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Cozy Cottage/Rustic Decor' Ideas, Mountain Aspen Glow

Cozy Cottage: How To Make a Leafy Lampshade

 

SONY DSCIn our etsy shop Rocky Mountain Glow we sell a variety of wood items. Among those items are aspen lamps, awesome aspen lamps, I might add! That’s not bragging, but when you start with the beauty of God’s creation in the wood itself, it is a delightful medium to add your own skills to. My husband, Mike, does the wood crafting, and on some of the lamps, such as this one, I add some hand wood-burning.

But the thing I wanted to highlight in this blog is the lampshade.  Many times we sell these lamps, and people are disappointed that we don’t include the lampshades. The reason we don’t is because they cost a fortune to ship! So we encourage people to purchase their own shades. But often they are disappointed because they like the leafy lampshade, and of course, those are nowhere to be found.

They are easy to make, and I’m happy to share the secret with you!

SONY DSCThis particular lampshade is from Lowes, but any good quality shade is fine as long as it fits your lamp well.  The materials you need are surprising few and simple: Leaf die cuts, which can be purchased already cut at Hobby Lobby. A “die” tool, to cut out the branches, good quality paper for the branches, some good-holding glue such as E6000 (something like Elmers or Tacky glue may not hold long-term)…and that’s it!

The paper you use cut the branches with the stamping tool can be just plain white, but I prefer to use paper that is rustic-looking on one side, just in case someone takes a peek inside the lamp; it looks more professional and classy.

So plan your design. I find that two or three leaves is best. It looks a little “much” with more. Add just a small dab of glue with a toothpick to the first leaf on all of the points of the leaf plus one dab on the center. Place inside the lamp to the highest spot of the leaf design. Next turn the lamp on to get a picture of where your design is going,  and then turn the lamp off again to apply the next leaf. Repeat this until all the leaves are placed. No need to add lots of glue or to press hard. Just a little bit with a small amount of pressure will work well. Best not to move the leaves once you place them! You don’t want glue globs showing through your shade.

Cut out your branches and turn the lamp on to use your creative imagination in where you want to place them among the leaves. Applying the glue is a little messy with the branches since they are so small, but keep a wet paper towel handy to wipe your fingers. Remember to place the rustic side of the paper out where it can be seen from the inside. Otherwise, you might as well just use white paper.

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Let dry. When you turn your lamp on, the magic will happen! And no one needs to know just how easily you made your awesome leafy lampshade!

Please feel free to visit our shop!
rockymountainglow.etsy.com

*I suggest not using more than a 60 watt bulb if you use incandescent, for safety reasons.

Mountain Aspen Glow, Mountain Hikes

Hiking at Dream Lake…was truly a dream!

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This is Dream Lake in the Rocky Mountains, close to Estes Park. We hiked there for our anniversary a few years ago…in May! If the lake looks like this in May, think of what the hiking is like in the middle of winter!

It was thrilling and beautiful all the way up. The most scary part was crossing the stream balancing on a log. It’s not that I was afraid of drowning, but I was terrified of falling into that icy water being so far from civilization. It seems like a person could freeze to death doing something like that!

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The views were incredible and even though it was very cold and snowy the higher up we got, while we were still relatively low in elevation, it wasn’t bad at all…which is why I got fooled into thinking I could wear my spring coat.

 

 

 

 

IMG_3451crreducedAt one point, however, the snow got so deep that Mike had to pry my legs out as I got stuck!  But overall there was a great balance between sunshine and wintry conditions.

We felt like we were all alone for a while since the trail is more hidden into the mountains than most trails we hike. But in reality there were some kids, dogs, and a good amount of people braving the elements that day.

 

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Once we actually arrived at Dream Lake, the only word we could utter was “Wow!” It was truly like a dream: huge, beautiful, somehow mystical-feeling, framed and almost encased by towering and awe-inspiring peaks.

 

 

 

IMG_3466reducedWe are hoping soon to camp close to Dream Lake… in the middle of summer! Then it will hold a whole new kind of fascination. It will, no doubt, be more crowded, but that’s OK. I am reminded of the song If Ever I Should Leave You,  in Camelot when when Sir Lancelot sings that he would never be able to forget his love no matter what season it is because each season displays a new kind of beauty. I think that experiencing Dream Lake in all the different seasons will inspire those same feelings in me.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out our blog rockymountainglow.com!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Hikes

Winter Hikes In the Rocky Mountains

I thought I’d start the hiking blog series just sharing pictures and explanations of some of our hiking adventures in the Rocky Mountains where we live.

