Thursday, June 30, 2011

Red, White and Blue Massage Bars (for Independence Day weekend!)

Red White and Blue Massage Bars

This project is from the Soapqueen blog.  it took Anne-Marie 10 minutes to make so give it a try!

Ingredients for the soaps to the right
Non-bleeding Red Colorant
OR grab everything you need for this project by clicking HERE!
ONE: Melt 1 ounce of white melt and pour in the microwave and use a dropper to fill in the dots. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
TWO: Melt 11 ounces of clear soap base in the microwave and add .25 ounces of your favorite summertime fragrance oil (I used Coconut Citrus Sorbet). Mix well and separate the soap into two separate containers. Color one container of melted soap with Liquid Blue and the other with Liquid Red (and a smidgen of Liquid black to deepen the red). Mix both colors well.
THREE: Once the melted blue soap has cooled to 125 degrees, spray the first layer of white soap with rubbing alcohol and fill up two cavities with the blue soap. Spritz with the rubbing alcohol to get rid of any air bubbles and repeat with the melted red soap. Let cool for 4-6 hours.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Project: Make Your Own Lavender Wand

Do you have lavender bushes in your garden?  Check out this nifty project from my fellow soaper Bonnie.  In addition to using the lavender buds for dried botanicals, you can also create these lavender wands to scent your drawers, hang it in your closet, car, or any space where you want the fresh smell of lavender!
Lavender Wand Photo from Bonnie Bartley
1. Cut fresh lavender stems as long as possible. Use the fresh cut stems or they will not be flexible enough. Count out an odd number of stems, the more stems the larger the finished wand. Eleven stems makes a small size wand, it must be odd number so you can weave properly.
2. Using about 45 inches of the ribbon of your choice, tie the stems tightly just below the flowers leaving the ribbon for weaving.  Leave one end about 12 inches, this will be used to make the top hanging loop.
3. Gently bend the stems over the flower heads, spacing them evenly around the bouquet. Tie the short end of the ribbon into a loop at the top. Have the remaining piece of ribbon running down the center of the bouquet, you will use it to tie off the end of your weaving.

4. Begin weaving the long end or the ribbon over and under each stem, distributing them evenly to form a cage around the blossoms.  Keep the ribbon tight to the previous rows.

Keep the ribbon tight to the previous rows.If you don't have time to make this, you can always buy it from her Artfire site for $9.99!
weaving a victorian lavender baton

ontinue to weave the ribbon around the wand until you come to the end of the flowers.
tutorial for lavender crafts

You can tie off the ribbon at the bottom of the wand to the end of the loop ribbon.  You can braid and weave it to the bottom, finish it with a bow or embellish it with some beads.  The wand is ready to place in your lingerie drawer, hang in your closet or car, keep it in your gym bag or locker.  As the lavender dries it can be freshened with some lavender essential oil or simply crushed between your hands to release more fragrance.tutorial for weaving lavender baton

Click here for the full tutorial with more pictures!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kids Craft - ice cream in a bag

We made ice cream in a bag with the kids recently and they all loved it!
Ingredients (for one scoop of ice cream)
  • 4 oz whole or low fat milk or combination of milk and half and half (if you use a nonfat milk, your end product will be icier and less creamy)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (for other flavors, use candy flavor oils)
  • 6 tablespoons rock salt
  • ice cubes
  • few drops of food coloring (optional)
  • sprinkles (optional)
  • quart and gallon size zip lock bags
  • towels to spread on the table - this can get messy (water-y), esp as the ice melts.
steps 1 and 2
1. In the large gallon size ziplock, place your 6 tbsp of rock salt,
2. In the smaller ziplock bag, place your milk, sugar, flavoring, and 1 or 2 drops of food coloring.  You may want to double bag the smaller ziplock.  Make sure the small zip lock bags are sealed and place in the larger bag. 
 3. Add the ice cubes tothe larger bag, seal it and start shaking.  You will need to shake for 15 to 20 minutes. 

step 3 - kids shaking vigorously

4. Continue shaking the bags until the ice cream solidifies and is a creamy texture. 
5. Snip a corner off the smaller zip lock bag, and pipe the ice cream into a cup or bowl, add sprinkes and enjoy!
cherry cola flavored ice cream w/red food coloring

Squeezing ice cream into the cup

add sprinkes and enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Recent products with lemon essential oil

I've been on a lemon kick lately - summer seems like a great time for lemons.  Here's a recent lemon poppy seed body scrub that I've made.  Yes, I used real poppy seeds as they work great for texture and are a natural exfoliant. 

