Saturday, July 31, 2010

As Seen in a Treasury!

Here are a couple treasuries that Bells and Unicorns was featured in this week. There are some VERY talented treasury curators out there! Thanks so much for including us in your lovely displays!

To find more gorgeous treasuries featuring Bells and Unicorns, go here and search for bellsandunicorns!
Click on the pictures below to go to the real, clickable treasury!
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They've Gone to Plaid

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Back to School

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Mints

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Life's a Summer Picnic

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Captured

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Giveaway!

Gracious Giveaways has been gracious enough to host a GIVEAWAY and review of our reusable sandwich and snack bags!


Would you like to win a $15 Gift Certificate to Bells and Unicorns?



Then head on over to Gracious Giveaways and enter!

The contest runs until August 28 and there are lots of ways to enter!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Stubborn Acne?

I've dealt with really stubborn acne since I was a teenager, and I've tried a ton of different products to help treat it.

About a year ago, I ordered the SkinID kit. It's the one where you go to the website and answer a bunch of questions about your skin and acne problems. Then, they send you 3 products that are supposed to be the best for you.

I really liked my products, especially since they were easy to use and pretty quick to apply.



But, you need to really use these products daily, and sometime multiple times in a day, for them to work the best. Frankly, I just don't have time and I get lazy...



Then, I bought some Clean and Clear toner from the store. This worked well, too, especially after cleaning my face with the SkinID cleanser.



About 4 months ago, I ordered a product off of Etsy. It's called Zit Zapper Germ Warfare and it's from Ella Rose Minerals. I ordered the sample set of Germ Warfare and Midnight Magic and it cost $5! The containers are so tiny, but I've only used about half of it since March! The Germ Warfare stuff is a FANTASTIC coverup that begins to work its magic once you put it on. I mean, this stuff is really the greatest thing I've ever used to hide my big red zits!



One of my best friends got married a few weeks ago, and of course, I had a couple big zits from the stress of her wedding. I brought this stuff along with me to the hair salon, and a couple of the other bridesmaids used it as well. Everyone was very impressed with it and I gave them the info on where to find it.


Around the same time that I ordered the Zit Zapper set, I also ordered a bar of Charcoal Soap from Spoiled Rotten Bath and Body Boutique. I had tried an activated charcoal product before and had liked it, but it was in a liquidy lotion like form and was pretty hard to apply. I thought that the bar of soap would be better and easier to rub on my face.


I was right. Simply put-- I LOVE THIS SOAP. It foams just a little bit, but it really, really, really cleanses well. You can almost feel it working as soon as you put it on!


Activated charcoal is really good for people with sensitive skin and leaves the skin feeling soft and smooth!


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So, recently, I've created my own little skin care routine that has worked wonders for my face.


At Night:

Step 1- SkinID foaming cleanser
--Wet your face with warm water, then rub a few squirts of this all over your face.
--Wait about 30 seconds, then wipe away with warm water and a wash cloth.

Step 2- Charcoal Soap
--Add just a little bit of water to the soap, just enought to get it wet.
--Rub on your face in a circular motion, paying extra attention to your trouble spots.
--Wash off with warm water and a wash cloth.

Step 3- Clean and Clear Toner
--Apply to a facial cleansing pad (there's tons of handmade ones on Etsy-- that's where I got mine!)
--Lightly apply all over face.

In the Morning:
Step 4- Germ Warfare/Midnight Magic Zit Zapper
--Apply to any remaining zits/red splotches before putting on makeup.


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I really wish I had taken a "Before and After" picture of my face-- you would have been SHOCKED at the differences!

The first day I did this treatment, I had about 20 bumps and splotches. The next morning, it was down to about half and even the big zits were noticeably smaller! Yay! I was so happy!!!!!

After the second treatment, the only zits that remained were the big ones, and they were crusty, about to be gone, and no longer painful!

It's about time I finally took control of this problem!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Harry Potter: Through the Years

I've started a little Harry Potter marathon- I'm rewathching all of the movies! Right now, I'm on the 3rd one, Prisoner of Azkaban. I can't believe how much the 3 main characters change from movie to movie-- and I thought it'd be interesting to post pictures of them from each movie, so I can compare them side by side!



