Archive of ‘Making’ category

Lavender & Almond Skin Cleanser

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I’ve tried a ton of different skincare options over the years. It started when I was about 10 and my mom was selling Mary Kay products, and on and on from there. I’ve been careful about ingredients since my early twenties- mostly buying from health food stores and avoiding harsh chemicals. But I’ve never found something I 100% loved. I’ve tried everything from extremely overpriced department store cleansing milks, to raw honey (it gave me a rash). I used only coconut oil for a while, but came to the conclusion that for my particular skin, it’s better as a once-in-a-while treatment rather than a daily ritual. When it comes to store-bought, LUSH’s Angels on Bare Skin cleanser has been my favorite, but there was still something a little off about it, so I decided to try making it myself, with complete control over the ingredients. I made my first batch several months ago, and I absolutely love this stuff. It’s the perfect combination of moisture and gentle exfoliant, with clay to draw out impurities.

The recipe:

a heaping 1/4 cup of almond flour
4 tsp clay (I use Redmond, but I’m curious about green clay and may try it in the future.)
1 Tbsp vegetable glycerin
7 drops pure lavender essential oil (I only use Young Living; I’ve noticed such a difference since switching from store bought oils)
4 tsp water
1 tsp organic dried lavender

Mix the almond flour and clay together in a bowl. Then add glycerine, water, and lavender oil. Mix together well (I like to use a silicone spatula to sort of knead it against the side of the bowl.) Scrape together and roll in hands to form a ball. Store in a lidded container. To use, pinch off just a tiny bit and mix it with water in your hand, rub into face, and rinse clean. Follow with your favorite moisturizer if needed.

This Was Christmas.

getting the tree…

crocheting and felting many trivets for gifts…

sending cards and boxes out…

adding his handprints to our tree skirt. next year there will be 2…

baking. lots and lots of baking…

a favorite gift, so simple…

and another favorite: his own drill to help daddy with projects : )

There is something so magical about Christmas with a child of your own. There is nothing like seeing his joy over the simplest things, like lights on houses and a stocking that’s full in the morning. Hearing him say “dis cookie is nummy Mommy!”, and an enthusiastic “wow!!” each and every time he opens a gift, melts my heart into a puddle. This year Christmas was just right, relaxing and spent with family. And I am still processing the fact that next year, we’ll be celebrating it with a 10 month old and a three year old!

So, a few days late, from my family to yours:

{our Christmas card, 2011}

Crunchy Granola

Homemade granola is seriously one of my favorite snack foods ever. Totally delicious and healthful- what’s not to love? This is my version, which doesn’t last long around here.


2 cups rolled oats
1 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or other dried berries)
scant 1/4 cup grapeseed (or canola) oil
1/2 cup honey

Mix the oats, almonds, and seeds in a large bowl.
Measure oil into a 1/2c. measuring cup and swirl before pouring into the bowl. Then meansure the honey in the same cup.
toss everything together and pout onto a baking pan.
Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes, turning every so often to keep it cooking evenly.
Return the baked granola to the mixing bowl, add the fruit, and stir to combine. Stir  gently sevral times as it cools, so it doesn’t clump together too much.
Enjoy on its own or with yogurt, and store in airtight containers such as mason jars.


Something you may not know about me: I’m not a huge fan of shopping in malls. I have heard some ladies describe shopping as “exhilarating” and “energizing”, but while I don’t completely hate a few hours at the mall, it overwhelms me. I always leave exhausted. Then I discovered the wonders of thrift, antique, and vintage stores, and I think I understand what my mall-shopping friends are talking about. It’s a bit like treasure hunting, and I love it. So here are some of my finds from this week…

I have been wanting a nice floppy hat for gardening and the beach- this one is perfect :)

wooden bowl and spoon- always on the lookout for food photography props

two vintage pillow cases- I always see project tutorials that call for them.

I love this mug for my tea- such a lovely color

a nice, big, simple vase for flowers

I got three of these plates- I love dinnerware that has a handmade feel

The pattern on this skirt- oh I just couldn’t resist.

paisley shawl

This just amazed me- dated 1899 and super heavy (cast iron). I had to get it.

