1.25.2016

It's Time for Something New


Sometimes it's simply good for good things to come to an end. For long, beautiful days to wind down, for books to resolve themselves, for the flicker of a flame after a long life of lighting up a dim room, to all at once, fade into the darkness of night.  It's important, I think, to know when to say goodbye and to learn how to let go and to say with courage, "It's time for something new." 

I am bidding adieu to It's the Little Things and hello to a new chapter, a new voyage. There you will find many of my past treasures sitting on the shelf, waiting to be read and seen in a new light.  You can think of my new project as an organic extension of this one. A place better suited to share all that brings me happiness in the way I thirst and crave to share it. I will always have the utmost love and respect for this blog, for it was here that I journaled and made things and shared our story with you. As for the countless friendships I've made here, my heart swells knowing we've been able to connect and grow together. I cannot thank you enough for your constant support and encouragement, and I hope you'll continue to follow our story.

It is with excitement and a ridiculous amount of joy that I share with you my new project. You can find me now over HERE, where I'll be waiting with a smile and a warm welcome.

With Care,

Amanda

*This site will remain up for a short period of time and will soon take you directly to my new online home.

12.31.2015

our holiday season 2015


this holiday season was such a good one for us five.  we stayed home here in kansas city and made our best efforts to do a whole lot of nothing together.  there was lots of lounging.  lots of home-cooked eats.  only the very best of slow, winter offerings.  when i reflect back on this season, these past few weeks especially, i feel it can really be summed up into two choice words: baking & play.  but should it be any other way?  i don't think so either.  there is still a fine dusting of white flour on our kitchen's hardwoods and a glass container of cookies on the counter for mid-day nibbling.  i made oh, about four loafs of crusty no knead bread, and all of it is gone having been the source of yummy breakfasts along with raspberry jam and salted butter.  and as for play?  each of the kids had a ball with the magic of christmas and snow (finally!) and running around with their new toys.  there are dolls and cars strewn about in every room and crafts hanging here and there and new books piled up for reading before nap time.  this season we gathered.  we cozied up.  we wore jammies until supper and then took long baths in the evening.  we diffused pine and eucalyptus and lavender.  we stayed put and lit fires each night and sipped cocoa and watched funny movies.  we drank nice wine, topped our balsam fir tree with an angel stella made at preschool, and put taped cards of loved ones on our wall in the dining room.  we just really enjoyed each other's company which is what it's all about.  it was good and slow and joyful.  here are a few captures from this special time of year.  i hope yours was wonderful, too.  see ya in the new year, friends! 

12.23.2015

handmade // holiday gift quote labels



to those looking for a last-minute, handmade, original way to add a bit of comedy to their gift holiday labels, this one's for you!!  i had my embosser laying around from when i made my all-natural essential oil diy gifts the other day and the idea came to me that this nifty tool would make one heck of a cute labeler for our holiday presents this year.  i typed out everyone's name and added a favorite christmas movie quote for a little chuckle on the side.  i had a ball coming up with quotes, there are so many good ones out there!

here are a few of our favorites, i am betting they are well known in all of your homes, too:

"SANTA!!!! I KNOW HIM!" - Elf

"KEVIN!" - Home Alone

"Nobody's walking out on this fun, old-fashioned family Christmas" - Christmas Vacation

"Ya filthy animal" - Home Alone

"You'll shoot your eye out" - A Christmas Story

so fun, right!?  what are your favorite holiday movie quotes?  merry (almost) christmas! 

12.21.2015

handmade // preserving your garden


yesterday i had a bit of down time to hang some holiday wreathes and red velvety bows on our big ol' colonial.  i had been meaning to for some time now, but more important things kept getting the better of my attention and so outdoor holiday decor was on the back burner.  after slipping on my clogs i made my way outside and stood on a wobbly chair for far too long.  i hummed away, the brisk air biting my fingers, and hung things that made our home look like one big christmassy present.  as i made my way to the back yard i casually passed our old, abandoned garden on the way to the compost pile.  and to my surprise, parsley and lavender and thyme were growing out of the dark, hard dirt!  and not just growing, but they were rather abundant!  it's the weekend before christmas and some of these plants were looking healthier than they had been in months.  leave it to the fickle midwest to keep us on our toes, right?  maybe it will snow in, oh i don't know, may of this new year?  

after hanging the last of our bows i headed indoors to get my herb drying supplies.  i use my trustee pair of sharp garden shears and simple white bakers twine purchased at the dollar store.  i went back out and snipped all the healthy greens from the bed at their base and brought them inside and cleaned them up.  i tied the twine around the end of the stems, making a tight knot.  i then made a little loop for which to tie, and fastened them on my peg rail to dry.  i hung them in a row and stood back, happy with my seeing bits of spring and summer preserved within the walls of our home. 

the hallway off the kitchen smells really yummy and now i'll have home-grown herbs for a variety of things such as soups, stocks, and stews.  i plan on tucking that dried lavender into small canvas bags for our draws to keep them smelling good.  a pretty clever idea for andrew's smelly sock drawer i think!  so if you have some herbs growing outside or maybe some tucked in your crisper in the fridge and don't think you'll be getting to them before they turn, go ahead and try this method on for size.  and merry christmas to you!

