Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Chalkboard Art

 I have been making quite a few of Chalkboard Signs for events. Here are some pictures of a few. 

 The above two I did for a wedding. The first one was the framed one I did on a chalkboard I made with sheet metal painted with chalkboard paint It is a magnet chalkboard. The instructions for making it are on a separate Blog post. Then the couple wanted one they could keep so I re-chalked it on a regular chalkboard unframed. I varnished it with a spray matt varnish so it will last for years. The father of the Bride made a frame for it.

 These are Hand painted Chalkboard Art for your wedding or special occasion. For your Anniversaries, Birthdays, Parties, or any saying just to hang on your wall. They are great for Family rooms or Home theatre rooms. Menus for your restaurant or Home Kitchen or special event.

This is actual chalkboard with chalk dust and all some chalk remainder marks with Chalkboard Paint on top. Gives it a semi permanent finish.

Chalk drawing may be approved via email before painting.

Finished product is UNFRAMED. Framing available but adds considerable amount to shipping.

Please tell me if you want a coat of Varnish sprayed on to make it a little more permanent.
Otherwise after the wedding you may wash off with Dry erase cleaner chemical and soft cloth.
Then you may use the chalkboard as normal.
Look at other listings for Magnetic ChalkBoards.

You may special order colors and different sizes if you wish.

Please allow four weeks for delivery.

These are made to order custom made and made from scratch. The chalkboard is hand painted with chalkboard paint and assembled upon order. Then hand lettered to your specifications. Shipping can take up to 10 days. Or you can pay extra for rush order and rush shipping.

Shipping is worst-case scenario if shipping is less will refund or make personal listing for you.

Live in the Washington DC area? you may pick this up at our Virginia Location. Shipping will be free if you pick up your plaque.

 These can be special ordered from my website. watermelonstand.com. 
They range from $30 to $100. Plus shipping.

  I have reused the eagle scout one twice by just erasing the names.
I have been working on a wall in my house too. It is a work in progress. I had one of those small walls at the end of the kitchen beside the refrigerator. A friend always told me ever since the first time she saw my house, "This is the perfect wall for a chalkboard wall." But I never wanted the kids scribbles on that wall since it is such a prominent wall. You have to look at it when you are in the family room come in the back door or leave the dining area or enter the kitchen. Gosh you must look at it 50 times a day at the very least. So I wanted it to be pretty, cute or stylish. For years I had an old picture frame with black and white family photos.
I am happy with the results and plan on changing it seasonally. I have not put the white chalk paint on it yet to semi-finalize it yet. So what you see is all chalk.

Consequently I have redone the lower 4 feet three or four times (okay on my sixth time now)because my three year old licks his fingers and erases it and licks his fingers. Yes he eats chalk whenever we aren't looking. He loves to draw with chalk but after awhile you notice him eating it. Mr. Destructobaby, I redid the design on the lower half twice yesterday. He found the chalk marker when I was starting to redo it the other day as shown in the one picture.  It was super hard to get a photo that he was not dancing in front of the wall or wizzing by with his truck. I will get the tripod out and take a better picture after I finish it.It currently is blank on the lower half.

Happy Crafting

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How to make Lip Balm with Essential Oils

How to make Homemade Lip Balm with Essential Oils

I am still loving using essential oils. I have been doing a ton of research on essential oil and will be sharing what I have learned in an upcoming post.

I have been exploring a few more suppliers and been reviewing many aromatherapy educational websites and will be writing some posts on those too.

Today I am excited to share some of my favorite aromatherapy recipes. And some great sites to get more recipes to try.

I of course have to change things around to make recipes my own or adapt to the ingredients I have on hand.
It seems I can never follow a recipe exactly I always have to tweak it or embellish it making it my own. 

The basic recipe for making Lip Balm in a tube is....

2 part solid natural "butter" ( like coco butter or shea butter)
2 parts liquid cold pressed vegetable oil (sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, etc.)
1 part plus 1/3 bees wax
10-15  drops essential oil depending on strength (peppermint use 1/2 that amount) for every 8 tubes

Some say a 3 parts carrier oil (vegetable oils) to 1 part beeswax and as much butters as you wish because they are already solid at room temperature. Usually 1 part.  As in butters I mean Shea butter or Cocoa Butter. 
Another source said to use a 4 part butter and oils to 2 part bees wax. This works too. If your concoction is just too soft ad a little more beeswax. Maybe for lips you want it stiffer so it doesn't go on too heavy but for your elbows and heels you want it softer.
I was super happy with the weight of mine for both applications.

In other words if that all is too much math here is my recipe:
Lemon Peppermint Lip Balm
1 Tablespoon  Coconut oil
1 Tablespoon Cocoa Butter
2 Tablespoon Sweet Almond Oil
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon grated Bees Wax
10 drops of lemon essential oil
optional plus 4 drops of peppermint essential oil
Fills 8 tubes (it filled 7 tubes for me with a little extra maybe I filled them too much and should have evenly distributed it among the 8.

