While conducting some inventory overhaul at work I came across a piece of tattered, gold paper. I could still see some beauty and potential in this paper and used it to conduct some initial backdrop test shots with product placed in the foreground. I used an X-acto knife to cut a triangular pattern in the paper and worked with my photographer friend, Michael, to create lighting and shadow effects that would add more depth to the overall pattern.I really liked the results of the first test, but I wanted to take it further because I knew that a monochromatic backdrop would be more subtle and allow for more lighting experimentation.
This is Michael (below), my photographer friend who helped me conduct the backdrop tests. Here he is standing in front of the backdrop against a white wall. I like the sense of scale that this photo provides…and I love his smile here.
The results of our second set of tests are below. We were both really happy with the results. I styled the flowers and Michael lit the paper from several different angles which changed the look dramatically. The possibilities are endless and I love how light and shadow interact with a simple piece of paper to create such variety and depth. I will definitely experiment with more paper backdrops and also devise a way to make them more durable for reuse.
I have made a few coconut oil-based deodorants from scratch in the past but I was disappointed that they turned into a runny mess the moment that the temperature rose above 72 degrees Fahrenheit. While in Los Angeles I found a sample of Fat + The Moon Deodorant Cream at ReForm School and realized that the key ingredient for solidifying the deodorant is beeswax.
I found the perfect, beeswax + coconut oil based deodorant recipe on a blog called Becoming Peculiar. I asked my two nieces, Dara + Keira, and my friend Renee to test out the recipe with me this past weekend. We spent Sunday morning making unique, herbal blends of deodorant and even designed our own labels so that we could give some of the jars away as gifts. This was a great project to work on together, especially because it drives home the power you have within your own kitchen to make clean, healthy alternatives for body care.
The homemade deodorant recipe and some photos from our day are below. As an added bonus, the essential oils that you use in your recipe will fill the kitchen with their delightful scent while you’re heating the batch.
Recipe for Homemade Deodorant
- 1/4 cup arrowroot starch (or corn starch, but arrowroot starch is nice if you have sensitive skin)
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp grated beeswax
- 5 drops tea tree oil (*essential ingredient due to its antibacterial properties)
- 5 drops of some other essential oil (i.e. bergamot, clary sage, grapefruit, etc.)
Begin by melting coconut oil and beeswax together over a double boiler. Rest a heatproof bowl inside a small saucepan of water and heat it gently, stirring constantly, until the beeswax and coconut oil are melted.
Add the remaining ingredients and stir it all together into a runny paste. Pour the deodorant into two 2 oz. jars (alternately you can also use an empty deodorant container). The mixture will begin to thicken right away so you’ll need to work quickly. Allow the open jars of deodorant to cool to room temperature.
When the deodorant has fully cooled, secure the lids and make pretty labels for your jars.
Give one away as a gift and keep one for yourself.
To use: Warm a bit in your fingers and apply to your pits.
I’m deeply saddened by the departure of a co-worker friend. Today was the first day that I did not have her by my side at work. I miss her support, her laughter and her impeccable eye for detail. I saw that her name tag was still up, her cube empty, and I felt hollow inside. I was tempted to take her name tag but the facilities personnel would probably discover me clinging to it desperately. Her departure leaves an empty space and I honestly felt like crying today at work. At least she is moving on to an exciting opportunity and I’m very proud of her! It’s amazing how having someone that you click with can make the toughest work load seem light. Not too long ago we took a moment to escape from a hectic-microsoft-excel-overdosed-day and enjoyed the view of a double rainbow outside our office.
On another day she left a banana sitting out on her desk and I drew a sweet little face on it to greet her when she arrived. She snapped this photo below.
And she also helped rekindle a favorite hobby of mine- making burlesque-esque costumes! She asked for some assistance with a Halloween costume that she knew she wanted to wear again, but it needed a few more finishing touches. Here are some shots of her Katy Perry-esque bra (I sewed and glued on the furry “icing” with some remnant fabric). We could not stop giggling when we saw this costume come to life. I want to make more of these and I’m thankful that she rekindled my passion for this craft. Thank you AEL!
Recently I also came across some photos that another friend posted on a social network site of some burlesque bras that I made for her a few years back. I was so pleased to see that not only are they still being used for burlesque performances, but also that they’ve held up to the wear and tear over the years (they’re 3 – 5 years old)!
Making more burlesque costumes will definitely keep my spirits up!
This is a crafty way to get rid of any toxic cosmetics that may still be polluting your makeup bag.
Make a five-minute art project out of it. It’s much more fun that just throwing it away.
Can you smell the “fragrance?” Adiós a los tóxicos!
-The Seea Swimsuit-
-An amazing Birthday gift from my love-
It’s a one piece suit, and like their website says, “These suits are made for you ladies, so enjoy them and play often.”
See more of The Seea’s amazing styles here. For anyone who burns easily in the sun, this suit is for you. It is so comfortable and well-made. Not to mention, a locally crafted and 100% Californian product.
♥♥♡ his & hers ♡♥♥
I took inventory of our sharp objects collection. From my research I conclude that my husband and I are birds of a feather. For the most part the excess number of scissors in the collection is my doing and the excess number of knives is his. Overall, it is a shared collection but the collection of scissors has it’s own set of rules based on the special purpose of each pair of scissors. Here I let any element of OCD that I may have shine its brightest. The kitchen scissors and garden scissors are used ONLY in the kitchen and garden (obviously!). The sewing scissors are only for cutting fabric or thread. The crappy scissors are for whatever you want (prying something open, scraping, opening boxes, cutting duct tape, you name it). And the list goes on.
The inventory count was insightful:
scissors = 22
knives = 21
But one knife is missing. I presume it must have been stolen because it was a beauty. We looked everywhere for it but it has not yet surfaced. Technically we should have 22 as our magic number. Twenty-two is a powerful number in the world of numerology (the “Master Builder” number that turns ambitious dreams into reality). We need to find that knife!
This year one of the funniest Christmas cards we received was from my Aunt Margaret. The front of the card was peppered with die-cut snowflakes and it read, “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let is Snow.” Inside she wrote, “Kathleen & Donald, It does snow.”
It was a simple reminder for those of us nestled along the southern Pacific Coast that December can be a very dark and ferociously cold month.
Although, I have to admit that I was freezing when we took these photos below for our card this year. I can hear my family and friends scoffing about this statement from 2,000 miles away. My inner Chicagoan is taunting me as well. This is exactly what I love and miss about my Midwestern crew- their humor, wit, pragmatism, honesty and authenticity.