I’m starting with some winter hikes, since…it is winter!

Mueller Snow Stomp 098edreducedSo this is Mueller Park, an awesome place to hike and camp only about an hour from our home.  Each season has its own charm at Mueller and the mountain ranges that can be seen from there in the winter are indescribable!  This range is, I believe, the peaks of  Sangre de Cristo.

 

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As you can see, this is before we discovered snow shoes! It makes for good exercise to tromp through knee-deep snow, but I think that from now on, we’ll take advantage of the snow shoes. Don’t you love the bright, sunny warm winter days that Colorado so often offers?

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here are Mike and I with some friends a little while later at Mueller. Yes, the snow shoes really helped!  Although I don’t think the snow was quite as deep this time. Mike’s comment to a friend who asked how it was going snow-shoeing…”Really great, expect to walk a little funny for a few days afterward!”

 

 

 

So now we are hiking by our neighbor’s cabin near Larkspur, Colorado. The reason we look so victorious is because it is quite an icy, slippery climb! The waterfall was gorgeous and worth taking our lives into our hands (at least, I for one, felt that I took my life into my hands!) and that is not even to mention that all the way up the trail were very distinct, fresh bear tracks!

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I’ll end with this, one of my favorite captures of a melting snow drop 🙂

Stay tuned for more great pictures of our Rocky Mountain hikes!

If you are interested in seeing our personalized hiking sticks, click here!

Thanks for visiting my blog. Please “follow” if you’d like to see more.  Although this blog is related to our business, you are always welcome to simply visit and enjoy the blogs, no strings attached 🙂

Mountain Bubble

“Beauty Soap”? Really?! (Here’s what I learned from the “Grand Soap Experiment.”)

I’m sitting here with all the windows and doors open, in Colorado, in the middle of December, at 4:30 p.m. after the sun has gone down. Why? Because I just preformed the “grand soap experiment” and my whole house smells like an industrial explosion has occurred.

Let me back up:

This past year I started making soap. Well, actually, before I apply all my ingredients, I use a soap base made by a company that is committed to health. It melts down to a cream, dreamy consistency (and the goat milk just adds to the creaminess), and keeps that quality when it firms up as usable soap.

Being so impressed with this soap, (after all, when I make it I am tempted to lick the spoon!) but being so impressed, I decided to melt down a couple of store-bought soap bars I had around the house,  a popular bar of “soap for sensitive skin”, and a bar of  Lavender “beauty soap,” also a popular brand, to see if they too would melted into creamy wonderfulness.

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Pouring glycerin-rich soap

 

So first I melted down the soap I make. Luxuriously creamy. Wonderfully fragrant with natural essential oils, in this case, lavender.

 

 

 

Then I melted down the sensitive skin store soap bar. Well, I should say, I tried to melt it down! It wouldn’t melt, but kind of exploded into a powder-like substance that smelled like an industrial chemical plant and if it were just a little drier, would greatly resemble laundry detergent. And that’s supposed to be one of the most gentle soaps for skin! Then I tried the lavender beauty bar soap. But after it was in the microwave for about a minute, it smoked so badly that I stopped it half way, fearing that something really bad might happen if I left it in there.

 

So why didn’t the store-bought bars melt? They didn’t melt because, technically, they aren’t really soap! Here’s an excerpt from an article from More Than Enough blog:

Here’s the scoop. Commercially made beauty bars are made with synthetic detergents and the precious glycerin is stripped out. Manufacturers sell the glycerin, or use it in higher price point items. Think fancy moisturizers and serums. The resulting soap bar is a harsh bar of detergent. It strips skin of its precious moisture and oils, creating dry skin. Now you have to use lotion to help soothe and restore the moisture balance of your skin. What a vicious cycle! These bars will often crack as they dry out (another indication of the effects they have on your skin!) and often will not last as long as a natural soap bar.

Why apply harsh detergent to our skin, which in many cases is already dry, when creamy, moisture-giving soaps are available?

If you are looking for real beauty soaps, try genuine soaps that contain glycerin. Glycerin literally grabs moisture out of the air, and when it is applied to our skin, does the same…makes our skin full of moisture. It is glycerin and the wonderful oils found in good soaps that make it fit for humans, as opposed to fit for a basket full of laundry!

Visit this page on my blog to see Mountain Bubble soaps.

OR

Visit rockymountainglow.etsy.com to see our shop, including our soaps!

(FYI. Cold process soaps, that is, soaps made entirely from scratch, also contain glycerin and also melt, although in a little different way than melt and pour soaps.)

Mountain Bubble

Beauty Products: OOOOh, How Sneaky!

The world of beauty products is full of smoke and mirrors, seeking to make skin care products seem to be what they really are not.

 

The most amazing example of this confronted me the weekend before Christmas when Mike and I were wandering around a crowded mall, doing some last minute shopping.

We decided to go into a skin care shop to check out the latest trends in the soaps and skin care.  Mike grabbed one of these body butter containers and said in somewhat surprise, “Look, only three ingredients!” For there were three pictures, one of shea butter, one of coconut oil, and one of aloe butter, implying that these were the ingredients in their entirety. That was amazing to us since most often there are about 50 or so ingredients in store-bought products. I said, “But it smells like it has fragrance and looks like it has color, so it must have more than the three.” Then Mike spotted the little tab, hard to see, but an indication that there was more information under the initial label. And was there ever! We both exclaimed and big “oooooooohhhhhh!” There they were, hard to read, hard to pronounce, and yes, I didn’t count them, but probably about 50 ingredients.

How many people rushing to buy their last-minute gifts, are going to examine that label so carefully that they find the real list?  Not many, I would guess.

And so, I humbly but confidently direct you to our skin care products at Mountain Bubble. Humbly, because I know there are many other shops that also have integrity in their products, who aren’t trying to fool anybody, and who truly have a desire to create pure and wholesome skin care products. And confidently, because we are sure that the soaps and skin care we make are good for you, and are able to delight with creaminess and natural essential oil fragrance.

Check out this page to see an awesome slideshow of Mountain Bubble skin care.

We guarantee you will never find sneaky “smoke and mirrors” in our shop!

Mountain Bubble

Lavender Shouts For Attention!

I personally have a love-hate relationship with lavender. I remember reading a book on essential oils and the author shared that she had worn lavender oil on a plane. She heard the man in back of her ask his wife, “Do you smell bug spray?” I had to chuckle, because I knew exactly what he meant 🙂 It can be quite poignant.

On the other hand, I find that I can’t seem to resist using it, at least in small doses. I don’t use some of the essential oils in my soaps, simply because I don’t like the scent, but I just can’t exclude lavender, and in fact, some of the lavender soaps are my very favorites (much to my surprise)! I think that soap is an ideal way to bring out the best qualities of lavender because the creaminess of the soap absorbs and mellows it out a bit, and also the scent has contact with the skin, but a good deal of it is washed off, leaving only a hint of the fresh and intriguing fragrance that so many love.

So yes, I use my lavender soap, enjoying its invigorating qualities. And I know there are many who love the fragrance of lavender full-on and powerful. But I’m just sharing my preference.

At any rate, lavender deserves to be a featured blog…its history, its sources, its world-wide intrigue. I could write pages about this little flower that has caused such a stir for so long, but in the spirit of brevity, I’ll share a few of my favorite findings.

History of Lavender

lavenderLavender is a flowering plant of the mint family. It is gorgeous purple (my favorite color!) and its uses seem to be countless! Some make a connection between spike-lavender of the lavender family and spikenard, mentioned in the Bible in the Song of Songs and in the gospels where Mary anoints the feet of Jesus before His death. But others say that spikenard is exclusively of the family of Valerina officinalsis. My study won’t take me deep enough to figure all that out, but it is an interesting possibility that lavender is related to the spikenard mentioned in the Bible.

Lavender derives its name from the Latin ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash” (think “lavatory”). The Romans used Lavender to scent their baths, beds, clothes and even hair. They also discovered its medicinal properties.

Today Lavender continues to be cultivated across its countries of origin as well as Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North and South America. Its widespread presence is understandable due to its beautiful flowers, its alluring scent and its extensive uses.

In fact, Washington state holds a huge lavender festival each year called The Sequim Lavender Festival. Check it out!

Fir Branch and Lavender, a Special Soap

1200px-SANJUANMTNSplacesoap_edited-1I am an out-of-doors lover! There’s plenty of opportunity here in Colorado where we live, to smell the fragrance of fresh fir trees, and wild flowers. And although lavender is not real common in most places in Colorado, lavender scent makes me think of fresh air filled with the scent of wild flowers!

And so this soap was created for the woman who craves to be walking through a forest filled with firs and a meadow graced with fragrant flowers.

This is a layer soap, one side being the color of fresh firs and scented with fir needle essential oil, and the other side being a lavender color and scented with, you guessed it, lavender essential oil.

To see other awesome soaps, go to rockymountainglow.etsy.com 🙂