Reef Botanicals: Handcrafted Soaps and Other Indulgences

Eric and Larissa are the husband/wife team who run Reef Botanicals, home of luxurious handmade soaps, shampoos, candles and other sinfully delicious indulgences. 
Handmade Artists Forum team member Larissa is not just another pretty face--being a talented face painter, she can also paint yours very pretty for you! She's also a lawyer and a not-so-amateur photographer. 
The combined talents of Larissa and her husband are very impressive. Between the two of them you can add latch hooking, knitting, acting, building, baking, cooking and beer brewing to their credits. It's much easier to simply state that everything this couple attempts together, they excel at and conquer. 
This pioneer spirit led to the Reef Botanicals line of personal beauty products. Every item in Eric and Larissa's skin care line is lovingly created by them from scratch using pure, all natural ingredients and essential oils that are beneficial to body and soul. Many of their wonderful products are suitable for vegan use and absolutely none of them are tested on animals. Here are just a few examples of the sweet indulgences you'll find in their skin care line: 
Garden Party Soap
Garden Party Soap
Mashed In:  Spring Seasonal
Mashed In: Spring Seasonal
Father's Day Gift Basket
From the Men's Line
Chocolate Chip Mint Lip Balm
Chocolate Chip Mint Lip Balm
Remember, this is just a small sampling of the goodies you'll find at Reef Botanicals, so click on the title above to learn more about these and more fine products from their blog or shop directly from the website and Handmade Artists Shop: http://www.reefbotanicals.com/catalog/  http://handmadeartistsshop.com/Larissa.html

transparency

Check out the new thought provoking new treasury from 1022SeaShellAve. http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c234ecf51d08eefac9364ce/transparency

Thrive Tiger Eye Pendant Necklace

This inspirational handmade necklace features a 1 3/8 inch by 2 inch antiqued brass "Thrive" pendant with cut out lotus flower pattern. Decorating the bottom of the delicate antiqued brass chain are antiqued brass Celtic square knots, Tiger Eye rounds and squares and antiqued brass melon beads and daisy spacers. A lovely tri-point antiqued brass connector finishes the design. Both chain and pendant contain no lead or nickel. Necklace is 20 inches long and closes in back with a lobster claw clasp. Beautiful and inspiring, this necklace encourages the wearer and all who see it to "Thrive." 

Quartz that is formed not of one single crystal but a number of finely grained microcrystals is known as chalcedony. Tiger eye is a member of this beautiful group of semi-precious chalcedony. 

Spiritual and Healing Properties of Tiger Eye:
Tiger eye is said to be a balancing stone that helps to calm fears and give perspective to upsetting circumstances. It can also help you become more attuned with planetary energies because it serves as a bridge linking sky and earth energies. Tiger eye offers light to dark energies.

Remedy Benefits of Tiger Eye:
Gives clarity
Balances solar plexus chakra
Promotes intuition
Yin yang balancer
Reflects light

Red White and Blue USA Earrings


Show your red white and blue patriotic pride with these cute handmade earrings. Silver metal "USA" charms dangle at the bottom of the colored glass beads and white pearls. Earrings dangle 1 1/2 inches from the tops of the hypoallergenic stainless steel ear wires.

What a Difference a Day Makes

A major vent.
Yesterday I was posting about the fun my husband and I had at Navy Pier due to the sweet generosity of our wonderful son. Last night I learned that my beloved son will be moving in two weeks to Las Vegas to take a new job. Today I'm not sure how my heart will ever go on if I can't physically hug my only child anymore.

I'll find a way to deal this, because there is no alternative. I just can't figure out a way to do it today ...

Birthday Celebration 2010!


