Tuesday, December 31, 2013

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!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Certified Kitchen Witch Goes Public

I did it! As of today I am now a certified, clinical aromatherapist with the ability to recommend essential oils as a way of healing what ails you both from a physical and an energetic perspective. What do I plan to do with my newly acquired credentials? How about perfumery, soaps, fragrance tinctures and personal care products that support and promote wellbeing.

You might have noticed that things are beginning to look a little different around Kell Belle Studio right down to a new tag line that better reflects my new direction. I haven't given up paper art so those of you who count on the tutorials can rest assured that these will not stop, however these too might evolve to become a reflection of Kell Belle's new evolutionary direction.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pre-Announcement While You Wait

I have a surprise for you but I can't share it yet. I know, I get you all excited about my secret and then I tell you that you have to wait a little longer to find out what it is! I'll give you a tiny hint. It has something to do with the Tarot.

joie de vivre tarot - temperance
I've been busy writing my research paper for my aromatherapy certification so my paper art has been put on hold for a bit but we'll get back to that soon. I don't want to miss the holidays!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Subtle Energy Experiments on the Cat

As you already know, I am pursuing knowledge in the art of subtle energy healing with essential oils. One of the books currently on my reading table gave a warm up exercise for starting the flow of energy through the hands. Basically you rub your hands together and let them naturally expand apart in response to the amount of energy generated between them. Here's what happened when I decided to play with it.

courtesy of Mistico Universe Holistic Therapies
One morning during meditation it spontaneously occurred to me to perform this simple warm up exercise. No sooner had I begun when my cat jumped up into my lap. I placed my hands one on either side about two inches away from her body and began to move them along her length. As I did so the base of her tail began to bush out like it would if she were confronted by another cat. She wasn't agitated, upset or scared and she stayed with me. I think she may have even enjoyed it.

courtesy of The Spirit Science
This magnificent creature had responded to me by giving me irrefutable, non verbal proof that she could feel whatever energy I was generating. I was so excited that a few days later I tried the exercise again in the same manner on the same cat. The results were the same in that she again responded with a bushy tail and the fur on her back standing slightly on end! The experiment was both repeatable and reproducible. Amazing!

my kitties Flora (left) and Phoebe (right) - Flora was my subject
I hadn't used any essential oils on either of these two occasions but the next step would be to try anointing my hands prior to performing the ritual just to note any differences if there are any. The human body is surrounded by several subtle energy fields. You need only close your eyes and place your hand a few inches away from the space between your eyes to understand what I mean. What did you feel when you tried this?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tinted Vintage Spice Bottle

I finally figured out how to use my Pebeo Vitrail glass paints in a way that doesn't require me to use a paint brush or cheap glue to achieve that beautifully clear, waterproof and streak free finish. It took a bit of trial and error to get the paint to do what I wanted it to do but it was worth it. This is a little vintage spice bottle that I hand tinted using my new method.
tinted vintage spice bottle - see more views in the boutique
Using some public domain imagery and some imagination I turned this into a perfume bottle with a label and a tag. To waterproof my labels I dip them in wax and collage them onto my glass using decoupage gel. The wax deepens the printed color and gives the label a translucent look that I really like.
vintage apothecary bottle
This concept lends itself very well to ideas like Halloween bottles that could be filled with little treats. We could even get a more arty look to this by turning it into a specimen jar and adding some paper flowers to it. I might just have to explore a few of those ideas. Don't you just LOVE art?!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Art of Handmade Fragrances

As part of my aromatherapy certification, I am required to write a research paper on any aromatherapy related topic of my choosing. Since I have become so fixated as of late, my topic of choice will be perfume. Why do we wear it? What is its purpose? How is it made and why is it so important for us to impress others with our scent?

courtesy of Modern Ritual
I hope to develop a line of signature perfumes and massage oils infused with energetic qualities that not only smell nice but have therapeutic benefits. Imagine a perfume that can reduce anxiety and release energy blockages while attracting your soul mate to you all at the same time. How many commercial perfume makers can say that about their product?

