It seems like ages since I posted a bath and body recipe, so I decided to share my Peppermint Cocoa lip balm recipe. It takes no time at all to whip up, and it smells divine.
1 oz Beeswax
2 oz Cocoa Butter
.5 oz Olive Oil
.5 oz Avocado Oil
Few Drops of Organic Peppermint Essential Oil
Lip Balm Tubes or Pots
Add all the ingredients except the peppermint oil in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 15 – 20 seconds, stir, and repeat until melted*. Mix in a few drops of peppermint oil. Don’t go crazy. A little goes a long way. Pour into your tubes or pots. They are ready to use as soon as they’re cool.
*I’ve never tempered my cocoa butter for this recipe, and I’ve never had trouble with crystallization, but if you want to, you can heat this up very, very slowly in a double boiler until it’s melted.
Last Thursday I got together with my mother-in-law, Pam, to make her a quilted tote purse. I had made myself one a few months ago because I need something large enough to carry my Kindle and school books with us when we went out. She needed something large enough to carry her laptop and tablet.
She picked out her fabric, and this is what we ended up with:
It turned out very cute, and now I want to make myself another one!
To begin, we drew out a simple tote bag pattern. Basically a large, rectangle with three inch squares cut out of each bottom side. Here’s a picture to give you an idea.
Then we laid out the fabric for the inside of the tote (right side down), smoothed some quilt batting over the top of it, and then laid our decorative outer fabric over it (right side up). Just like you would do with a quilt). Then we safety pinned the whole thing, and then cut out two of our rectangle pattern pieces.
After that, we quilted it, and then serged around each piece. Pam wanted some pockets, so we made those and added them to the inside of one of the tote rectangles before we stitched them together.
To sew the bag together, we stitched up each side and then along the bottom (don’t sew the small square edges). Then we opened up the bag and, matching the side seams to the bottom seams, stitched up each square. This sounds confusing, but it makes sense when you do it.
Since the back of the quilted fabric is the inside of the tote, we didn’t have a lining, so we finished the top with binding (just like a quilt. Last we added a magnetic clasp and some straps.
A few weeks ago we went to one of our local pet stores to look for a dog bed for Dudley. We weren’t too impressed. Most everything was way too small, and the beds that came close to large enough were crazy expensive. I’m not paying $80.00 for a dog bed. I’m just not. And since we’re getting our Pyrenees puppy in a few weeks, we knew we were going to want a couple of them.
Instead, I decided to make a couple dog beds. The bed we liked most at the pet store was labeled orthopedic. After a little inspection, we saw it was filled with a couple layers of egg crate foam. Joann sells this foam in sizes twin to king. We picked up the full size knowing that it would be enough for a large bed for Dudley and a medium size puppy bed for our baby girl. We took advantage of a 40% off coupon, and it dropped the price down to about fifteen dollars for the foam.
We bought two colors of canvas, maroon for Dudley and pink for the puppy, and then we bought some super soft minky fabric in white. I figured Dudley leaves white hair everywhere, so a white top would be best. That was a bad idea. Dudley, in fact, does shed white hair, but he tracks in tons of mud this time of year. If I had it to do again, I would definitely buy tan minky. We also picked up a couple long robe zippers so I could make the covers washable.
The materials cost about sixty five dollars, which is a lot, but it’s still cheaper than one bed.
I made Dudley’s bed first. I measured out the size I wanted and cut two layers of foam. After that, I laid my foam out on the canvas and cut 3 1/2 inches around it. Then I moved the foam to my minky and cut 1/2 an inch around it.
After the fabric was cut, I cut 3 1/2 inch squares out of each corner of the canvas.
Once each corner was cut, I stitched the cut squares together, forming the sides of the dog bed. After that, I added the zipper, and then sewed the minky to the canvas.
I serged all my edges so that it wouldn’t fray when washing, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t want to. After that, I stuffed the foam inside the cover, and I was done! The foam is a little tricky to work with. It sticks to itself and the fabric, but eventually I got it.
