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Homemade Sloppy Joes

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Hi there! Did you miss me? I figured y’all could use a little break from my rambling after the whole daily blogging challenge. I couldn’t resist sharing a recipe though, so for Serve It Sunday I’m sharing my homemade sloppy joes. I adapted it from a recipe for Sloppy Joe Casserole that I found on Pinterest, original recipe is here, but after having the original we decided to tailor it more toward our taste. The original recipe was good (although I admittedly omitted two ingredients because I had to), but it had a bread topping that neither of us cared for that soaked up almost all of the sloppy joe mixture. After some experimentation this version was born.

I’ve mentioned before that I have some food sensitivities and sadly canned sloppy joe mixture became off limits due to the spices and additives. I’d honestly never seen homemade sloppy joes before, so when I found out it was this easy AND especially that with a little adjustment it doesn’t make me sick, I was tickled pink. The recipe in an easy to copy format will be at the bottom.

First, on the stovetop you brown some ground beef (I vary the amount of meat depending on the mood honestly lol) over about a medium high heat. I use the 92% lean ground beef and it makes for the least greasy sloppy joes I’ve ever seen.

While that’s cooking I found that if I mix the spices into a paste first and then coat the cooked meat with that before adding the tomato products, the flavors distribute much better, so in a small bowl mix brown sugar, Worcestershire Sauce, ground mustard (it’s powdered, found in the spice aisle), and garlic salt. If you gather the cooked meat into a small circle and pour the spice mixture over it, it’s easier to coat the meat. Stir well to coat the meat (second picture).



Add tomato sauce and ketchup (yep, two tomato based ingredients) to the coated meat, then stir it in and reduce heat to medium. (Don’t put a lid on it unless you like runny sloppy joes.)


We’re are some cheese loving folks, so in goes a generous helping of shredded cheddar cheese.

After awhile the cheese mixes in and it gets all ooey gooey yummy. It may not look it, but this sloppy joe mixture is so thick that it doesn’t drip through the slats in my wood spoon once the mixture is heated well. *grin* It’s not quite “stand a fork in it” chili thick, but it’s pretty dang hearty.


Use whatever bread vessel you prefer or have on hand (this go around I had leftover sub rolls from French Dips).

It was so yummy and best of all it’s not overly acidic, so it shouldn’t bother sensitive stomachs! It comes together in about thirty minutes all in one pot, with minimal utensils to wash. Busy weeknight cooks can use the extra time to do a happy dance or kick their feet up. *grin*

Homemade Sloppy Joes (adapted)

1.5 lbs lean ground beef
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons dry ground mustard
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce (no salt added can)
3/4 cup ketchup
Optional: grated cheddar cheese, to taste
Preferred type of bread

1. On the stovetop over medium high heat brown ground beef in a large skillet.
2. While meat is cooking, mix the brown sugar, Worcestershire Sauce, mustard, and garlic salt into a paste.
3. Once the meat has cooked gather the meat in the center of the pan and pour the spice mixture over the meat. Stir to coat the meat well.
4. Add tomato sauce and ketchup to the mixture and reduce the heat to medium. Do not cover.
5. If desired, add a generous amount of shredded cheese to the mixture and stir it in.
6. Once the mixture is completely warm it is ready to be served on your preferred bread (I recommend a bun or roll, since regular bread may become soggy and fall apart.)

Note: This is a thick version. If you prefer more liquid, cover the skillet after the fourth step. This should keep a bit more of the moisture in.

I hope you enjoy! 🙂

Another Homemade Cleaning Spray

I’ve been on bed rest for the most part for several days now due to an infection that my whole body is now fighting. Top that off with a phlebotomist that blew every vein she tried to draw from, and I’ve been a bit unsociable. *grin* Since I haven’t been able to do a whole lot I thought maybe you’d like some information about an incredibly easy DIY product I made a while back.

If you go to here
you will get the whole skinny about this homemade cleanser. It’s just warmed vinegar and blue Dawn dish soap. You let it soak in and work some magic.