The Sorcerer's Stone (2001)


The Chamber of Secrets (2002)


The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
The Goblet of Fire (2005)


The Order of the Phoenix (2007)
The Half-Blood Prince (2009)

The Deathly Hallows (2010 and 2011)



When the first movie was released in 2001, Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) was 12, Rupert Grint (Ron) was 13, and Emma Watson (Hermione) was 11. Now, they are 21, 22, and 20, respectively.


I think it's amazing that they were able to keep the same characters through 10 years of movies-- not just Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but also the other "main" characters, like McGonagall, Snape, Neville, and Malfoy.



When I saw the first movie, I remember being amazed at how perfectly the characters were cast. My very favorite person cast in a roll was Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood. She is exactly what I pictured while I was reading. I also think that Fred and George were wonderfully cast. They were played by James and Oliver Phelps.



I guess I'd forgotten how much I really like these movies, and despite all the popular criticism, I think each and every one of them were very well done. I think it'd be extremely hard to fit all of the thousands of minute (but important) details that JK Rowling included in the books!

I can't wait until November, when part 1 of The Deathly Hallows comes out! I hope it lives up to expectation!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pounce: Undiscovered Treasures

All of these items were found using Etsy's Pounce, where you
can browse through "Just Sold" listings and "Undiscovered" listings.
Undiscovered listings come from shops that are new and haven't
had any sales yet. There are some great shops out there with
some really great, and unique handmade items!

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Save the Planet Baby Blanket


This is a handmade baby blanket with organic 100% cotton batting. With a mix of bluees and greens this would be perfect for a boy or a girl. Back of blanket is a soft cuddly stripped flannel fabric. Blanket measures 40x28

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Googly Eyed Monster Kids Lunch Sack


This funny monster is sure to bring a smile to his lunch-mate's face! Exterior is super strong cotton duck with cotton applique and the interior is fully lined with ripstop nylon. Wipe the inside clean or machine wash and hang dry when needed. Velcro closure. Height: 10"Width: 8"Bottom Depth: 3" (gusset)


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Floral Blooming Flower


A beautiful blooming flower - ttv5x5 -- 16$USD8x8 -- 20$USDContact me for other sizesIf you like this one, also see http://www.etsy.com/listing/51994600/floral-blooming-iris. Printed by a professional photo lab on Regular or Metallic paper. Please allow 3-5 business days for printing. Signed on the back, it will be shipped flat in an acid-free envelope and rigid package.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Anginetti (Italian Lemon Drop Cookies)

I was browsing through recipes on food.com and stumbled upon a recipe for Anginetti (Italian Lemon Drop Cookies) from Kim D.


(Photo courtesy of GaylaJ)

I'm a lemon lover and the pictures of these cookies really sold me!

The recipe was pretty straightforward with nothing strange, and I happened to have everything on hand, so I decided I would make them.


Here's the ingredients you need:

COOKIE:
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Vegetable Shortening
3 Large Eggs
1 1/2 tsp Lemon Extract (I used 4 tsp bottled lemon juice)
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp salt
FROSTING:
3 cups Confectioners Sugar
1/4 cup Water
1 tsp Lemon Extract (I used 5 tsp bottled lemon juice)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350.
For cookies, cream together sugar and shortening.
Add eggs and lemon extract.
The dough should be sticky and soft.
With a small cookie scoop, drop dough onto lightly greased baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until firm and lightly brown.
Remove cookies from cookie sheet and allow to cool completely on wire racks.


For frosting, combine confectioners sugar, water, and lemon extract and mix until smooth.
Frost the tops of each cookie with a metal spatula.
Allow cookies to dry before stacking.
Store in an airtight container.


These cookies turned out so well!!! They are a great summer cookie treat :-) To me, they tasted sort of like a sugar cookie with lemon. And I love this lemony frosting!

