Friday, January 30, 2009

ANOTHER BLOGGING AWARD



It is always a wonderful feeling when another blogger recognizes you either as a friend, or just someone who writes something they enjoy reading. My dear blogging friend Carrie~gigi over at Under the Willow Gifts presented me with two new awards.

Carrie is one of my very first blogging buddies. I adore her and honored to call her a friend. I enjoy reading about her sewing & soaping ventures as well as reading news about her family and those beautiful grandchildren of hers.

I return both of these awards back to Carrie because she absolutely deserves it! And since Carrie already listed Joanna, Teresa, Heidi, Elizabeth & Trisha I would like to pass them on to...

My friends: Robin over at Just the Cards Ma'am

Cindy over at Dreaming of Ink with Me

Karie over at 1 Crafty Gal

Diane over at The Diane Diaries

Heather over at Twin Birch

Amy over at Great Cakes Soapworks

Amber over at Ambers Ambry

WE HAVE A...



I used an online Random Number Picker to determine the winner of the blog giveaway and the first number to pop up was #1 Diane. Because there were so many replies I decided to add a couple soaps I purchased in Hawaii as gifts. Both soaps are handmade at the North Shore Soap Factory by Hawaiin Bath and Body. The soaps contain kukui & macadamia oils and a glorious list of essential oils.

The two winners receiving a bar of soap are #12 Swanee and #13 Lanore.

Congratulations ladies, please claim your prizes by sending me an email with your address so I can mail you the goodies.

Michelle@pixieleesoaps.com

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

HEAT TRANSFER METHOD TUTORIAL

Ok ladies, this is my little post about the Heat Transfer Method (BTW/who coined that term??)

I learned about this a while back, I think first from snowdrift farm?? possibly. Maybe Steph @ Playing with Soap?? Anyway, over the summer I asked some ladies at the SOAPMAKERS CORNER about it. After learning a little more from HEIDI at SOAPAHOLICS ANONYMOUS and TRISHA at SUDS TO LOVE, I gave it a go. At first I convinced myself that it wasn't working, something about the soap wasn't right, but it was just my way of refusing to change and experiment. Call it... being a chicken. But once I realized it was a huge time saver and well, yes, it does work and works great, I decided not to go back to the old fashioned way of soaping ever again.

Now with that little explanation, I tried googling this wonderful "heat transfer method" and can't seem to find any tutorials for it, so I thought I'd create one myself. There are very few pictures since it really is quite simple. (NOTE: this tutorial was created with the idea you already know how to make soap the "traditional" way)

STEP 1: Measure out your oils as usual.



STEP 2: Measure the lye, measure water, then pour lye into water (Not water into lye!) and mix as usual.




STEP 3: Pour lye/water mix into pan with oils.
Isn't it lovely, no "matching" temp of oil and lye. Just mix the two together and wala! your on your way to blending, tracing and pouring in the mold. Dang, I use to spend soooooo much time waiting for temps to match so I could mix.




STEP 4: Stir until oils are completely melted and then stick blend. Another soaper disaster tonight. I went for the stick blender and the darn thing didn't work. OMG! I nearly had a panic attack thinking about having to "hand stir" (it almost sounds like a dirty word). Luckily, I remembered we had a back-up stick blender (miracle, my brain worked tonight). So it traced in a microsecond. Gotta luv the stick blender!!



^^^ See the oils melting after pouring the lye/water mix over them. Once I pour the lye/water over the oils I get a partial melt and I recheck the temp and it always falls to about 80 degrees. I immediately plop the pan on the electric burner and heat it up to about 120 degrees and stir until oils melt. Once they are completely melted I remove from heat and stick blend. (electric burner is not ideal since it is harder to control the temp, it is best to do this on a gas burner if you can).





You can add your herbs, fragrance, whatever you want as usual (at trace) and then of course, you know the rest… pour into mold and you are set :)

Thank you Trisha & Heidi!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

100 BOOK CHALLENGE



I have this whole "spring renewal" thing going on for myself and part of that includes challenging myself to do things I know are difficult. I love to read but have a tendency to buy books I think are interesting and then place them on the bookshelf. I've accumulated 3/4 of Barnes & Noble and really need to read my books before I buy anymore, so I've decided to take the 100 Book Challenge listed over on J. Kaye's Book Blog.

If you'd like to join the challenge you can find the rules on J. Kaye's Blog.

My list of books is not complete but here are the books I plan on reading so far:

1. The Real Witches Handbook
2. Intuition by Osho
3. Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama
4. Home Enlightenment by Annie B. Bond
5. The Good Heart by the Dalai Lama
6. 151 Quick Ideas to recognize and reward employees by Ken Lloyd
7. The Backyard Beekeeper Kim Flottum
8. Eastern Body Western Mind by Anodea Judith

I still have to list 92 books.

