Letter from the Editor

The Art of Being Happy I grew up as many women did, that to be happy or "complete" we need to have a guy.  I was VERY lucky and had a great and mature husband for eleven years, but he did pass away.  People envy me, but little do they know I envy those who are secure with themselves or happily married.  I have learned you need to be happy and thrilled with yourself.  Expecting others to do that for you, can set you up for a serious disappointment. It is great when you do accidentally fall over someone who turns out to be Mr. Right, but to pursue that as the only thing to make you happy is mega mistake number two.  Mistake number three is if they are married.  That is one avenue any single person should never go down.  Those who never intend to commit, by simply looking at their past can also propose a losing pursuit. 

Part of being happy is having a purpose and when the kids are grown even those voids come unexpected.  Having a degree in Psychology, so I could understand people better, I learned many things.  This first class asked us to define "what is normal?"  Well, that is a hard one because we are all a little neurotic to one extent or the other.  I do find over all that negative pursuits never produce positive endings and when you keep over looking the negative, you make a commitment to keep wasting your precious time.  That also applies to relationships and work.  The book "The Power of Positive Thinking" pretty much saved my life after my husband passed.  My "purpose" seemed lost and I found this old first edition 1932 book of his standing out to me one day.  It was dusty and I had never even thought to open it.  The book did change my outlook and "beliefs" so much I could move forward.  I would do well to re-read it again. It was after that I wrote 22 craft books and did other meaningful things. 

The bottom line is to get back to what YOU like to do, before you can appreciate better, those around you.  The things I like to do, pre-kids now grown up?  Ice skate, dance, and sing  (even on the top of my sofa hoping no one would walk in) and just tons of stuff people over Forte' are not supposed to be doing.  You just have to get back to what YOU liked to do before the world came in and grasped some of that back.  Who cares what other people think, and when you seem you "got that chemistry back" others tend to get  jealous anyway.  I have been there.  Success breeds some very unexpected non-well wishers unless they are part of your success.  

At forty I no longer want to save the world or get to the top of that mountain.  If I do, it is because I will stand behind and support a good and solid organization or company who is not likely to be heckled.  But even churches get heckled, so who is not beyond reproach these days?  Since I like to cook, and I like people, I may just settle down and own bed and breakfast somewhere.

I feel the essence of being happy is picking your friends wisely, and being there for them--with some time out for you.  Some friends are "problem of the day club" and once you help them solve one problem, they will invent another.  You would do well to review any negative transference acquaintances may pose in your life.  

Believe it or not, what you eat is the start of a balance.  At least then, you have better coping skills for whatever does come up day to day and it is fast to make.  I make a power smoothie in a snap and that works wonders.  I stick 1/2 Apple Juice or Punch 1/2 Real Plain Yogurt, 1 Banana, three tablespoons of Bee Pollen and real wheat germ, 2 tablespoons of pure strawberry preserves in a blender and crank it up.  That seems to cover a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, and I usually get two 8 ounce cups from it.  You can add other things like a little protein powder if the taste remains palpable.  But it does help my day tremendously.  Coffee as I mentioned before can be a real agitator.  (I use the banana peel from the smoothie to blend with water and dump on my rose bed--free potassium).  I have learned that carob powder is great over any caffeine items so I drink that with milk and honey at night. Drinking allot of distilled water and walking is KEY.  Walking really does free up the mind and helps over all good feelings, along with promoting a good nights rest.  I am getting the flabby 40 but I can change that by walking more and more each day adding weights to my arms and who cares what my neighbors think.  Dancing to your favorite music is also a way to accidentally do some aerobics.  You just have to make that part of the day.  Avoid eating after 5 if possible and eat lesser portions is another technique my friends swear by.

Sometimes we get down because we are about to get ill and do not know it.  Keep an open mind. But usually we get ill because we did not eat enough fiber, balanced food, get enough sleep and so on.  The other reason would be standing near a sneeze factory and I really avoid these people when flying.  When you fly, your immune system is already down. Health food stores really do offer great solutions for flu and all, so if I am that bad off, I always go for whatever they recommend.  As a tip, few viruses can live in the same blood stream as garlic.

The feeling of accomplishment, goals and purpose, are what I try to write about.  Living comfortably and interesting on a shoe string is the presumption.  Beyond food items, your environment has a great impact.  Sleep is 1/3 of our life and we do well to respect that.  I feel now I can do things I did like to do, like enjoy the fall up North, send cool things to my kids in college and make more time for those crazy things I used to do pre-having a family to raise, like ice skate.  Yeah, you know I am a serious optimist when I say that in the start of summer!  I love pottery too, so I will be refreshing that area by attending local classes.  

