Category Archives: Soapmaking

Roses Are Red

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

If you’re lucky, you may receive roses from your Sweetie for Valentine’s Day.  They’re such a traditional and classic gift and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like receiving roses.  At least no one I know has complained to me about it.  While lovely, like all cut flowers, they eventually wilt and die.  If we’re quick, we can pull them out of the water before they’re past the point of no return, hang them upside-down, and dry them in bouquet-form quite successfully.  Alas, I’m seldom that on top of things.  I’m sure I’m not alone in having dead little roses bent all kitty-wampus  at the neck.  Such sad little guys.  At that point I usually pull the petals off them and tuck them away.  There’s all kinds of things you can use them for:

– put them in potpourri

– simmer them in a pot of water on the stove or float in a warming-pot

– crush them up and make rose beads

– use as confetti

– use in bath salts, bath teas, in soaps

– add to homemade paper:  see below

http://handmadecardsboutique.com/heart-rose-petal-natural-paper-fans-wedding-favors-set-of-6.html

I found this adorable fan online:  you can find it HERE

Of course, if you’re on top of things, you can get those beautiful petals before they start to dry out.  Use them like this:

– as packing material for a gift

– tuck inside a card or envelope

– tuck a few into your sweetie’s packed lunch or coat pocket

– write a message on a bed, scatter on pillows, or tuck into pillowcases

– float in a bowl with some candles and glitter

– hide inside the book your honey is reading

– float in a bath

– garnish a salad or dessert (use only pesticide free petals)

But my all-time favorite use for rose petals is to make Rosewater out of them.  Not only does Rosewater smell divine, it’s an amazing light astringent and can be used as a flavouring in edible delicacies.  To make Rosewater, it is important to use either roses you’ve grown yourself that are pesticide and chemical-free or to work with your florist to ensure that the petals will be contaminant free.

Rosewater Recipe

You will need a small canner with a jar rack and a curved-top lid.

Place the jar rack on the bottom of the canner and add fresh rose petals up to the level of the top of the rack.  Add distilled water just until the petals are covered with water.  Place a shallow bowl on top of the rack, making sure it is steady and stable.  Bring the water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Invert the lid and place it on top of the canner.  If it doesn’t seal well because it’s bent or warped, you can use a wide aluminum bowl, double-boiler style, but it must curve down over top of the shallow bowl beneath.  Fill the lid or bowl with ice.  As the rose-steam rises it will hit the cold lid, condense, and drip into the bowl inside the pot.  Every 10 minutes or so, quickly lift the lid and pull the bowl out to remove the Rosewater.  Replenish the ice when it melts.  Do this until the distillate no longer smells of heavenly roses.  Often, after an hour or so all you’re getting is faintly-scented distilled water, and you don’t want that.  Keep your Rosewater in the fridge and it will last a very long time.  I add a capsule of vitamin e to mine to keep any rose oil from going rancid.  This Rosewater is lovely in facials, skin creams, and yes, even in Indian, Jamican, Persian and Middle Eastern food.  I love it in icing on pretty pink cupcakes with a sugared rose petal on top.

So, if some total sweetheart gifted you with roses this Valentine’s Day, don’t just let them fade slowly away….DO something with them.  Come on….you can do it.  Just Make That Mess!

Living Up To The Name

When I named this blog “Just Make a Mess” I meant it.  I meant to be willing to show the chaos that can ensue as a result of the creative process.  Now I know there are artists that create magnificent works while their studios remain pristine.  Their paints are carefully organized according to colour family, their pencils are all neatly sharpened and stored with their tips protected.  Their palettes could be sold as colour-wheels.  These kinds of artists do exist.  I personally believe them to be alien life-forms, but I do believe they exist.

Unless you have the luxury of a studio completely separate from your house, or you have a house with tons of storage, keeping a studio tidy and dedicated to its intended use can be difficult.  I live in a house that was likely built in the 40’s or 50’s and it is woefully lacking in storage space.  The end result of this is that most of my spaces must be multi-functional.  Which sucks for the studio.

Over Christmas, the usual happened.  This kind of thing……

led inevitably to this kind of thing…..

That’s my poor studio, buried underneath the remnants of our holiday.  Everything that needed to go “somewhere” ended up here.  This mess enabled the packaging of soap, the storage of yummy Chrismas baking, the taking of many blog photos, the printing of jewelry packaging and the final polishing of tons of new jewelry pieces.

