Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to Make Violet Liqueur

Violet liqueur, how decadent does that sound? I thought I would end violet month with a recipe for violet liqueur you can easily make at home using readily available ingredients. Well, mostly readily available. You might have to dig a little (pun intended) to find enough violets for your concoction.

via Chariot's Run - making violet syrup
Whilst searching for recipes, what I discovered is that making cordials and liqueurs can be about as individual as the person making them. This means that this is going to be, in part, an exercise in personal preference discovery but the final outcome has the potential to surprise and delight you.
Violet Liqueur Recipe: 
1 Cup Fresh Violet Blossoms
1  1/2 Cups Vodka
1/2 Cup Simple Syrup
Let your nose be your guide as to whether or not more violet flowers are needed
Wash and dry your flowers cutting off stems and leaves. Place the blossoms into a clean, sterilized mason jar and pour the vodka over them. Cap the jar and let steep for 2 - 3 weeks swishing the mixture around about every other day.

via Amazon UK
Strain the liquid through a strainer first to separate the flowers and then through a coffee filter to filter out any dirt or other particles.

Add the cooled simple syrup

Simple syrup is made by boiling sugar and water together. The water in the recipe can be adjusted according to the desired thickness as follows:
Thin Syrup: 3 Cups Water to 1 Cup Sugar
Medium Syrup: 2 Cups Water to 1 Cup Sugar
Thick Syrup:  1 Cup Water to 1 Cup Sugar
Read more about how to make simple syrup and how you can be creative with the addition of other flavorings. Vanilla might be an excellent choice to add to your violet liqueur. Your liqueur can be poured into a pretty bottle with a personalized label perfect for gift giving or use as a party favor. Enjoy!

Sources: Green Products Global Blog - violet liqueur recipe; What's Cooking America - simple syrup recipe

Monday, April 29, 2013

Artist Spotlight: Jeannine Boyce

Struggling for ideas and ways to display your paper dress and corset projects? I was recently contact by artist Jeannine Boyce who has graciously provided photos of her beautiful and creative displays for me to share with you here.

Jeannine Boyce corset display
This corset display is probably my favorite. I love all the vintage findings, the bits of aged ephemera used as wall paper and the overall antique feel of this piece. This is a magnificent example of a look that isn't overly complicated to create and yet the result is pure charm.

armoire paper dress display by Jeannine Boyce
Another very cute display is this armoire idea. Look how absolutely adorable these dresses look in here. Jeannine, you did such a nice job on your dresses too.

Jeannine Boyce paper dress boutique display
Personalize and turn your armoire into a little boutique display. Totally adorable! Ya'll know I've been wanting to do something like this for awhile but still haven't managed to get around to it. Thank you Jeannine for providing us with some gorgeous inspiration to help get us all started.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Corset Diaries VIII: March Diary Page

Your corset diaries page does not include a template this month and is meant to be more of an elements page. You can print it out and include it in your book or print it on light weight paper and use the elements in your collages.

corset diaries elements - 10 x 7 inches - click to download full size
Since the March corset was made the same way, please refer February's Uptown Girl video to make your basic corset and follow along with the March video to give you inspiration and embellishing ideas for making your outfit.

There are endless ways to design and decorate your corset. Be creative and try to come up with some interesting ideas for making your outfit a reflection of your own unique style. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How to Make Pressed Violets

There are a couple of different methods for making pressed violets or for pressing any kind of flower for that matter. Erin Boyle outlines her method for how to press violets the old fashioned way using a book. Keep in mind that this technique could take up to 10 days before you have a useable dried flower.

via Gardenista.com
Then there is the expedited way to do this. Watch this short video on how to press flowers using your microwave. The product used in the video is a microwave flower press made by Microfleur which can be purchased on Amazon if you are interested.

via Botanics 101 on Etsy
Once you have dried your flowers the question then becomes a matter of what to do with them. Pressed flowers are beautiful on cards, as botanical prints, journal page embellishments or decoupaged onto old bottles to name a few. Be creative in coming up with other unique ways to used pressed flowers and have fun!

