October 25, 2014

DIY Fall centerpiece

Listen!  The wind is rising and the air is wild with leaves, we have had our summer evenings, now for  October eves! ~Humbert Wolfe

I love that quote! There's just something about the bare trees and the houses lined with pumpkins and ghouls that make Halloween come alive.  While walking throughout the store the other day, I was inspired by a bag of candy corm.  You know, that good ol' orange, yellow and white wax candy that screams Fall is here.  That is what helped me create this very simple, easy on the wallet, Fall centerpiece.  

Let's get started shall we?!

You are going to need a 24 oz mason jar (or even a washed out spaghetti jar), 2 bags of candy corn, Fall inspired ribbon and flowers.  I used fake flowers but it would be just as pretty to use real ones.  Maybe some Hydrangeas?!  I got the ribbon, and flowers at the Dollar Tree Store for, you guessed it $1 each.  There are 4 bushels of flowers (I chose a cream/peach color) and 1 roll of ribbon.  I think the Dollar Tree even has jars (hint hint)

Place the candy corn in the jar.  The 2 bags fit perfectly, minus 1 or 2 that may have ended up in my mouth.  If you are using real flowers, it maybe easier to put the flowers in first, and the candy corn in after.  

Now take your ribbon and tie a cute little bow around the mouth of the jar.  You could also chose to leave the ribbon hanging, maybe even curl the ribbon.  I personally think bows are cute.  

Now your going to be placing the flowers in the jar.  If you are using real flowers, you have already done this and can skip this step.  If not, lets proceed.  You can arrange the flowers as desired.  I think a bouquet looks better if the center is slightly higher then the outside flowers.  It makes for a nice round effect.  Now, step back and admire your work of art.  Simple, cheap and oh so cute.  Who could ask for more?

Pick up a couple of pumpkins, gourds, or indian corn.  Or maybe some candles, smaller mason jars filled with candy, leaves, oh the choices!  Check out Dollar Tree, AC Moore, or local farmers market for some inspiration.  Be creative!

Like it?  Pin it or share on Facebook  

Happy creating my friends! ~Amanda

October 19, 2014

How to make your own Mala

Be the observer of your mind.  Watch thoughts, feeling, emotions, worries come and go.  The mind thinks itself.  You do not always have to engage.  ~unknown

A mala (also known as Buddhist prayer beads) were commonly used by the Buddhist religion.  The Buddhist often used a Mala in prayer.  Malas were used for keeping count when reciting mantras or chants.  A Mala has 108 beads.  There are numerous reasons to be found as to why there are 108 beads.  Such as, Humans are said to have 108 earthly desires or there are 108 energy lines forming the heart chakra.  Either way, 108 there should be!  They are commonly made of wooden beads, but have been made using other forms of material as well.  The Buddhist used some materials like crystals or shells depending on the purpose of their prayer.  The Mala is used while holding in your hand and speaking or thinking a mantra (or affirmation) and rubbing your fingers around a bead.  Once done, proceed to the next bead and repeat the same mantra.  

Excited to make your own?  Lets get started!

I got my first Mala by a health coach and inspirational woman named Jessica Wyman (check out her blog here)  It is beautiful and I love it, but I wanted something a little more durable that could be worn on a daily bases (like, if I wanted to repeat my mantras in the middle of the day)  So, I created this simple and durable Mala.  I used wooden beads, turquoise painted (because I couldn't find the real thing) beads, red glass beads and red nylon thread.  All in all, it cost me about $15 and an hour of my time.  Feel free to get a little fancier if you want.  

Measure out your string 3 arm lengths and cut.  Tie a knot at one end so that the beads don't fall off.  Figure out how you are going to space your beads apart.  Remember, there are 108 beads total.  Start by stringing your beads in the order you want.  I used the little red beads as spacers and didn't count them in my bead total.  

Once you have finished stringing all the beads, tie the two ends together.  You can use a bead, crystal, pendant, or anything you want at the end where the two pieces meet.  I used a wooden bead and then knotted it to hold it there.  I then cut smaller pieces of thread and tied them in knots around the end knot to create a tassel effect.  

