Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wish Herbal Tea Tasted More Like Tea?

Blackberry Leaf
Then you're like me! Sometimes I really long for a cup of conventional black tea. But I have to be careful about caffeine, especially if I add sweetener. It makes me very spacey and that's no fun. And I happen to love honey with a touch of cream or milk in my black tea.

I've tried many alternatives -- Rooibos and Honeybush is a favorite. But it always felt like there was something missing. And finally I discovered what it probably was: tannins. That is a key ingredient that makes black tea taste like tea!

There are herbal ingredients that have that needed quality I so desire. Blackberry Leaf is my favorite and it is a favorite ingredient in commercial herbal tea blends as well. Red Raspberry Leaf is also a nice choice. Both can be used on their own as a gentle black tea substitute.

Some people, however, like to avoid tannins. They can interfere with the absorption of some prescription drugs and vitamins. And Blackberry and Red Raspberry Leaf still miss another element I associate with black tea that I'd call .... um .... a low tone. A deep note? Earthiness, perhaps? It's hard to describe but you miss it when it's gone!

Chicory Root
For that, I like to add a touch of Chicory. Chicory is better known as a coffee substitute or additive. It's a particular favorite in New Orleans where I grew to love it. I add some to many of my blends:

Not Joe Mama (coffee alternative)
Dandelion Detox
Carob Mocha Mint

It adds just the right amount of earthiness with a touch of welcome sweetness as well.

It's fun to make herb tea blends! I love doing it. If you make your herb tea tasty you might not miss black tea at all.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The Essence of Desert Yucca

In the world of Flower Essence Therapy, Yucca assists in the ability to hold on to your life purpose in times of the greatest adversity. The structure of the plant gives a clue as to what it might be used for. This video was created using one of my own photographs that I then altered in a number of different ways to help make aspects of that structure more obvious.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Buy My Latest Work on Fine Art America

It just occurred to me that I have not been showing my latest artwork on this blog. I've been SO busy I haven't been posting here at all.  And that's ironic because I've literally been creating new work every day.

My most recent series is experimental abstract photography based mostly on plant forms. One of my recent favorites is this one I simply call "Reeds." It's a multi-layered piece showing the same scene from two different points of view and angles. I wanted most of all to capture the feeling of movement in the scene as it was the rustling of the wind through the plants that captured my attention in the first place. But grass and grass-like plants have been a fascination for me in my photography for quite some time. This is just a new extension of the same theme.

Art Prints

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Organic Red Clover is Back in Stock

I just replenished my stock of organic Red Clover. Come and get it!

Red Clover is great for stress reduction and women's reproductive health.

I've been drinking an herb tea blend with Red Clover, Chamomile, Nettles, and Pink Rose Petals every day for more than a week now. SO relaxing before going to bed. I make a big pot and sometimes drink a cup or two earlier in the day as well.

My recipe per pot:

Equal parts of everything
Put the blend in a tea infuser
Add hot water
Let steep 5-10 minutes

I don't add sweetener or milk or dairy substitute to this. The Rose Petals and Red Clover add a hint of sweetness, but not much, so follow your own taste on this.

I usually carry all the ingredients for this blend in my Etsy shop but I'm out of Rose Petals right now.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

More Fun with Using Printmaking for Product Design

© 2015 Sheryl Karas
In my printmaking class last semester I had a lot of fun combining printmaking techniques. Monoprint was a favorite. That involves painting with ink on glass and then, for me, wiping designs into the ink with my fingers or scratching designs in the ink with a variety of tools. We also learned how to make collographs which involves making a printing plate using a variety of three dimensional objects.

In this piece I did all of that, then scanned it into the computer and added more effects. I loved the idea of using this for textiles and I might make fabric like this. But for now I'm using outside manufacturers to make products with my designs.

Some of my first items are available on Etsy now. I have pillows and duvet covers, mugs and totebags in addition to framed and unframed prints for sale. They are all made when you order them so please allow extra time for the items to be made and shipped to you.
Buy this pillow in my Etsy Shop
The pillows would look great with this duvet cover!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Pink Rose Petal and Rooibos Lemonade

SOOO DELICIOUS!

Make a full pot of tea, putting the following ingredients in a basket strainer (or other infusing device):

1 tsp of Rooibos
1 tsp of Honeybush (or 1 more tsp of Rooibos)
2 tsp dried Rose Petals
1/2 tsp Cinnamon Bark
a few drops of Vanilla extract

Steep 10 minutes. Let cool. Add to your favorite homemade or store-bought lemonade.

I use organic lemonade from Trader Joe's and all my tea ingredients are organic, too. (Especially important for the Rose Petals). My personal preference is 7/8 tea and 1/8 lemonade (because I don't like things too sweet or overly tart). But try it different ways to suit your taste!

I frequently carry all of the tea ingredients except Vanilla extract in my Etsy shop, but, at the time I'm writing this blog (August 23, 2015), I'm sold out of everything except organic Rose Petals. (But do check as I'm certain to have many of these ingredients in stock later!)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Menopause Tea

I don't always drink herb tea for menopausal bitchiness, but when I do, I drink Mama Love's Pink Goddess.

Will it work for you? All I can say is: it works for me!

