Postcard Art

I’m back in creative mode today, and just in time. Fall is here, and with the changing of the seasons, my house and front porch get a reset. The summer items will be packed away and fall decor unboxed.

Tonight’s artistic project was not seasonal, however. During my travels this year, I picked up postcards, not with the intention of mailing them, but for the purpose of creating art to hang in my home.

Thanks to a great sale at Michael’s and a couple of discount coupons that I had, it was the perfect time to purchase a variety of frames and get creative.

The postcards from Italy and Scotland have a vintage look. From Italy, those mementos have the names of four of the cities that we visited, printed in their Italian equivalent. The Scottish cards are adorable, with illustrations of things that are considered representative of that bonnie country. I also bought a postcard at Thirlestane Castle that features that gorgeous fortress.

And in England I purchased three small watercolor prints of iconic landmarks. I took all of the cards/prints with me to Michael’s, an arts and crafts type store that never fails to inspire my creativity. I spent a pleasant hour sorting through frames and shadow boxes, considering how best to display my miniature works of art.

Although the styles are different, the unifying theme among my purchases is the use of black frames. Here is how the collection turned out:

The Italian postcards.

The Scottish postcards. I really like this display, with the cards mounted between panes of glass.

The Thirlestane Castle postcard, with a lot of reflection caught in the glass. This one is a stand alone tabletop frame that will become part of a larger display.

The London watercolors.

In the next few days, I’ll figure out where to hang these works of art. I like using the postcards. They are typically sent to friends and family from far off lands, with a Wish you were here type message scrawled on the backs.

My postcards are reminders that I was there, and that my wishes, my desires, to visit those countries were fulfilled. I will enjoy pausing to study these works of art, these travel reminders, as I walk by. And, they will fuel my future dreams.

You may have noticed that one of the countries that I visited this year is not represented. I didn’t realize, until after I got home, that I never purchased postcards in Ireland. I meant to! I planned to. I was looking for vintage postcards or some other artistic style to grab my attention. Somehow we moved on to Scotland without me finding the right cards.

I can probably find Irish postcards to purchase online. But I have a better idea. I simply must go back. I must return to that emerald island to complete my mission of finding the perfect set of postcards.

What a great excuse for another grand adventure!

A Honey of a Skin Serum

I’ve been making my own skin serum for years. I like knowing that I am not putting unwanted chemicals and additives on my skin. Plus, the act of making my own skin care products is meditative and centering, with results that make me feel good about myself, while nourishing my skin. 

A Honey of a Skin Serum
Over the years, I’ve adapted my recipe. The original skin serum began simply…a coconut oil base with liquid vitamin E. I tried adding drops of different essential oils, from rosemary to lavendar. I eventually settled on using coconut oil, vitamin E, and lavender and calendula essential oils. 

Recently I’ve been reading about the benefits of honey for the skin. According to my research, honey is a wonderful addition to skin care for the following reasons:

  • It is naturally antibacterial, making it ideal for acne and blemish control. 
  • Honey is also full of antioxidants, providing powerful anti-aging properties. 
  • It is extremely nourishing and moisturizing, boosting the complexion and creating a healthy glow. 
  • And, honey opens and unclogs pores, clarifying the skin. 

A Honey of a Skin Serum
I think of honey as being gooey and sticky. And it is if I spill a few drops on the kitchen counter. Although I’ve made honey facial masks, that I applied and then rinsed off, I’ve never added it to my skin serum before. I use my DIY product every morning and evening, after cleaning my face. I don’t rinse it off, but allow the serum to absorb into my skin. 

I wouldn’t know how well it worked unless I tried it. Needing to make a new batch of serum, I assembled the ingredients and for the first time, I added a quarter of a teaspoon of raw, local honey. 

Here is the simple recipe:

Add pure organic coconut oil to a small jar. Melt oil in microwave, only heating until partially melted, or carefully run hot tap water over the jar, melting the oil. Stir with a toothpick, until the oil becomes liquid. Pierce the ends of two vitamin E capsules and squeeze into the oil. Add 10 drops each of calendula and lavendar esential oils. Add 1/4 teaspoon of raw, local honey. Stir well. Cover and place jar in refrigerator to solidify. 

A Honey of a Skin Serum
As it cools, the serum becomes solid again and remains that way, except during very warm weather. I keep my jar of serum in the bathroom cabinet. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated. 

I use my fingertip to collect a small amount of the silky product and apply it to my face and neck. The serum immediately liquifies as it comes in contact with the warmth of my skin and absorbs readily. 

As the new batch of serum cooled, I washed my face with warm water and a Norwex microfiber cloth. And then the test. Would my serum with honey added feel sticky or goopy? Would it apply easily and would my skin drink it up?

The serum was wonderful, going on smoothly without feeling a bit sticky or goopy. I applied it, as usual, over my entire face, my neck and even my lips. I love the way the serum literally melts into my skin. 

Even more, I love the way my simple, DIY serum makes me feel. My skin is soft, moisturized and does indeed have a healthy glow. And I am caring for myself, nuturing myself, at a deep level.  

Since this is a new, untried recipe, I’ll give an update in 30 days to report on results. However, tonight I am giving this honey of a skin serum two thumbs up!

A Honey of a Skin Serum

Make Your Own Deodorant

The first question one might ask is why would anyone want to make their own deodorant? In the US, after all , 95% of the adult population use deodorants and antiperspirants. Why bother to make something that can be so easily purchased?

My answer, my reason for trying this Do It Yourself project tonight, is simple. While I am in the process of increasing my health and well being by changing my diet, fighting viruses with plant based foods, eliminating chemicals and additives, and detoxing from heavy metals, it seems counterproductive to keep using a product that contains unhealthy chemicals and additives. 

My research shows that most deodorants and antiperspirants contain these ingredients that are not good for us:

* aluminum-a primary ingredient, this metal has been linked to breast cancer and increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Aluminum clogs the pores to prevent sweat from reaching the skin’s surface. 

* parabens-a synthetic preservative that can disrupt hormonal balance. This chemical has been linked to birth defects and organ toxicity. 

* propylene glycol-a petroleum based material that can cause damage to the central nervous system, heart and liver. 

* phthalates-another chemical that has been linked to health issues, including birth defects. 

* triclsoan-a substance classified as a pesticide that is a known carcinogen. 

As I am seeking improved health, I have made the decision to stop using products that can compromise my well being. Today, I ran out of the antiperspirant I have used for years. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to switch to a healthier version. I felt inspired to make my own!

I used this simple recipe, from Thank Your Body:

1/3 cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons baking soda

1/3 cup coconut oil

10-15 drops of essential oil (optional)

Combine cornstarch and baking soda in a small bowl. (I was out of cornstarch, and substituted baking powder. Ill be making a second batch!) Add coconut oil (I softened the oil for 20 seconds in the microwave) and blend, using a spoon. Add essential oil, if desired. I added 10 drops of orange oil and 5 drops of rosemary, creating a light, clean scent. Combine, pressing mixture with back of spoon, until well mixed and smooth. Use by smoothing small amount on underarms with fingertips. 

Making my own deodorant only took a few minutes. I tried a dab on my inner wrist and tested it under my right arm. I will be using my DIY deodorant this week, and I will give an update with the honest results. 

I feel good about this unique creative endeavor, and good about further eliminating my body’s contact with chemicals and toxins. Healthy living, for me, involves more than diet and exercise, although those are crucial. What I don’t allow to interact with my body is important too, even if it puts me in a category considered outside the norm. 

The second question one might ask, and I get this one frequently, is…are you a hippie? That’s a simple answer as well. 

Yes…yes I am!