Thursday, September 4, 2014

Setting Up Shop!

Tea Tree and Rosemary Facial Soap
Holy cow, it has been almost a month since I have been on here. What have I been doing you might ask? A lot. I got sick for a week, that was dull, and unproductive. I've been to Nashville twice, first to pick up a motorcycle a friend gave (yes, gave) my husband, second just for fun. I've been super focused on my workout regimen, going seven days a week 95% percent of the past 3 months (getting sick, and a few work days meant missing a couple days here and there), and the results are showing.

But mostly, I have been soaping my tail off because I finally got my soap shop online. I mostly have it for friends and family. Everyone who has gotten a bar of soap from me has come back a week later asking where can they buy it. (I tell everyone I am like a drug dealer, the first hit is free.) So, finally sick of everyone hounding me, I sat down, got my ducks in a row and opened up on Zibbet. I chose Zibbet, because you can, if you choose, sell completely for free. Granted, you have some limits with the free account, such as how many items can be listed per listing, how many items you can sell a month, etc. (I bumped up to the second tier of selling, $5/month as I have already made 4 sales, and if it keeps going I will be going to the $8/month, unlimited account.) But the site is lovely, to look at, the listing is easy, and other than the monthly fee, if you actually use a paid account, there are no listing or final selling fees. Is it as much exposure as Etsy, definitely not, but since this shop is meant for a small group of people, and I am not ready to go whole hog quite yet, Zibbet is perfect.

I go on vacation, and by go, I mean I get to stay home for a week, starting next week for my birthday. While I am home I hope to get some more business work done, some actual non-soap related crafting done, like sewing and scrapping, and get some blog posts planned out so I can get on a regular blogging schedule again. I also need to start planning Christmas presents. Has anyone else even thought of this yet? Please say no.

You can find my shop and the Facebook page by clicking the links, just in case you were interested :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

FanGirl Art Journal Pages

A few posts ago I mentioned I was taking Tangie Baxter's FanGirl Journal Workshop. (I am linking just to Tangie's page as she is in the process of moving her online sales platform). I love the idea of mixed media, getting all messy with paint, stencils, gel mediums, etc. But then I try it, and it never looks right to me. It seems to forced or something, I'm not sure. I can't get away from layering papers and other bits instead of paints and mediums I guess. But, I think I found a happy medium between the two forms. I love my spray mists and they allow me to get a colorful yet messy look on the background of the page. Then I can layer paper, tape, and ribbon over it. Ta-DA (it's a magic show), a little of both worlds.

A page with spray drying, before I starting sticking anything down.

Here are the covers and first few pages of my FanGirl Journal, Sherlock centered of course.

Some of the artwork on these pages are fan-made fan art I found on the internet. Much like the fans who made the artwork, I claim no ownership or credit over it's contents, nor am I making any money off of displaying it in this way. I just made fan art with fan art :)

The journal is an old ledger journal we found for a $1 at an estate sale. I cannot pass up old journals even though this is the third one I have bought (and the first one I have actually used). I covered the front cover with vintage sheet music (front), fabric scrapbook paper (back), and Tim Holtz washi tape. The key hole and the straps are Tim Holtz Grunge Board from the Elements set, painted down with metallic mists.

The first page has more of the fabric paper and a ribbon piece I have been hoarding with a skeleton. Of course, the next page simply starts the journal pages. The pages you see peeking out the back are pages I have cut from the binding. Every few pages I remove about 5 or 6 blank ones to allow for the bulk of the paper layering, ephemera, etc. I am saving them because I know I'll use them some how.

The Moriarty page was more mixed media then the rest, done almost entirely with acrylic paint and stencils. Not my favorite, but ok nonetheless.

This is actually my favorite spread. I love the scene it portrays, I love the photo of Sherlock, the colors, everything. This is when the sprays + layering clicked for me. #johnlock!

And lastly, the Mycroft page. I took the highly scientific Buzzfeed "Which Sherlock Character are You?" and I got Mycroft :)

I still have a lot of pages left in me. I plan on adding a lot of my Harry Potter memorabilia, some more Sherlock, my new obsession Welcome to Night Vale, and other fandoms. And, of course, I will share the geekery as it is made.

What, if any, Fandoms are you a part of?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Oatmeal, Milk, & Honey Hot Process Soap

I really like the rustic, handmade look to hot process soap. Hot process (cooking the soap in a crock pot or similar) is not something I would use in all my recipes (although I do find clean up to be a breeze with it) as some scents just ask for a smooth and creamy bar. But homey scents like this, or pumpkin, or the like, just seem to go perfectly with the extremely textured soap you get from hot process. Plus, adding additives that could normally cause a bit of heat reaction with lye in a normal cold process recipe require quite a bit less prep time.