Lemon poppy seed body scrub

And here's a lovely jar of lemon-scented botanical bath salts with rose leaves, lavender buds, organic oatmeal, and a custom blend of epsom, dead sea, and sea salts - yummy for your skin!  I love to soak my feet in bath salts, rub them down with a foot scrub, and then slather on rich moisturizing cream for a foot-pampering treat.
lemon botanical bath salt

You can learn to make these products and more at my next tub treats class in November!  They make great hostess, housewarming, thank you, holiday, or just-because gifts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Project: Organization designer style

My mom recently went to London and brought back a cool apron from Cath Kidston, who is a famous vintage-retro style designer (probably similar to Kate Spade in the US).  You may see me sporting this apron in upcoming classes!  It was wrapped in this gorgeous bag which was wrinkled from bad weather, being in a suitcase, and surviving several long flights.  Anyway, I wanted to keep it but knew I had to re-purpose it to justify keeping it.  It was too wrinkled to use for wrapping a gift.
So I looked around and thought about up-styling my knitting binder.  I keep a binder full of knitting and crochet patterns that I have done or would like to do.  I turned it into a designer Cath Kidston binder by cutting the bag and inserting it into the clear-view front and back pockets of the binder.  The spine was a pain and required help from the Mister who has more patience for these sort of things.  I still have a little scrap left which I may use to wrap some soap.  Next time you have some pretty paper, you may want to create your own designer binders!  If you have done other cool things with bags or pretty papers, I'd love to hear it!
My new Cath Kidston knitting binder!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Make Your Own Yogurt!

I've been eating more yogurt lately to help increase my calcium intake.  I thought it might be interesting to make my own and came across this great yogurt tutorial site.

Ingredients you will need:

1 Half gallon of milk (whole, low fat or nonfat)
2-3 Tbs of plain yogurt (as a starter) - you only need this the first time; going forward you will pull the starter from your batches.
1 8-10 Qt stock pot
1 4-5 Qt pot with lid
1 Metal or plastic spoon
1 Dial thermometer with clip
1 Heating pad
Click here for a step by step tutorial. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rose and Mimosa Solid Perfume

This all natural, vegan, perfume is made from only three ingredients: Mimosa Floral Wax, Clear Jojoba, and Organic Rose Damnascena CO2 Extract.  This is a pretty luxurious recipe, as it is made with mostly precious ingredients.  You can create a more economic version of this recipe by swapping the CO2 out for something less expensive.  Natural options include our Rose Essential Oil, Rose Absolute, or Rose Attar.  You can make the recipe even less costly by using a Rose Fragrance Oil in place of the CO2.  If you do choose to use a Fragrance Oil, be sure to use a little more than the recipe calls for, as the scent will not be as strong.
Rose & Mimosa Solid Perfumes
In a double boiler, gently melt the Floral Wax and Jojoba Oil together.  When the Floral Wax has melted completely, remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool for a few moments.  Add the CO2 Extract and stir well before pouring the mixture into containers.  Allow the containers to cool and harden completely before handling them.
Usage & Packaging
Dab a small amount of perfume onto your neck, behind your ears, on your wrists, or wherever you'd like to enjoy a touch of floral fragrance.  These tiny perfumes can be packaged in numerous ways.  Since they pack a strong scent in a small volume, I would suggest using small containers.  Our Crystal Jars, or Pink Mini Lip Balm Pots would be good choices.  We packaged ours in our 1/4 ounce Slider Tins for this project.  You can download free, printable labels here to make your tins extra pretty:  Download MimosaRosePerfumeSheet
Please note that the label print out includes two different ingredient listings, one that uses CO2 Extract, and one that uses Fragrance Oil.  Make sure you pick the right label when you decorate your tin.

