Monday, December 1, 2014

How To Gift Beachy Memories + A to Z Letter Art Giveaway!


Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Now the mad dash to finding great holiday shopping deals is here. Are you the type of person who rather stay at home and shop online than try to make your way through the crowds at the store? Good, me too :)

After adventuring out a few years ago during Black Friday, I swore I would never do it again, the whole craze was just too much for me. I looked back at holiday consumerism, marketing schemes and what we should be trying to embody during the holidays, and decided to go after more personalized gifts, homemade crafts, and spending time with family right after Thanksgiving. So my shopping day is Cyber Monday!

With so many gift ideas out there, it can be hard to decide what to get the island lover in your life. But if you're like me, and really want something that will speak to our creativity, places you've traveled, and life at the beach, look no further than customized letter art gifts from A to Z Letter Art


A to Z Letter Art's owners Deb and Lary have traveled the world, capturing landscapes and nature that resemble letters of the alphabet. They even visit Sanibel Island every year! I bet all you Sanibel Island travelers recognize where those full-color on location SANIBEL letters above were taken! 

S: from the entry door to St. Isabel Catholic Church
A: the Sanibel lighthouse
N: three of Sanibel's native palm trees
I: from the entrance to the Sanibel Marina
B: from under the causeway
E: from one of Sanibel's native palm trees
L: from the sculpture in front of the Sanibel library   

If you've never been to Sanibel Island, put it on your bucket list! It's a true gem in the United States, and my favorite beach destination with all the shelling, seafood, biking, nature walks, and dolphins at sunset you could want in a beach vacation. 

A to Z Letter Art's on location Sanibel art has four different groupings of letters that spell SANIBEL, so any interior island decor style can be found! Each grouping can be built out to either 4'' x 6'' horizontal or 4 x 6'' vertical, with 2'' x 3'' options also available. Anyone who orders a horizontal letter art piece gets a FREE 4'' tall, black twisted wire easel. 

The letter art is displayed in a "floating" frame sequence, with each frame backed by 1/8" thick MDF and a piece of protective glass on the front held by clips. The double rail system on the back of the art is custom built by Lary, and features two hangers on each end for easy hanging. If you rather display the art in the easel, they fit great on mantels, entry tables, coffee tables,or shelving in offices.

Gifting beachy memories of Sanibel Island comes easy with A to Z Letter Art. Here's a couple ideas on how to gift beachy memories through Sanibel Island letter art this holiday season.

1. Plan a spring break or summer vacation trip with friends or family for next year. Surprise them Christmas morning when they unwrap your A to Z Letter Art gift that has captured what memories are to come!

2. If Sanibel Island is your native homeland (lucky you!), treat yourself to a Christmas gift that captures your love for the island.

3. Are you a condo owner? Welcome your guests from around the world with a preview of the island in letter art displayed on an entry wall, or on an easel on the coffee table in the living room.

4. Past Sanibel Island vacationers will love unwrapping any A to Z Letter Art that makes them feel like they have their own piece of the island with them even though they're miles away, and bring back the good times under the sun.

Beachy memories can also be gifted through custom letter art in any word up to 9 letters! A to Z Letter Art has over 900 letters for you to choose from to create your own personalized gift in a word of your choice!

I customized my own A to Z Letter Art piece with the word NURSE to gift to my sister for Christmas.


1. Chose my word to customize
2. Picked the style of each letter
3. Decided on a vertical frame with 4'' x 6'' letter art
4. Then placed my order! Easy.

My sister will be graduating from nursing school next month and likes the beach too, so customizing each letter made the piece complete for the life events about to happen! The art is very well made, and carefully packaged so that it arrives safely and is easy to open and repackage if gifting to someone else.


When it comes to wrapping Christmas gifts, I like to choose a theme to do. This year, I chose brown paper, tight jute string, seashells, and white paint.


Wrapping the letter art was super easy to do because the protective wrapping that it came in was already very well done.


