What a Beautiful Morning

Morning Journaling

It is cloudy out this morning, which makes it a good time to sit down and journal. Although any time is a good time to journal. Day, night, rain or shine, journal and feel the stress leave your body.

Why journal? It clears the heart and soul of things that get in the way. Sorrow, fear, hate. Write them down and close the journal and walk away. Better yet, tear out that page and burn it. You will be surprised how much satisfaction and cleansing this will bring.

THEN, journal about the things you are thankful for in your life, be it either the past or the present. Your family, friends, the animals in your life, there is no limit of people or things that bring you great joy. There is so much to be thankful for each and every day.

I am thankful for the clouds and rain as they are rare where I live. The beautiful sunrise I got to see this morning because my cat Thor Kitty insisted I get up. Now, because I got up, I get the witness and enjoy the rare quiet of my house, as I sit here journaling with coffee in hand and my cat curled up at my side.

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Wake Up!!!!

Wake up and smell the coffee. Well I must be honest, it usually takes drinking at least two cups some mornings.

But don’t you wish you could some times shake people and tell them “Wake Up” the world is passing you by. There is so much to see and do. Smell the roses, the coffee.

My favorite smell is the hint of rain coming. I live in Arizona so rain is rare and the smell in the air, the promise that rain is coming is exciting to me. I usually run to my patio and scan the sky looking for the one cloud that has the rain and then pray it does not pass by my house.

There is nothing like a nice gentle rain while you sit on the patio with your cup of coffee in hand.

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Thank You, I Appreciate That

Thank You, I Appreciate That

Tell someone you appreciate them, today!  Why?  Well first it will make them smile and smiles are the most beautiful things in the world.  It will make them feel good which in turn will make you feel good.  Don’t be insincere.  There is nothing worse than being insincere.  You are lying to them and that is bad karma and that will come back to bite YOU in the butt.  Just a simple “thank you” acknowledging your appreciation is the first step.

The dictionary describes appreciation as “gratitude; thankful recognition”.

Look past the surface of the person before you, find the worth of that person.  Then, express to them your appreciation of what they have done or are doing.

If you are not comfortable saying “Man I really appreciate what you’ve done for me” a simple “Thank you” goes a long way.  Feeling appreciated, genuinely appreciated, lifts peoples spirit and it gives a boost to their self worth, their value not only to you but to others.

Tell your children  how much you appreciate their help every day.  Even if it is a chore around the house they started out doing it willingly or not.  They will be more apt to help you the next time or will even help without even being asked!  Saying “thank you” once is not enough.  Make it a habit when you appreciate what someone else has done whether it was for you or for someone else.  Acknowledge their thoughtfulness.

Practice appreciation by starting with yourself.  Acknowledge when you have accomplished something good.  You have the right to feel good.  Pat yourself on the back.

Hey, Great Job!! Now doesn’t that feel good!

“Every time we remember to say “thank you”, we experience nothing less than heaven on earth.”Sarah Ban Breathnach

Evening Sky Dalton Canyon

Making Soy Candles – A Year of Living Cheap

Soy Candle Making 

This craft is an easy and inexpensive way to make wonderful gifts.  All you need is:

2 lbs Soy Flakes

2- Four cup glass measuring cups (microwave safe)

Scented essential oils

Wax Candle Color

8 Four ounce jelly jars or 10-12 votive jars

HOT PADS!!!!  Do not touch the measuring cup when taking it out of the microwave with your bare hands.  HOT, HOT!!

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Empty half of the 2 lb bag of soy flakes into each of the glass measuring cups.  Microwave one at a time on high for about 3 minutes.  Add your wax color and microwave one more minute.  If not melted, add 30 seconds at a time.  Mixture must be clear.  Place the measuring cup on a hot pad to protect your counter top.  Remember the hot pads for your hands.

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After you have melted all your wax, let the containers sit for about an 30 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally.  Add your essential oil at this point.  I used lavender and peppermint which are my favorite.  I get my oils at my local herb shop, Desert Sage Herbs http://www.desertsageherbs.com/Desert_Sage_Herbs/Welcome.html

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While your soy mixture is cooling down, prep your jars with wicks.  I use wax wicks and not the wood wicks.  This is a personal choice as I have not had any luck with the wood wicks burning.  They usually flare, sizzle and then go out.

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use Tacky Wax to hold my wicks to the bottom of the jar.  Some people use hot glue, but I have had more success with the Tacky Wax (you can also use it to put posters on your wall without ruining your paint with holes!).

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After waiting the 60 minutes your mixture should be looking cloudy and a little slushy.  Now is the time to pour your candles.  Again use care as the glass will still be very warm.  After pouring your candles IF you want to add anything to the candle, now is the time.  I add lavender flowers to my lavender candles.  I sprinkle the flowers on top and use a tooth pick to push them down into the candle.

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Clean up is really easy, just use soap and hot water. 

Let the candles completely cool, then you can move them out of the way.  Wait 24 hours before you add any lids.