So far we have:  Eat well even in a pinch, conserve the nice things you do have, make your self walk more and more (bring a pen and note pad for good ideas!), make your bed the most comfortable thing on the planet sprayed with Lavender, but do not go to bed until you are ready.  Laying in bed for no reason promotes insomnia.  Dress up or even do your hair--even if you do not FEEL like it or have too.  Wear perfume and play music that reminds you of better times.  Stay away from TV unless it is a good movie or you learn something.   Take baths with a slew of salts and essential oils you can make yourself, and enjoy it.  Light a candle when bathing!  Keep aroma candles and warmers around the house.  And if you are obsessive, like me, clean everything.  That way when you find a "purpose," like a healthy relationship you are more than organized and prepared. Click here to see "Cleaning Your Way to Happiness." Last but not least, get out more and get a feel for what is out there and get some sun.  When we tend to feel down we can get into self imposed isolation.  Get out side and plant something, even if it is in a container and all you can afford are seeds. You will feel accomplished as you watch it grow!  Take pottery classes and other things of the like.  That is where you can meet some good people and learn new things.  Avoid negative people that seem to gossip and idle things.  I hope this helps, but the main key is to make yourself more happy because other people will not always go out of their way to do that for you.

 Visit us on  fr | | f | YT |  Subscribe Free | Top | Supplies | Archives | Members
 Share |



Home Made Fabric Softener

You can still use the Downy Ball, (Proctor and Gamble are gonna kill me) but some women swear by this more economical fabric softener recipe:  3/4 of a gallon of water, 1 cup of glycerin, 1 cup of mule team borax (apparently that is good for many things), 1 cup of vinegar (optional) and 1/2 ounce of your favorite fragrance oil or essential oil.  Blend in a blender to be sure it is mixed well and pour into a nice gallon container.  I have not tried this as part of the "room spray theory" where we mix 3 parts water with one part downy, but I will let you know when I do.  Natural disinfectant oils are discussed below.

Roses and a "Banana Smoothie" Cocktail:  Home Made Fertilizer Recipe

When you make a banana smoothie for your own health, make one for your roses using the banana skins or whole over ripe banana's!  Roses are big feeders and quickly use up all the nutrients in the soil and they just love potassium.  This is true for even the best-prepared rose beds. Furthermore, many essential minerals quickly leach out due to rain and watering. Light soils are especially needy of constant nutrient replacements.  This recipe is for one rose bush.  For a rose cocktail you can also soak the banana skins in water for two weeks and spray the water directly onto the roses.  

The Queens of the garden like to be treated as royalty and this means continual fertilization and a bit of TLC. This way they will flourish and bring brilliant blooms for an extended season.  To control Black Spot spray roses once a month with water, a little cooking oil and a little baking soda.  Epsom Salts are simply superb for everything in your yard-trees, shrubs, flowers, and especially your lawn. Epsom Salts contain 16% magnesium and 22% sulfur to deepen the color, promote new growth, and even help strengthen stems and roots.

Many store bought fertilizers are available, but making your own may bring better rose results: bigger blooms and in general, a more healthy plant.  Please note Jerry Baker's Flower Feeder: 1 cup beer, 2tbsp whiskey, 1 tbsp. clear corn syrup, 2 tbsp. fish fertilizer, 2 tbsp. ammonia, 2 tbsp. liquid dish soap, 2 tbsp. hydrogen peroxide, 1 tbsp. unflavored gelatin, 4 tbsp. instant tea granules. Mix it all up with 2 gallons of warm water. He recommends feeding this to all your flowering plants every two weeks.

To make a home made brew (use no more than twice a month) in a blender or food processor, this recipe is for one plant.

  • 1 Banana skin (cutting of the woody hard to pulverize top and bottom)
  • 1/4 cup Epsom salts (The magnesium in Epsom salts assists in the metabolic process. It's usually less expensive to buy it at a drug store than at the nursery.)
  • 4 Cups of Water
  • 1 Cup of fresh grass trimmings (Optional)
  • 1 Cup of Potato Skin Peelings (So make a smoothie for lunch and mashed potatoes for dinner) 
  • A few teaspoons of milk of magnesia (if you have any around.)
  • 1/2 Cup of Cotton Seed Meal (If you have any around)
  • 2 Tbsp. of Ammonia
 Visit us on  fr | | f | YT |  Subscribe Free | Top | Supplies | Archives | Members
 Share |



Preservatives for Toiletries  and Sun Block for Lip Balm Issue

Preservatives in General  For home made bath product I understand Germaben to be the best.  Vitamin e is good but just does not have the staying power.  It appears 1% of your formula using Germaben will help the shelve life.  Mabel will carry this by fall.  GERMABEN II-E is a cosmetic preservative system manufactured by ISP Corp.  It is a thick, clear liquid which is soluble in oil & water formulas at 1% of your formula. The make up of this is, guess what?  DIAZOLIDINYL UREA 20%, METHYLPARABEN 10%, PROPYLPARABEN 10% PROPYLENE GLYCOL 60%The stuff we always see on our lotion and shampoo bottles.