For my birthday this year, my wonderful son gave me Cirque Shanghai tickets, so I got to go to Navy Pier this weekend! 
The day before we had terrible thunderstorms, and our power at home was knocked out for 24 hours, but on our Navy Pier day, the weather was perfect for enjoying all the sights and sounds of  downtown Chicago. 
It was the first time my husband and I had been downtown in probably 15 years or more. For many reasons, we almost never get to kick back and have fun, so I decided not to worry as much as usual about money and let loose a little to give us a day out like "normal" people. 
We left our house at around 3:00 so we would have plenty of time to walk around the pier and see all the new things, and we had such a blast! 
On the way there we drove past the Art Institute lions on Michigan Avenue, and yes, they're still sporting their Blackhawks head gear. There is still Blackhawks everything going on around Chicago and the actual Stanley Cup has been sighted all over the place. The team is full of very young players and they're definitely prone to partying! 
Anyway, back to us. I was starving, so the first thing we did when we got to the Pier was stop in at the Billy Goat Tavern. Even though I was born in Chicago and my husband has lived in the Chicago area most of his life, neither of us had ever been to any of the Billy Goat locations before, so I'd say it was about time we had a cheezborger! We ordered a cheezborger, chips and no Coke, Pepsi, just like in the old John Belushi Saturday Night Live skit. There was indoor seating and patio seating, and my husband was letting me pick what to do because it was "my birthday" day, so I decided we should eat outside and do a little people watching. It was a great choice. We sat back and enjoyed the diverse, colorful and happy people walking by and discovered that couples old and young alike are choosing Navy Pier and the beautiful Odyssey II as the location for their wedding receptions these days.

http://www.vacationsmadeeasy.com/ChicagoIL/activity/ChicagoOdysseyLunchDinnerCruises.cfm

After we finished eating, we strolled up and down the pier and took in more of the sights and sounds. We went inside after a while to escape the sun for a few moments and found Ryba's fudge. Being a hopeless chocohaulic, of course I had to buy some! Then we saw the Stained Glass Museum. I just couldn't belive all the beautiful artwork. 

http://sherylgwyther.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/stained-glass9.jpg
Garrett's Popcorn was our next stop. Garrett's is famous for its delicious Caramel Crisp popcorn, and it is scrumptious. I got a large bag so I could share it with my dad, who is a caramel corn buff. 
At 8:00 it was time for us to take our seats at the outdoor Pepsi Skyline Stage to see Cirque Shanghai. My son got me 8th row center seats, which was perfect for seeing everything very clearly.

http://www.chicagostagereview.com/?m=200808
After the show it was dark, so we decided to take a ride on the 150-foot-high Ferris Wheel. My husband will ride the wildest roller coaster ever made, but he is very nervous about Ferris Wheels. But again, he said it was my night and he would do anything I wanted, so I voted we go for it. I think his knuckles were white even before he stepped into our huge, private cage, but he did manage to relax just before it was time for us to exit the ride. I even managed to loosen him up long enough to wrangle myself a kiss at the top!
 
http://www.planetware.com/picture/chicago-navy-pier-us-ilch408.htm
When the ride was over, it was time for the weekly fireworks display, so we sat down and watched a fabulous, musically choreographed show. 

http://www.dnjournal.com/
Chicago is a beautiful city with so much to offer, and we had a great time soaking it all in. Tired and sad that my "fun day" had come to an end, as we were exiting the $24 parking garage with our $15 fudge and $9 carmel corn, I realized why we can only visit about once every 15 years or so now. Although ... I've already put the word out that I'd love a pair of Billy Elliot tickets while the show's in town. ;)

Indie Junction Love

Monique of Voleur de Bijoux is the ultimate example of Indie Junction love as she showcases her fellow team members in this lovely Etsy Treasury East.
http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c205f9dd0556d913806b8e5/indie-junction-love

Creations With Heart

Thank you Julie of Creations With Heart for choosing my Romantic Vintage Style Pendant Necklace as one of your handmade creations of the week!

Handmade Artists Forum Featured Artist: Tuscan Road

Before I get to the beautiful designs of Tuscan Road, I just have to share with you a little adventure their whole family is currently enjoying. It seems their 17 year old Tanner received a Federal Fish & Wildlife permit with the State of Calif and is also licensed with Fresno Wildlife & Rehabilitation. He recently received two baby barn owls to rehab. This is baby, "Bob", at four weeks old, and I'm proud to share his adorable self with you here:


Is that not precious? You can see and read more about Bob and his brother, Bill, on the Tuscan Road blog.  http://tuscanroad.blogspot.com/
Now for some gorgeous jewelry! At Tuscan Road Designs you will find an eclectic mix of handmade mod and vintage jewelry. Semi precious gemstones, crystals and beautiful lampwork beads made by the artist  herself with a little help from her son. She likes to buck the trends and create unique, collectible, timeless  pieces. Her inspirations come from nature, architecture, Old World icons and the world around her in general. She's always searching for that unique and beautiful bead or idea to incorporate into her designs. This is part of what makes them unique and special. And now, the lovely jewelry designs of Tuscan Road:
Vintage Angel Charm Necklace


Earrings-Faceted Quartz Crystal and Sterling

Abalone Pendant Necklace with Gemstones  and Long Brass Chain
Stop in to see all the fine jewelry of Tuscan Road on Etsy:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/tuscanroad

Tangerine and ...

