Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day America!

What would the 4th of July be without indulging in a little strawberry shortcake? Below are some fun facts about strawberries you may not have known.

  • Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside

  • The average strawberry has 200 seeds

  • Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring

  • Strawberries are a member of the rose family

  • Folk lore states that if you split a double strawberry in half and share it with the opposite sex, you'll soon fall in love

  • A strawberry will not ripen once it is picked

  • Fresh strawberries were once used as a toothpaste, as the juice cleaned discolored teeth
Enjoy your holiday and be safe out there, especially those who are experiencing HOT weather.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Naked Truth About Mermaids

Do not be fooled by myths about mermaids for they have a tendency to take on the qualities of your own beliefs. See only the good and the positive and that is what a mermaid will reflect back at you.
see the Merman on Etsy
Mermaids are magical and can help you make your dreams come true if you believe. Take care though as they are selective about whom they let into their circle.
mermaid digital collages on kraft envelopes
Mermaids can be playful or spiteful. Be nice to them and they will return the favor 3 times over. I really enjoyed the creation of these mermaid collage kraft envelopes. I hope you enjoy their gorgeous, vibrant colors and the stories they have to tell as much as I have enjoyed creating them.

meet more mermaids on Etsy
Visit Le Charmed Life on Etsy to view the entire collection. Cheers!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Hair Brained Idea Could Make You a Winner

I've been roused by the semi-recently certified aromatherapist in me to begin creating body products for enhancing well-being. The question I asked myself in January was how seriously did I want to take the nagging whisper inspiring me forward and what would it take for me to create an income stream from it?
Option A
The answer prompted me to start doing some reading about how to create a business plan which prompted further questions about such things as giving myself a name, figuring out how to narrow the focus of what I will offer and what will make me stand out from the sea of other manufacturers of handmade body products?

Option B
Kell Belle Studio is known for paper art so how do I go from blogging about paper to blogging about foot soak and sugar scrubs? The obvious answer: I don't, at least not on this blog. I realized that my paper art and digital design need to be kept separate from anything related to the development of body products, my interest in healing touch therapy and all things divinatory. See?! My focus is getting better already.
Option C
I gave a lot of thought to the naming of this new venture. It had to be broad enough to cover those related interests mentioned above yet still leave room for the business to grown and evolve. Even my color choices had to be significant in some way.
Option D
Yesterday I posted some samples of the new logo on the Kell Belle Studio Facebook fanpage and asked fans to vote for the one they liked the best with the promise that those who voted would be entered into a drawing to win one of my soap samples. You can still get in on the action. Cast your vote by leaving a comment. Drawing will be held next Saturday, March 7th.

Note: There an extra sample in this post, one of these is also the final and none of these is in the same order they appeared on Facebook. See if you can figure out which one is which. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Paper Heart Book Page Ornament

Now that the Christmas decorations have been tucked away, what's next? Would you believe Valentine's Day is only six short weeks away? My book page pumpkins were such a favorite with Etsy buyers and treasury makers that I expanded the idea into a heart ornament.

paper heart book page ornament - Le Charmed Life
I hear that those who are reluctant to say good bye to the yuletide holiday can now reduced their wait time between seasons from 12 months to 10 by transitioning the tree from Christmas to the Valentine's Day tree. I haven't quite embraced that concept but I do like the idea of ornaments so here's a little something I made that can be used as stand alone ornaments or made into a garland.

Check out Le Charmed Life on Etsy for other photos

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Leonardo, Kell Belle and a Magical Imaginarium

After spending nearly every free moment of the past year engaged almost exclusively in online shopping, I find myself ready to contemplate the next chapter of my life and what that will look like. With so many varied interests to pursue, I find the voice of social conformity screaming inside my head that it would be career suicide to appear too unfocused. How do I select and commit to just one? Thankfully, the answer is simple. I don't have to.

A Google search turned up an article written by Steve Pavlina titled "What If You Have Many Different Interests and Cannot Commit to Any of Them?"  Keeping my options open will not only make me smarter but it puts me in the same company as Leonardo Da Vinci, an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, military-engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer, and a shining example of someone who excelled in a variety of areas simultaneously.

I call BS on any rule or limiting belief that says I have to be a genius to pursue multiple interests at once especially if being engaged in those interests makes me feel more deliriously happy than having the life sucked out of me day after day in an over illuminated office surrounded by cement colored panels and living like an industrial worker drone.

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo Da Vinci - Wikipedia
That said, I made one tiny adjustment to my blog header this past year to include the term "Imaginarium." This word beautifully encompasses all of my most cherished, creative endeavors leaving room for new additions while allowing for the falling away of those that no longer interest or serve me.

