Monday, November 25, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Candles for Charity Auction

Recently, I was in a swap where we traded handmade candles for handmade soaps.  It was inspiring to see the different products.  We took one of the candle boxes and decided to donate it for a charity auction.  Here's a photo of the candles and tarts that were submitted.

Candles and tarts - side view

Candles and tarts - top view

Friday, October 4, 2013

Floral Friday: Tomatoes

Today's post features lovely fresh, juicy, home grown tomatoes!  We ate tomatoes on bagels & cream cheese with lox schmear, sandwiches, pizza and we still had more so we made salsa and guacamole too.  Our next project would have been home made tomato sauce or soup but we managed to share with friends and neighbors too!
Yummy home grown tomatoes

Friday, September 27, 2013

Floral Fridays - Coral cactus

This cactus has a very unique fan shape at the top.  I saw it at a super fancy flower shop downtown and really liked it but it was priced high.  I did some searching and found it available at the home depot!  Due to cuttings, gifts and recent purchases, I am overloaded with interior plants right now BUT this will be on my list for the next succulent I get.  I have been tending towards non-prickly succulents but I may make an exception for this one.

Home Depot sells this cactus in the cute polka dot pot!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Angry birds fly in for a visit

Stephanie and I recently made these little angry bird magnet projects with the kids. While this does require manual dexterity to cut and glue the small pieces together, and also a little bit of patience, it is quite a fun and easy project for the 8 and up set.  The kids had fun making them and it was interesting to see the variety of facial expressions on these cute little birds!

Materials needed for the project

  • pom pom balls - in angry bird colors: red, teal
  • wiggly eyes
  • small scraps of felt (yellow, black, red, teal)
  • scissors
  • glue
  • wooden sticks to help apply the glue (if you are not using a hot glue gun)
  • magnet backs (optional)

1. cut shapes from the pieces of felt - triangles for a beak and thin rectangles for eyebrows, and a squiggly cut for the comb on the bird's head, if desired.
2. glue the eyes, beak, eyebrows, and comb on the pom pom ball
3. if desired, glue the magnet backing onto the pom pom ball also.
4. let dry for 15 minutes and enjoy!

Finished Angry Birds on the white board

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sneak Peak: Lava Lamp Lip Gloss

This Saturday I will be teaching a new class called all natural lip trio at the Nova Studio.  I have spent the last 2 weeks re-making and fine-tuning recipes for this Saturday's class where students will learn to make lip balms in a pot, lip tints and lip gloss.  I'm still working on the design of the presentation and am much closer to being done than I was last week, which is a good thing!  Nothing like the reality of an upcoming class to help motivate.  This is a fun project and one of my favorites from the class - I love the color pop and hope everyone else likes it as much as I do.  At first glance, it is not that interesting but once you tilt and turn it upside down, it's very soothing and relaxing to watch the colors glide through.  Not only that but it is also good for your lips.  I experimented with the one on the far right by placing raspberry and orange layers to get a more interesting color effect - next time around, I will probably use thinner color layers so there is a larger clear area for the colors to migrate.
Bright colors in these retro-style lip glosses

Friday, September 20, 2013

Floral Friday - Succulent paradise

I recently went to chicweed, an outdoor garden store in Solano Beach.  The space is pretty tiny but they sure pack a lot of creative cactus displays in their small space.  I really liked the patio table with the built-in cactus centerpiece - how pretty!  I hope to visit again the next time I am in the neighborhood!

Some of the displays/cacti for sale in the outdoor shop

Table with embedded living succulent centerpiece - wow!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sparkling Lavender Lemonade Recipe

Lavender and Lemons are two of my favorites so when I came across this recipe i had to share!  I love to make a lavender-lemon soap and now here's a unique twist to classic lemonade.  This recipe and photo is from Kori who blogs at Mountain Rose herbs' blog.  She has other lemonade recipes besides this one.

Lavender Lemonade
Make the lavender syrup…
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
3 Tablespoons organic lavender flowers (I used dried, but you could use fresh lavender)
Bring to a boil over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved.  The consistency will be like a lightly thickened syrup.  Cool. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate and use as needed or for the rest of this recipe.

Make the lemonade base…
Juice 6-8 organic lemons to make 1 ½ cups of juice
Grate 2-3 Tablespoons of lemon zest/rind
1 ½ cup water
1 ½ cup of organic sugar
Heat water and sugar to boil and boil for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and add lemon juice and rind.  Cool. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate and use as needed for individual glasses of lemonade (add more water, ice, etc.)

NOW…mix the lavender syrup and lemonade base in a large punch bowl or beverage dispenser.  Add 1 gallon of cold water and 1 bottle of champagne (or you could add club soda or non-alcoholic sparkling cider, or even a little vodka if you’d like).  Stir and add about 4 cups of ice.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Soapy Cupcakes

Last month I had the pleasure of helping Ruth out in her Soap cupcake class at the Nova Studio.  This class uses some advanced techniques so some soaping experience is suggested.  Ruth previously taught this technique at the soapmakers conference earlier this year; I didn't attend so I was glad to see this class offered at the studio.  She brought more than 20 samples of yummy soap cupcakes and shared a variety of packaging options.  As a bonus, she also showed us how to make dainty soap meringues!  Below are photos from the class, including the 2 soap cupcakes that I made:-).  The soaps have cured now and are ready for use.  I gifted both already so I will definitely be soaping up a batch of cupcakes soon.  They make great hostess gifts, and are fun non-caloric treats.  This process does take a little more time and effort than the traditional rectangular bars of soap so if you plan to sell these, you may have to adjust your prices accordingly and also include a sign that says that they are not edible!  Both of the persons I gave the soaps too wanted to take a bite out of them!

