Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Friday Spa Day

The weather has been incredibly cold and dry lately, a fact that severely affects many things, one of which, is a person's skin.
The fact that we could all use some refreshing, plus we are combating Cabin Fever, last Friday we decided to have a Spa Day!

To begin with:
An herbal steam to open pores and flush out impurities before anything else.
A single pot of water had enough water to be split between two bowls - if we were going to steam for just a few minutes instead of 15 min. it might have stretched a bit further.
Herbal Steam:
Your choice of herbs is completely up to you, dependant only on what you have on hand and what you want to feed your skin.  :)  In our case, we used a mix that Irish Rose had on hand, left over from an oil infusion experiment: it consisted of
1 part rose petals - organic, food grade so you don't have to worry about pesticides :(
1 part caledula petals
2 parts chamomile flowers

Turn your boiled water off and add your herbs.  We used approximately 2 tablespoons of herbs per pot of water.  Put a lid on the pot and let it steep for about five minutes before using.

Following our steam we rinsed our faces with warm water and proceeded to use a yogurt cleanser, mixed with sea salt, to clean out pores and gently exfoliate dead skin.
Yogurt Cleanser:
Sea Salt
Squeeze of Lemon juice

Mix just enough for one use, as this isn't the type of thing you want hanging around. 
Test a little bit before you use it to see if you have added enough salt. (I didn't, so it wasn't quite abrasive enough to exfoliate properly.)
Apply to face and gently scrub for 30 seconds.
*Note: It smells, so be prepared for that.
Thoroughly rinse with warm water* and pat face dry.
*Note: It is important through these steps not to use cool water, as you don't want to close your pores until you're finished with the next step.

Following the cleanser comes a mask. For this particular Spa Day we did a Lusty Macaroot Facial.
Macaroot Mask:
1/2 Tbsp. Bentonite Clay
1/2 Tsp. Maca Powder
1/2 Tsp. Cocoa Powder (Yep, there's chocolate in it!:)
Add 1-4 Tbsp. liquid - Milk is the top choice, but you can use water/almond milk/apple cider vinegar/fruit juice if you wanted.

That is supposed to make just one mask, but between the four of us we used about one and a half. So unless you are going to put it on really thick, you might want to find someone to share it with:)

Mix your liquid into the dry until you get a spreadable (but not wet and dripping) consistency. Use immediately because this mask sets up quite fast.
Let sit and dry for 20 min. 
- Unlike the yogurt cleanser this is going to smell really, really yummy! -
Then gently remove with a warm water and a cloth.
Once you're sure you have gotten it all off proceed to rinse your face with cool water to tighten pores.

Follow the mask with a gentle toner and then a moisturizer of your choice.
Activities during this entire process can range from listening to music, painting your toenails, and watching a good girly movie!
Not much talking though, the mask is kind of restricting in that respect:)
*Reference for Mask Recipe: Here (*disclaimer: really great skin care recipes; some of the ideas that go with them should be taken with a grain of salt.)

Originally our idea was to watch Emma while we were 'steeping' in our masks, but it just so happened that we ended up doing it in shifts of two at a time - and then some of us were requested to help in the shop for a few minutes (No, there aren't pictures of that, you have to be related to see us like that:)
So, once the last clumpy bits of mask were washed down the drain and our freshly cleaned faces had been nourished with moisturizing oil, Chickadee put together a special lunch of cucumber sandwiches, melon, and fruit juice (served in flute glasses!)
Warm and relaxed we nibbled on lunch with our girl movie.

This week I think we might do feet . . . .

Monday, March 11, 2013

YouTube and Tutorials

Recently I wandered onto YouTube in an effort to find some tutorials on acrylic painting. The decision to expand my exploration of painting this year, in addition to my pencil sketches, has been interesting, sometimes amusing, and incredibly fun!
A Special Project was started last week, and is turning out quite nicely so far, but it strikes me as being a simply good base for the painting . . . which meant I needed to figure out some kind of technique to take it to the next level. (Because seriously, I have no idea what I'm doing.)
This is where YouTube comes in.

