Humblebee & Me is 7!

Hey Bees! I can scarcely believe Humblebee & Me is seven—if this blog were a wee person she’d be able to read and tie her own shoes and would probably be planning on going as Laura Ingles Wilder for Halloween so she had an excuse to wear a starched bonnet to school. This year has been a really fun one of learning, travelling, meet-ups, and more!

Happy seventh birthday, Humblebee & Me!

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DIY Don’ts: Things You Shouldn’t DIY

When I first got into DIYing I quickly got very excited about all the things I could make—lip balms, lotions, body butters, oh my! I went through my house with new eyes, looking for things I could possibly replace with new, homemade versions. It was positively intoxicating! Anywho, I thought we could take a moment to talk about the sorts of things you shouldn’t DIY—because while it can be fun to try and DIY everything, it’s not always a good idea. Let’s stay safe and smart when we DIY 😊

DIY Don'ts: Things You Shouldn't DIY

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The Humblebee & Me Studio Tour

I’m pretty excited about this post—it’s crazy long overdue, and one of my most requested posts ever! Over the years I’ve had tons of requests to see my studio and how I store my ingredients, and to be honest… up until recently it really wasn’t pretty. Most of my stuff was in a dark, cramped basement, and wasn’t so much organized as scattered around wherever things could fit, with some sorta-kinda ideas of grouping things together wherever possible. However, with my recent move I was given the chance to totally re-build and re-think my studio from scratch. It took about a month, with several trips to IKEA, quite a lot of scouring Kijiji posts, and some help from some very good friends to move my massive slab of marble, but the new Humblebee & Me studio is done and ready for a tour!

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Let’s start with what I use my studio for: most of my making (stove bits happen in the kitchen), and all my photography and filming. All my ingredients live in there (save the ones that live in a corner of my fridge), as does all of my equipment (spatulas, scales, blenders, spoons, etc.) and packaging. So, it’s storage + production, all in one tidy(ish) package!

 

The Humblebee & Me Studio Tour

 

Because of the filming/photography needs, I kept the room bright. The walls were already white, and I was careful to keep all the shelving white as well. Thankfully this was very easy as IKEA makes pretty much everything in a white version, and it’s often the cheapest colour available! Booyah. The curtains are inexpensive blackout curtains from Wayfair, and they’re black.

I measured the square footage of shelving I was using in my old home, and it came out to a rather astonishing 80ft², or 7.5m². That’s a lot of shelf space (and I’m pretty sure there was more I forgot to account for). Here’s what the new space has:

All in all that’s about 80ft² (7.5m²), of shelving and drawer space—about the same as at the old place. It’s a bit ridiculous, but it works.

Now into the reality of things: how have I organized my stuff, and where does it go? Let’s start with a floor plan to help keep you oriented. Most of my ingredients live on the MULIG shelves; they ended up being perfectly sized. For most things, one shelf held my entire selection of clays/emulsifiers/etc. Click the image to see it large enough to read the text! The what-goes-where is pretty straightforward, but I’ve detailed some of the more expand-upon-able stuff below the floor plan.

I got the little dividing containers from Kijiji, but later saw them at Dollarama.

Essential & Fragrance Oils

These are stored in drawers; the ALEX unit I purchased has five shorter drawers and four taller ones, so I chose the bottom short drawer and the top tall drawer (so they’d be right on top of each other). 15mL–30mL bottles are in the shorter drawer, 100mL bottles are in the taller drawer. I bought a roll of round white stickers and used those to label the caps of each bottle so I can identify the bottles from top-down. I used black ink for essential oils, and red for fragrance oils. It’s quite a slick system, and thanks to the drawer bit my oils are shielded from the light.

The larger (500mL) bottles of essential and fragrance oils are stored in a doored cupboard.

Micas & Pigments

I’m quite happy with how these are sorted! I used the top four shorter drawers of my ALEX and arranged them by the rainbow:

  • Red & pink
  • Orange, yellow, brown, gold, copper, bronze
  • Green, turquoise, teal, blue, purple, indigo, violet
  • Black, white, silver/grey

Carrier Oils & Butters

These are stored in a doored cupboard to help shield them from the light. Carrier oils get one shelf, butters get another. The bottom of both doored cupboards hold my larger bottles of oils (3–4L) to anchor the cupboards down!

Packaging

For the most part, my packaging is in a series of wooden boxes with sliding lids. These live along the shelf that runs the length of the closet. I labelled them using 6″ lengths of blackboard tape and a white blackboard marker. This set-up allows me to re-label the boxes if necessary, but so far the blackboard marker ink has proved pretty smudge-proof when dry. Some additional packaging lives in the bottom drawers of the ALEX.

Photo props

These live in a bookshelf right near the marble table for easy access. Underneath the table I’ve stacked up the larger photo back-drops made from old fence boards and the like. I also keep my dress form nearby as she’s my focussing dummy!

Gallery of more images

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Well, that’s my studio! I hope you enjoyed a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at where I create 🙂 What’s your making space like?

10 Recipes to Make With Jojoba Oil

Today we’re looking at ten of my favourite recipes you can make with sunny jojoba oil (Simmondsia chinensis). There’s a good chance jojoba oil is one of the first oils you purchased—it’s very popular in the world of DIY/natural skin care, and is widely available. Unrefined jojoba oil is a beautiful golden colour, while refined jojoba oil is clear. It’s a bit more expensive than carrier oils like sweet almond or sunflower (depending on the amount you purchase and where you live you’re probably looking at spending at least $10–20 for 100–250mL), but well worth owning in my opinion. I used it throughout my book, Make it Up, for its long shelf life, silky feel, and wonderful emollient properties. It’s a very diverse oil that’s definitely worth having in your pantry!

10 Recipes to Make With Jojoba Oil

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On Throwing Things Away

I wanted to take some time today to talk about something I find harder than it should be, but something that has to happen: throwing DIY stuff away. Be it past-their-prime ingredients, dubiously useable products, mystery bottles, or packaging you swear you’ll be able to safely repurpose someday; some things just need to be chucked as part of this hobby, and sometimes it’s harder to do than we’d like to admit.

On Throwing Things Away

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Humblebee & Me is 6!

Happy sixth birthday, Humblebee & Me! It’s been a whirlwind of a year. This is my 960th post, so post #1000 is coming up! My first book, Make It Up: The Essential Guide to DIY Makeup and Skin Care, was released on December 27, 2016 by Running Press. I did my first book signing and gave a talk at Shelf Life Books here in Calgary for Earth Day, and taught workshops with Market Collective and Windy Point. I travelled to some amazing places, got a dog, and hosted the first-ever Humblebee Meet-Ups in Montreal and Québec City (so fun!).

Humblebee & Me is 6!

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