... and what else do you need? Maybe a little purple and some other goodies thrown in for good measure! You can see this beautiful treasury by The Joy of Color here:
http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c1be339b6136d917c5710ba/tangerine-and

I Love Olives!

I'd love for you to come see my treasury full of IndieJunction and HAFteam  artists and others, entitled I Love Olives.
http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c1ad4e61da08eef0c0b7346/i-love-olives

Industrial Chic Hex Nut Necklace

This unique shabby chic industrial style necklace simply features a 15mm antiqued brass hex nut with the words, "intrepidity" and "Fearlessness" printed on it on distressed paper. Two distinctly different antiqued brass chains are slipped through the hex nut to finish the design. Necklace is 19 1/2 inches long.

What better way to show your boldness and  courage than by wearing this stunning little attention getter?

Our Nature Zone: The Eagles of Hornby Island

I recently posted about the live "Eagle Cam" located on Hornby Island, British Columbia, Canada. Here is a little background information from the website, Our Nature Zone, that will answer some of the questions about the nest. Caution: tuning into eagle cam can be addicting!


For answers to frequently asked questions about eagles:
http://www.hornbyeagles.com/eaglefaq.htm

For information about the origin of this cam and Doug and Sheila Carrick:
http://www.hornbyeagles.com/aboutus.htm#doug

For a peek at Hornby Island:
http://www.hornbyeagles.com/hornbyisland.htm


Q. Where is this nest located?
A:  The nest is located on Hornby Island, which is off the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.
An aerial map of Hornby Island

Q. Is this the only eagle nest on Hornby Island?
A. No, there are several nests on Hornby Island. Doug has monitored 36 nests over the past two decades. A map showing those nests can be viewed here:Eagle nests on Hornby Island

Q. What kind of tree is it in, and how tall is the tree?
A.  The tree is in a Douglas Fir that is 120 feet tall.

Q. The tree looks dead - is it unstable?
A. A Douglas Fir dies from the top down, as this tree has done. Only the very top is dead - the rest of the tree is very healthy and very large - about 18 feet in circumference at the base. It is very stable and in no danger of falling down.

Q. How big is the nest?
A. In 2004, the nest measured about 3.5 feet on the inside and 7 feet across on the outside.

Q. When did the eagles build this nest?
A. The nest was constructed in the fall of 1989 and has been continuously used since then.

Q. When were the cameras put in the nest and how did you get them up in the tree?
A. After obtaining permission from the owners of the eagle tree property and the Ministry of Environment, Doug had the camera installed in September 2004. A tree climber was hired to position the camera in the tree.

Q. How old are Mom and Dad Hornby? 
A. These eagles are wild, so no one knows for sure. But knowing that eagles do not begin breeding until they are at least 4 or 5 years old, and the fact that they have been observed laying eggs in this nest since 1990, they are at least 25 years old.


   

Doug Carrick's book The Eagles of Hornby Island can be purchased through Amazon.com.
Link:  The Eagles of Hornby Island

Note 26 April 2010:

Both Amazon.ca and Amazon.com are temporarily out of stock.

You can order through either Amazon site if you wish to wait (but it is uncertain when you will receive the order).

You can order the book directly through Hancock House Publishers.
    ~ On-line Hancock House Publishing
    ~ Phone : 1 (604) 538-1114   Fax: 1 (604) 538-2262
    ~ Call Toll Free: 1-800-938-1114    Fax: 1-800-983-226

New from Lapis Beach!

Here's the latest treasury from Lapis Beach entitled, I like a little grey with my pink ... and who doesn't?? Stop by when you can to see all the wonderful creations up close! ;)
http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c193bdc0cfd8eef1d93e88e/i-like-a-little-grey-with-my-pink

Something Blue

Deb of Zur Designs excels at everything she does, but she's outdone her treasury making abilities with this beauty named Something Blue.
http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c17e5948e6c8eef7e66d5fd/something-blue

Industrial Chic!

This gorgeous handmade pendant necklace is shabby chic at its best. An industrial style antiqued brass locket hangs from a simple hardware spring. A vintage style design on the front of the locket reads, "live and let live". A beautiful floral tri-point connector holds the locket to an antiqued brass chain. The chain is adorned with multicolored yellow green Czech glass rounds with brass leaf bead caps and brass melon beads, gold Czech glass melon beads, and tiny chartreuse and gold faceted glass bicones. Necklace is 21 inches long and closes in back with a toggle clasp.

