Friday, October 21, 2011

Craft Show Display

I didn't realize I have so many more products than last year!  It took me about two hours to figure out how to display everything on one 6-foot table but I finally did it.  Here are a few pics:

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Craft Show Addition

One more show for this year's list:

November 19 10am-4pm
TC Williams High School
Alexandria, VA

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Review: The Crossing by Serita Jakes

"On the way home from a football game a decade earlier, a masked gunman opened fire on a Texas school bus. Cheerleading coach B.J. Remington was killed but he murderer was never found. Claudia, who had a close friendship with the young, spirited teacher constantly relives the anguish of that day, caught in one moment in time. When her assistant district attorney husband becomes determined to uncover the mystery of that tragedy, the secrets buried over the years threaten to tear their family apart.
Officer Casio Hightower will never forget the day his dreams were destroyed. A star quarterback with a promising future, Casio was on top of the world-until one bullet changed everything. He is eager to help Victor Campbell find B.J.'s killer, the man who shot him. Maybe solving the case will help silence the demons driving Casio to hurt the woman he loves"

This book was very easy to get into. Each chapter begins with the thoughts of Ms. Remington as she lay dying on the floor of the bus. More secrets and clues become revealed with each chapter but the killer still came as a surprise to me.

This book held my attention and I was able to finish it in only 3 days. I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a mystery.

An excerpt from the book can be found HERE.

As a reminder, I was given this book for free from the WaterBrook Multnomah "Blogging for Books" program. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011 Show Schedule

Here is my list of shows so far for this year:

October 22 9am-3pm
Forest Park High School
Woodbridge, VA

November 12 9am-3pm
Centreville United Methodist Church
Centreville, VA

December 10 9am-3pm
Gar-Field High School
Woodbridge, VA

I'm working on a few more so I'll keep you posted. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Christmas Ornaments

The holidays are quickly approaching! It's time to work on some ornaments for my other Etsy shop. Here's what they look like so far:
Each ornament has between 85-90 origami stars that I patiently folded, taking over 1 hour per ornament.  The stars were then placed into the plastic ornament and the sides were glued so it stays together.
Eventually they'll have a ribbon like this one I made last year:

If you have any color suggestions I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Book Review: Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley

I think this is my favorite of all the books I've reviewed.  I was hooked from the first chapter when the young priestess, Melaia, witnesses the murder of a stranger in the temple courtyard.  Legends that she has been told since childhood suddenly come to life with the discovery of angels and shape-shifters.

Melaia finds herself caught in the middle of a feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm.  After being tricked into giving away a very important item to one of the brothers, Melaia discovers that she is the key to repairing the stairway.  She must find a way to get the items back, save her friends, and repair the stairway.

This is the first in a series of books.  As the book ends, Melaia has not yet repaired the stairway.  Eye of the Sword will be coming out in Spring 2012 and I'm very much looking forward to it.

An excerpt from this book can be found HERE.

As a reminder, I was given this book for free from the WaterBrook Multnomah "Blogging for Books" program. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sugar Scrub Bars!

For those of you who love the sugar scrub cubes, I have a wonderful new product for you!  These sugar scrub *bars* are just like the cubes but the same size as a bar of soap.  You can use the whole bar as an exfoliating soap, or break a piece off and crush it up like you do with the cubes.

These bars will be available early next week.  I currently have Sugar Dust (above), Yuzu (below), and Herbal Bliss.  I'm also working on Lavender, Cherry Blossom, and Pumpkin Spice.

Friday, August 5, 2011

New Packaging - I Need Your Help!

Most of you know what my current packaging looks like.  If not, here's a peek:

I love the look of this but it's very time consuming so I'm trying to come up with some other options.  Here's the first one:

It's very similar but the bottom isn't covered.  There's also a bit less soap showing at the top since the paper doesn't fold down as far now that the bottom inch is gone.
Another option is this one:

This one is a just a band of paper with the same label and ribbon.  (Please ignore the label on this one; it printed incorrectly so I decided to use it as my trial.)  This is the easiest and it uses the least amount of paper.  I like this option for those reasons but it seems odd to me since I'm so used to seeing my soaps wrapped with the front folded down.

Please comment and let me know what you think!  Which option would you prefer?  Or maybe something else that I haven't thought of?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

4 Year Anniversary Sale!

I've been so busy lately that I forgot July 26th was my 4 year anniversary of selling on Etsy!  I decided that I have to do something to celebrate so as a Thank You to all my customers who helped me reach this milestone, everything is now 25% off!  All of the prices on my website will be marked down through Saturday the 6th.

Be sure to keep an eye on my facebook page for more events!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Soaps!

New soaps have finally been listed in my shop.  Here is the Pineapple Cilantro:

Perfect Pear:

And I restocked the Sandalwood Vanilla:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My new friend

Isn't she beautiful?  She's been coming by to visit almost every day lately.  I've been trying to lure her closer with some apples but she just takes them after I go inside.  She's comfortable enough with me that I can go about my yardwork while she continues to eat.  She loves hanging out by those grape vines and blackberry bushes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Corrubtible by Mark Mynheir

I really need to start blogging more about my soap. I'm starting to have more book reviews than soap entries on here. I promise that my next few posts *will* be about soap. For now, here's my latest book review.

The book I read was The Corrubtible by Mark Mynheir. Here's the summary:

Ex-homicide detective Ray Quinn never expected life as a private investigator to be glamorous-but being cornered in a bathroom stall by the enraged philandering husband of a client? That's something he could live without. Retired from the force and living with a painful disability, Ray's options are limited. Stick to the job, keep impetuous sidekick Crevis alive, and spend quiet evenings with trusted pal Jim Beam-that's about the best he can hope for.
As a new client emerges, Ray finds himself in an impossibly large boardroom holding a check with enough zeros to finally lift him from his financial pit. The job seems easy enough: find Logan Ramsey, an ex-cop turned security officer who's taken off with sensitive corporate information. But few things are easy in Ray's world, regardless of the number of zeros on the check.
Ray soon stumbles across Logan Ramsey in a seedy motel room. Only Ray wasn't the first to find him. Now Logan's dead, the client's information is nowhere to be found, and Ray's employer is less than forthcoming with the details. Suddenly the line between the good guys and bad guys isn't so clear. With a foot in both worlds and an illuminating look at an unhappy ending that could well be his own, which will Ray choose?

It took me a little while to get into this book but once I was, I was hooked. Every time I thought I had it figured out, something new was thrown in and I had to rethink my entire theory. There are so many possible suspects and motives that it will keep you guessing long after you put the book down for the day. Great for mystery lovers!

You can read an excerpt HERE.

As a reminder, I was given this book for free from the WaterBrook Multnomah "Blogging for Books" program. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New shirts to promote my shop

Vistaprint is having an awesome $2 t-shirt sale so I grabbed these yesterday. They have over 1000 designs to choose from and you get to customize the message.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review - Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

I was very excited when this book was in my list of review options since it's historical fiction. If you've read some of my previous book reviews you know this is one of my favorite genres.

As I started reading, I was slightly disappointed. I could NOT get into this book! The chapters are each only a few pages long and after just one chapter I'd put the book down and walk away. I never do that! Honestly, I can't quite figure out what my problem was with the book. It was a decent story, just not captivating. When I finally got interested in the book (at the very end) and kept reading and reading to find out what happened to a specific character, he went away and the author never says what happened to him! There is a sequel to this book called "Mine is the Night", however, I don't think I want to read through it with the sheer hope that she brings the character back.

Here is the summary from the back of the book:

"Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.
Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.
His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory's many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.
One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.
A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illuminates the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home."

An excerpt from the book can be found HERE.

If you decide to read this, let me know what you thought!

As a reminder, I was given this book for free from the WaterBrook Multnomah "Blogging for Books" program. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tutorial: Two-Sided Loofah Soap

Here are instructions for a fun soap making project to do at home. It's a two-sided loofah soap! Scrubby on one side, smooth on the other. Supplies you'll need:

