Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Big Birthday for Bailey

I'm not sure what it is about 16 but it's definitely one of those milestone birthdays. Maybe it's because driving is just around the corner (6 more days). With driving comes more freedom and as a parent, trust. Trusting that they are responsible and will drive like they did when you were in the car with them. Trust that they will go where they said they were going. And trusting that they will arrive safely back at home each day. 

I know it's a total cliche, but really,how have 16 years gone by already?

Bailey has always been our laid back child. He was the first kid by several years in our group of friends and the first grandchild. As a result, it was mostly him and a bunch of adults the first 4 years of his life. 

He just played and went with the flow. He was well behaved and went out to dinner with us. Everyone hanging out for a movie night, no problem. He didn't need an exact routine or schedule. He's still like that. He just adapts and goes on with his day. 

He has an awesome smile that doesn't pop out as much as it used to. Sometimes he has this look like he wants to laugh and the corners of his mouth twitch, but he fights hard to remain cool and collected. It's always a treat when he finally laughs. 

His dad and I are lucky to have this kiddo (almost adult). He has definitely made us proud and we are impressed with his responsibility and the track he is on. 

Happy Birthday B!

And yes, he's still all about anything Batman. Some things you don't grow out of. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lip Balm


You might remember when I made a big batch of lip balm for my co-workers at Christmas time.

Well, my own personal stash was running low and my niece was asking for a refill as well. I decided I wanted to make a more natural version with no petroleum jelly. I tried a recipe I found via Pinterest  and then experimented with a few other versions.

What's great about these recipes is you can customize them to suit your preferences. If  your experiment doesn't work, just re-melt and add more hardeners (beeswax) or oils to make it the right texture. I used a food scale we have at home while I was measuring out my ingredients so I could keep my ratios even.

The directions for all versions are the same:

  • In a glass vessel (I used a Pyrex measuring cup but you could use a jar too) combine all your ingredients except the esse
  • Place the glass container in a small pot/saucepan of boiling water. Just a couple of inches of water is perfect. You are essentially creating a double boiler.
  • Mix ingredients often until everything is melted.
  • Add your essential oils and any other ingredients. Stir to combine evenly.
  • Pour into your waiting containers. You can use small bead containers (my favorite), lip balm tubes (new or recycled) or any other small container you see fit. Think mini-tins, etc. It's your project.
  • Let cool until everything is firm and enjoy!

Here are the ingredients I had on hand. You don't need all of these. Generally, you want an oil of some sort, a hard butter option, beeswax and the essential oils of your choice.

What I used:

Sweet Almond Oil
Coconut Oil

Shea Butter
Cocoa Butter

Peppermint (didn't use this one)

Various things from the cupboard (cocoa, nutmeg, allspice)

Here's the recipe I originally started with:

 Lemonade Lip Balm

I made a mistake and added my oils in during the initial melting instead of at the end. As a result, this one is more Lightly Lemon due to oils evaporating out during cooking.

Here are a few of the recipes I made up as I went.

Orange Chocolate:

This one smells just like those foil-wrapped chocolate oranges I used to get at Christmas time.

1 1/2 oz. sweet almond oil
1/2 oz. beeswax
1/2 oz. cocoa butter
cocoa for color (mine was unsweetened)
orange oil

Pink Lemonade:

3/4 oz. sweet almond oil
1/4 oz. beeswax
1/4 oz. shea butter
1/4 oz. cocoa butter
sliver of lipstick (I used an inexpensive red one, a little goes a long way. You can use more beet powder for a natural alternative)
10-15 drops of lemon oil

Warm Autumn Spice:

1/4 oz. beeswax
3/4 oz. sweet almond oil
1/4 oz. shea butter
a dash of nutmeg, allspice (I just sprinkled a little in, forgot to measure)
orange oil
cinnamon oil

The nutmeg and allspice will add some light speckles to your final mix. Most of the spice will settle to the bottom of your glass before pouring. I just poured most of the mixture into the waiting containers and disposed of the thicker residue.

Mix and match your own recipes.

Let me know in the comments below what "flavor" of lip balms you made.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Bringing New Life to an Old Deck

We bought our house in 2001. It was brand -new construction and while everything was new and in great shape, it needed lots of personalization. At least in my opinion. Ken says I've "Heather-ized" the house.