Mountain Valley Growers
Is it a lofty aspiration? Perhaps but my muse is telling me not to listen to the inner critic, the one who likes to size up an idea in 30 seconds or less and doom it to failure before it even gets the chance to take its first breath. So off I go, into the wild blue, diving head first into the emotion altering world of aromatics.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Vintage Paper Pumpkin

Remember that darling little paper pumpkin I posted about last week and the template I created to help you make one of your own? I happened to be browsing Etsy the other day looking at white pumpkins when I was hit upside the head with a Shazam! moment. The thoughts went something like this: vintage, pumpkin, book pages, white.
vintage halloween paper pumpkin
With that in mind I gathered a selection of decorative pages, passages from an old book and a couple of old postcards with some handwriting and came up with my own vintage style version of this pumpkin. A new template that comes with all the pumpkin shapes you'll need to create the pumpkin shown can be found in the Le Charmed Life Boutique. Of course it will be up to you to add a stem, some curly vines at the top and a tag if you so desire. Be creative!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Perfect Alchemy

I'm about half way through my aromatherapy certification course and have made a decision about the direction I want to take my practice. What makes this even more exciting is that it combines so well with the tarot. My main purpose with aromatherapy is to help others (myself first of course) release the energy blocks that hold them back from realizing their full potential and creative expression in this life.

aromatherapy & subtle energy techniques
Essential oils are alive! Not only do they influence our bodies but they influence the subtle energy fields that surround us in ways we never imagined. Knowing this adds new dimension to those bath salts, massage oils and perfumes, making them even more sacred. While tarot can help uncover what's going on with us in the mind, essential oils work on our bodies and emotions. This to me is nothing short of my own perfect alchemy.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fan Folded Leaf Tutorial

Fan folded leaves make excellent decor for your holiday displays without the dirt and free loading creepy crawlies that can sometimes accompany what you could otherwise find out in the yard. I found this tutorial on the Better Homes and Gardens website so in all fairness I need to at least give them credit for their efforts.

fan folded leaves from BHG - go there if you must
BHG's tutorial instructions are obscurely written in my opinion and difficult to follow so I've simplified things for you here right down to providing the template so you don't have to become a member of BHG just to get it. I know, bad Kellie but believe me, this will save you a lot of frustration.

fan folded leaf template
I've sized the original template down by half of what it was. The finished leaf will fit better on your tables and shelves without being unbelievably large. Below is my down and dirty visual tutorial. Wish I was better at making these look prettier but at least it gets the point across.

I used a pice of decorative paper in fall colors so I wouldn't have to paint the paper first. Feel free to go crazy with the pens, ink, and paint if you so desire though. 

I did learn something from putting this together. When I turned my leaf over to the white side I noticed that I didn't have that same ugly seam down the center like I do on the colored side. To fix this, refold the folds the other direction (the mountain folds will become valley folds and vice versa) and that should solve that problem. Hope you enjoy this. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Halloween Apothecary Labels

In researching ideas for Halloween apothecary labels, I came across every kind of aged, nasty and otherwise creepy crawly item ideas that could be put in a jar and labeled. I love scary and the aged, distressed looks but does scary have to be gross too?
Halloween apothecary labels  on Etsy
I know it's all in good fun but how about a little intrigue to go with those petrified tarantula turds and vomit flavored jelly beans? While we're at it, could it be just a little bit pretty or is the combination of pretty and Halloween too much of a dichotomy to pull off successfully?
cloaking pills and love potion apothecary labels
What the hey, I'm an artist and artists can do whatever they want, right? If you care to see the whole collection, pop on over to the Kell Belle Boutique on Etsy. The description also contains a free, ice breaker party idea for using the labels as part of a game to help engage your guests. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Paper Pumpkin Tutorial

I found this beautiful, dimensional paper pumpkin that I think looks fantastic as a place setting for the fall holidays. This pumpkin was put together by Kelly of Notable Nest who was guest featured on the See Vanessa Craft blog.

paper pumpkin tutorial
Since this tutorial does not include a template I have created one for you.  Call it the Virgoan perfectionism in me that thinks it's nice for those not so talented in the drawing department to have something to work from. The finished pumpkin will stand about 1 1/8" high by 2 1/8" in diameter.
pumpkin template - click for larger image
I recommend cutting 8 to 10 papers to 3" wide by 2" high and folding them in half. Take 2 or 3 of your papers at a time, lay the straight side of the template on the fold and cut. Follow the paper pumpkin tutorial beginning at step 3. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me Today

When I was a kid my birthday was always bitter sweet. I could not wait for it to come because it meant fun goodies for me but it also marked the end of summer and the return of the school year which was not so exciting to think about.