Here’s where my results are a little less enthusiastic as the pinner/blogger…it did a good job on cleaning up dirt and even Goodyear Grime, as I call it (my husband works in a Goodyear Tire Plant), yet it doesn’t touch hard water stains.

I have been embarrassed about our shower/bathtub ever since we moved in. At first I thought the previous owners didn’t bother cleaning (which, by the way, they didn’t. I think it’s kind of gross to clean the toilet in your new home that first day because the previous owners never cleaned the boy’s “miss”take.), but I’ve fought the dinginess and hard water in that thing for ten years now, so it wasn’t just in need of a regular cleaning. It is the one area of the house I am too embarrassed about to even consider a before/after shot, but you can use that tutorial for that. *smile* This solution did a much better job than any other product I have tried, honestly. Compared to her bathroom I actually had to get out my Scumbuster to put some umph behind the solution, but the extra pressure really helped. It even shined up the faucets and stuff really nicely. It doesn’t clean caulking that has discolored or those fun hard water stains, but it’s not full of harsh chemicals and it’s even safe to get on your skin while you’re cleaning, so I’m impressed it can do this well.

Here’s where it gets good, though. I decided to try it on my seriously messy crockpot. I made crock pot ribs one night and then started the first round of getting sick. My husband tried to be nice, so he filled the crockpot with hot water that night, since the BBQ and juices had formed this brown lining that didn’t want to come off even with a scraper after soaking for a bit. When I finally was able to be up on my feet and get some things done, I was surprised that pot hadn’t grown legs and left the building. It was bad. Thankfully I had the spray bottle sitting there with the remaining solution (I needed 1 1/2 batches for my bathtub and shower), so I sprayed it and laid back down for a few hours. In the blog the user stated she just wiped everything down after the solution sat for a few hours and then rinsed. I tried that on the crockpot and the crust slipped right off! I’m telling you there were stains that disappeared with this one treatment!

I hope you consider trying this out, especially if you have any trouble with chemical sensitivities or have had trouble finding a cleaner that works for you. I honestly think it’ll take pumice, elbow grease, and a miracle to get the hard water areas clean, but for your normal in-depth cleaning, this is a really effective mixture. It’s super easy to mix up and requires very little effort compared to most products.

I hope you have a happy (and healthy!) weekend. 🙂

DIY Glitter Ornaments


DIY Glitter Ornament



I’ve been playing with glitter again and I have to share this with you.  The tutorial is at although I will give you a few tips, so it doesn’t take you as many attempts to make the ornament of your dreams.  *grin*  I know that’s a bigger picture than I usually bombard you with, but that’s just how much I love it.

Ornament Prep

Basically you rinse your clear ornament with rubbing alcohol and let dry.  After it’s dry you squirt a little floor finish in it (although there’s some sticker shock, it barely uses any, so that bottle will last almost forever), swish the finish until it coats the entire interior, and pour the excess back into your bottle.  Sprinkle your chosen glitter into the bulb and either shake or swish the glitter until it coats the ornament.  This is where I have a little input.  I never figured out how she had any to “swish”, since the excess liquid was poured back into the bottle, but I covered the hanger hole with a napkin and shook the tarnation out of it.  Super fine glitter didn’t coat very well, so I had to rinse the ornament and start over another day.  When I switched to the other glitter it dawned on me that I should take  a picture, so you could see the glitter (although it’s not an overly descriptive picture, I know lol), but mostly so you can see the bottle of finish in case you get as confused as me when standing in the store and trying to figure out which one to buy.  So, using the slightly less fine glitter things started out well, but after the bottom was coated in glitter I couldn’t seem to get the glitter to move.  I tried all sorts of fun shaking, rattling, and wiggling, but if you end up with a clump at the bottom, don’t worry.  Just add more glitter!  It takes a LOT of glitter.  I went through half of one of those jars of glitter just on the one ornament.  I tried sprinkling the glitter directly into the opening and I also used a paper funnel.  Once I realized that shaking didn’t actually harm anything, despite the tutorial stating that she didn’t like to shake, I stopped trying to funnel the glitter to the spots that I needed to cover.  Just put your glitter in and treat the ornament like a shake weight.  After a few minutes you’ll have a fully coated ornament.  If you still have some blank areas despite having a bunch of loose glitter inside, then the floor finish didn’t coat that section.  It bites, since there’s no fix at this point, but it happened to me in a tiny spot (notice how the top hardly has any glitter?  I didn’t realize that I had failed to swish that finish along the entrance.  I found that the ornament balanced well on the small Dixie cup and it kept it from rolling about spreading the glittery love across my table.  It’s also a handy little stand for the ornament to sit and dry on, and since it won’t roll my cats are leaving it alone.  *grin* The ring from a mason jar works well too to keep the bulb confined, especially if your dog happens to smack paper cups off of tables with his tail like mine.  The only down side is that it’s hard to get pictures of the pretty surface without dark spots or reflections when it’s too cold to have a curtain open for natural lighting.  LOL

