Saturday, December 31, 2011

Creative Goals For 2012

Surprise Someone You Love!

A new year is here and everyone hopes to have a better one than last. Today, I will be giving you some ideas to help you discover and refine your artistic side. If you need to escape from a rut or make small changes to move in a positive direction, chose a few of these tips to jumpstart your January!

1) Make a handmade gift for a loved one this Valentine's Day:
Often, we get into a pattern of making the same things over and over to sell, or because it is a certain season. To break out of this boredom, choose someone special this year to create a handmade gift for, something unique that you don't normally make. Sew your husband a team apron for grilling out or make your mom a gardening caddy with her favorite seeds- whatever it is, make it with love and enjoy the fun of creating for the joy of making someone happy.

2) Cook a new food:
Try Something New!
Stimulate your brain by exploring the culinary arts. Make it a goal to prepare a new dish every few weeks. Whether it is a recipe from a magazine, or a dish of your own invention, sampling new flavors and textures can help mentally prepare you to try something out of the ordinary in your crafting, too. Dress up your new dishes, add some garnish or spices! Serve it in attractive dishes and enjoy the experience. Who knows, maybe that orange-cranberry chutney will inspire a color palate for a new hat or scarf?

Enjoy Nature
3) Go for a walk:
Everyone makes a New Year's resolution to exercise more, but this goal, to get outside more, is to workout your brain and spirit by breathing deeply and appreciating nature. There is so much inspiration in the natural world. Notice the shapes of clouds and the bustle of activity in an anthill, on grand scales and small, mother nature never fails to excite the senses. Breathe in and relax, focusing on meditaton and renewal. A few walks a week, will leave you with a plethora of new ideas for creating and a calmer disposition.

4) Go to a museum:
Appreciate the techniques and creativity of the masters. Bring a pen and take a few notes. What pieces are exceptionally striking to you? How does the art make you feel? Are there elements of design you can incorporate in your pieces? Cultivate a desire to learn more and open your mind to new endeavors.

5) Support the local economy:
From arts to apples, reward those places in your region that make it unique by shopping there and voting with your wallet. Sure, there are sometimes when going to Walmart is just too darned convenient to pass up; however, don't forget the small artisans and locations that make your region special. Just like going to the museum heightens your appreciation for culture, Walmart makes everything seem dull and homogenized. Go out of your way to patronize establishments and venues that contribute to the quality of life in your area. 


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wax Tarts, How Do They Work?

Tarts, melts, shots, matter what it is called, wax potpourri is becoming increasingly popular and easy to buy. This post will discuss wax tarts and how they are made to help you decide if this is a product you should consider buying to scent your home. If you really like tarts, you can buy a kit online to try making your own. I suggest Aroma Haven/Rustic Escentuals tart wax. It is a paraffin soy blend that is great for beginners:

Often sold in clamshells or as small scalloped shaped discs, wax tarts are meant to be melted in a tart burner or melter. Some are electric and some require a tealight in the bottom. The electric melters are advantageous for spaces, such as dorm rooms, where candles are prohibited, or in homes with curious pets and children. This does not, however, mean the melter can be left unsupervised, because it could easily be knocked over, causing burns to a pet or child from the molten wax.

To burn the tart, remove it from the wrapping and break it into pieces to fill the well in the top of the melter. One great thing you can do is combine 2 or more scents for a custom fragrance! Do not overfill the melter well, as the melted wax will overflow. A single round tart, or a few pieces from a breakaway bar, should give you plenty of aroma. Next, turn the melter on or light the tealight underneath, soon, you should have a comforting aroma eminating from your melter.

Many times, the scent from the wax will fade before the wax evaporates, meaning you will need to empty the well of wax and add fresh, scented wax. Never dump the old wax down the drain. It is easiest to clean when the melter is cool and the wax is hardened. Simply take a knife and pry the old wax from the bottom. It should come out easily. Then wipe the melter well with a towel before refilling.

 So why choose tarts over traditional candles? Myself, I prefer traditional candles with a flame, but there is no denying that wax tarts are much more affordable than buying a large candle! This allows you to try multiple scents for a small price. Also; you can combine scents and rotate the scents often if you get bored with the same fragrance.

The brand name Scentsy is becoming very popular, offering many styles and models of tart melters and a wide variety of scents, but don't forget the handmade tarts and melters out there. There are many potters who can make a ceramic melter and many home crafted varieties of tarts for sale on line or at craft fairs. In fact, the Scentsy company was born when a husband/wife investor team discovered wonderful, handmade tarts at a craft show.

If you are interested in making tarts, the link above sells all the materials you need and there are plenty of tutoials online. A word of caution is that trying all the scents is highly addictive and it is doubtful you will save any money by making your own, because you will soon be purchasing many, many new scents to try. Aroma Haven/Rustic Escentuals, for example, offers over 300 scents and at least 5 kinds of wax to try for your tarts!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tips for Decorating your Mantel for the Holidays


The fireplace mantel is a great place to add some Christmas cheer. Here are some decorating ideas that will give your mantel an updated traditional look worthy of any home magazine.

1. Choose one major color, one accent metallic (gold or silver), and one neutral. This will unite all the objects you place, preventing the mantel from looking cluttered.

Our color scheme was green, silver, and winter white. Other good colors are red, blue, and gold. You can also use the metallic or white as a major color and red, blue, or green as accents.

2. Scour your home for containers that match your color scheme. The material you choose doesn't matter as much as the color, but try to maintain one style. You will want to choose containers that have varying heights and shapes for visual interest. Arrange them on your mantel.

We selected pieces from my mother's collection of green depression glass. If you want this look less expensively, you can often find good imitations at dollar stores and department stores like Target. This stemmed bowl was purchased at a dollar store, and it's hard to tell even next to all the authentic depression glass. Depression glass was also made in rose, cobalt blue, amber, iridescent, and opaque white.
3. Fill some of the containers with small ornaments in your accent color. You can also use decorative balls, crystals, vase gems, beach glass, etc. Once again, a dollar store is a great place to look. Craft stores and department stores will also carry these items.

4. Fill the spaces around the containers with Christmas items - snowmen, Santas, ornaments that stand, whatever you like. Stay within your color scheme, and make sure you include tall items. Taper candles or tall pillar candles are a great, inexpensive way to add height to your arrangement.
5. Finish off the mantel by hanging a wreath and garland, real or artificial, or by hanging your Christmas stockings. You can also add a string of Christmas lights or other small LED lights to brighten up the decorations in the evenings.

Then all that's left to do is to enjoy your beautiful mantel.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Reeves Sain: Your Destination For Shipping With Pleasure

Reeves-Sain on Memorial in Murfreesboro

Skip the busy main post office and ship your parcels at Reeves Sain in Murfreesboro; they make going to the Post Office a pleasant trip! Inside the drug shore, you can find gifts, a pharmacy, a soda fountain, and the US Post Office. They also serve famously delicious milk shakes and sell shipping supplies. Next time you need to mail your creations, check out this festive local venue. I recommend the home made cakes and salads to eat.

Reeves-Sain is located on Memorial in Murfreesboro, in front of Haynes Hardware. 

Unique Gifts

Soda Fountian

Inexpensive Shipping Supplies

Friendly Employees

Pile of Packages for Christmas Mailing

Great Tasting Food and Beverages