craft your cleaner

Happy Earth Day! I meant to have a grand celebratory post but with gardening season in full swing, custom art orders to finish and rehearsals for a play – I missed the opportunity.  So instead, I thought I’d share with you a really cool and simple way to help save the planet and your household from the toxic chemicals found in cleaning products.

Craft Your Own Vinegar Orange Peel All-Purpose Cleaner.

This is a natural and super-cheap disinfectant that works on almost all surfaces and eliminates grease, grime, germs, mold and bacteria. Now, I know your thinking, “but won’t my house will smell like vinegar?” Yes, but the smell goes away pretty quickly – and at least your lungs won’t be burning from chemical fumes so basically, I’m saving your life.  You’re welcome.

Now, you can either peel a bunch of oranges {or lemons, grapefruits, what-have-you} in one sitting or you can save them up over a few days in the fridge {don’t wait too long, however or the natural oils in the peels will dry up}.  The oils in the peels do jack up the cleaning power and provide a more pleasant scent. Grab a big mason jar and cram it full of peels.  Cover the peels to the almost tipy-top with white distilled vinegar.  Stash them in a cupboard for a couple of weeks to a month. Strain the liquid and store in a jar – glass is best. It should store for many months up to a whole year.

Orange Peels & Vinegar.

Now, you can dilute the stuff for a more general multi-purpose cleaner or use more concentrated for a tougher cleaner. Use a clean, re-purposed spray bottle {or a new one if you must} and pour in about 2 cups of the solution into the bottle and fill with water. Shake before each use. I use this on counters, sinks, mirrors, toilets, appliances, floors, windows, wood, metal, laminate, tile & glass. It works great. I read however, that it’s not good to use vinegar on stone, granite or marble surfaces – so don’t do that.

Orange Peel Vinegar Cleaner.

Since I’ve been using this recipe for a while now and love it – I can’t wait to get creative with it and try some other scents and combinations.  Once my herb garden comes in, I thought I’d try fresh mint, rosemary, marjoram and thyme! You can also skip the citrus peel thing and add essential oils to a 1:1 vinegar/water solution.

Enjoy! You will feel so good saving money, your health and the planet. Plus, a clean house to boot!

Mother Earth thanks you.


wildflower ♥

Another inspiring hike through Mammoth Cave National Park yesterday. When not focusing on the trail – I tried to snap the wildflowers I saw so I could study up on them later.  Good to know what your gazing at when your trekking through nature…and very interesting to learn about their Native American uses.

“May your life be like a wildflower…growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day.”           ~ Native American proverb

Spring Green by OliveLoaf Design
Spring arrives at Green River in Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky.
Fire Pink by OliveLoaf Design
Fire Pink, Silene Virginica. Pink Family.
Green River Sadie by OliveLoaf Design
Miss Sadie contemplates the Green River Valley.
Crested Dwarf Iris by OliveLoaf Design
Crested Dwarf Iris, Iris Cristata. Iris Family
Bluebells by OliveLoaf Design
Bluebells, Mertensia Viginica. Borage Family

“You belong among the wildflowers. You belong somewhere you feel free.” ~Tom Petty

forest unfurling

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ~John Muir

We took a shortcut to the lake through the woods behind le homestead looking for morels. We witnessed the forest unfurling, but found no mushrooms.

Budding Tree by OliveLoaf Design
Budding Tree.
Red Buds & Blue by OliveLoaf Design
Eastern Redbud, Cercis Canadensis.
Fiddlehead Fern by OliveLoaf Design
Fiddlehead Fern.
Forest Unfurling II by OliveLoaf Design
Yellow Trout Lily, Erythronium Americanum. Lily Family.
Butterweed by OliveLoaf Design
Butterweed, Senecio Glabellus. Composite Family.
Spring Beauty by OliveLoaf Design
Spring Beauty, Claytonia Virginica. Purslane Family.

“Solitude is the soil in which genius is planted, creativity grows, and legends bloom; faith in oneself is the rain that cultivates a hero to endure the storm, and bare the genesis of a new world, a new forest.” ~ Mike Norton, White Mountain

dream elephant

I’m excited to finally share this recent project with you. It was a labor of love designed for a baby’s room. It’s approximately 14″ x 17″ with canvas and frame. For the elephant, clouds, balloons & stars – paper mache clay creates a 3-D effect. Painted with acrylic paints.Dream Elephant by OliveLoaf Design

I first sketched out the concept so I had a clear vision to follow as I created the piece.

For fun I added semi-hidden words that were made from alphabet pasta! So cute. The elephant holds balloons attached to shiny paper string.

Contact me at if you are interested in a custom paper mache painting. I would love to work with you to create an origianl personal keepsake for you or your loved ones.


little bunny!

Now in Le Shoppe this adorable Little White Paper Mache Bunny. Handcrafted from newspaper/paper mache, painted with acrylic, a little glitter sprinkled here and there and it comes in a teeny re-purposed gumball machine plastic capsule.

Little White Paper Mache Bunny

It’s one-of-a-kind and how cute is that little cotton tail…

Cute Little Glitter Tail.

Ready for your Easter basket!

Little Bunny in a Capsule.




crafty sprouts

Craft Your Own Sprouts:

Homemade sprouts is a MUCH healthier alternative to buying from a conventional store {you don’t know what those things have been grown in} and they super-duper healthy. Sprouts have enzymes {special types of proteins that act as catalysts for all your body’s functions}, the protein in the beans, nuts, seeds or grains improves when sprouted,  vitamin content increases {this is especially true of vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E} and sprouts are alkalizing to your body {many illnesses including cancer have been linked to excess acidity in the body}. 