This soap is made with actual oatmeal, honey, and condensed milk. I read that milk soaps can be a somewhat smelly while they are being mixed. This was not an exception. It wasn't overpowering, but it wasn't a pleasant smell either. It faded after a couple days of sitting in the mold, but was back the minute I cut the soap, but faded again as the soap cured.

I am interested in trying the recipe in normal cold process conditions just to see how it comes together as opposed to these bars.

The soap lathers beautifully, with nice small, but soft bubbles, and leaves me skin feeling super soft. The scent is very light. I may add just a smidge more FO next time, not sure yet. I have made my way through almost two bars of this because I like it so much. Other then scenting it stronger, there is not one thing I would change about this recipe, including the method of making it!

- 2lb soap loaf
- 5% Superfat
- Avocado Oil - 5%
- Castor Oil - 5%
- Palm Oil - 30%
- Coconut Oil, 76 Degrees - 25%
- Rice Bran Oil - 30%
- Shea Butter - 5%
- 2oz Honey added at trace
- 5oz Condensed Milk added at trace
- 1oz Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey FO
- 2 TBSP ground oatmeal added at trace
- 2tsp Kaolin Clay

I am off this weekend so I hope to be making a post about my absolute fail at making cucumber and yogurt soap. It's fixable, and I will share how I do that as well. Plus I hope to get some pics taken of my fangirl journal. Maybe even a smashbook or scrapbook page will get done. The mind boggles!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Black Vanilla Tea Soap

I am my mother's daughter. We share a love of everything British, antiques, vintage magazines, Sherlock Holmes (although different incarnations), reading, and tea.

I adore tea. Iced tea in the summer, hot tea in the winter or if I am sick, but never ever sweet tea (ick). I love tea candles, tea towels, and tea soap. A day alone with a hot cup of tea with a a couple of cookies and an episode of Downton Abbey or Sherlock, or even a new magazine, is the last word in indulgence for me, bonus points if I have a lovely knitting or embroidery project on my lap.

Not really surprising that I found an excuse to use it in my soap. I had some loose leaf tea I got in Nashville at World Market a few years back. It unfortunately got lost behind all my other teas and was forgotten about. It smells heavenly, a black vanilla, long leaf tea. And while I think it may be a bit too old to drink, I thought it would be perfect in some soap, and I hoped it would retain some of it's scent.

It did. Yummy. Truly, that's the only word for this soap. Or maybe delectable. All I know it that the FO (Bramble Berry's Black Tea, link below) coupled with the scent of the tea itself is fabulous. As for the soap itself, it gives a lovely, soft lather with small bubbles. Just because I was curious on how the tea leaves would exfoliate as compared to coffee grounds, I ended up tossing the (appx) tablespoon of leaves I used to brew the tea in at light trace. I was initially worried, once I had already dumped them in the batter, that the leaves would be too long for the exfoliating feel I wanted. But, thankfully, the stick blender shopped them up perfectly. The leaves are not as rough as coffee grounds, which a lot of my friends love but I find to harsh at times, it's a much softer scrub, but still noticeable. I already having people asking for this soap and they haven't even tried it. I don't know if I will be able to let any of my first batch go though, they might have to wait a few more weeks for me to make some more.

If you want to try making this yourself, here is what I used: (as usual, please run your recipe through a lye calculator like SoapCalc to get the correct lye and water amounts)

1lb Batch (13oz total oil weight)
Superfat - 10%

- Castor Oil - 10%
- Cocoa Butter - 10%
- Coconut Oil, 76 Degrees - 20%
- Palm Oil - 20%
- Olive Oil - 40%
- Brewed Black Vanilla Loose Leaf tea, allowed to steep for 4 hours in fridge. Replaced half the total water called for with the tea.
- .5oz Black Tea Fragrance Oil
- Appx 1tbsp of tea leaves at trace, stick blended in
- 1 tbsp honey at trace, whisked in
- I put it in the freezer for an hour to prevent gel phase, but as you can see in the picture it still gelled in the middle. The next batch, because this soap will be a staple honey, will be in the freezer for longer.

Have you tried tea, or any other interesting liquids in your soap? Link it up in the comments.

I am thinking yogurt, avocado, or cucumbers might be my next additive.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Craft Table is All a Clutter Once More!!

I can't even describe how happy this poorly lit, hot mess of a photo makes me. This is the first time a long time that that table has held anything but dust. 