Note: Northwest Nature Shop carries an economically priced Gardners Nature Press Flower Pressing Kit if you are interested in drying your flowers the old fashioned way.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Living the Magical Life: Pushing Through Anger

Let's play a game. Raise your hand if you grew up believing that anger was an inappropriate emotional response to any situation? Were you taught that it was not okay to express anger? If you said yes, you're not alone but I'm here to tell you that anger is a normal part of the human experience. To deny it, to stuff it down or ignore it is definitely inappropriate and can actually lead to more emotional problems than you had before. Not only that, but denying your anger can even manifest itself as physical problems. Yikes!

Last week I mentioned a mind numbing blow that definitely stirred up a hornet's nest of rage and anger from within me. How do you feel about having to smile graciously and treat someone you feel has wronged you with nothing but the utmost respect and decorum when what you really want to do is quite the opposite and then some? I've felt intense anger much of the time for the past couple of weeks and in the moments when I stop feeling angry I go back to feeling powerless. So how do you keep your cool during the times when you really want to explode?

Stop thinking! That sounds easier said than done, doesn't it?! Thinking is the fuel that feeds anger or any single emotion for that matter. Thinking keeps the emotion alive well beyond its shelf life which in reality is actually only a few minutes. Usually our thinking runs rampant to help us escape the discomfort of our negative emotions. If we can stop thinking for a few minutes and embrace that hot, uncomfortable, painful energy, we can realize that the pain does pass and that we really can survive it without reacting to it.

I'm not saying this is easy by any stretch of the imagination but having a conscious awareness of what's going on inside your head and choosing to do something different in the moment will make all the difference in the outcome of the situations you find yourself in. Remember Atticus Finch? He is a shining example of someone who responded to hate with dignity and chose not to perpetuate it. This is the only way to knowing true peace in the world.

The second part of this anger equation is how to begin moving our emotion in a more positive direction and discontinue the ping pong match that goes on between the feelings of powerlessness and anger so that we don't slip into depression. Believe it or not, rage is a positive step up from feeling powerless and feelings of revenge feel better than rage. Anger feels better than revenge so to tell someone who feels powerless that anger is inappropriate is doing nothing but keeping them trapped in their feelings of powerlessness. Telling someone that anger is inappropriate does more harm than good in this situation so now you get the idea.

Okay, here's where thinking can help improve the situation. We've already determined that we can't change the situation but we can choose thoughts that help us feel better about where we are and regain some of our power back. This doesn't have to be monumental in any way but by choosing to do this one thing, even if it's only for a few minutes at a time, it actually has the power to tip the universal balance in our favor. What happens then is nothing short of magic because the outer world begins to change with the new thinking. I've seen the power of this in my own life so I already know it works.

I can hear the collective "How do I do that?" question. Have conversations with yourself. It doesn't have to be out loud in fact, keep it to yourself. This can be done in the shower, during your commute or any time you have some down time. I find it useful to do this even when I feel angry because it helps diffuse the situation and keeps my head clear.

Conversations I have with myself begin with a lot of 4 letter words at first and that's perfectly okay. In time, my conversations will begin more positively and that's all that matters. Once I get past the 4 letter word stage I can begin to say things like the following:

This is only temporary.
There are plenty of people who have been in similar situations who were the same age I am.
They made the same changes I want to make and were very successful.
It's okay for me to make changes.
Only I get to choose what's best for me.
I see a more positive situation coming to me where I feel more freedom.
I enjoy the people I work with because they are easygoing and I feel easygoing too.
I can laugh at the situation a little bit and not take things so seriously.
Life doesn't have to be serious, it's supposed to be fun.

With conversations like this, that negative energy I once felt begins to lift. I feel more light hearted and hopeful because there is a knowing that comes over me. This feels like your mom or a good friend giving you a big hug and telling you everything is going to work out fine and you know what? It will. I will generally start getting little signs that things are looking up. The universe is funny that way. Try this and watch the magic that will begin to transform your negative experiences and you'll realize how much they had to teach you. You may even find yourself developing gratitude for them.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mysterious Ivy Corset

Is she shy or simply guarded? When I speak with her I get the sense that she prefers to stay out of the spotlight, remaining ever on the edge between sleep and wake, where the meadow meets the forest.

mysterious Ivy paper corset
Her wisdom is profound and yet as fleeting as a dream. You can't hold on to it with thought but the feeling of it permeates your soul. This is the stuff of magic.
mysterious Ivy paper corset back view
March has come and gone but she reveals her gifts to us in her own good time, right now. I give you Mysterious Ivy and she has a message for you. To retrieve it, center yourself and look within.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Old Fashioned Sweet Violet Syrup

Imagine adding something as unique as old fashioned, sweet violet syrup to your spring party menu items. Icing and buttercream for cakes, lemonade, jelly, ice cream or sparkling wine are just a few ideas to help make your events more memorable.

via Kings Seeds
Carolyn of Kings Seeds has written an easy to make violet syrup recipe using violets from the garden.   Along with the syrup are a few other violet recipes you might also enjoy.  If you don't have any violets in the garden maybe now is a good time to plant a few.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Living the Magical Life: Replacing Negative Thinking

Panic! Desperation! Complete powerlessness! These have got to be a few of the worst feeling emotions in the world. What do you do when life suddenly hands you a change that you were not only unprepared to deal with but know with every fiber of your being is about to crush your soul right out of  existence? You haul ass out of there leaving a trail of fiery skid marks blazing fiercely behind you.

via desktopwallpaperhd.net red roses broken
Here's the thing. I no longer have to acquiesce to situations I feel unhappy in or that leave me feeling trapped and demoralized. I don't have to identify with or become emotionally attached to what others think. What they think or believe does not make me who I am. Change happens for a reason. The trick is to find the lesson.

original source unknown
After being dealt an emotionally mind numbing blow at work last week it took me a couple of days to pick myself up, dust myself off and realize the universe was sending me a message. Actually it's been trying to get the message across for quite some time but I wasn't listening and now it has seen fit to give me a forceful shove. This is the point at which the self talk becomes so important because this is where the outcome of your choices is actually determined.

via Southern Main Hypnosis
Usually old and often negative programming comes into play which is exactly why most of us end up in the same situations over and over again. Stop! Become aware of what's going on inside your head. I made the decision not to play the old programming, not to feel sorry for myself or wallow in negativity (well, hopefully not for long anyway). The statement "there are things I can do" began playing over and over inside my head which helped restore my personal power so that I didn't feel quite so helpless.

via Joe Casey - Emotionally Resilient 
Empowering statements help keep the head clear long enough for divine guidance to show the way. I am not a victim! I am educated enough, I am talented enough, I am experienced enough to find something else. There are plenty of good opportunities waiting for me and I know the right one is coming to me now. Can you feel the difference in the energy of these statements versus something like "I can't because . . . "?

via zero tolerance to negative thinking
I can allow others to be who they are. They don't have to change or be different in order for me to be happy. Nobody has the power to make me happy but me. I do have the choice though of whether or not I want to associate with them and make them part of my experience. My situation has now become too painful for me to remain in it but the bills still have to get paid so off I go in a new direction and that's perfectly fine at any age. Don't let your self talk hold you back! Pay attention to it because there is great wisdom there waiting for you. It holds the key to your future.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Printable Tea Bag Envelopes - Violet Tea

In the spirit of shy violet month I couldn't give you a recipe for violet tea, instruct you on how to dry your own herbs and then not provide you with a pretty way to package it all up for gifting to a friend or use at your spring soirees could I?
printable tea bag envelope - see more in Le Charmed Life
These printable tea bag envelopes fit a single tea bag perfectly. There is even an attached card so that you can personalize is for your guests with a message or maybe even a recipe for violet tea. These make great little party favors.

Monday, April 8, 2013

April Corset Inspiration: Violet Surprise

April's corset inspiration is nothing more than the color violet and this exquisite violet flower. I'm in uncharted territory here and will be creating the April corset entirely from my own imagination. This would be the surprise part of the inspiration.

via 66 Square Feet (edited)
You know those wonderful but tricky little muses just love to get playful and this month I've turned over my creativity entirely to them. What will they come up with? All I know is the April corset will be the color of wild violets and made with translucent paper.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Free Vintage Ephemera: French Violets

Here's a little violet offering in the form of vintage ephemera for your digital collage pleasure. This could be really cute for making journal pockets, paper sachet envelopes or even tea envelopes.

french violets via the Graphics Fairy
Originally offered by that wonder woman of free clip art, you can find these french violets and other great ephemera by visiting the Graphics Fairy.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

How to Make Violet Tea

As long as we're going to spend April immersed in violet-ology then why not do so whilst sipping a nice cup of homemade violet tea? Fresh or dried, making your own herb tea is easier than you think.

via wikiHow
Pick, wash and make fresh violet tea in 4 easy steps or learn how to dry violets and other herbs for making a more potent dried tea later. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Living the Magical Life: Exiting the Comfort Zone

What if you woke up one day only to discover that divine guidance had led you gently to the side of a very high cliff and asked you to jump off? What if that gentle spirit also assured you that if you believed enough in its guidance and your own inner wisdom that you would always be safe regardless of what happened when you took the leap? What would you do? Would you keep the status quo, remaining safely in your comfort zone where nothing ever changes or would you take the leap and venture beyond anything you had ever known before?

via Mark J Turner
I'm not talking about doing anything that might put you in harms way. True divine guidance doesn't work that way. How do you know the difference? Divine guidance feels like the most harmonious, uplifting, pure positive inspiration that will ever come over you. Without it, you would surely plummet from that cliff to your peril. Divine guidance will fill your heart with "Yes, I can!" It will line up the resources financially and otherwise to make your dreams come true. It will move mountains to pave the way for your success. All you have to do is make the leap believing that your feet will sprout wings and take you further than you've ever been.

trusting divine guidance via mind body smile
I began my certification in aromatherapy education this week. It's a very large expense but I was able to get creative enough with my finances to make it happen without sending me into debt. I also managed to budget my time to complete the program by November of this year. It scares the ever livin' begeezus outta me because I've always thought of myself as an artist not as a holistic healer in any way. Why now? I've got no idea but it's the most exciting feeling in the world to be on this incredible new age path. It sounds like the person I was always meant to be but because of social expectations, I ignored that calling to pursue a more conventional path that has never fulfilled me creatively or financially.

the culture of fear via Tanama Tales
Don't get me wrong, the venomous toad committee is always ready and willing to talk me out of this. With just the slightest nod in its direction it will gladly offer its unwanted opinions and criticism about why this can never work. How do I tune it out? I do so by thinking only of all the positive ways in which this new path will enhance my life. This drowns out any negative thinking that tries to creep in and take up real estate inside my head. The thought of retreating back to the comfort zone has now become more uncomfortable for me than venturing beyond it. Armed with a single mindedness to finish what I set out to do, I have a strong belief that life as I know it is about to change dramatically and I can't wait to watch it all unfold.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Shy Violets for April

Quoted from Indiana Public Media: Focus on Flowers
"The writer, Emily Dickinson loved wild flowers, and associated violets with modesty and fidelity. These shy flowers inspired Emily to write poetry praising their courage; she identified with their vulnerability."
via Indiana Public Media
I am designating April as Shy Violet month as a gentle way of easing into Spring. Get ready to see recipes, paper crafts, and corset inspiration all with a little bit of violet flair.

Monday, April 1, 2013

She's No April Fool

The fool card from the Shadowscapes tarot deck encourages us to listen to and trust our inner guidance, to follow the inner callings that inspire and uplift us almost to the point of making no sense at all but yet the pull is so strong that it becomes too painful to ignore.

Shadowscapes tarot - the fool card
Over the weekend and today I embark on new learning opportunities that I never would have considered a year ago. They are unconventional in every way and yet they present possibilities for freedom, the likes of which I've only known in dreams. More will be revealed as this new path unfolds before me.