Rifle Paper Co., decorating a dollhouse, and homemade soap

Love this gift wrap so much…the soft pink bow goes so well with the blues.  Photo from the Rifle website.

Right now I am loving the Rifle Paper Co.  I just bought these thank you cards for baby gifts, and am seriously in love with this Toile Gift Wrap, which I plan to buy as gift wrap and as wallpaper for the new dollhouse I just bought for my little girl (who is not born yet– we don’t have diapers, we don’t have bottles, but we do have a lovely dollhouse).  I also love their LeSportsac collection.

Speaking of the dollhouse, we just picked up this very cool dollhouse from Ikea, which I was unable to find online.  It was $30 and it’s pine, and I plan to paint it white and add “wallpaper” (i.e., Mod Podged wrapping paper) and some wood floors (cut from wood veneer strips).  There are some really great ideas online for dollhouses and I plan on making mine so that it’s appropriate for a very young child- i.e., no little pieces that can come off, and I imagine we will graduate to a fancier dollhouse when she is older.  I think it will probably be a home for the Calico Critters Hopscotch Rabbit family, or something similar, so I’ll choose my colors and patterns accordingly.  I can’t wait to start this project.

I also just recently bought supplies to make homemade soap, so I will be posting on this project in the next week or so.  I look forward to giving homemade soap as gifts, and as someone with very sensitive skin I look forward to having soap that I can tailor to my skin’s needs.

A year ago today: Etsy buys- stamps and napkins




My Favorite Online Natural Baby Resources

Soon I will be welcoming a new baby into my life, so I have been searching online for information.

One of the best resources I have found is Wellness Mama.  This blog is positive but realistic, and all of her recipes are easy to follow.  I especially loved her post on 15 baby products you actually need as I’ve found that there is a huge amount of baby stuff marketed to new parents, and it’s not always clear what is necessary and what isn’t.  I also loved her basic slow cooker soap recipe and can’t wait to try making soap for the first time.  She makes it sound so easy and I think bars of homemade soap would make great thank you gifts for shower presents.

I also like the blog The Elliott Homestead.  She’s got lots of homemade “goodies”, as she calls them- health and beauty items, home care, etc.  In particular, I plan to make her breastfeeding nipple cream since I am allergic to lanolin and many over the counter nipple creams have lanolin in them.

Beauty Book Reviews

Beauty books I’ve read recently and what I thought of them:

  1. The French Beauty Solution, by Mathilde Thomas– I loved this book, and am considering buying it (I had checked it out from the library).  This book is packed with great beauty advice.  5/5 stars.
  2. Beauty at Home, by Aerin Lauder– I enjoyed this book a lot, and the photos are wonderful.  I thought there was a little too much product placement, but I did enjoy seeing photos of her homes, and how she lives.  I want a dollhouse for my little girl, and pretty silver frames for all of my best photos.  I loved her stories of her grandmother Estee and hearing about how she preserved Estee’s house and her things.  She really seems to be investing herself in preserving her heritage, something I think too few people do these days.  After reading this I became very curious about Estee and found that she had written an autobiography, which I bought and plan to read soon.  4/5 stars.
  3. Organic Body Care Recipes, by Stephanie Tourles– This one wasn’t a favorite of mine.  I felt that many of the recipes had too many ingredients, and they were too unusual.  I wished that there were more lotion recipes, and it seemed like many of the lotion recipes included lanolin, which I am allergic to.  I’ve found many great lotion recipes with simple oils and butters online, so I’ll stick with those for now.  This does seem like it would be a great book for the more advanced mixologist, possibly someone who plans to sell their products.  But for simple soaps and lotions online resources seem best for me for now.  2/5 stars.

Bringing a Little of Your Vacation Home with You, Part III


It’s always nice to be able to bring home some wonderful smells from places you’ve visited in the form of soaps, lotions, and other personal care products.  I always keep my eyes (and nose!) attuned to these things when I am on vacation so that I can bring some great local things home with me.  A little for me, and a little for my friends and family, as these kinds of things make great gifts.

I found the Filthy Farmgirl Soaps at an ABC Store next to the Ritz-Carlton Kapulua (the ABC Stores in Hawaii are gold mines for local treasures) and I bought a bunch of them to take home.  They are all-natural, they have super-cool packaging, they smell amazing, and they are unique and fun, making them great gifts (a great gift to me, as well).  The cabinet that I’ve been storing them in smells so good every time I open the door.

I’ve given out several to family members for birthday presents so far.  Some of the soaps have names that are a little bit naughty, so I bought a couple of the more tame ones for gifts for family (the Uber Super-Duper Aloha, and the Filthy Surfer Soap).  Filthy Farmgirl has free shipping to anywhere in the US with no minimum order, so I’ll definitely be ordering more of these for future gifts.

The pool at the Grand Wailea

Another thing I like to take home to remember the smells of Hawaii is the Honey Mango lotion, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner from the Grand Wailea Hotel on Maui.  This was another hotel that we stayed at on our honeymoon, and this is probably our favorite hotel anywhere because of it’s incredible pool.  The hotel is also famous for its spa.  I love the tropical smell of the products at this hotel and I find myself squirreling them away to take home with me since it’s such a fun reminder of the vacation.  You can also buy them online.


I would love to hear about some of your favorite personal care products that you have found on vacation!

Earth Clinic- the best website for natural cures

I’m a person who likes a simple solution to a simple problem.  I have very sensitive skin, and every once in awhile all #3!! breaks loose.  I would love to be able to go to the doctor, get a prescription, and have all of my problems disappear, however it usually goes something like this: go to the doctor and pay lots of $$, get a prescription for something expensive and pay lots more $$, use the prescription only to have the problem get worse, repeat.  Sigh.

Enter Earth Clinic.  People write in with their solutions to problems, and you can read them all.  The *only* problem with a site like this is that in order to prevent people from hawking snake-oil, writers are not allowed to mention specific brands.  By reading other forums (lots and lots of entries…) I have found a few products that are not sold in the US (except on Amazon), but which are otherwise miracle cures, and I wish I could write about these on there.  (Just FYI, my best miracle cures are Sudocrem for any skin problem, and Compeed cold sore patches, both of which are available on Amazon).

But I have found amazing cures on Earth Clinic– a diluted apple cider vinegar solution for eye infections (SO simple and incredibly effective), apple cider vinegar for removing brown spots and skin tags, tea tree oil for skin rashes.  If you’re looking for someone to set your broken arm, best to go to the ER.  But for simple infections and illnesses, Earth Clinic is a great reference.