A few months ago I posted that I was taking a blogging break. I was deep in a depression. Every day was a fight just to keep some semblance of normality going whether it be at work or at home. Even the smallest tasks were sometimes to hard for me to handle. My brain felt like it was wrapped in cotton candy and I just could not think. This from the woman who worked a full time job, studied for the Bar, and passed. I could barely write a to-do list. I wasn't eating, I was sleeping way too much, and I just wanted to escape into my new found obsession with the Sherlock Fandom, because it was the one thing that shut my mind off for a little while. I was exhausted all the time, I wanted to sleep, to cry, and a few scary times, even die. All my creativity was gone, and honestly, at the time, I couldn't even care. I just kept trying to put one foot in front of the other because I was hoping it would pass eventually. When I realized I was not getting better on my own, I took the step I swore I would never take. I went to therapy. Now, I am not the type to discuss my problems with anyone. The thought of even admitting on a blog that I am dealing with depression would have been inconceivable to me 6 months ago, much less the fact that I would admit to being in therapy. But desperate times call for desperate measures, and I know some of the bloggers I read who are open about their bouts of depression has helped me tremendously. So, there ya go.

Well, I am happy to say, something is working. I don't know if it's the therapy (my work schedule doesn't really allow me to go more than once a month), or the combination of daily vitamins/exercise, or just the natural progression of things, but I am feeling so much better than I was a few months ago. I am not 100% yet. I still have bad days were I get bitter about the divide between my job and my education, but I tell myself that I am choosing, in a way, to have that divide because I do not want to practice the type of law that is practiced in my small town. Plus, my job lets me have the freedom to develop my own business (my dream). I still have days where my mind is cloudy and I just want to sleep, or read, and nothing else. I still have bad, sad, and angry days for no reason other than the fact I am still dealing with depression. 

And that's ok.

Why? Because I am having days, more than I have negative ones, where my mind is clear, Pintrest is inspiring the crap out of me, I have ink all over my hands, soap batter on the counter, and fabric cuttings on the floor. I am thisclose to opening my small online soap shop for friends and family because I have not only wanted to work on my business and it's development, but I have mentally been able to do so. 

In the words of Sherlock, Oh, it's Christmas!

Right now I am taking the FanGirl Workshop with Tangie Baxter, I just made some tea soap that literally makes my eyes roll back into my head when I smell it, I made some super cute retro inspired curtains with a crocheted edge, and my brain is happily buzzing with all the other stuff I want to make again. 

It's been like this for a few weeks, but I waited to do a blog post so I could make sure it was going to last. I wanted to enjoy the feeling of wanting to create even if I wasn't creating anything. For the first week I pinned things, wrote myself frantic notes about ideas I had for projects, and then just sat happily staring at said notes because they were actually there. I had lost that creative mania for so long. I really felt that that something I loved so much was never going to some back to me. 

So, I may not be posting with the frequency I was post-descent (thats what I call my depression, the descent, because thats what it felt like), which was about 2-3 times per week, or I may, I am playing it by ear. Right now I want to nurture my muse, rediscover my craft supplies, and work on getting my shop open. But I will be back fairly regularly to share with you my FanGirl journal, my curtains, my soap, some new vintage kitchen finds, and whatever else falls off my craft table. Oh, and most likely some pics from the tornado we had. My poor neighborhood will never be the same.

Thank you for sticking with my blog while I was gone, and while I continue to get my head together. I am just so grateful to be feeling like something so close to my old self, for the blog readers that stayed, and just honestly, for normal days. 


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tupelo Tornado - We Are OK

Just a quick note to let you know that we survived what is being reported as an F3 tornado that hit Tupelo, MS yesterday. Our neighborhood took a beating, but our house stands and we are so grateful. We are without power and a lot of roads are still covered in power lines and trees. Just wanted to post in case anyone remembered that's where we live and were wondering about us.

What a way to end my moms vacation, huh? Huddled in a tub listening to trees banging into our walls.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Promise I am still here!

Again with the excuses. Work is busy, I have had unexpected welcome company, and now, expected even more welcome company (my mom is coming in for the week!). Along with my creative muse, my blogging muse has also seemed to go into hiding. I am taking some much needed mental downtime in order to clear my head, deal with a depression I have found myself at the bottom of, and try a little each day to find my creativity again.

I am still making things, mostly soap, and creative pursuits are starting to become interesting again slowly. I am taking this as a good sign :)

So I ask that you bear with my longer than normal absence, send me some good vibes, and hopefully I will be popping back in soon with something awesome I made!

But enough about me, how goes it with you?