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A few months ago my mom called me and said she was having a difficult time finding a good cuticle treatment that wasn’t filled with chemicals.  She was at the beauty store and started reading me the ingredients on some of the ‘natural’ brands, and they were filled with all kinds of unnecessary stuff.  I offered to make her a cuticle oil, and then began researching what to put in it.

She’s been using it for a while and said it works like a charm.  It also lasts forever.  Since it’s a mixture of concentrated vegetable and essential oils, a little goes a long way.  I gave her a 1 ounce bottle size, and I bet it will last her at least a year.  I decided it was time to share the cuticle oil love, so I made a small batch last week.  I bought the roller ball bottles from a fellow soaper who didn’t need them anymore, so I only have about 2 dozen of them.  They hold .35 ounces of oil.

Recipe  (this makes 1.4 ounces, filled 4 of my little bottles perfectly)

  • .75 oz olive oil
  • .2 oz almond oil
  • .2 oz jojoba oil
  • .1 oz vitamin E
  • .05 oz lavender EO
  • .05 oz rosemary EO
  • .05 oz lemon EO

Blend ingredients together and pour into containers.  Couldn’t be any easier!

I used my trusty aromatherapy book for guidance on the essential oils to use.  I chose these 3 because they are known to strengthen nails and are all antibacterial.

I haven’t decided if I’m going to sell these or not.  I have a show coming up this weekend (The Cowtown Indie Bazaar), so I may just make a bigger batch and see how they go over.

I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to get a swirled soap that I think looks good for a while.  Every time I do a test batch, something seems to go wrong and it doesn’t swirl.  It either traces too quickly and is too thick to swirl, or doesn’t get quite thick enough and just blends together.  I even made the mistake of trying to swirl a light color into a dark and the light just disappeared into the soap.  Oops.

Well here it is folks – my first successful swirl.  I like it – what do you think?

pine orange scented soap colored with Spirulina

This is a new soap I’m testing out that I may do for the holidays.  It’s scented with pine and orange, and colored with Spirulina powder.  When I first cut it, it was this beautiful bright green color.  After curing for about 3 weeks, it’s faded quite a bit to a brownish green.  I think the color works for a pine soap, but I’ll have to try something else for a true green.

Today is my Mom’s birthday – Happy birthday Mom!  To celebrate, I made her homemade limoncello – here’s how I did it.

My mom LOVES limoncello, and is planning a trip to Italy with my Dad in the fall, so I decided I would try my hand at liquor making and give her a (hopefully) super tasty treat for her birthday.  Turns out making limoncello is pretty darn easy (it has only 4 ingredients), but does require some serious patience. Don’t start this project 3 days before the gift-giving event (or 3 weeks…more like 3 months would be good – think xmas gifts).

ingredients for step 1 - lemons and alcohol

Ok, here’s the scoop on what you’ll need:

  • 1 bottle of grain alcohol (everclear or vodka) – the stronger the better
  • a bunch of the prettiest lemons you can find (I used 8 )
  • 3 cups water
  • 2.5 cups sugar

Wash the lemons really well – scrub all the wax off with a scrubbie brush.  Then peel them all with a veggie peeler, making sure not to get any of the white part under the rind (it will make it bitter).

day 1 infusing

Dump the peels into a big glass jar and pour in the alcohol.  Set in a dark place and forget about it for at least 45 days (I let mine sit about 70 days – I kinda did forgot about it)

infusing day 70

On day 45 (or any day after that if you let it sit longer), make a simple syrup with the sugar and water.  Let cool completely, then add to the lemon mixture.  cap it again and put back in that same dark place for another 2 – 4 weeks.

I only waited about 2 weeks, and I tasted it after one week to see how it was coming along.  It mellowed a lot by week 2, so I decided to strain and bottle it.  I used a tea strainer on the top of a pitcher to get all of the lemon rind out.  My strainer has a really fine mesh, so I only strained it once, but I’ve read others strain it several times.  Once was good for me.

Here’s how the final product came out.  I got these bottles at World Market and made the tags to go around the necks.  I also put a recipe on the back of each tag.

I gave these to my mom last week since I saw her then, and we enjoyed the limoncello together, first straight up, and then as a bellini mixed with some champagne.  It turned out very tasty, and I already have my second batch infusing.

It’s less than 2 weeks until the Cowtown Indie Bazaar in Fort Worth, and I’m pumped.  This is going to be a great show, sponsored by Etsy Fort Worth, a group of local Etsy artisans of which I am a member.  I really enjoy doing shows that only allow handmade artisans, and I always have a hard time not spending all of my earnings.

I decided to donate mini soaps to the goody bags for this event, and the Etsy Fort Worth blog has a great sneak peek into the bags I thought I would share.  The bags are FREE to the first 50 people to show up, and from what I hear they are going to be stuffed to the brim.  Free goodies and samples practically exploding out the top.  If I qualified for a free bag (I don’t since I’m a vendor), I would most definitely be there at 9 when the doors open to snag one of these babies.

Check out the full article here.

The Cowtown Indie Bazaar will be held Saturday, September 4 from 9am – 6pm at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas.  Admission to the event is free.

Yesterday we drove home from the beautiful mountains in Colorado to super hot Texas – a 13 hour drive.  We were somewhere in West Texas in the middle of corn fields on a 2 lane highway when we came upon a huge thunderstorm.  At first we thought it was kinda cool and I started snapping pics of the crazy looking clouds, sheets of rain and sky-to-ground lightning we were seeing in the distance.

