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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Mysterious Body Butter

Why is it mysterious do you ask? (If you don't want to read ALL of my pointless raving, I strongly suggest you read the first paragraph and call it a day)

It's mysterious b/c the darn body butter has absolutly confounded me!?  As soon as I think I've begun to understand the enigma that is my body butter creation - it goes and does something improve in texture without reason or warning.  Sigh.  Ack.

Here's the story: a couple days ago I woke up and thought to myself, "I should make some body butter.  I probably have all the ingrediants - all I need is a recipe."  After much web surfing, I (thought) I stumbled upon the perfect ratio: 60% butters to 40% oil.  Okay.

I melted shea butter in the microwave and added almond oil, coconut oil, calendula extract (which is an anti-inflamatory good for sensitive skin), cornstarch, and fragrance.  I stuck the mixture into a water bath to cool, and ever so often blended it with my hand mixer (I was going for a whipped consistency).  Once I thought I achieved the proper consistency, I poured it into containers. 

Let's just say the next morning I woke up to a separated liquidy mess.

At that point I decided to add 1oz cocoa butter (which is super solid at room temp) and 1 oz beeswax to emulsify and thicken.  Everything went back in the microwave, then in the freezer, and I whipped and whipped and whipped.

While the butter's thickness improved - it's texture was a bit "off" (little, almost invisible, globules in it...which would melt once it touched skin).

Okay - after even more research I discovered if you don't heat your shea butter to 175 degrees for 20 minutes little crystals can form in it.  I made a mental note for next time and decided I'd have to use up all the yummy cake batter/orange scented slightly weird body butter myself, instead of forcing it upon everyone I know.  Totally do-able.

So - the past couple times I've popped open my body butter after a shower the texture has seemed a bit better - which I attributed to wishful longing on my part. 

Well, today I've decided I may not be hallucinating.  Damn you body butter!!  Just when I think we've come to an understanding.  I don't understand you!  Argh!!!  Aaaaaaaaaaa!

The Evil Cupcake Clementine Scented Body Butter

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Etsy Experiment

Christmas is over and my stock of soap, candles, fizzing bath cubes, and preserves has def. been depleted...but I prob. still have enough left for a dozen so or more gifts - hence, the "Etsy Experiment."

I have absolutly no desire to quit my day job and craft all day for a living (after the first couple 10 hr days, it would cease being fun), but I wouldn't mind selling a couple of my creations to fund more creations.  Etsy could be a way to fund my habit!

I posted a few things - and hope to add more over the next couple of days.  Check out my shop at:

A sneak preview of what's on sale:

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Going Rogue Part 2 (Fizzing Bath Cubes)

I tried to make body butter yesterday and let me say it turned out to be a minor disaster.  When I woke up this morning my lovely whipped "cupcake clementine" scented body butter was a thick separated (oil from butter) mess.  My goal today is to fix the darn thing.  If I manage to do that - I'll post the recipe.

Anyhoo - on to fizzing bath cubes.  The recipe I ended up using was pretty simple (no cornstarch, epsom salts, and only four ingrediants) but I took a bath with a couple cubes the other day and it was heaven.  The magical ratio is 2:1 (baking soda to citric acid).

To make 12 cubes I used 1 c citric acid, 2 c baking soda, 1 tsp sweet almond oil, and fragrance oil to my own preference (approx 6 ml).  I mixed the dry ingrediants, added the oils, and then spritzed the mixture with witch hazel (in a 3 oz spray bottle) while mixing with the other.  You want the dry ingrediants to only get damp enough to barely stick together when squished in your hand (the less witch hazel you use the better, otherwise you could end up with a fizzing blobby mess). 

Once your bath fizzy mixture is ready, pour it into a mold (or in my case, a silicone ice cube tray) and compact, compact, compact with your fingers - then try to compact even more of the mixture on top.  The more you compact, the longer your cube will fizz in the bath.

Let your bath fizzies sit in the mold for a few minutes, then lightly tap out.  Let dry for 24hrs.

Note: if you don't have fragrance oil, use a scented bath oil (3tsp) instead of the sweet almond oil + fragrance oil.  Also, just the combo of 1tsp of oil + the fragrance oil made for a pretty slippery bath, but if you want more moisturizing - you can always use shea butter or up the oil content.  Also - you can either buy citric acid online, or in a store that sells canning supplies.

Grass scented fizzing bath cubes

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Food Post

Chicken Posole isn't necessarily the most traditional thing to serve for Christmas Eve dinner (we're actually having tempura scallops tonight, which def. isn't traditional) - but it sure is yummy and comforting on a cold winter night.  Check out the recipe at (beware if you're not into spicy food):

Tecate is the perfect accompaniment

The other day Ed got me a couple bags of very nice bittersweet chocolate and a couple cartons of heavy cream.  Thoughtful - but unfortunatly it was for a recipe/project I had long since mentally abandoned (ganache frosted chocolate cupcakes).  Well - I had to pretend the items were actually still relevant - so I made chocolate chip sandwich cookies with ganache filling.  Yumm.

The recipe was suprisingly easy for a F&W concoction.  I was able to make them and work out (thanks to Netflix online streaming) at the same time.  Find the recipe at:

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Going Rogue Part #1 (lip gloss)

My husband hates it when I go off recipe and decide things like: "yes, cod is an acceptable substitute for halibut" or ask him questions such as, "what exactly is IN garam masala" while holding a spice grinder and the contents of our spice cabinet.

Well - since crafting is def. my domain in the house - I can substitute to my heart's content w/out comments or raised eyebrows. 

I just made gloss from the recipe below this morning, and its lovely...but please feel free to substitute and fudge a little on measurements (b/c I always do).

Sheer Lipgloss
2 1/2 tsp beeswax
2tsp coconut oil
2 1/8 tsp sweet almond oil
3/4 tsp avocado oil
flavor if desired (1/2 tsp)
lip safe mica/oxide or food coloring

Note:  You don't have to get fancy with the oils...and food grade olive oil, walnut oil, etc. can substitute for any or all of the oils above.  A simple olive oil and beeswax gloss would be just as moisturizing.  Also - some essential oils, such as rosemary, are edible - so if you don't have a lip safe flavoring, get creative (but not in a way that might make your or someone else's lips fall off). A tiny pinch of splenda ,to make the gloss sweet, never hurt either.

Instructions: melt beeswax w/coconut oil in the microwave (1 minute - 45 second intervals until it looks melted...keep an eye on it).  Once melted, add other oils and pop in the microwave for a few seconds if it starts solidifying (do this throughout - you don't want the mixture scalding...just liquid/melted).  Add flavoring, mica/oxide if you have it (the more you add, the darker the color will be) or one tiny drop of food coloring to give the gloss color in it container.  Stir - stir - stir.

Pour into containers.
My Gloss (a sheer "lip" shade w/gold mica)

p.s. part #2 will feature fizzing bath cubes - all ingrediants for which can probably be found at the grocery or drugstore

Crafting with the

Instead of taking pics of the grandkids crafting soaps and pouring their perfect lipgloss into pots, I was busy cleaning up black oxide from the floor and scraping all of Alayah's lip gloss off the counter, putting it back in the bowl, and remelting it. 

Next time we do crafting - I'm definitely going to put a sheet down.  And maybe beforehand I'll clone myself or send Ed to crafting 101 - since there's just too little of me to go around.

All in all it was a super-fun experience and the kids had a great time (before crafting we ate pizza, watched "Up," and went ice skating at the Seattle Center).  The "after" crafting pics I took below:

Grass Stain Scented Basketball Soap
(made by Manny - Isaiah's is green and he made football soap as well)

Jhordin's Perfect Lipgloss
(w/violet and gold shimmer)

Alayah's Pink Gloss
(Watermelon flavored)

My Little Crafters
(On our way to ice-skating at the Seattle Center)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Desperation Dip - 101

On my way home from work I was supposed to grab something for our condo building's holiday get together...but it was raining and I was running late - therefore it just didn't happen (oh, well).  I knew I could scrounge up some old chocolates or ingrediants for an appetizer if I looked in our cabinets hard enough...and lo-and-behold - I did!

I made this White Bean Dip in about 5 minutes.  I didn't measure...hence all amounts are guesstimates.

1 can cannelini beans (drained and rinsed)
2 garlic gloves or 1 jumbo (I had a mutant jumbo one, don't forget to take the peel off)
handful of fresh parsely (1/4 c)
1/4c olive oil
juice of half a lemon (2 tablespoons)
salt & pepper
food processer

Instructions: throw everything into the food processer, de-press the chop/grind/puree button, and hope for the best.  Salt & pepper to taste.

All-in-all...the dip is actually pretty darn good...I probably ate half before I even plated.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Headed to 5th Ave Theater... watch White Christmas, but because I'm obsessed I got dressed really, really fast so I could package the soap I made yesterday.

Slices of Carrot Cake Soap

Packaged Product

Black Tea Soap

You can't tell from the pic, but the black tea soap is slightly shimmery from the silver mica I added to it.  Working with the black oxide (which gives the soap a black color) was a bit**.  Let's just say it dyes a couple things in the kitchen black - but I've done a little damage control.  Don't tell the husband.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sometimes packaging is just as fun as crafting....

My (ok - Ed's) lovely packaged caramels

And I finally packaged the cupcake soaps

Yesterday Lis hooked me up with more ribbon from her supplier ($1.99 for 25 yards!  tons of colors.  the store she gets it from is somewhere in W. Seattle) so there's definitly more packaging in my future.

I'm currently cooking up a loaf of carrot cake soap - it turned out a bit peacher and sweeter smelling than I had hoped, but still looks super yummy.  I also tried my hand at another "man" soap.  This time I made a shimmery black tea soap.  I'll post pics once they're ready to be unmolded.

I must say, my new apron from Athro sure made soap making 10x more fun ;)  Even though I work, don't clean, and Ed won't let me cook - I feel so 50's house-wife-ish.


On sale for $19.99 right now. (you can't tell from the pic, but it has gold metallic thread and a handful of sequins).

The best salad EVER

Trust me on this one, because I never, ever, ever, ever exagerate

Apple, Pear, & Arugula Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette (from California Wine  Country Secrets)

4 Bunches Arugula
2 Apples Sliced
1/4 c walnuts, toasted
1 shallot, minced
1/2 c balsamic vinegar
1/2 c olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 lb gorgonzola cheese

For vinaigrette: Combine the shallot, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and lemon juice and whisk. 

The Chinese game hens weren't too shabby either (although the picture is a bit creepy)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Caramels galore!

Ed's culinary creation tonight, Spicy Florida Rock Shrimp Risotto, sustained me for the 2 hrs I sat wrapping caramels in wax paper.  Per my request Ed whipped up the caramel yesterday.  Little did I know I'd get 90 (yes - 90) caramels out of the batch.  Let's just say if I have daily contact with you - you're probably getting a caramel.
Delicious Spicy Florida Rock Shrimp Risotto

Caramels before...

Caramels after...

In his ample spare time, Ed also whipped up a couple loaves of Tuscan wheat bread.  All I can say is - yummy.

p.s.  I tell him all husbands do such if you see him (for the love of god) please reinforce this notion

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday night deliciousness

Ah - another relaxing Sunday night :)

When Leigh and I got back from our craft fair extravaganza (okay, it sounds a bit more fun than it actually was) this afternoon she presented Ed and I with a couple bathbombs, creatively packaged in Chinese takeout containers.  Mine was her newest concoction - packed with shea butter, vitamin e, and mineral oil and scented like a tropical vacation (coconut, mango, pineapple).  I couldn't wait to hop into the bath - and when I did it was LUXURIOUS!  The shea butter melted into the water and felt super-luxe.  I also sparkle in the dark thanks to the glitter in the bathbomb.  Leigh is a genius.

Speaking of geniuses - my husband also is one.  He flexed his culinary muscle tonight and made salmon with nicoise vegetables and basil pesto and creme brulee for desert.  Not too shabby if I say so myself.  Let me know if you want the recipes.

Also - my bribe/limited time offer is still good.  If you're one of the first 5 people to sign up as an actual/official followers of my blog - I'll mail you a bar of chipotle caramel/cream cheese frosting/gingersnap soap.  Just email your mailing address to :

Tropical Vacation Bathbomb

Salmon w/nicoise vegetables and basil pesto

Creme Brulee

Week in review

I swear, after this super massive post I promise to update at least a couple times a week (since I know it KILLS you when you don't know how the crafting is going ;).

I managed to cut and package my chipotle-caramel, cream cheese frosting soap.  They turned out great!

I had the grandkids (yes, I have step-grandkids) over for cookie decorating and ornament painting last Sunday.  It's our second year doing I think there's def. a tradition in the works

Isaiah, Jhordin, Manny, and Alayah w/their creations

Natalie (Ed's youngest @ 18 yrs) came over yesterday and we painted ornaments.  Hers always turn out super cute.

My reindeer and bird, Nat's cup of cocoa

Nat's pretty bird

My kissing mouse, Nat's mouse in a hot air balloon

Last bur not least, one day this past week Ed made a lovely buccatini with shitake mushrooms and brocolli in a wine sauce.  Yummy!

p.s. I sure wish I had some registered followers....sigh.....I can't believe my own sister, mother, and husband haven't registered!  OK - I will send the first 5 people who sign up to be followers of my blog the lovely chipotle-caramel (...) soap.  Just email your mailing address to

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Homage to the Ed's delicious T-Day dinner (for two)

Turkey, homemade thyme rolls, chive and mascarpone potatoes, maple pecan sweet potatoes, spicy brussel sprouts, turkey stuffing (super yummy, made with Turkey stock Ed made the night before)
Not pictured: pecan tarts

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Yesterday I actually braved the “Black Friday” crowds and hit up JoAnn’s and Target.
At JoAnn’s - I stocked up on ceramic ornaments ($0.30/each) and paint for tomorrow’s decorating session with the grandkids (speaking of which – I better start baking sugar cookies for them…I don’t want them to think I’m a super-stale grandma). Got a couple gifts and an armload of clothing for my nephew at Target…I swear, sometimes I feel like I’m single handedly supporting the economy ;)
I also got busy making candles and soap (yay). The chipotle-caramel and sandalwood-vanilla massage oil candles turned out great – and I have a feeling they’ll be super moisturizing since they’re packed with avocado oil, coco butter, and shea butter. I also made orange blossom, gingerbread, and cinnamon bun soy candles. I have a gingerbread candle burning right now, and it smells wonderful.