The cost for the wax is not too expensive.  I buy mine online and get 10  pounds for $20.00 which includes shipping.  Expect higher prices if you go to a hobby shop.

Go forth and create beautiful gifts for your friends or for yourself!

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Come and visit me on my website at  http://dragonalley.webs.com/

Please leave comments or suggestions on this blog!

 

Homemade Gifts for Holiday Giving – A Year of Living Cheap!

This year I will be making my Holiday Gifts!  This is a great way to save money and to make a one-of-a-kind gift for the special people in your life.

Several easy homemade gift ideas are:

Simple leather journal

Soy container candles, scented or unscented

Beaded bracelet

Leather draw string bag, pouch

All of these are simple DIY projects and only take a couple of hours, tops.  You can do an internet search and watch a video or get the step by step instructions.  IF the instructions go on and on, do another search with the word “easy” in it.  None of these projects are “Rocket Science” and any beginner can accomplish every one of these.

I melt the wax for my soy candles in the microwave in a “microwaveable safe glass bowl”.  It is easy, fun and I love the fact I have candles made by me in my home!  When making the leather draw string bag, there is no sewing if it is round (like a dinner plate)!  Punch holes evenly spaced, run a string or leather lacing and it is done.  You can choose to decorate with beads or if you are using suede leather you can paint on it.  It is really simple and fast.

So choose your project, don’t go overboard when getting the supplies.  Simple is always better and won’t hit you in your pocket book like a bomb went off. Your friends and family will love the gifts you made just for them and you will not have to touch those credit cards this year!

If this is not your cup of tea, then support local crafters and go to a craft show to get your unique handmade gits!

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For great Custom Books, Leather Journal, Planners @ http://stores.ebay.com/Dragon-Alley-Journals

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Create What You Love

When I first started out making journals it was out of necessity.  I had just been layed off from my job and the journal I had bought from the Renaissance Festival years before was worn out and tattered looking.  So I started looking online at journals and found the prices (for someone who was without a job) excessive.  So I grabbed my old journal took a good look and decided “I can do this”!  This is how Dragon Alley began.

I went to my local leather store and found a nice piece of black leather.  Then I went to my local office supply and got acid free, recycled paper for my journal, nothing fancy.  I used unlined paper as I also use my journal for an Art Diary.

Then I agonized for several hours were to cut the leather for my journal.  Did I want a natural edge or did I want to cut a fancy edge.  As I am a very down to earth person, jeans and t-shirt girl, I picked the natural edge of the leather.

My next step was to take 50 sheets of 8.5 by 11 paper and cut it in half to make one hundred 5.5 by 8.5 sheets which equals 200 pages.  I three hole punched each sheet, and did the same on my leather (use a leather punch on the leather).

The last step was to cut two long strips of leather to make my binding and a tie to keep my journal closed.

This all sounds like a fairly simple process but I am a perfectionist and this little project actually took several days.

I now make journals for a living and I love the creativity, the touch and the smell of the leather.  If I could I think I would keep every journal I make.

I love what I do and would not change anything about how I got here.  Create what you love!

If you want to see my journals and other leather items I make, go to my site on eBay at:

http://stores.ebay.com/Dragon-Alley-Journals

Leather Journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Make Your Own Black Ink

For those die hard re-enactor fans, here are two ways to make black ink for your feather quills!

Making Black Ink

  • 1/2 tsp lamp black (which you can buy or can make by holding

a plate over a candle and collecting the soot or from collecting

other char)

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp gum arabic
  • 1/2 cup honey

Mix together the egg yolk, gum arabic, and honey. Stir in the lamp black. This will produce a thick paste which you can store in a sealed container. To use the ink, mix this paste with a small amount of water to achieve the desired consistency.

Making Charcoal Ink

  • Barbecue grill or metal fire pit
  • Kitchen scale
  • Charcoal briquettes
  • Distilled water
  • White vinegar
  • Glass jar
  • Glass bowl
  • Wire brush or metal whisk

1 Burn a handful of charcoal briquettes in a barbecue grill or metal fire pit until they turn to ash. Wait until the ash has cooled completely. Use a kitchen scale to measure 1 oz. of charcoal ash. Place 1 oz. of charcoal ash in the glass bowl.

2 Measure out 1 oz. of distilled water and add it to the bowl containing the charcoal ash.

3 Stir the charcoal mixture with a wire brush or metal whisk. As the water and ash combine, the mixture will become very dark. Continue to mix it until the clumps of ash disappear. Be careful to not splash the ink because it will stain your clothing or counter top.

4 Add one drop of white vinegar to the mixture and carefully stir it in. The vinegar adds stability to the ink and makes it more permanent once it has dried on paper.

5 Pour the ink into a glass jar that has a tight-fitting lid. The ink will last longer if it isn’t exposed to too much light. Keep your glass jar in a dark place, or you can wrap paper around the jar and tape it to hold it on tight.

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