This box is now holding fruit on my kitchen counter.

Pretty patterned butter knife

This lens… doesn’t actually go on any of my cameras, but again I just couldn’t pass it up. I am interested in learning about how to make homemade lenses, which can give a very interesting tilt-shift/Lensbaby look. If I can’t use it for that I might sell it, because it is in great condition.

When I was exploring downtown a few days ago, I found an antique mall that looks like it will easily replace my favorite on that closed several months ago. Seth was fussy so I only glanced at a few things before needing to leave, but I am planning on going back in by myself soon and taking some time.

Have a beautiful week, friends!


Decking the Halls {Part III- Giving}

I always stress a little bit over gifts for the holidays. I want each gift I give to be meaningful and thoughtful. If it’s not, I would rather not give anything at all. I rarely go to the mall for holiday gifts- if I can’t make something myself, then I look to Etsy or other unique shops. I look for handmade and/or earth-friendly gifts that will be useful to the recipient, and also within our budget. Kind of a tall order sometimes.

Without being too very specific about the exact things I’m making and giving this year {I wouldn’t want to spoil any surprises!}, I wanted to share some ideas I am loving right now.

To Make

I am always inspired to break out the hooks and yarn at this time of year. I love to crochet gifts for people, and I always wish I had more time to do it.

I also love making beaded jewelry for the special ladies on my list.

Photo gifts are a great option that are personal and meaningful. Creating small scrapbooks and albums by hand, framing special images, or using websites like Shutterfly to create books, calendars and other merchandise are all great ideas.

Baked goods are another great handmade gift. I love to bake, and this year I am planning on trying my hand at a few new things. I love the idea of using healthier options like whole wheat flour, non-refined sweeteners, and organic ingredients. I’ll be posting about my baking adventures, with photos and recipes, soon!

To Buy

Here are just a few of my favorite gift ideas from Etsy right now….

for the photographer

Vintage Camera coffee bowls by AceroStudio

Plum paisley camera strap from emfalconbridge
{I have one of these straps and just adore it!}

Leather memory card holder from PorteenGear


for the guys

World Peace t-shirt by rctees

Personalized silver guitar pick from andreaevansdesign

Recycled leather wallet from nicaeli


for the ladies

Felted merino slippers from ing00te

Unlock Your Dreams necklace from bellawish

Long wanderer skirt from GaiaConceptions


for the little ones

Natural wooden toy camera from littlesaplingtoys

Sign language “I Love You” teether from littlesaplingtoys

Fabric alphabet book from pilosale

Short sleeve toddler tee from makristababy


for the home

Colorful felted pebbles from reyaveltman

Whales eco-friendly throw pillow from zenthreads

{shameless plug here :)}
2011 photo calendar from my shop- hmphoto


for the pet lover

Hemp dog collars from TheModernPet

Custom dog tag from TheCopperPoppy
{these are so nice- we have one for Zeus}


I hope I’ve given you some good ideas for gifts this year!
Now I’m going to get busy making things!

Reverb 10- Make

What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

The last thing I made…

well actually the last couple of things:


For the bird, I drew the shapes I needed on paper first, traced them onto the felt, and cut them out. I stuffed with fiber fill and stitched around it up with embroidery floss.

The glass ball idea was from here {thanks, Jami!}. I used an ornament we had already, and used a silver paint pen to draw the design.

I want to do a few more of each of these in the coming weeks- they’re easy and the birds especially would be cute additions to holiday gifts!

I have several Christmas gifts on my “to-make” list. I’m planning on doing some crocheting, and some baking. Finding time for those things is rare these days, but I have a break coming up and I intend to put it to good use.

Decking the Halls {Part I- Decorating}

I have been whipping up handmade holiday decorations in my spare moments over the last couple of days, and I wanted to share a few of them with you! We ventured into the attic yesterday and retrieved our boxes of ornaments, and our faux wreath for the door, which I decorated the first year we were married, as well as our stockings and some other things. I’m hoping to add lots of handmade things to our collection this year.