Glitter Ornament

Glitter Ornament


I hope you give this project a try.  Knowing how to prevent the troubles I ran into this project should take you about fifteen minutes.  In the tutorial she also added stickers and things to hers, so imagine the possibilities.  You could bling it out with some little gems, initial them in puffy paint, or do it in green and paint a fun Grinch-styled face on there.  If you have any problems, feel free to drop me a line.  Otherwise, have fun! 🙂

A Sticky Situation

Last night I finally got to try out the new Popsicle mold. I figured that I could use it for Valentine’s or Easter, too, so I wrote out recipes for a few varieties that I could do in pinks and reds. It wasn’t until I actually started to work with the ingredients that things got a bit iffy.

I decided that Cotton Candy would be a good scent to pair with a pink soap, and then decided that this would be the perfect time to try out the tutti frutti dye powder now that I know how to keep it from speckling, since it’s neon pink.

Now that my wholesaler has a Q and A section I read that the powder should be mixed in a bit of glycerin and used then as a normal dye. They mentioned that their small hand mixer worked wonderfully for this.

It took 15 minutes to get it like this. Seriously?! The little hand mixer is battery operated and has a little design flaw apparently. While doing this I found (Larry reminded me that I learned this lesson before, but I inconveniently forgot it apparently) the battery is located right under the lever that gets pushed down to operate the mixer. When the mixer runs very long that battery begins to heat up that little tab of plastic to a very uncomfortable temperature. At 15 minutes I was doing the potty dance from the pain, trying to use a hot pad (which didn’t work), and switching hands, since my fingers were turning almost as bright as that dye. *laugh* Thankfully there were only two speckles that I could still find, so I just fished them out, and decided to keep trucking.

Funny thing about that Cotton Candy FO…there’s so much vanilla that it’s a very yellow oil. When mixed with the soap it remained very yellow. Usually an extra drop or two of coloring will cover that up, so I figured it would be no big deal.

That is after 44 (!!) drops of neon pink and in desperation 2 drops of strawberry red. I don’t think it would have gotten to this mild of a pink without the heavy red, either. I have never used so much dye before. (Never fear, though, because I tested a little bit of the soap to make sure that the bubbles were still white. If the bubbles are colored, then there’s too much color, but as long as they’re clear/white, then you won’t dye the poor user.)

