RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: November 2013

‘Tis the season to do a lot of work

Despite a few lingering symptoms from the poisoning I’ve been really pushing myself to get a lot done and I am so excited with the progress I’ve made! I’ve made soaps, lotions, oils, and baskets, plus I finished up creating a cover for my business cabinet with Velcro for easy removal when I want to work. This is beyond happy dance proud. *grin*

Miss Ash came last Thursday for the first time this year and she labeled everything that I had made. (I still think it’s cute how excited she gets about applying labels. What’s that phrase? “It makes my heart smile.” I totally get that now.)

20131124-105308.jpg
Lots for her to label

She helped stir both pots of lotions, which was a huge help while I was making batches of different scents and the emulsifying wax wasn’t playing nicely that day. She was reluctant to pour any lotions, but she poured her first true soaps and I’m really glad that my persnickety personality was on hiatus, because the pure joy and excitement was incredible to see. I needed a glitter bar for the girl’s Christmas tin combo and although I intended to sell the other 3, instead I’m giving them to her as a thank you gift for her help.

20131124-105533.jpg She really likes the smell of alcohol apparently, and got a bit heavy handed with spraying it as a result, so the embeds made the soap surrounding them just a bit hazy, but they’re still pretty cute. She dragged her mom all the way to the kitchen to show off her creation at pickup, which cinched it in my mind that she should get her first full fledge creations. *grin*

Since I was on a roll I kept working after Miss Ash left and I used my brand new slice mold. Right before she came over I had poured the guest loaf full of clear reddish (meant to go dark red, but it definitely looks dark pink when the light hits just right.) It sat up quickly (it’s a little cold here right now, even with the heater on) and I diced it up to embed in the slice mold.

20131124-110333.jpg

20131124-105857.jpg
A slice of peppermint pie soap

I was excited to have finally ordered this mold that I’d eyed for so long, but I became absurdly tickled when I got to work with it. Lol. It’s always a little fun to poke embeds into soap as it is poured and sets, anyway, so it was a great way to end a busy day.

And here is the result.

20131124-110617.jpg
This is a dual named soap. It’s scented with peppermint, so it’s “A Slice of Peppermint” soap, but my morbid mind latched onto the red as being blood and meat clumps in a “Roadkill Remains” soap for the Redneck basket. *cracking up* I seriously considered dying the white soap brown to go with the Roadkill idea, but wanted to stick with using standard products that are always available and I thought that might be a little too repulsive for the more squeamish. Lol. I totally love the results, though!!

To top it all off I decided to have some fun with the fonts while I made labels for the slice soap, new lotions, and the replacement labels for the Redneck products. I found some amusing handwritten and very hillbilly fonts that I think are perfect for the Redneck items. *huge grin*

20131124-111147.jpg
The middle row has my favorites. The exfoliating scrub and the natural bubble bath crack me up (details will be included in another post).

Although I’m exhausted I’m so pleased with all of the progress. All of the baskets/combos are almost completed, so I’ll be sharing those soon, and I have most of the paperwork done all ready too. My $4 slice of Roadkill Remains/Peppermint Pie is my favorite accomplishment. Hopefully tomorrow I can show a few finished baskets. In the meantime, enjoy the cyber sale shopping and don’t work too hard while getting ready for the holidays. πŸ™‚

A nerd, shampoo, and a redneck. What the…?

I’ve actually gotten a lot done while recovering from the beginning stage of iron toxicity and there was only one crisis. I’m either improving or the universe finally decided that I had enough to deal with. *laugh* I’ll hope for both, but figure it was merely a karmic oversight.