One of the reviews on the recipe's page mentioned that they just dipped the tops of the cookies into the frosting, so I tried it. This went pretty quickly, and I think it's easier than frosting each one with a spatula.
Next time, I would like to try them with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest. I think that would make them super amazing!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Joyful Heart Adoption Auction

A few days ago, I was approached by someone who requested a donation for their friend's blog. I checked out the blog and decided I would donate a $25 gift certificate.

The blog, A Joyful Heart, follows a family's journey as they adopt a little girl from China. The family and their friends are hosting a blog auction. There are lots of great deals on their blog and they'll be adding more as things come in.


The $25 gift certificate I donated has 2 bids so far and is up to $8! What a bargain!

Check out the Ankerich family's blog and feel free to bid on items that interest you!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to Can Fresh Green Beans

I just returned from a short, but relaxing trip to my grandma's house. She lives on a farm outside of a teeny tiny town in south central Missouri, and has a very nice garden, so we went down to help her put up corn and beans. Sadly, something has happened to all of her bean plants, and they are short with very few beans on them! What a bummer, but we were able to pick two bowl fulls, and added them to what my aunt and uncle had picked a few days earlier.


Grandma wanted to teach my sister and I how to can beans. We had watched this done before, but had never really helped with it, so we were excited to learn the process! Sadly, I forgot my camera at home and only had my mom's little camera to capture the process.


After picking the beans, you need to wash them to get any dirt off of them. Then, you have to break them. This means that you rip all of the ends (top and bottom) off and throw them into a trash bowl. If the beans are long, you snap them into pieces that are about 1.5 to 2 inches long. Smaller beans usually don't have to be snapped, but their ends still need to be picked off.


When you get done breaking all the beans, it's time to put them into quart-size glass jars, like a mason jar. Beforehand, make sure to wash the jars out. Fill the jars with beans, you may have to press the beans down or shake the jar to get them to settle.
While you are filling up the bean jars, you need to have a big pot of water heating on the stove. This will be the liquid that you put in the jar. Also, you'll need a pressure cooker so that you can seal the jars. Water needs to be heating up in the pressure cooker, too.

After the jars are full of beans, run a towel along the rim of each jar. You'll be putting 1 tsp of salt into each jar, and one tiny grain of salt can cause the seal of the lid to mess up. You have to make sure not to get any salt on the rim! (We were told this alot!)

So, go ahead and put 1 tsp of salt in each jar. Next, fill each one up with hot water until the jar is completely full. Again, dry off the rim so that the seal works right! Also check for any cracks or chips along the rim, because these can damage the seal, too. Put the flat part of the lid on th jar, then screw on the ring. Make sure that they are fastened tightly!



Put each jar with a lid on it in the pressure cooker. My grandma's holds 7 jars, but we only had 6 jars of beans. So, she filled a jar with water, put the lid on it, and placed it in the canner, too. This keeps the jars from rattling around while they cook. Make sure to follow your pressure cooker's directions when getting ready to can!

Here comes the more difficult part.


Once you get the canner/pressure cooker lid on tightly, you have to loosen the steamer valve so that steam can escape. Once you see the steam coming out, let it cook for 10 minutes. After this amount of time, close the steamer valve and let the pressure rise to 10psi. If it goes above 10, adjust the steamer valve until it goes back down, then close it again.


There, that's the trickiest part!

After the pressure gauge reaches 10, remove the pressure cooker/canner from the heat. You should hear 1 "pop" for each can in the canner. When you count all the pops, that means they are sealed and ready to go! Sometimes it does take a little while for the pops, and after at least 20 minutes or so, they should all be ready.


Let the jars cool completely before storing in a pantry or cabinet.


Canned beans, if sealed properly, can last up to 5 years! Fresh beans that are frozen only last about 12 months.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Look What I Just Won!

Yippee!! I love entering really great giveaways, and I love to win what's up for grabs!

I was just notified that I won this super cute canvas tote from Pouch! Pouch focuses on selling adorable purses, totes, other bags that are made out of vintage fabrics. They're focus is really pretty similar to ours- handmake quality, environmentally friendly bags.


I can't wait to get this pretty tote! I'm already debating about how I should use it- take it to the store or carry around teacher books, papers, etc.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Meet Me for Lunch?