I am always heavy handed on the scent factor you may want to reduce the amount of essential oil used.
10 total drops is plenty.

I wanted a small recipe to try to make sure I liked the consistency. This was perfect for the .15 oz tubes you can purchase here at Majestic Mountain Sage

 Bees Wax pellets from Bulk Apothecary measured in microwave safe plastic measuring cup. (2 cup size)
In hindsight I now make this recipe in glass mixing cup as the glass heats up a little and does not make the wax cool as you pour it. (you will see this in the later pictures below)
 Coconut oil I just purchased at Wal-Mart probably not best price but I did not have to pay shipping on it.

 Raw Natural Cocoa Butter from Bulk Apothecary. 
Sweet Almond Oil (liquid) from Bulk Apothecary.

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon and 1  Tablespoon of Coconut oil measured in container.

 1 Tablespoon of Sweet Almond oil added.

Now here is a difference between my recipe and most of the others you find on the internet. Most tell you to melt in a double boiler or set the glass cup or bowl in a pan of boiling water on the stove. Well I figured my new microwave has a bunch of settings including melt. So I melted my ingredients in the microwave on melt.

However not much happened the coconut oil melted but the bees wax was slow to melt. So I just melted it on regular speed in my microwave a minute at a time watching until the bees wax got smaller and smaller and finally melted.

Then I added the Essential Oils. My mixture of wax and oils were barely melted so my oils were not going to instantly evaporate like they would in a really hot mixture. You probably will loose a little to evaporation just breathe it in and gain the therapeutic essence of the oils.

 I placed the tubes in a small Rubbermaid container. Remember I was doing a small batch.
Next time I will order one of these great tube holder from Majestic Mountain Sage.
 DSC_0261.JPG click on picture for manufactures directions.  

In the meantime here is how I did it...

When I started pouring they immediately started to solidify. I could not grab the camera fast enough and it was inches away.
It was pretty hot outside that day so the air conditioning was running and my kitchen was pretty cool.  

You can see how during the pouring it just solidified on the side of the container because the plastic was cool.
I did have to remelt it in the end to get the last little bit out. I ended up with not enough to fill the 8th tube. So I put it in my glass measuring cup and made another batch to make elbow and heel suave which is basically the same recipe just poured into a little tin.

Tin Flat Container 2oz w/ Cover
I ordered these from Specialty Bottle Company. 

See how partway through I had to remelt.

Finished pouring but not completely set up yet. 
Finished product. I tried topping some of them off notice that did not really work. the little lump sometimes came off on your lip. Not all of them though. It was just too cool in my kitchen the day I made these.
But otherwise they really turned out wonderfully. The smell so yummy and feel like silk on your lips.
I made a lemon batch and then a lemon peppermint batch.

Here are some links to some other great recipes for lip balm....
Click on picture to go to some great lip balm recipes

Yummy Homemade Lip Balm


Interestingly here is a recipe that is almost 1 part Bees Wax plus 1.25 part liquid oil. Makes a small enough amount to try. Click on the picture above to go to the recipe. 

This above link has a bunch of links to other recipes. But what really caught my attention was the chocolate recipe at the bottom of the page. 

Hope you enjoy making some lip balm. Next post is Body Butter. 
It melts upon skin contact. Gotta love it. 

Thanks for reading 
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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Best Essential Oil Suppliers

First off I would say I do think Doterra Oils are pure and very strong and of the highest quality. Their prices are very reasonable for mid-priced and expensive oils. Their cheaper oils like Lavender and Lemon can be purchased elsewhere for a fraction of the cost. They spend considerable time and effort making you think they are the only place to get true therapeutic grade oils. This is not true. Bottom line, they are not the only kid on the block.

One of my favorite  places to order Essential Oils is www.bulkapothecary.com. I have ordered a lot of oils from them recently and they are very pure, very strong, and each bottle has a batch ID number so you can order the report from them via email. They are the best oils I have found anywhere. You can tell by scent, color and consistency. In other words, a Sensory Evaluation.

Some ways to test quality and Purity of essential oils at home…
  1. The Potency of the aroma is the first clue. Once you start smelling essential oils you will recognize that the strongest ones are the purest. 
  2. You can quickly determine quality of an essential oil by visual examination. If you research the color, consistency and appearance of the oil before hand, you will notice right away if an oil has been diluted.
  3. For all thin consistency oils you can refrigerate and if they become thick, a cold pressed vegetable oil has been added.
  4. Another method is to put a drop of oil on construction paper. It should evaporate fairly quickly and not leave a visible ring on the paper. This works again for most thin consistency oil but does not work for the dark colored thick consistency oils like Patchouli and Vetiver. 
I was very impressed with the quality of oils from Bulk Apothecary. The oils were very well documented on the site and told the country of origin and many had several varieties to choose from. They guarantee they are 100% pure. Anyone can say that, but each bottle has a lot number and batch number. Doterra doesn't even do that. The only drawback was they do not come in bottles with Ortiface droppers. 
These allow you to dispense the oils one drop at a time. This is crucial when using essential oils. If you click on the picture above you can see where I ordered the bottles. You can also buy glass droppers at any drugstore. 
I also like the bottles, supplies and lids with droppers that fit the bottles from Bulk Aromatherapy  that can be purchased at Aroma Tools.com.

