Thursday, December 19, 2013

Guest Blogging

So a couple weekends ago I got free tickets to a play in return for a review. It was my second time seeing this production of The Velveteen Rabbit.  

Here is a link to my review. If you live in the Phoenix area and have kids I highly recommend Childsplay. They are a wonderful organization.

Holiday Presents--Vanilla Extract

My vanilla extract is looking beautiful, so I decided this weekend it was time to label the jars.  Remember this is super easy.  Place two vanilla beans, slit open inside the jar, fill with vodka and wait.  The longer you wait to use the more the vanilla infuses the vodka.  

The only downside is you feel like a lush buying so much vodka!

If you get any of these posts for the holiday's act surprised and gush over how much work I put in to your gift please!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Presents-Chocolate Lip Gloss

My first attempt at lip gloss was a LONG time ago and it wasn't the best.  This time it turned out a bit better.  We tried the Chocolate Lip Gloss recipe.  

I used the recipe from the book Natural Beauty for All Season by Janice Cox which is now available on Kindle.  LOVE THIS BOOK!  
Cocoa Butter
Coconut Oil
Vitamin E
Chocolate Chips

At first I didn't think this stuff was going to set, now I am worried that it will just keep getting harder. As of two days after making it, it has firmed up and is still spreadable, assuming your hands are warm.  It feels and smells good.  

This was a great recipe (so far!).
I multiplied the recipe by 8 and ended up with these four one ounce jars filled.  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Presents-Body Butter

This year I am trying to give more homemade gifts.  I decided that I have finally gotten good enough at body butter to give it away.  I would love to share the recipe with you....but I don't really measure.  Here is what I do.  I take a jar of shea butter, about 7 ounces, a bit of coconut oil, maybe 4-5 ounces and avocado oil, about a cup or so.  I put in about three tablespoons of beeswax (I use the little pastilles, they melt faster).  I put all of this in my double boiler until everything is melted.  Then I take the whole thing and stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Take it out, scrape the sides and bottom so that you are mixing everything, add 10-15 drops of essential oil and mix on medium for a couple minutes.  Lately we have been using spearmint EO.  I find it to be relaxing.  

Want to find avocado oil?  Look at Costco.  Avocado is not on the dirty dozen list so I don't buy it organic.  They have a large jar at Costco.  I still haven't cooked with it as I mostly use it for skin products.

That recipe filled these jars and one of my bigger 1/2 liter jars, which are the ones we use at home.  Usually the big jar will last about one month for me.  Big L has her own big jar and little l has a little jar.  Apply sparingly. Mine absorbs fairly quickly, but I have DRY skin.   The husband of mine has great NON-DRY skin so he doesn't use it.  The rest of us need help!

Monday, December 16, 2013

My first attempt at candle making....

Sometimes I wonder why I feel compelled to try and make all of the things I try to make.  Really, it would be easier to go and buy a candle!  However, with these I know there is nothing yucky in them and they supposedly help to clean the air, so I gave it a shot.

First of all I had to find another blogger who had done this.  I did this at Mommypotamus.  Then I ordered up more beeswax, coconut oil and wick material.  I used #1/0 square wick, and the old mason jars I don't use for canning since I switch to Weck Jars to can food.  They worked out great for my candles.

 See that mess?  That is what happens when you try to pour directly from the double boiler.  I recommend putting into another jar or something with a pour spout.

Definitely follow directions.  Pour in a big, let the wick set then pour in more, then your wick stays in the middle.  She did not use anything to hold the wick to the bottom and I wish I had.  I fought a lot getting that wick to stay in the middle and to not pull it out when I straightened the wick as I added wax.

Finished product on the right.  On the left, proof that I wasted a lot of wax by spilling it.  Next time I need to do a little more research about how to not loose as much wax to cooling.  My bowl had a nice layer of cooled wax in it almost immediately (at least that was what it seemed like).

When I run out of the big jars I am only going to use the smaller jam jars.  They were easier to deal with when it came to the wick.

I am burning one of my candles right now and I am quite happy.  It is not burning too quickly.  It isn't "scented", but it has a nice clean scent to it in my opinion.

Anyone have suggestions for my next attempt?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Shaped bags

So the serger definitely won this round. It needs to go in and be fixed.  These bags would have looked better serged, but they look okay in my opinion.  

they were easy to make and I still used the tutorial and pattern in the Craftsy beginner serger class.  If you have not used Craftsy yet I recommend it.  I find it to be an easy way to take a class despite children. It is also relatively inexpensive. 

Here are my pretty bags.  For these three I used a stiffer fusible fleece.  They hold their shape better than the first one.  

Monday, December 9, 2013


First of all I want to acknowledge how fortunate I am.  I know, I am.  I have more than I need and most of what I want.  I have all of my holiday shopping done by Thanksgiving, unless it is an Apple product I need and then I wait for their once a year sale.  My husband is not me.  He actually braved the black friday shopping at our local target to procure for me an iPad air.  I have wanted an iPad for quite some time.  It wasn't until my children, yes both of them, started using the computer that I realized what a pain it was to actually get my own work done.  Since I am an APPLE person, no pc junk in my world, it was important to me that I have an iPad.  I could have had a table sooner I am sure if I had been okay with a PC model. 

I am not however okay with it not being Mac.  I use a Mac, iPhone and now iPad.  You know what is awesome about that?  If I save to the cloud, which I have been a part of since it was, I can work on something on either platform.  My calendar automatically syncs no matter which device I enter the event on, and now with the iPad, I won't have connectivity and Keynote issues when giving a presentation.  That is right, I can access my keynote presentation from the computer on my iPad.  I can even modify it! 

Like I said, I am spoiled, but I am hoping this spoiling will also let me blog more, as I can edit pictures and post a blog post from my new toy as well. 

All I can say is thank goodness the man didn't make me wait until the holiday!

This brings me to one final promotion, and no I am not getting paid for this.  I have been handwriting menus for quite some time now.  It gets old and it is hard to start and stop, switch rooms and move as necessitated by the little one.  This month I started using a website called Plan To Eat.  IT IS AWESOME.  You enter your recipes, or find them online, then plop them on the planner on the day you want to make them.  Then joy of JOYS this program creates your shopping list.  Plus side is I can do this on the computer or iPad.  For my recipe I just prop it up in the kitchen and there it is, no searching time required.  LOVE IT!  You do have to subscribe, but they also have a free trial so you can try it out.  Now to just get myself to really plan all the meals, that would help me keep tack of what eat.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The serger won

My grandmother gave me her serger earlier this year.   Until a week or so ago it has sat looking at me.  I decided it was time to take that beginner serger class I bough on craftsy so this holiday weekend I tried,  and tried and tried.

The serger had other ideas.  I have broken four needles, one is missing in my room somewhere, waiting to be stepped on in the middle of the night.  I have threaded and re-threaded the machine and I am now a pro at that step. I just can't get it to work right,  at all.  It worked for a few sample stitches then stopped. I am sure it is me and not the machine, but I don't have the patience or time right now to figure it out.  So I started this project with the serger, note the crappy stitching by the zipper.  Then I finished  it with my trusty sewing machine.