I did a ton of paperwork (although I still can’t find a few missing papers. Doh!) and updated a lot of recipes. As much as the nerdy side of me loves figuring up recipes I’m tired of guidelines changing and my having to redo the calculations. I also found an (oops – nerd flag raising here) app that lets me make a to do list plus show if I made anything, how long it took, and even to separate tasks and projects, then link the tasks to the project. *pushes glasses back up my nose and sighs happily* I can feel better about not killing a bunch of trees for my lists and I can easily track my progress with all of my projects. If you have an iPhone and love lists, then rush to the App Store for “Weave”, brought to the masses by the trusted Intuit brand. By the way, one project only has two more tasks left before it’s completed. Booyah! *grin*

I’ve completed at least one task per day until today (although I might add writing a blog post as a task just so that I can feel that I accomplished something instead of just being proud that I got out of pajamas. Hmmmm.). I made several varieties of bubble washes, evening primrose lotions, goat’s milk lotions, and some massage oils. That small crisis actually popped up twice, although I only realized it yesterday. While the bubble wash simmered to the proper temp to accept scent (and I had fished the lively candy thermometer out of the bubble muck that it kept trying to take a full dive into a few times) I decided to make the oils on my holiday list.

See, my first mistake was trying to actually accomplish more than one task. Let that teach me to not get greedy. Lol. Anywho! I decided to do these in a 1:1 ratio of almond and coconut oils. I weighed out and poured the coconut oil, then added the total FO I’d need for the blend. I don’t know why, but something made me look at the label on my almond oil jug. Is your spidey sense tingling yet? Instead of almond oil it was a gallon jug of shampoo base. Granted they are the exact same color and in the same shaped jug, so it was easy to mistake, but I didn’t order shampoo. It doesn’t work so well in massage oils, and they’re not in the same area of the wholesaler’s website even, so I know I didn’t pick it. Lol. I’m just glad I looked at the label this time when I always go by the color usually. Nothing else in my cabinet (well, until this) looks like the almond oil jug with a lightly yellow oil inside. (It’s not an overly appealing thought that the shampoo starts out yellow, right?!) I decided to splurge on the oils and just go full coconut oil for them. I realized that the oils I had experimented with last week obviously are mostly shampoo and are awaiting labeling as a massage oil (Miss Ash is returning this week to help during the holiday season, so I have held off on labeling, since that’s one of her favorite tasks). I pulled those bottles out of the collection and in having a dramatic emoticon texting meltdown to my other half he smarted off about having some fancy shampoo. *cue the lightbulb above my head lighting up* So not only did I just adjust and make straight coconut massage oils, but I’ll add these messes up bottles to more shampoo base and try out some coconut oil shampoo. Shoot, maybe it’ll be impressive and help break that pesky fear of adapting. *grin* If not I’m still impressed that I adjusted and switched to the straight oil so easily. I’m still marking those brownie points down. And my brownie points actually add up to allowing me to have a brownie, so double win.

As my usual disasters go this was definitely one of the easiest to handle and a lesson in adaptation was due anyway. Plus, a quarter of the items in my to do list got checked off. To top it all off I came up with a combo that’s still cracking me up – the redneck combo. (Since I’m a redneck in a family of rednecks I’m not mocking the culture, just using it as a way to have some fun and catch the eye.) I’m going to make “Saturday Night Date Wash”, “Beard Be Gone Shaving Soap”, and probably “City Slicker Soap”. We’ve thrown around names for a lotion, but they tend to sound perverted, so I keep veering back to the safe realm of soap. Lol. I’m having a lot of fun with this idea and they’ll be products I normally sell (or hope to) anyway, just with a different name. Otherwise I’m part way done with new versions of the Christmas Sweet Treats Basket, the Spa Basket, and the Kids Tin, with the new Men’s Combo being almost ready to show you.

More details to come later, but I finally got over my embarrassment and am laughing, so it was time to share. I hope you have a great night planning out your Black Friday goals (don’t leave my nerd flag hanging alone…I can’t be the only one on the bf app!). Happy pampering. πŸ™‚

Bring On the Egg Nog

I finally made a batch of lotion with the Cozy Christmas FO I bought a while back. Since I really like the Evening Primrose lotion I decided to use it for experimenting with the FO. I wish they had figured out “smellivision” so you could at least smell these jars.