In addition to paper crafts, expect to see more posts on such topics (in no particular order) as natural beauty products, craft fairs, herbalism, essential oils, tarot, dolls, painting, mixed media art and digital design. This sounds like the most creatively fulfilling life I can imagine so I'm anxious to see how my transition to gypsy life takes shape this year.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Kell Belle Studio wishes you and yours a safe and happy new year!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Peppermint oil and the Bath; What you Should Know

Peppermint Candy Cane Sugar Scrub. Sounds positively decadent, doesn't it? The product photo makes this sugar scrub look even sweeter than it sounds and what a tempting holiday idea too. I love everything about this . . . except (you knew that was coming) there are a few things you should know about using products in the bath that are made with peppermint essential oil.

Peppermint Candy Cane Sugar Scrub Recipe
Firstly, not all essential oils are created equally so when someone claims to be using an essential oil like peppermint in their bath products, I would definitely raise a skeptical eyebrow. Peppermint oil in its pure, unadulterated form can be very skin irritating. Couple that with warm water and you've got a recipe for redness and burning that can quickly turn your bath or shower from a relaxing and therapeutic experience to one of downright misery.

Secondly, there are generally two types of oils used in handmade beauty products. The first is a fragrance oil, which may or may not cause skin irritation in the shower but it contains artificial and a potentially lethal cocktail of carcinogenic ingredients. The second is a pure essential oil and anyone versed in the responsible and therapeutic use of essential oils would never include peppermint as an ingredient in a bath product, period.

That said, how does your seller stack up? I guess you have to ask yourself if peppermint is worth what you might sacrifice in the way of comfort and health or whether or not you are willing to risk the chance that your seller understands the difference. For this reason, this certified aromatherapist says to just say no to peppermint in the bath.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Whipped Facial Butter Experience

Well, I did it. I made the most heavenly facial butter that mirrors the qualities of butter in nearly every way except the edible one. It's got a whipped frosting like consistency and literally melts the second it comes in contact with my fingers. The carrier oils used are very light, non greasy and absorb into the skin ever so nicely. If I do say so myself, this cream is nothing short of luxurious.

whipped facial butter wrinkle cream for mature skin
I learned a few things along the way. I only had about 75% of the shea butter needed to meet the requirements of my recipe so I substituted cocoa butter to make up the difference. My essential oil blend contains sweet orange and with the addition of the cocoa butter this cream smells like orange chocolate. The geranium essential oil gives this blend some slightly rosy undertones too. So pretty!

I used 4 ounces of carrier oils but after all the whipping and beating that went on, the recipe swelled up to yield about 6 ounces of cream, by volume of course. I will try this recipe again making sure I have enough of the ingredients first. Overall, I think this cream is a raging success. This is truly the most decadent body butter I've ever used and it doesn't contain all the chemicals found in commercially made products.

The next thing I'll do is test out my recipe to see how well it works. Reputable sources say not to expect noticeable results for at least 30 days. I'll take a before picture so I can see where I've come from in comparison to how I look at the end of 30 days. The facial butter wrinkle cream will be offered for sale in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Dimensional Collage Project

It's official! Dimensional collage is going to be my paper project for the year. As previously posted, I've got several paper outfits that need homes someplace besides stuffed in a drawer. Basically we will be making boxes but here's how I envision this working.

Dimension Collage Mixed Media Project 2013
©Kell Belle Studio

I'll create some tutorials or PDF files giving the dimensions and materials I've used that way all you DIY lovers can construct or customize your own boxes. Otherwise, I'll be assembling some kits for sale to help make things easier for those who are less constructively inclined.

Make your boxes into dimensional journals for chronicling a vacation or journey of some kind either physical or metaphorical or both! Turn it into a ladies diary or a boutique. There are so many delicious possibilities. I'll leave it up to you as far as what you want your box theme to be about so get ready to have some fun!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Free Tarot Readings

Kell Belle Studio is now able to offer free, one card readings via Etsy which I'm offering to you, my blog readers in exchange for your positive review. Call it bribery if you like but I think it's really a win win for everyone. You get a free reading and I get credibility.

free tarot readings on Etsy
So here's the deal. Simply visit the Kell Belle Imaginarium on Etsy and purchase the Psychic Tarot Reading In Depth One Card Spread. The tarot reading is priced at $20 however, by entering the coupon code TAROTJAN14 at checkout you will get an $18 discount on the reading which means you pay only $2 up front.

I will send you a PDF file that includes a write up of your reading and a scan of the card drawn. If you like my reading, tell me all about it by leaving a positive review for me on Etsy. Once your review is posted I will gladly refund the $2.00 you paid which will make your reading completely free.

The coupon expires at the end of January. You can use it as many times as you like. It is transferable which means you are welcome to share it with friends and family. Refund conditions as previously stated will also apply to whomever you share the coupon with. This is my holiday gift to you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Kell Belle Studio wishes you a safe and happy New Year holiday.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Adventures in Carrot Seed Oil

I think I'm developing a love hate relationship with carrot seed oil because I find that the scent as it is in the bottle leads a full scale assault on my poor, unsuspecting olfactory senses. This oil is especially nourishing for mature and wrinkled skin making it the one oil that is not optional for my wrinkle cream.

daucus carota  |  queen anne's lace
I played around with various oil combinations using the carrot and came up with a very pretty, musky smelling scent that I really like. The downside to this is that a 2 oz jar of the wrinkle cream priced out at about $50 retail. To quote an expression beloved by my father, holy crap on a cracker! Just to put this in perspective, some of the oils I used sell in upwards of $50 - $90 for 100 drops, that's almost a buck a drop! They sure do smell lovely though and are magnificent for the skin. I guess beauty really doesn't come cheap.

I decided to create something a little less expensive, or what I call the "poor man's" wrinkle cream. Was there a way to create a more affordable blend without using the expensive oils or sacrificing scent? This isn't to say that a cheaper blend will be less effective, just priced more reasonably. Fortunately for me, carrot seed is not one of the expensive oils.

I spent the better part of 2 days trying to blend carrot seed with the remaining oils on my allowed list, many of which added insult to carrot scent injury resulting in the most pungent sniffing experiences from which my delicate nose may never recover! Perfumery is a fine art because the exact same oils used in different combinations can have very different results. Like fine wine, what smells heinous today can become gorgeous 5 days from now after the oils have had a chance to age.

One thing I have learned is that therapeutic blending is not always about the scent but it is a nice benefit especially if you plan to slather your body with it and I was determined. The good news is that I managed to create a really lovely smelling "poor man's" blend that interestingly,  I didn't think was all that great when I made it. What difference a few days makes.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

24 Paper Outfits Suddenly Cried Out . . .

Pleeeeeease release me, let me go . . .  Now that both the paper dress and paper corset projects have come to a close (at least for now) what does one DO with a drawer full of paper outfits with no apparent functional use? The obvious solution would be to design a functional use. Wall art could work as a viable option but let's do try to move beyond the clichéd shadowbox just a little bit.

Sue Cotter - Woodhenge Press
Here's what I like about Sue Cotter's box assemblage. Firstly, I can totally see a paper outfit hanging in this. Secondly, this thing appears to be more than a box because I'm guessing the backdrop is actually a curved piece of something or other. Brilliant! The awning has incredible possibility for customization, plus, we can add all kinds of pretty stuff to the bottom. This design is simple, elegant, adaptable and something I can totally recreate with chipboard and other papers I already have which means I don't have to buy anything. Awesome!

I've spent a lot of time collecting images of shadowboxes, armoires, inverted drawers and various other examples of paper art display possibilities but at the end of the day, nobody ever earned a dime by talking about what they might do. Time to put up or shut up so my next paper project will focus on creating complimentary displays for every single paper outfit now sitting in my drawer gathering dust.

I'm off to create some dazzling graphic for the official kickoff of this project. Ciao for now!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Wrinkle Diminishing Cream Experiment

Skin care products that most appeal to our sense of vanity especially youth and beauty are some of woman kind's most valued resources. As a certified aromatherapist I have to ask myself what a girl needs in order to keep her youthful beauty and which essential oils can best meet the challenge both from a therapeutic perspective as well as an emotional one?

5 Simple Anti Aging Tips for Women
Our emotional state of mind plays a factor in how good we look so it's important to take into consideration the energetic properties of my chosen oils. Oils that are sedative to the central nervous system, reduce anxiety, fear and tension, as well as open the heart and promote feelings of wellbeing are going to be ideal for this kind of blend. When we feel relaxed, nurtured and supported, it shows!

Therapeutically speaking, cellular regeneration is the key to youthful skin so I want oils that contract and tighten tissue, nourish the skin, and are, most of all, cell regenerative. Many a celebrity have traveled to clinics in Europe where non surgical rejuvenation is a specialty and essential oils play a starring role.

In designing my wrinkle cream I want my product to smell nice enough that clients feel compelled to take in long, deep, therapeutic breaths so I'll blend complementary oils from all 3 fragrance notes, top, middle and base.

My last consideration is what type of carrier oils will I use and and how will they support the skin? Should this be an oil, a lotion, a whipped butter or cream? Since I'm limited to stock on hand I'll use shea butter, two coconut oils, and almond oil to make a whipped facial butter.

Diet will also determines how fast the effects of time go marching across our faces, but in the meantime essential oils can certainly help with damage control. Next up I'll talk about how my facial butter turned out and begin phase 2 of this experiment - testing!