Saturday, November 9, 2013

Upcycled Wooden Crates for Shelving!
I saw this picture on Facebook today and I LOVE this idea! You can upcycle old wooden crates to make beautiful (and in this case "nautical themed") shelving!!! I encourage everyone to check out Aimee Weaver's blog for more fun DIY home decorating ideas:

Friday, October 25, 2013

My Literary Lark Inspired Halloween Costume!

After recently finishing my dear cousin Erica Cope's newly released Lark sequel book "In the Shadows" from the Lark Trilogy series, I was so inspired by the tale that there was no question about what costume theme I would go with this Halloween...a Lark character! In hopes that I intrigue new readers without revealing any spoilers of the book, this character's name will remain a secret...but I will say that she is a new character discovered in the latest novel "In the Shadows"! If you have read Erica's newest tale, you will know who I'm portraying...I'll give you a hint, it's not the main heroine character Mia; although she is my favorite. ;-)

Going by her description in the book: "Her hair and her eyes (are) as dark as charcoal. She's wearing a dress not unlike the style typical of the Light elf with the long flowing skirts and bell sleeves. It's silvery in color, adorned with dark colored gems and matches the crown resting on top of her intricately styled hair." I found a long silver vintage dress and paired it with a black lace sheath jacket with notable elvish style bell sleeves. Since I didn't have a "dark as charcoal" wig and my hair is naturally strawberry blonde, I covered my hair with a heavy black velvet brocade scarf and adorned it with the character's crown on top (which happens to be a sentimental vintage treasure of mine as it was my mother's tiara). The lovely brocade design on the black velvet head scarf symbolizes the "intricately styled hair"!

This beautiful and mysterious Lark character can be found in the depths of the shadowy Underworld where the sky is a stunning shade of lavender. Since this literary lady is "adorned with dark colored gems", I figured that the best embellishment to add to this ensemble would be my beloved antique amulet necklace handcrafted by my great-GREAT grandmother Erma (yes, this is a nostalgic piece too!), which captures the beauty of the underworld's lavender sky in which this character resides. If you notice, I even added some "night bloom" high heels to the costume representing the flowers found in this ominous realm.

After the Halloween costume party that I will attend this weekend with my darling husband Joe, this vintage silver dress will be for sale among the other mystical treasures found in my sister Andrea's Etsy shop "Storybook Artifact". In the dress's item listing, Erica's book "In the Shadows" will remain promoted there as this vintage dress beautifully embodies this character who is first introduced in this sequel novel! You can view this elegant vintage silver dress now, by clicking on the dress images provided in this blog article.

Inspired by the Lark Trilogy Series, I wanted to put together another Etsy treasury collection, to hopefully encourage fellow Etsyians to check out this awesome book series! So sit back, relax, and enjoy this whimsical and warm toned visually stimulating treasury that I hope will get you thinking about cozying up with this epic book series this approaching chilly winter season!

For all you Lark fans out there, I consider this my Team Jacoby treasury and the "In the Shadows Treasury" that I made a couple weeks back was my Team Grey treasury! *wink wink!* ;-) Can you see the influence of the Lark book cover in the glowing colors of this latest treasury?!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Cocktail Dress That Looks...Like a Cocktail!

I am a lover of vintage sixties cocktail dresses, but I never thought that the look of a Dirty Martini or Bloody Mary would make a stylish fashion design; however, all of my preconceived notions were flipped once I laid eyes on this retro chic beauty! When I first saw this 1960s Mollie Parnis maxi dress, I immediately thought, "This reminds me of a colorful layered cocktail!"...A "Rio de Janerio" to be precise! 

The bright, tropical colors of sunny yellow and aqua teal blue is stunningly delightful! To view this refreshing, exotic "Rio de Janerio" cocktail recipe, click on the picture above! This vintage 1960s two tone Mollie Parnis maxi cocktail dress reminds me of a mid century and mah-velous ensemble that Mad Men's Megan Draper would wear!

Let's pull out our cocktail glasses, put on our cocktail party hostess smiles and celebrate this retro chic Hollywood glamorous find! Please check out our sister shop "LaOohLaLa Boutique" to view this vintage maxi cocktail dress that shares an intoxicating resemblance to this colorful mixed drink!

Are you looking for cocktail inspired ladies' clothing?! Etsy is a great place to find it! Check out these vintage and handmade lovelies featuring the "spirit" of alcoholic beverages. Let's get this party started and kick it off with a multicolored "1980s Happy Hour Blouse" from my Etsy shop Eco-Friendly Freckles...Cheers!