I want to order some essential oils from Mountain Rose Herbs.
They are a very reputable and ethical company and have come highly recommended. Their prices are very reasonable.
I will have to write more about them later. 

I have been making my own blends and will share my favorite recipes and my favorite recipe websites next post. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Essential Oils...I have an oil for that!

        For quite some time, a friend of mine, who is a nurse, has been telling me about Essential Oils. She is always sharing with me the benefits of this and that oil. I am always excited to try natural alternatives in diet and health. In the past, I have used Garlic/Eucalyptus oil directly in the ear to treat an ear infection. The Garlic/Eucalyptus oil helps sooth it and speed up the recovery. However, I just bought a pre-made mixture at the health food store or grocery and never imagined I could make my own.

I finally signed up to be a Doterra consultant and have been studying Aromatherapy. Although I have barely scratched the surface, I am loving it.

click on picture to order oils
I have been doing my own independent study and research aside from Doterra. I like Doterra oils, however they are not the only source of Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils. And because their company is a MLM then some of their their products can be overpriced.  The industry standard cheaper oils like Lavender and Lemon are more expensive from Doterra than other suppliers I have found. But the expensive oils like Rose Otto and Helichrysum are expensive no matter where you buy them.

Note: If you click on the above picture, this website  Aromatics International has the best selection of
Helichrysum varieties and some are reasonably priced.

Doterra has some issues I think people should realize. 
  • They try to sign up everyone who wants to buy something as a consultant. 
  • There is no required training for consultants.
  • The extensive training they do have is in Utah and includes a lot of sales training
  • They are not listed with the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy as an approved school for getting an Aromatherapy Certification. Some of the schools seem like small operations, so I do not understand why Doterra does not have their own school (even if it's just online) and get approved. Then they could require their Consultants to get Certification. But they do not do that because then they could not sign up the masses onto their MLM program as consultants. 

  • The consultants are independent, so the claims they make about essential oils are not necessarily the company's official stand
  • They lead you to believe that they are the only company that does Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS)testing on their oils. I am not sure they do an independent test on every batch of oil. More likely they buy from many of the distillers and wholesale distributors that do this testing on all the oils they sell. 
  • I could not find batch numbers or CG-MS analysis sheets available for any oils for sale by Doterra so we are only taking their word for them. 
  • There are many other companies that sell GC-MS tested oils and provide the results to the consumer
  • They freely recommend ingestion of essential oils when most  other companies have disclaimers about ingesting essential oils and say it should be done under a certified Aromatherapist direction or under a doctor or health practitioners care. I will write more on this later. 
  • Doterra says they are the only Certified Theraputic Grade Essential Oil. However......

They made up and trademarked the CPTG® 
So yeah they have the only oil that bears that seal but it is not an FDA certification. The FDA does not certify or regulate essential oil at all. Well, except for the fact that that Essential oil can be labeled 100% pure if it contains at least 1% Essential oil. So that means you could buy a 100% pure essential Oil bottle that has 5 or 6 drops of real essential oil in a 1oz container of coconut or Jojoba oil.

If you are comparing Doterra to what you can buy at Target or even the drug store then yes it is pure, tested, Therapeutic Grade oil.  But you can order online from a few other places and get the same quality oil maybe even the same oil since many companies buy it from the same distiller or overseas distributors.

That being said, Doterra is still the place to buy their blends if you find they are useful and I do really like all the blends I have tried. Even when buying oils cheaper from one of the other companies, you could not duplicate the blend making it yourself because all the blends have some expensive oil in it that is expensive no matter where you buy it.  
And if you sign up to be a consultant with Doterra (with no obligation to sell anything) you can get a discount and use the Loyalty rewards to build yourself a collection by slowing ordering a little each month and get points to use to get free oils. Thus making it even cheaper.

Now for my experience with the oils. I am in love with using essential oils. I love studying and learning about Aromatherapy.
My favorite saying is "I have an oil for that" My family loves it too.
The three year old loves the foot massages and asks for "oils" in his little three year old voice.
I have been having so much fun making my own blends.

Next post I will put up links to my favorite schools, books and supply sources and some other places to buy Therapeutic Grade oils. When you purchase the oils from the other sources, you have to re bottle them because they don't come in dropper bottles. That can be a pain because you have to buy bottles. If you are going to make your own blends that would not be a big deal because you will  need to buy bottles and droppers and labels anyways.
I think to get introduced to Aromatherapy and have an out of the box working relationship with Aromatherapy, then Doterra is the place to start. 
More on all that later. 
Email me if you want to sign up as a consultant.  
Or you can do it through the link above. 
Here it is again...
My Doterra Site
PS: Did you notice the fresh lavender and a few products from the Lavender Farm? I visited them yesterday. I will have a blog article about that soon.