"Let Them eat Cake" on Pinterest
I have posted very little this past month. It's been nice to have the breather for awhile, kind of like my summer vacation. Still working on Halloween projects so look for those to show up in the coming weeks. In the meantime, join me for cake and coffee. Cheers!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Aged Sea Glass Tutorial

Homemade beach decor, how fun is that! You could decorate an entire room in a beach theme no matter where you live and if you like all the shabby chic, distressed vintage stuff then you might love this DIY tutorial for making your own beach glass as presented by Twigg Studios.

Twigg Studios - aged sea glass tutorial
This is a great tutorial although keep in mind that Mod Podge isn't waterproof so if you're thinking of using those jars as flower vases you might want to consider using Vitrea glass paint instead. This tutorial gives me all kinds of yummy ideas for up cycling my vintage spice bottles!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Printable Tombstone Place Cards

Printable parties have gained popularity in the digital age of DYI so as a designer I feel it's my duty to offer my take on this for your holiday pleasure. I think I'll make a whole series that includes favor bags, boxes and other paper projects

tombstone place cards on Etsy
First up are these printable tombstone place cards. The beauty of these is that they print out on a single sheet of paper and in one piece making their assembly fast and easy.

halloween favor bag on Etsy
Customize these by typing your verbiage in your favorite word processor. Print on clear labels and adhere to the tombstone. Look how cute these are together! What a fun party.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bird Divination - The Answers to your Questions

Yesterday I posed the question about what a flock of birds might symbolize. After a little reading I discovered that I've really only touched the surface about what birds can tell you about what is to come for you. You can look at things like how they fly. Are they flying straight or weaving in and out? How many are there? What kind of birds are they? What do these images mean to you? Is it smooth sailing or chaos? Is it crowded or lonely?

The cardinal symbolizes life-changing events taking care of your health.
via Capella University - other meanings can also be found in this article
I did get one response yesterday from someone who suggested that a flock of birds flying overhead could foretell of trouble on the way since they may have taken flight to escape a predator. Firstly I would ask my commenter where in their life they feel like they need to escape from trouble? Reading the tarot is all about interpreting symbolism just like this and your perceptions most definitely play into what's happening in your life right now.

The other part of my commenter's response had to do with winds of change being stirred up. Okay, good! That makes me think of cycles. The end of one cycle usually means the beginning of another like summer turning to autumn which is when birds start thinking about heading to Palm Springs to winter with the other snow birds including those of the human variety. Ah! Another bird metaphor.

The images conjured up for me by that flock of birds were: flying south for the winter, spreading my wings and taking flight. The last two ideas were all about transitioning from total beginner to someone with enough understanding that I could begin incorporating my own style into my tarot reading and aromatherapy and that fills me with optimism. My dream is moving from the nebulous ether and beginning to solidify into manifested reality.

Here's something you can try next time you are driving and you have a burning question you want answered. Ask the birds. One bird flying from right to left could symbolize a yes answer and one bird flying from left to right could symbolize a no answer, or reverse them, it really doesn't matter. Just don't reverse after you receive an answer just because a no bird flew by and you really wanted a yes bird answer. Ask your question and wait for the first bird you see to give you your answer. Have fun! :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

What Does a Flock of Birds Symbolize?

Okay, so now I'm beginning to see omens in the every day. The other night while driving home from my psychic class I saw a large flock of birds flying overhead. The imagination was suddenly engaged with possibility about what this could represent.

what images come to you from a flock of birds?
What metaphors can you draw from a flock of birds?  How do they relate to what is currently going on in your life? I'll tell you what I came up with tomorrow but today I invite you to tell me what speaks to you about a flock of birds. I may learn something from you that I hadn't considered and vice versa.