Sunday, September 15, 2013

From The Soap Pot 9/15

It has been a while since I've gotten to make soap! With all the craziness of moving, unpacking, traveling, school starting, and markets it just hasn't happened. But, today is one of those super-productive days for me! I have gotten quite a bit done at work, almost finished all the laundry, and I made some soap. I've been dying to make coffee soap again, but people didn't really like it without a scent. I finally found a coffee scent that I am just in love with, so my delectable Mocha Soap is back. Made with coffee, coffee ground, and cocoa butter this is the perfect soap for the kitchen or the shower. Did you know that coffee is actually great for absorbing icky smells, so it makes a great hand soap in the kitchen as well as a scrubby body soap in the shower.

These will be ready to go on 10/16! This is a small batch to see if people like it better than the original, so quantities will be limited.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Elemental Swirl Soap

Have you seen this technique? It is really cool! You create two layers of swirled soap! It is an advanced technique, but the results are lovely.

I've had a bit of a stressful time lately. I am getting ready to move. I have a newborn and a toddler and guess what? The toddler is acting out because of the attention that the baby gets. Surprised? I didn't figure you would be. There are a few other things going on, but that is not the point. The point is that I really wanted to make some soap that would really take some skill and concentration. I wanted to get my mind off of my poor, poor, pitiful me crap and be creative and artistic! So, I decided the elemental swirl technique would do the trick!

I decided to use a Monkey Farts fo because I like it! If you want a pick-me-up, sniff some fruit monkey farts. Heck, just say monkey farts. Monkey farts. *giggle* I also chose this fo because I knew it did not accelerate trace or rice or anything else funky. I used a basic oil mix of olive, coconut, and palm because I know how it acts at different temperatures. This is NOT a technique you should use when experimenting with anything new. That recipe = disaster!

Monkey Farts is a fruity blend, so I decided to go with light fruity colors. For the bottom layer I used green oxide (kiwi), yellow oxide (banana), and tangerine wow (mandarin). I used cocoa powder to create a vein separating the two layers. I thought about gold mica, but wanted more contrast. The top is pink oxide (grapefruit), brick red oxide (apple), and creamy uncolored soap (coconut). I also added a fired fuchsia and glitter to the top because I couldn't help myself.

To do this, you need lots of bowls and plenty of work time. Mix your oils, lye water, and fragrance and blend until just mixed (emulsified), not to trace! Pour about half off into another bowl (for top soap) and set aside.

Make the bottom half: Separate your first half of soap batter into thirds and color each. Next, use two of the colors to do an in-the-pot swirl into the third color. Pour into your mold!

Color vein: Put some cocoa in a tea strainer and lightly tap over the soap to get a thin vein of powder.

Make the top half: Take the second half of your soap batter and separate it into thirds. Color two of them. Do another in-the-pot swirl. Use a spatula or spoon and CAREFULLY pour this soap over the bottom layer. You are trying NOT to mess up your vein or first layer. Reserve a very small amount for the top.

Pour the reserve into a baggie and mix in some hot pink goodness. My original idea was to pipe the soap in a really cool top, but it wasn't thick enough. So, I was going to do a basic swirl on the top, but I had too much soap (and you can't waste it!). So, I ended up just pouring it on the top and sprinkling the glitter on it. I can't say I'm disappointed :)

These will be ready to go July 13th!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Vanilla Discoloration

I have had several customers ask how I got such a lovely brown color for my soap. I've also had some that want to know why I would make brown soap. And there are a few that would like a vanilla scented something that looks creamy white like vanilla ice cream.

Where did the brown come from? From vanilla! Why did I color it brown? Because it has vanilla in it! Vanilla contains vanillin which will slowly cause anything that contains vanilla to discolor. The amount of discoloration depends on the amount of vanillin used. Discoloration can range from a light tan to a very dark brown.

Vanilla color stabilizers can slow the discoloration, but they won't stop it forever. You also have to make sure you get a stabilizer for the soap you are making. M&P stabilizers don't work well in CP (I tried anyway, they were right though, it doesn't work well).

For the most part, I don't fight the discoloration. Instead, I use it to design my soap. For example, in my lavender vanilla soap, I used titanium dioxide and the natural discoloration to make an ombre soap. I love the way it looks too! See how I did it here.

I used BB Vanilla Select and a vanilla bourbon fo and lavender eo. It actually starts to discolor right away! Here in the final soap right after it is cut and through day 5. It won't really get much darker than that.


I love the final look and you can see what a huge difference the vanilla makes, but it really creates lovely layers!

You can also separate your soap and use vanilla in one part of it to make a different look. Really, why fight the vanilla? Just use it to make a beautiful soap :)

What do you do about discoloring vanilla?

Monday, June 10, 2013

4 Bananas Lead To...

Has this ever happened to you? You buy some bananas, but you also buy lots of other fruit that your little one doesn't normally get. So, the bananas don't get eaten, but all the other fruit does. All the berries you can't normally get. The cherries. The kiwis. But not the bananas. They just sit there getting browner and then the little guy looks at them and says "I no want the yucky bananas." I'm sure that has never happened to you :)

Well, I just can't throw away food. It makes me ill to do it. So, I decided that I would do something useful with my 4 yucky bananas. I mashed them up, mixed in a few ingredients and I got two delightful mixtures.

Can you guess what I did with them?
Well, if you guessed that I made banana bread with one, you would be correct. With the other, I made a face masque! Bananas are actually good for you face, as is most other fruit. Now, which batch of goop is which?

The one on the left is the goop for banana bread-3 bananas and a little milk and cinnamon. The one on the right is the face goop-1 banana and a little milk and cinnamon; plus some finely ground oatmeal, honey, and a touch of olive oil (did I mention I have dry, sensitive skin?). The mixture is a little runnier, but you only want a thin layer anyway. Some people are sensitive to cinnamon, so it is okay to leave it out. Apply to clean, dry skin and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. If you feel tingling or itching, rinse immediately.

Wash your face with a mild cleanser and warm water. Follow up with your favorite toner or rinse and moisturizer. My current toner is some chamomile tea with a touch of witch hazel; I keep it in the fridge for a cool treat :)

As you can see, I could probably have mashed my bananas better, but it wasn't a problem. It is hard to see because the color is light, but there really is a noticeable layer on my face. I left mine on for about 12 minutes and it was starting to dry, so it was time to rinse. My face felt amazing. Then, Hayden and I shared some banana bread!

I don't think I did too bad for being desperate to use up my "yucky bananas."