Dudley loves his bed. If he’s inside, he’s on it. I gotta tell ya, it makes me pretty happy to see him love it so much. I probably would have cried if he’d snubbed it…
A few notes:
I did not pre-wash the canvas for Dudley’s bed, and I definitely should have. It shrunk a bit the first time I washed it. Not cool. I pre-washed the fabric for the puppy bed, and I would recommend it.
Dudley’s foam pieces are just stacked on top of each other. With the puppy’s bed, I decided to tie the foam together in the corners and in a few spots down the middle to keep it from shifting while I stuffed her bed (just like tying a quilt). This worked great.
I’ve been meaning to sew an apron for awhile now, but I never think of it when I sit down to sew. Today I saw a tutorial for a jean apron, and I decided to go ahead and see what I could come up with. The original idea came from A Girl and Glue Gun, and I’m so grateful she posted it, because I would have never thought of the idea on my own.
Here’s the tutorial for my version.
What you’ll need:
1 pair of jeans (or rather, one leg)
3/4 yard of medium weight cotton (I used a 56″ twill fabric)
First, you need to cut the leg off your pair of jeans.
Cut down the middle of the leg. Be careful to stay in the middle of the seams, otherwise your apron will be crooked.
Open up the leg. The wider side will be the bottom of your apron. Now, I wanted a fuller apron, so I added a fabric panel to each side. To do that, lay the apron directly on top of the cotton fabric. Using the edge of the apron as your pattern, draw your panel right on the fabric. Make the panel pieces as wide as you like. Of course, I didn’t get pictures of this–which is sad, because it would have made much more sense if you could see this step.
Sew each panel piece to the sides of the apron. I used a serger for a nice finish, but that’s optional.
The next step is to cut the sides off the top of the apron. This will form your apron ‘bodice’ and the waistline. Keep in mind, the bottom of your cut is where the ties will go. The picture below shows the apron cut before the side panels are attached. I wouldn’t do it this way again, so make sure to sew your panels on first.
The next step is to make the binding for the raw edges. I decided to do mine exactly like I would a quilt. Cut your cotton fabric into 4 4″ Strips. Sew the strips together and prepare your binding by pressing in half lengthwise. Press each edge toward the middle, fold the whole thing in half, and then press again. Your strip should look like this:
Starting at the waist, right sides together, pin the binding to the side of the apron, across the bottom, and up the other side–stop when you reach the waist on the other side. Do not bind the bodice yet. Sew an inch from edge. Cut the extra binding and set aside.
Fold the binding over the raw edges and stitch in place using a zigzag stitch.
Decide how much binding you need for the neck of the apron, cut and set aside.
Find the middle of the remaining binding, open it up, and pin it to the top middle of the apron. Begin to pin the rest of the binding down. When you get to the slope leading to the waist, you will need to create small pleats to follow the curve. Fold them as you go and pin them down.
Stitch the binding in place. Before you fold the binding over, press the pleats and then baste the raw edge. This will keep the pleats in place when you fold the fabric over. Once you’ve basted both sides, fold the raw edge in, and then fold the entire binding over like you did before. (There’s a lot of folding going on!)
Note: This can be tricky. Be patient and take your time.
The extra binding hanging off the ends will form your ties. If there’s not enough–this will depend on how large your apron is–you may need to make an additional strip of binding.
Stitch the whole thing with with a zigzag stitch.
When you’re done, your edge should look like this:
Finish the binding for the neck with a zigzag stitch, fold the raw edges under, and then sew it to the top of your apron.
Christmas will be here before you know it. Make these candles now, and your house will smell amazing all through the holidays!
What you need (everything not labeled can be found at Candle Science):
3 ll.5 oz candle jars – I used these – but you can find some similar at Candle Science if you want to order everything from one place. Be warned – you might have to change the wick size and pour temperature if you use a different jar.