I looked up the mold on my wholesaler’s site and it said that there are 10 cavities that hold 3 oz each, so I did a test run with 12 oz of soap. Somehow I only managed to get 3 1/2 soaps when I poured though. Usually soap is right on, whereas lotion has a lot of loss during the mixing and pouring, so I figure they don’t intend for the user to fill the cavity completely. How was I to know that? Lol

I also discovered that the craft sticks don’t fit snuggly in the slots on the lid, like it seemed. They kept slipping down into the soaps and I didn’t realize when I held them until the soap started a soft set that my tremor had made the sticks a little…uneven. Yeah, we’ll go with uneven. I won’t use the terms I used when crying to Larry about the disaster. *laugh* After I got over my pity party I decided to unmold them and check for speckles. That’s what I decided, at least. Thankfully Larry hadn’t left for work yet, because apparently it’s not a one man job. They didn’t want to come out at all. Unlike regular silicone molds I could just flip the cavity inside out, either, because of the shape. Between Larry’s strength and long fingers that could hold the entire length of the cavity to twist and cause air bubbles, which allow the soaps to release, and my pulling on the sticks, we finally got them out. I had been justifiably concerned about pulling on the sticks, since they started to slide out of the soap a little. That’s how tight they fit. (I could have put the soap in the freezer to shrink it a little and see if they’d pop out then, but that usually makes the soap sweat and I think it decreases the durability of the mold, not to mention the soap, so I try to avoid it.)

They might have some flaws, but at first glance I thought they weren’t too bad, until I noticed this…

Apparently where the mold has a connecting strip from cavity to cavity it tends to create a little dent in the middle of each bar. Lol. I throw in the towel.

After a few uses I don’t think anyone will see the dent anymore, but it does make it a little less pleasing on the eye to sell them, unfortunately. (Not that I could sell this wildly crooked set anyway.) Shrink wrapping the soap and maybe adding a small bow where it meets the stick should help, but now I know that I can’t do multiple varieties in one setting and that I can’t unmold these little cuties on my own. That’s a little irritating considering how much I paid for the dang thing, but Larry came up with an idea to hopefully solve the sticks moving, at least.

I’ll experiment again in a day or two and will see if I can suspend some poppy seeds in some of the pops for some Strawberry Jam Popsicle soaps. Since anything that can go wrong does go wrong when I’m the one doing it, I’m betting that the seeds sink and that the dye will go wonky, which might be in my favor, since then you won’t see the seeds in a big clump at the end of the soap. *grin*

Okay, enough sarcasm and self teasing for the moment. I’m not too upset with the flaws and I had fun learning some new things (like to use a stronger mixer if I do powdered dye again!). I’m off to do some pampering and take a nap. I hope you have a day filled with just as much relaxation and that you’re also learning to not be so hard on yourself too. 🙂

A Crafty Little Project

I hope you excuse my absence.  I have a really surprising excuse.  I’ve been a victim of mind snatching and in my place a Crafty Cathy has been dabbling.  *grin*  I’m not sure if she’s some previously unknown dual identity or what, but I’ve been having a lot of fun.  LOL 

I stumbled upon a really intriguing pin on Pinterest and it honestly sounded too good to be true, especially after the difficulties I had with the melted crayon pin.  It couldn’t be that easy and, truly, it’s not always.  I’ve had quite a mixture of success and failures, but the best part is that it’s a whole lot of fun and I think I may have finally figured out what’s been going wrong.  As you have probably guessed, that always piques my interest way more than success, so I’ve been a bit obsessed.  *laugh*  The pin (and sister link) lead to the websites: and  Once I started playing with one I had to explore the sister link, and then my crazy mind had to see if both processes play well together.  *grin*  Basically the first one explains how to “dye” mason jars with mod podge and food coloring.  The second is pretty much the same thing except you substitute glitter for the coloring (and the insanely girly side that hides from my typically morbid and dark usual tendencies can’t resist glitter, so it was pretty much a guarantee that I’d be checking that link out.  Although I totally realize that although the blogger says that it’s dyeing jars, it’s really just dyeing the glue, I’m going to follow in their footsteps, just because it’s a whole lot more consistent when you read my experience and then the blogger’s tutorials.  (Or you can go look now.  I’ll wait.  Unless I spot some glitter.  I can’t be held responsible for any lapses of sanity if that girly part of me spots…Oh!  Look at my new box of pretty glitters….*happy sigh*)  Ahem.  Now that we’re all on the same wave length, let’s continue.  *smile*