This recipe from: the Natural Beauty Workshop.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Heavenly Body Oil using floral waxes

Various Ways to Incorporate Floral Waxes (photo from LyndaLae)
Yesterday, we talked about floral waxes.  Over the next few days, we'll discuss other ways to use floral waxes and incorporate these waxes into several products

One really simple way of making use of the exotic aromas of floral (or fruit peel) waxes, is to mix it with oils to create a gorgeous smelling concotion at a lower price than using absolutes (more on absolutes later).  Listed below is a recipe from Fresholi for incorporating a floral wax into a liquid base.  You can also use this as a roll on perfume by putting it in a roller bottle.

50% Jojoba
44% Apricot kernel oil (AK)
6% Floral wax of choice (I used rose)

- Add the jojoba and the AK to a dark glass bottle (I used an amber glass bottle)
- Place in a saucepan of boiling hot water (I turned the heat on low)
- When the oils are nice and hot, add in the floral wax and put the lid on the bottle
- Place back in the hot water for a minute then take out the bottle and shake
- Continue to do this heat/shake until all of the wax has completely melted
- Then it is good to go!

You can change the ratio of the floral wax to a much higher % and you can use different oils if you like.

Another use:  you can add use this fragrant oil to your creams after they have been emulsified and cooled (just make sure that whatever % you intend to add in at the end - usually a max of 10% - you deduct this from your oil phase.  Also, if you are adding in eo's also, please ensure you account for the eo present in the wax (that is roughly just less than half the total weight of the wax).

Friday, June 17, 2011

What is a floral wax?

A floral wax is a plant wax made from delicate flowers.  Flowers such as jasmine, tuberose, rose, mimosa, and lotus are so delicate that their fragrance can not be extracted by steam distillation, which is the process for many essentail oils. 

To obtain the floral wax and retain the delicate scent, freshly picked flowers are mixed with a solvent to extract the fragrance.  The solvent is removed and a concrete product remains.  The concrete part is mixed with alcohol and goes through a separation process which results in a liquid and a solid.  The solid part that remains is the floral wax.  The liquid part gets turned into an absolute, which is more costly.

Floral waxes are more budget friendly than absolutes and can be used in several ways - to naturally add scent, or color to creams and lotions, or as a base for solid perfumes.  Stay tuned for an upcoming recipe featuring a floral wax.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Crafts with Kids: Make your own Dominoes!

The Bee rock project was very popular!  Here's another project involving rocks and games.  You can make your own natural dominoes by using smooth flat stones and a white paint pen.  Even white out/liquid paper will do!  Gather 28 rocks and create the dots and lines.  Begin by drawing a line across the center of each. Then on either side of the line, mark with two sets of dots in every combination from zero to six.  You can store them in a drawstring pouch for your next game!   This is a great idea for a group of kids - each can work on a few dominoes and then they can play together when they are done creating them!
 Idea and photo courtesy of Martha Stewart!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

my NEW cactus garden

How many cacti gardens can a girl have?  Apparently two dish gardens are not enough!  I decided to convert one of my empty patio planter boxes into yet another cactus garden, and I totally love it!  Dad gave me the two cacti on the ends - these had fallen off some of his cacti and rather than throw them away, he re-planted them in a container.  One thing I love more than plants are recycled plants! 
The two moonstone cacti and the center ET fingers cacti I got from Lowe's.  I also bought cacti soil to ensure that the cacti would thrive.  I planted these over Memorial day weekend and so far so good!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Project: Diamond studded dog necklace

Deck Fido out in style.  Your female pets will like this but not sure about the males.  Anyway, worth a try!  Here's how to make a diamond studded doggie necklace:

These sparkling necklaces are simple to make with grosgrain ribbon and dangling rhinestone trim.

Tools and MaterialsMeasuring tape
Grosgrain ribbon
Pinking shears
Sewing machine
Needle and thread
Rhinestone trim and dangle
Two 3/8-inch snaps

Dog Necklaces How-To1. Begin by measuring your dog's collar size using measuring tape. Cut a strip of 3/4-inch-wide grosgrain ribbon to your dog's collar length, plus an additional 3 inches. Fray check each end of the cut ribbon. Trim the ribbon ends with pinking shears.