Then we realized this giant cloud that looked like it could drop a funnel down at any moment was headed in our direction.  Joey picked up the pace and we sped right out of there.  It was a little intense for a minute, especially when we saw what may or may not have been the beginnings of a tornado.  Not sure if it ever developed, we didn’t stick around long enough to see.  This was definitely the most exciting part of our all day driving extravaganza.

Tomorrow Joey and I leave for a week of vacation.  Many moons ago (6 months) when I had a corporate job, I counted down the weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds until I got to leave the ‘real world’ behind and do something fun on vacation.  If we did not have our next vacation planned, I would get kinda freaked out.  Having a vacation planned helped me ‘survive’ the job I didn’t much care for.  If I was having an awful day, I could tell myself, ‘only 6 more weeks until vacation – you can do it.’  Sounds kinda pathetic, huh?  Well, that’s how I felt – vacation kept me sane.

Lake Dillon, CO

These days we don’t go on as many vacations as we used to, but I don’t mind.  I love my new ‘job’ making soap and other goodies.  I’m not making much money yet (the reason for fewer vacations), but I really enjoy what I’m doing every day.  I still look forward to vacation (who doesn’t?), but fortunately it’s not critical to my mental health like it used to be.

Now to the good stuff – where we’re headed.  We’ll be spending the week in Summit County, Colorado – more specifically, Lake Dillon.  This place is almost like a home away from home for us.  My parents have a wonderful condo up there, so we are fortunate enough to get to visit these beautiful mountains often.  We try to go at least twice a year, once for ski season and once in the summer (my favorite).   We have a list of ‘regular’ spots we have to hit, and already know where the best happy hour deals are.

One of the best parts is that we will get to escape the brutal heat we’ve been having.  I believe at my house we’re going on 10 days in a row above 100 degrees, and the 5 day forecast doesn’t look much better.  It will be such a wonderful change to be in a place where we can enjoy summer outside!  We’re planning to go rafting and do lots of hiking – am I making you jealous yet?  We leave bright and early tomorrow morning for our 14 hour drive.  A small price to pay for what I know will be a wonderful week.

me and Joey on a hike in Summit County

I’ve been using ‘natural’ deodorant for several years now, and have tried lots of different brands.  For a year or so I have been using Lush’s aromaco deodorant – it smells like patchouli.  I’m getting a little tired of people telling me I smell like patchouli because of my deodorant (true story – LOTS of people have commented on how I smell like patchouli since I started using this).  It’s time for a change, and since I like to think I can make my own personal care products just a well as any of the major brands, I thought I’d try my hand at making my own deodorant. 

After reading several blogs, and watching lots of YouTube videos, by other peeps who make their own deo (it’s aluminum and preservative free, thank-you-very-much), I came up with my own recipe.  And here it is:

equal parts of the following:

  • beeswax
  • cocoa butter
  • baking soda
  • corn starch

2 parts coconut oil

Melt the oils together, blend in the baking soda and cornstarch, then add:

an antibacterial essential oil blend equal to about .15 oz.  I used the following, but there are LOTS of other EO’s that are antibacterial and could be used.  Next time I’m going to try a tea tree blend…this one I used smells like my lemongrass soap:

  • lemongrass
  • eucalyptus
  • lemon
  • bergamot
  • lavender

I tried to make this not too girly so that Joey could use it too.  I made 3 mini tubes (they each hold about 1 ounce) and we’ve each been using it for about a week now.  So far, so good, and it has been HOT here.  I mean, heat advisory, triple digit, don’t-go-outside-from-9am-9pm hot.  And my new deo is standing up pretty well to the heat.  And I like the way it feels on my skin better than the Lush deo I used to use…the cocoa butter makes it nice and soft.

You should give it a try 🙂

Tomorrow is the first Saturday of the month, which means it’s New Public Market Day in Fort Worth.  This is my favorite monthly market – I wish it were more often.  For all you Fort Worth locals that haven’t checked it out yet, it’s at the corner of Hulen and Camp Bowie in the parking lot of the ‘Into the Garden’ store.  Everything at this market is locally produced within 150 miles of Fort Worth.  There are usually at least 10 different vendors, plus lots of other local stuff on hand.  A great selection of local produce, baked goods, tamales (my favorite!!), meat, cheese, homemade pasta, olive oil, honey and lots of other goodies. 

I’ll be there with the other local vendors braving the heat from 8-1, or until sell-out.  Would love to see you there!

Here are a few new soaps I’m testing out right now.  I’m working on my fall and holiday scents, and have more ideas than I’ll be able to do, so only the best will make the cut.  Let’s start with the soaps I don’t have pics of yet (either because I just haven’t taken them, or I’m not quite happy with how it’s looking so am not going to show you 🙂

Last week I made a spiced cider soap, with apple cider instead of water mixed with the lye, and orange, cinnamon and clove essential oils.  I also added some brown sugar, which gave it a weird texture.  Not sure I’ll keep the brown sugar, but it does smell really good.

Earlier this week I made my second batch of a chai tea soap.  It has black tea as a base instead of water, half and half, honey, and an essential oil blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger and black pepper.  Smells pretty good to me.

And here are my 2 favs so far:  triple mint and Mexican hot cocoa.  I made these on the same day, and the smells mixed together and made the most heavenly mint chocolate smell ever.  I’m already thinking of how to combine them.

Mexican hot cocoa soap

triple mint soap = peppermint, spearmint and wintergreen. Spirulina used for the green bottom.

Next up in the test kitchen:  an orange pine blend and a white chocolate almond soap.  Too many ideas!!

I’ve been busy sending samples to ‘YouTube Beauty Gurus’ lately.  Here’s another fabulous review of my stuff, this time by Kate on her YouTube channel about beauty products.  Isn’t she cute? (I’m not just saying that because she’s gushing about my products, promise).

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