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Shaving Cream Fun

I have to say that I love the Dollar Store. I know some people that just don't see what you could get for a dollar that is worth anything. I do see their point. You get what you pay for. So, $1 for a pair of scissors means they probably won't last long. However, if you are taking them to a classroom where it is likely your students will walk off with them, it is okay with me.

I went to the store down the road to get some fun things for Hayden for the summer. He is in love with the scissors I got him. He can sit there for half an hour cutting, tearing, and basically shredding anything I give him. I also bought him some new colors and a letter coloring book, so we can work on his letters. I also got a great idea from Growing a Jeweled Rose using shaving cream. So, I snagged a couple of cans.

I thought about doing the slide idea, but thought for the first time, I would just let him play in it. So, I emptied the can of shaving cream into his water table and let him go nuts! Yeah right! He put his hand in and immediately wanted me to wash it off. I tried showing him that he could squeeze it and make designs, but he wasn't having any of it. It wasn't until he discovered that shaving cream would splat and fly every where that he got into it. He's a bit of a boy :)

So, we spent about an hour on the back porch clapping, high fiving, and splatting shaving cream. He giggled, squealed, and screamed his delight. In the end, we had an incredible mess on the back porch and a little boy that was covered in shaving cream. But, we also had a great time.

We actually weren't done here, but I thought it was a good time for pictures.
So, the scissors may not last long and technically that $1 can of shaving cream only lasted about an hour; however, I think the hour of pure delight and joy that we had was well worth it.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

From The Soap Pot 6/5

Vanilla was my favorite smell today! I made my two favorite vanilla scented soaps. They will be ready July 6th.

Twilight Seduction Soap-smells like vanilla and mint

Serenity Soap-smells like vanilla and lavender.


 Please note that each batch of soap is unique and these new ones may vary slightly from those pictured! It is an art after all :)


Friday, May 17, 2013

From the Soap Pot 5/15

Oh, I've been having so much fun in my soap room! It smells so good in there right now. I have several soaps that are just about ready to go and will be added to my shops soon. I have also made some soaps that I know you just can't wait to get.

Karma Kollage: smells like patchouli! (ready June 1st)

Eucalyptus Mint: smells like eucalyptus and peppermint-contains oatmeal (ready June 1st)

Lemongrass Sage: smells like freshly mown lemons with a hint of garden fresh sage (ready June 1st)

Ambrosia: smells like oatmeal, milk, and honey-contains oatmeal, goat's milk, and honey :) (ready June 8th)

Carrot and Buttermilk: great face soap, smells lightly of ylang ylang, contains carrots, buttermilk, and willowbark extract (ready June 8th)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Made Fresh and Ready To Go 5/14

Flip flop season is here again! Make sure your feet are ready to be shown by giving them a little extra care and attention. Our Ped-Cure Foot Balm will help keep your feet soft and beautiful this summer. Get yours now!


Webstore
Etsy

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Name That Soap

Okay, my batch of leather scented soap is almost ready to go, but it needs a name!

Suggestions are:
  • HOG Soap
  • Biker Bar
  • Gentleman's Bar
  • Saddle Soap (or Saddle Up)
  • Bad Boy
  • Chaps
Go to my Facebook page to vote for your favorite name. Everyone that votes will be placed in a drawing to win a free bar of soap!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Leopard Spot Soap

Amy Warden over at Great Cakes Soapworks did another one of her awesome soap challenges! I didn't get to participate in this one (again!). As you know, my little girl was due to make her appearance in early April, which meant that I was gearing up for maternity leave at school. Six weeks of lesson plans to put together! I don't think I've ever been that organized :) Well, I still made sure to check out all of her videos and the link ups to see everyone else's creations. There were some really cool soaps! I loved all of the ideas and can't wait to try the others, but I decided to try the leopard spots first (even though it was the last challenge).

I decided I would do my lemongrass soap, which I was changing just a bit. I decided that straight lemongrass was nice, but I wanted a little something more. I found a fragrance oil that gave me a brilliant idea...lemongrass with SAGE! I decided that I would go with colors that make sense...yellow and green! I also decided that I would use my plastic squeeze bottles and not baggies. This saves a little waste and they are easier to use.

My lemongrass soap has always been made with hemp seed oil, which will give it a slightly green color, and lemongrass essential oil, which makes the soap slightly yellow. The yellow definitely wins out and is really pretty without any color, but I wanted to add a bit more. I used green oxide for the green and yellow oxide to make the yellow a bit more yellow. To the main soap I added some titanium dioxide to lighten it. Otherwise, there wouldn't be much contrast between it and the yellow. {You might be thinking I could have just gone with a different color for the spots, BUT I just didn't want to}

I've worked with the lemongrass hemp soap, so I knew that it didn't trace fast; although, I think the sage may have made it a little faster, but I had a good amount of work time. In Amy's video, so does her stripes at a diagonal, but I decided to do my lengthwise in the mold. I put a small layer in the bottom of the mold and did my spots over it, then added the main soap, and continued. I did try to stagger my spots so they looked random and I really liked the control I had with the squeeze bottles!

As you can see, my spots don't look like leopard spots, but streaks. It still looks nice and smells WONDERFUL! However, it is NOT leopard spotted soap. I think my stripe soap was the perfect consistency, but the main soap base was too thick. When I very carefully spooned it over, I could see my stripes getting squished and spread out; even with soap spooned in between stripes for support! I think it was because I used the stick blender to get the titanium dioxide mixed in and in the squeeze bottles, I just shook them to mix the color.

I also separated out too much soap for the stripes. So, I had plenty of colored soap, but ran out of the main soap! So, you can see my really think layer of green and yellow on the top. My plan was to save a bit of the color and swirl the top, but it turned into more than a bit. Overall, I'm happy with the soap, but I know what I can do better next time.

This soap will be ready to go on June 1st! You can get it at my Webstore or my Etsy shop.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Calendula

What is calendula? It is a flower! A very lovely flower too. It is sometimes called pot marigold, but should not be confused with marigolds.

Why do you care? Because calendula is a wonderful plant with many therapeutic properties. First of all, it is actually edible. The petals make a wonderful addition to salad. I've heard that the tea is beneficial too; although, I've never tried it.

How do I use calendula? By infusing it in oil! There are other ways to use calendula topically, but this is my favorite. I infuse the herbs in olive oil and use it for just about everything. Calendula has antibacterical, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties; which makes it great for skin care. Some find it effective in treating eczema, acne, rashes, or even dry, cracked skin. You could use the infused oil directly on trouble spots or create a balm first.

To infuse oil with calendula you will need a double boiler, calendula petals, and a light oil. Put some water in the bottom of the double boiler. Put dried calendula petals in the top and pour enough oil to just cover the petals. Put the top into the bottom of the double boiler and place it over low heat for several hours. Be sure the bottom does not dry out. Then, strain the petals from the oil. I store mine in a glass jar in the fridge to make it last longer.