2. Fold under 1 inch of the ribbon at each end. Using a sewing machine, stitch the folded ribbon hem in place.

3. Cut two pieces of rhinestone -- one a rhinestone dangle, the other a strip of rhinestone trim -- to fit the hemmed collar, minus 1 inch.

4. Using a sewing machine, sew the rhinestone dangle trim to the bottom of the grosgrain ribbon. Then use a needle and thread to hand-stitch a strip of rhinestone trim directly above the dangling rhinestone.

5. Unsnap two 3/8-inch snaps. Hand-stitch the snap sockets (the indented sides of snaps), one beside the other, to the 1-inch hem. Stitch the snap balls (the protruding sides of snaps) on reverse side of other end, so snaps will meet when hems are brought together.

ResourcesRhinestone trim and dangles are available from M&J Trimming, 800-965-8746. On the Martha Stewart show, Martha used rhinestone trim No. 30472 crystal/silver and rhinestone dangle No. 30967 crystal/silver. Actress Nikki Blonsky used rhinestone trim No. 03603 crystal/silver and rhinestone dangle No. 31851 crystal/silver. Size 3 nickel sew-on snaps, $1.10 for four, by Dritz, from

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Crafting with Kids: Fun & Fruity Facial Masks

Here's a fun recipe to make and use with children from the Natural Beauty Workshop. They will love mixing and smashing the soft fruit into a pulp, not to mention smearing the messy concoction across their little faces.  Make sure to keep childhood allergies in mind when picking the ingredients for this recipe, as some kids are allergic to certain fruits and berries.
Banana Ingredients
In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 teaspoon each of White Kaolin Clay, Oat Flour, and Powdered Milk.  Add 3 - 4 tablespoons of fruit (choppped so that it will mash easily), and a few drops of water.  Give your child a large spoon or spatula to mash with and let them go to town, squishing the fruit and powders together into a beautiful mess.  Carefully apply the mixture to your faces, avoiding the eyes, mouth, and nostrils.  Allow the mask to dry for 5 - 10 minutes, then gently wipe off the mixture with a moist washcloth.  Rinse your faces well, than apply any toner or moisturizer you like. Be sure to take some pictures of your mini spa day.  You'll look adorable with matching fruity faces.
Do you have a favorite skin care recipe that you enjoy making with your kids? 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Father's Day Gifts - Funky Luggage Tags

Here's a cute and functional gift for dad from the kids!  Great way to pick your luggage out from the craft and have dad remember you while he's away.
(This idea by Deborah Way From FamilyFun Magazine )

  • Felt
  • Tag templates
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Dimensional paint
  • Grosgrain ribbon
  • Clear plastic container
  • Card stock
  • Marker
  • Craft knife
  1. Funky Luggage Tags - Step 1 Download the tag templates. Cut the pieces from felt as directed, then follow the instructions for your chosen tag below. Note: For the glue, we recommend Beacon's Kids Choice, which works well with felt.
  2. Monster: Add eyes with dimensional paint. Glue felt teeth inside the mouth.
  3. Guitar: Add details to the body and head with dimensional paint. Fold a 20-inch-long grosgrain ribbon in half and paint strings from the fold to 3-1/2 inches up. Glue the head to the end of the strings.
  4. Baseball: Add stitches with dimensional paint.
  5. For all three tags: Cut 2- by 3-inch pieces (3 by 4 inches for the monster) from a clear plastic container and from card stock. Using the window in your felt piece as a placement guide, write your recipient's name and address on the card stock. Run a line of glue along the outer edge of the larger felt piece, leaving the top free so that you can slide out the paper if needed. Attach the second felt piece. Let the glue dry, then slide the paper and plastic cover inside. Use a craft knife (a parent's job) to cut a 3/4-inch-wide slot near the top of the four layers. Thread grosgrain ribbon through the slot.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tip: Getting Rid of phantom smells...