Handmade Artists Forum Spotlight: Snips and Snails

Robin Hartman is a busy mother of two toddlers. Aside from being a wife, mother and artist, she's also a part-time college English professor, having her masters in British Literature. Robin's specialty is cross stitching and pattern design but she dabbles in a little bit of everything from jewelry design and bead work to card making and crocheting, and a few more things in between. You can find Robin's creations on her blog, Snips and Snails, http://snipsansnails.blogspot.com/  
and you can click on the title above to browse her shop on Etsy. Here are a few of my personal favorites from Robin's shop:
Lemon Lime and Orange Sherbet Striped White wire wrapped marble earrings - FREE SHIPPING
Raven's Nest - FREE SHIPPING - Black plastic coated Wire wrapped bird's nest
Cross Stitch Ladybug Scrabble Tile Necklace - FREE SHIPPING

Indigo Caramel

Take a closer look at a beautiful new Etsy treasury east by natalya1905 called Indigo Caramel. It's good enough to eat!
http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c1527db310f6d9137a1998c/indigo-caramel

Day Trippin'!

A rockin' new treasury from 1022SeaShellAve called Day Trippin' "turn the music UP!"
http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c16e98b17146d91b3eb951c/day-trippin-turn-the-music-up

Mother Nature's Heartache

It's day 55 of the BP Oil Disaster in the Gulf. I just can't watch the devastation on television  anymore. The images of the poor birds alone are enough to make me cry. I wonder how many times the world and the world's wildlife has to go through this kind of disastrous event before we as the supposed responsible caretakers of the planet learn our lesson.

If we can't do it right, do we have the right to do it at all??

Rich Radiant Reds

The name of this gorgeous Etsy treasury east says it all. It is most definitely rich and radiant. Stop in, click and comment on these beautiful finds from Crafted Roots. http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c13cde2310f6d910c0c7d8c/rich-radiant-reds

Empty Sound

An eclectic collection of lovelies from 1022 Sea Shell Ave. Visits, clicks and comments are always more than welcome at Etsy treasury east. ;)

The disturbing case of Gaile Owens

After viewing the story of Gaile Owens this morning on the CBS Sunday Morning show, I felt compelled to mention her story here.

I believe mental illness is involved in most if not all murder cases. Battered wife syndrome is definitely sustained mental abuse which can eventually take the form of full blown mental illness over time. Gaile Owens was severely mentally and physically abused and battered by her husband for many years. As her own mental state deteriorated and she could finally take no more violence at her husband's hand, she hired a stranger to kill him, an act for which she has since expressed sincere remorse. She was convicted of murder, has served 25 years in prison, and awaits execution on September 23, 2010.

I'm not at all sure which of us has the right to decide the death of any other fellow human being, but some cases are more compelling than others as a "good case" against the death penalty.

For details on Gaile Owens' case, and address information for the Governor of  Tennessee, click on the title above.

Chains and Czech Necklace

This stunning handmade chain necklace is made up of intricately woven gray metal links and is ever so delicately decorated at the bottom with a drizzle of sparkling 4 and 8mm vitrail AB Czech glass faceted rounds. Necklace is 22" long and closes in back with a lobster claw clasp. Drop is 2 1/4 inches long.

Saturday's Creative News

Click and comment on a lively and lovely treasury by Riorita entitled, Saturday's Creative News. http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c132e39310f6d9154f3728c/saturdays-creative-news

A Gaggle of Greens


I hope you'll take a moment today to stop in and let me know what you think of  my new treasury, A Gaggle of Greens. Click on the photos for a better view of all the lovely items.

What Would You Name This?

I'm not sure if she's taking name suggestions or not, but stop by and let Kim of 1022 Sea Shell Ave know what you think of her terrific new treasury. http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c10531f19246d919dce83cd/what-would-you-name-this

HAF Team Road Trip Challenge

Just a few of the entries in the HAFteam challenge, Road Trip. Stop by and cast your vote for your favorite, then comment for your chance to win a beautiful necklace by Haffina.

Thanks Blackhawks!!!

Live Eagle Cam!

