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Category Archives: The Holidays

Last Minute Gift Idea

I didn’t plan to post again until after Christmas, but in case you’re feeling the pinch and wanting to jazz up a last minute, or small, gift, I thought I’d share a neat idea.

I saw a cute idea on Pinterest where someone filled a mason jar with gum balls, with a clean paper roll hollowing out the middle, so they could hide some money in there as a gift.

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I thought that this is a fun idea and much neater than just a gift card sleeve or card, and figured I could play with the concept a little. I got a couple of bags of holiday candy, the recipient’s favorite chocolates and then M&Ms for the filler to replace the gum balls. I can’t say what I hid in both jars just in case the kids or their parents read this, but I quickly realized that my gifts were definitely too big to fit in a paper roll. *laugh* This is why the M&Ms came into play, since I’d need some small candy to fill the spaces around the gifts, and I’d need a lot more filler without the hollowed out area. I put a small layer at the bottom, so even if they look at the bottom they won’t have a clue that they’re getting something better than a jar of candy. *grin* I put the gifts into baggies, slid the gifts into each jar and filled around them with the bigger candies, and then the M&MS to fill the holes. I then put a simple label and a little ribbon on each.

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No matter what way the jars are turned you can’t tell that there’s a secret hiding in there. A best friend pointed out that if I’m not there when the kids get their jars, then it’d be smart to say something to the parents, just in case the kids don’t discover the true gifts within a few minutes. Smart advice that I thought I’d pass along. I’m definitely one of those people that are too excited by great ideas and fun gifts that I can barely keep them secret long enough to give them to the person, so I plan to be there when the kids get them. *laugh* If they don’t dig in within the first few minutes I’ll suggest that they dig around a little.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday, no matter how/if you celebrate it, and that this fun idea serves as a little inspiration if you need it. 🙂

‘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.)

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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.

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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.

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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*

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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. 🙂

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. 🙂

A Marshmallow World

I thought a little Dean would start this post off right. I know it’s a bit early to have Christmas on the brain, but the couple of months leading to the holidays are a big deal for crafters.

As I always do when I have insomnia I start mapping out ideas about products or researching things, and this week has been no different. I decided that this year I want a different holiday sugar scrub, so I figured it was about time to put in a supply order. *happy sigh* If you’ve been reading my posts, then you know I have a scent hoarding issue and can’t resist getting at least one new scent to try whenever I order supplies. My bank account cries, but I get all giddy, so the universe evens out. *grin*

Now here’s the tie in to the title. I am finally getting my hands on the Marshmallow FO that I’ve been wanting ever since I read about it. Most people love smelling something sweet and comforting, and marshmallows are great year round, so it’s not really too seasonal of a scent. S’mores, cherry chiffon, and hot cocoa…Marshmallow dominant foods really should be their own food group. *a goofy smile takes over as I daydream about the sugary pillows of delight* Oh yeah, I’m supposed to be writing something halfway intelligent about bath and body products. (You’re welcome to do Homer’s signature “doh” there. I’ll allow it this time. Maybe not next time, so I advise that you take advantage. *laugh*)

To add some depth to a few scents I splurged on the Madagascar Black Pepper FO, too. In regular situations pepper makes me sneeze and whatnot, but when it’s a lower note in a complex scent blend, boy howdy! Suddenly my eyebrow lifts, I get a little sassy smile, and see Gerard Butler smiling at me in my mind’s eye. (Got me why, but I just know he has a complex and masculine scent to go with that smile, those abs, and that bad boy vibe. Pepper and a hint of leather. I just can’t decide if he’s more of a crisp Black Tie FO or the woodsy notes of Twilight Woods for the dominant notes. I could totally suffer through either. You know, do my part and all. I’m a giving person like that.) Anywho! I’m excited to get to experiment with that and hopefully add an interesting note to some scents that haven’t really done the elusive “it” for me yet.

While trolling new seasonal scents I landed on Christmas Cookies and managed to justify ordering it since it was fifty cents off. Lol. Yeah, I can justify almost anything if I really want it. *grin* It’s supposed to have dominant notes of buttery shortbread with a bit of vanilla and spice. I’m really hoping that it smells as yummy as it looks, because this is what I hope to use for a “sweet treats” sugar scrub instead of gingersnaps.

To finish my splurging I added Hot Buttered Rum to the mix. Several users commented that it smelled like butterscotch, so I think it’ll make an interesting FO to play with. If I smell more of a rum note then it might just have to mingle with the Egg Nog FO I got on sale a little bit back. A spiked egg nog bubble bath might be pretty sigh inducing come holiday time. Well, especially if I have a glass of the real deal in hand while I’m relaxing.

I also got a few items to amp up the pampering power (suddenly I heard “puppy power” in my head when writing that. Ah, Scrappy, I’ve missed you.). I’m getting tired of rinsing poppy and flax seeds out of the bath tub from Larry using the Men’s Scrub every day, so I decided to experiment with powdered luffa in the scrub. The improved scrub has worked great for him and still gets most of the gunk from Goodyear off of him, but for the sake of less nagging about rinsing the bath out after a shower, I figure it’s worth experimenting with a replacement for the seeds. The luffa soaps never hold up long for him, but he likes them, so I thought maybe a miracle can happen. ‘Tis the season coming up and all that jazz. If it works, then he’s getting a few buckets of it in his Christmas stocking. *grin* If a product can hold up to his intense use without nagging, then it’s a winner. I also ordered two kinds of body puffs; one is regular, but the other is a long and less frilly one, so I think that might be good in a men’s Christmas basket. *crossing my fingers* I added some spa eye masks since I haven’t done a play on the original spa baskets yet, and then a few samples of new colors.

I’m hoping the new items will strike me with some inspiration and that I’ll be doing a little better by the time I receive them, so I can make even half of what is on the new master list. At least I’ll have some sweetness for my oil burners while I pop my earbuds in and secretly listen to Dean and Bing singing about the wonders of the holidays. If only that dreamy snow didn’t make huge drifts in the driveway and make the path to the wood pile seem a mile long. At least a girl can dream when she’s listening to the happy crooners. I hope you get to enjoy “A Marshmallow World” in your dreams tonight.

Have a happy bath

I hope to get a few fun things finished to take to the sale event next Saturday, but after going through my inventory last night I realized that I have nothing for baths for adults (but lots of bubble wash for the kiddos! Lol). I decided to make a few batches of bath salts and package them in the cello cone bags that I used for the chocolate covered cherry swirl cones (see my website for a pic if you’d like). I figure that it’d be a pretty sure bet since the cone size is rarely more than $4 and I can make several pretty quickly (not counting drying time). I made a batch of On a (Pumpkin) Roll and a batch of Spa. A little seasonal and a little ahhh. *grin* I’m crossing my fingers.

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A small anxiety attack

So I, um, well…I lost track of time. It’s way too easy when you’re on disability because it seems like the world went on without you, but seriously!?! Exactly one week from today is the Overbrook Craft Sale that I reserved a double booth for. *sigh* Don’t get me wrong – I’m excited about the event, but I’ve been operating under the thought that it’s a few weeks away. Yikes! I guess it’s time to start making decisions on the ideas I’ve been debating such as needing more lotions, making and taking a new scrub, and even a new lotion scent. My helper hasn’t been by and I have a stack of new products that need labels. The wholesaler I use even posted a new recipe for bath fizzy thumbprint cookies that looks adorable and might be a good seller, so I started thinking of experimenting with that. I think I need to tone my creative juices down and do what is left of the basics. I can’t believe that just last night I said “in a few weeks”. Lol. Sounds like I’m doing inventory in a few hours! 😉

Cute little jars

I also got my sample jars today. I’m tickled with them and think they’ll be awesome at my sale event in a couple of weeks. They’re a quarter of an ounce with an attached lid and I think this will help make the lotion samples more event friendly. People can use the tiny spatulas and not have to whack the tiny bullet bottles I used to use for samples to get the lotion out to try.

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Tabletop

As usual it’s the wee hours and my mind is going a mile a minute. *grin* I’ve tried to quiet it a bit with a good book and catching up on a stack of catalogs I’ve received in the last few days. (Sure I love to shop from home, but I don’t need four in one day. Lol. I’m more likely to spurge one at a time. *smile*) Anyway, while looking at Oriental Trading’s party catalog, where I usually find cute packaging for soaps and combos, I saw a tiered stand and it got my mind flying again. I’m thinking that a tiered stand, like for desserts and dainty foods, might be a neat way to display soaps, especially the bakery scented items. What do you think? I noticed last year that few actually looked in my baskets at any of the soaps and have been planning my table set up to include a more browser friendly set up. The stand would take up the same amount of space while also displaying them pretty nicely I think. I might just take advantage of the early holiday sales and look for one tomorrow. I love a legitimate excuse to shop anyway. *grin* If you have any display ideas beside my slotted organizer and baskets, please let me know. I love input and ideas!

Change of venue

Physical therapy has been kicking my rear, so I’ve had trouble doing the Breast Cancer Awareness Sunset Stroll soaps that I blogged about. It means a lot to me to at least donate something, so I am going to make up a gift basket for them to raffle. I really, really hope that it does well. I’ve decided to put my large pink ribbon soaps, a few pink Victorian heart soaps, and one of my hot pink fang soaps in it. (Hey, it fits the pink theme and I still love them, despite the fangs not being mainstream. *grin* Might as well toss one in since they make me smile. Lol.) I’m going to pop in one jarred and one bottled goat’s milk V3 lotion, so they have a chance to decide which packaging they prefer. My sugar scrub sells really well done there, almost as well as the goat’s milk lotion, so I’m putting a Cherry on Top scrub in and it even has a pink layer. Since this is a marketing opportunity I’m also going to include a mechanic’s soap, some of the cubed embed soaps, and a few body oils. I’m disappointed that I’m not able to make an event specific scent line, but it gives me a plan for next year I suppose.

Since the moon and stars aren’t lining up (*cheeky wink*) for me to have the booth at the Sunset Stroll, I’ll direct my attention to the Christmas Craft Sale down there in November. At least I’ll still have a chance to be in Overbrook for some of my best customers and it had the biggest sales last year that I’ve ever done at once.

So today I start my lists and spreadsheets *smirk*, and set aside my disappointment. I have a few months to work on the next venue and something to be super excited. *grin* In the meantime, Happy Friday!!

Like a bakery

Despite the blahs I’ve managed to get a few items made. *happy dance* I made a big batch of dessert cake soaps and they smell phenomenal. Between them and the cake batter lotions, and the pumpkin buttercream lotion, it’s a delightful mixture like in a bakery. I experimented with rolling the “ice cream” scoop of bath whip for the dessert cakes in slightly cooled melted glycerin soap. Ummm…epic fail. *biting lip* There was whip everywhere and the texture as it cooled…ugh! The whip developed a tacky texture where it got coated with the soap. Oddest feeling and experience ever. Lol. Thankfully that was soap number 13, the experimental child of each big batch. *grin* I try to have an extra in case of something bad happening when I’m doing a big batch.

I also filled the orders for goat’s milk lotions. Wow! I’m completely out of goat’s milk base now. That’s pretty cool. *smile* Anyway, a few are the new version with emulsifying wax. That was a learning experience, let me tell you! Lol. It certainly doesn’t take much of the wax pellets even in a big batch, but it took almost an hour in warm base for them to melt and incorporate. I didn’t expect that. Lotion has to be warmed at a low rate or else it turns nasty very fast, but it was hard to hold my little patience and not crank the heat when I’d all ready waited half an hour to melt the lotion anyway. Lol. I measured and did my additives, and then poured each version. After they were done I got to take a swipe of the caked on lotion on the side of my lotion pot and tried it out. Holy smokes!! I seriously think I may have to add to all adult lotions now. It’s so creamy and leaves the neatest feeling. It’s this smooth and thick feeling like it’s really working, and will take awhile to soak in, but doesn’t have that greasy or tacky feeling that some intensive care versions of lotions have. *happy dance* So awesome!! I’m debating offering the wax as an a la carte option, but the nerd in me can’t resist giggling at imaging “Sex in the Shower 2.0”. *snicker* Of course, you have to have the robot voice announcing it in your mind. We’ll see which version of me wins on how to incorporate emulsifying wax into my line. *grin*

I have a few more things left to make, but I’m done for the day. I hope you have a fantastic weekend and hope your house smells as amazing as mine right now!!

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