A to Z Letter Art is gifting one lucky reader a holiday treat! Enter our giveaway for a chance to WIN either a custom letter art piece (up to 9 letters) -or- any on location letter art (Sanibel Island, Paris, or Italy)! If you can't wait to see if you'll be the lucky winner, you can also get your own letter art here. The winner will have their prize shipped to them in time to wrap and leave under the tree for Christmas :)

Follow the options to enter below. The giveaway will end at midnight CST on Thursday, December 4 and the winner will be announced December 5. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog, which are mentioned in the ArtSea Chic Media Kit. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Homemade Coastal Holiday Potpourri Gift Tutorial


Can we say happy holidays yet? I can't believe we are officially starting the holiday season now. Texas still hasn't made up its mind about the weather though...we were in the low 70 degrees this week, and this morning we are waking up to the high 30s! Makes me just want to grab some hot tea, have the smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven travel throughout the house, and snuggle up on the couch with a fleece blanket. :)

If I had to name one thing that helps me get ready for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season at home, it has to be smelling the scents of the holidays. Cinnamon, orange, pine cones, a baking turkey, cloves, rosemary...and when combined together, you're in for a serious aromatherapy session.

In years past, traditionally we have bought potpourri in bags from the store to put in decorative bowls. But as I have been growing in my personal journey of natural wellness these past three years, I decided to take the challenge of creating homemade potpourri from everyday ingredients and essential oils. Sounds good right? IT'S THE BEST! So let's dive in to how you can make your own homemade coastal holiday potpourri to use in your home, or give to friends, family, or neighbors as a gift.

MATERIALS
  • 16 oz. mason jar(s) or a decorative glass bowl
  • Jute string
  • FREE printable gift and instruction tags (download here)
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Leather string
  • Coffee filter
  • Tape
  • Parchment paper

INGREDIENTS
  • Two .75 oz bottles of cinnamon sticks
  • .75 oz bottle of whole cloves
  • .75 oz bottle of allspice
  • Two .12 oz bottles of bay leaves
  • Fresh rosemary springs
  • 2 whole apples cut into thin slices
  • 1 orange cut into thin slices
  • 2 lemons cut into thin slices
  • Mixture of nuts
  • 6 red peppers
  • 8-10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 8-10 drops orange essential oil
  • 8-10 drops cinnamon (cassia) essential oil
  • 8-10 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 8-10 drops clove essential oil 

First thing to get out of the way is making your decorative knotted jute mason jar. For a 16 oz. jar, you'll need to cut a strand to fit around the top neck of the jar, 6 strands of jute string of at least 3 feet, a strand half the size of the jar's bottom, and a strand as long as you'd like to make for the handle. Follow the steps below in the picture to complete!


Once you're done, it's time to bake lemons, apples, peppers (if you want to), and oranges. I baked the lemon and orange slices together since they are both citrus, and then baked the apple slices separately. Each gets baked in the oven on sheets lined with parchment paper at 200 degrees for 45 minutes to start out with, then add 30-45 additional minutes until the citrus slices are see-through, and the apple slices are curled/browned. Don't try to speed things up by baking above 200 degrees, you'll loose all the juicy oils that are needed. Also make sure to checkup on them to make sure they aren't drying up and browning too much.




You should have your slices similar to the above when done baking. Be careful not to brown the citrus slices too much..oops; they still worked though. ;) Let the slices cool down before mixing in with other ingredients.

Once slices are cooled, grab a mixing bowl and your ingredients. Pour everything into the bowl, adding the essential oils last so they soak in. Mix together a couple times. Now breath in...breath out. Breath in...breath out. Are you relaxed and full of holiday cheer now? :)


Next, you're ready to pour into your homemade potpourri into a mason jar(s) or decorative glass bowl. Remember, you can't use plastic because of the essential oils!

If you decide to go with a decorative glass bowl, you can pour each ingredient into the bowl layer by layer if you'd like, or pour everything in together mixed. After that, you're done making your homemade coastal holiday potpourri! If you are making mason jar gifts, continue reading...



Next step is to cover your mason jar with a coffee filter, then cut slits where the filter gets in the way of the jute string handle. To secure the filter in place, use a strand of leather string and tie it off as shown. Try to get this knot down because it's less bulky and allows for the tags to sit great. The coffee filter will let all the good smells out, but keep the ingredients inside the jar until after you've gifted it to someone.



After you have the filter in place and tied off, cut out all your "The Holidays In A Jar" tags. Choose your favorite designs and color combinations by choosing 1 gift tag, 1 instruction tag, 1 top cover, and 1 message tag if you'd like to write a message that can't fit on the gift tag. Fill out your tags with any messaging BEFORE you attach to the jar.



