Friday, April 19, 2019

Murava Ceramics: Amanita Mushroom Spoon

My friend Susie posted a photo the other day of one of her coffee mugs and I noticed that right beside it was the most stinkin' adorable mushroom spoon I had ever laid eyes on. Thankfully Susie is a savvy social media queen and loves to support artisans like I do and she linked the maker in her post. The maker was Victoria Khostsianvich who uses her Etsy store called Murava Ceramics based out of Belarus. The spoons were made to order and estimated to take 4-6 weeks. Mine came right at one month. It was packed very well. Actually, quite beautifully. The brown box tied with string was wrapped in bubble wrap and sent in a bubble mailer. How adorable is it?

The spoon itself was snug in a blanket of grasses and leaves. Now I have a small piece of Belarus of my own. <3 

The spoon emits a rustic appeal with its antiqued patina and old-world charm. The detailing is charming.

There is a hole towards the top that can be run through with cording in order to hang the spoon. It came with a tag that had a wonderful thank you note attached. 

My new coffee spoon is pure magic. It will rest beside my Coffee-Mate for years and years to come. If I was an Egyptian Pharaoh I would want to be buried with it so I could stir my coffee in the afterlife with it. 

I am smitten. 

Now I kinda want a gnome themed kitchen. Poor Adam. I really put him through the wringer. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Taking it Slow

Things I cannot get enough of:
Enya. Seriously. That woman takes me places. She is like a Xanax for my mind.
Peppermint and lavender pillow mist.
Steeping tea.
Slugs, bees and flower buds.
Ciao Bella Blood orange sorbetto.
Deadheading the wildflowers.
Pawing through used $1 records. 
Bras without underwire.
Colorful pens.
Lurking on the garden snails.
Cheap books.
Hugs from my girls. 
Sleep in my bed.
Cats in my lap.

There are only 30 days of school left. 
There are 8 days until Avengers: End Game, which I am strangely excited for. 
There is one day until an interview. 
There are 80 days until I wind up in the Blue Ridge Mountains for vacation.
Two cute slug eyes.
One realtor lock box on the door.
30 dissected owl pellets.
Two cracks in my phone screen.
Four kitty paws.
14 years in the nest.

Trying to take deep breaths and really open my eyes to what is around me. 

How are you?

Monday, April 15, 2019

The Mellow Mermaid Soap Co.

These products were sent free from The Mellow Mermaid for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

Gayne from The Mellow Mermaid Soap Co contacted me through Instagram and asked if I would be interested in trying out some of her handmade products. Her company is based out of Florida and prides itself in being vegan friendly, cruelty free, palm free and made with organic and fair trade ingredients.

Bar soaps run about 4.5 ounces and cost $8 each. Most are made with avocado oil, coconut oil, cocoa butter and castor oil. A couple of the soaps does have shea butter in it as well. I am going to give away three of these soaps at the end of the post so I am only going to use and review Beach Hippie, the others I will only mention the scent. 

Paradise Found- A refreshing blend of citrus, floral and ozone. 
A mildly sweet clean aroma of Valencia oranges mingling with freshly laundered sheets. 

Turbulent Seas- An energizing blend of eucalyptus and spearmint. 
Evocative of a spa day with cooling gels and herbal aromatherapy massages. The spearmint isn't too chilly and the eucalyptus possesses a smoothness. This is one of my favorites in the bunch.

Beach Dream- A dreamy blend of lavender, florals and vanilla.
This one is Scarlette's favorite. It has that freshly laundered softness of dryer sheets. A clean linen scent with the vanilla softening the edges. 

Beach Hippie- An earthy blend of orange and patchouli essential oils.
What? Me try the earthy one? Who woulda guessed. Beach Hippie is a great scent for my preference profile. It actually wasn't extremely earthy or musky. It has more of a wooden lean with the patchouli and the orange aroma veers into the dry orange rinds and aged orange wood territory. It lathered up beautifully with abundant bubbles and it felt nice on the skin. The lather rinsed clean and left no residue. Overall, a nice sudsing experience.

The Mellow Mermaid also sells scoopable wax, which couple be fun.  

