Category Archives: Crafts

Earth Day Sprouting

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Hi Friends!

As you may or may not know, Earth Day was on April 22nd, and to keep up the good vibes, I planted some old seeds that I had leftover from my Vermont days. To be honest, I was a little nervous as to whether or not the seeds would actually sprout, since those things are said to have expiration dates.

Nevertheless, I collected a wheelbarrow full of very old horse manure – which is now beautiful compost equipped with earthworms (!!!) – tidied up the window boxes in front of my house and planted within them large handfuls of the “expired” seeds. I also up-cycled old protein scoops that I have been hoarding for some time now and planted seeds in them to hopefully sprout indoors.

Window Boxes

Lo and behold, I have some sprouters! Never underestimate the power of a little seed and it’s will to grow. I’m a happy camper; let’s hope some make it to adulthood and eventually, into my belly 😉

We Have Babies!

We Have Babies!

The above photo is the up-cycled protein scoop – crafty idea, huh? I thought so. However, at the aggressive rate that the Dinosaur Kale is growing, they won’t be in the scoop for long! The last time I tried growing Lacinato (Dino) Kale, they made it pretty far, only to get devoured by deer a few days before cultivation. Mer. Wish me better luck this time.

Enjoy the rest of your day, babes ❤

That Which We Call A Rose…

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Hello there, beautiful people.
In case you were wondering about the origin of the title:
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
    – William Shakespeare
It appears that I have a TON of pictures from my old phone scattered around my desktop right now, and I slowly want to integrate them into some lovely posts when the proper time arises. Two of them jumped out at me today, and so they are the chosen ones.
We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
    – Abraham Lincoln (my favorite president)
As you may know, I am the proud owner of an Excalibur Dehydrator – she is a thing of beauty and I honestly don’t use her as much as I should… something I hope to change. I have made some killer chicken jerky in the past amongst other things, but the items I have been dehydrating most lately are flowers. Roses, in particular.
How did it happen that their lips came together? How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss, and all was said.

        – Victor Hugo

I have the beginnings of a nice cacophony of flower colors for a beautiful potpourri, and it turns out the majority of them even retain their smell. Someday, I want to use the dried petals for rose tea, but I need to either grow my own flowers for that (another goal) or find a reputable supplier who doesn’t use pesticides. I’m not really interested in drinking nasty bug drugs, thank you very much.
Before

Before

After

After

Aren’t they beautiful?! Who knew that receiving flowers as gifts could bring so much happiness, both during and after peak bloom. It’s all about the little things, people.

It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.
      – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince
To stay in the spirit of roses, I compiled some quotes from a few of my favorite brains of the past that involve roses and embedded them throughout this post. If the names don’t spark recognition, I suggest you look into them. Enjoy!
But he who dares not grasp the thorn
Should never crave the rose.
     – Anne Brontë
Until next time ❤
Aside

Hey Babes!

I’m trying to find a cool use for my old perfume bottle, and while searching for inspiration I stumbled upon this post. It is by far one of the most crafty pieces I have come across in terms of re-purposing regular household goods. I highly recommend you check it out. Stay tuned because I have every intention of utilizing essentially all of the 51 ideas. Soooo crafty!

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your week! I’m off to the gym and then onward to NYC tomorrow for a few days. I’m sure I’ll come back with some fun stories/things to share.

Hugs and kisses,
Azure

Re-Purposing At It’s Finest

I’m In Love With My Mixer

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Good evening my beauties!

How is everyone doing on this rainy Saturday night? I just came back from a nice, mild climb and a filling Thai dinner with Sarah. Now, I’m sipping on a “Grey Lady” from Cisco Brewers, enjoying life. I’ve got no complaints.

In honor of today (3.14 “Pi Day”), in this post I wanted to vaunt about the new toy I acquired a few weeks ago: My Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.

Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

Oh gosh, is she magnificent. I’m obsessed. I purchased an Artisan Series, and there is a reason these beauties are so coveted. Seriously. I will have this for many, many moon phases and my belly (along with the bellies of loved ones) will be constantly contented. Any requests are welcome!!!

Obviously, I have been putting her to work. So far the concoctions we have created together are limited, but damn delicious. The maiden voyage were these bad boys:

THE BOMBLet me assure you, they were even better than how they looked. The were fudge brownies with an emphasis on vanilla extract (my homemade vanilla extract); the ones on the left are topped with peanut butter frosting and the ones on the right have nutella frosting. Yes, that is correct. Those didn’t last long.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

My Homemade Vanilla Extract! Jus d’Azure

Once the brownies disappeared, I made baked oatmeal with walnuts, dark chocolate, strawberries and banana. Another great success. Normally, I don’t even enjoy oatmeal, but this is one I will definitely be making again for a climbing trip breakfast.

The last project I took on were mountains of almond butter and banana bread cookies. Essentially, they were healthier shortbread cookies with a twist. Autre fois, they were thoroughly enjoyed.

Almond Butter Banana Bread Cookies

Here’s where I got really crafty: I had made too many cookies and wanted to do something creative with them. So, I smashed up a few and lined a pan with the crumble, forming a pie crust. From there, I made pecan pie bars that are deadly awesome. Need I say more? Nope.

Now that I am sufficiently drooling (kidding, sort of), I’m going to leave you all to have a little treat – aka, my pecan pie bars. Have a splendid Saturday and take advantage of Sunday… go live! Sending out my love, as always.

Smudging

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Bonsoir my darlings!

I just crawled into bed on this chilly January night; I finally caught the sickness that has been circulating around my family and friends… meh. However, considering I am fairly healthy, it seems to be decently mild thus far *knocks on wood*, and I’m hoping if I stay in and relax this cold will be kind to me. I’ve also been taking Vitamin C and Zinc supplements along with healthy-packed juices to stay as one step ahead 😉 I suggest you guys do the same around this time of year — drink lots of water and eat tons of veggies! But really, you should be doing this all the time.

Anyway, you may have noticed that the title of this post is “smudging”. I first learned about this when I was in Colorado a few weeks back. Native American culture is huge out there, which I loved. Smudging is part of the Native American culture, and I came across a piece of paper in one of the various shops catered to these ideals in Boulder, so I snagged a copy.

Smudging. The burning of herbs is a sacred, traditional practice among Native Americans. Herbs are burned to release their purifying and healing affects. Sage, in particular, is used to purify one’s soul, one’s living space, and to enhance the effectiveness of spiritual objects. Sweetgrass and cedar are also used for this purpose.

After being harvested by hand, the herbs are dried and tied into bundles called “smudge sticks”. The stick should be held in a flame until it glows red and then is removed from the flame and allowed to smolder for a few minutes. The purpose of burning sage is to release it’s energy and fragrance, not to fill a space with smoke. It is customary to point the smoldering stick towards the 6 cardinal directions: east, west, north, south, above and below. The smoke is then fanned over the entire body, using one’s hand or better, a prayer feather. This is done while saying the appropriate prayers for the healing ceremony. This releases the old, unhealthy, negative energy and allows the special, positive, healing energy of the sage, sweetgrass, or cedar to take it’s place.

Now, I’ve never actually tried smudging, so I have to trust that this is an accurate description. I do want to give it a try though, so I’ll probably have to hunt down a smudge stick in the 401. I’m sure they’re around here somewhere. I happen to have Native American blood, so it was also really cool to get in touch with my roots in a sort of way, and I feel like it couldn’t hurt to give smudging a try.

I also loved how big gemstones, rocks and fossils were out there. I guess living on the East Coast your whole life, we don’t have that stuff. You also aren’t used to such grandeur being a small Rhode Islander… I adore being overwhelmed by large natural surroundings, so Colorado and I got along.

If anyone has tried smudging before, let me know how it is! In the meantime, goodnight everybody.

Not Just A Pretty Face, But Natural, Too!

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Well hello there 🙂
It’s a rainy day today… but you know what? I actually am sort of digging it; it’s soothing to hear it outside my window, and as long as I’m still wrapped up in a bathrobe and toasty warm, it can hang around. We’ve been having some drought problems lately, so this should hopefully help.
If you aren’t so thrilled about the rain as yours truly, but still find yourself trapped indoors with nothing too exciting to do, here I am at the rescue! Here are two natural face mask recipes that I encourage you to try. What harm can it do? I mean, it’s your FACE! You should want to keep it beautiful at all times, yes? Yes. Plus, going natural is way better, as you know. There are too many companies out there that test on animals (cruel) and use sketchy chemicals that are probably doing more harm than good to that lovely mug of yours.
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So, without further ado, here are the recipes:
1. Carrot & Friends. The ingredients within contain natural antiseptics and antioxidants which kill germs – great for this time of year – and protect the skin from damaging free radicals while at the same time promoting the regeneration of healthy skin cells. Boo-yah!
Ingredients:
  • 2 Medium Carrots
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon

Directions:

  1. Peal the carrots and steam until soft.
  2. Mash the carrots until they’ve reached a creamy consistency.
  3. Mix in the all natural honey – try local if you can, too.
  4. Stir in olive oil.
  5. Squeeze a few drops of fresh lemon juice into the face mask mixture. Lemon is a natural astringent and will help clean greasy skin.  If your skin tends to dry easily, add only 8 to 10 drops; if you skin tends to be oily, add up to 1 tbsp. of lemon juice.
  6. Use a spoon to drop small amounts onto your hands and gently massage the mask onto your face for several minutes – you can keep it on for an additional 5 minutes for maximum awesomness.
  7. Wash it off with water in sink or hop in the shower.