I think the sweet, Christmassy scent pairs perfectly with such a soothing and light lotion. Larry and I actually agree (I’m just as surprised! Lol) that it smells like spiked egg nog straight out of the bottle (cream, sugar, spice, and rum), then mellows to mostly sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg once on the skin. I know it’s kind of odd, but I’m finding the sweet notes incredibly comforting and uplifting. Although it’s such a Christmassy scent I’m really tempted to make this in several mediums and sell it year round. Yeah, I like it that much. *grin*

Any input for the off season name? I haven’t decided if I want to play with the Cozy Christmas name for the holiday time or if I’ll just leave it alone. (I may have lost my cheat sheet that reminds me of the names that don’t correspond well to the FO names, so I had to remove several descriptions from my website while I track the info back down, which makes me a little gun shy now. *embarrassed grin*) Come to think of it some rum in my egg nog always makes me a little more cozy, so it kind of fits.

As tickled as I am with this I have about twenty things on my to do app to get done soon, so I look forward to my helper visiting in the next week. Hopefully I’ll have lots of new tidbits to share soon. In the meantime I’m going to head off and email the manager of my favorite grocery store to see about getting some egg nog. I think a spiked egg nog while soaking in some Cozy Christmas bubble wash sounds divine. πŸ™‚

Adhesive Be Gone

I haven’t been overly *cough to cover the muttering of my “good” shoulder angel about fibbing* productive lately, but I have actually gotten a lot of non-business things done. *smile* I thought I’d share one of my projects with you, since I’m pretty happy about it and think it’d be handy for everyone to know.

During that cleaning frenzy I unearthed a bagful of plastic jars that I have saved to reuse (not for sale, just for storing stuff or putting test product in so I’m not using up the good stuff), but there were sticky partial labels all over the place and several jars literally stuck to the stupid bag. You know how you think patiently peeling that label will get it all off and you’ll be rewarded with a clean jar? That never works on plastic. At least, not for me! I hit Pinterest for the crafty tips from the home pros and several talked about the ease of removing left behind adhesive with oil, and if you use vegetable oil overnight, then you don’t even have to try to remove the label. Since I had varying examples of label peeling OCD in the bag I thought the variety would be a smart test for this method. I don’t have a specific link to share with you because I honestly ended up combining techniques from several posts/pins that I read. I’ll just give the total process and my additional tips as I go.

20131111-164830.jpg
At the beginning

First, you’ll want to cover your counter or table with something disposable. Newspaper, paper towels over a bed of dish towels, whatever. I found it really handy and a LOT less messy to move the project into a plastic bag on top of the bed of towels. (I truly tried the straight forward approach, but still got oil all over until I had a stroke of genius with the bag.) Pour some of your oil into a shallow glass bowl (plastic will be pretty difficult to cover up unless you have a lid, but I had Saran Wrap, so glass moved from my second choice to the smart choice *grin*, and I promise that it’s much easier to brush the oil on than try to lightly douse a napkin straight from the bottle without a mess. I’m all for moisturizing my skin, but DUDE! Just trust me. Lol.). I used my middle of the road paint brush that I typically use for egg washes. And I can’t stress this enough: have a partial box of disposable gloves on hand. Oiled plastic will slip out of oily hands like a sudsy bar of soap. It’s a pain in the snicker doodle and you might end up with the oily and sticky mess stuck to your hoodie. Really. Anyway…also keep a stack of napkins in easy reach.

20131111-164940.jpg

(Put your gloves on now! *grin*) Take your plastic jar and coat all labels and adhesive with oil using circular brushes; working over the opening to the bag. Straight brushing didn’t work nearly as well. Coat it liberally; as in, nearly dripping off. Then slap a napkin over the area. It took a few rounds before I discovered that this step is more effective if you also brush the oil over the napkin that is covering the treated spots. I did a few different amounts, but saturation cuts several hours out of this process. Put the wrapped jar into your bag and continue the process with all of your plastic jars. I found that butting wet areas together worked better, because they weren’t as apt to dry and stop working then.