100% Organic.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

I was on the Radio!

"Wild Ride," © 2015 by Sheryl Karas
I recently had the pleasure of doing an interview with Dolores Mitchell on North State Public Radio (KCHO 91.7 FM, KFPR 88.9 FM) on the "Weekend Showcase" show. We chatted about the ability to find inspiration anywhere, my technique, and how my mother nurtured my artistic tendencies as a child. Weekend Showcase is heard weekly, Fridays at 3:00 pm. You can listen to it here on Soundcloud.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Howling for Maddy

Tough week, especially for those in our old home town of Santa Cruz, CA. A little 8-year old girl named Maddy Middleton went missing, and the whole town got involved in trying to find her. She was found dead, a victim of a terrible crime, and her well-liked and trusted 15-year old neighbor was arrested for it with damning videotape and a confession as evidence. The shock and devastation for both families—and for much of the community—has been horrendous and all we’ve been able to think about for days.
How do you make sense of such a horrific tragedy?  Is there any such thing as meaningless suffering? How do we come to terms with this kind of pain—our own and that of others?
One person I know, who did not know either family, has found herself screaming in agony. She described it as feeling like she tapped into the collective consciousness of the entire community—or certainly the pain of the mothers involved. I’ve been haunted by the screams of the mothers myself. Many people in Santa Cruz participated in a group howling (Maddy loved wolves) as the full moon rose last night. 
Not able to sleep, all my usual tricks of no use, I finally decided to send healing to all involved, to add to the healing I know was being sent by many others. One of my teachers, Jeanine Sande, wrote on my Facebook page “Love, love, love.” Send love. And remember to be loving with your own friends and family and with yourself.
Another Santa Cruzan on my Facebook feed just a few minutes ago posted her latest gorgeous photo of the sun shining in a beautiful blue sky with blue ocean waves underneath. A typical Santa Cruz day at the beach. It made me feel joyful to see it. It is still the same beautiful place.
That’s the great paradox of the lives we live. The fact is that, right now, there is always somebody screaming in agony because their little boy or girl—their bright shining star—is gone. That has not changed, whether we hear about it or not, that’s always happening. And at the same time, somewhere, the sun will also be shining, there will be waves on the beach, and stars in the sky. And now there is one called Maddy.
We somehow are here to live it all, to find a way to find joy and meaning despite the suffering. And love—to help others and help ourselves begin again when we have to and carry on.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What Type of Product -- Spray, Oil or Perfume -- Should I Use?

From the email bag:

"I'm just wondering if you can tell me what the differences are between your healing oils, room/body sprays and perfumes/balms? Or is it simply just preference?"

I love it when a customer is curious enough to ask questions like this! Here was my answer:

Thanks for asking!

There are a few differences and, yes, there is an issue of people's preference that I'm addressing as well. The healing oils were my first products-- still the ones I use most for myself. They are safe enough to use for a massage or for a body oil after a bath or as a very light perfume-like product 2-3 times a day. Which I think is important for therapeutic effects.

But most people do not think of those original strength oils as being strong enough for perfume. And many people confuse therapeutic aromatherapy with perfume. So I would get those complaints... which I resisted giving in to for many years. But I recently discovered that I like a few of my products extra strong for use as a healing perfume myself. They smell like perfume and that was intentional. And if you only use a few dabs here and there -- as you would with a perfume -- they are safe enough for most people most of the time. And a few of my customers totally swear by the perfume balms and say that nothing works as well as that for anxiety and other purposes.

The sprays, though, are a little different. This might stretch your belief system but many people (including myself) find that energy healing works especially effectively in the aura that surrounds a person's body. My flower essence aromatherapy products are all Reiki-infused. So using the sprays around your body seems to address things subtly better. My personal experience is that certain ones (Inner Strength & Protection, for example) work tremendously better that way. 

I use the sprays particularly for their convenience -- especially if I want to change the feeling in a room. I use the oils if I want to use them extensively like a body oil or for a massage. I use a dab or two of the perfumes if I don't.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Should I Use Mama Love Regular Strength or Triple Strength?

Triple Strength Mama Love for Restful Sleep
Regular Strength Mama Love for Restful Sleep
For the longest time, I only made Mama Love Flower Essence Aromatherapy Oils to strict aromatherapy standards for most people to make use of as extensively as you'd like. You could use it as massage oil, pour it into your bath, use it as an after-bath body oil, or even as a very light perfume. You could put my smallest size in your purse and use the larger size as a more economical alternative at home. And it was safe enough for most people most of the time—something my customers concerned about sensitivity could appreciate. (And that included me!)

But lately I've been introducing triple strength formulas. Surely, that can't be considered aromatherapy-safe, is it?

Well, you should not use my triple strength formulas for a massage—the amount of essential oils in that product is really too much for a full body massage. And the safe-for-massage standard is what aromatherapy guidelines tend to be based on.

But some people wish my formulas smelled stronger! They want to use them as perfume because they smell so good. And I always envisioned them being used as "healing perfume." You dab a little behind your ears or on your neck, maybe on your wrists or on a chakra point or two. Smelling good makes healing fun!