I use a calendula infused oil in Honu Naturals Tiny Heinie Balm and Salve. I also have a herbal lip balm that is in the testing phase and a cuticle balm that I'm trying out. So far, I think both are a big hit and will soon be available.

What are some other ways you use calendula?


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring Cleaning-Several Weeks

You may remember that I started my Spring Cleaning a little early. I found a list on Pinterest for the 21 Day Organization Challenge (read about it here). I tweaked my list a bit to make it fit my needs. I was doing pretty well getting through it and blogging about it. But, as you know, many things got in the way of the blogging. However, I did continue to get cleaning done.

Now, I can't go through my list with you because I apparently decided that it needed to be recycled. I remember doing it, but I can't remember my reasoning at all. I blame the sleep deprivation that comes with newborns.

However, I can use the list off Pinterest and give you an update.
  1. Medicine cabinet-done!
  2. Coat closet-don't have one, but did the hall closet instead,
  3. Under the beds-I actually don't store stuff there.
  4. Laundry room-done when we had that little flooding issue.
  5. Handbag-I have a very small one, so I clean it out constantly. I also cleaned out the diaper bag and backpack I use for zoo outings.
  6. Under sinks-bathrooms, yes; kitchen, still on the to-do list.
  7. Fridge/freezer-actually got a new (used) fridge at a garage sale. Is that cheating?
  8. Kitchen cabinets-done!
  9. Make-up case-again, it is a small one, so it gets cleaned out regularly too.
  10. Bedroom closets-with all the rearranging for the new baby, definitely!
  11. Garage-not even close; will do garage sale soon :)
  12. Craft supplies-no; to be honest, the area looks ok, so I'm not worried about it.
  13. Soap room-YES! It looks so nice and is easy to work in again!
  14. Backyard-yes and no; I need to clean up doggie mess, but it is clean.
  15. Bedroom dressers-again, with all the rearranging of dressers for the baby, yes it got done.
  16. Jewelry Box-done when I made my jewelry rack (check it out here).
  17. Living Room-done when the laundry room was cleaned because of flooding.
  18. Office-yes and no; I have organized everything into groups and know what needs to be done with everything, I just haven't gotten everything put away.
  19. Car-All the trash and extra things that don't belong have been removed. However, it hasn't been vacuumed and cleaned. I was waiting for the snow to stop before taking it to the car wash.
  20. Playroom-done; I made my toddler help me clean this area out.
  21. Enjoy an organized house!
Whew, I know I keep saying that I haven't gotten much done, but now that I look at it, that doesn't seem to be true :)

How do you go about Spring Cleaning?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

From The Soap Pot

Ahh, it feels good to be making soap again! The past few months were so busy, it just didn't happen. Between Science Fair, getting ready for baby, and having baby I was always exhausted. I'm still exhausted, but I'm finding time to be creative and make my soap while the little one sleeps.

A few days ago I made my wonderful Dead Sea Mud Soap. It is made with Dead Sea mud (duh!) and the essential oils of peppermint, tea tree, rosemary, lemon, and grapefruit. I just love the way it leaves my skin feeling and I've had so many people tell me that it has helped them with their "problem" skin. I decided to make it round, I think face soap should be round. I don't know why, it just makes sense to me.
Next, I did a leather scented soap. I had intended for it to be mostly black and orange, with just a bit of white soap in it. I'm sure you can guess my inspiration :) However, I didn't make enough black and orange soap. Plus, my orange didn't come out quite as dark as I'd hoped. It looked great in the bowl, but not when I mixed it with the soap. For this batch, I did an In The Pot Swirl. You can see on the top, I save a little soap and did some swirls there as well. I think it looks nice, but I know what I'll do differently later. I had a lot of suggestions on names on Facebook, I think I will do a survey!
Today, I made another batch of one of my favorite. Lullaby Soap! It smells like a mix between Huggies lavender and chamomile bedtime stuff and baby powder. I love it. For this batch, I keep it simple. I divide the batch in two, color half pink and half blue. The blue is ultramarine blue from BB and the pink is a mix of fired up fuchsia, pink oxide, and red oxide (BB). I simply pour both colors at the same time on opposite sides of the mold. Then, I give the top a little swirl. Can't wait to cut it!
These will all be on my Etsy shop and my store in about a month when they are cured and ready to go!

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Addition!

Well, my newest little addition has arrived! She made her appearance last Wednesday, 4/10. She was 8 lbs 11 oz, every single person in the hospital made sure to comment on how big she was.
Leana Rayne
Hayden is in love with her and keeps saying that he has to share with her! It is still tough for him to share mommy, but he is trying.
Things are a little rough right now, but we are all adjusting to this major change. Mommy is trying to get Leana on a schedule that includes sleep at night and trying to keep Hayden from feeling like he is being put to the side because of her. I'm finally getting to the point where I get a few things done besides taking care of or feeding a baby. For example, I actually have a few minutes to get this typed up and I'm not so exhausted that I feel I should nap instead!

I will admit that Hayden is still going to daycare, but he loves it so much, that keeping him home is hard on him and mommy! He gets to go to school and have fun with his friends and then come home to mom and little sister. Mom gets to focus on little sister during the day and give Hayden some good attention in the afternoon. It is really making things less stressful!

I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things. I hope to make some soap today! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Baby Soap

I have been playing around with some ideas for a really gentle soap that is specially designed for baby skin. I truly love the Naked Shea soap, but I wanted something even gentler. I wanted something that was soothing, creamy, and skin loving.

Here is what I decided I needed:
  • Aloe-who doesn't remember their mom keeping an aloe plant in the house and any time there was anything wrong, you got rubbed down with it?
  • Goat milk-gives the soap a rich, creamy texture and adds to the skin-softening properties.
  • Oatmeal-good for all sorts of skin problems, so it is going to be good for babies too.
  • Super skin conditioning oils: I went with avocado, shea butter, and cocoa butter. How luxurious are those together? Even without all the other goodies, that would make a great bar of soap.
I actually decided to use really fresh aloe, so I bought a small plant to be used for this purpose. I pulled it, washed it really well, the pulled the leaves off and dumped them in a blender. I then ran all the juice and pulp through a strainer to get the "skin" out. I didn't add the aloe to the lye mixture, but added it to the oils after adding the lye. I don't know if that makes a difference, but it is worth a shot.