So tomorrow, this room stops living up to this blog’s name and gets a mucking-out.  It’s a new year and I’ve tons of new projects I’m just itching to get at.  This is one of them:

From Away

This is a painting I started a long while ago that I kind of abandoned to get some jewelry done.  The plan is to spend more time on painting.  Until this is done, it’s going to be one day painting, one day jewelry, during the week, Monday to Friday once the studio is in working order again.  I have big plans for this painting.  I want to take it somewhere I’ve never seen a painting go before.  Stay tuned and I’ll keep you updated on that, AND the exciting new direction I’m going to explore with my jewelry.  It’s going to be a great year, isn’t it?  I’m excited and inspired and all of you are a big part of this journey.  Let’s see what’s next, shall we?

A Little History

Something rather exciting came out of the Craft Fair on the weekend that I’d like to share with you all.  The bath products sold really, really well.  In fact, I totally sold out of my favorite soap, the Almond Oatcake.

This didn’t really surprise me and I’m going to make a fresh batch this weekend as well as order at least a quart of this fragrance.  It’s sooooo nummy.

Part of the reason I make soap is I really love the organic feel of the process.  There’s something downright magical about watching a bunch of oil emulsify with the lye solution and swirl itself into soap.  I love that it’s old-fashioned, the way they did things “back in the day”.

The really exciting thing is that I was approached by Tammy, the Manager of the Creston Museum and she asked me if I was interested in putting my soap line and jewelry into the gift shop at the museum.

I have to tell you, saying yes to this great opportunity is a no-brainer for me.  I’m honoured to be asked and, quite frankly, really excited about tailoring part of the soap line to the Museum itself.  I’m thinking antiqued papers, sepia tones, elegant fonts.  Lovely brown bottles.   Apothecary-style.

If you haven’t checked out the Creston Museum yet, you really should.  We often overlook great resources like this when they’re in our back yard.  Pay them a visit and experience a bit of the history of your very own town.  You can visit the website here:  Creston Museum.  Have a look and see what they’re all about!

It’s Here, It’s Here!!

I don’t know whether I’m excited to see if anything sells or if I’m just looking forward to Sunday and it all being over.  It’s Craft Fair!!!

It took forever, but the bath salts are packaged.  There’s Spa Bath with Pure Essential Oils, Cocoa Butter, Meadowfoam & Sweet Almond Oils, Bath Fizzlers with the fresh scents of Green Apples or Peach Daquiris, Cocoa Butter & Honey Bath….and the list goes on.

The Craft Fair is Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm in the Creston Room at the Rec Center.   Stop by and have a visit.  The jewelry and soaps will be there too.  And the bath salts.  Did I mention the bath salts?  I’ve got a few……

 

Pure Decadence

There is an amazing bath & body company out there that is a 4-letter word in my house.  Yes, its name has 4 letters, it begins with an L and ends with an H and I have a love-hate relationship with them.  I loooooove their products.  All their products.  Haven’t found one yet that I didn’t fall head-over-heels for.  But……..

I HATE that in order to get their stuff I have to either drive to a major center to stand in the middle of their store inhaling so deeply that the dust-bunnies come creeping out from under their shelves or I have to do mail-order.  I don’t want do mail-order.  I want to sniff it before I buy it.  I want to touch it before I plunk down $8 for an itty-bitty bar of soap.

So to heck with it.  I just made my own.  You’ve seen the soaps already.  I’ve been using them in the shower.  My skin is soft, they lather like crazy, they’re creamy, foamy, and downright delectable.

Today was the bath salts.  “Bath Salts” is such an inadequate term for these though.  They’re all enriched with skin-loving oils or butters to leave you soft and silky even in the horror we call winter.  My favorite is the Pure Decadence Spa Bath line.  These are also enriched with my own blends of Pure Essential Oils and smell divine.  The Rainforest Pure Decadence Spa Bath is a blend of Patchouli and 2 other Essential Oils.  It reminds me of the West Coast Temperate Rainforest.  My favorite part of living in Vancouver was wandering through the forests of UBC and just BREATHING it all in.

The Island Blossom Pure Decadence Spa Bath takes me back to Hawaii.  With Neroli and 2 other Essential Oils it has a rich, heady fragrance that I find flat-out intoxicating.  Just ask my husband…he laughed, shook his head, and walked away from me when he saw me sitting there with my face buried in the bag opening for this stuff.  Sniffing.  No…..snuffling, really.  I may not take this to the Craft Fair on Saturday.  I may hide it.  For ME.