Do you have an old pickle or jam jar that you would like to reuse?  Say perhaps for a candle jar?  Or to store other items?  But you've noticed that even though you've washed the jar and it is clean, it still smells like what it used to hold?  I have several jars like that - I've been saving them to pour some jar candles.  What to do with those old pesky smells?  You can use plain old table salt to neutralize the odor.  Pour a little bit of salt in the jar, add some water and let it sit for 30 minutes.  Put the cap on, shake the water around, and voila!  the odors should be gone. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Father's Day Soap Project: Vintage Baseball soap

If your dad happens to be a baseball fan, hit a home run with this father's day present you can make from the Soapqueen.  I'm posting now so that you have enough time to order and make this in time for Father's Day, June 19.  You can buy all supplies for this project here from one of my favorite suppliers -!

Hold up!  don't get intimidated by the complex designs on the soap.  You use water soluble paper so it is easy peasy.  This soap can be made in five simple steps...

15 ounces of White Soap Base 
1 ounce of Clear Soap Base
Rubbing alcohol
Baseball Clipart (check Flickr or iStock for great images)
(yields 4 soaps)
Get everything you need to make this project here.

If you have never used Water Soluble Paper, check out the Water Soluble Paper Episode on Soap Queen TV to learn the basic technique, tips and tricks

ONE: Print out 4 vintage baseball pictures on water soluble paper. Cut out the images and make sure that they will fit into the cavities of your mold.

TWO: Once your images are cut out, spray them lightly with aerosol hairspray. This trick will help the colors stay vibrant once they are embedded in the soap. 

THREE: Melt 1 ounce of clear soap base in a microwave safe container and mix in ½ drop of liquid blue colorant to give the soap a “clear” effect. For more information on the “bluing” technique, see the Embedding episode of Soap Queen TV.

FOUR: When the clear soap cools to about 130 degrees (really hot soap might dissolve the paper), pour 1/8 inch of soap into the mold. As soon as a thin skin forms on the soap, immediately add your picture to the soap, face down. Let the soap layer cool.
FIVE: Melt 14 ounces of white soap base and mix in 1/2 ounce of Yuzu Fragrance Oil. Once the melted soap cools down to 125-130 degrees, spritz the first layer of soap with rubbing alcohol and pour the second layer. Let the soap cool for 4-6 hours and pop it out of the mold.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Recipe: Homemade chicken-flavored dog biscuits

Show your four-legged friend some love with these tasty homemade dog treats. 
IngredientsMakes about 5 dozen
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup brewer's yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup low-sodium canned chicken stock, plus more for brushing
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, wheat germ, yeast, and salt; set aside
2. Place oil in a large bowl. Add stock and flour mixture in three alternating batches, beginning and ending with stock. Mix well.
3. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to about 3/8-inch thick. Shape biscuits using a dog-bone-shaped cookie cutter or by cutting around a store-bought dog bone with a butter knife.(Make biscuits that are appropriate for your dog's size.)

4. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough.
5. Bake biscuits 10 minutes. Brush with stock; rotate baking sheets, and bake 10 minutes more. Turn off oven, leaving door closed. Let dog biscuits stand in oven to dry completely, about 1 1/2 hours. Wrap as a gift, or store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Courtesy of Martha Stewart

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Botanical Bath Salts & other fun bath products

I taught a Tub Treats class over Memorial Day weekend, where a full class of students learned how to make botanical bath salts, salt scrub, tub teas and bath milks.  The class was fun and very hands-on.  Students received different recipes and the confidence to make these products for personal use and gifts.  Catch the next class on Nov 19 - just in time for holiday gifts!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Upcoming Classes Posted!

Hi all,
I can't believe I haven't posted in 2 weeks!  Life has been traveling at warp speed!  I will be posting pictures from last weekend's tub treats class soon. 

In the meantime, here's a list of my upcoming classes. 
1. Eco-friendly home cleaning products- learn to make simple products to keep your home fresh and sparkling.  This class takes place in Point Richmond.
2. New classes in Scottsdale, Arizona - Join me at Soapies supplies on June 25 & 26 for Eco-friendly candle making and Creams and lotions.

I'm taking the summer off!  My next classes are:
1. Eco-friendly home cleaning products on Oct 1
2. Eco-friendly candles on Oct 1 & Dec 17.
3. Tub treats on Nov 19