Now that you have completed your Mala, you can infuse it with crystals, Reiki, or intention.  This helps to bring energy and life to your Mala.  It may be durable, but it's still a Mala and should be treated with care.  One thing to keep in mind, the wooden beads can be absorbent and therefore can take on smells such as perfumes or lotions.  Try to avoid these while wearing your Mala.  

When you are not using your Mala, it is best to be kept in a pouch, or safe place.  It is a sacred piece and it holds all your thoughts and intentions.  It was created with love and infused with love, so treat it with love.  (a little sappy but I like it)  

Sharing is caring people.... Pin it! or share it on Facebook!  

Happy crafting!!! ~ Amanda

October 14, 2014

Want to know "The Secret"?

"Ask and it is given" ~The Secret

Some of you may have already seen the movie "The Secret" and some of have not.  If you are one who haven't, why not?  Borrow it from a friend, Netflix, You Tube, anything!  Make sure it is on your "to do" list!  I bought the movie a couple of years ago by recommendation of a friend.  It has since stuck with me.  When I'm feeling stuck, lost, or just need a little motivation, I watch it.  Sometimes I don't have time to watch it all, and I may just watch a snippet.  It's just as powerful!

So what is the secret?  Laws of Attraction my friends.  Manifestation.  Plain and simple.  What you think, and what you feel, becomes things.  Law of Attraction states, what you put out to the Universe is what you will receive back.  If you think, "I'm going to have a bad day", then guess what, your gonna have one!!  Wake up in the morning with a smile on your face and the thought that "today will be a good day", then it will be.  It's amazing the power of our minds.  Some people think they have to have special powers to make things happen.  All you need, is a thought and a feeling.  It's like magic.  We all have this magic inside of us.  We just have to learn to use it.  Put it to action.  Re train our thought process.  

Lets give an example.  I'm going to use the one from the movie because I think it resonates well.  You need a new car.  "Need."  Needing a new car is not going to get a you a car, it might actually work against you and create issues with your current car. (or if you don't have a car, it will be difficult for you to find one)  Instead, I want you to picture a car, your new car.  Now, feel yourself driving your new car.  What does the seat feel like?  The steering wheel?  What color is it?  Every detail.  Close your eyes and feel what your new car feels like.  Act as though you already have it.  When your in your current vehicle, pretend it's your new one.  This is when a vision board comes in handy.  A vision board is a collage of all the things you are looking for in life, in one place.  Some where you can visualize and feel your life coming together.  

Now that you have that down.  Lets talk about thoughts.  Remember I said "your thoughts become things".  Re training your thoughts, will help to manifest your future.  Instead of worrying about how something is going to get done, trust that it will.  This is where affirmations (positive thoughts) will come in handy.  Write things down as if they were in the present tense.  "Today, I am grateful for..."  Put them on a sticky note and place them around the house.  Put them in places you will look everyday.  On the fridge, mirror in the bathroom.  Say them while brushing your teeth, while cooking breakfast, dinner.  In the bedroom while getting ready for the day.  At work, by your desk.  Background on your phone.  Anywhere and everywhere you'll look.  Repeat them, feel them.  Here are a few ideas for you.  Feel free to use them if they resonate with you.

I hope that you walk away from this with a new view on your future.  Remember it takes 28 days to create a change in habit, so don't give up!  Interested in owning The Secret?  Buy it HERE.  If you want to get these posts right to your inbox, enter your email in the "follow by email" box on the side of my blog.  Want to share it/pin it?  Click on the little icons on the top of the page.  Thanks for sharing!

Happy Manifesting!!! ~ Amanda

October 7, 2014

A couple of photography quick tips

"Keep your face to the sun, and your shadows will be behind you"  ~Walt Whitman

I had the pleasure of indulging in a great New England Fall tradition.... apple picking!  I went with a good friend of mine and of course, brought along my camera.  Secretly, I wasn't there for the apples.  There was a sea of sunflowers that lead you to the apple trees at the back of the farm.  Perfect photo op!!!  I mean, who doesn't love sunflowers against a beautiful blue sky?  I thought, what better way to show you a few tricks then to give you some examples.  (because, of course you guys are always in the back of my head)  All of these pictures were taken with my Nikon D40 DSLR camera with a UV lens.  A UV lens helps to bring out the natural color of the object and drown out the bright light (here it was the sun) 

So, let's dive in, shall we?!

First tip: Its all about depth perception.  Just like when drawing a picture, you want to give depth to your photo.  Instead of taking a picture of the flower straight on, I moved the camera over to show all of the flowers behind it. By angling my camera slightly higher, I am able to show "levels" of depth leading all the way back to the tree line.  You first focus on the flowers but then get drawn to what is behind them as well.   

Second tip: Close ups.  Make sure your camera is focused on the object.  When the object is bigger, this can make your job easier.  It's also good idea here to again, create depth perception.  By taking a picture of part of the flower and off setting it, I was able to capture the flowers behind it.  I also wanted to make the focus the bees in the center and not just the flower itself.  So, by off setting the flower, your eyes are drawn to the bees first.   The second picture runs off the same idea.  Though the flower is not centered, you are drawn to it because it is in focus, and the rest is burry.  

Third tip:  Now, we are going to switch the focus.  The object closest, in this case the flower, is out of focus, while the background is in focus.  By having the background in focus, you are drawn to it first and then come back to the blurry flower.  At the same time, this creates depth perception.  The blurry flower in the front helps to you to perceive the size of the flowers while not taking away from the actual picture itself.  

Fourth tip: Placement.  Play around with angles.  Stand in front of, beside, on top of, behind your objects.  Try to find the best angle or light.  You could take a picture one way, change the angle and get a whole new feeling.  Also, feel free to stage your object.  The picture below was my bag of apples.  Instead of just setting it down and snapping a picture, it was placed on a bale of hay and I placed a couple of apples beside it.  This creates a different feel to the picture.  As my apples sat there, all staged and picture ready, I walked around and snapped pictures from different angles.  Below was the winner.  

Hope you found these quick tips useful.  You'll become a professional in no time.  I just know it.   Then people will be coming up to you asking "who took these amazing pictures?"  You can sit there with a smile and say "I did!"  Then, pat your self on the back, because, you deserve it. 

Like it?  Share it/pin it!

Happy snapping!!!~ Amanda

October 5, 2014

Little bit of Fall eye candy

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together" ~Vincent Van Gogh

I was outside enjoying some of what Mother Nature has to offer today and I snapped a few photos.  I thought I would do a quickie post and share them with you! I took all of these pictures using my Nikon D40 DSLR camera.  I have had it for a couple of years now and it has never steered me wrong!  I also quickly edited them using my FAVORITE editing site called PicMonkey.  If you haven't checked it out, you need to!  You can use their free editing service, or pay the small annual fee to get all access.  I found it well worth the small fee because I use it ALL the time.  It's amazing what you can do on there.  Interested in checking it out?  You can click the link provided or the PicMonkey banner on the side of my blog.  Hmmm, maybe I'll do a Pic Monkey editing post.  Anyways....

 Happy viewing!

Hope you enjoyed your little bit of Fall eye candy. If you like what you saw, share it/pin it using the icon below :)

Happy Sunday!!! ~Amanda

October 4, 2014

How I use Crystals to heal

"Healing comes when we choose to walk away from darkness and move towards a brighter light" ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Hello again!  I'm going to discuss a little bit about my friends, the crystal family.  Now, I know most of you may be thinking....ok, this chick whack, but let me break it down for you.  We all know that Earth is made up of layers, yes?  Well, one of these layers consist of rock, crystals, gems, all the good stuff.  Some of which have been sitting for thousands of years.  People dig up these rocks, gems, crystals.  You probably have one of them sitting on your finger right now!  These are the guys I'm going to be talking about today.  Crystals give off energy, just like everything else in this world.  And, every crystal gives off a different kind of energy.  There are a ton of books out there that teach you about each crystal and what they can be used for, if your looking to dig (haha no pun intended) a little more into it.  HERE and HERE are my two favorites.  I refer to them frequently.  For today, I'm going to focus on a few of the crystals that I use the most.  

From top to bottom we have Clear Quartz, Moonstone, Purple Fluorite, Rose Quartz, Tourmaline, and Rhodochrosite.  All of these stones are often found in many shapes, and sizes.  You can get them in raw form, which means they are in natural state and un polished.  Some can be dangerous in this form, in which, you would have to purchase the polished form.  Tumble stone is another form in which the stone is smooth and polished.  It is the most commonly found form of crystal. 

Clear quartz is a great stone to have around.  It is a master healer and can be used to heal most aliments.  It brings the body to balance.  Most commonly used to help clear and absorb negative energy.  I usually carry this around with me daily.  

Moonstone is mainly used to help the digestive and reproduction organs.  It has also been known to help aid sleep and sleepwalking.  

Fluorite is my stone!  When I hold this stone, I can feel it's energy right away.  I start to feel light headed and usually can't hold it for very long.  Besides it's effect on me, I have a lot of it.  I use Purple Fluorite for spirit communication.  It works with the third eye chakra and can be used during meditation.  Interesting fact: This crystal will actually start to disintegrate with use.  (pretty cool huh?!)

Rose Quartz.  Ahhh Rose Quartz.  Just holding it, you can instantly feel the love.  It's creamy pink color gives off a sense of calm.  Rose Quartz is mainly used for self love, and works best when placed near the heart.  

Tourmaline.  Now, I knew nothing about this crystal when I got it, but I was drawn to it and had to buy it.  Sometimes that just happens.  Crystals "speak" to you.  You may not even realize you needed it.  Anyways, Tourmaline, because of its pretty green color, is used for healing.  It helps to clear "blockages" and create energy flow.  

Rhodochrosite.  Ooo la-la, hold on to your pants! This little "gem" is used to invigorate sexual organs.  Bow-chica-bow-wow!  It also helps to relieve migraines by promoting blood flow.  

This, is my favorite little guy.  It is my pendulum and it is made out of Lepidolite.  We mesh well together.  I use my pendulum to communicate with my Spirit Guides and Angels.  I ask questions, it helps me get answers.  Now, let me side track for a minute.  Pendulums are great tools if used correctly.  You always want to make sure you are calling upon your "white light" team.  Make sure you are in a clear space and you yourself are clear.  If this is not the case, you may not get accurate answers.  Ok, back to the crystal.  It helps to reduce stress and anxiety, stabilizes moods and helps with emotional dependency.  

From top to bottom, Green Jasper, raw Ruby, Tourmaline (again), Onyx and raw Amethyst.  

Jasper is used for courage, assertiveness and stimulates imagination.  Green specifically aids the heart chakra.  Reduces toxicity and inflammation.  It works slowly and is best when placed in a room or specific placement on the body.  

Ruby, yup the same stuff that adorns your jewelry box.  Though, raw, uncut form is far cheaper then the polished version.  Ruby encourages passion for life and improves motivation.  It can be overly stimulating for sensitive people.  Best when placed near the heart, finger or ankle.  

Onyx gives strength.  It supports in stressful, difficult and confusing times.  It balances ying and yang and balances energies with in the body.  Great stone to have on you at all times!

Amethyst.  It relieves physical, emotional and psychological pain or stress.  It boosts production of hormones, tunes the endocrine system and metabolism. Treats insomnia and aids a restful sleep.  On a  more subtle level, it connects and balances mind, body, spirit.  

So, if you decide to acquire some new friends (Crystals I mean) or already have some of your own, care and clearing are very important.  It's always best to keep your crystals in a safe place where they won't get tossed around.  Some are very fragile and can break easily.  You can keep them in a velvet or silk bag, when not in use, to ensure they are safe and don't absorb foreign emanations.  Cleansing your crystals are just as important as storing them.  You want to cleanse them after purchase and before and after each use.  Crystals pick up energy just as well as they give off.  For this reason, if someone else handles your crystals, it is best to cleanse them after.  How do you cleanse?  Well, there are many ways but the easiest would be "smudging" with sage. Or you can hold them in your hand and imagine a white light of little scrub brushes buffing off all the energy it had absorbed. Though,  smudging is little more effective.  It is a simple process of burning sage and passing the stones through the smoke.  

Hope you learned something new today.  If you enjoyed it, share it and/or pin it!  

Happy Healing!!! ~Amanda