Sunday, August 29, 2010

Peony Hair Clips

I absolutely love peonies. The problem is that you nurture the plant all year long and they last for about 3 seconds!  This peony will last all year and then some! I just listed these beauties on my Etsy site.  They are available in medium (pink and yellow) and large (pink and white).  More colors to come!






Medium









Large







Find them here (medium) and here (large).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cucumber Melon Coconut Milk Soap

This soap is very refreshing and crisp, just like a cucumber, with a subtle note of melon (hence the name!).  The coconut milk gives it a really thick and luxurious lather which I enjoy a lot.  I really like this soap. I have to say that this is one of my favorite fragrance oils.  My husband liked using this one as well, so it is a great unisex scent.  This one is also very popular with my local customers.


















Find this soap here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kentish Rain Soap

This is the latest soap added to my Etsy shop.  The colors are those that I would imagine I would see in a forest through a thick downpour of rain.  I especially like the Kentish Rain scent by Brambleberry and I have had a great response from my local customers who bought this soap before I listed it on Etsy.

































Brambleberry is recruiting soap makers for a S.O.A.P. panel to test some new fragrances.  I posted on our Facebook page why I would be honored to be part of this team. I have bought the majority of my soap making supplies from Brambleberry since I discovered them.  I can't imagine going to anyone else for my fragrances now.  It would delight me beyond measure to be part of their creative process!

Find this soap here.

Everything Rodent

My two youngest daughters started school this week, so this post is in honor of them and their love of all things rodent.  I am constantly on the hunt for handmade gift ideas and/or inspiration, and Etsy is of course the best place for this.  I found these adorable and hilarious goodies in my searches.  I have no doubt that there will be other posts like this one since they have this undying fascination with small animals.  If your children also have this curious interest, you need to check out these Etsy shops!  These were only a few of the lovely items I found there.







No Boys Allowed 8x10 print by mintbuttercup (top left), Knit Moon Bun Cozy Basket by moonscreations (top right), Squirrel Kid Tee by rainbowswirls (bottom left), Superman Meerkat by niftyknits (bottom right)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Garden Meets BBQ
















My mom had a lot more luck in the garden this summer than I did.  She recently brought me some glorious tomatoes, Armenian cucumbers, and some green peppers.  I was due to make some enchiladas, so I decided to roast the peppers on the grill.  This is super easy and the taste is outstanding when you are finished. First, I cut the peppers in half and took out the seeds and stems. Then I simply sprayed the them with a little oil and placed them on the grill, turning them periodically until they were starting to soften, turning slightly brown and the skins were starting to separate and bubble up.















 I am letting them cool a bit, and then I will chop them up to put into the enchiladas. Since I will likely have more than I need, I will freeze the rest.  Right off the grill, we ate some sprinkled with a little salt.  My girls were in love and asking for more. Yum!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Beautiful Soap Dishes

With all the new soap I have been making, I decided to check out some soap dishes.  Here are just several of the hundreds you can find on Etsy.  I love anything ceramic and the glass and woodwork are amazing.











Bottle Green Infused Glass Soap Dish by SassyGlassStudio (top left), Tin Roof Soap Dish by MadHatterCeramics (top right), Midnight Sea Ceramic Soap Dish by lurearts (bottom left), Textured Ocean Soap Dish by KBOriginalsetc (bottom right).











Reclaimed Ipe Soapdish by nativesondesign (top left), Lotus Mini Dish by yogagoat (top right), Turquoise and Brown Soap Dish by bprdesigns (bottom left), Water Currents by FirstLightGlass (bottom right).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Gardenia Coconut Milk Soap.

Summer evenings and floral breezes are what I think of when I smell gardenias.  They really take me back to my childhood, when I first cut these flowers and floated them in a pretty dish with my mom.  This soap is simple and delicious.  The coconut milk used in the soap gives it a rich soapy lather.  Find this soap here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bee Clean Soap


My newest soap is a bees wax and honey soap.  It is all natural, meaning that I didn't add any color or fragrance to this one.  The bees wax and honey give it a very subtly sweet scent, so if you don't like really strong smelling soap, this one's for you.  I really like this soap because the wax gives it a very smooth and velvety texture, which I find very appealing.  If you remember a while back when I posted about stamping soap, this is the one that I stamped with the bee stamp.  After curing for three weeks, this soap creates a wonderful lather as well.  Find this soap here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to School - Get into the Routine!


Photo Credit: Back to School Writing
in the Public Domain.



So it is that time again.  The kids are going back to school and we are trying to get on a schedule. No more sleeping in and pressure free days.  Here are some of my tips for keeping your sanity on school mornings and after school as well. Get into the routine!

1. Have your kids lay out their clothes the night before. - My kids can literally kill 30 minutes deciding what to wear in the morning.  We cut that wasted time in the morning with this step alone.

2.  Have a place for everything - Having a shoe basket and a place where the kids put their lunch box the day before is a must around here.  That way we aren't running around in the morning looking for that "other shoe."

