Hearts & Love Series Powder Puffs

My latest project was these super soft and fluffy powder puffs. I had fun getting all the fur and lace and ribbons together to design this group of puffs. I like to line up all my options and with the ideas already in my mind, I start putting together the options.

It is always interesting to see what comes out of this process!! It is different than what I first envisioned.

The ideas have been in my head for almost a year, and I finally got the time to get to work. I love hearts and pretty pinks, reds, the flowers and lace, so I enjoy designing items for Valentine’s day!! 

The process of making these puff takes time, and after the puffs are all finished, next comes the task of taking pictures, uploading and editing the pictures to post in listings online. I decided to make three sizes including the original small 3″ powder puff. I have it listed with a 4 oz jar of our natural body powder.

The larger body puff of 4″ has a large jar of body powder with it!!

And the extra large body puff of a whopping 5″ of fluffy softness!! These have all been posted on Etsy and our website.

December Snow Fall

We finally received our first decent snowfall, that fell on Thursday, just under an inch. It came down powdery and light, it was pretty and soft.

Our pooches loved running and playing in the snow. To the left is earth boxes we leave outside all year long. They grew some great tomatoes last summer.

On Christmas Day we received about half an inch of sleet with very light snow

The temperatures dipped to single digits and that made it more difficult keeping outside water unfrozen.

Our pooches in the front love running in the snow and watching for my husband to come home.  

We leave the pond pumps running all year, it keeps the water moving for the fish. There are always interesting ice “sculptures” that develop in extra cold weather.

We use bamboo poles we save from our bamboo to put over the ponds to keep the netting out of the water. It has worked well for years to keep all the leaves out of the ponds in fall and winter. We remove them in spring.

Autumn Trees

I love the change of season with the beautiful fall weather and the pretty colors of leaves. The animals enjoy it too, a welcome relief from the summer heat.

Walking down our drive, the trees are gorgeous. The leaves change colors so quickly.

Our pergola has a nice background with the autumn colors of native oak trees.

The trees are full of color.

Our backyard view changes with the seasons. The falling leaves give a lovely effect.

The woodpeckers are showing back up at the feeders to eat. Time to hang out the suet!!

Owl Cupcake Recipe

These are fun and easy to make cupcakes. They are cute for autumn themed celebrations and Halloween parties.

Ingredients:

1 Box Cake Mix (Your favorite flavor)

1 Tub Cake Frosting (White Colored one is best)

Bag Butterscotch Hard Candies

Can Cashews

Bag Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Bag Sliver Almonds

Cupcake Liners

You can always substitute similar items if you do not have them on hand or you are if you have a nut allergy.

Mix your cake mix in bowl, fill your cupcake liners three fourths of the way full and bake  as directed. This pic shows half filled liners.

Remove and cool cupcakes. I transferred to a wire baking rack.

While they are cooling, line up all your ingredients close at hand where you can easily work with them.

Frost your cupcakes and begin placing the butterscotch candies for eyes. Apply a dab of icing on top and put one chocolate chip on top of each. I found it easiest to work with a long handled iced drink spoon. A thin spatula would also work well. 

Place the cashew for nose. Lastly, began placing the slivered almonds around the top. You can place some around the eyes for a different look.

I had marshmallow pumpkins, candy corn and wooden decorated cat and pumpkin I used for decorations.

I made several different containers with decorations because I was giving these as gifts. 

I put this in a cake carrier, with a large plastic snap on lid and handle. It was easier to transport. My containers were returned!!

Massage Oils, Dry Oil Sprays & Perfume Oils

I have been getting special requests for the oil products, so I have been working to make them available for sale on our website and Etsy. I have already been selling them locally.

Massage Oil Spray 

Massage Oil Spray -2 oz

I formulated this massage oil using several oils for the therapeutic benefits and absorption rate. These are skin nourishing, renewing and relaxing, great for massaging into skin. Safe for use all over body.

Ingredients: Sweet Almond Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Fractionated Coconut Oil, Essential Oils

Grapeseed Oil shown, is a natural light green, and has a very nice, light, satin like feel. It has a very sweet, light and slightly nutty aroma. It usually comes from Italy, but may come from Spain, France or Argentina. It has astringent qualities which make it good for tightening and toning the skin. Grapeseed is high in linoleic acid which makes it a wonderful moisturizer and nourishing for the skinGrapeseed is good for oily, acne prone skin, is easily & deeply absorbed into the skin and is high in fatty acids.

Sweet Almond Oil is one of the most popular massage oils. It is extracted from almonds. It is high in fatty acids and proteins. It is a natural emollient and balances moisture in your skin. It helps with inflammation and itching. Sweet Almond Oil softens the skin. It penetrates well, and will not clog your pores. It is good for all skin types. People with nut allergies should avoid this oil.   These oil products will all be mixed fresh when they are ordered. I will soon have special massage oil combos with special essential oils to target special conditions. Like sore muscles, aches and pains, and those oils that are uplifting, or stress relieving.

Jojoba Oil is excellent for all skin types. Jojoba oil contains long chain wax esters that closely resemble skin sebum. It is really a liquid wax. Its regenerative nature is good for skin blemishes & acne. It is rich in Vitamin E, proteins, minerals, & myristic acid which is an anti-inflammatory. Jojoba oils promotes a glowing complexion. It is nourishing & moisturizing.

Coconut oil is an excellent skin moisturizer and softener. It is easily absorbed in the skin. Coconut oil has many healing properties, and it is very good for the skin. It is one of nature’s richest sources of fatty acids. It is an antimicrobial, antibacterial & antioxidant. Coconut oil helps protect skin from sun damage. It reduces the appearance of blemishes like liver & age spots. It helps psoriasis and eczema. Wonderful for hair. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. It creates a protective barrier on the skin and has lasting benefits. Fractionated coconut oil is an excellent in massage oils, as it stays liquid. It is expleer pressed and then hydrogenated to produce the fractional component of the coconut oil. We use a natural fractionated oil with no traces of hexane.

This massage oil is a medium feel on the skin, it will absorb completely and conditions the skin.

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Natural Dry Oil Body Spray

Natural Dry Oil Body Spray

This is a natural, moisturizing spray that you can use all over your body. It absorbs into your skin leaving it silky, smooth and glowing. Great to spritz on after a shower for added benefits. I make this with pure oils, all natural ingredients, no alcohol or preservatives. Vegan friendly.

Picture shows adding essential oils by drops into oils.

Ingredients: Coconut Oil Fractionated, Sweet Almond Oil, Fragrances

Coconut oil is widely used as a natural hair treatment, it is very good for the hair and it controls the frizzies. You may spritz on hair as a pre-treatment before washing hair, or after.

Great for dry skin it will absorb and condition your skin.

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Roll On Perfume Oil

Roll On Perfume Oil

These are lovely perfume oils with a strong scent. These sturdy 7 ml thick glass bottles with roller balls hold .35 oz of perfume.

Ingredients: Fractionated coconut oil, Cyclomethicone, Essential Oil or Fragrance Oil.

I am using fractionated coconut oil as a base. It is light, absorbs well and is non-staining.

I made a natural perfume using only coconut oil but we preferred that with a bit of cyclomethicone added. For those who only want pure, natural products we will leave it out, and the perfume still works better than store bought perfumes!

Cyclomethicone is a silicone base that stays on the surface of your skin, quickly evaporating leaving a silky, soft feel. It provides much better staying power to the fragrance and does not dry your skin out the way alcohol based perfumes do.

I are making these in all natural essential oils and high quality fragrance oils.

New Whipped Butters

I have worked for several days whipping butters and oils for luxurious hand and body creams. This is raw shea butter measured, ready to whip. I   I whip, whip, whip for hours and hours to get them ready. I made many small batches of several different varieties.

I made a whipped body butter with raw, natural shea butter which has a nutty scent, natural shea butter with added essential oils and refined shea butters which showcase their lovely fragrances.

The shea butter whips up nice and thick.

I will be posting these online to sell on www.craftycutiesbydesign.com and on my shop on Etsy http://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftyCutiesbyDesign. Many will be going for our next two sales days at the local VA Med Center.

This is a whipped shea butter and soy butter. It is a bit less thick but feels wonderful on the skin.

I even made a few natural hand creams while I had my butters and ingredients out!!

Next I will be tackling body frosting and sugar scrubs!!