Using perfume for healing purposes is not a new concept. The ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used it for emotional and spiritual purposes as well as for seduction or just covering for poor hygiene. They used a carrier oil, as I do, and varied the dilution according to the purpose. Aromatherapy-safe massage, body and bath oils are used extensively over a large body area. You have to be concerned about overloading the body, and a heavy dose of essential oils isn't really necessary when you are using a product in that way. Perfumes, however, are meant to be used sparingly so people prefer a product like that to be made strong.

My triple strength formulas are a safe -- I'd call it conservative -- perfume strength. About 10% dilution, safe enough for most people to use as perfume would typically be used. Perfect for certain formulas I want to use as I go about my day. I can take a small jar or roller bottle with me in my purse and make use of it as I wish.

But there are times when I actually prefer my original regular strength formulas. Take Restful Sleep, for example. A dab or two or three of Triple Strength is great. But if I'm going through a particularly stressful time that is keeping me up at night, I like to pour a little original strength into my hands and rub it on the soles of my feet and all the way up my legs and lower back. I'll put a little more on my solar plexus and maybe on my upper back and neck. And, basically, that's a fair bit more product than the intent behind "healing perfume."

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I'm in Another Juried Show!

Rebirth, © 2013 Sheryl Karas
This piece has been selected for the National All Media Juried Exhibition at the Chico Art Center, here in Chico, CA. It's done in pastel and acrylic on cradled panel and is called "Rebirth." It depicts a Desert Sagebrush blowing in the wind and represents the sometimes chaotic process of renewal after a devastating defeat.

This is a relatively large piece for pastel: 30" x 30." I'm pretty proud of it because I was able to capture the feeling I wanted to express pretty well. It's also the most successful piece I have done using techniques I've been innovating that allow me to use pastels without the need for framing.

The show will run from July 24 to August 14 at the CAC, 450 Orange Street, Chico, CA. There is a reception tomorrow, Friday, July 24, from 5:00-7:00 pm. See you there!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

NEW!!! Triple Strength Mama Love Flower Essence Aromatherapy in Roller Bottles

It's real perfume! Triple strength Mama Love was actually my original intention: a healing product for emotional and spiritual well-being that you could use as if it was perfume.

But I tended to be overly sensitive to a variety of things when I started my Mama Love business. So my original formulas were made to strict aromatherapy standards for most people to use as extensively as they want to. You could use it for a full body massage or pour it into your bath! And I—and a number of other people—used it as a light perfume, too. Not strong enough for true perfume lovers, but pretty nice.

But I always wanted real perfume. So now, finally, I have that, too. Used like perfume—a dab on your neck and wrists, maybe on a chakra point of your choice—it is still safe for most people. But you'll enjoy the scent a fair bit longer, and—unless you use my original formula as a full body massage or bath oil—you'll likely enjoy stronger effects.

Organic, Reiki-infused, and designed with intention for your highest well-being, Support for Troubled Times is one of the first ones I've made available in my shop. Triple strength versions of my other formulas will follow soon. You'll find them in the Perfume section.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Potatoes with Rosemary and Lavender

Tonight when I was cooking dinner, I happened to look over at my stash of dried Lavender blossoms and thought: "Hmmmm! I bet that would be good with potatoes! I wonder if anyone else has thought of that."

Of course, they have!

Here are some links to recipes for potatoes with Lavender that sound awesome to me. Most of them have Rosemary as well, which I LOVE. If you don't have fresh Rosemary and Lavender in your garden, I carry it in my Etsy shop.


Potatoes with Lavender and Rosemary (from Food.com)
Lavender Roasted Potatoes (from Boulder Locavore)
Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary and Lavender (includes sweet potatoes!) (from Sprout & Pea)
Lavender and Rosemary Smashed Potatoes (from The Kitcheneer)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

More Releasing Worry and Fear Healing Balm is Available

A few weeks ago I announced that I was planning to discontinue my flower essence aromatherapy healing perfume balms. They were too pricey at triple strength my original formulas. And too time-consuming to make.

So I marked them down considerably and there was a great rush to buy them. My best-selling formula "Releasing Worry and Fear" sold out right away. Great for me but very sad news for one of my regular customers.

She wrote to me privately and said that, while she liked the other versions of this product, nothing helped her terrible anxiety like this healing balm. Tug, tug at Mama Love's heart. Especially since I knew I still had a stash of empty boxes and jars left.

So I made another batch. And I will do one more after that. By the time that runs out, I'll have a new triple strength product for sale. (I happen to like the stronger version myself.) But right now I have some more of these balms available -- at their new lower price -- until they are gone.

Find them in my Etsy shop!

Friday, July 17, 2015

New Mama Love Flower Essence Aromatherapy in Roller Bottles

BRAND NEW FROM MAMA LOVE! 
A new option for my best selling Reiki-infused, flower essence aromatherapy healing oils—roller bottles! Larger than my dram sized bottles but still small enough to fit in your purse. Convenient to use and they resist spilling! I'm just starting to add them to the listings in my shop. Releasing Worry and Fear is the first one to go up today. Choose it as a "Style" option when you buy it.
Find it in my Etsy shop!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Branching Out Again in the Art Realm

Psychedelic Op Art inspired by the plant-form of high desert Yucca.© 2015 Sheryl Karas
School has been having quite an effect on my art life. I've been taking classes at the local community college to update my software skills in multimedia and explore future directions. It turns out that I couldn't resist the urge to take some art classes, too. I thought it would be a boost to my creativity, and, on some level, it was. I had a big shot of creativity: for getting my school assignments done.