Generally I stay away from tutorials, they usually make me feel horribly insecure and depressed, probably not what the person wanted when they created the helpful video, but then again, they've never met me:)
This time, while I did start getting a little bit depressed, I kept telling myself it was because they'd been doing it so long and I was just starting out, so it would be okay and I could learn some things.
So, when I ran across this video I was incredibly fascinated! There is no way it is as easy as it looks, (unless you've been doing it over and over and over, which I'm sure this person has) but I really want to try it at some point and wanted to share it with you all.
This painter is amazing and the techniques used are so incredibly neat!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Grand Fall Adventure - Part 2

This is the view from our room at the Cute Little House. 
First morning there and the clouds were hanging so low they covered the top of the mountain that is beyond the trees. (Which is why you can't see much, if you look really, really close there is a tiny little spot about the middle of the picture that is the mountain:)
Accompanied H. family back into Vermont for some site seeing. 
This is a photo of a pottery factory, you could actually go in and see how some of the pieces are made. It was so neat! There were crates and crates of unfinished pottery sitting everywhere!
 In front of the factory part of the Pottery Factory was a large group of odd looking stone objects.
Carefully creeping in between them Irish Rose and I discovered that it was a circle of huge, old kilns that were probably used to fire the pottery years and years ago.
Then we drove into adorable Down Town and parked, everyone spilling out of the van and heading every which way to explore.
Irish Rose and I wandered all over. Our first stop was heading toward what turned out to be an Episcopal Church.

 This building is absolutely beautiful! It had a covered walkway complete with arches that connected the sanctuary to what we assumed was a house for whoever tended there. 
We wanted to go in so badly, just to see what the inside looked like, but it was closed. Oh well, maybe we'll have to go back someday!
I couldn't get over the brickwork or the slate tiling everywhere. It all looked so old and elegant!

In our wanderings we found a tiny little quilt shop where we added to our 'Travel Stash' by each buying a fat quarter of fabric.  Also down that way was a huge, red brick building with white columns and gorgeous windows. 
It turned out to be a library. *Sigh!* It was huge and spacious inside, books lining the walls and comfortable nooks with chairs and couches so a person could settle right in and read. 

Our most . . . . . . interesting, shall we say, find happened when we were walking down the street and caught sight of a sign that advertised and open art gallery and to feel free and come inside.
So, being adventurous, we went inside.

Now. . . when I think Art Gallery I picture some serene, elegant setting. Soft lighting so it doesn't detract from the art, perhaps some quiet music to enhance the experience, elegant frames, hushed atmosphere . . . . 
What we didn't expect, as we trailed quietly up the steps, was the fact that the further we got the more we realized that this was not only a gallery of Modern Art (extremely weird modern art I might add), but that it was spread throughout the entire space of someone's home. . . . . 
The woman welcomed us in and told us to wander about as we liked, flipping lights on for us and turning a stereo on for music. But the more rooms we walked into the weirder we felt. 
Not only were the paintings odd, and some of them downright creepy, we just couldn't get over the fact that we were traipsing through someone's home. 
Needless to say we retreated as soon as possible, trying not to seem rude in our haste to leave.
As we exited the doorway, back into the open air and the calmness of outdoors we looked at each other, giggled, and said that was the weirdest thing we had ever done!

The day just continued to bring forth surprises. Piling into the van in preparation to head back to Cute Little House for some lunch, we were told that a couple of them had been in a bakery and had asked the owner some questions about butter cream.
The long and short of it: The owner was incredibly generous and friendly and actually ended up offering a private class so she could teach us how to make an amazing Italian Buttercream icing! (Something we were going to need for the wedding cake.)
Just, think about that for a moment; God works in such amazing ways, and they aren't always big, flashy things either, they can be as simple as a stranger offering their assistance.
This professional baker, that owned her own shop, was going to open up her kitchen to complete strangers, and teach them how to make frosting! She was an incredibly nice person, telling us that she loves to teach people things and takes interns all the time to help them learn about the baking profession. 
We spent a couple hours tucked in the back of this bakery, listening and helping mix up batches of Italian Buttercream!

  Returning 'home' after a full day of new adventures we settled in to make goodnight calls to the Family . . . . which at one point we ended up having a rather interesting discussion about the time change and things like that . . . . yea, we won't mention that any further. :)

                                                                                 (To be continued . . . . . )