Sprouting is very easy and fancy contraptions and thing-a-ma-jigs are not needed. Large wide-mouth jars are best – but you can use any mason or re-purposed jar {just adjust the amount of seeds/beans you use as the sprouts expand, a lot}.

The jar left has clover, arugula, china rose radish, and fenugreek certified organic sprouting seeds and the jar right is organic mung beans.

Place a small amount of seeds in the jar and cover with purified/filtered water. Cover mouth of jar with cheesecloth {make sure it’s food grade and unbleached is best} and secure with rubber band {re-purposed from store-bought veggies}. Cover seeds with purified/filtered water. Soak overnight in a warm spot.

The next day, dump out water through the cheesecloth. Place jars in warm and indirect sunlight. Rinse with water one or two times each day – the mung beans may need to be rinsed more often. Sprouting will begin in a few days. Smaller seeds sprout faster, mung a little bit longer. When sprouts are ready rinse and dry on towels. Make sure they are very dry before storing.

Home Crafted Sprouts!

Enjoy immediately or store in fridge for a week or so.


commune with nature

{via Karen Kaplan/L.A. Times}

Communing with nature can recharge your creativity according to findings from the study called the Attention Restoration Theory (ART). It suggests that exposure to nature can replenish our cognitive reserves when they are worn out by overuse. And if you live a modern urban or suburban life, your cognitive reserves are surely depleted.

“Our modern society is filled with sudden events (sirens, horns, ringing phones, alarms, televisions, etc.) that hijack attention. By contrast, natural environments are associated with a gentle, soft fascination, allowing the executive attentional system to replenish.”

Baby Fiddle Head Ferns by OliveLoaf Design

The Attention Restoration Theory also states that not only do people concentrate better after being in nature, but that even looking at scenes or photographs of nature helps with concentration and creativity.

Good to know! No wonder I’m more inspired to create after a walk in the woods. And it definitely helps if I’m having a creative dilemma or need to clear the brain clutter. {No iPods & Smartphones allowed!} If you can’t be amongst the wild things today – gaze upon the baby fiddle head fern or these little wildflowers…

Tiny wildflowers begin to awaken throughout the woods in South Central Kentucky. By OliveLoaf Design

crafty homesteady

I received a lovely note from a fan:

“I just wanted to tell you that I really like your blog and your crafts. I especially love it when you post things about your homestead and “homesteady” how-to things. I wanted to encourage you to keep at it and give us more, more, more! You are an inspiration!”  -Marni N. from Harrisburg, PA

Wow! That was awesome. Thank you Marni!  I try to branch out and post more lifestyle things just to round out the OliveLoaf Design concept. So with that encouragement, let’s give it a shot. We’ll call it: Crafty Homesteady. I thought I’d focus on things that interest me the most: Re-Purposing, Re-Cycling, Up-Cycling, Organic, Non-GMO, Natural, Homemade, Plant-Based/Vegan, Healthy and Whole. {Is that enough?!} Here’s the first installment…

Craft Homemade Vegetable Broth:

I don’t know about where you live, but around here organic, low sodium/no salt added vegetable broth is pretty pricey.  Do it yourself. Save ALL of your veggie, citrus and herb scraps in the freezer until you have several bags. We have tons around le homestead as we are plant-based. Cram them into a big ole pot or slow cooker {you may have to do a few batches}. Add bay leaf, whole peppercorns, smashed garlic cloves and/or bouquet garni with fresh herbs from your summer garden. Cover all this with water & cook it down until you have a delightful vegetable broth. Salt if you must and strain. Save in re-purposed/mason jars {better with glass} in the fridge or freeze. Compost remaining veg waste. 

Veggie Broth Brew

Not only will you now have homemade vegetable broth at the ready for all of your soup and sauce needs – but you can replace oil for sauteing too.

the inspirational moustache

OliveLoaf Design:

In the ongoing quest to update le blog via Flashback Friday’s – here’s a flashback to 2011 & The Inspirational Moustache book my mustache wares were featured in. This is also a notice that I will no longer be offering Custom & Made-to-Order Mustaches & Lips on Sticks in le Shoppe. There are a few available Ready-to-Ship Glamorama Lips & ‘Staches on sale but after they’re gone – that’s it! Time for NEW goodies!  Get 15% off by using the code: MUSTACHELIPS at checkout. Cheers!

Originally posted on OliveLoaf Design:

Earlier this year, I was thrilled to be asked to submit to a new book project  by Cicada Press. It’s a UK publishing company that produces books about art, design, craft & visual ideas.

Their new release “The Inspirational Moustache” by Ziggy Hanaor is “a humorous survey of the millennial moustache boom” featuring photographs, illustrations, short, witty texts, a handful of moustache-related craft ideas, a summary of key moustache styles (pencil, handlebar, walrus, fu manchu, etc), plus funky visuals of such key cultural moments as *MOvember* (November: Moustache Awareness-Raising Month), finger moustaches and of course the World Beard and Moustache Championships.So my copies arrived the other day!

I sent them a paper-mache mustache-on-a-stick…you can “Fake Your Own”

And a “How-To” to Make Your Own

“The Inspirational Moustache”  is super clever, entertaining & crafty! It’s available at Amazon now…BUT! I have a copy to give away! Just leave a…

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