stripe, 1 strand of that color and 1 strand of what would be the next lighter color. The 3rd stripe would be two stands of that lighter color. (example: 2 strands of "charcoal"--1st stripe

1 strand of "charcoal, 1 strand of "dark chocolate" --2nd stripe

2 strands of "dark chocolate" --3rd stripe), this would have made the graduation less noticeable, more gradual.

I chose an organic cotton yarn for the ease of care AND so that she could use it year round. I was half way finished when I realized it wasn't going to be long enough AND it was way too heavy...ugh. NOT what I had in mind! Sooooo, I spent 2 days, yes 2 whole days, taking it apart...the reason it took so long was that I had to rewrap each ball of yarn as I went (10 BALLS)!!!!!! Having to use more yarn to make it longer was not only going to mess up my color design, but it was going to make it toooooo costly for what Nikki & I had agreed on. And did I mention the "heaviness"? Who wants a lap blanket the weighs you done and is like a ton of bricks to carry?!

Replanning my design, I realized that the only way to use 2 strands of yarn together to get my original look is to use a much lighter weight yarn (and I'm sure I will in the future) as I have Nikki's permission to make more of them to sell, and I'm also going to sell the pattern on etsy (as I wrote the pattern down as I went this time and plan to do so from now on).

I am extremely happy with the end result (which is now laying flat to dry after washing it)...I hope to have it ready for finished pics and listing on etsy for Nikki within the next couple of days. I'll be sure to post a finished pic.