I found this great blog post about decorations made from simple white cardstock, on d.Sharp Journal, via Design Sponge. I love how my snowman garland and angels come out!

Also on Design Sponge, I found the instructions for these fun paper ornaments, which I hung from the chandelier above our dining table.

A few nights ago we went to CityPlace, where they have a giant Christmas tree and a train for the kiddos, which Seth thoroughly enjoyed.
p.s.- It was dark outside when I took these. I love my D700′s high ISO capabilities!

Yes, the holiday season has officially arrived, and I am loving it!

xoxo, h

So Sweet.

Seth and I devoured it just minutes later. It was even better than it looks.

I hope you’re having a good weekend. Mine could be better, but I am focusing on the positive things- like fresh fruit, family, and celebrating with friends whose daughter just turned one!

a new season

Monday was Labor Day- the unofficial end of summer. Many of my favorite bloggers are speaking of colder breezes, scarves, soups and preparing for cold weather. Here in Florida, however, it is still summer. Our temperatures are in the high 80’s and it’s been raining every afternoon. I go out to take a picture, and I have to wait for my lens to defog.

Still, I feel the change of season instinctively, even if there is not let any physical evidence of it in my world.

I suddenly had a great urge to clean out my closet yesterday. I felt the need to purge and renew, and two garbage bags full of clothes and shoes that I haven’t worn in years and never would have again are on their way out to be donated or consigned. I want to do this in every corner of my home until there’s nothing left that isn’t either useful or beautiful. (I first read this concept during Simple Mom’s Spring Cleaning Week earlier this year, and it stuck with me.)

Yes, fall is here, and for me it feels like a fresh start in so many ways. There are just four more months left in this year, and I determined not to take them for granted.

I have been experiencing these intense bouts of inspiration lately- I make sure to have a little Moleskine journal with me all the time, because the words will just start to flow, or I’ll have an idea to sketch out quickly. I’ve been taking so many photos with my iPhone (and posting most of them over on Posterous) because I don’t always have my slr with me (or I forget to charge the battery…). I walk around and see amazing things in every direction- the way a leaf curves, the patterns made by vines on a concrete wall, a wooden gate left ajar just so, like it is expecting someone- the world just seems so fresh and full of life and hope.

august break, no.18: another recipe

Yes, another galette. I had to use the other half of the pâte brisée I made yesterday, right?
Plus, we had company for dinner. : )

How to make it:

This pâte brisée recipe {from the wonderful Smitten Kitchen}.
Having chilled the dough, roll it out on a piece of baking parchment to about 12 inches, or a little more, in diameter.
Then slide it onto a baking sheet and stick it back in the fridge, while you
peel and slice about 4 apples (I think I may have done 5 small ones, but had some left over.
Then mix 1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. sugar in a bowl, and dump in the apple slices, tossing to coat well.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Take your dough out of the fridge, and arrange the apples on top, leaving about 2 inches around.
Beat an egg, and brush onto the exposed 2″ of dough, then sprinkle with coarse or raw sugar.
Bring the edges of the dough up, pinching about every two inches or so around.
Brush the outside of the exposed dough with egg glaze, and sprinkle with coarse or raw sugar.
Sprinkle the exposed apples with cinnamon, and a small dash of nutmeg, and some coarse sugar.
Optional: drizzle on some agave nectar or honey.
Bake about 40-45 minutes, until the outside is a nice golden color and the apples look soft.
After a few minutes, transfer to wire rack to cool, but definitely serve it warm.
Ice cream or fresh whipped cream, optional but wonderful.
bon appetit!

{And I promise my next food post will not be a galette! :)}

{The August Break is, for me, about not feeling like I have to write here- pictures each day will do (but there are no rules of course, so I can write too if I feel like it!) Basically I am relaxing more in August, and letting summer be summer.
This idea is from the talented Susannah Conway. Click here for more info and a list of participating bloggers.}

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