Ruth in action!

More than 20 colorful soapy cupcakes 

 I heart big frosting tops!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Floral Fridays - Lunch at the Solbar

Lovely succulent accent 
Recently we took a trip to Napa since it had been a while since we ventured in that direction.  The Solbar cafe was highly recommended so we thought we'd give it a try.  The food was something to write home about (so I'm writing about it on my blog!) and I also really loved the simple succulent floral accent at every table.  Yes that is the Floral Friday tie-in!  I was inspired to create my own simple succulent arrangement (photo to come in a future post).
Petrale sole fish tacos

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaning Powder

Natural cleaning products help reduce the amount of toxins around your house.  A while back, I was in a green cleaning products swap and one of the swap cotributions was a toilet bowl cleaner.  I liked it a lot and learned the recipe was from Sandy Maine's clean naturally book.  After putting all the ingredients together, I scented it with eucalyptus, tea tree and lemon essential oils - this combination is not only antibacterial and disinfecting but also smells divine!   I get a bit of aromatherapy while I am cleaning the bathroom and I actually look forward to doing this chore!  I didn't use the coloring recommended by the book but I think I will the next time I make this - without it, the bowl water doesn't look very good
 :-( but it is very clean after.  I was able to recycle the plastic container from the original toilet bowl cleaner I got and one of the scoops from my protein powder and it is very handy in measuring the cleaner.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Floral Fridays - Jen's Terrarium

I've decided to have a new feature called Floral Fridays which will include posts about cactus, succulents, bulbs or other garden type things.  I kick off this series with Jen's terrarium.  Jen recently moved back to Chicago and has taken a whole host of classes (such as terrarium making, hawaian luau recipes, making quiches, etc).  She shared a photo of her lovely terrarium - I will have to ask her for tips next time she is in town!  Hers looks very professional and filled in!  I like the variety of cacti in her little glass garden.
photo courtesy of Jen T.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Soap Swap

The Nova Studio 10th anniversary soap swap was fun!  I contributed a soap made with primarily certified organic oils and scented with lemon essential oil called lemon dream bar.  I didn't add any colorants because I was trying to keep it as natural as possible.  It's kind of a homely looking bar but the ingredients are solid:-) and the cigar bands dress it up.  I was wowed by the tree soap from little haven soap (top right in photo) as well as soapeez soap pie slice (middle left in photo)! Both are labor intensive and took several days to make!  I also liked seeing the variety in packaging; I am going to try to wrap this year's gift soaps in paper the way Ruth did (bottom row in middle). The group had 8 participants and we not only traded bars of soap but also our recipes.  Now the big decision is which soap to try first!
Wonderful soaps from the 10th anniversary swap

Lemon Dream Soap - they aren't all uniform; I need to work on that!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Happy 2nd Anniversary Miss Bebe!

Celebrating our 2nd anniversary with little princess Bebe!  She's 4 years old and has lived with us for two.  She's a ray of sunshine and lots of fun!  She is a giant cuddle bear, loves computers, lounging around and long walks.  Her favorite things include healthy hound dog biscuits, her lion and snoopy toys, and running down the hallway, including leaping and bounding like a rabbit!  She doesn't like any sort of dog clothing but likes pretty collars.  Yay for Bebe!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Future bars of lemon soap

I've been doing more cold processing soap making lately.  here's another soap I just put into the mold.  This one has base oils of olive, coconut, avocado and shea butter and scented with lemon essential oil.  It was really hard to get out of the mold so I will have to use sodium lactate next time for a harder bar of soap that will unmold a little easier.  When i pulled it out, the corners were dented because the soap was still too soft - these are just cosmetic defects and the soap is 100% usable.  These are clearly handmade soaps but fun nevertheless!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Gorgeous Grape vines

Recently I went to a wedding at Fogerty Vineyards in Woodside.  These are some of the rows of grape vines that were planted on the property, which also had majestic views of Silicon Valley.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Living Room String Beans - part deux

Here are some of the grown string beans from our living room string bean project.

It was a fun experiment and we want to continue growing more veggies.  It is a lot easier to buy string beans from the farmers market or grocery store and in bigger quantities but it's nice to be able to have it super fresh right in your own living room.  Unfortunately, the plant is long gone now.  We have planted a few seeds which have sprouted!  If they are viable, we'll do another post soon with those new plants.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Castile soap

Real Castile soap is 100% olive oil. It's a mild and gentle soap that is great for all skin types but especially those who are more sensitive.   The ingredients of this soap is olive oil, water, sodium hydroxide and essential oils.  I used a blend of lavender, tangerine, mint and it smells heavenly.  this soap was made using the cold process method.

I should have cut it earlier in the day becuase when we tried to cut it tonight, it was a little hard.  Live and learn.  it should still be a great bar of soap when it's ready for use.  Castile soap is one of the ones that needs to cure for a longer time to get a better soaping experience.  These were made last night and I will recommend not using them until Dec 1.
Here's the soap right after I poured it into the mold.

Here are the cut bars.  You can see that it went through partial gel

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Living room string beans

Our little string bean plant is still alive and growing!  We've been diligent to water it every day and rotate it so that it doesn't lean too much to one side. How many beans do you see hanging from the plant?  We look forward to having fresh string beans soon!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fizzy bath cupcakes

Sorry for being dark for a while.  Have been busy enjoying the real world:-).  Most of my crafts lately have been sewing but I did work on a fun project today that I wanted to share -   fizzy bath cupcakes!
Fizzy bath cupcakes - please don't eat!