Monday, October 14, 2013

"In the Shadows": A Lark Novel by Erica Cope - My Book Review

"In the Shadows": A Lark Novel by Erica Cope

I am absolutely captivated by the tale hidden "In the Shadows"; a novel written my by whimsical and witty cousin Erica Cope! Unveiling the secrets secluded in the depths of the shadows was so very enthralling and mystifying! After reading Erica's first book "Lark", I was eagerly looking forward to this sequel novel "In the Shadows"; both books are major page turners with gripping stories! The plot thickens quickly with so many twists and turns and unexpected surprises that have you on the edge of your seat excited to see what happens next! The fascinating relationships develop further between the main characters in this novel (which takes my emotions on a joyride!), and intriguing, new characters are also introduced. Many readers and Lark fans like myself are thrilled to follow the adventures of the main character and heroine "Mia" and discover how her juicy love triangle unfolds!!! LOVE IT!

I would highly recommend the Lark trilogy series to fantasy romance-loving ladies that are twenty-somethings like myself! I am very much looking forward to the upcoming third novel in the series! If you have not read the first book in the series "Lark"; you should check it out and delve into a fanciful world full of elven romance, elemental magic, woodland alchemy, and the sorcerous dark ones residing in the vastness of the underworld!

"Lark": A Novel by Erica Cope

After I read the first book "Lark" in the Lark Trilogy Series (I can't wait for the third book to come out!), I wrote a blog review titled "Lark: A Novel by Erica Cope - My Book Review". Along with my initial feelings and thoughts of praise after just completing this remarkable tale, I shared an Etsy treasury collection that I had created that was solely inspired and based on my memories of the book! "A visual stimulant" I call it for encouraging Etsyians to read this awesome book series, I have naturally put together another treasury to promote Erica's latest addition to the series; a collection that visually presents some of my favorite moments in Lark #2 "In the Shadows"! Please check it out, peek at the Etsy items, and discover this spectacular series for yourself...or buy it as a gift for your favorite fantasy romantic! Christmas is coming!

Since there were only sixteen slots available for featuring Etsy items that convey the message of my vision for this incredibly dynamic fable, there are a few handmade jewelry items that I want to spotlight here since they didn't make it in the treasury but certainly fit the ambiance and storyline of "In the Shadows":

Among the mysterious and revealing gems featured in the treasury, I have featured an item from my sister Andrea's Etsy shop "Storybook Artifact" as well as an item from our "sister shop" LaOohLaLa Boutique...both of which express the mystical mood of "In the Shadows"!

Now make yourself a strong, hot cup of coffee (author Erica Cope's favorite beverage of choice), get yourself a copy of Lark and In the Shadows, and follow along the dark and mysterious Olfossá river that takes you along a journey that will have you under-a-spell fascinated to be lurking In the Shadows! This is the perfect book series to cozy up with during this approaching chilly winter season! You'll want to check back soon as I share my Halloween costume; I will be dressing up as one of the characters from "In the Shadows"!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Think Eco…Eco-Friendly that is…for the Holidays

I recently got the pleasure of speaking with Jules Lavallee; she and Brian Behncke, owner of Briven Construction, are the Founders of ThinkEco2. Brian and Jules share a passion for helping the community while building jobs locally. They donate their rustic handmade wine racks to many charities to help fundraise. They believe it is important to be eco-conscious and to give back. Please take a moment to check out their beautiful handmade gifts for the upcoming holiday season and see what Jules has to share with us!

I love giving handmade eco-friendly gifts. Handmade gifts come from the heart and are truly appreciated. ThinkEco² is making good use from aged, weathered, and rustic fence by handcrafting 100% recycled gifts including cedar wine racks, wine gift boxes and garden planters.

Brian Behncke, Founder of ThinkEco² owns and operates Briven Construction during the day and builds creative eco-chic products at night with his crew. Their eco-friendly products are built from scrap cedar taken from Behncke’s fence job sites. He disassembles the fence panels, remills the sides of each fence board so they are straight. He then planes down both sides of each board to clean them up and to get the desired thickness. He then cuts the wood into pieces to make the products. Cedar is a great choice for wine racks and garden planters, since it is naturally resistant to pets and rot.

ThinkEco² wine racks are reclaimed and upcycled. They are offered rustic or in a variety of color frames include black, green, white, and red. They fit nicely onto a countertop or small space pantry.
ThinkEco² products can be found at
In addition to creative gifts, ThinkEco² offers a whole line of original wedding products. With a steady stream of material from city and state organizations including CalRecyle, ThinkEco² will continue to grow and build beautiful handmade products in the USA.

For more information contact Jules Lavallee jules@thinkeco2

Friday, September 13, 2013

Upcycled Tube Sock Wine Bottle Cozy Koozies!!!

Although, I can't take full credit for this original upcycled "idea", I am excited to share with you my very own handmade upcycled wine bottle cozies made out of recycled tube socks! Hooray! This DIY gift is so much fun and so very easy! My grandmother's (aka: "Nana") birthday is coming up and my sister (Andrea of Storybook Artifact) and I always love to get her a bottle of wine; typically a chardonnay with a cute wine label featuring a sexy little French lady or something else sassy! To make her gift a little more "embellished", I like to make her a wine bottle cozy fashioned from an old tube sock that has been missing its mate...or perhaps its "lover"; therefore I give it a "newfound love" which is the receiver of the gift! Haha!