Here’s where my post is going to get picture heavy.  You take a clean jar (I got totally scandalous and branched out to sanitized spaghetti jars and old business jars…*laugh*) and pour a liberal amount of mod podge inside of it.  The blog advises quite a bit, but I have only needed that much for a family sized spaghetti sauce jar – the mason jars that I used didn’t need that much.  You add a few drops of food coloring, stir it completely into the glue, and then swirl the mixture to coat the entire inside of your jar.  Let it sit and drain for an hour or so, then flip it back over and let it finish air drying.  That’s what the instructions say.  Well….




When I started I wanted to test if food coloring would be more effective than my soap dyes, since I have them on hand in more colors and they have such vivid tones in comparison.  The compilation of pictures are just that.  The lavender shots don’t actually go with the food coloring.  Honestly I didn’t want to overwhelm you with a bunch of shots that aren’t overly exciting, so I cropped them in with each other.  I wanted to show you the steps though, so if you are nervous while trying this project you can see that everything is progressing normally.  The lavender was a third test, using craft paint, while the pink was soap dye, and there will be a dark purple one you’ll catch a glimpse of, which was actually done with the food coloring.  (Something that the blogger very accurately notes is to not brush or scrape any of the paint mixture onto the glass.  Just swirl it around and let it naturally coat the interior.  Any forced application leaves funky textures and really messes up the look.  That was tested purely by accident, but a great thing to keep in mind if you do this project.  Just be patient and keep swirling!)



This is what happened with the food coloring.  I retested it to see if there was a flaw in the application or process and realized that I had missed the instruction to turn the jar right side up after an hour or so (this was my first jar), so it had dried upside down, although most ran out and pooled at the opening on my paper plate.  I don’t have a picture of the retest, but it worked fine when the directions are correctly followed.  *grin*  I personally don’t care for the colors I achieved with the food dye, so I was more interested in the other paints.  Now, here’s the coolest part.  If you don’t like your results, fiddle with the coating at the lip of your jar and you can peel the whole shebang out and start over (after rinsing)!  How cool is that?!  So, you’ll understand why I’ve done these a lot of times, but don’t always have the pictures to back the comments up.  *laugh*  The second pic is the dyed glue “skin” which is absurdly fun to squish and stretch.  I won’t judge you if you don’t judge me.  *teasing grin*  It’ll be our secret squishy stress reliever. 



Now, the above is what happens if you don’t have a consistent heat source and your house is pretty chilly.  It starts out just fine, but then…I have incredibly bad timing and we had snow, freezing rain, and below zero temps, and to top it off our wood stove has been off getting repaired, so the house is chillier than usual.  I had been setting the jars in front of a heater register in the bathroom, since I could close the door and make that the warmest room, so in theory they’d have the best chance at heating.  That would be true if Abby Cat hadn’t decided that she needed some direct heat and laid down between the vent and the jars.  *rolling eyes*  The streaking also happens if the temperature is just right for the thermostat to not kick the heater on for several hours, so the glue just kind of works with gravity and pulls off of the sides.  The blogger noted that she had small bubbles develop from placing them in the oven (by the way, I never found a way to avoid at least a few bubbles, no matter what dye or process I tried.  Gentle stirring of the dye into the mod podge helped to reduce the number, but they developed on their own while I worked the mixture around to coat the interiors.  If you find a way to stop it, please let me know, but I never developed a whole lot of them, like she described with the oven process.  Just a heads up so you don’t think you’ve done something wrong.).  The way that worked best for me was to place the jar and paper plate on the floor and surround them with a heating pad, then top that with a light blanket, so it trapped in the heat.  I swear I need stock in Sunbeam, because I go through so many heating pads every year (it’s one of the few things that really helps me cope with the pain), so I always have a few handy.  For this I used a really long one, although I think a “king” sized one should work just as well.  The most flexible one you have.  After trying a few different heats I found that medium worked the best with mine.  After that first hour or so, once the jars are flipped, I slipped them back into the cocoon (with a bit of wax paper over the lips just because I don’t want to muck up my pad or blanket), and let them keep drying for at least a day.  The worst part about this is that most heating pads have that safety turn off feature, so every two hours I had to go and turn it back on.  When I slept I just left them in the cocoon and they still stayed warmer than most of my house.  *laugh* 