Monday, January 26, 2009

WHY I'M GRATEFUL FOR MY CHILDREN: WEEK 1



We all know there are million reasons to be grateful for our children so to pick one a week is a bit challenging because I'm inclined to list them all. But I promised myself I'd stick to one each time and this way, when my girls read this, they can appreciate the reasons more fully instead of running through a list of reasons and just forgetting about it.

I'm grateful for my daughters because the world is always new through their eyes and as their mother I get to experience life anew over and over again. Growing up, my mother use to work long hours and when she wasn't at work she was with my sister and I. She'd always find ways to entertain us, from nature hikes to zoo visits, etc... and we loved every minute of it. When I asked her why she never took a break from us one of her responses was the joy we gave her just seeing the world through our eyes. Now that I have children I understand completely what she meant.

I've travelled a lot and experienced many things in my life. After a while stepping on a airplane becomes second nature, seeing the ocean for the 100th time just isn't the same as the first time. Through my children I see everything for the first time again. When we were in Hawaii I set Aiyana down in the sand and she immediately drew her legs up to her chest and started to squiggle. I didn't realize she hadn't felt the sand on her feet before. Of course, she'd felt it once before, when she was 10 months old but now she's almost two and she didn't remember it. It was fresh and exciting all over again.

Life is short and not always easy, but when you see the world through the eyes of a child it is all worth it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

HERE IT IS, MY FIRST BLOG GIVE AWAY!

Well, I thought I'd have my blog giveaway posted a few days ago but ended up commissioning doodlebug designs for a new blog look and decided to wait until that was finished. As you see, it is all done and I love it! I hope you like it too.

To celebrate all this newness I will now post my FIRST BLOG GIVE AWAY! A while back I was reading the blog of the Natural Nester and I really liked that several of her posts were dedicated to sharing what she was grateful for. Each time I read her posts I would be reminded how important it is to open my eyes and see the silver lining. Sometimes we get caught up in the little "crazy" things we are going through and forget to take a breather and be grateful for what we have in our lives.

Wednesday, I visited a friend who has cancer. His prognosis is good but right now he is in a lot of pain. This is someone I've known nearly all my life. He has been a life saver for our family on many occasions. He is the guy who gives gives gives and never asks for anything in return. I really admire him for the fact he always sees the good in people no matter who they are or what they've done.

When I saw my friend it made me think about how lucky I am. The first thing that came to mind, of course, are my children. So I've decided to blog every Monday over the next two months about why I'm grateful for my children and for my blog giveaway my only request from my blog readers is to post about a person or persons you are grateful for and why. A week from today I will put together the lists of posters and draw a name for the winner of my first blog giveaway.

Here ya go:


Sorry for my poor photograph... still working on those picture taking skills.

(kukui nut oil, handmade pikake soap with matching scented candle, lip balm with wooden magnet turtle).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

OUR TIME IN HAWAII (OAHU)

SOAP FACTORY





SOME SCENIC PHOTOS





MY LITTLE TRIBE



THE FAMOUS HAWAIIN RAINBOW



GEKO'S, CRABS, OH MY!





MY HUBBY'S POLYNESIAN TATTOO WITH KEONE NUNES




DOLPHIN RIDING




BYODO-IN BUDDHIST TEMPLE




HAWAIIAN SUNSET




MACADAMIA NUT FARM




Saturday, January 17, 2009

BACK FROM OAHU!!

As expected, we had an absolutely glorious time on the island. When we arrived it was a bit cloudy and rainy but through the rain there was sunshine and the best part... lots of warmth. I missed the 27 below zero temps we reached here in Minnesota (THANKFULLY!). Didn't manage to connect with the Oils of Aloha people but that didn't stop me from buying their wonderful products. So for those of you who have not tried their kukui nut oil I am having my first blog giveaway. I did manage to slip in a Soap Factory tour and so I will be adding one of their products to the blog giveaway, a lipbalm and wooden turtle. The lipbalm is made with both kukui and macadamia nut oils. Another great place on the island is Island Soap & Candle Works. I arrived as they were setting some of their soaps out to cure and it smelled so wonderful so I picked up the pikake scented soap with matching scented candle. For those of you who have not used pikake fragrance in your products, it is a must!

BTW/I learned a little something about Kukui while on Oahu. If you apply it before going into the sun and after being in the sun, you don't burn, at least I didn't and I'm fair skinned. My husband didn't apply it beforehand but did immediately after his upper shoulders and back burned and he said that the kukui kept his back from feeling like it was on fire and it also turned the burn to tan quite fast. Another plus... NO PEELING!

I will post the blog giveaway midweek. I still need to clear space on my digital camera for product photos and of course... I can't post the blog giveaway without first showing some pictures of my trip.