 

Easy Way to Preserve Herbs ~ Freeze in Ice Cube Trays

A simple and quick way to save your fresh herbs for winter cooking is to freeze them. We have done this for years. It works best on only a few herbs, basil’s, rosemary, oregano and mints being several of them. The consistency will not be as crisp as fresh herbs, but they are yummy in recipes. The color stays nicely

Today I am harvesting Thai Basil and Sweet Basil. It is best to harvest before noon, after dew is dry but before hot midday sun. Any herb has the most oils and will be the most flavorful picked then. The oils are released slowly during the day and they taste better earlier!

Make sure you are getting only the top one to three sets of leaves. Harvest no more than one third of your plant if you want your herb to keep growing. Some herbs do well during the winter in a bright sunny window. You may harvest the entire plant if you do not plan to overwinter them indoors.Have a small basket to put your herbs in and begin to harvest them, pinching off or cutting just above leaf growth. I always pinch, it is faster for me and they come right off using your thumb and first finger. You may snip them with kitchen shears if your prefer. 

We have heard it is best not to let your herb go to flower, the leaves will be a bit tougher and less flavorful, but we enjoy using those flowers in our dishes as well. It adds a bit of color. There are always a few that will flower before you can catch them during the summer anyway!

Wash your herbs under running water to get any unseen small bugs or dirt debris off. If you have a lot of herbs, you may swish them in a bowl of water.

Start packing your herb leaves in an ice cube tray, make sure not to include stems unless they are very tiny because those will be tough. You may chop them, but we just freeze them whole. Put as many in a cube as you will use in one serving. I like to drop the basil cubes in tomato soup and I like it strongly flavored, so I use several large leaves.

Fill your tray with water just as if you were making ice cubes. If you know you will be using them in a soup or other recipe you may freeze them with chicken broth.

Pop them in the freezer until frozen. Remove the cubes from tray and put in a freezer bag for storage.

Mark the herb and date on it for future reference. We have snowflake bags because I bought them last year after the Christmas Holiday season at a very reduced price.Super simple and it is very fast.

Flowers are Blooming again with cooler weather

The flowers are much happier now that temps have cooled during the day and at night. It has been another tough summer for the plants with many days of highs over 100 degrees  and very little rain. The moss roses are growing in a deck planter and they do well even in the heat.

Our Siamese cat Champ enjoying being outside. I have cat nip plants nearby in planters and growing on the ground. He enjoys rolling on those. The pink and orange flowers are snapdragons that overwintered outside last year.

Our dwarf crepe myrtle is blooming very well this year. It is in partial shade. This variety grows to about 4′ tall. We have many other full size one’s around our place. They are late summer bloomers so they always put on a show this time of year.

Our native passion flower vines are always interesting and do well. They are a host for Fritillary butterflies.

This is a Gulf Fritillary Caterpillar on a passion flower. I took this picture a few years ago. Adult butterflies lay their eggs on the plant and the caterpillars eat the leaves until they are old enough to form a chrysalis.

After a few weeks, they will hatch into beautiful butterflies. The chewed leaves on the passion vine quickly regrow. The fruit of the vine is also wildlife food.

This moon flower plant has been blooming very well. Such interesting large blooms, and it is a night bloomer. It blooms overnight and closes mid morning which is why it is called a Moon Flower. Moon Flowers are annuals in cold climates but re seed well.

This is my first year to have a blue plumbago and we have it growing in a container on the deck. It has done well.

This is a few of all the plants that we grow. I have flower beds with butterfly and hummingbird plants also.

Easy to Make Vegetable Garden Trellis

This is an easy and effective way to grow your climbing plants, like cucumber, squash, pumpkins, gourds. We recycled a pop up clothes line and looped some farm fence around the bottom to give them something to climb up when they were just starting out.

We planted our cucumber seeds with a good helping of compost from recycled kitchen scraps, cattle and chicken manure and our worm castings from the worm bins.

The wires on the clothes line allow the vines to go across and the fruit hangs down which is easier to pick, and it keeps it off the ground.

We move the clothes line every season to mow and till. We use post hole diggers to dig a hole about a foot deep for the pole. If you don’t have extra farm fence or netting you can pound 4 small metal poles, one on each corner. We have used hot wire poles and rebar. Then use string or twine and tie from pole to clothesline on each corner to make a solid line for the plants to grow up. We added more poles and twine throughout the year when any plants were growing without support so they could reach the top of the clothesline.

The bees like our cucumbers too!!