I creamed the colloidal (finely ground) oatmeal into the goat milk before freezing, which I'm not sure was a good idea. While mixing goat milk and lye makes a stinky orange mess anyway, I think adding the oatmeal early also resulting in the orange speckles in the soap. It doesn't smell bad, so I don't think it is going to effect the quality of the final soap.

I melted the shea and cocoa butters over low heat and added them at light trace. I've noticed that sometimes when I used butters, the final bars can turn out grainy, so I treated these with the same care I would use if they were going into a balm.

I used a round mold because it seems that baby soap should be round. I don't know why I decided this, but I did. I'm glad I did, I think it looks perfect! I can't wait to be able to use one of these and give you some feedback on them. I probably wouldn't be so anxious if my target for this soap wasn't to very precious and delicate!

I don't have much of a name for it right now. The best I have is Baby Soap (oh yes, I'm that original) or Milk and Aloe Baby Soap (even better!). If you have any ideas, feel free to share.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Soap Packaging Decision

If you recall, not too long ago I started rethinking my soap packaging...again. Really, I think this is a question that is discussed on EVERY soapmaking forum. In detail. You can read about my past packaging here.

After thinking about it and weighing the pros and cons, I finally made a decision. The feedback I received said I should keep the paper because it was simple, yet very pretty. I really did consider that. However, on my list of cons was the time it took to cut the paper and wrap each bar of soap. The pros was that it was fairly inexpensive; that is, until you add in the cost of the time it was taking to package the soap. Then, it was about even with the soap boxes.

Considering that I am now a single mom of soon-to-be 2 children, I really do have to consider time a lot more. I don't want to give up my soap business, but my time in more limited than before. (To be honest, I've been considering a lot of things that I could do to save time, but more on that later)

So, the soap boxes won out. All I have to do is pop the box open, tuck in one end, pop the soap in, tuck in the other end, and add a label. We are talking maybe 30 seconds per bar of soap. That is a HUGE difference! Plus, I can't deny that I do like the look of the soap boxes.

I am still planning on having other types of packaging. For example, I'm starting to make round soaps, but they wouldn't fit in a box. But, I will be using boxes as the main way to package soap.

What do you think? Do you like the boxes?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

I Guess I'll Clean the Laundry Room-Week 5 ish

Ok, so I've been behind on everything because of Science Fair, which is over again. And again, it went amazingly well despite all of my stress.

But, with my little one on her way, I've started really working to get stuff cleaned up. I cleaned out the hall closet and my makeup bag again. I'm not that worried about the craft supplies because I just did it this past summer and I don't buy much anymore. The soap room will get done, but it isn't a top priority because I just did that in July too. The garage is on the list, but my plan is to have a garage sale and just pull stuff out starting that morning, then go through stuff after that. {I once learned that even if it isn't a garage sale, if you pull stuff out of your garage to clean, people stop to shop, so why not!} The upstairs is desperate, but I'm waiting on my ex to get stuff packed up and moved out, so I'm being patient.

However, there is one room I really had no plan for. In fact, I have been avoiding it like the plague! The laundry room...dun, dun, duuuuun. This is our catch all room. If it needs to be put away or moved, it goes in there. I hate it. But, I also didn't want to clean it.

That was until our plumbing backed up last Sunday. Oh yeah, coming out of the downstairs shower drain and the hot water heater drain. Luckily, the shower is sunk into the ground, so that was contained. However, the laundry room flooded (and leaked under the wall to soak the carpet on the other side). So, we moved everything out of the laundry room, pulled furniture away from the wall, and set stuff out to dry if needed. Plumbing got fixed and the laundry room got cleaned up. Now, my choice was to shove everything back in and ignore the problem some more or clean up.

I cleaned up. I put the laundry stuff back (for obvious reasons). I also put our fans and coolers back because that is the logical place to store them until we need them in the summer. I put the vacuum back because it goes there too. That's it! I went through all of the boxes and cleaning stuff on the shelves and organized everything. I didn't have anything to get rid of there though. Amazing! However, I did have lots of boxes in the living room to go through. I went through and got everything that is going to a new home packed up. My things that need to go out to the garage for sale or storage (I don't know what to do with the PlayStation) are boxed up and waiting to be carried out. Plus, I have a box for drop off at the electronics recycling place.

My laundry room looks awesome! You can walk in without tripping over anything. You can get to the tools and cleaning stuff without stubbing a toe. I'm just so excited. I really think this should count for two weeks. Anyone with me?

Has your Spring Cleaning started yet?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Crazy Week

We all have those weeks when we are so busy, we don't even realize just how crazy it actually is. Yeah, that was last week for me.

Saturday was going to be pretty low key because Hayden was with his dad. I went up to school to get a few things done. Then, I came home did a quick inventory of everything I needed to order and got my orders placed. I went back to make some soap and guess what! My scale quit on me. My trusty scale served me well for many years, but it was done. Luckily, it decided it was done when I was measuring out water, so nothing major was lost! So, I came back up to order a new one. From there, the plan was to get some cleaning and organizing done. The only thing that got finished was...all the photos from my computer transferred to my new one! Needed to be done, but not was I was hoping for.

Sunday, the weather was bad, so Hayden and I hung out inside. Cleaning, playing, and grading. Not bad right.

Then, Monday hit. Science Fair boards were due on Monday because of our snow day last week and I stayed late for those finishing up. It was insane! I think everyone was having a last minute panic attack trying to get one last letter or something added to their boards. Then, I talked my brother into taking care of Hayden and I went back up to school to grade boards. I was there until a little after 9, but they got graded and I was able to give the students feedback on Tuesday!

Tuesday, I helped the kids practice their presentations, plus I was trying to get a few last minute judges and get everything ready, so everyone knew what to do Friday morning AND I was still trying to keep up with the usual teachery things I have to do. Tuesday night meant more grading, but I also put together all the Excel spreadsheets I would need Friday.

Wednesday was when it really started getting crazy. I actually started going to each student to grade how they were presenting! I had more judges start rolling in (woo hoo!), so I had to get emails out to all of them about what to expect and when to be at school. It doesn't seem like much, but my brain was rattling when I left for home. That night, I got the schedule done! That was huge, last year I did the schedule the night before and it took forever.

Thursday, more of the same for grading, but students were starting to get nervous, so a lot of them had questions about what to say, do, or not say. I didn't get near enough graded (guess what I'm doing on Monday)! Plus, I had about 15 more judges volunteer! So much for my schedule :) Thursday night, I got together with two of the other teachers again and we got busy with last minute details. Setting up the gym with tables and numbering the tables. I fixed the schedule, so we start inputting data for judging sheets, printing and organizing judging sheets, and getting all the sheets attached to clipboards. We got everything set out and ready for the next morning. Computers were ready to go to the gym for scoring, the projector was set up and ready for my presentation, and we were exhausted because it was midnight!