I'm lucky enough to be one of the featured sellers in this gorgeous treasury by WrenWillow! Thanks so much-- I really appreciate it!



Check it out-

Meet Me for Lunch?

Insulated Water Bottle Holders and Drawstring Backpacks

In June, my mom, sister, mom's best friend, her daughter, and I went on an amazing road trip along Route 66. We started out in Joplin, MO and ended up in Santa Monica, CA. It was 2 weeks of laughter, fun, sightseeing, and lots of good eating!

Before our trip, I decided that I would make everyone an insulated water bottle holder and a drawstring back pack. I figured that the water bottle holders would be great for hiking at the Grand Canyon and the Sequoias. Everyone loved them and loved them even more when we found out that they really do keep water cold, and for a long time! They were great in the car, especially when we were driving across the hot desert!

And the backpacks were great for hauling all of our junk to different places! They were plenty big enough for cameras, snacks, wallets, phones, and other essential items. And they were comfortable to carry!


So, I set out on the internet in search of the perfect tutorials/patterns. I was lucky enough to come across two fantastic sites that gave me all of the information I needed. I found a great, detailed and pretty easy to follow tutorial for the backpacks. This blog gave clear, detailed pictures of the steps (which was so handy!) and great directions. If you're interested in making these backpacks, check out the Mama Backpack Tutorial at Happythings blog. I followed the directions exactly, except I didn't include pockets, which would have been nice.

I also found a great Etsy shop (Heart of Mary) that has great patterns that are easy to use and understand! This is where I found the pattern for the water bottle holders. Here's the link to the water bottle carrier e-book. Probably the best $6 I've spent in awhile!

These super cute water bottle holders go together pretty quickly and are not very hard to make. And all you need is cotton fabric for the outside and inside, insul-bright insulation (which can be found at craft stores like Joann's), and drawstring. I did find some drawstring cord stoppers (the little plastic things you can squeeze, and then you can tighten or loosen the string) on Etsy, I think they came from this shop: Sewing Supplies. These really finished the carriers up.

We took our bags and holders with us when we hiked at the Grand Canyon, and got so many compliments on them! A few ladies even suggested that we sell ours to them!

These would be great gifts or things to use when you go camping, hiking, to the park, to sports games, and so on!

I'll try to get some pictures of them soon!

Revamped Blog!

Well, I've finally accomplished what I set out to do many months ago-- revamp the blog!

A few months ago, I decided to close the blog completely, only to re-open it again a few weeks later...but I had already lost all of my followers when I closed it. Boo! That was not very smart of me!

Anyway, we have a new layout and new colors. I think it's lively and fun! We're also planning on doing some very fun things on here!

Here's a look at what's to come:

Giveaways!
Because everyone likes free stuff!

Undiscovered Days
At least twice a week, we'll feature new and undiscovered
shops from Etsy. These will be found by using their Pounce tool.
But, if you have a new shop, or know someone with a new shop, let
me know, because I just might feature them one day!

Front Page Worthy Treasuries
For Etsy treasuries that I think are really great, but probably won't make
it to the front page. There's some fantastic curators out there who's
treasuries sink to the bottom of the ginormous mass of treasuries.
This will be a chance to show them off a little!
If you have a great treasury, let me know and I'll check it out!

After-School Activities
This fall, I'll be working with elementary kids at an after-school program,
so I thought I might as well post some of the things that we're doing!
We'll have science experiments, cool snacks, fun games, good movies,
and some arts and crafts porjects! This should be fun!

Maybe a Photography Contest or Two
I think this would really be fun! Of course, there would be a prize
involved. The contests would center around a specific theme,
and after all the entries are in, everyone could vote on their favorite!

Projects I'm Working On
I've got so many things started and I'm afraid that I'll never finish them
unless I have some motivation. Maybe this will give me some desire to
finish these projects! Of course, I'll post pictures, tips, links to tutorials,
and all that good stuff!

I'm really excited to get this blog going again! If you have any ideas, just let me know! You can always reach me on here through the comments section or on Etsy, Twitter, or Facebook! Can't wait to get started!