There's nothing wrong with that. I LOVED my printmaking class last semester, for instance, and will post some of the pieces I did here once I have them scanned. And I liked doing the work. . . in a hobby kind of way. Cutting linoleum blocks, in particular, is surprising meditative and pleasing. And maybe I'll find a way to continue with it. But the subject matter and style I naturally gravitated towards in that class is so different from the painting I do, it could be a different person who did it. As is the art I do in my multimedia classes—all in Photoshop or Illustrator with an occasional foray into Corel Painter or On One software, too.

And there's nothing wrong with that. Many artists—Picasso is one who comes to mind—worked in more than one style throughout their careers and sometimes alternated between them.

But I had a plan, and that plan required focus. I intended to use school to work on my portfolio so I could apply for MFA programs in Studio Art. The plan was to teach while working on my fine arts career. But MFA programs want to see a focussed portfolio: proof, they think, that you are a seasoned artist with a significant body of obviously related work. Undergraduate education, however, is designed to expose students to a wide variety of new possibilities. That's one reason I LOVE being a student. But the unintended consequence this time is that I became so enamored of the new things I was learning that my old work suddenly lost its appeal.

And then, being an older student, I got to know some of my professors as equals and potential friends. And what I learned, at that point, threw my plans into total disarray. I can be disciplined and focus on a single body of work in order to present a unified portfolio, but getting an MFA in order to teach doesn't look like such a great course of action. Many of my teachers are struggling to get by. The outlook for full-time teaching after getting an MFA is bleak! The new norm involves piecing together a living with adjunct faculty positions—if you can—while freeway flying from college to college up and down the state of California. Once you've taken into consideration the time and gasoline it takes to do it, and the stress of not knowing what and how many classes are going to make enrollment each semester, it sounds like a crazy amount of pain and misery for the $75,000-100,000 worth of debt an MFA degree would likely entail.

I put some effort into exploring fully funded MFA programs—even went to visit the UC Davis campus on the recommendation of one of the Chico State professors I respect. But all that did was make me want to work for the school instead.

So the plan has changed. I'm looking for decent work while focussing on being an artist instead of preparing, yet again, to try to be one. And that's what I planned to do this summer. I started one large mixed media painting and planned a few others. All in a series, focussed, like a good career artist ought to be doing. And then suddenly the graphic arts part of my personality angrily took control, and I made a number of digital art pieces like the one at the top of this blog. And, like any good graphic artist, I immediately wanted to see this piece on a scarf or a pillow case or a bedspread. (Because, I really see no reason why fine art shouldn't also be functional art that anybody could enjoy.)

But that's right for me. Doing multiple genres of work all at once, or alternating between them, is what I ought to be doing. I let go of the expected career path a long ways back. Having a great career doing something related to the arts is my current work direction. That, in addition to doing art, takes me out of the need to limit my creative expression, so I can branch into any direction I want as an artist. And that's what I really like to do.

Large Scarf
Pillow Case or Throw Pillow
Duvet Cover

Friday, June 26, 2015

Is Social Media Ruining Your Mood? Or Enhancing it?

Hey there! Have you ever been playing around on Facebook or Twitter, clicking randomly on things that interest you, and find yourself going down a deep rabbit hole?

You click on a couple of political articles, for example, about horrific things happening in the world, and suddenly all you see in your newsfeed is a steady stream of more horrific articles. Or you click on a funny cat video your friend just posted, and the next three or four posts feature funny animals.

"Wow," you think. "That New Age spiritual notion of what you focus on increasing in your life must be true! There's the evidence right there in my newsfeed!" Yeah, well not so fast.

A number of technology-oriented entities, Apple and Google in particular, have been innovating in trying to make your online experience more custom-tailored to you, especially when it comes to mood. The idea can be used in a variety of ways from making your online searching experience more effective to filling your Facebook newsfeed with the kind of content you seem to want to see. If you have better success in finding what you are looking for by using a particular browser or social media service you are much more likely to associate a positive experience with using it—good for you because you'll be happier and more satisfied, good for the company because you'll want to use their service again.

And this isn't just happening online. I was recently shopping for clothes at Forever 21 and noticed that the music was making me feel good in a situation -- clothes shopping -- I usually associate with misery. I'm not your typical shopaholic. I shop for clothing twice a year to replace things I feel like I need but might not otherwise buy. But the last two times I shopped there, both within a week of each other, were different. I lingered. I felt better while I shopped. And that experience was so unusual I stopped to actually pay attention to the music alone. Such uplifting messages! "You are so beautiful." "I like you just the way you are." "Cut loose! Footloose!" "What a feeling!" and on it went. All popular songs, nothing glaringly out of place except I was surprised to hear "What a Feeling" from Flashdance both visits. That's what tipped me off. I didn't know if the songs were being chosen on purpose (they are), but I truly thought they were. And my next thought was "This is genius!" I felt increasingly better about myself as I was shopping in a place I originally thought of as a store where nothing would fit. (I mean, I'm no longer even close to 21.)