The above is mod podge with super fine iridescent glitter that is rated as safe for cosmetics, which I use in soap.  At first it’s white, but then it dried completely clear and look at all of the pretty sparkles!!  *cheesing*  Yeah, I’ve turned the bend.  They’ll probably be coming to size me for my straight jacket soon…(Something else to note is that no matter what color you’re using, it’s going to look like a pastel at first and won’t be anything like what you’re going for.  I found that 4 drops of actual dye worked great for vibrant colors and about a teaspoon of craft paint was perfect. 


I had a crafting mishap when I tried to make a pretty glitter covered jar weeks back and decided to dye it to see if it would salvage the disaster, and I happen to love how it turned out.  *grin*  I used Crafter’s Choice (available at Wholesale Supplies Plus, among other online retailers) in Strawberry Red for the dye, while the outside was simply the same iridescent glitter mod podged [I’m not sure if that’s a word, but I’m going with it.] to the exterior in two or three sessions (yeah, looking back that’s a bit extreme, but while it was wet it looked so pretty, so I kept going for it.  *sigh*  Lesson learned.)


It’s now a permanent fixture on the entertainment center.  Although it didn’t photograph well it looks so cute with an LED tea light at the bottom and the fake flowers on top.  There’s a slight frosted look, plus a delicate shimmer from the glitter.  *happy sigh*



I saved the best for last.  This is the lavender (“lilac”) craft paint example from the collage at the beginning with metallic purple small (not fine) craft glitter mixed in.  I found that the heavier glitter always sunk, but still looks pretty awesome to me.  I swirled like a possessed woman to get enough momentum for the paint to carry some of the glitter toward the top.  *grin*



This is what really got us all amped up about the lavender one.  Larry came into the room as I was trying out a flickering LED tea light in the jar and said he wanted to try something.  He came back with his color changing glow sticks that he uses when he goes riding at the dunes in Oklahoma (safety measure so others know where your vehicle is at night and so it’s easier to judge where your vehicle ends, since it’s dark as can be in the middle of those dunes and you don’t want to clip someone).  The above pictures were taken in that lavender jar!  I’m not from Jersey, but those are still wicked cool!!  Plain and simple.  I think this would be awesome for a preteen, too.  There are so many glow in the dark craft paints on the market and a ton of different glow sticks, even, so they might not even need a black light.  We sure didn’t use one.  I never outgrew (nor did Larry) my love of glow in the dark things obviously and would have gone ape over this as a teen.  We plan to do some of these jars as luminaries if we get to do a morbid anniversary or Halloween party someday. *crossing fingers*  How awesome would these look in a darkened room with a creeping fog from a bowl of dry ice near them?! 


In the end I had several that I tore out, but all in all I loved this project.  As a matter of fact I bought a bottle of extreme glitter craft paint while grocery shopping today, so I’ll share pictures of that attempt soon.  I’m at war with myself over spending the next hour of insomnia watching the new episode of Face Off, which I’ve been eagerly anticipating, or go try out my new paint.  *laugh*  Since I’ve had limited use of my right arm for the past 36 hours from a small mishap I think the season premiere will win out this time.  I really hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my results and experiences, and please share with me your results if you try this.  I’d really love to see your creativity.  Feel free to link in the comments or email me.  It’d totally make my day.  *grin*  In the meantime, pamper on Garth. 


If you have looked at my recent Pinterest activity (if you didn’t know I was on there, then it’s easy to find me by searching for Georgia Cornelison for the pinner), then you know that I’ve been playing with ideas for some themed combos/baskets. One that I love thinking about is a monster themed basket. Most of the items can be standard products with little twists, much like the Redneck options, but with a decidedly more…morbid twist. *grin*

One such item that keeps rattling around in my mind is a bubble bath – er, blood bath. *laugh* I saw a pin for a container of red bubble bath that resembled a bag of blood/plasma. I can’t tell you how excited the Poe-loving side of me is over that idea. With this rattling around while I looked over the end of year sale my wholesaler had yesterday I ended up buying a set of zipper bags. They hold around 2 ounces and even stand on their own! How cool is that?! Anyway, most mention using it for samples of bath salts, which I will definitely be trying too, but I want to see if a little “blood bath” will work in the bag. Check this out:


Although I’m trying to decide which zombie and Frankenstein items to narrow in on (so many ideas!!), I decided to also splurge and get the really nice mold for Popsicle soaps. Look at this little guy:

It was a bit more than I usually want to spend on materials I can’t really justify as necessities, but it’s silicone and guaranteed to work for soaps. I loved the failed Popsicle soaps I made before the holidays and knew I really wanted some good Popsicle soaps all year around. I saw some really wicked (oh man, I almost went to the “wicked cool”, so you know I’m getting all wound up about this) Popsicle soaps that were in Halloween colors and they embedded toy spiders in the ends. Wow!! How awesome would a play on that look in that Monster combo?! I’ve thought of doing some Frank colored ones or some toxic yellow ones. *grin* There are SO many options!

As you can tell, I’m having a lot of fun looking at the brilliance and creativity of others, and in thinking of what possibilities would work for me. I am so excited. *smile* I’m still looking into trademark issues for other theme ideas, but I am pretty set on a few things. I want a zombie repellent soap, a blood bath, and a demented Popsicle soap, bare minimum. Isn’t it fun to think of all of the options?

Anyway, I don’t want to keep you reading if you’re still suffering the after effects of a late night. I hope you’re enjoying your New Year and have a wonderful rest of the week!

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.


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.


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. 🙂

A Little Bit of Fun

I decided the other day to go back to just amusing myself and made a couple of soaps that made me smile. The first batch were some simple guest rounds with the holiday erasers embedded in them. The reindeer is just so cheerful. *smile* In order to get the embeds to show well I had to warm and brighten the overall picture up, so the soaps are more of a clear with the faintest gold to them, and not so yellow.


After those I decided to play with dye. I haven’t played with swirling colors in a while now and got a little wild with the toothpick (stirring). I had a few that became a blended color because I got a little too into it. Lol. I love some of the swirls though!


Gingerbread people followed, although I use that term quite loosely, since I went incredibly unconventional with them. A bright pink with glitter. Mawahaha. *wink*


My last soaps didn’t turn out unfortunately. I tried to embed the centipedes I had found and although they looked great at first, the soaps became cloudy. I rinsed them and everything, so I suspect a little chemical reaction between the material and the FO. They wouldn’t fit in any other mold, so they were poured in a brownie mold I never used (one of those that’s suppose to make every brownie an edge brownie since people supposedly like those best. Um, I’ll let those mysterious people have those pieces and I’ll take care of those ooey gooey center pieces for them. *grin*).


Although the last batch didn’t come out, I enjoyed myself. Nothing fancy or anything to tweet home about (especially for me since I haven’t joined the twitter bandwagon), but some fun little soaps. I got a few supplies today to keep the ball rolling, too. A new bubble wash that suspends additives, so I can put the centipedes or jojoba beads in some bottles of wash (we won’t talk about what happens if you try adding jojoba beads to a non-suspension formula…ugh!). I also got these cute little guys to embed and maybe even put on top of some fancy bar soaps (thank you Pinterest for that bit of inspiration).


For a little size perspective here’s a picture of one in my palm. It’s plain adorable!


With that little bit of cuteness I bid you adieu. I hope you are enjoying the middle of the holiday season and have a splendid weekend! 🙂

‘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.)

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.


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.

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*

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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