 Visit us on  fr | | f | YT |  Subscribe Free | Top | Supplies | Archives | Members
 Share |



Sun Block for Lip Balm

Since very few on line sites sell much to do with lip balm, I made it a personal crusade.  The one thing I forgot was the sun block issue and I had to read up on that this week. Since we tend to eat our balm, this needs to be seriously studied.  Until now I have been recommending to buy a 30 SPF chap stick and break it down into three pots, which would give the user about 10 SPF.  That can still be pricey. Raw honey is one natural sun screen.  But the SPF is not clear. We all know zinc oxide, (diaper ointment) is a total block, so that is one consideration for an opaque block.  With this, you may want to use old lip stick to give it a "hot" color as if you meant to design it that way, on purpose.  One woman reported Cranberry lane offered it, but it seemed to be part of a kit.  I was confused by my research. Since many chemical companies and readers who would know--read this--does anyone out there know where we can buy an all natural sunscreen for our lip balms, by the gallon or any smaller amount that is safe to eat? If you do please e-mail mabelco@tampabay.rr.com

I will announce the final answer in our next newsletter.

 Visit us on  fr | | f | YT |  Subscribe Free | Top | Supplies | Archives | Members
 Share |



Bath Salt City & Packaging Charm

I never thought I would see the day I would dedicate an article just to bath salts, what would there be to say?  Until of coarse, I noticed most of the Mabel e-mail inquires and sales revolve around salts as well as fragrance.  Then I came upon a clever way to package them and thus the start of an article dedicated to bath salts.  Adorning decorative bottles with the wine charms like idea (discussed a few newsletters ago) is just perfect.  You can buy gold or silver wire in rolls at any craft store and wrap as you please around the neck of any pretty bottle.  The actual charms, heck you may have some collecting dust in your jewelry box.  If you have a little pair of pliers you are all set.  One of my avid customers, Deena Phillips, claims she ,and $920 at her kitchen table last Sunday selling these products to people who stopped by.  I am so very jealous and go right on the phone with how she managed that.  She just happens to have tons of friends.  She is going to start a littl store and call it "Panache."  Perfect.  

Bath Teas:  As a side note to packaging charm, I am about to find out if it is possible to take great bath tea bags, (just the average ones in the store) and tear off the label to add my own label pr prop, after I  dip them in special oils, and allow them to dry.  Talk about true Bath teas with the labor intensive work out!    So far Thyme, Rosemary, and Lavender rank.  I do not doubt Chamomile would take the lead, however. and be more easily accessible.  I do know plain old rice with some essential oils is great for the skin and spas use this is their own muslin bags.

What Do Bath Salts Do?  

They add valuable trace minerals to bath water and more importantly make the water soft.   I wish I would have known that when I lived in the mountains, having only hard water to bath with.  Bath salts also have healing properties that range from psychical to psychological.  Bath salts are also one of the most economical projects all toiletry making pursuits.  You can make a pound of quality salts for under $1 and sell them for as high as $20 pound.  

How Do I Color Salts?

Bath salts can be colored with plain old food coloring.  If you are mixing for a certain shade, such as purple, you would mix red and blue first, get your purple and then mix into the salts.

What Other Ingredients Go Into Bath Salts?

You can use plain salt, but many salt recipes call for Rock salt, Epsom salt, and then with a combination of baking soda, a little citric acid if you want fizz, a little glycerin if you want a moisturizer, a little borax if you aim for more softening properties, soap chips if you want bubbles, and of coarse any fragrance you are after. A few drops of vitamin e oil may be a nice touch.  If you want to get fancy you can also add a just a little dry milk, powdered oatmeal or buttermilk.  Incidentally, rice water is supposed to be a great spa treatment and all it is rice put into a muslin bag placed under hot running water.  I imagine the rice could have a few drops of essential or fragrance oil added to it.  It is very hard to mess up when making bath salts. The more sticky you make them the wider mouth jar you should store them in.  You do not want a situation where they will not pour out easily.  We dry ours in the open air for a day if we are using too many wet ingredients.

What Essential Oils or Fragrance Oils are Effective?

It depends on what effect you are after.  Citrus scents such as Mango or Lemon are reported to really lift down spirits and even help those who loose memory.  Cardamom is also reported to assist in this department.  Lavender as well as rosemary are pretty well known for relaxation and bed time material.  A general rule of salt making thumb is that the longer the salts are mixed with the fragrance, the more potent they will be.  Some "gourmet" salt makers reportedly "age" their salts at least two weeks.  

What About Adding Herbs?

They look lovely, but may clog your drain.  Lavender petals are small enough this usually is not an issue.  I wonder how rosemary would do!

Other Ideas for Presentation

Layering different colored bath salts is a lovely idea.  Recipients get to work their way down to the next color and scent as each bath is taken!  The photo at the top of this page is what started all of this.  Pouring salts into decorative bottles is just such a neat idea.  Wrapping a metal wire around the neck a few times and then allowing part of the wire to hang down with a charm attached is very powerful and permanent presentation.  The recipient would want to save this bottle forever!  We noticed bath oil can be delivered the same way. 

What About Dead Sea Salts?

I am still looking to prove that salt is just salt but the research does indicate Dead Sea Salts to be the highest in mineral content.  Still, how do we know they are really from the Dead Sea?  In ancient times, nomads traveled the desert to enjoy the soothing baths of the Dead Sea salts. Royalty also traveled for miles to take advantage of the Dead Sea salts that they believed restored their youth. They dubbed the Dead Sea salts the fountain of youth. Known in Biblical times as the Eastern Sea, the Romans called it Mare Mortuum, the Israeli Geographic office called it The Sea of Salt.

The Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, is near Jerusalem in the Judean Desert in a secluded location. Dead Sea salt was spared the ravages of modern pollution and poor environmental impact. Some of the same salts found in human cells are located in the Dead Sea salts. These synonymous Dead Sea salts or minerals are calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium and iron, sulphur, phosphorus and chlorine. These compatible components with Dead Sea salts are beneficial producing a rejuvenating and revitalizing effect on skin and general stress. Dead Sea salts contain an endless source of balanced elements to promote great health and tone.

 Visit us on  fr | | f | YT |  Subscribe Free | Top | Supplies | Archives | Members
 Share |



Aromatherapy and Home Recipes

For thousands of years, man has used essential oils for curing or alleviating ailments and their symptoms. Contrary to popular belief essentials oils are not just lovely smells, they all have antiseptic properties. So simply by burning them, you are helping cleanse your environment.

Essential oils have many medicinal properties eg. analgesic, anti fungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antispasmodic, antidepressant, skin healing, sedative, stimulating and balancing plus many more.

Click here for a 2 page PDF detailing common uses of essential oils.  Click here for essential oil benefits.

 Visit us on  fr | | f | YT |  Subscribe Free | Top | Supplies | Archives | Members
 Share |



Rosemary Mouthwash (I LOVE this stuff!)

 2 cups of distilled water, 4 tablespoons of Vodka, ½ cup of rosemary, ¼ cup of parsley, ¼ cup of mint, 1 drop of mint oil, 1 drop of clove oil, 1 tsp honey. 

Throw into a blender and strain into a pretty bottle.  Keep the mouth wash refrigerated.

 Lavender Deodorant Stick  (My friend's want to walk off with this!)

1 1/2 ounce SoyWax™, ½ ounce beeswax, ¼ cup of macadamia oil, 5 drops of lavender oil, 1 tsp alum,  and 1-teaspoon coriander oil.  Melt bees wax in a disposable plastic container in the microwave until just, melted.


Triple Herbal Disinfectant Spay

2 cups of vodka or witch hazel, 3 drops of tea tree oil, 3 drops of lavender oil, 3 drops eucalyptus, 3 drops of rosemary essential oil.

Avocado Exfoliating Salt Scrub

2 cups of Epsom salt or sugar, ½ cup of avocado oil, A few drops of lemon oil.

 Revitalizing Lemon Mint Body Spray

 6 ounces of with hazel or Vodka, 10 drops of lemon oil, 10 drops of mint oil.

Rose Baby Powder

½ cup of French pink clay or calamine powder, ½ cup of arrowroot powder, 1 teaspoon of comfrey powder, 1 teaspoon of golden seal powder, 2 drops of rose fragrance oil, mix until blended and store in a shaker.

Rose Baby Bottom Balm

4-ounce tube of zinc baby diaper ointment, 1 tsp calamine powder, 2 broken vitamin e capsules, 1 tablespoon of dried rose petals, 1 tablespoon of calendula or comfrey oil, blend all in the food processor and pour into jars.