So, on some levels, this can be a very good thing. But there are days when I think Facebook has it totally wrong. Recently, I clicked on that horrifying blog news report about the 800 and growing heat wave deaths in Pakistan that are very likely the result of global climate change. I even went as far as to share it, even though I fought with myself as to whether to add to the relentless barrage of bad news in the feed I was getting at that time. It got so bad afterwards that I had to shut my computer down and take a good long break. I don't go to Facebook to feel miserable and depressed. I go there to relax, connect with my Friends and snack a little on a variety of Internet content and treats. But this week my newsfeed became awash with all things dark and horrible. I needed to beat a retreat and get my downtime fix somewhere else.

Such as in books! Before Facebook, I used to read those paper things that actually require an attention span, and I did it for hours at a time. (Did you know that the average attention span of a human being is estimated to be 8 seconds?!!!) So I decided this would be the summer when I would return to reading books. Actually, I downloaded a few to my Kindle. I've become a modern girl.

And what did I wind up reading? "Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate New Ideas and Predict the Future" by Rohit Bhargava. And in that book I read about trends in 2015 that include using seasoned journalists to create positive useful content for brands and nonprofits, social media experiments, mood-sensing technology, and a variety of other things that sparked me to write this blog post right now. Fascinating things about how even the rate of your typing on a laptop or, especially, a mobile phone is tracked for clues about your prevailing mood as you search the internet or walk through your neighborhood.

Oh! By the way, did a coupon for Starbucks wind up in front of you as you were walking down the street with your cellphone in your face just as your local Starbucks came into view? That's the result of the GPS on your phone and, at this point in time, you probably wanted it to do that. Maybe you do want that latte right now. Maybe you were going to Starbucks and that coupon will come in handy. But if someone knows where you are and what you are searching for or what you might have just said or texted to a friend, including what mood you are in. . .

I think my mood is not being enhanced in a good way as a result of that realization at all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New Geometric Mugs, Leggings, Shirts and Totebags on Society 6


http://society6.com/product/blue-foxtail-dance_mug?curator=skaras
I designed some very interesting patterned cloth in a class I took last year but have discovered I like it best on products like this mug I just created for Society 6.

Society 6 is a company I just started working with. I haven't given up the Zazzle shop I share with Paul but I've been wanting to add items they don't offer. For example, this mug is printed top to bottom instead of in just a small designated area. I have mugs like these at home and I love the look of them.

I also have been designing leggings, shirts and totebags that are printed all over. Again, SO much more stylish! It's fun to have more choice.


Blue Foxtail Leggings by Sheryl Karas
Blue Foxtail Shirt by Sheryl Karas
Blue Foxtail Totebag by Sheryl Karas

Saturday, June 06, 2015

All Triple Strength Flower Essence Aromatherapy Perfume Balms on Sale!

I really LOVE these triple strength healing balms! I keep a couple in my purse and a few by my bedside. They're convenient and small and don't tip over and work super well. And smell like perfume -- sometimes I use them just for that purpose alone.

But I don't love making them.

And because they are time-consuming to make and contain triple the amount of my high quality and pricey organic essential oils, they're pretty expensive when I sell them at full retail prices. So, step by step, I'm letting them go.

As of now I will no longer be offering these balms wholesale. And that means I can drop my retail prices to something more affordable. But don't delay! My best-selling Releasing Worry and Fear balm is already sold out. When the others go, they'll be gone for good as well.

Buy them in my Etsy store!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Lazy Girl's Approach to Better Health

In the last few years I have gotten into some lazy habits. Cooking, for example. I used to cook healthy food almost every day. But I got out of the habit when I hooked up with someone who loves to go to cafes, and hates kale and other things I used to eat. We moved multiple times and I had my whole way of life disrupted. Eating out in new places is a lot of fun but we've lived in Chico three years or more so I can't really use that for an excuse. What's for supper? I don't know, I didn't plan ahead so we don't have the right ingredients, nothing interesting is already prepared, cheap Chinese food is just down the street and, despite the vegetables, that's not as healthy as you might think. Then menopause set in and changed my metabolism, the leeway I might have had in my youth is gone, and now none of my clothes fit.

:-(

This week I went clothes shopping, had the horrifying experience of standing in front of full-length mirrors with awful glaring lighting. . . and saw the awful glaring truth. Yikes!

I know, I know, love my body no matter what size but, still, there are health effects to be expected from this. Let's get real. It's time to re-incorporate some healthier habits into my life!

Big sighs. What are the "easiest" things I could do to generate the most healthful impact?

Thinking way back in time, I remember always planning a week's worth of meals in advance. I'd make sure I got all the ingredients for those meals instead of randomly filling my basket with whatever looked good. And I cooked every night and rarely went out to eat. Cooking from scratch every night, however, is no longer appealing so the current choice is to add in delicious home-cooked meals that will be delightful to eat a second or third time. Or prepared choices that I can mix and match the whole week through.

The first thing I made was a big bowl of salad with the ingredients that make salads start to look sad as time goes on--cut up tomatoes, avocados, etc.--prepared and kept in separate bowls. And a delicious marinated artichoke frittata--perfect for "lazy" cooks! Just mix the ingredients up, heat on the stove in a cast iron pan while you waste time on Facebook, add cheese and put under the broiler for a little bit more, and voila! You have a main dish for 3-5 meals, depending on who's eating. After that, I felt inspired so I added a pot of rice, made up a nice fruit salad, and opened up a ready-made bag of already cooked seasoned lentils (from Trader Joe's -- yum, highly recommend) and put it in a container so I can just spoon some out whenever I want some.  This doesn't sound like a lazy approach but trust me, one night of cooking and ingredient prep led to super easy breakfasts, lunches and dinners for several days after. Paul and I added some microwaved Indian dinners one night and fish with asparagus another but the more time-consuming items were already done. 15 minute dinners that make us feel like we were eating like kings was pretty awesome.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Call of the Heyoka - New Art Print on Etsy

I've been doing a number of experimental artworks in the classes I've been taking lately. Three of my pieces from last year were accepted into the juried Butte College student show this week. This is one of them. I call it "Call of the Heyoka" but it could be called "Marc Chagall Goes to New Mexico" because I was under the influence of a book I read by him at the time. But it's really about a couple of Heyoka (sacred clowns in the Native American tradition) who ride their horse backwards across the New Mexico skies to remind us to pay attention to who we really are, what we really want, what we are doing, and where we're going.

Buy a print in my Etsy shop!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Flower Essences and Aromatherapy for Pain and Stress Reduction

Every time I use my "Releasing Worry and Fear" Reiki-infused flower essence aromatherapy oil I think, "Holy crap! This stuff is amazing!"

It's been awhile since I've tried it. But last night my feet hurt and lower back hurt and I KNOW I've been under some emotional stress. I've been worrying about decisions I have to make that might have significant consequences, and my back has been freaking out. I rubbed Some 'Releasing Worry and Fear" on the soles of my feet -- where it hurt -- up and down my legs, butt and lower back. Wow! In seconds I felt the tension ease away, my feet and back felt better, and I thought, "Oh yeah, that's why I made this stuff." I'd still be making it for me if I wasn't making it for all of you.   Find it in my Etsy shop!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Buy Three Flower Essence Aromatherapy Formulas, Get One Free!

I don't advertise my specials enough! The one ounce size of my Reiki-infused organic flower essence aromatherapy formulas has become a popular choice for people. One ounce lasts a long time -- unless you pour it in your bath which is also a great use for it. I like to use it as a nicely scented body oil when I get out of the shower or dab a little on again later in the day when I get home and just want to relax.

Find this special offer in my Etsy shop!

Or check the discounts and specials section for more choices.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Herbal Tea for International Women's Day


How come we don't get a month?!!! And how come we don't have equal rights? And why is this even an issue that we have to fight for anymore in the United States, never mind in other places around the world? And, and, and. . . 

I'm having hot flashes! And sudden cravings for this tea. I've been drinking this every day this week. I love it! It's a lovely mix of Red Raspberry leaf, Red Clover, Rose petals, Rosehips, Chicory, Hibiscus and Cinnamon. Sooooo good! And good for you! A great women's blend.

Find it in my Etsy shop!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Everyday Discounts on Flower Essence Aromatherapy Products

Interested in trying my Reiki-infused Mama Love flower essence aromatherapy products or some of my unscented ones? Need a little help in making up your mind?

Maybe a nice discount will help! You'll find several options in this section of my Etsy shop. Try three for a nice price break. Buy three at full price and get one free (even better). Buy 5 and save even more. Or buy 12 and get my wholesale price!

And if you sign up for my less than monthly email newsletter you'll get an additional 10% off!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ladyslippers on the Path on Society 6

I just added my latest acrylic painting to Society 6. You can order a canvas print or a framed print there as well as this really fun tote bag, throw pillows, and a wall clock.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Impressions of Chico and Santa Cruz in a Painting

When I left Santa Cruz I was ready to go and I didn't think I'd miss it. When I moved back to California after a two year stay in Arizona I never expected I wouldn't make it all the way back home. Chico isn't a bad place. It's actually quite sweet, very small town-like in feel. It has a pretty fun older downtown with lots of trees surrounded on almost all sides by almond orchards and lots of lovely hiking trails. But it's not the coast! (In fact, it's almost unbearably hot in the summer.)

Still I like it much of the year. We may move again... or get ourselves to the beach in the summer. In the meantime, there's "No Time Like the Present" and that's the name of this painting. It depicts my impressions of Chico with a hint of nostalgia for Santa Cruz in the clock tower.

Available now as a print in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Ladyslippers on the Path Acrylic Painting on Canvas

Wow! I've sold prints of this painting of a sunlit (heaven-lit?) path in the woods four times in the last month without even promoting it. My most obviously popular piece yet. That feels nice.

Available in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Not Joe Mama Caffeine-free Herbal Coffee Substitute

Not Joe Mama got its first review on Etsy and it's a nice one:

"Like the description says, it's not coffee but it's still tasty. Toasty roasty earthy with hints of sweet hay. I added some extra chicory (also from Mama Love) and my husband also confused it with his coffee."

And she gave it 5 Stars -- can't do better than that. Yay!!!

Monday, February 02, 2015

Add Blackberry Leaf for Caffeine-free Black Tea-like Herbal Blends

I love coffee and black tea but if I add any sweetener (and I always want to have a little), the caffeine has a really weird effect. Other people drink it to feel more alert--it makes me sleepy and spaced out. I hate it, I can barely function. I've cut the amount of honey or sugar to a 1/4 tsp and it's still too much.

So I've developed a number of robust-tasting caffeine-free coffee substitutes and have been wildly experimenting with herbal blends.

My favorite surprise ingredient for approximating the taste of some types of black tea is Blackberry Leaf. It has a significant tannin content which is the astringent undertone I miss in, for example, Rooibos which is often recommended as a caffeine-free substitute. Today I added it to a favorite Chai-spiced blend and really liked the results.

Chai recipe? Well...I make it differently every time. And I'm lazy! It really needs to simmer for 30 minutes but I just add my ingredients to my teapot and let it sit for as long as it takes to make my breakfast. Today's recipe was more of a mild Chai-inspired blend but it was perfect for me today:

1 tsp Red Rooibos
1 tsp Blackberry Leaf
1 tsp Cinnamon Bark
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp hulled Cardamom
1 Star Anise star

Steeped about 10-15 minutes. Add honey and milk to taste.

This makes a nice spiced tea but without simmering on the stove it is not as strong as real Chai. Add more of the spices mentioned if you like. Try Cloves, Orange Peel, Fennel seeds, anything you think might be nice. Many people simmer the spices on the stove separately from the herbal ingredients (in this case, Rooibos and Blackberry Leaf) and that's what I'd really recommend if you like a strong-tasting real Chai experience. Experiment and enjoy finding out what you like.




Saturday, January 31, 2015

Yummy Ginger and Lemon Balm Tea Recipe

I experiment with my own herb tea blends all the time. Today's blend was a real hit! I love Ginger so be forewarned, this has a nice bite. But it also has an almost sweet fruity flavor that I really like. I do add honey but it's really not necessary to add a lot.

For one pot:
1 tsp dried Ginger Root
1 tsp dried Blackberry Leaves
1 tsp dried Lemon Balm
1/2 tsp dried Hibiscus

Steep 3-5 minutes

Friday, January 30, 2015

Feeling Stressed?

If you are looking for a relaxing potion to add to your bath water to help you let go and get a good night's sleep.. Or a wonderful smelling balm to soothe your heart, mind and spirit throughout the day... you've come to the right place.

Mama Love flower essence aromatherapy products are made to do just that. I use only the highest quality all-natural certified organic ingredients and infuse them with Reiki to make them the most beneficial products I can make. I make them by hand; I use them myself. And I have products for all kinds of stress. Let's look at a few I think of first.

First, WHY are you stressed?

Are you REALLY worried about something? It's not specific -- it's everything! A situation that's really challenging or perhaps a long-standing habit? You're not alone! Releasing Worry and Fear is the MOST popular formula on my list. Join the club: oils, sprays or perfume balm.
Can't sleep? Add my Restful Sleep formula to your routine! Most popular are the oils that can be used for massage or added to your bath. The mid-sized bottle is probably most popular and it's the one I most prefer myself. But the healing balm is nice to keep by your bedside or bring in your suitcase when you're out of town. Put some on the soles of your feet for best effect as well as anywhere else you like.

Have you gone through a truly devastating event? The loss of close loved one, a divorce, a trauma of some sort? This is more than "stress" really. It's more like how to pick up the pieces and carry on so my Support for Troubled Times formula is the one to use. In oil, spray or balm. (I think the balm would make a great gift.)

Lacking confidence? That's a pretty significant source of stress. Especially if you have to try something new or something you haven't had much success at before. Try my Doing New Things with Confidence formulas. Oil, Spray or Perfume Balm.

Angry? Soothing the Angry Heart is a favorite. Oil, Spray or Perfume Balm.

Having a hard time setting boundaries? Perhaps you're family caregiving or dealing with codependency issues. Inner Strength and Protection can help. I like the spray best but the oils and balm are favorites for many people on my list.

Worried about money? Wish you could have a lighter point of view about prosperity and what it means? Try my Abundant Prosperity oils, sprays and perfume balms.

Actually, there are so many sources of stress, I'd have to go through every product on my list! But this will be a good start. And yes, you can use more than one at a time!

Buy three dram-sized oils, get one free.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Organic Calendula for Happy Skin!

I just added dried Organic Calendula petals to my Etsy shop. Wonderful golden Calendula is worth having around just for their decorative effect. A favorite artisan cheese maker I know decorates their delicious goat cheese with it. A favorite soapmaker does the same.

But I know this herb best infused in jojoba oil for its famous skin-soothing effects. It's very easy to do if you want to try it for yourself. Pack a jar with dried Calendula petals, add oil, shake it up and put it in a cool dark place for several weeks. Shake it every few days. Strain the infused oil through cheesecloth, squeezing it well to retain every drop, and then have fun! Use it as a face or bodycare oil or add it to your favorite skin cream recipe.

You could also brew up a pot of Calendula tea and add that to your bodycare products, add it to your bath water, use it for a hair rinse, etc.

And, of course, you can drink it! (But I never have.) It looks really pretty in black tea blends. I'm going to try Earl Grey with Chrysanthemum Flowers and Calendula some time. (I'll let you know how it tastes if I do!)

Buy Calendula in my Etsy shop!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Flower Essence Aromatherapy Support for Soothing Anger

I'm deep into my semi-annual massive restocking project for Mama Love! Tonight I filled up on Doing New Things with Confidence and Soothing the Angry Heart, two formulas I have never felt the need to use together...but tonight I realized I could use it.

Doing New Things with Confidence is pretty much my go-to formula for so many purposes. Sure, doing new things, right? But there are plenty of times when I'm not really tackling something I've never done before; I'm trying again on something I've never succeeded with. Or perhaps, picking up the pieces again after a fall.

And that's where Soothing the Angry Heart comes in for me right now. As I've been refilling my bottles I found myself fretting and growling a bit about the challenges and disappointments of last year. None of which I really need to go into in public but suffice it to say that multiple possibilities I tried to run with ran into massive brick walls. So, yeah, I need more than ever to summon the strength and willingness to set my sights on another direction and deal with my frustration so it stops getting in my way.

Use my formulas separately or use them together! Get creative.

Find the support you need in my Etsy shop!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Organic Blackberry Leaf

Do you have Blackberry Leaf in your cupboard? If you dislike most herb teas but need to avoid caffeine, try it! Blackberry Leaf tastes similar to black tea because of its tannin content with a hint of added sweetness. It has been traditionally used for a variety of medicinal purposes -- probably because of the tannin and vitamin C content -- but is most commonly used in commercial herb tea blends for its taste. It plays well with others... use it to add a deeper tea-like note to fruity or floral combinations.

Buy it in my Etsy shop!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Flower Essence Aromatherapy for Trauma, Grief, Loss or Pain

Mama Love's Support for Troubled Times was the product that launched me into business. It's the first flower essence aromatherapy product I made and is still the most effective one in my cabinet for times of great trauma—particularly for periods of grief, loss or pain.The death of a loved one, divorce, a traumatic move or job loss, perhaps a horrible illness or accident with loss attached.

If things are never going to be the same again, how can you face going on? That's what this is for. I made it when I was first divorced and could not stop crying. And it never failed to help soothe me. A good friend convinced me to bottle it and it is still one of the most popular flower essence products I sell.

I use it, when needed, as a light perfume or body oil. You can pour a little into your bath or ask a friend to give you a massage. It was designed to be safe for most people for daily use.

Buy it in my Etsy shop!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Attracting a Partner for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is coming and I just restocked my shop with my flower essence aromatherapy "Attracting a Partner" formula! Yeah, I know I haven't changed the flat-footed name yet. It really should be called "You rock!" because it's about feeling great about yourself... and you know that's the key behind being perceived as attractive, don't you?

Buy it in my Etsy shop!

Organic Lavender, Now in My Etsy Shop!

Is there anything more heavenly than the scent of Lavender? I love it and now you can enjoy it, too. It's great added to a cup of Earl Grey tea. Or make a more complex blend with Chamomile, Rose Petals, Lemon Balm and Mint for a relaxing bedtime drink.

How else could you use it? Sachets, potpourri, dream pillows, throw it at the bride? Try adding it to bath salts or make an infused oil from it and mix it into your bath and body products. And that's just the first few thoughts that came to mind when I started this blog. Have fun!
Buy it now in my Etsy shop!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dried Organic Chamomile

I've just added Organic Chamomile Flowers to my Etsy shop. Chamomile is one of the most widely used herbal ingredients in teas as well as in cosmetic, health, and beauty products. Mine is 100% organic and has a lovely sweet, almost fruity smell.

Famous for making a very relaxing and calming cup of tea by itself, Chamomile also combines well with Mint, other flowers like Rose and Lavender, Lemon Balm or Lemongrass and Oatstraw.

Buy it in my Etsy shop!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New Product! Dried Organic Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a staple in Thai and Caribbean cooking. It has a nice lemony smell and taste without the acidic bite of real lemon. But it can also be quite strong -- a little goes a long way.

I bought Lemongrass for my ongoing herb tea experiments. Ginger and Lemongrass is a very popular drink in Thailand. It's also a great addition to all sorts of blends, combining especially well with Lemon Balm, Mint, Rose Petals, Chamomile and Hibiscus.(Very relaxing!) It is said to have numerous health benefits and is used extensively in Ayurvedic medicine.

But you don't have to eat or drink it. Add it to potpourri to freshen your house. Or make your own bodycare products! Add your favorite oil to a jar packed with Lemongrass. (For example, olive oil or jojoba.) Let it marinate in a cool dark place for several weeks, shaking the jar every few days. Then strain the oil into bottles and you'll have Lemongrass-scented oil, wonderful for making all sorts of healthy and delightfully smelling things like shampoo, soap, skincare products and deodorant. It is especially good for cleansing oily skin or hair and, oddly, has great renown as an insect repellant!

Buy it in my Etsy shop!