20131111-165137.jpg All oiled up and no tanning bed in sight

Now, let them soak in the oil bath overnight (12 hours seemed best). I could be all quaint like the posts I read and tell you that they might be ready to clean right off now, but I won’t. I’ll be honest. Only the lightly gunked ones will be ready now (or else they forgot to mention where they got the industrial strength oil or fairy dust, because following the instructions only worked on the cleanest of the group!). Take the cleanest one and rub lightly with the oily napkin that had been covering the area. If the adhesive starts to slip off with the circular rubbing, then you get a brownie button! Hehe. Couldn’t resist. Ahem. Awesome for you! Just keep it up until the goo is all rubbed off. Now, if your jars are more like mine, then there’ll be a little bit of cleaning around the edges, but the napkin might be sticking to the adhesive at the point. Flipping it off won’t work, so don’t bother. I tried. *wink* Just brush some more oil over the napkin and it should release. Liberally swirl more oil onto the labels and adhesives (although all of the labels came off at the this point for me, leaving just the adhesive), and repeat with all of the jars. Now, I haven’t ran the experiment a second time to get a different view on the times with the improved methods, so I can only recommend that you check them every few hours. Following the combination of instructions and then finding my own improvements the whole process took three solid days, but the more liberal application with the swirling movement made a huge difference, so I will plan on 2 days next time. If the oil dries, then you basically just need to give them a bit more attention and reapply oil every hour or so. Otherwise, I aimed for every two hours.

You should notice that a bit more comes off each time you reapply after the 16 hour mark. If you want completely scratch free jars, then you might want to try a soft cloth instead of the napkins, because I noticed after I started doing the 2 hour check ups that the surfaces started to look pretty scuffed. Since I just wanted them clean I got rather ruthless and started using some elbow grease on the third day. With my gloves on I slowly scraped my nail at the edges of the adhesive and began to push the adhesive up. Every few pushes I’d add a little oil, since the lubrication makes a huge difference when you’re rushing the process apparently. *grin* I swiped off the balled up adhesive with a napkin and within about half an hour all of my jars were free of adhesive.

20131111-165949.jpg See my pretty jar!

There is one stumbling block that I have no real advice for and that’s how to get the oil easily off of your jars. It took me three very soapy washes with the heavy duty degreasing version of Dawn before all of the oil was gone. I swore after an extensive washing the first time, complete with a sponge bath, that they were spotless. They sure looked that way until they finished drying. As soon as the water evaporated I noticed beads of oil left behind inside of the jars. A few more really soapy washes later and they are squeaky clean to the touch. *big grin*

All in all, this is a pretty easy cleaning technique. I just covered my oil between treatments and will actually use what’s left the next time I have to do this. I actually used maybe an ounce of oil throughout all of this. (We won’t discuss how much I overestimated that I would need…) It takes some time and frequent checking, but I’d much rather do this technique than fuss with a razor or label scraper. If you’re as dedicated as me about keeping your fingers intact, I’d definitely recommend this technique to you. *grin* There’s very little cost and a simple clean up since you can bundle up all of the mess right in the bag; although you’ll still have a few paper towels from outside the bag to toss that caught drips, but maybe you’re neater than me. Good luck with that! Lol. One last note, this wasn’t nearly as effective on glass as the vinegar soak is that I previously posted about. I tried this first attempt on 5 jars and a glass bottle. The label peeled off the jar after the overnight, but it took until the end of the second day before any of the adhesive came loose, whereas it took only a couple of hours in the vinegar bath for a sink full of glass to come clean.