Cleaning Your Way to Happiness!

Place your favorite music to dance while you clean!

Open your windows to let fresh air in!

Drink water as much as possible!

Clean with orange and lemon oils that give a natural lift!

Burn Mango or Coconut candles or warmers to feel very uplifted.

Burn some sage before and after you finish.  Sage is reported to eliminate odors, as well as cedar and sweet grass.

 Visit us on  fr | | f | YT |  Subscribe Free | Top | Supplies | Archives | Members
 Share |



Contest for Craft Sellers

Mabel has about 10,000 subscribers and at least a few hundred sell items at country stores, craft fairs, or even at their kitchen table.  No one seems near each other and I doubt you would do anything but enhance your own income by sharing what works for you.  Just one example, a Craft Fair person in Maryland set out to sell soaps but swears her dip mixes and flavored vinegars sold much better and before long her focus was on the dip mixes.  I can assume that is because everyone likes to eat!  So all of your experiences add up and it would be great if you would share a paragraph as to what you started out doing and what you ended up doing, that worked.  These tips will be compiled into a book rather quickly and distributed to all those who contributed.  I really wish all people in this focus area would participate.  Please e-mail mabelco@tampabay.rr.com with your story and you will get a PDF or e-Book mailed to you within a few weeks of the composite of what seems to succeed and sell best.  How to Sell Your Crafts, a great book that I wrote--I will e-mail you pronto as a gift.  I estimate there will be a few hundred entries for this composite and any idea that works is a good one, so please share.  Subject title Craft Story and mention if you prefer to stay anonymous or want your business name mentioned.

Get a Recipe Book for Free!

We are in the process of writing Kitchen Art's Volume II for the fall line.  If you truly have a recipe for stacked dinners in jars, cakes, whatever, that is your own, and does work great, please share it.  It should also be original as we sure do have enough items like chocolate chip recipes and bean soup recipes.  But if it is "the bomb" please submit.  It can even be a secret family BBQ sauce or dry dip mix.  People who participate in this and have a sincere submission will get the Volume of Kitchen Art's II when it comes out, PDF Format, and Kitchen Art's Volume I right away via e-mail.  Please e-mail mabelco@tampabay.rr.com with your recipe and subject title Recipe for Kitchen Art's Volume II.  Again, you can let us know if oyu want credit or if you prefer to stay anonymous.

Did You Know?

  • Carnations and Snap Dragons last for weeks.  They are the best fresh flower of choice.

  • Pure orange essential with a Q-Tip will get and greasy grime off your keyboard?  Be very careful not to drip down the side of the keys.  But gunk comes right off--even a years worth of spilled coffee and dinners.  Do not use any other orange fake oil as they add fake color and your keyboard will be orange.  Most other PC items should be wiped down with alcohol as it evaporates rather quickly.  This does not apply to fancy screens or lap top screens.

  • Shrink wrapping is easy and requires only a hot blow dryer!  It can make old items, like used CD's look new. Just don't tell my kids! 

  • You can buy a cheap pitcher frame and glue gun all kinds of neat things to it.  Old jewelry, what have you.  The same goes for magnets.  A glue gun is a crafters best friend and they generally run under $20.

  • You can shred your excess soap projects for bath confetti.  More so if you use bright colors.  Citric acid will help keep it separated and a little baking soda will start the fizz.  Crafters report these confetti bags sell better than all of their products, perhaps this is because it is a small priced impulse item.  Our bath salt containers are perfect for that packaging and so are small shrink bags with bright colored ribbon around the teepee. 

  • Just the same, you can use candle sheds and particles for future use.  I keep all of my shreds of soap or candles in mason jars for later consideration.  But I figure if the new wax beads work with just a wick, your candle shred should be no problem either.  You may also desire to throw them in a candle mold and pour paraffin over them for a more solid candle.

  • Electric aroma warmers are just coffee warmers that you would sit on your desk.  This is great for dorms and resorts that do not allow and kind of candle burning.  The warmer does need a heat proof container such as a pretty ceramic piece..  Some people make the mistake of using glass and it does not take long to break, oozing oil or wax tarts all over the place.

  • Sage is supposed to cause an "odorless" effect when burned, such as eliminating the smell of cigarette smoke.  When I saw a fragrance called "Odorless" I had to find out what that could be.

  • I am looking for pottery makers and glass artists.  I am also looking for old clear ink wells and apothecary glass to carry in the Mabel line.  Any help, let me know.      


 Visit us on  fr | | f | YT |  Subscribe Free | Top | Supplies | Archives | Members
 Share |