If you would like to have the other three soaps please be the first to leave a comment claiming the soaps and I will mail them off to you. 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Femme Fatale: Obscurus Wax Tart

Femme Fatale is an Australian based webstore that curates a collection of talented indie vendors and sells their wares. From cosmetics to bath and body to home fragrance and nail polish. Femme Fatale runs a monthly Indie Pickup page that features themed products. 

The month of May will be themed after those fun 80's scratch n' sniff stickers and today I have the home fragrance component to share with you: Obscurus' (aptly named) Scratch 'n Sniff!

Scratch 'n Sniff- Notes: A juicy delight of boysenberry, pink berries, pineapple, sea salt, mandarin, mango, citrus and melon.

A sweet melange of bright, tart and vivid fruits swirl about like a flavorful sorbet. Oranges and the peach-like nectar of mangos are lifted by an airy aquatic breeze and rounded out with honeydew and cantaloupes. This tart is a tropical fruit forward aroma that smells incredibly summer-like and fun. It gives the impression of all those fruity stickers mixing their perfume in their cellophane package just waiting to be opened.

The colors in this soy based tart match those fun stickers too. 

This tart threw in my kitchen and large living area at about a medium-strong scent level. Very nice. Uplifting and pleasant.

These tarts will be for sale May 4th 1am AEST- May 7th 1pm AEST via the Pickup site I linked above (no affiliate link). 

Are you melting any summery scents? What fruits are your favorite in wax?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Mermaid Treasure: Laurel and Lime Earrings

The next installment in the Laurel & Lime Snail Mail Society was a sweet little note with a discount code. I browsed Katie Kelly's site and found some beautiful studs. They arrived wrapped delicately in tissue paper and tucked into this rustic pouch. 

I love it. And I love handwritten notes. I don't do enough of that. I hope to get back to that one day soon. 

The "Old Growth" studs came framed by a sleek black cardstock piece. I believe these are pyrite and silver. 

The setting detail echoes the meandering lines of woodgrain.

Katie has been forging some really lovely pieces. Her ferns and dangle earrings are artistic and stylish. 

I mentioned wanting to try and hand write more notes to people. What small something do you appreciate that you would like to do or start doing again? 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Little Garden Pottery: Mushroom Mug

Elizabeth Erdener is the potter and artist behind Little Garden Pottery. She is a deft hand at painting botanicals and some of their happy pollinators. She does her hand-painted glazes on her hand-thrown mugs that are a loamy brown hue with a fine sand texture. I really enjoy tactile mugs like this. 

There are actually three mushroom tumblers much like this but without the handle left in her Etsy store at the time of this writing. She is an inspiring person to follow on IG as well with all her gardening and outdoor adventures and studio moments. 

What botanicals do you gravitate towards?

Monday, April 8, 2019

Bookish Jay & The Reading Mermaid: 2019 Reading Challenge Update

I hope the first quarter of your 2019 has been going well. Mine has been a touch strange but good, if frantic. I gave away the books above via Instagram and may give some more away too once I read some more. I read several books so far and wanted to post an update on the reading challenge Jay and I brewed up together. 

I use a short star system to rate the books I have read:
* = meh, save your time and skip it   ** = good, might be worth reading   *** = great, do yourself a favor and try it

1. A book set in your home state, or province for our Canadian buddies.

2. You saw the movie but didn’t read the book…. now read the book.

3. Carpe read ‘em- a title on your TBR for 1+ years.

4. Flora: flower on the cover.
The Witches of New York by Ami McKay almost fit into the 1890 category. It is a Victorian novel that tells the tale of three young ladies and how they find their strength both in themselves and as a unit of friends when an evil presence tries to eliminate them. I enjoyed the writing and setting though it was a touch shallow as fart as depth of story. It was a fast and easy read. **

5. Fauna: beastly book.

6. Scandinavian setting- create your own Jolabokaflod, or Yule Book Flood.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is a deeply moving and beautifully written story. It is based on the true events surrounding the last woman in Iceland to be hanged as punishment for a crime. The author did justice to the young lady's tale. The pages turned and turned of their own volition. ***

