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Wow!  It has been a really long time since I have been able to find the time to craft, much less find time to write a blog post.  My family made a big move from NY to PA thanks to my husband concluding his active duty status and shifting to reserves.  We were able to move back to our home state of PA and be close to family once again, but this move put a lot of strain and stress on everything.  First off, the home we had in NY didn’t sell so we had little to spend on a home in PA.  What does that mean?  That means fixer upper!  That also means no money for professionals to come and do it so hubby and I and some nice, generous friends lent a hand to make our new home liveable.

Thankfully, the house has come a long way and we’ve moved in, unpacked most of our stuff and are slowly settling in.  We still have a few rooms to do, but the most important ones are done. 🙂

Anyway, all of this resulted in lack of crafting time since I spent most of my time fixing plaster, sanding, painting, dry walling, refinishing floors, etc.  I am hoping to get some new Christmas soaps done in September to have for the Christmas season, plus have some additional tatted and knitted items made for Christmas.

I was able to make a few adorable baby hats over the last couple weeks that I love!  They’re not fancy, but the yarn I got through KnitPicks.com is fun to work with and made the hat so adorable.

mauvegreenhat3a

This adorable infant hat uses pink, magenta and mint green to create a cute, yet functional fashion accessory.  For boys, I chose a yarn that reminds me of a stormy ocean:

blueoceanhat3a

I like that this hat wasn’t made with typical pale blue.  It’s a little bolder, but still adorable!

This rainbow hate is my absolute favorite.  I knitted this using scraps of worsted weight yarn in a cotton blend so it’s nice and soft:

rainbowhat1a

So cute!  Love stripes on baby hats and a great way to use up scraps of yarn.  For the final hat, I made up my own pattern using a stitch I found in a vintage 1960’s knitting book.  I love this stick since looks like little bow ties.  The one pictured below is in a spring green worsted cotton blend.

greenbowtiehat1a

I had made a similar hat a couple of years ago for my youngest daughter and made a pair of leggings to match.  I also sold a set at my GrammaVedora etsy store. https://www.etsy.com/shop/GrammaVedora?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Here’s a pic of my youngest wearing the pink  hat and leggings:

pinkhatleggins1

Cute right?  Now I need to actually write the pattern down.  If I get around to it, I’ll post it.  It’s not complicated so just about any level of knitter can make it.

That’s all I got for now.  When I get the Christmas soaps made later this month, I’ll post a few pics of those.

Winter projects

I love this time of year!  It’s time for fun craft projects for me and my family.  This year I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I am enjoying it!

I am currently in the middle of several projects and have plans to do a couple more if I can convince my husband to go the fabric store with me.  He’s not a fan, believe me.  Let me put it this way, when we were putting locations on our GPS he used a skull and cross bones icon to identify it on the map.  Har-dee-har.

Anyway, this winter I’ve managed to piece together a quilt for my youngest daughter’s big girl bed and I am currently painstakingly hand-stitching the quilting on it.  Tried using my machine, but there was too much fabric to maneuver under the walking foot.  may have to invest in a long arm sewing machine if I keep up making quilts!

Trying to get the layers smooth and even before pinning and basting.  Taping the edges made it a ton easier for me!

Trying to get the layers smooth and even before pinning and basting. Taping the edges made it a ton easier for me!

My hand-stitching attempt.  I like the little PVC frame I found, but hand-stitiching is tough!  I definitely need to practice to make sure my lines on both sides of the quilt come out nice and even.  Love the butterflies though.

My hand-stitching attempt. I like the little PVC frame I found, but hand-stitiching is tough! I definitely need to practice to make sure my lines on both sides of the quilt come out nice and even. Love the butterflies though.

It’s fun and I hope to make a quilt for each of my children in the next few years.  Also, I have been knitting a sweater for my blondie.  I stalled over Christmas time when my soaping kept me busy but now I need to finish it off.  I only have the collar and cuffs to do, but since I’ve been designing it on the fly, I’m a bit nervous as to how it’s going to turn out.

Also, my awesome husband got me fleece pajamas as a gift for Christmas and they are sooooo warm and cozy!  Perfect for the below zero temps up here in NY.  Anyway, my hubby would like a pair, but couldn’t find any at the store so of course I offered to make a pair for him.  Unfortunately, convincing him to go to the fabric store with me is like pulling teeth (see above paragraph).

So, what are you doing for projects this winter?  Feel free to share in the comments!  Also, I plan on offering a coupon code for Valentine’s Day at the etsy soap store.  Please visit my facebook page and “like” to get the code later this month!

Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/GrammaVedora

etsy store:

www.GrammaVedoraSoapCo.etsy.com

 

Christmastime Rush

It has been awhile since my last post and I just wanted to touch base with you all during this busy time of year!  I had planned on introducing some of my newer Christmas soaps and adding a new soap video to my youtube feed, but even with best laid plans…..

My laptop died an untimely death and thanks to my forgetting to back up my hard  drive for a couple of months, I lost important pics and video.  Bummer!  It took a few weeks to get a new computer and by the time I figured the new computer out and got back into the swing of things craft fair season and the holidays were well underway!

Hoping to retake some Christmas soap photos and some newer regular soap photos later in the month to show what will be available in the etsy store soon. (for soap store click here)

On top of making soap I have been tatting up a storm!  What is tatting you ask?  It’s not tattooing!  Tatting is  form of lace making that was pretty popular a hundred years ago or so.  It’s a neat little hobby and I love taking my tatting with me to craft fairs so I can tatt during the downtimes.  I was able to list a few tatted snowflakes on my GrammaVedora etsy store (Click here) and have sold some already.  I love how delicate they look.

Here’s a few photos of some tatting!

IMAG0965

lacey tatted snowflakes

lacey tatted snowflakes

I have more photos but have to admit they’re not all downloaded onto the new computer yet. Visit my etsy stores to see soap and tatting photos!

Are you making your Christmas handmade? Even only part of it? Let me know and leave a comment!

Customize Your Soaps

I make a ton of different soaps.  I hate to limit myself!  I do stick to the same basic oils and butters, but I love to change up scents, whether or not I use coffee, tea, or beer, maybe milk, or even a pureed vegetable!  I also have a tallow recipe I make upon occasion, though in limited quantities at the moment.

A fellow crafter and friend really enjoyed my tallow soap but wanted to try a different scent so I let her sniff through my samples and she narrowed in on one she liked.  Now, in just a couple more weeks she will have her very own soap loaf!

Her mom also requested a particular scent to be made into soap as well as a body creme, though she didn’t necessarily want an entire loaf.

It was a ton of fun making a custom order and knowing the customer will love their new soap and get enjoyment out of it.  Customizing a soap isn’t hard, but sometimes customers are impatient and not willing to wait for the cure time needed.  If you can, try and see if you can convince some folks to order a customized soap loaf.  Around the holidays selling whole soap loaves is not uncommon.  Some customers prefer to cut and package the soap themselves to give to friends and family.  Saves them some money and saves the soaper packaging time!

Here are some photos of the two recent custom soap orders I completed:

The oils in the Crisp Apple Rose soap are yellower than the Apple Orchard tallow soap.

The oils in the Crisp Apple Rose soap are yellower than the Apple Orchard tallow soap.

Adding colorants to the crisp apple rose scent.

Adding colorants to the crisp apple rose scent.

colorants blended

colorants blended

In the pot swirl of the white into the pink

In the pot swirl of the white into the pink

Crisp Apple Rose molded

Crisp Apple Rose molded

Adding extra pink to top

Drop swirled the pink/white mixture and added the extra pink/white to the top

Swirled the top with a chopstick for this neat effect

Swirled the top with a chopstick for this neat effect

Crisp Apple Rose soap loaf

Crisp Apple Rose soap loaf

Crisp Apple Rose cut

Crisp Apple Rose cut

The tallow soap batch:

The tallow blending with the lye water mixture- notice how nice and light it is!

The tallow blending with the lye water mixture- notice how nice and light it is!

mixing colorants for the tallow soap: yellow mica, red mica, green mica, and titanium dioxide

mixing colorants for the tallow soap: yellow mica, red mica, green mica, and titanium dioxide

Dividing the raw tallow soap batter

Dividing the raw tallow soap batter

Colorants blended in for the tallow soap

Colorants blended in for the tallow soap

pouring the green soap in first to prep for the drop swirl

pouring the green soap in first to prep for the drop swirl

drop swirling the yellow, white, and red into the green

drop swirling the yellow, white, and red into the green

Apple orchard tallow soap swirled top

Apple orchard tallow soap swirled top

side by side comparison of the 2 soaps

side by side comparison of the 2 soaps

A lot of pictures to look at but these soaps were so fun to make! Hope you enjoy them!  If you would like to use the FOs I used you can purchase the Crisp Apple Rose from Brambleberry Here or the Apple Orchard scent from Nature’s Garden Here.

New Fall Soaps

I have spent most of my day making some new fall themed soaps!  My house smells so yummy!

The first batch I made was Pumpkin Spice which really did smell pretty much like a pumpkin pie.

I used real pumpkin in the soap to give it a nice orangey-red color and dusted the top with a bit of cinnamon, yum!

Pumpkin spice soap after curing

Pumpkin spice soap after curing

IMAG0699

The second batch was made with triple strength coffee and scented with Cafe Caramel FO.  Smells so good!  Not sure what I’ll name the soap yet, maybe Coffee Caramel Latte, or Choco Caramel Latte…. hmmmmmm…..

Cured Coffee soap.  Love the "froth" on top!

Cured Coffee soap. Love the “froth” on top!

IMAG0723 (1)

For my third soap I made soap with Apple Jack Peel FO.  I wasn’t sure what this FO would smell like when I purchased it since I didn’t know what Apple Jack Peel was.  According to the FO company where I purchased the fragrance Apple Jack Peel was some kind of alcohol beverage made a long time ago.  It was made from apple cider!  Interesting.  Anyway, the scent does remind me of a spiced apple cider– perfect for the fall!

Newly named "Spiced Apple Cider"  Love the smell!

Newly named “Spiced Apple Cider” Love the smell!

IMAG0719

Final soap isn’t specifically fall themed, but I’ve been wanting to make it for awhile.  I made a salt bar with pink Himalayan salt and scented with Grapefruit EO.  I call it Pink Grapefruit! Smells so bright and cheery!

I used coarse Pink Himalayan salt as a decorative element on the top of the soap.

I used coarse Pink Himalayan salt as a decorative element on the top of the soap.

IMAG0708

I really love this new soaps, I hope you do too! Feel free to visit my etsy store to check them out and leave comments below as to your favorite fall scents and soap ideas!

New Soap Swap

I participated in another soap swap hosted by Bramble Berry.  I love making soap and participating in a soap swap is just another excuse to make more soap!  For this swap, since it’s hosted by Bramble Berry, we have to use a Bramble Berry fragrance oil.  I chose Kentish Rain and I love the smell!  Has a great “rainy” scent.

I made an ombre layer soap and had fun doing it though the fragrance oil seemed to speed up trace a little.  I used my large wooden mold for the soap log since I needed to have 12 bars to ship to Bramble Berry.

IMAG0623

My Kentish Rain soap log after unmolding.

My Kentish Rain soap log after unmolding.

Looked pretty good.  There were a few tiny bubbles from the soap batter thickening up on me, but overall it cam out well.  And it smells so awesome!

Cut slices of the Kentish Rain soap.

Cut slices of the Kentish Rain soap.

I think it came out pretty good and since I used my large wooden mold I have a few extra bars that I can either keep or sell after shipping the 12 swap bars.

I plan on posting a photo of all the soaps I get in the swap.  I’m still working through the box of soaps I got in the first swap, with the kids help of course!

I am once again participating in a challenge sponsored by Great Cakes Soapworks!  The challenge for this month was to complete a Mantra swirl or a modified Mantra swirl.  Both are challenging techniques for me as I had never tried them before.  I wasn’t sure which to do, but as I watched Amy’s “how-to” video I realized the only one I could really try was the modified.  In order to do justice to the actual mantra swirl, I would need to be able to cut my soap loaf in horizontal cuts to show the pretty swirls and I absolutely stink at cutting!  So, with the modified swirl I could use my wire cutter and keep my soap relatively nice looking.

Ok.  Now, I chose to work with a cherry FO I received from Nature’s Garden.  It wasn’t supposed to accelerate trace or discolor so I figured, what the hay?  I also chose the colors, titanium dioxide, a cherry colored mica, a light green mica, and ultramarine violet for an accent color.  To see exactly how I was able to create this swirl, please visit my youtube channel GVSoapCo, or click here.

Here are a few photos of my modified mantra swirl attempt.  I enjoyed learning this technique and I plan on trying it again!

 

Soap in mold prior to cutting

Soap in mold prior to cutting

Modifed mantra swirl with slight bit of ash on top.  I wish I would have exaggerated the hanger swirl though...

Modifed mantra swirl with slight bit of ash on top. I wish I would have exaggerated the hanger swirl though…

better view of the top

better view of the top

IMG_4905

I like how pretty the micas came out!

I like how pretty the micas came out!

I have some more videos coming up soon on my channel, so don’t forget to subscribe!