The wine bottle sock cozy featured above is made from a cotton navy blue tube sock that I adorned with a hand-sewn flower shaped typography printed was so simple! All this wine bottle tube sock cozy needs is a ribbon, piece of string, or a matching scrap piece of fabric to tie off the top into a pretty little bow and then it will be ready for gift giving!

Pictured above is another upcycled wine bottle cozy that I made out of a sock! Although, this one is not made from a tube sock; instead I used a long sock and brought the base of the wine bottle up above the heel of the sock and cut a straight line across. I then hand-sewed a straight seam and stitched on a handmade heart-shaped applique that I fashioned out of an old red bandana! The bow is also a piece of fabric scrap from the bandana.

Don't have any spare socks?! What about making your own upcycled wine bottle cozy out of soft sweater sleeves?! These two Etsy shops (featured above and below) are doing just that! Please check out their delightful boutiques!

Are you looking for a gift to pair up with your upcycled cozy wrapped wine or liquor bottle?! What about a piece of wine or liquor inspired wall art?! Check out these beautiful pieces from my sister Andrea's shop "Storybook Artifact", my "Eco-Friendly Freckles" shop, and "LaOohLaLa Boutique" which is my new "sister shop"!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Natural Remedy for Your Cat's Asthma...Coconut Oil!


As my readers may remember, I am a strong believer in coconut oil; I consume it for its health benefits, use for moisturizing my hair and skin, and I even shine my patent leather shoes with coconut oil! However recently my husband Joe and I discovered that it is also a natural remedy for feline asthma! For years our darling full-bred Flame Point Himalayan cat "Nozomi" has been suffering from feline asthma. At first we thought that she was always trying to cough up a hairball and then one day we took her to our local veterinarian and he diagnosed her with feline asthma. Long ago when we thought that Nozomi was suffering from hairballs we would give her an over-the-counter hairball formula that was a petroleum-based jelly. We later learned that petroleum is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbons, not a nutrient. Too much of it can interfere with the absorption of vitamin A in cats. We wanted to find a more natural and nutritious solution.

Since Nozomi is a little overweight she has trouble cleaning herself in hard to reach places. Although she is quite flexible, we like to help her out when she needs it. So one day when we were gently cleaning Nozomi's bottom we decided to apply some coconut oil. This worked wonders compared to the soap and water for cleaning all of the debris from her hair, plus it brought her comfort because coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer! As Joe and I were petting Nozomi and applying the coconut oil, she discovered the coconut oil that we had sitting in a cup...and then she began to eat it! She loves it! We were absolutely amazed and giggled because she looked like she was really enjoying it. We then did some research to see if coconut oil is safe for cats to ingest (we had a feeling that it would be) and lo and behold it has many health benefits for cats!

Thereafter our discovery of Nozomi's love for coconut oil and the health benefits for cats, we added it to her diet and immediately noticed a change in Nozomi's long-time asthma symptoms; her wheezing episodes were drastically reduced and her mood greatly improved! She looks happier and more relaxed; we are so very thankful for discovering this natural remedy!

We use Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil. We have tried several other brands of coconut oil for both of our kitties and they both prefer Tropical Traditions; in fact, they will completely turn them down over Tropical Traditions' smooth and creamy coconut oil over the other brands that typically have more of a "coconuty" flavor that they do not like. I'm sure fellow cat-lovers can relate to a picky, finicky cat, and I've heard people say "my cat does not like coconut oil" and "I can not get me cat to eat coconut oil"; please give Tropical Traditions a try and see if your cat will eat it...ours love it (one of our cats actually begs for it when he hears us opening the jar!). My mother-in-law has six cats and she also gives them Tropical Traditions coconut oil; she says they all love it! One of her kitties has a sensitive skin condition, and she says that applying the coconut oil topically to his dry, scaly, and delicate skin is so very soothing for him and it promotes healing...coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic! I've also read that coconut oil is a great natural treatment for ear mites in pets!

If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.

<<< Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil (the coconut oil that our cats love!)


<<< Virgin Coconut Oil (the book that you will receive for FREE if you place an order through Tropical Traditions via any of these links)

We have tried natural and homeopathic remedies for feline asthma and we have found that Tropical Traditions virgin coconut oil works wonders for our cat's health and well-being! If you have witnessed health benefits in adding coconut oil to your cat's diet, please share your experiences in the comments of this blog article!

<<< What is Virgin Coconut Oil

                 <<< Where Can I Buy Coconut Oil

Our other natural remedy recommendations to help heal kitty feline asthma are: 
  • PetAlive brand homeopathic formula called "AmazaPet"; the front of the bottle indicates that it "reduces bronchospasm and tight chests, plus opens airways" for cats...and we have noticed beneficial results from this feline supplement!  

  • A Grain Free" cat food, seems to help alleviate Nozomi's asthmatic flare ups as well. Cat food free of gluten can help with kitties with inflammatory issues such as asthma! Also turmeric is added to some cat foods (like "Blue Buffalo Co. Grain Free Wilderness" cat food) and it too is a natural anti-inflammatory good for cats!  
  • Aromatherapy Facial Steams: We have also noticed a little relief from doing light eucalyptus pure essential oil steams for our Nozomi girl cat; this is safe for cats as long as it is not too concentrated...Although, kitties can get a little stressed from this natural treatment (which could induce an asthma attack) from the steaming pot and closed an environment when a towel is placed around them in an effort to keep the steam enclosed. If your cat stays calm, however, with little stress, this can be a helpful treatment. Steam alone can also be helpful; like if your cat is in the bathroom while a hot shower is running. We use Now brand Eucalyptus essential oil which is 100% pure and natural.  
  •  A kitty litter with minimal dust! The most commonly used litter among cat owners is the clay based kind that can expel dust that flares up asthmatic cat's attacks and inflammation. We have used been corn cob litter which our cats like; it clumps very well and produces less dust than most types of litter. Although, our main concern about it is that it is most likely made from genetically modified (GMO) corn, and that our asthmatic kitty could possibly have a corn allergy. Pine based litters seem to be great for minimal dust; our only issues with it was that our cats didn't seem to like the bulky feel of the larger granules and these larger chunks didn't fall through our pooper scooper, making clean up more challenging. However, if you don't have these issues, the minimal dust of pine litter could be very beneficial for your kitty. Our conclusion was that a walnut based kitty litter was the best route for us. The granules are smaller, it clumps really well, and it produces little to no dust for our asthmatic kitty. We use Blue Buffalo's Naturally Fresh Cat Litter:
  •  Lastly, I highly recommend these natural medicine feline books (all are always handy on my bookshelf):
"The New Natural Cat: A Complete Guide for Finicky Owners" by Anita Frazier ... We often turn to this wonderful book for advice (pictured below is our affiliate link of the latest edition of this book; it details the latest advances in holistic care for cats, updated statistics, new diet guidelines, and health care recommendations, including the latest on vaccines, updated resources section with suggestions for finding a holistic veterinarian and advice on how to deal with conventional veterinarians).


"Natural Cats" by Chris Madsen. Natural Cats addresses everything from cats' natural history to behavior and health care, taking a cat's true nature into consideration. Cat lovers will learn to how to make their pets happier and more comfortable by creating cat-friendly environments and activities, feeding all-natural foods that their pets crave, and treating illness and other conditions through complementary medicine that draws on a cat's significant powers of self-healing.

"The Healthy Cat Book" by Alexandra Bastedo. This book is a complete guide to caring for your cat the natural way. Using Alexandra Bastedo's years of experience looking after her many cats, this book deals with every aspect of your cat's life from kittenhood to old age. Brought to life by Pollyanna Pickering's beautiful cat illustrations, this is the book is lively, informative and packed full of facts and healthy hints, this is the ideal book for every cat owner.

Our Nozomi kitty wishes each of you the best of luck in treating your beloved cat's asthma and other ailments!

Nozomi's Health Update 4 Years Later!... Here we are in September and it has been four years in Nozomi's journey and so much has changed! She has moved from a tiny one bedroom apartment to a much larger 3 bed, 2 bath house and all the extra space has made a positive impact on Nozomi's asthmatic flair ups. Although, she occasionally has a little bout of asthma, she experiences fewer of them and they don't last nearly as long and we attribute her success to two main factors: the change in her environment (not dealing with a cramped space anymore allows for more fresh air, less dust, and my work-from-home inventory for my Etsy businesses is nicely organized and out of our living space...I actually have my own office now!) and coconut oil! The Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil (link posted in above article) has been the one dietary supplement that we have continued to keep in Nozomi's diet and it continues to ward off asthmatic episodes. I highly recommend cat owners with beloved felines suffering from asthma to try adding Tropical Traditions coconut oil to their diets and see if it helps your kitty like it has helped our Nozomi girl!

September 2017 - Nozomi at her favorite spot in the house, her cozy seat at our fireplace hearth.

...and Nozomi in her big backyard with luxuriously lush green grass and lots of fresh air! She loves her new home!

Do you find luxurious beauty in the toasted marshmallow angora-like fur that a Flame Point Himalayan cat leaves behind?! Etsy Shop FloraDavis has created gorgeously stunning wearable art jewelry pieces with her beloved kitty's puffs of hair! Please check out her feline friendly Etsy Shop here!