2. Pumpkin Spice. This do-it-yourself face mask recipe with all natural ingredients is so incredibly simple to concoct and only takes about two minutes to make; there is no reason not to give it a try.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin puree (fresh or canned, but with no added ingredients)
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Bentonite Clay
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or less) cinnamon powder*

Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Apply to face in a gentle, circular motion.
  3. Leave on skin for 5 minutes, then wash off with a warm, wet washcloth.

*Be advised that this is not for sensitive skin, so omit if you fall in this category.
This recipe will make enough for 2 face masks, but can be doubled or tripled to make a larger batch. However, a little goes a long way. I wouldn’t recommend making a bunch and storing it for later, either. Fresh is best.

If you’re not familiar with Bentonite Clay, it is composed of aged volcanic ash and is named after the largest known deposit of Bentonite Clay in Fort Benton, Wyoming. In this instance, it’s purpose is for external skin care, but it has various other beneficial uses. A good quality of clay should be a cream or gray color (be wary of white), and the texture is fine with a velvety feel. It does not smell or stain, so it’s kid friendly! You can find Bentonite Clay in various online stores as well as select stores that sell health supplies, such as The Vitamin Shoppe, Walgreens or Walmart.

There you have it my turtle doves. Now, what are you waiting for? Try at least one of those masks, pop on a Christmas movie, make some hot chocolate and let your pores do their happy dance. Plus, think of how much money you would spend for a facial at the spa… this makes your pocket pleased to boot. Stay awesome everyone ❤

Greener Cleaners

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Howdy hi everybody!

Let me start off by saying I KILLED it in the exercise department today. I climbed at The Rock Spot with Max this morning from 10-12, went home and did some “real work” for about 4 1/2 hours then went to Ocean State Health & Fitness – the gym I am a member at – with my close friend Aly who is in town for the week from 5-7. That’s a grand total of 4 hours of exercise today… WOOOOO! It feels nice. Then I conquered a bit more “real work” at home and now I’m here, snuggled in bed, blogging for you lovely individuals. If I’m sore tomorrow, we know why.

For this post, I would like to share with all of you how to make your own household cleaners. Exciting, yes? Okay, well maybe cleaning isn’t exactly exciting, but being able to make your own cleaning products is awesome because a) it saves you some dolla dolla bill$ y’all and b) you know exactly what is going into it, so hello being healthy to boot!
If you still aren’t persuaded… picture this: Mass Christmas Gifts! Last year I created a ton of variously scented and colored homemade bath salts and handed jars out to family and friends, maybe this year I will do cleaning products instead. It may not be as exciting as a sports car or as tantalizing as a cookie (which I will probably also make), but it’s non-toxic, green and useful… all of which I support.

I digress. First, let’s talk about what you should avoid in terms of cleaning:

  1. Chlorine
  2. Ammonia
  3. Formaldehyde
  4. Ketones
  5. Phosphates
  6. Hydrocarbons
  7. Hydrochloric Acid
  8. Phenols
  9. Artificial Fragrances

So yes. Avoid those ingredients at all costs, s’il vous plait. If you see a product with any of those listed, don’t buy it! Especially if you have young children, pets or simply value the air that you breath, which you should ;).

Now, for the recipes:
All-Purpose Cleaner: Combine 1/2 teaspoon washing soda, a dash of plant-based liquid soap and 2 cups of hot tap water in a spray bottle. Shake bottle until washing soda dissolves. Spray this on surfaces and wipe off with a sponge or rag.

Mold Killers: Combine 2 teaspoons tea tree oil and 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Shake to blend and spray this on problem areas. Do not rinse. If you have high mold levels, straight vinegar will also do the trick with many types.

Sink, Tub and Toilet Cleaner: Wet surfaces first, then apply a generous shake of baking soda. Scrub with a sponge/bristled brush. Don’t be afraid to also add some plant-based liquid soap for even more cleaning power. Be sure to rinse well.

Glass Cleaner: Combine 1/4 cup of white vinegar and a few drops of plant-based liquid soap in a spray bottle, filling the rest with water. Rub dry with a lint-free clothe.

… that’s all she wrote, folks! I do hope that you give at least one of these a try, even if it’s just to say you did it. Meanwhile, I am definitely about to hit the hay, 4 hours of working out is now starting to hit me. Sweet dreams, sugar plums.