With the holidays I thought this might be handy for those that like to reuse, reduce, and all that happy stuff. Or you might just be frugal like me. *grin* Whatever you are, I hope this helps you and don’t hesitate to ask a question if you have one.

An Easy Tip

Things have been a bit off kilter lately, so I haven’t been able to check off as many items on my to do list as desired. However, I found a handy bit of info that I want to share. Yet again I’ll be praising the ol’ bottle of plain vinegar once again.

I did a massive cleaning of my supplies cabinet recently and found a bunch of jars that were waiting for me to find homes and purposes for. Some had residue from temporarily holding batches of bath teas and such to be packaged into their bags, while others had started looking weird before I got around to using them to hold product, and I’m ashamed to admit that I had a sink full of these jars when I finished the cabinet. I decided that I wanted to get what labels I could off of them and then try my hand at some mod podge over tissue paper. (Drat you Pinterest for making me feel all crafty and creative. I have enough things that need to be done all ready! I really need to focus on the big things instead of sprucing up some jars. That will make them pretty jars though. Let’s pin that to try out later…) *grin* Since I’m so picky and a (*cough* retentive) perfectionist, I knew I’d get irritated over the residue that I inevitably still have after scrubbing and peeling labels, so I hit Pinterest for some tips from the crafty folks.

Unfortunately I was a little skeptical and didn’t plan to be so excited that I’d blog about this, so I don’t have before pictures. You’re imaginative, so I’m sure you can picture dusty, sticky, and oily jars. Lol. The little jars also had a really weird look to them now, like they had started to brown and develop imperfections in the glass, and it didn’t wash off.

I read several pins that talked about removing labels and gunk off of glass jars, although admittedly I focused more on the natural ingredient ones, mostly because I’ll toss my cookies if I smell bleach and my nails will break off if I play with acetone.

I found three that all talked about soaking jars in really hot water with your preferred standard dish soap (don’t use your “good” stuff that moisturizes your hands and all that stuff. We’re talking about using a plain old degreasing formula here.) and then add some vinegar. Of course the ratios varied impressively (it’s kind of funny how I find trivial things so impressive, but such a difference in opinion gets me all wound up, I guess. *grin*), so I decided to use the grand “whew, we’re starting to smell like I’m pickling, so I think that’s enough” measurement. (Maybe I should be embarrassed by my measuring technique. Hmmm. Nope. Lol.) I used the Bleach Alternative Dawn and probably a cup of vinegar to a sink full of jars and hot water. Then I decided that if it might work in twenty minutes, as most of every version I read did, then I could play on the computer for two hours safely. (I work hard to justify my escapes from reality. Just go with it. *teasing wink*)

Although the bubbles had dissolved and the water was cool, I saw the remains of the labels still stuck on the jars, so I decided to poke at one to see how disappointed I should be. Umm…the tip of my finger, not my nail mind you, pushed the label completely off without any force. Dude. Okay, I was impressed all ready, but figured I wasn’t going to do a happy dance because the usual residue was probably just waiting for me to touch and get all grossed out by. When I rubbed my finger across the spot and nothing happened I’m pretty sure my eyebrow nearly climbed into my hair line. No joke, every label rubbed off with absolutely no force and the few spots that looked like leftover adhesive rubbed right off. After an extra light wash with dish soap I set them to air dry and was astonished by how nice they looked. Somehow this little bath with a mild, natural, acid and my normal dish soap made these jars shine better than they had when I bought them! I mean, look how nice these look…

20131103-032839.jpg

20131103-032854.jpg

If you have an embarrassing collection of “I’ll get to it later” jars I recommend trying out this super easy method. I’ve been using vinegar for the base in my household cleaner for weeks now, plus am still enjoying it as a fabric softener, and now I’m tickled to have found yet another way for it to make things easier. So put away the rubber gloves and close that window, because we can now pamper ourselves naturally by having a lot less work. πŸ˜‰

%d bloggers like this: