What I’ve Been Doing


As there was quite a lag between my last post about lotion bars and the one prior to it, I thought I’d drop in a few pictures of creative things I was doing during that time but probably won’t be blogging about.  Enjoy!

Working on my sketching techniques

Working on my sketching techniques

Chickadee

More sketching.

A dress I made my daughter for Phoenix Comicon.

A dress I made my daughter for Phoenix Comicon.

The back of the dress.

The back of the dress.

Updating a Halloween decoration.  It had been orange and messy (my daughter's painting when she was little), so I made it black and gave it some purple bling.

Updating a Halloween decoration. It had been orange and messy (my daughter’s painting when she was little), so I made it black and gave it some purple bling.

Homemade Lotion Bars


Hello, everyone!  I’ve been away for a while, haven’t I.  Life has been busy, what can I say?  At any rate, I’m back with my most recent beauty adventure:  lotion bars.  I’ve been wanting to try them for quite a while, but I didn’t make it happen until a couple weeks ago.  The recipe is simple:

1 part coconut oil
1 part shea butter
1 part beeswax (I used the pastilles rather than chopping up a big bar)

I also added some essential oil to give it a nice smell.  Unfortunately, I didn’t measure, so I can’t tell you how much I used.  That’s something you can experiment with if you want to add it.  I’m not sure which link I used, but here are two others who have made it with the same basic recipe (Wellness Mama has alternative ingredients, if you’re interested):  Wellness Mama and Made On:  Skin Care Products.

What to do:

(1) Combine the ingredients over heat until they are all melted together.  I used a double-boiler to avoid scalding.  However, next time I need to use less ingredients (I used 9 ounces of each item) or my larger double-boiler–as you can see, I’m really close to the rim.

Lotion mix in double boiler

(2) Pour into molds.  I used silicone molds because I figured removal would be easier (it was easy).  Other bloggers I’ve looked at use regular muffin tins.  As you can see, the 9 oz. of each made a good bit, filling a little over 12 muffins’ worth of molds.

Lotion molds

(3) Remove from molds.  Store in an air-tight container.  Easy!

Lotion bars

My daughter and I have been using these for a couple weeks now, and we both are enjoying them.  What I love is that they aren’t watery like some lotions and they really moisturize.  Best of all:  no chemicals.  

Trip Preparation Projects: Slip and Kindle Fire Case


I’m going to be honest with you.  I started this blog entry last year when I was going to Santa Fe with my mother, and I totally forgot about it until recently.  Oops!  At any rate, I was going on a trip to a memorial service for my mom’s cousin, and I had the little problem of needing a slip but not having one that was wearable.  I also needed more protection for my Kindle Fire, so I wound up doing a few sewing projects before my trip.

First, the slip.  I found the elastic in the only slip that fit me was completely shot.  As I didn’t mind losing an inch or two of length and I was in a hurry, I simply cut off the old elastic.

As I’ve mentioned, I was in a hurry, so I really didn’t want to monkey around with stringing the elastic through a channel I’d already sewn, so I tried a different technique:  I cut the elastic and sewed the ends together, then pinned it into the channel before sewing.

Sewing the channel was a little tricky since I didn’t want to get the elastic with my seams, but it turned out okay.  It doesn’t look pretty, but it’s functional.

My other project was a case for my Kindle Fire.  I took more time with this, but as I was in a hurry, I didn’t think through how much extra fabric I really needed on the edges.  It is really tight, and a couple of the seams are not as pretty as I’d like, but overall, I’m happy with it.

I wanted the Kindle to have both hard and soft protection, so I cut two pieces of cardboard about the same size as the Fire and two pieces of batting that were slightly larger than the Fire.

Cardboard

Batting

And this is as far as I got in this blog entry when I could actually remember what I actually did.  I sewed the cardboard and batting between layers of fabric (and I love the fabric).  I do recall, that I should have given myself a bit more room, as it was hard to sew the final edges together to house the KF.  I used velcro to close the case, but I should not have planned on the self sticking velcro.  I wound up having to stitch it down in places, and that stuff is heck on a needle.  Also, I added a decorative button to look like the actual closure, but that was kind of loose.  If I’d had more time, I might have taken another stab at the whole thing, but it still served it’s purpose for the length of my trip.  Here’s the final product:

Looking at this fabric still makes me happy!

Looking at this fabric still makes me happy!

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Okay, Enough of the Home/Hygiene Products–Nectarine Cobbler Time


When I created this blog, I didn’t intend to be using it for pintesting homemade cleaning and hygiene products, but I guess that’s what I’ve been doing lately.  Time to move onto something different.  How about a recipe?!

My husband recently bought some nectarines, which are not my favorite fruit.  The kids think they’re okay, but they weren’t moving very fast.  So, one night I decided to experiment, and here is what I came up with.

Mug Nectarine Cobbler

Tools:  Oven-safe mug; toaster oven (mine is a convection oven, and I had convection on)

Ingredients:

1 sliced nectarine

about 2 Tbsp butter

dash of salt

pinch of cinnamon

1.5 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp flour (may need more, see instructions)

 

I took my sliced nectarines and placed them in my mug.  That was the easy part.  Then I cut the salt, cinnamon, sugar, and flour into the butter.  You want this topping crumbly.  I never got it quite there–I think I worked the butter too long and it got too melty, but it is possible that I just needed more flour.  At any rate, once your mixture is ready, sprinkle it on top.  Heat in a 350-degree toaster oven for about 10 minutes (until topping gets golden brown).

Despite my mixture not being crumbly enough, it tasted good.  That’s all that counts, right?

Cut up nectarines

Cut up nectarines

Pre-baking.  Yes, crumbles would have looked nicer.

Pre-baking. Yes, crumbles would have looked nicer.

Cooked.  Parts of the topping were a bit doughy, probably because it was in big glops.  Still tasted great!

Cooked. Parts of the topping were a bit doughy, probably because it was in big glops. Still tasted great!

Homemade Deodorant


Yesterday, I posted about a stain remover that works wonders on armpit stains, among other things.  I mentioned in one of the photo captions that I would be writing about a homemade deodorant that helps prevent those stains in the first place.  It is another item from OneGoodThingByJillee.com, and I have been using it for over a month.

I use the second recipe she lists in the blog entry:

2-3 Tbsp Coconut Oil
1/8 Cup Baking Soda
1/8 Cup Arrowroot Powder or Cornstarch

However, I added 10 drops of tea tree oil to it.  Tea tree oil has antibiotic properties, and if you can cut down on bacteria, you can cut down on odor.  NOTE:  Tea tree oil can irritate sensitive skin, so use with caution.

This form of deodorant is NOT solid, nor is it sprayable liquid.  It is kind of a goopy mess, so I keep it in a kitchen storage container and just stick my fingers in like I would with old-fashioned styling gel.  If you want it more solid, you can keep in the fridge, and it will be solid enough to rub on.

If you try it, let me know what you think!

Update 7/23/14:  I’ve been using this for a year now, and I love it!  I did find that eventually the tea tree oil caused irritation, so I’m now making it without any oils, though I’ve thought about trying lavender.  The thing I like best is that I no longer get the smelly armpit stains–and I mean smelly.  My antiperspirant often failed, so sweat would mingle with the chemicals and leave a smell that is way worse than my own sweat.  I don’t have these anymore.  Yay!

Note:  For tips on how to get those kinds of stains out, you can look at my entry on a Dawn & peroxide stain remover, which I got from onegoodthingbyjillee.com (link in my post):  https://mycreativeside44.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/dawn-and-peroxide-stain-remover-for-laundry/

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Dawn and Peroxide Stain Remover for Laundry


There are many places around the web where you mix peroxide and Dawn and use it as a stain remover.  I got it from OneGoodThingByJillee.com, and she linked to a Glamour.com article about it.  The basic recipe is that you use 1 part Dawn dishwashing liquid and 2 parts hydrogen peroxide to mix your own stain remover.  However, Jillee also adds baking soda to it for scrubbing power.

I have been using this stain remover (with baking soda) for quite a while now.  I have found that overall, it’s wonderful.  For one thing, it not only takes out armpit stains, but it takes out even set in armpit stink.  For several of my shirts, it took more than one application to get the stains out, but the stink was gone after the first wash (I’m sure the baking soda helped).  It also takes out grease or oil stains (important when you’ve got a habit of spilling things on your clothes while cooking or eating).

The one drawback that I have found is that it sometimes bleaches colors a bit.  This usually happens when you allow the remover to sit a while or when you have a newer piece of clothing that hasn’t been washed as much.  If you can test an inconspicuous spot, I suggest you do so.  Usually when I use it, it is with a piece that would otherwise be stuck in the “rags/paint clothes” pile, so I have nothing to lose.  I just try to not let it sit more than five minutes before washing, and usually, it’s not a problem.  However, before I knew it was a problem, I tried it on a new shirt for a grease stain.  I really wish I hadn’t done that as it left a light bleach spot.  I’ve been testing using just a mixture of Dawn and water with some baking soda for grease stains when grease is the only problem.  So far, it seems to be working fairly well.