Tape down your top cover as shown above, then hole punch the tag set you chose and thread through the leather string. It should sit nicely and have no problems facing forward if you tied the knot right. Next, to secure the tags and complete the coastal look, take a clipping of jute string and tightly place a knotted bow in front of the tags.

Guess what you're done! How much more satisfying is it to know you can make your own holiday potpourri? It's better for your lungs and overall health, plus it can last even longer than store bought potpourri if you use it in its dry state and reapply essential oils if you'd like over a month or two + simmering on the stove.



------ UPDATE: 1 month after making the dry potpourri

It's been a month since I made the potpourri for single room dry use, now it's time to simmer over the stove so the smells of the holidays travel throughout the house :)

Take a medium pot, fill half way with water and warm on medium heat. Pour in your dried potpourri, do a good stir of everything, and increase the heat slightly so you start simmering the water. Within 20-30 minutes half your house will smell like the holidays, MMmm smells so good!

Check up on the pot every 15 minutes to give it a stir. After simmering for 1 hour, you'll notice everything becomes a little cooked, that's normal. You can simmer for a total of 1.5 hours, that seems to be the ideal time to fill your house with the smell, and prevent the ingredients from getting too cooked.


Get ready to start gifting scents of the holidays in a jar! If you make your own potpourri at home already, what ingredients do you use to get a certain scent? Let us all know so we can try it!


Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog, which are mentioned in the ArtSea Chic Media Kit. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

Monday, October 20, 2014

5 Reasons To Love Fishing + Savlen Sportswear Apparel Giveaway!


If you live each day in the moment, what do you do, where do you go, who would you want to be around?

When Mr. ArtSea Chic and I think about living in the moment, we always go back to the times of when we get to be together outdoors, especially by the water. Being near or inspired by the coast when we fish makes us not just happy, but also like we are free from the hussle of life's routines and demands; it's just us and nature. We love fishing because we get to step back and embrace:

  • Outdoor elements that we are not in control of but can learn from
  • Quality time growing together
  • Journeys to find the best catch
  • Personalities of the fish we're after
  • Grounding ourselves back into what matters most in life

That's the beauty of fishing, and any of you who fish can agree with all of the above! If you've never headed to the water with a fishing pole in your hand, it's never too late to learn how to catch every moment through fishing.




As our passion for the outdoors grows more and more, we often find our paths crossing with outdoor brands we really feel a connection with. One of those for us is Savlen Sportswear by Mike Savlen, an artist, fisherman, and now apparel designer. I've followed Mike on his journey to transform his Savlen Studio paintings into wearable pieces of art over the past few months, and couldn't be more excited about what Savlen Sportswear has to offer and the potential it has to grow even more. "Catch Every Moment" is Savlen Sportswear's motto, and we definitely feel inspired and intrigued to live out that feeling day to day.  

Mr. ArtSea Chic and I stepped out with our little golden girl Andi to put the gear to the test in the elements of south Houston where it's still 85+ degrees! When looking for the right fishing apparel, one of the first things we consider is how we are going to protect ourselves from Texas' heat and direct sun exposure. Neither of us want to end up with mean red itchy sunburns when we get off the water! :| So breathable performance level shirts and hats are crucial for us to enjoy and focus on our fishing.

As you look at Mike's artwork on the apparel you can see how being an avid fisherman has helped him understand the movements, colorations, and environments of his subjects under the waters of our oceans, streams, flats, bays etc. The contrasting colors really captured our eyes and stand out extremely well in natural light.


Mr. ArtSea Chic wore Savlen Sportswear's Liquid Gold tech tee which is part of Mike's fly fishing collection, and a Bad to the Bone Trucker hat part of the in-shore and flats collection. Knowing he was going to be exposed to direct sunlight for half the day, Mr. ArtSea Chic wanted a comfortable performance long sleeve shirt that would vent well, a good fit that provided flexibility throughout his upper body, and a screen print that wasn't heavy - all of which the tech tee was able to provide. The hat he was a little hesitant about just because he was used to always wearing form fitted hats, but the light-weight cotton and mesh material was able to adjust and fit to the right sizing and the crest didn't itch his head. From past experiences with other snap-back hats though, his only concern would be the durability of the back's snaps to last a long time with extensive use.  




One of my favorite things to take in during our fishing trips is Mr. ArtSea Chic's talent for building custom freshwater and saltwater fishing rods. My man has some serious eye for craftsmanship!! :) It's an amazing feeling to fish with a rod that was custom built for a fishing environment of your choice with styling that compliments your personality.