7. Flavor- a book built around food.

8. Passport required… set in a country you have never been to. 
A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman is set in Sweden, a place I would love to visit one day. More than the setting itself, the man Ove is compelling, bittersweet, hilarious and heartbreaking. I cried and laughed, many times within the same chapter. It reminds me that everyone has a story and sometimes effort should be made to break down walls. ***

9. Yellow/Gold is the color of novelty, so read a yellow novel. 
The yellow novel was easy once my eyes landed on this collection of short stories at the library for sale, Vampires in the Garden by Karen Russell. I wasn't sure what to expect but these were great reads! Some were funny, morose, horrifying and others just plain weird. I liked them very much. **

10. Something witchy this way comes. Witches, man, read a witch-centered tome. 
I easily could put about a dozen books in this category but instead I read the All Souls Trilogy  by Deborah Harkness. I loved the first book, A Dicovery of Witches and reading the next two books, Shadow of Night and The Book of Life were easy to continue but perhaps not as gripping as the first. I am happy I read them. It follows an Oxford professor who tries to bury the fact that she is descended from a long line of witches in order to deny her powers and rely on reason. She encounters a magical tome one day while researching in the library and a chain of events unfolds and a vampire comes into her life. 1st book ***, 2nd and 3rd **

11. A novel that is now a Netflix series or adaptation.

12. Shallowness: pick a book based on its spine appearance alone. 
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund made for a definite change of pace. I almost put this one in the gothic tale and then in the bildungsroman prompts but I had others I wanted to place there. A young girl grows up in a commune that disbands leaving her to fumble about in life with a laissez-faire mom and a father who is uncommunicative. She ends up taking solace among a new neighbor who moved across the lake and the neighbor's younger son. Trouble ensues and the results follow the girl the rest of her life. Well written. Disturbing at times. Sometimes disjointed. **

13. Nature Lover: non-fiction about the environment.

14. How old are you now? Read a book from your birth decade. 
I kind of wanted to read a book published in 1980 on the nose as that is my birth year but I ended up reading this gem instead, The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King. I have never read a fantasy piece by Stephen King but it proved to be entertaining. It is the story of a prince wronged by the king's power-hungry magician and his battle to reclaim his throne and people. It was published in 1987. Not an epic piece but still tickled it my fancy, greatly. ***

15. A book written by an author with your same initials.

16. Gothic read.

17. A retelling.

18. A guide. 

19. BINGO Free Space- pick your own.
As I previously mentioned, I am going to visit Salem and my friend Jay recommended this book for me to read to brush up on the history of the Salem witchcraft trials. This is a great non-fiction accounting of the trials in an easy to read format. In fact I finished it in about two hours. I, in turn, highly recommend it too. ***

20. A book discovered by scrolling #bookstagram.

21. Bildungsroman: a coming of age tale.
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood is powerful. I am technically currently still reading it but I only have a few pages left. This story is built around a girl growing up with her brother and parents: an unconventional mom and an entomologist dad with a brainy but unreachable brother. The girl-child, Elaine, begins to suffer issues with bullying from her "best" friends that goes on to affect her relationships with others in her life. The play between growing into a woman in mid-century Canada into the late century and maintaining male and female relationships is painted in brilliant colors and vivid words. Atwood is a master story teller. ***

22. Turn and face the strange- an out of your comfort zone read.

23. A last book written by your favorite author. 

24. Hygge: a book for comfort.

25. A happy little accident… or a book that has a title Bob Ross would appreciate.

26. A numeric title.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury was the perfect book for this one. I have been wanting to read this book for ages and what better prompt for it? I loved it. I will be reading this again one day. Not going to describe it since I am pretty sure I am one of the few people remaining who have not read this book yet. Bradbury is incredible. If you are one of the last others, please read it. ***

27. Crossover- a book written by a beloved artist, musician or figure.

28. A tale where the main character loves to read. 

29. 1890’s- a great Victorian vintage.

30. Celestial object on the cover or in the title. 

I have packed all but five of my books. I am hoping they will tide me over until the move. But, you know, in case I read them all and have not moved yet I will just have to visit the library or used bookstore and grab some more. It will be a hardship to shop for more books but I will have to push through the pain. 