12.19.2015

essential oils // rosemary citrus body balm + floral bath salt + lavender spruce linen spray


a few nights ago i stood in the kitchen after taking turns with andrew tucking our babes into bed with a newfound energy and unexpected vigor having it been so late.  musical beds has been a theme over here this week, if you have little ones, you get it.  after pouring myself a nice red and turning on some holiday tunes, i found i had a bit of lighthearted determination to make some holiday gifts with my oils.  i've always loved a good homemade gift over something bought from a store, and i tend to think most people feel this way too, because deep down we all can agree little intention goes a long, long way these days.  a homemade gift says, "hey, so i might be pretty busy but i carved out some time for you.  and i made this.  so enjoy, my dear."  because i wholeheartedly believe in this sweet sentiment, i like to pass out all the homemade goodies for christmas.  almost everyone we are gifting to will get something diy from the watters family, whether it be a salt dough ornament, a hand-rolled beeswax candle, or an oily treat.

the best part of making oil-based gifts for me, aside from the fact that i get so much joy from concocting remedies from healthful, natural products, is that i get to make them at home in my favorite space without having to go to the store.  i just head to my pantry, grab what i need, and soak up my mama time.  our kitchen is the place i most prefer when i need my mind to wander and when i want to create.  so naturally, i gravitate towards this space when making homemade products for my family and friends.

we have amazon prime, which i highly recommend so many reasons, and so a few times each year i restock our natural goods pantry with all the basic things.  i am putting together an oily pantry post for 2016, but for this specific post, you will need the following to make rosemary citrus body balm,  floral bath salt, and lavender spruce linen spray.

- beeswax pellets (stay away from the big bars, they are too much work)
- coconut oil (get the kind that is hard when cool, stay away from the liquid for this recipe)
- vitamin e oil
- shea butter
- epsom salts
- distilled water
- dried lavender flowers (optional, but really lovely)
- 100% pure essential oils (we use young living and i cannot say enough about the quality of their products)

it is best to buy organic when able. if you are going to all this work to make a nice natural product, it makes sense to ensure you are using quality ingredients every step of the way. it is also wonderful if you can purchases these items in bulk to both save money and stock your pantry for future creating.  i do this and have a special cupboard where i keep everything stocked so when i am feeling inspired or simply need a natural remedy, i am all set ingredient wise.

after making many, many body butters and salves over the past several years i have stumbled on what i feel to be the best ratio for what i am calling a balm.  you will need a double boiler or some glassware you won't mind getting a bit of wax on.  the beeswax is integral to these most of my oily recipes, and know it will ruin pretty much whatever you mix these ingredients in.  i use a pot of water  for boiling and a large glass pyrex mixing bowl with a handle and pour spout, that does the trick.  find what works for you and call it good. now for the recipes.

rosemary citrus body balm (or butter, depending on what label you prefer)

to make this balm, melt together 1/2 cup organic coconut oil, 1/2 cup organic shea butter, 1/4 cup vitamin e oil, 1/4 cup organic beeswax pellets.  once translucent and melted together, pour this liquid into small glass containers, mason jars work well.  depending on the size of your jar, add several drops of quality essential oils to your liking.  for the small mason jar i have in the photos above, i used 5 drops of orange oil, five drops of grapefruit oil, and five drops of rosemary oil so fifteen drops total.  the combination of citrus and herb is one of my favorite.  i usually lean towards pairing an acid with an earth element when making lotions, balms, and butters because the result is usually uniquly uplifting, yet grounding.

floral bath salts with dried lavender flowers

this is the easiest recipe ever, yet it produces a really beautiful and spa quality product, one that is calming for bath time.  pour epsom salts into your preferred container filling it half way.  again, i use small mason jars for this because i always have them on hand.  add ten drops of a floral oil of your choice, i use the young living oil blend called joy.  it is a blend of bergamot, ylang ylang, geranium, rose, lemon, coriander, tangerine, roman chamomile, and palmarosa.  it's warm and sweet and joyful, hence its' aptly chosen name.  after adding your desired amount of essential oil, throw in a few dried lavender flowers.  this not only adds a beautiful element to your salt mixture, but tell me, who doesn't love taking a good soak in a steaming lavender bath?  it's luxurious!  after this step, fill your jar the rest of the way with more epsom salt, leaving a little room at the top.  give it a good shake.  you're done! tell your gift recipient to add a palmful to their warm bath time routine and enjoy.

lavender spruce linen spray 

we adore linen sprays in this home.  in fact, they have become part of our bedtime routine, and a fun one at that, as am always changing them up according to the season.  i do however almost always add lavender oil as the base of my spray because it helps us sleep and is really soothing.  for winter, i prefer adding oils that reflect this season's nature, such as pine, spruce, and fir.  i chose idaho blue spruce for this blend and it smells ridiculously yummy.  to make this linen spray, add a small pinch of fine sea salt to a small amber spray bottle.  the oil needs something to hug and bind to, thus the salt.  add ten drops of lavender oil and ten drops of spruce oil to the bottle, swirl that around so the oil and salt marry.  fill the rest with distilled water and shake.  i like purchasing my amber bottles here, for the curious.

and for the final piece of this puzzle, labeling!  one can go about this however they so choose, but i have quite enjoyed using my handy little embossing tool to give my homemade goodies a fun and original label.  make sure to get a few extra rolls of tape for when you inevitably run out.  it's a bummer when you're mid-way through typing body butter and the tape expires, leaving you with the ever so lovely b o d y b u t t label.  come to think of it, some of your friends may favor your more clever label names.

i have linked all the oils i used for these recipes for your connivence and so you can read about them if you're an oil user like me or if you're a novice and simply want to know more.  if by chance you're wanting to incorporate essential oils into the rhythm of your everyday, give me a holler!  i'd love to chat more about this with you.  happy crafting, friends, and don't forget to make a few extra of these for yourself. ;)