I wore Savlen Sportswear's Sunset Strike tee part of Mike's offshore collection, and a Carolina blue Dockside Cap part of the branded collection. I would really like to see more of a performance long sleeve selection for women's shirts, because short sleeve is the only option right now...and man did I BURN! My neck especially with the shirt's v-neck front. You'll see how red I got in the video near the end of this post. Aside from burning though, the shirt fits great, is a breathable material, and I'd wear it both for fishing and casually. I also had some hesitations with my hat because the back's metal snap adjustment was really hard for me to move to the fit I wanted. I actually had to get my brother to adjust it for me once. Nonetheless, it absolutely provides a stable and secure fit even when wearing sunglasses, venting, and adequate sun block.





Even Andi got to experience Savlen Sportswear and she was lovin' it!



As we fished throughout the afternoon, Mr. ArtSea Chic decided to jig from the top of a bridge - within a minute he caught himself a nice looking bass and the catch of the day! Of course, he was released safely back into the water.

Andi had to have her celebratory redfish from Cabin Critters for being such a good girl. As you can see though, she loves her redfish very very much :) Might be time to get her a new best friend to play with for Christmas.haha





We had a great day near the water! Watch a behind-the-scenes recap from our day and why we love to fish in the video below:


Now we want YOU to go get out there and catch every moment too! Savlen Sportswear is giving two lucky readers a chance to WIN either a men's hat and shirt, or a women's hat and shirt. This giveaway will close at midnight CST on Thursday, October 23. Winners will be announced on Friday, October 24. Special thanks to Savlen Sportswear! Enter below, good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog, which are mentioned in the ArtSea Chic Media Kit. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

How To Harvest & Preserve Fall Herbs


Is it truly fall in Texas yet? I don't think our state knows yet. Friday it was 95 degrees outside and yesterday it was 60 degrees. This really has me and my herbs worried because I don't want them to die before I harvest all their goodness!

I decided I wasn't going to take any chances. I put on my winter jacket and work boots for the first time this year and went out into the garden to harvest. This spring I planted Italian oregano, mint, rosemary, basil, and parsley for the first time, and they've survived and grown so much :) In fact, they are doing so well I had to give bundles to neighbors.

You want to make sure to cut the stems as close to the main stem or the bottom of the plant as possible to stimulate new growth. After trimming and clipping this is what I got. Lots and lots of freshly cut stems to prepare to wash and dry. I wanted to stock up specifically on dried rosemary, Italian oregano, and mint to use as seasonings and mint for some tea packets, but there are many other ways to preserve herbs.


To keep the herb's oils separate, I prefer to wash each kind of herb one at a time. Remove all the leaves from the stems and put them into a strainer to wash thoroughly. You will experience an herbal aromatherapy session while doing this, so be sure to enjoy it ;) Your hands will also smell A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.
Along the way you might find white sacks under the leaves. These could be spider sacks or moth cocoons. Neither of which you want to find after washing, so make sure to look under each leaf very carefully.



After you've removed all the leaves from stems and washed them once or twice, you should have something like this...


I laid all my herbs out on paper towels to dry for at least 4 weeks until they got crunchy. Now, I've tried washing herbs still on their stems, then hanging in paper bags until they dried, but it was too messy for me. If you don't have a lot of counter space I would recommend the paper bag method though.

After 4 weeks (depending on how much air flow they get) your herbs should look darker and have dried up all the way and look something like this...


I love reusing glass jars, so instead of storing the herbs in plastic containers I used mason jars and a spaghetti sauce jar. I think this will be enough to get us through the rest of fall and winter :)


Here's a bonus for you though. If you think you might lose a plant or two during the winter, take a clipping of rosemary, Italian oregano, or mint, and place it in water - it will grow roots! It takes several months to get roots to start sprouting, but you got all fall and winter to prepare for your next plant. Propagation is pretty neat huu?



Unless otherwise stated, all content and photographs are ©ArtSea Chic. Please do not copy or distribute photographs without first asking for permission. Paid endorsement disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of compensation for my endorsement, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this blog, which are mentioned in the ArtSea Chic Media Kit. Please know that I only recommend and endorse products and services that I personally approve, appreciate, and feel would be helpful for readers. All ideas and opinions expressed are completely my own. Thank you for supporting ArtSea Chic!

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