Keep Your Fur Baby in Mind During Spring Cleaning Time

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Spring is here and along with the bursting colors that surround us arrive pollen dust, insects and the shedding of furry winter coats.  It becomes more difficult to ignore some cleaning that may have been neglected over the winter. Let’s face it as wonderful as it is to have our fur babies in our lives, they can keep us busy cleaning up a variety of messes.  When it comes to getting down to the nitty gritty of keeping a clean home, I rely on 2 every day products that is safe for all. White Vinegar and baking soda.  Ok, so not anything earth shatteringly amazing, I know but they truly are the cleaning version of the super foods generation.  Some people don’t love the strong scent of the white vinegar and I get that but did ya know with a few extra steps you can have the ka-chow power of vinegar and lovely earthy scents of your favorite herbs? Now, I don’t know if you are like me where if I can buy it I won’t make it because I simply just don’t have the time.  This is one of those exceptions for me because it is so super simple to make and I get to make it just the way I like it.  I would definitely check to make sure the herb you want to infuse the vinegar with isn’t toxic for your babies.  You can refer to ASPCA’s list here.   Here is my favorite go-to recipe for lavender infused vinegar that I found on Little Green Dot.

LAVENDER ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dried lavender
  • water

Directions:

  • in a glass jar, mix the vinegar and dried lavender.
  • Seal shut allow to sit in a sunny spot for 10 days
  • strain out the lavender and reserve the infused vinegar
  • in a spray bottle mix 1 part lavender infused vinegar to 2 parts water

**Please note that vinegar should not be used on marble, travertine or limestone tabletops, counters or floors, as the acid may damage the surface. When in doubt, always test on small area to test for reaction or discoloration.

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Magical uses of baking soda:

Ok besides the fun fizzy reaction when you combine baking soda and vinegar, baking soda actually is a super inexpensive way to clean a ton of surfaces in your home.  Below are some ways I use baking soda to keep my house all sparkly.

Pet Accidents:

This is such a touchy topic for most pet owners. We would all like to imagine that our sweet babies would never do such a thing, but lets face it. IT happens.  Below are great recommendations from Cesar Milan’s website using some of the products above.  I also included my personal favorite for using in my carpet cleaner.

Light carpet stains

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

Combine ingredients and mix until salt dissolves. Soak a washrag with the mixture and use it to rub out the stain. Let the solution dry, then vacuum.

Heavier carpet stains

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp borax

Combine ingredients and mix until salt and borax dissolve. Soak a washrag with the mixture and use it to rub out the stain. Let the solution dry, then vacuum.

Tough, ground-in stains

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Combine the ingredients and form a thick paste. Rub it into the stain using a dry cloth. Let it set for two days, then vacuum.

My personal favorite for using in my carpet cleaner and for quick stains. Some people don’t care for the smell but I love it.  You can find it on Amazon as well as read the feedback from other users:

Sunny & Honey

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I also love my steam mop.  It tackles tough gunk and makes me feel like the floor is spic and span. There are many models out there and the one I use and love is the Shark Steam Pocket Mop

Fighting insects can be a tough problem to tackle especially when you don’t want to just use any spray or leave any product lying around to send those pesky bugs running the other way.  For this I am a firm believer in using Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade. When looking for this product, please make sure you are getting the food grade version because there are some out there that actually mix it with dangerous chemicals.  This product is great for fighting fleas too.  To read more about its benefits for pets, check out this article.

If you have some favorite cleaning tips, please comment below and keep this conversation going!

Until Next Week!

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Furry Babies Gone Wild

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I love my furry children, they are the only children my husband and I have and like the 2 legged variety they misbehave and get too rowdy in the house.  The decor in our home was limited to pretty throws and pillows because they could be washed.  I even had to be careful about what I hung on the walls because Magnus likes to use the walls as launching pads from time to time.  Can you relate to the picture below?

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I had totally bought into the idea that I can’t have nice things.

One instance comes to mind where my husband and I were enjoying a First Friday Art Crawl and the glassblowing studio had a table with some pretty decorative glass pieces for sale.  I loved them but started to walk off because I knew there was a high likelihood that anything I bought would end up in pieces.  My husband saw how much I loved them and bought me one despite my protests.  Sure enough about a month later after my Magnus decided to run through the house ricocheting off the walls and furniture it was the collateral damage left in pieces on the floor.  What was even more astounding was how blasé I was about it.  I had totally bought into the idea that I can’t have nice things.  This realization hit me hard and made me angry enough to want to do something about it.

A soulless home is no longer acceptable and neither is being resigned to the fact that having 2 or 4 legged children means nice things getting broken.

I had already been making paper mâché lights and I started thinking how I might take this new passion for paper mâché and use it to solve this problem too.  It really started to gel for me when I began sketching decorative bowls and sculptures.  The thought of being able to have colorful decorative pieces in my home again without the stress of shattered pieces made me want to cry tears of joy.  My home no longer had to be empty it could truly reflect the things my husband and I love again without the stress of worrying about how long it might last.  This is why I create.  A soulless home is no longer acceptable and neither is being okay with having nice things broken.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my furry children and if it came down to it I would choose them over having pretty things in my home.  I am just glad that now I can offer the possibility to have your cake and eat it too! Below are some of the most recent decorative bowls that can be found in my Etsy shop.

I would love the opportunity to create a one of a kind piece for your home. If this is something you think might interest you, please feel free to send me an email at: kbenskin@dazzlingpeacock.com. I don’t charge for talking about a project.

Until Next Week Sunshine!

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Capturing your Pet’s Personality through Photography

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Corrina loving on Magnus: A Rare Treat

Easter is this weekend and perhaps you didn’t get a chance to take your fur baby to have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny.  Perhaps you don’t get into that or haven’t been able to find the right bribe to get your baby in the outfit you’ve had your eye on and don’t fancy taking the chance of losing a limb.  Or, maybe you are like me and take the DIY approach, forever chasing my babies around with my iPhone camera with no need for a dress up or Holiday excuse.  My cats have all taken to get a wary look on their faces when they see me with the phone in my hand.

As an admitted cat lady I am always on the hunt for good tips on capturing the perfect shot of my babies and thought I would share some of those tips I found most useful.

1. Lighting, lighting, lighting: Natural lighting is always best.  The best natural light is in a partly shaded area, early day or just before dusk.  Direct sunlight will be too bright and keep you from capturing all the lovely details of your baby.  Avoid flash if at all possible.

2.  It is important to understand your pet’s personality and play to their strengths. Some examples include:

  • The Shy or Happy Hyper: For those babies who tend to be skittish or those who just won’t stop bouncing around, keeping your distance and utilizing your zoom can be key in getting that perfect shot.
  • The Goofy ham or the In Your Face: For those babies who are always goofing around or  those who are convinced that they will lose your attention if they aren’t always getting up close and personal, embracing those qualities and getting close up and candid shots are best.
  • The Refuse to Look at the Camera: This fur baby could care less that you are attempting to capture furry perfection for posterity and this does not include their posterior view.  The best approach is to let them get comfy and make unexpected noises and/or movements to encourage a reaction.  Don’t be above tossing around treats as a bribe-be quick because it won’t take them long to figure out the game.

3.  Get down on their level.  Want a great shot? Sometimes you gotta work for it and this can mean rolling around on the ground. Also, get as close as possible so that your pet fills up the frame.

4.  Take lots of shots.  Try getting shots from a variety of angles so you have lots of options to choose from when going back through in search of “the one.”

5.  Have Fun!  Be creative and take advantage of those spontaneous moments.

Wanna get a little more fancy and up your pet photography game?  You might like this article.  It talks on the tips above and goes into more detail on how to get other more professional shots.

I love seeing candid pet pictures, so feel free to find me on Instagram and use #dazzlingpeacock.  Oh! If you are obsessed with bedecking your home with odes to your furry babies, I love making custom made paper mache home decor items from your pet pics.  Comment below or shoot me a private message  and lets get the ball rolling on creating your pet masterpiece.    Below are  a couple of examples of products made from a pet picture.

P.S. My newsletter exclusive sale for my Etsy shop is coming soon!  I send out weekly(ish)chats about new product listings, pets, home decor and nature.  IF you are interested in getting in on this SALE then click here and join.

Until Next Time Sunshine!

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Harmful Spring Plants for Pet Parents

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Summer enjoyment

Listening to the chatter of birds as they flit back and forth collecting bits and pieces to build their nests, watching flower beds for the first green sprouts; these are just a few signals that Spring is here.  We shed our coats and fuzzy blankets and feel like having a Sound of Music moment as we step outside where the warm sun, bright blue skies and blossoming trees and flowers just make you want to run out and spin around in circles singing of their glories.

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Just as much as you are loving all that Spring has to offer, your fur babies are also just as excited and curious about all the newness of nature popping up.  Sometimes we get caught up in the moment and forget that while beautiful, some of the plants that arrive with Spring are also quite poisonous to our sweet babies.  I was reminded of this when someone I follow on Instagram posted a picture of her dog sniffing and exploring a flower bed full of euphorbia and another follower posted a warning to be aware as it is poisonous.   As a result I  thought I would share the list of some common Spring plants and flowers to beware of so everyone can revel in the beauty Spring brings without tragic consequences.

Spring Poisonous Plants

1.Tulips 2. Daffodils 3. Clematis 4. Hyacinth 5. Rhododendron 6. Foxglove 7. Crocus 8. Hosta 9. Azalea 10. Lily(Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, Casa Blanca)-Cats Only 11. Morning Glory 12. Lily of the Valley

For a more comprehensive list on plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs and the symptoms, please go to the ASPCA Poison Control website.

Now go out and soak up some of the glorious sunshine and explore what is popping up around you!

P.S.   If there are some other common plants not listed above that you would like to shine a light of awareness on, by all means please post in the comments below.

P.P.S.   If this resonates with you at all, please join my newsletter.  It is free and will give you access to weekly(ish) email chats about new products with priority notifications of new listings, behind the scenes looks inside the Dazzling Peacock Studio and Exclusive access to a special sale I hold once a year. PLUS! All of those who join will receive a 10% discount code to use in my Etsy shop.

Until Next Time Sunshine!

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Tangled Web We Weave…

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When thinking about what I wanted to discuss this week, the part of a Sir Walter Scott quote, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave,” instantly came to mind.  No, I am not going to talk about spiders or deceit.  I thought we could have a chat about jewelry.  I know, at first visions like this might pop into your mind.

Who can blame anyone for dreaming about such lovely jewelry pieces as those made by Emily and Eden. But those beautiful pieces can quickly become this:

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Why then, are we so often cruel to those little reflections of us?

Get where I am going with this?  Jewelry is such a personal thing and if you are anything like me it isn’t just something to go with an outfit. Jewelry reflects my mood and personality.  Why then, are we so often cruel to those little reflections of us?

It is this question that inspired me to develop a line of paper mache organizers that carefully and creatively stores your jewels and trinkets.  Like the jewelry,  I wanted the organizers to reflect your personality.

I tried to create a variety of styles to meet as many needs as possible.

Who knew organization could be so fun? Plus, the great thing about paper mache decor is they are more durable so if it gets knocked down it is less likely to break. However, I can’t guarantee there won’t be a tangled mess to clean up.

Show some love to yourself and your jewelry this year!

Hopefully you can see that a little organization doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  Show some love to yourself and your jewelry this year!

All of the above organizers are available in my Etsy shop. If you don’t see anything that reflects your personality but like what you see, shoot me a message. I welcome custom orders!  Also I would appreciate it if you would send me a message if you know of a shop that these jewelry organizers would look great in, I am getting ready to branch out and start selling wholesale.

Until Next Week!

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My Manifesto….

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Linchpin Manifesto

I was recently introduced to the above Linchpin Manifesto by Seth Godin through Kelly Hoernig’s Periscope.  It really resonated with me as we discussed what our Manifesto would like for ourselves and our business.  She challenged us to create our own and that is exactly what I did!  I was so inspired by it, I thought I would share my Manifesto with you.

Manifesto

In order to create my Manifesto, I wrote down phrases that came into my mind as I sat and thought about myself as a person, as an artist and as a business owner.  I arranged the phrases in a way I liked. I then used Canva to bring my Manifesto to life.  You can check out my Pinterest board for some additional inspiration.

I think that this is a good exercise for everyone.  You don’t have to be an artist or business owner.  Print it out and frame it to remind you every day what you stand for.

If you make a Manifesto, share it with me. I would love to see it!  You can either send it via email or if you are on Instagram you can use #dazzlingpeacock or tag me @dazzlingpeacock.

Until Next Week!

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