3.  Have the backpack packed the night before - This is also a time saver in the morning.  Again, no hunting for books, homework, library books, etc. Again, have a place where the backpack goes after homework.

4.  Have a set time that everyone does their homework after school. - This year, all three of my kids will be getting home at different times.  By setting a "homework time" I will ensure that it is a quiet time for everyone to concentrate and get their homework finished.  If you have a younger child who is not yet in school, make this a quiet book time or a time to work with blocks or puzzles.

5. Have a place for homework with all the needed materials. - Your child should be able to sit down and get right to work when it is homework time.  No interruptions to look for a pencil, scissors or a glue stick.  If you don't have a homework table, put together a homework basket full of homework materials (pencil, extra paper, ruler, glue, crayons, scissors, etc.) to work at the kitchen table.

6. Make a night time routine.  This is something that I do all year round, but I have to confess that we are much more scheduled in our nighttime ritual during the school year.  Our bedtime is earlier and our routine is more predictable.  This helps the kids fall asleep at a regular time so that they are adequately rested and ready to learn.

These tips may seem like common sense, and are by no means the only way to do things, but every year I have to get myself back into some sort of routine. I can't promise that every morning will be stress free and run as smoothly as you would like it to, but you just may hold on to your sanity.  Good luck!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Birdie, Birdie in the Tree

We have the cutest little family of birds living in our trident maple out in front of our house.  I think they are finches.  The eggs just hatched and they are hungry little things.  They start chirping the second you come near them.  I managed to get this picture of one of the babies peeking its head out before the mama bird started yelling at me to get away.  I'm not quite tall enough even on our step stool to get a better view.  Anyway, mama bird was quite upset about my intrusion, and I don't want to worry her too much.  I know how that feels.



The girls are thrilled about this new addition and are talking very quietly when we go out front. It is all very precious.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Recyclable Lunch Boxes Continued...

After my last posted on recyclable lunch boxes, I finally decided on this one, the Easy Lunch Box from EasyLunchBoxes.com.  This is something I didn't mention in my previous post, but one that a reader suggested.

Best lunchbox systems

These came in a pack of four for $14 and you cannot beat that price.  They also look reasonably easy to close and the kids can pick a regular lunch box to put them in.  Win, win, win!!  Thank you Jacque for the the suggestion!  I ordered them today.  Find a link to this lunch box solution...here.

**Update**  I got them in the mail today and they are WAY sturdier than I thought they would be. The colors are really nice as well (lime green, bright orange, an eggplant purple and a dark aqua color).  They fit nicely into a standard sized lunch box , although not the ones that have the separate compartment on the bottom.  I was a little worried that our bread would not fit into the large compartment, as we use whole wheat bread that is a little larger than average, but it fit perfectly!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Bodega Bay and the Best Taffy in the World (at least I think so)!


Last weekend, my husband and I took the girls to Bodega Bay to splash in the waves, something we have done over the twelve years we have known each other.  We had to take a break the last few because of our oldest daughter's health issues, so we were really excited to return.  We could not have picked a better day to go.  What is usually windy and a bit cold was slightly breezy and warm.  We went to Doran Beach, which was not overly crowded and fairly accessible to those who cannot climb over boulders or hike forever to get to the beach.

After a picnic at the beach and a romp among the waves, we always visit our favorite Taffy Shop, Patrick's Salt Water Taffy.  It is immediately recognizable by its pink and white stripes.















There are so many different types of taffy to choose from, and although we usually get a mixed bag of taffy, we also get a little of our family favorites: buttered popcorn, cinnamon roll, orange cream, and caramel apple. If you ever find yourself on the northern coast of California, it would be a good thing to find this place.



We finished off the day by visiting another traditional spot, Old Chicago Pizza Company in Petaluma, California which also an interesting historical site(sorry no pictures), and with full bellies, made our way home.  It was such a nice weekend with the family.  I hope we will get in another trip there before the weather turns cold.  It is a nice day trip.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wasabi Cold Process Soap


















The last soap I will be introducing this week is the Wasabi Cold Process Soap.  The scent is very herbal and earthy yet quite refreshing .

Find this soap here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Green Tea Salt Bar Soap

Wouldn't you think that Sea Salt would make soap drying?  In fact, it is quite the opposite.  This type of soap very gently exfoliates while softening the skin.  I really like this soap because when it gets wet it becomes very smooth and you can see all the grains of salt.


















I made with soap with green tea in place of water.  It has a delicate herbal tea scent that is very earthy and matches nicely with the rustic look of the bar.

















Find this soap here.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sweet Strawberry Cupcake Shea Butter Soap

I just had to make these.  Although it is tempting, you can't eat this cupcake!  They are a lot of work, but worth it, as they turned out really pretty.  My little girls are in love with them.  I am exploring ideas for new "flavors" for these cupcakes.   Find them here now.


















Keep checking in this week.  I have more soaps to introduce!