Friday morning, I woke up early to get ready. Tried getting Hayden ready early (ha ha) and then went to the store to get stuff for coffee. I had intended to be at school and working by 7; instead, it was 7:30. Luckily, I work with amazing teachers, so they helped me get all the last minute things taken care of and I was actually ready to start at 8 like I'm supposed to. I had 5 judges that didn't show up, but I had scheduled alternates this year! We were all down in the gym to start on time, I had parent volunteers to help be runners and answer questions, I had people to total scores and enter them, and I had a great sound system so everyone could hear me! Once Science Fair actually started, I really had very little to do, which felt weird and wrong. It went so smoothly and the kids did such a great job.

I know I complain about it every year and I dread putting it together, but I can honestly say, in the end, everything was worth it. I could not be more proud of my kiddos for the work they did!

Friday night...I crashed :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I've Been Missing...

I know I last week was a slow week. To be honest, next week and the week after will probably be slow as well. Science Fair is March 1st! I am crazy, crazy right now trying to get everything graded, planned, put together, and whatever else I am forgetting. Plus, I still have to keep up with my other mothering, business ownering, and teachering duties. I figured if I was going to fall behind on anything, this would be the best one to let slip for a bit. I promise it won't be permanent or long.

Thank you for you understanding.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cleaning Out the Closet-Week 4

Last weekend was a little too hectic and involved a very needy toddler. So, I didn't get any major cleaning project done. I did get the house cleaned, he loves helping with dishes and pushing the button on the Swiffer, so as long as it could involved him, it was great. Unfortunately, really deep cleaning something should not involved a toddler.

One of the projects I've needed to do was to rearrange the closets in my room. There is a lot up in the air right now as far as the living situation. My lease is up in June and I don't know if I will stay, move, or maybe buy. I do know that as the house is currently arranged, baby girl will not have her own room in April. That's really okay because I was planning on putting her bassinet next to the bed for a couple of months anyway! However, there isn't enough room for a changing table.

So, what I wanted to do was put a changing table and all the things I'd need for her (except clothes) in one of the closets and since I now have two, it works out. However, the best closet for this plan was my closet because there is an outlet for a small lamp. I cleared everything that was still in the spare closet out!
Before organizing, pull everything out!
Then, I started going through stuff in the other closet. I had quite a few clothes on the side shelves, so I pulled those out and I pulled everything I can't currently wear off the hangers. I went through all the clothes, pants and skirts first, anything that did fit (or almost fit) before I got pregnant was neatly folded and placed on the bottom shelf in the closet. Anything else went into a pile for garage sale. Then, I did the same with shirts and put them on the middle shelf. Last, I went through my long-sleeve shirts and sweaters and put those on the top shelf. It will be a while before I don't need them, so I left them in the closet.

Next, I moved the plastic storage/drawer thingy over, but I didn't go through that because I did that during my declutter mission. Since I haven't bought new clothes (pregnancy, what's the point) since and I've been good about throwing out holey socks, there wasn't a reason too. Last, I pulled out all of the shoes from my closet and separated into three piles: "will wear once swelling in feet goes down/can currently wear" {place neatly in the new closet}, "don't fit since the first pregnancy, but are in great shape" {place in garage sale pile}, and "don't make Goodwill throw them out for you" {place in trash}.

I even went through the things on the upper shelves and reorganized all of that to be neat. Now, I have one very organized closet with just the things I need and one {almost} empty closet that has only baby things!
Yes, I have very few clothes that currently fit, though some are in the laundry!
I am also checking off clearing out the bedroom dressers because I cleaned out Hayden's and my own over Christmas break. So, when I opened them to look, there really wasn't anything to do!

I'm finding breaking this up into small projects is making me feel accomplished, yet not overwhelmed. Do you have tips that help you get a lot done in a small amount of time?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Soap Packaging Revisited

Is there a soap maker out there that hasn't gone back and forth about soap packaging? If so, please explain how you made this decision and was it easy?

For me, this has been the hardest part of soapmaking!

Here is my original packaging:
The cigar bands were easy, cheap, and created minimal packaging. Plus, the consumer could smell AND see the soaps before buying. However, they didn't protect the soaps well and I had problems with them slipping off or getting torn with moving them so much.

Next I tried shrink wrap bags:
The label was printed on cardstock, cut, then placed on the soap before it was shrink wrapped. The wrap is still cheap. The soaps were very protected and you could see what they looked like. But, you couldn't smell the soap and the shrink wrap was hard to get off. Plus, the bags were too large. So, you could get the end and have one end open (I'll tell you this didn't always work out so well if you weren't careful cutting) or tape the end down before shrinking (this didn't look great).

I've recently found soap bands for shrink wrap. They are open on both ends and already sized for most soaps, so you just center your soap and shrink wrap. They also have a perforated tab for easy opening. It also sounds like it is easy to make them smaller for smaller bars. So, that would solve the size problem, smelling problem, and the hard-to-get-open problem.

I decided to try using paper wrapping and really pretty paper bands:

I printed a label and stuck it to the paper. I won't lie, I LOVE the way these look. I used different handmade papers for different scents and simple colored paper underneath. The soaps are protected and you can smell them through the paper. It is also nice because I can make it fit any bar. But, I have to leave on unwrapped for people to see. Plus, the cutting and wrapping is a little labor intensive. With the number of bands I can get out of a sheet of handmade paper, it isn't too much more than shrink wrap, but then you add your time to that! Plus, buying different sheets of handmade paper for the soaps and making sure I don't run out is harder to keep up with.

 Last option, soap boxes (never tried):


Lg Soap Box: White Daisy
Pic from Elements Bath & Body

I've thought about boxes, but they are the more expensive option. On the plus side, your soap is well protected. It is easy to remove the soap to see and smell, but easy to put back as well. They are really easy to pop open, stuff your soap in and slap a label on. They are most commonly sold as white or kraft color and come with a variety of cut-outs. I even found a site that does colored boxes (expensive unless ordering A LOT!). My biggest concern with this option has been the cost and the fact that it would only be one size, so I'd have to figure out something else for smaller bars. However, the time I'd save compared to wrapping in paper may be worth it! I could also offer the option for no box online to save people money or maybe do a box recycling program (I haven't thought that one through much).

So, what do you think? I'm looking for an attractive, easy, cost-effective, consumer-friendly method for packaging my soaps. My options are shrink wrap bands (cheap, quick, see-through, multi-sizes), paper (BEAUTIFUL, labor-intensive, not too expensive, not see through, mulit-sizes), or boxes (more costly, quick, easy open, one-size).

Which option would you like to see or think would be the best for me?

Scented Laundry Booster

I quit using fabric softener or scented detergent a while back. The fabric softener was originally an economic decision. A cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle left my clothes just as soft and static free and cost a heck of a lot less. However, I quit using scented detergent because my skin was just giving me too many problems. It was one of the first steps I took towards my soapmaking adventure! My skin is great, but I just never went back.

I won't lie though, I have missed having clothes that come out of the dryer smelling delicious. I tried a few tricks with putting drops of essential oils on a wash cloth in the dryer, but I wasn't impressed.

I have also been adding a laundry booster to my washes for a while. I made a jar of baking soda and borax and I've been adding that to the laundry. I've seen the DIY laundry soaps and even made my own for a while. However, I've found that toddler clothes and baby diapers needed a little more cleaning power! I mean, you should see the messes that kid can make. If you have your own, you know what I mean.

The last time I was ordering supplies {I promise this all comes together with a purpose} I found a section of odor neutralizing fragrance oils. That piqued my interest, so I headed over to check it out. I found a few that sounded okay, but the orange guava just sounded so wonderful that I had to get it. It was totally worth it too! I love the way it smells. I made it into some tarts for myself :)

{This is where is all comes together} As I was doing a load of laundry, I had an epiphany! I could add that wonderful fragrance to my laundry booster...so I put the load I was starting on hold and ran up stairs to do just that. It definitely made my laundry room smell good, but it didn't really make the clothes smell. Or so I thought! After putting away the clean laundry, I opened my closet and caught the light scent of orange and guava. It doesn't leave my clothes smelling strongly of the fragrance like a fabric softener does, but there is a lingering hint that freshens my closet and the linen closet.

This has opened up so many possibilities! I could do this with any fragrance or essential oil that I want to. It so cheap to make the laundry booster itself, that I could make multiple jars (I keep mine in mason jars) and scent them all differently!

To make it, all I did was fill a jar half full of baking soda, added the fragrance (I did about 5% fo), then added the borax, put the lid on and shook the heck out of it! It probably would have made more sense to put it in a bowl and whisk it together to get rid of clumps, but the shaking was effective, if inefficient!

Do you have any fun ways to add scents to your home?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

CP/MP (Magma) Soap

I have been playing with the idea of incorporating MP soap into my cold process soap. I've seen some cute ideas using embedded shapes and such. I also found a tutorial on the Soap Queen blog about magma soap.

In magma soap, you don't create shaped embeds made from MP soap, but you pour it in the soap with your CP soap, just like you would for normal CP swirls. Hmmm...sounds interesting!

I decided to give this a try with a Valentine's Day inspired soap. {Side note: I love making holiday soaps because I can experiment with whatever I want and people know they won't be back until next year. Usually, they don't even mind if it isn't the same soap next year! Now, back to the point...} I love making soap using pinks and reds. There is something about those colors that I just adore. I will probably never decorate my house with them, but I love them anyway. Well, this year, I decided to throw in a little purple too!

The fragrance I chose has a higher vanilin content, so it will discolor. I used a color stablilizer (actually made for MP, but it usually works well enough in CP) to keep it from turning brown. I used clear MP soap colored with a pink mica that looked so lovely that I thought of another project from it. I separated my CP soap into 4 containers; one I left uncolored (I probably should have added titanium dioxide to make it white, but I didn't), one was red oxide, another fired up fuchsia, and last was violet ultramarine with a little blue added (all from BB!).

I poured the white in first. I poured it in lines lengthwise down the mold. Then, I did each of the CP colors and the MP pink came last. I repeated with the rest of the white, red, and MP, but I didn't use all of the pink or violet. I tried doing a quick swirl like the tutorial, but I think I just drug huge chunks of MP around (oops, I took too long). Then, I used the left over pink and violet to do widthwise lines along the mold. I used a skewer to swirl just that very top layer, which was really easy because the MP had cooled, making it impossible for the skewer to go through that :) I added little MP hearts I had made using white soap and red oxide. I put the whole thing in the fridge. Since it has MP soap in it, the high temps during the gel phase would probably not work in my favor!

Here are the finished bars. You can see that my hearts on the top didn't quite work out right. I should have figured out a way to get them to stand up or lined up with my cut lines. I have also decided that I should not have tried to drag a skewer through to swirl it, I'm pretty sure it would have looked better. My pink and violet are not as vibrant as they were, but that could be due to the fact that the soap didn't gel OR the fo contains vanilla and will be changing my colors over time. Overall, I'm happy though!

These are already up on the website, but they won't ship until February 6th.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Fifty Shades of Soap

In one of my recent orders, I received a fo called Fifty Shades as a free gift. I am not a fan of the book (different topic), but I swooned over this scent! It is masculine and sexy and amazing! I have a feeling the ladies will love this one too though.

You can tell my inspiration for the soap came from the name. I really considered creating an ombre soap, but decided that I liked the idea of something a lot less even. So, I ended up separating my soap into 8 containers with varying amounts of black oxide and randomly dumping different amounts in the mold. I didn't even bother with any other swirling! I'll admit that I was worried it would look bad, but I actually love them.

I think they look perfect and smell absolutely amazing.

These will be available February 17th.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

DIY Sunscreen or DDIY?

During my summer markets, I am constantly being asked if I make sunscreen. I have to explain over and over again why I don't make sunscreen for sale. I don't even make it for personal use.

I have explained that while I could do the research and figure out the exact amounts of certain minerals that you are supposed to use for a specific SPF and make it just like it says. I could even throw a bit more in the mix, just to be sure. However, sunscreens are regulated by the FDA as a drug and actually require testing to show how effective they are and to give the true SPF value.

I know plenty of people have their own feelings about the FDA, but there is good reason for this. Sunscreens are used to help prevent serious skin damage and cancers caused by the sun. Do you really want to use a sunscreen that SHOULD be effective? Or does using one that has been proven to be effective seem like a better idea?

When I explain this, I have some people that nod like I've helped them understand why it isn't a good idea to make sunscreen without testing; however, plenty walk away shaking their heads like I'm crazy. I'm sure there are micro-business owners like myself that do make and sell untested sunscreen, but for me and my family, DIY sunscreen is a big DDIY (DON'T DO IT YOURSELF)!

Interestingly, I was reading the Soap Queen blog and Anne-Marie did an interview with Amanda of Realize Beauty in which she discusses sunscreen testing and her interest in it. I would have eventually looked up her company, but this section led me to look up Realize Beauty right away and start browsing. I found a post about making your own sunscreen and found exactly what I'd been trying to explain!