1.5 lbs Ecosoya Advanced Wax
3 LX-22 Wicks
Liquid Candle Dye (Optional)
1.5 oz Deck the Hall Fragrance Blend (Recipe Below)
Candle Making Supplies – check out my post here for more info
Deck the Halls Fragrance Blend Recipe:
.8 oz Candle Science Blue Spruce Fragrance Oil
.4 oz Candle Science Cranberry Marmalade Fragrance Oil
.3 oz Orange Essential Oil (you can get this at most local health food stores)
1. Glue your wicks into each jar. Set them in a place where they can sit for at least 12 hours undisturbed.
2. Place your wax in your candle pot or bowl and place over boiling water. Once the wax is starting to melt, add 6 – 10 drops of blue liquid candle dye, and then add 4 – 6 drops yellow dye. Add more if you would like it darker. Stir often.
3. Once your wax has melted, insert your thermometer and gently stir your wax until it reaches 185 degrees F. Remove from heat.
4. Immediately add your fragrance oil blend. Stir gently for two minutes.
5. Once your wax has reached 125 degrees, slowly pour it into your prepared jars, reserving some to top them off later if needed. Set your reserved wax aside for now.
6. Let the candles sit for twelve hours. If you notice frosting (swirling on the top of the candle), or if the top has cratered in, reheat the remaining wax and top off the candles with a thin layer of remelted wax. This almost always takes care of both problems.
7. Trim your wicks, and wait at least another 12 hours before you burn your candles. Enjoy!
I’ve been doing quite a bit of canning the last couple of days, and because of that, I’ve been washing a bunch of dishes by hand. Needless to say, the soapy water has stripped all the moisture from my hands, and they are dry. Luckily, I remembered I made a batch of this awesome hand cream the other day. Did I remember to use it before my hands dried out? Uh, no – I sure didn’t. No matter, they’re feeling much better now.
This is what you’ll need to make 8 oz:
Herbs for infusing: I used rosemary, dandelion root, rose hips, and orange peel. You can buy these from your local health food store, or you can get them at http://www.bulkherbstore.com.
8 oz Coconut Oil
1 TBSP Beeswax
1 TSP Vitamin E Oil
Distilled Water or Aloe Vera Juice
Essential Oil – I used orange
Step 1 – Infuse your oil:
Fill a jelly jar about 1/3 full of herbs, packing them loosely. As I said earlier, I used dandelion root, rose hips, orange peel, and rosemary. I would have also used calendula, but I was out. Go easy on the rosemary unless you want to smell like a thanksgiving turkey.
Melt the coconut oil and pour it over your herbs. Stop about half an inch from the top (you’ll have some leftover oil). Close your jar up and place it in gently simmering water for about 2 hours. A little waterbath canning pot works great – make sure you use the rack. If you don’t have a little canning pot, fold a tea towel in the bottom of a sauce pot and fill with water. Do not place the jar directly on the bottom – the jar will break. Or explode…
Step 2 – Combine your oil and beeswax:
Once your oil is infused, strain out the herbs – really ‘squish’ the oil out of them. You can toss the herbs now. Add the beeswax to the hot oil and stir. Please don’t burn yourself – this is hot. Once the beeswax is melted, pour the mixture into a small bar pan to cool and harden.
Step 3 – Combine your oil/beeswax mixture with the liquid:
Your beeswax and coconut oil mixture should be hard. Break it into small pieces and toss into a blender or food processor (I used a magic bullet, and it worked like…magic…) Pour distilled water into your blender – stop when you reach the top of your beeswax/coconut mixture (this will probably be about 1/4 -1/2 cup of water). Don’t go overboard with the water – if you do, your cream will be runny. Add the vitamin E oil and several shakes of your essential oil (probably about 10 – 15 drops). You can also add a preservative at this point, which is probably a good idea. I didn’t, but I’m a rebel like that. (I also use a clean spoon to scoop it out each time, so I don’t introduce bacteria from my hands.)
Step 4 – Blend it up:
It will take several minutes, and you’ll probably have to shake it/stir a few times before it’s creamy.
Step 5 – Use it!
This is also great on elbow, knees, and feet. Actually – it’s fabulous everywhere, but my face is super sensitive and I couldn’t use it as a face cream without breaking out. Bummer.
The original recipe came from Shoshanna at bulkherbstore. You can watch her video here.
Soy candles are tricky little critters. I’ve been making them for years, and I sold them for several of those years, so I know how frustrating they can be. Candle tins are by far the easiest candle to start with. You’ll never know if you get ‘wet spots’ on the side, because you can’t see the sides of the candle!
*Please note – if you use different brands of wax/fragrance/wicks you may end up with an unsatisfactory candle. There is a ton of testing that goes into each candle – which, in this case, I’ve already done for you. All candle supplies are not made equal, and many don’t like each other at all!
Candle Pot -or- Double boiler – or Stainless Steel Bowl (large enough to sit above your pot of boiling water)
Pot of boiling water
1. Glue your wicks into each tin. Set them in a place where they can sit for at least 12 hours undisturbed.
2. Place your wax in your candle pot or bowl and place over boiling water. Once the wax is starting to melt, add 6 – 10 drops of blue liquid candle dye. Stir often.
3. Once your wax has melted, insert your thermometer and gently stir your wax until it reaches 185 degrees F. Remove from heat.
4. Immediately add your fragrance oil. Stir gently for two minutes.
5. Once your wax has reached 160 degrees, slowly pour it into your prepared tins until in reaches the fill line.
6. There should be a little wax leftover. Set it aside for now.
7. Let the tins sit for twelve hours. If you notice frosting (swirling on the top of the candle), or if the top has cratered in, reheat the remaining wax and top off the candles with a thin layer of remelted wax. This almost always takes care of both problems.
8. Trim your wicks, and wait at least another 12 hours before you burn your candle.
My friend, Brittany, is quite awesome. She’s my soap-making buddy, and though we each make soap on our own, I think its more fun to make soap together!
We got together about a month ago to make an easy batch with another friend of ours, and we ended up with this lovely, luscious, cold process soap that just makes me so happy I had to share it with you all.
We started with the basic formula from www.soapqueen.com, and then we tweaked it a bit, checking our recipe with Brambleberry’s lye calculator. This is a pretty nifty tool, by the way.
So here’s what you need for a 2 lb batch:
7.5 oz coconut oil
7.5 oz palm oil
7.5 oz olive oil
2.5 oz avocado oil
3.5 oz sodium hydroxide (lye)
8.25 oz prepared calendula tea (room temperature) – you can also use water
1.5 oz orange essential oil
2 tsp paprika
2 lb loaf mold (or whatever mold you would like)
Safety Gear – Gloves & Goggles
If you have never made cold process soap before, I suggest you watch this quick video on lye safety.
To make your soap:
1. Line your molds with freezer paper (you don’t need to do this if you’re using silicone)
2. Put on your gloves and goggles.
3. In a heat safe bowl (not aluminum), carefully sprinkle your lye into your cooled calendula tea. Do this in a well ventilated area, and be very careful not to breath in the fumes. Stir the mixture until it is clear, and then set it in a safe place to cool.
4. In a separate, large, non-aluminum bowl, melt the coconut and palm oil to combine them. Stir in the olive and avocado oil.
5. Very carefully add your cooled lye mixture to your oils, and blend with a stick blender until it reaches light trace. This will look like thin pudding.
6. Sprinkle the paprika over your soap, and then blend well. Once your paprika is blended in, add your orange essential oil and blend again.
7. Carefully pour into your mold.
8. Wait 24 hours, and then you may slice your soap.
9. Set your soap in a well ventilated area and cure for 4 – 6 weeks, turning your soap every so often to ensure even drying.