Calling all nature lovers! Here's live activity from an eagle's nest on Hornby Island, a small island on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. Just click on the title above or go to hornbyeagles.com and you can see the live streaming video. Click on the first picture of the eagles, then click on the next screen and the video begins. You can enlarge the screen by clicking on the square in the lower center of the picture. The mother and dad come and go, bring fish to the nest, etc. The first time I tuned in, it was dusk and I only got to watch for a few minutes before the picture was too dark, but I got to see the baby cleaning himself, and then either mom or dad flew in and started cleaning the nest. The next morning, I eagerly tuned in again just in time to see mom stand up and fly away. It was breath taking and  some of the most amazing up close nature footage I've ever seen. I find myself tuning in often for fear I might miss something really cool. As a matter of fact, I keep the window open so I can check in and see what's happening. I got to see lunchtime this afternoon. The fledgling ate not one, not two, but three whole fish, fed carefully and patiently by mom. 
The nest activity is filmed by Doug and Sheila Carrick, who have been granted permission to shoot the footage for educational purposes from the Canadian government. Give yourself and your kids a treat and tune in to see a remarkable slice of nature that few people ever get to experience. If you arrive too late at night, the picture will be black, but tune in again the next day to see all the action--you won't be disappointed!

Aqua and Brass Locket Necklace

 Intricate 35 x 26mm oval antiqued brass filigree locket with aqua rhinestone is hung from dual antiqued brass chains in this vintage style handmade necklace. An antiqued brass swallow decorates the larger chain and a three point antiqued brass connector holds chain to locket. Dangling aside the locket is a frosted aqua Lucite flower with antiqued brass flower bead cap, daisy spacer and melon bead. A yellow gold glass bead and faceted aqua AB Czech glass round peek out from inside the flower. A 6mm faceted peach Czech glass bead and 4 mm pale peach glass bead hang down alongside the flower. Necklace is 24 inches long and closes in back with a toggle clasp.

Your Love is Better Than Chocolate!

Yes, this treasury is just as delicious as it sounds. Deb of Zur Designs has dipped into the talent pool of the Handmade Artists From and filled her treasury east with deep, rich brown creations. Please stop by, comment and click on the photos for a closer look at all these lovelies. http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c0d142c68f48eefe823f821/your-love-is-better-than-chocolate

Road Trip!!

My Bloom Where You Are Planted necklace (referred to as "Can't Get Away" in the challenge) is entered in the Handmade Artists Forum summer challenge, "Road Trip!"
My husband and I haven't been able to take a vacation or a "road trip" for over 30 years, so my entry speaks more to how good it feels to return home when you've been away or even to the sentiment that there's no place like home.
Please stop by, cast your vote for your favorite and leave a comment for your chance to win a beautiful handmade necklace by Haffina. http://handmadeartistsforum.com/road-trip-hafteam-challenge/

"It's 3am I must be lonely"

Stop in for a closer look at this  gorgeous, eclectic collection of goodies by Kim of 1022SeaShellAve. Don't forget to tell her what you think! http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c0b116b68f48eeff45cd521/its-3am-i-must-be-lonely

Gothic Victorian Style by DreamAgainJewelry

Take a look at a unique and different treasury by Dream Again Jewelry entitled, Gothic Victorian Style, and don't forget clicks and comments are treasured in a treasury! ;)
http://www.etsy.com/treasury_list.php?room_id=134282

Orange You Glad ... A Treasury East by Shirley Art

Debbie of Shirley Art has outdone herself with this gorgeous collection of warm and lovelies. If you have the time, I know she would very much appreciate your clicks and comments. http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4c05d8b5c3196d919e7a0321/orange-you-glad

Handmade Artists Forum Featured Artist: Dream Again Jewelry

Hailing from Modesto, California, self taught jeweler, Stephenie Gardella, of Dream Again Jewelry has been making  jewelry for twenty years now. Her love for "girlie" things began as a young child. 
In Stephenie's words, "I admit I was spoiled, with pretty, girly things - I was the firstborn girl, and apparently, my mom was waiting for me for quite a while. This is where I learned to love and appreciate pretty things, including jewelry. So you see, I really never stood a chance, I was born to appreciate pretty things. Eventually I made my own pretty things." 
And that she did. From these early beginnings, a feminine, romantic style bloomed and Stephenie incorporates it beautifully into her lovely, romantic jewelry. Here are just a few of my favorites:
Victorian Gothic Cameo Necklace
Wire wrapped Jasper Stone Pendant  Necklace
DSCN0967COPY by stepheniegardella@sbcglobal.net.
DSCN1094copy by stepheniegardella@sbcglobal.net.

To see more of Stephenie's jewelry line, you can find her on Etsy:
on Facebook:
on Twitter:
and on Flickr: