lifestyle

Last Minute Christmas Gifts: Homemade Body Butter

body butter gift under the tree, the artyologist

Is it really only one more week until Christmas?

I read a while ago that this year has kind of been like Rip Van Winkle and, for me, I would agree. While my daily routine has definitely slowed down, time seems to be rushing by, and it all feels a bit surreal. While we’ve already passed the halfway point for December, it still feels like this year has gone by so slowly. In some ways it does seem like I’m sleeping while the world continues spinning by…

Well, in case time has gotten away from you too, and you need some last minute gifts, today I am sharing a zero-waste inspired Christmas gift you can easily make in a few hours. The great thing is that it mostly uses items you might already have around the house! This is a bit different than the topics I usually discuss here, but I kind of like branching out into new topics, and this definitely fits into the “lifestyle’ category.

I don’t know where I found this recipe- I think from a zero waste blogger or Instagrammer, but you can easily find these sorts of recipes with a quick google search of “diy natural body butter”. This is just the one I make because I bought a huge pail of shea butter several years ago, and I am trying to work my way through it (slowly!).

Easy Homemade Natural Body Butter

1 part coconut oil

1 part sweet almond oil (or light olive oil)

2 parts shea butter

Optional: essential oil of your choice

I usually make this recipe with sweet almond oil, but since I used up all of my almond oil while making soap, I couldn’t find any more! Usually I would get it at the health food store, but they didn’t have any. After a bit of research it appears that light olive oil works as a substitute, and it seems to be working just as well. I would definitely recommend light, not regular oil, so there isn’t a strong olive smell.

Also, I used lavender essential oil, but you can definitely make it unscented.

I also saw several other recipes used cocoa butter instead of shea, so you could probably try that too. Basically the most important part is that you need to have equal parts oil to butter.

Heat your oils and butter in a double boiler until it is completely melted, then place in the refrigerator to cool. I forgot to take any photos of this process, but it is pretty straightforward. Once it has solidified (several hours depending on how much you have made), then take it out and immediately whip with a blender until it is white and fluffy. It’s like magic how quickly it beats up! Then add some essential oils, 4-5 drops, if desired and mix in completely.

I am sure there is a shelf life on homemade body butters (probably a few months?) but to be honest I haven’t had any problems with it going rancid. I keep mine in my nightstand drawer, and I have had this last batch for probably 9 months, and I’ve never had any bacteria growth or funky smells or anything. This is a very moisturizing (albeit greasy) body butter, perfect for winter dryness; I use it on my feet, or as a lip balm.

Once you’ve whipped up the butter, then you are ready to decant it into jars.

I have been collecting these face lotion jars for the past few years, because I hate throwing things out, and I was sure I could find a use for them, even if for just organizing/storage. However a few months ago, I thought of an even better use- to repurpose as gifts (a zero waste win!). I used nail polish remover to take the labels off, and then sterilized the jars by running them through the dishwasher and heating the lids with boiling water.

They worked perfectly to hold about 3 tbsp of body butter- the perfect amount to try it out, without having to commit to using for the next few years! Any small jar would work great, maybe a small spice jar? Or a tiny canning jar?

I also decided to include the recipe in with the gift. I purchased this recipe card printable in the spring from local-ish artist Jenni Haikonen, as it’s so nice to give people recipes written on a pretty card, rather than any old paper, isn’t it?

I wrapped the gift up in some brown paper bags I have had for years, tied them with some recycled ribbons and twine (I always save ribbons and string whenever I get a package etc. in order to reuse them) and added some homemade Victorian Christmas tags. And there you have a lovely little gift for friends, coworkers or anyone else you want to give a gift to this season!

Well, I hope you enjoy making this recipe, if you decide to, and also hope that you have a very Merry Christmas season!

Think Pink…Hair!

I’m not much of a pink person.

Aside from a short lived pink and purple bedroom with Barbie wallpaper when I was a child, I’ve never had much pink in my life.

I don’t decorate with pink (though it would be so much easier to find a vintage sofa, if I wanted a pink one- they are simply everywhere!)

And I can probably count on one hand the number of pink clothes and accessories that I have. A pair of shoes, two floral skirts, a hat with a pink flower, a pair of cameo earrings…

But, despite the fact that I’ve never been much drawn to pink…I love pink hair! Just before I started this blog, four years ago, I dyed my hair pink, but it wasn’t quite the colour I wanted. And ever since then, I’ve been dreaming of the day when my hair would be pink again.

And then I said to myself, “Why is my hair not pink yet?” so I scheduled an appointment. I walked in last Friday a natural blonde, and when I left three hours later I was a platinum and pink!

It was a bit brighter than I was planning originally to go, I was thinking more of a light ash and pink mix, but then I just decided to go all in, and go platinum blonde! I was platinum four years ago, and I’ve kind of missed it. It’s taken some getting used to, and I’m still not used to it, actually. I do a double take when I see myself in a mirror! It faded a bit when I washed it, which is kind of sad that it’s only a demi-permanent, but I will enjoy it while I have it…so, I guess I am a pink person, after all!

Have you ever dyed your hair an “unnatural” colour?

Give Me Plants and Books and Tea…

house plants, the artyologist

It seems a little strange to be sharing a house tour today, since I’m not living in this apartment anymore! I took these photos a week before we moved out, fully intending to blog them, but when our whole housing situation became a housing fiasco, I didn’t really feel like sharing them. It’s been a few months now though, so I can look at the pictures without nostalgia: I do miss the way we’d decorated it, but a few months later, I don’t miss living there! There were things I really liked about living here, such as the neighbourhood, the view from our living room window and the amazing amount of closet space (seven closets in 800 sq.ft!). But there were definitely things I didn’t like: the noise between the apartments, the terrible bathroom, and the extreme heat in the summer. So, all in all, I’m not sad to be out of this place, but I’m glad I took some photos before we moved to remember it by.

bookshelf

First the living room. This is my trusty old IKEA shelf, that perfectly fit on the only wall that didn’t have a baseboard heater. Someday I’d love to make or get a wooden shelf, but until that day this one does well. (Although every time I move, my brother and Dad would say they’d like if that day came sooner: this one is awful to move, since it has to go in one piece!)

plants-and-books, the artyologist

You can quickly tell after entering our house that my sister and I have two great loves: books and plants! (hence the title of this post) We’ve completely filled this shelf between the two of us, and have even more books hiding behind the first layer, and on other shelves! The portrait in the top right shelf is my “Georgian novel hero”. I bought it as a gift for my brother, and then ended up keeping it for myself, as the portrait just seemed to belong amongst the Classics section.

This is my favourite chair that I found in a thrift store, back before “vintage” furniture got expensive. It’s surprisingly comfortable, and still in quite good condition. And, this little hot air balloon just hangs out in the fig tree. I got this tree for free when my church moved buildings. For some reason they decided that they didn’t want it in the new place, which didn’t make any sense to me, but I was more than happy to adopt it and bring it home! Until I find a more permanent place though, I’m going to leave it at my family’s house, as it’s not happy to be moved a lot.

You might recognize that I have several iconic IKEA pieces, including my borrowed sofa, and my striped rug. As much as I love my rug, it is horrible to keep clean, so I would probably not purchase it if I’d known that back then. I love a lot of the pieces that IKEA comes out with each year, but I am always hesitant to buy them, as they are so recognizable that I don’t want my house to end up looking like a catalogue!

The decor in our living room is quite bright and punchy, and it is not anywhere near what I’d like to have someday. Red is my least favourite colour, but since I am borrowing the sofa from my parents until I find one of my own, it will have to do. I’d eventually like to get a cream and mustard floral or brocade settee, but haven’t found just the right one yet.

gallery-wall

One of the problems I have with decorating is that I have too much artwork and too few walls. We did a gallery wall in the living room to help with this problem. This also worked well, as there were a lot of nail holes in this wall from previous tenants, so I didn’t feel bad adding a few more. It also worked to cover up all the holes, so we weren’t stuck looking at them. We did a black, gold and cream theme, which I liked since it looked cohesive, yet still had variety. (I also noticed, after I took these pictures, that I never centred the photo in that large white frame-oops!)

books-and-tea

Here is the aforementioned “tea” alongside the plants and books in the title. I couldn’t happily live in a house with no plants! At last count I have twenty-two plants (not counting my sister’s)!

dining-room-2

This is the view from the kitchen, to the dining room/office/art room. The living room is to the right of the picture (where the wall jogs in on the edge of the photo). I didn’t take a photo of the kitchen, since there really wasn’t anything interesting about it. It had cabinets from the 70’s and no place to hang artwork, so it was quite boring and un-photogenic.

dining-room-1

This is my sister’s china cabinet in the corner, which holds our collection of blue and white china. We inherited many of these pieces from my Gramma, and some are pieces I’ve purchased along the way.

desk-1

Here’s the art desk in the dining room (that I actually didn’t do too much art at, unfortunately.) Quite a few of the furniture pieces in our place were borrowed from my parents. It’s always nice when your parents love antique furniture and you get to put it in your place 🙂

bedroom-1

And lastly my bedroom, which was a very small room, and had just enough room for a walkway around my bed. It had two closets though, which was absolutely lovely for all my hats!

bedroom-2

Hang vintage fashion artwork in your closet and dresses on your closet doors- it makes it so much prettier!

bedroom-3

Well, that’s it!

I do love decorating, and the thing that I love about decorating my own home is creating my own personal style. I don’t like to follow trends or styles too closely, and while I might incorporate a few here and there, our place doesn’t fit into any one “niche”, but is mostly made up of collected pieces we love. I think it has a rather eclectic vintage feel- what do you think?

How do you like to decorate your home? And does your decorating fit into one specific style, or a mix of many?

Christmas Around the Corner

When I was a child, there was a house around the corner from us, that always decorated their house and yard with enough Christmas lights that they could have charged admission and given tours. One year my family was talking about how Christmas was “just around the corner” as we were passing by that house, and so we instantly dubbed it the “Christmas Around the Corner” house. Now, whenever we see a brightly decorated property we say to each other, “there’s Christmas around the corner!” 

I do love decorating for the season, (or basically every season!) so I admire and enjoy how much effort some people go to with their decorations- I certainly don’t go to those lengths myself! This year, however, is my first year working at a decorating store during the Christmas season, and so I get to go all out and “decorate for Christmas” pretty much every shift. Needless to say, it’s been a lot of fun!

I never decorate until December (on whichever weekend is the first of the month) and this year I got my decorations up on December 3rd. It just seems too early to me, to start decorating in November. To be honest, I’m always switching things around, and so I would get bored with the Christmas stuff if I had it up for two whole months. Also, considering that we always have a real tree, and this year I have real evergreen boughs, it would be pretty dried up if we put it up too soon! 

I was planning on investing in some nice faux evergreens this year, but didn’t see any that I liked, and so I actually ended up getting real boughs from my parents place. I love them so much that (until they one day move away and no longer have wooded areas for me to pillage) I will continue to do that every year! I don’t do a tree at my place, since I spend Christmas at my parent’s house, so in lieu of a tree, I did an evergreen and branch bouquet and hung some of my vintage ornaments on it. 

The main crux of my decorating involves my vintage ornament collection- this year my sister and I found six boxes of vintage ornaments at the thrift store- we couldn’t grab them fast enough! We also hung some of the vintage ornaments in the fig tree, which looks very pretty in real life, but didn’t really show up well in the pictures, so you’ll just have to believe me 🙂 I also got these new reproduction mercury glass ornaments this year at the store I work at- I absolutely LOVE mercury glass and I love how they paired with the pink vintage ornaments. This tray looks very “millennial” doesn’t it? (Millennial pink anyone?)

This wood burned garland by Kluane National Workshop is also new this year. I picked it up at a craft fair, but if you’d like to check them out, they have a shop right here.

Well, this is a fairly heavy picture post, but I guess I’m making up for all the posts I haven’t written this past month 🙂 

When do you put up your Christmas decor and what are some of your Christmas decorating traditions? 

As an extra bonus- here is the mantle I did at my parent’s place. It turned out very pretty with the fairy lights, greenery and nativity, so I couldn’t leave it out!

Lilacs to Welcome the First Day of Spring

Lilacs to Welcome the First Day of Spring, the artyologist

Happy first official day of Spring! A quick look out my window still shows piles of snow, despite what the calendar says, so today I am sharing a look back to these photos I took last Spring. I took this set last June, but never published them so, since there are no flowers growing around here yet, nor will there be for a quite a while longer, I thought I would share them with you today, even though they are almost a year late!

Lilacs to Welcome the First Day of Spring, top view of tea, the artyologist

We did get another huge snowfall this past weekend, despite my wishes to the contrary in my last post, but yesterday it was such a warm day, that the snow is melting fast. I have decided that there will be no more photos including large drifts of snow here on the blog, until next winter! This might mean that all of my photos will need to be taken indoors, or I won’t have any outfit photos for a while. . . but I am so ready for winter to be finished. So until spring really feels like it is here, I will have to make do with looking at last years photos, and enjoying the bouquet of tulips my mom bought for me last week!

Happy Spring dear Readers!

Is it looking and feeling like Spring in your part of the world?

Lilacs to Welcome the First Day of Spring, tea cup, the artyologist

Lilacs to Welcome the First Day of Spring, books, the artyologist

Lilacs to Welcome the First Day of Spring, tea and lilacs, the artyologist

Lilacs to Welcome the First Day of Spring, bouquet with tea, the artyologist

Lilacs to Welcome the First Day of Spring, bouquet, the artyologist

Lilacs to Welcome the First Day of Spring, bouquet and tea, the artyologist