  1. white soap base

  2. clear soap base

  3. loofah

  4. a mold that will fit your loofah

  5. fragrance oil

  6. color

  7. rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle

Measure the height of your mold and use a sharp knife to cut your loofah so it's half the size. My mold is 1 1/4" high so I cut my loofah to 5/8". Be careful not to cut your fingers! I got my loofah from Sahara's Supplies. Cut up and measure out enough clear soap base to fill half your mold. (You can purchase cheap melt and pour soap base at most craft stores but if you'd like a quality base I suggest finding a source online) My mold holds 6 ounces so I needed 3 ounces of soap for this step. Melt the soap in your microwave (about 30 seconds should do the trick) and mix in your fragrance oil. I used 1/4 tsp of Raspberry fragrance, also from Sahara's Supplies. Place your loofah in your mold and pour the melted soap on top of it. Spritz with the rubbing alcohol to remove any bubbles that may have formed. Allow this to cool for approximately 15 minutes. The soap will need to be hard enough to pour another layer on top without melting it. This next step is the same as the previous step, but using our white base. I chose to add some color to mine. I used "chameleon" mica from Sahara's Supplies. The picture doesn't do it justice but this is an amazing red with silver mixed into it.

Need a tip on mixing mica so it blends properly? I add the mica to my fragrance oil first. Mix well and then add a bit of the soap base. Mix well again before adding the rest of the base.

Now you're ready to pour the melted soap base on top of the first layer but first, spritz a bit of the rubbing alcohol onto the first layer to help them adhere. Allow the soap to cool completely. After it has cooled, you're ready to remove it from the mold. Congratulations! Now you're ready to hop in the shower with your fun new soap! If you make this project let me know how it goes!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

4th Annual Autism Awareness Fundraiser

For the 4th year in a row I will be donating 50% of all Puzzle Soap sales to the Autism Society of America. Please help support this cause! This fundraiser will last the entire month of April.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pictures and a Poll

As promised, here are pictures of the "swirled soap". It turned out more blotchy than swirled.

And now I need your help! I'm getting ready to order more lip balm flavors and I want your opinions. Please vote for your favorites from the list:

cucumber melon
coconut milk & peaches
black cherry
strawberry lemonade
kona coffee
bananas foster
mango peach
iced pineapple & tangerine
something not listed: ________

Thank you!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My First Attempt at Swirling

For a challenge with a few of my teammates on Etsy, we have to make a tropical themed product that contains more than one color. I had the perfect scent for this...HoneyCocoMango! It's a delicious blend of honey, coconut, and mango. Now the color is where the challenge comes in. I've done layers before. I wanted to do something more unique for this one so I decided to do swirls.

I picked pink, orange, yellow, and green for my colors. Since I use log molds I used the 'in the pot' swirling method. Let's just say it's a lot harder than it looks. I was getting a little flustered trying to get all four colors mixed before the soap became too thick. I think I swirled a little too much once I put it into the pot and now I'm afraid it's going to be a big, ugly mess when I cut it.

Stay tuned for pics to see how it turned out. I'm very anxious to see for myself.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Big Giveaway on Facebook!

Want a chance to win some great prizes? Head on over to Super Coupon Lady's facebook page and see what you can win. One of the prizes is my Herbal Bliss Sugar Scrubs. Good Luck!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Flight of Shadows by Sigmund Brouwer

Time for another book review! This one is for "Flight of Shadows" by Sigmund Brouwer.

I have mixed feelings about this book. The story itself was good. Caitlyn, the result of a scientific experiment, is on the run from bounty hunters and the government. She meets a street-smart illusionist named Razor who helps her escape but she's not sure she can trust him. Razor helps her learn about herself and the unique power of her DNA. It leads her to make a choice between the two men who love her, and whether to keep her freedom or sacrifice herself to change human destiny.

The first few chapters of the book were rather hard to follow. Every chapter jumped to a new scene and introduced new characters. It took a paragraph or two to figure out what was going on. The entire book reads this way but after learning all the characters it becomes easier to follow. I discovered after I started that this book is the sequel to Sigmund Brouwer's other book, "Broken Angel". Perhaps I should have read that first.

There are a few disgusting scenes involving a man eating a rat and the author has an abnormal obsession with coffee. This probably bothered me more than it should have but everytime coffee was mentioned I thought "here we go again...".

All in all it was a pretty good book. I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Read the prologue HERE.

As a reminder, I was given this book for free from the WaterBrook Multnomah "Blogging for Books" program. All opinions are my own.

Did you find the review helpful? Rank it here:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Diaper Pail Deodorizing Disk Recipe

I just made a few of these as part of a baby shower gift so I thought I'd share the recipe. These are very easy to make and are great for sticking in your diaper pail if it has a compartment for them, or nearby if it doesn't.