DIY sunscreen sounds great! You could save money, control the ingredients that go in, use only the freshest ingredients, and no longer have to depend on some large company to do what you are perfectly capable of. However, there are way too many downsides to this DIY project to make it worth it. This is one of those things that should be left to the companies with the know-how and resources to make sure it is done right.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Week 2 (&3?)-21 Week Organization Challenge

This week I did two of my items on my checklist, so I think that should count for two weeks ;) If I keep that up, I might just finish before our little addition shows up! Wouldn't that be crazy?

My first item was to clean up the playroom/den. We don't have much in the den except toys and a tv, so it was pretty easy. I went through the movies not too long ago, so those didn't need to be done! I went through all of the toys to clear some out. I didn't get rid of some of the toys that Hayden is too old for because his little sister will need them! But, I did move them out of the way. He has this tendency to pull everything off the shelves before deciding what to play with. So, there is now less for him to pull down...see, it was a brilliant plan. I didn't go through the toys in his room because I just recently moved toys in there for him to play with when I converted it to a toddler room. I did go through the toys in the kitchen. We keep a little box there for toys he can play with when I am cooking. He won't usually leave the kitchen, so these keep him entertained and away from the cooking.

Next, I went crazy and cleaned out the car. It has been a very long while since that happened! I cleaned out a TON of trash. From there, I really didn't have much in there that didn't belong. There was a pair of little boy's socks (when did that happen?) and a pair of flip flops. Other than that, it just needs to be dusted and vacuumed out, so I stopped at a car wash on my errands! I even checked my little "emergency roadside kit." I still have everything in there that I was need if I have minor car trouble while on a trip.

Oh, and I'm not giving you pictures because I don't want you to judge my poor car. It carts a toddler, a dog, and a lot of student papers around; so don't pick on it :)

I know that I will want to put off the bigger items until last, so I'm going to try to do one of the big jobs this next week. Maybe I will do the one of the biggest and get the laundry room done!

How are you cleaning up for 2013?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Organization Needs to Be Continued

Early last year I started the Declutter Challenge, every week the challenge was to get rid of one item that you didn't need to declutter your house. I made it through 29 weeks before school started and I was a little too busy to continue what I'd been doing. That's not to say that I didn't continue getting rid of things, but that I didn't have time to go through things. So, I continued, but a lot of the things were really small. It does count because they left the house, but I didn't post about them.

I found another challenge that I would like to try. I found this on Pinterest, it is the 21 Day Organization Challenge. If I'm honest, there is no way that I can do one of these each day. Nice idea. Won't happen. So, instead of setting my self up to fail, I'm going to change it just a bit.

First, I changed the list a little because that list didn't fit my exact needs. For example, we don't store anything under the beds anyway. I'm serious, I don't put anything there. When we had a cat, she loved to sleep under there and left mountains of black fur. I just never started putting anything there after she passed on. Second, I'm not going to do one of these everyday for a month. I'm going to try to get 1 or 2 done a week. Some are very small and others are large. If it is simple, I should get 2 done a week. Larger tasks will be one a week.

My list is not 20 (the last one is enjoying the cleanliness) items long. It is 19 because I took off clean out from under beds and the coat closet (don't have one!), but I added clean out my soap room.

I'm going to check off cleaning out the jewelry box because I just went through all of my jewelry when I hung up my new DIM (did it myself!) Jewelry Hanger! I'm also checking off clean out my purse because I did that this morning.

I know several of the things on the list are similar to what I did in my Declutter Challenge, but some of those were done a while ago, so it is time to redo them anyway. Others need to be done because I'm going to be rearranging for our new little addition.

Who else is on an organization kick with me!?!

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Soap; Needs a Name...

I purchased an essential oil blend called "Mother Earth." It is a blend of Bergamot, Cassia Root, Cedarwood, Nutmeg, Lavadin, Peppermint! It is so good. I can't even describe it; maybe a little earthy, minty, spicy? I had meant to make the soap with it a while back, but that didn't happen. 

I did get it done last weekend though!

I colored it with micas and oxides. My inspiration was the name of the eo blend! It is brown on the bottom (sort of, I should have mixed better), green in the middle and blue on top. I did a hanger swirl (check out how to do it here) to get my layers to mix a little. I really like the way it looks! I wasn't sure about the scent at first, but after curing for a few days, I love it. It is lightly scented because I didn't want to go overboard. It smells mostly minty, but the other scents come through nicely.

Can you think of any good names?

It will be available on the website around February 10th!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

DIY Jewelry Hanger

I've had one of those jewelry cabinets for a while, but I've gotten to the point where I don't really care for it. I wanted something more open and a little more fun! I read a lot of tutorials about other people's DIY hangers and started looking for something that would work for me.

This summer, I found this really fun rack at Goodwill and thought it might just be perfect! It had little bands on the ends of each slat, so I cut those off. Then, I filled in the name with putty and sanded it as smooth as I could. I won't lie, I over did it one time and had to add some more putty. It didn't come out that smooth in the end, but my plan was to cover it up anyway.

 I found some different types of hangers at the home improvement store around the corner. I tried to measure everything evenly to make it look nice, but of course, I counted wrong. Luckily, the two that I counted wrong on, I had some similar hooks, so I made it work. I evenly spaced out hooks on the first two slats for necklaces. I made sure not to line them up, so they don't hang on top of each other. The bottom was for bracelets and the one above for earrings. I figured that would spread everything out nicely.
Hooks for necklaces
Earring hooks on top and bracelet hooks on bottom








Then, I painted the whole thing in a dark brown. It is really dark, almost black and I think it looks awesome.

Then, I got stuck. I couldn't decide what to do with the top of the whole thing. It easily pops on and off, so I could have hung it up anyway, but I didn't want to. So, it sat in the garage on my paint table for months. When I decided to rearrange my bedroom, I decided it was time to finish it. I used a silver paint pen to write Jewelry on the top. BUT, I don't like it.
I love the overall look, but I need to redo the lame top. HELP!

It works, but I don't like the way it looks. The whole thing looks really cute, but the top looks like I just slapped something down with no thought. Which, is what I did! Do you have any ideas about what I could do? I would love to hear your ideas for making it look as awesome as it should!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My First Video-Ombre Soap Making

I made my first video a couple of months back. I did it on a whim, so it is a little rough. I had some friends over to visit and one watched Hayden while the other helped me make soap. We decided to record the session and see how it turned out. 

After watching it, I decided not to post it. But, after thinking about it more, I figure "why not?" I had fun doing it. The soap turned out nice. Plus, my helper kept asking about it :)

Here is the link to my video.

ANNNNDDDD....