Here are pictures of pieces I’ve used the stain remover on:

Pillow stained with blood from a nose-bleed.

Pillow stained with blood from a nose-bleed.

Pillow being treated.  I use an old tooth-brush as a scrubbing brush.

Pillow being treated. I use an old tooth-brush as a scrubbing brush.

Treated pillow.  There still is a little bit of a stain, but most of it is gone.

Treated pillow. There still is a little bit of a stain, but most of it is gone.

Stained shirt

Stained shirt

Shirt with stain remover.

Shirt with stain remover.

Cleaned shirt.

Cleaned shirt.

My new shirt that I made worse because the color wasn't quite as fast or I left it on too long.

My new shirt that I made worse because the color wasn’t quite as fast or I left it on too long.

Armpit pre-treatment.  You could see it on both sides as deodorant had contributed the problem.  (Blog on homemade deodorant that prevents this to follow, eventually).

Armpit pre-treatment. You could see it on both sides as deodorant had contributed the problem. (Blog on homemade deodorant that prevents this to follow, eventually).

Armpits post-treatment.

Armpits post-treatment.

 

 

 

 

Where I Practice My Craft


Do you like my title?  Makes it sound like I’m doing witchcraft, doesn’t it?  Well, I’m not.  Somehow Hogwarts never sent me a letter.  :(  I guess I’m not gifted enough.

Okay, enough silliness.  A while back, I took some photos of my craft room (when it was semi-clean).  I thought it would be fun to share the place where I do most of the stuff I blog about (except the cooking–and I will probably never post a picture of my kitchen; even when the countertops are pristine, they’re cluttered as all get-out).

The room also doubles as a guest room (if I can clean it before the guests arrive).  Ideally, I’d like to have a murphy bed so I could have more room when guests are not here (which is most of the time), but they’re expensive.  So that’ll have to wait.

Anyway, onto the room:

Image

The guest bed and artwork.

The guest bed is a full-size bed.  I would like to make it a twin if I can’t have a murphy bed, but my most frequent guest (aka Mom) likes a double.  Also, my daughter sleeps there with her friends when she invites them for a giggle-fest sleepover.

The artwork over the bed consists of a cute print my former stepmother (who will always be part of my life) gave to me (head of the bed), a painting I did, and a glued-together-puzzle.  The painting was an attempt to recapture what I did in junior high art with pastels, but it never quite got where I wanted it.  I also never got quite the right color green in the background, so maybe it is good that you can’t tell the sage green wall color in the picture (it isn’t the most complementary matching).  One of these days, I will take a stab at making something I like better for over the bed.  Glued-together-puzzles always make affordable artwork, especially if you and your husband spent the first three to five years together (dating and before children) doing many puzzles.  We just used push-pins that matched to hold them up on the wall.  I actually have a lot of puzzles decorating the walls of my house.

This rolling cart is a pretty new addition to the room.  I love having some flat storage space so I no longer have to dig through all my flat items to find what I need.

A rolling storage cart contains paper, pencils, and other supplies.

A rolling storage cart contains paper, pencils, and other supplies.

My sewing table is an old student desk. When I started using the room, I wanted to be able to watch the TV while sewing. I stopped using the TV, so I got rid of it, but I like that the desk is facing the door. At any rate, I made a velcro curtain to cover the ugly backside of the desk so that my room still looks pretty when you enter it (assuming, of course, that it’s clean–big assumption).

Sewing table with curtain open.

Sewing table with curtain open.

Sewing table with curtain

Sewing table with curtain

I wanted a bulletin board in my room, but all I had were some old “kiddie” ones from my childhood.  I took the Snoopy one, painted it white, and covered it with the same fabric I made the curtain out of.  I used ribbon accents to make it prettier.  It sits right behind my desk/sewing table.

Prettified bulletin board.

Prettified bulletin board.

There are two areas absent in this entry.  One is the wall contains the former TV now printer stand and the closet.  The closet is scary messy.  I keep telling myself I’ll clean it to take a picture.  But I have sooo much stuff–fabric, wrapping paper, old boxes that I’m going to do something with one day, etc.  Because of that, I don’t have a picture.  If I ever get it clean enough for a picture, I will take one.  The other item missing is a storage cupboard, which I’d really like to take a picture of, especially since I built a custom shelf insert for it to hold my craft paint bottle holder.  However, I’m mid-project right now, and this blog has waited long enough.  So, I will have to add it some other time.

I hope all of you enjoyed seeing my space.  I’d love to see yours, so if you’ve got pictures posted somewhere, please feel free to leave the link in the comments!