Supplies you'll need:
Lavender Essential Oil
Baking Soda
Silicone Cupcake Molds or other small flexible molds
Cookie Sheet

Preheat your oven to 175 degrees. Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with a small amount of water. Add baking soda and mix to make a paste. Keep adding more baking soda and water until you have the desired amount. You want it to be wet enough so it holds together, but not so wet that it will take forever to dry out. Fill each cupcake mold with approximately 1/2" of the paste. Set the cupcake molds on your cookies sheet. Place in the oven at 175 degrees for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and leave them in the oven for another hour, or until fully dry and solid. Remove from cupcake molds and they're ready to use! After they've lost their fragrance, don't toss them out! These are great to use in your laundry. Crumble them up and toss them in with baby's clothes to deodorize and soften them.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Body Butter Giveaway!

Body Butters are now available in my shop! Even more exciting...I'm giving one away! Tomorrow, February 3rd, one lucky winner will be picked to receive a free 3.5oz jar of Yuzu Whipped Body Butter!

To enter:
Head over to facebook tomorrow and post a comment on the following two pages:

Good luck!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner

I'm a huge fan of historical fiction so I was immediately drawn to this book. My obsession with this genre began with a trip to the thrift store. I was browsing the books and came across "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory. I recognized the title since it had recently been made into a movie so I bought it...and LOVED it! Within the next few months I acquired the rest of the Tudor series by Philippa Gregory and all of the ones I read so far are amazing. When I received "Lady in Waiting" I had no idea it would tie in with those books.

"Lady in Waiting" is two stories in one. The first story is about Jane Lindsay, modern day New Yorker whose husband of 22 years recently walked out on her. She runs an antique store and one day finds an old ring stuffed into the binding of a book. The ring is inscribed in Latin with the only recognizable word being "Jane". She instantly feels a bond with this ring and its owner and tried to find out more about it. Along the way she discovers more about herself and how to deal with her marrital problems.

Story two takes place in sixteenth century England right after the death of Queen Katherine, Henry VIII's sixth wife (this is where it ties in with the Tudor series). It's about Lady Jane Grey who would eventually reign as Queen of England for a total of nine days.

The story revolves around the decisions that both women have made (or that others have made for them) and how they affected their lives.

I give this story two thumbs up! You can download and read the first 4 chapters of this book on the WaterBrook Multnomah website.

As a reminder, I was given this book for free from the WaterBrook Multnomah "Blogging for Books" program. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A few of my favorite things

A few of my favorite necklaces:

Sorry about the small pic on this one. I can't figure out how to make it larger.
This beautiful necklace is by Bella Mei Designs. I met the owner at a craft show back in December. Actually, she walked past me wearing this necklace and I followed her back to her booth to purchase it.

This lovely piece is by Vixen's Natural Jewelry. I now own two of her necklaces and I just noticed she added a purple one to her line!

This gorgeous work of art is by 3Dots. Unfortunately, I don't own this one (it sold out before I got to it) but I have my eye on a few other items in her shop as well.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Whipped Shea Butter

I love whipped shea butter...the creamy frosting-like texture, the way it melts right into your skin. I've been wanting to make some for ages and finally got around to it. This is a picture of my first batch:

There are many tips and tricks on the internet about making whipped shea butter but I learned the hard way that softening the shea butter instead of melting it, doesn't work. It turned out all gritty.

What *does* work? First off, I melted the shea butter completely. After melting I added my oil, cornstarch (to reduce greasiness) and fragrance. Then I alternated between beating it with a hand mixer (with my pyrex bowl placed on top of a larger bowl of ice), and putting it in the freezer for 5-10 minute intervals. Voila!

Not only is shea butter good for your skin but it does wonders for hair as well! I've read about the benefits of using it on naturally curly but was always afraid to try it. I thought it would make my hair greasy. Not at all! No grease, no stiffness, and best of frizz!

Here's a picture of my hair after using the shea butter. I put a bit on my damp hair after my shower (no other product) and blow dried a bit and let it air dry the rest of the way. I should take a "before" picture of what my hair looks like without any product in it, but I'd rather not have anyone see me like that. It's scary!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Newest Toy

I've been wanting one of these for ages so I couldn't resist when I saw it at 40% off! I've already used it to make some of my Christmas tags and I plan on making some fancy ones to add to my etsy shop for next holiday season.

Anybody else treat themselves to a new toy recently? I'd love to hear about it!