Have you read any books from the challenge yet? Which ones? Do you recommend any? I am having a hard time with the cross-over prompt or a "JJ" author. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Arcana Wildcraft: Quick Bright Things & The Huntress

Arcana Wildcraft Quick Bright Things- Notes: Sweet lavender absolute, French vanilla, wild orange, ruby grapefruit, sandalwood, amber resin, a dash of cognac and a hint of green violet leaf absolute. 
In the bottle lies a dreamy mixture perfect for summertime: melting vanilla and orange Dreamcicles and sugared lavender buds. Hyppo gourmet ice pops should make this a flavor- lavender and blood orange sorbet swirled with vanilla bean custard. Oh my. Dabbed onto the wrists the same scent lifts up then the lavender truly spouts into a field of purple spikes that sway under the beat of tiny fairy wings. Julia crafts magic with her lavender notes, this one is earthen, piney and a smidge smoky. The citrus glints in the aroma like sunset hued fireflies sparking above the lavender fields. A grounding of smooth woods and resins enrich the perfume and lend the Quick Bright Things that flutter within the scent a stillness and a quiet place to land. This is a beautiful perfume that wears easily in spring and summer time. I will be keeping this one out so I can wear it often these next few weeks.

Arcana Wildcraft The Huntress- Notes: Sweet clove, black pepper, aromatic mint, blood orange and a whiff of her sacred oak groves. *All natural*
My sweet friend Jean talked to me about this particular scent. I love all natural perfumes and Julia has quite a few in her repertoire. This one and Herne are currently available and for some reason I always think of these two as a pair. I recently picked up Herne but today is all about The Huntress. Diana, to me. Based on her notes alone I was a touch leery to try her but since my friend Jean has great taste and Julia is a master perfumer I figured I had better get over my apprehension of mints and fruits being combined. I am so happy I did. The Huntress is superb. She opens with a wild and feral sighting of succulent sweet oranges chased by clove that zings with licorice and cooling spearmint. For being as raucous as it is, The Huntress remains surprisingly grounded. The base of oak leaves hints at a crisp dry wooden foundation where discarded bows and half fletched arrow shafts pile like small pyres and altars in the grove. A soft spore of smoke leads like a trail of will-o-wisps into the dark gathering of trees under a peppered moon. The Huntress is invigorating and wanton, she makes me want to be buffeted by spring breezes or walk barefoot through piles of brackish leaves. She is a true siren and a natural beauty.

The Huntress is for sale right now at Arcana Wildcraft. Julia has also released new classics and a couple new layering notes. I did pick up some goodies myself. I keep waffling about Ganesh. Should I get it?

Hey! Check out my pink poppy! This was the first one to bloom from this specific poppy plant but since this photo three more have bloomed and about four more are getting ready to. I have been taking more solace in my garden and buying more seeds here and there online. So far I have picked seeds up from: Botanical Interests, BBB Seeds, Sustainable Seed Co., Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Renee's Garden. Do you have a favorite place to buy rare or heirloom seeds or just seeds in general? I do have a ton from the Dollar Tree that I love too.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Melting Basket 139

Wax from the last basket I liked enough to want more of: Bohemienne Life Folktale, Rosegirls Winter Mermaid, Super Tarts Hades, Beezy Apple Clove Butter. I was kinda bummed my VCS Edelweiss was a touch on the too light side. Maybe I just like it blended better. 

Bohemienne Life Raven's Myst
Dessa's Smoky Mountain Berries
CFTKR- Creamy Peppermint Serendipity
CFTKR- Woodland Festival
CFTKR- Celtic Moonspice (why do I always forget how much I adore this?!)
CFTKR- Mulled Wine
CFTKR- Boogeyman
CFTKR- Pink Sugared Watermelon
CFTKR- Witch's Brew and Pumpkin Stew

Can you tell I am all over the place? Spicy holiday scents, summery fruits and a dash of woods. These last few cool fronts have been messing with me. 

As we wind down here in our home I go from thinking about the girls when they were babies (gazing at the height markings in the door frames) to watching them grow into their own selves.

Soaking in the quiet moments when we can. I think even Toddles knows that something new is about to unspool from the thread of our future. 

Habitats are about to morph.

And we might a little too. But we will still have each other.

And that is good.

I have an interview set up for next week. Feel free to wish me luck!