Here is a picture of the finished soap:
Lavender vanilla scented ombre soap.
These looked so pretty and smelled awesome! I sold out really fast this past season.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Rebatch! A Success...

As a soapmaker, I have always cringed at the thought of having to rebatch soap. HELLO! IT WAS SUPPOSED TO WORK THE FIRST TIME!!! But, it happens. Usually, I end up chopping it up and giving it away to friends and family because I just can't bring myself to sell something that did not turn out anything like my vision. Once, I made it into soap balls and sold some, gave others away to kids at the farmer's markets.

I have recently found out that rebatching your soap does not have to be all bad. I was reading about rebatching adventures over at Great Cakes Soapworks and I thought about my bowl of soap shreds and scraps and decided to give it a try.

Well, my first batch did not go well. I don't think I let it cook long enough or didn't add enough liquid. I might try rebatching the rebatch :)

My second try was much better! Here is my process...

First, add soaps shreds and small chunks to your crock pot. You can see, this is from lots of different batches. I added 8 oz of water for 2 lbs of soap because some of the shreds were of unknown origin.
 I let it cook a really long time on low heat. I kept going in to stir. Eventually, it looked really moist and mostly uniform. I added a few white balls and pink chunks to give it a little something extra. I put those in and let them sit in the hot soap for a while. I didn't want them to dissolve into my mix, but I wanted them to absorb a little moisture and be incorporated well.
 This is my soap in the mold. I used buttercream and snickerdoodle fo, which is why it is so brown. Because it was pretty liquid, this step was pretty easy. I used a big spoon to put it in the mold, I wanted to make sure I got it into the corners. Then, I tapped (slammed) my mold on the counter a few times (lots and lots) to really pack everything down.
 He is the soap out of the mold the next day. You can see it have some discoloring to do, but I think that will help some of the chunks to stand out more. I'm going to let them sit for a bit to let the water evaporate. I really don't think I over did it though because these are pretty firm already. Then I'll clean them up and go from there.
I know they aren't the prettiest soaps ever and really, I should probably keep my scraps separate, but I found a use of all the scrap soap we end up with, but never know what to do with it. Stay tuned, these will probably go up on the website soon. I'm kind of thinking about selling them to raise money for another turtle nest. What do you think?

I'll let you know how the rebatch of my rebatch goes.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Rearranging

I've been wanting to rearrange furniture in the bedrooms for a while, it just hasn't happened. Kinda like a lot of other thing, but I finally got it done,

Hayden isn't a baby anymore (tear...), so he needed a more toddler friendly room that he could play in. We took the front off his crib two months back because he was constantly trying to climb IN the crib. I even found some sheets and a small comforter that I liked, but we hadn't gotten around to a new bed. I was planning on several changes: a new toddler bed, repainting, some new wall decor and some new curtains. But, none of that is in the budget now.

However, I still managed to rearrange and make it look better and feel roomier. First, I removed the blanket box that he loves to climb on and jump off of. He doesn't need it now anyway. Next, I culled the herd of stuffed animals and made them fit in the hammock I found on amazon. I moved the bed so it wasn't centered in the room and moved the small shelf that used to hold changing table stuff to be his bedside table. I hung an adorable Ikea lamp so he can easily turn on the light in his room. I hung a small coat rack that I found ages ago at Goodwill and finally fixed up. Last, I removed the changing pad from his dresser. 
I was trying to keep him out of the shot and he kept running in and out of it laughing "No pictures mommy."

 He now has way fewer books on his shelf, many were way too old for him, so I cut it down to just the ones he really loves to read. He also has a few more toys, so he can sit in his room and play. I know the hammock is a little low, but he is a little short and he's supposed to be able to access it. I left the nursery rhymes decor because I didn't want bare walls or windows. I also would have liked to paint the dresser a different color.
Again, he was "getting out of the picture." Forgive the unmade bed, we were actually getting ready for bed.
I love the little lamp! He now has a table beside his bed for his animals, water, and turtle. Now, he isn't trying to get it all in bed with him.
Crooked picture
Isn't this cute! I found it for $4 forever ago, but never got around to doing anything with it. I decided to paint and decoupage it. The yellow paper actually matches the letters I did for his initials and the other paper is really similar to the other side of his comforter. I hung it low so he can use it. Really, he just stares and makes faces in the mirror, but that works. Bonus: now I have a place to put his coats within easy reach.

I also did a little rearranging in my room. I moved the bed under the window because I love morning sunshine. I also hung my jewelry organizer and cleaned everything off! It feels good to have a clean room. I still need to organize the closet, but hey, I'm getting there. Also, I have to clean the upstairs again because lots of stuff got shoved up there as I cleared stuff out!

Has your Spring Cleaning started early?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year-New Goals

Well, it is a new year. There were a lot of changes in my life this past year. I'm sure you've noticed that I haven't been around a lot. Most of that has to do with work, but other more recent changes have really changed my schedule.

About a month ago, I asked my partner or almost 6 years to move out. It was a very hard decision for both of us, but in the long run, I think it is for the best. Hayden is adjusting well and we both still care for him, that won't change. Sharing custody of our new girl in April will be harder, but I think we will be able to make it work.

Between adjusting to life as a single mom and trying to keep up with the work load at school, it has been a little tough for me to keep up and get everything I need done. I have kept up with my orders and shows; I even managed to finish up some of the things I needed to do on my website, but a lot of the computer things have fallen behind.

In light of the fact that I have less time to get stuff done and I have more to do on my own and I will soon have a newborn to care for, my goals for this year will be relatively simple.

Business Goal: Keep up with the current level of business that I am currently doing. This will include the few wholesale customers I have, but I'm not going to focus on adding any. Doing all of the shows and markets I currently do, but not really trying to add more. You get the idea. While I would love to grow my business and expand, at this point, I have to be honest about the fact that I'm struggling to keep up with the amount of work I have to do. I desperately want to keep my business because my goal to eventually be able to quit my day job hasn't changed, but the time scale will have to be adjusted a little. The great thing about goals though...they can be changed. So, maybe things will be easier than I expect and I'll have time to do everything I need to do and grow my business.

Personal Goal: Focus on giving my family what they need and take care of my own needs. I think that is probably a little too broad, but really this means a lot of things that I don't want to leave out. I want to get Hayden involved in group activities such as swim classes and soccer. I am still hoping to buy a house despite the looming medical bills I will have. I actually have a long list of things I am planning to get done, but I don't see any reason for you to have to read the whole thing.

Another big goal: Keep up with my blogging, I actually enjoy it and the interactions I get from it.

I hope you can forgive my recent absence and be patient as I try to get my life back in the order.