After 13 years though, some things are due for an update or repairs. Our deck was looking pretty shabby. I'm hoping we can rebuild it next year and maybe expand it but in the meantime it just needed some freshening up.

My father-in-law was kind enough to come over one afternoon and pressure wash the pickets and decking so we had a clean canvas to start with. I re-stained the pickets the same color they were previously because I still had plenty of stain on hand.

The decking I stained with an all-over color, Pewter. The following day I laid out my "rug" pattern with painters tape. I then painted my yellow and blue stripes. Again I waited a day for drying and re-taped so I could add the white stripes.

I created what my daughter called a "polka-dot maker" from a piece of transparency film and a circle cutter I had on hand. You could probably use card stock or even cardboard if that's what you have handy. The trick is just to make sure you don't move  your template once you place it down. I used a foam brush for the dots so I could dab the paint on and reduce the risk of seepage under the edges of the template.

I did spray the back of my template with spray adhesive but since the deck surface is not completely even it didn't really adhere well.

Once everything was dry, we brought up our new bench. Why yes, it does look startlingly like my old desk but shorter. Imagine that.

I replanted my mint and basil into new separate containers since the mint was taking over the shared planter. I found the new planters at Joann's. Couldn't pass up the 70% off + an additional 20% off sale they were having. Add the 12th man gnome and what more can you ask. And plus the gnome proves I haven't completely Heather-ized everything.

Next up were a couple of pillows for the bench. I made simple envelope style pillow covers so they will be easy to wash. I hope to make a few more so it's extra cushy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


This pair of girls is one of my favorites to photography. It helps that I have known these sweet girls since they were born.
They are relaxed, sweet and a little bit silly. Their mom and I have known each other for what seems like forever. Our husbands were best friends in high school. As the significant others of an inseparable duo we ended up spending a lot of time together.
We became not only friends but craft buddies, including a brief foray into candle-making and several years of scrapbooking.
Our second two children are just a few months apart. We don't have the opportunity to hang out as much as we used to but our girls are always excited to play together everytime we do.
I can't believe how much they have grown. I'm so glad I have been able to see it happen though.
Z. checking out her potato bug, "Frank"

Monday, August 4, 2014

Soccer Mom

I've been a bit hit or mess with my posting lately. Why is that, you ask?

Well, it is summer and I have projects galore to be finished and posted. But ultimately I am a soccer mom and summer is tournament season. Bailey's team has had 4 tournaments in the past 6 weeks.

We have traveled up and down through the state and into Oregon. The boys have played hard and faced wins and losses. They have grown together as a team and are playing better and better with each match.

Bailey's hair has transitioned from blond and back to brown again. Anique has accompanied us to a few games. She has read a few books on the sidelines and made new friends.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Texture Tuesday - Deer

I was doing a photo session with a good friend's children and these deer were out in the far field. Her mom says there are two babies and the mama but I was only able to spot one baby.  Do you see how it's little spotted side blends right in with the daisies?
I edited this one in Lightroom to even out the tone and increase the contrast (needed to be able to see the baby). I then brought it into Photoshop where I inverted kk_anna and applied it using Lighten. I lowered the opacity a bit and brushed out the deer so they would show clearly.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Getting Back in the Groove

The past few weeks I have been in a creative slump. I am someone who always had a project in mind, something that needs to be painted, or a photo technique I want to try. 

But the past couple of weeks...nada. Yes, I have projects to do but I was locked in indecision. I have a notebook where I jot down ideas. I added nothing to it. I have blog posts that are half written but I just couldn't summon the enthusiasm to finish them out. 

Why? I have no idea. But this Sunday Ken gave me a few uninterrupted hours with an empty house for "creative time."  

Okay, yes I took a 30 minute nap first. Then I decided I should do something mostly because it was expected. I reviewed a few photos and decided that was just killing time. 

So I broke out my paints and took down the little 6 inch canvases in the downstairs bath that were in need of a makeover. 

Once, I started painting I couldn't stop until I finished them. It was fun! I felt energized. Am I completely out of my slump? I'm not sure but I'm definitely working my way out. I have a few more canvases that I want to work on. Fingers crossed I have my groove back and will keep growing.