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Archive for the ‘crafting’ Category

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

 

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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.

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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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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

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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!

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It has been a busy summer so far!  Farmer’s market season here in upstate NY is well under way.  It has been fun so far, though surprisingly exhausting!  I didn’t think attending an outdoor market once a week could wear me out, but by the time I get home I’m so tired I fall asleep on the couch.   I think part of it is that I am spending so much time outdoors and whether it is cold or hot outside (both of which rotate turns up here  in the summer near the Adirondacks) wear me out.

My basic farmer's market display

My basic farmer’s market display

I enjoy the experience though.  I have learned so much!  I know when to push a sale, when to shut up, when to ask a question, and even when it’s best just to smile and nod and give a cheery wave.  I have also become more confident with my soaps and am more willing to talk about it.  Seems like basic, simple stuff, I know, but still I feel like I have learned so much.  This summer has been going by way too fast!

I also have created a few new soaps that have been quite a hit.  I created a Cucumber and Aloe soap using cucumber puree and aloe juice.  Such a gentle, cleansing soap and so bubbly!  I have already pretty much sold out of my first batch and will be making a new batch that should be available in August.

To view a video of the making of my Cucumber and Aloe soap, please visit my youtube channel, GVSoapCo or click here.

 

Here’s a pic of the cut Cucumber & Aloe soap.  It’s not the best lighting since I took it at night.  Usually I take some pics on a white background in natural light, but these sold quickly enough before I could do that and list them on etsy. Yay!

Cucumber & Aloe Soap bar with floral stamp

Cucumber & Aloe Soap bar with floral stamp

 

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I have joined a new challenge!  Sponsored by Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks, a new soaping challenge program has begun! Each month, a soaping technique will be demonstrated and those that are willing to register (for a small fee) can display their attempts on a link up post.  Those participating can then vote on a “winner.”  The winner will win a prize! (a different prize for each technique/challenge from what  I understand.)

Anyway, this month’s challenge is the peacock swirl.  My attempt I documented through video and have posted on youtube (here).

I made a small batch using a shoebox because I figured I would probably screw it up at least once– and I did!  If I would have used my regular wooden slab mold, the swirl may have been easier to do, but I didn’t want to waste all of the ingredients if I had to remake the soap over and over.

To start with, I used a slow moving recipe of Olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, soybean oil, and castor oil.   I blended to emulsion and divided my raw soap batter into 5 condiment bottles.  For colors I chose black oxide, electric bubble gum pink pigment, soft green mica, ultramarine violet, and titanium dioxide.  The fragrance was a lavender essential oil.

I added the colors and EO to the bottles.  After adding the lids, shook them up and tried to make sure they were thoroughly colored.  I had lined a shoebox to use as my mold so quickly zig zagged my soap into the mold alternating the colors.  Instead of putting a layer of uncolored soap on the bottom of the mold as a base, I just decided to swirl the whole thing!  Yay!

When I had emptied all of the bottles, I tamped down the mold (gently) and used a chopstick to create the “Peacock Swirl.”  Now, for my first batch, I did screw up the swirl a bit.  I did ok with the initial drawing the chopstick down through the soap, pulling out and starting at the top again for each row.  I screwed up at the “s” part.  Instead of starting at the top of the mold for each “s” row, I alternated from top to bottom.  It still looked pretty but not like a peacock swirl should.  Ultimately, it didn’t matter since I dropped the soap on the countertop the next day, ruining it.  BOOOOOO!

So I made another batch with the same recipe, EO, and colorants.  I videoed the cutting of that soap and have the finished photos of the second batch to show.  Overall, the soap came out good.  I love this technique and will use it again in the future!   Will definitely need a better mold though– I really stink at measuring and cutting my soaps using a ruler!

Peacock Swirl soap beveled and trimmed.

Peacock Swirl soap beveled and trimmed.

Love to see the variation in swirling with this technique

Love to see the variation in swirling with this technique

Another view of the variation of swirls

Another view of the variation of swirls

Love how the swirl goes through the entire soap

Love how the swirl goes through the entire soap

Love the pink in this one

Love the pink in this one

I love the lavender EO. I didn’t put in a lot so it’s a light fragrance of lavender. Also, there are a few tiny little beads of glycerin on the tops which I washed away after taking the photos. I used glycerin to mix my colors and that often happens when I do that. The soaps are still fairly soft– partially due to the recipe and partially due to the high humidity up here. I was afraid to wash them prior to taking pics and ruin them!

I also will bevel and trim the remaining soaps when they have sufficiently hardened. Right now, I’ve put them all back on the curing rack and I won’t touch them for another 4-6 weeks! Do not want to ruin another batch!

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