Inspired by my coworker, Leigh, this morning I decided to make a chipotle-caramel, cream cheese frosting, and gingersnap layer soap. Its packed with shea butter and olive oil and smells good enough to eat. Its about three pounds, and I’ll def get at least 12 nice sized slices out of it. Can’t wait to make some labels!!

The soap loaf

gingerbread candle

candles galore

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm baaaaaack

I spent the end of last and the weekend in Spokane celebrating my BFF Lis’ wedding (congrats Lis and Bryan!!). Couple that with a visit from my sis and nephew (aka the “human hurricane”) who were in town for the wedding – and you’ll see why I’ve been out of crafting commission for a while.
Well – no more! I got a big box of supplies in (soy wax, fragrance oil, shea butter, coco butter and what not) and I’m ready to get busy!! On the menu – massage oil candles, soy candles, and more cute little soap squares. I also have the grands coming on Sunday for a little Christmas ornament painting fun and then the following weekend the g.daughters and I are making lip balm. Yay! I LOVE the holidays.
Ed’s back on the job as well and whipped up a lovely dinner of cod and white asparagus with a mustard sauce. Delicious and light…which is what we need after binging on snacks all weekend.

The human hurricane playing in the snow

Our yummy (and pale) dinner

The latest order (prepping for the grands)

LB-4 Lip Balm Base, 4 oz (volume) 1

FLAV12 Bubblegum Flavor Oil, Pre-sweetened (1 oz) 1

FLAV21 Watermelon Flavor Oil (1 oz) 1

grpLIPSAMP Lip-safe Colorants Sample Pack, 1 sampler pack 1

LIPBUT20 Slidey Lip Tins (10 tins) 2

LIPBUT07 Daisy Lip Butter Pots (12 daisies) 1

LE46 Chipotle Caramel Fragrance Oil (1 oz) 1

WAX07 Beeswax, White (1 lb) 1

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Baubles

A few weeks ago Lis gave me yet another pair of lovely, handcrafted, earrings - and inspired me to try my hand at jewelry making.

Its addicting, especially since you can do it while veg-ing on the couch watching Sunday football.

I only use gold filled and sterling silver findings - and gemstone beads.  I figured if I was going to take the time to make might as well be quality stuff.

What I've made so far

Chalcedony bracelet I made this morning

Tasi wants her mommy to stop crafting...she stole a strand of beads and has it in her bed

Ah - Saturdays!

After procuring a double-boiler on the cheap from Bed, Bath, and Beyond (20% off the discounted display model, so about $10) - I proceeded to engage in my new favorite craft: making candles!

The soy wax was easy to melt and I already had most of the tools I needed (pyrex measuring cup, candy thermometer, silicone spatula). I picked up the containers from, Ross, and the sale section at Anthropologie.
cinnamon roll scented candles

gingerbread and vanilla sugar

While Ed was making dinner (lentil soup with smoked game hen), I got motivated to wrap my little soaps (the wine helped). They turned out great!

Def. a good Christmas Gift for co-workers

finished product in its storage jar

The yummy lentil soup w/smoked game hen and a pinot

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day!!

I have a LOT to say, so I'll try to organize my ramblings a bit
#1 I am a toffee making FAILURE
My initial excitement over my beautiful toffee was crushed when I came home to a gooey unset blob. After a little googling - I discovered I didn't let the melted ingredients get hot enough (who knew 300 degrees is the magic temp?). I reheated the mess and it came out a bit firmer, but not perfect.
Oh well – that’s what I get for assuming I can make candy for the first time in the 30 minutes between my shower and leaving the house to meet up with Lis downtown.

Don't let the pic fool you...the toffee is still a bit gooey

#2 Boka was DELIC (and they have half-price happy hour starting at 2:30PM!)

I had the crab cakes with pickled shallots, capers, and truffle fries. Maureen had the mussels in a tomato-wine sauce with sumac dusted fries. Afterwards we infiltrated the restroom in the lobby of the Hotel 1000, and used the lovely Molton Brown toiletries to our hearts’ content (Maureen was even venturing into scent blending). All-in-all…a productive Wednesday afternoon.

#3 Lis is a earring making genius

I thought I’d brag a little for her…don’t kill me Lis