Friday, November 27, 2009

Alchemic Muse Handmade Soaps

My sample pack of goodies from Alchemic Muse
A couple of weeks ago I was browsing through Etsy and decided I needed to purchase some soap. You're probably thinking..."Doesn't she make soap already? Why would she buy it if she can make it?" You're right...I could make fact, I make a lot of soap...but I don't make this particular soap!

You see, each soap maker has a different imagination and uses different ingredients. If you truly love soap, you feel the need to smell and experience ALL kinds of soap. And lots of it!

I ended up ordering from three companies and one of them was Alchemic Muse.

Some of Alchemic Muses Soaps

Well! Once again, I wasn't disappointed. When I ordered, I couldn't decide which ones to pick so I asked Karen to pick for me. The order was for 4 quarter size bars but Karen threw in a couple of slivers of some others as well. I'm so glad she did because my two favorites are from the little slivers...don't get me wrong...they are all fantastic! But Loukoum and Ginger Cake...well, they take the cake!! I just love the smell of those two. Yummy!

Now about the lather. Another Wow! It starts off with some big bubbles and then progresses into a thick frothy foam. Very rich and creamy. To die for actually!

I like that her labels list all the ingredients and I noticed that all the soaps I received are palm free. Instead she uses cocoa, mango and shea butters. No wonder they feel so great!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mouse in the house!

Just so there's no confusion...I do not like rodents! Sorry, but I really don' least not as pets. When I was 7, a girlfriend put her pet...something...gerbil I think, up to my big toe while I wasn't looking and the little monster bit me! Made me bleed and everything.

Lately, a mouse has been getting into one of the cupboards in our house. How do I know? Because it has been leaving little presents behind for me to find in the morning. Yuck!

We bought some traps. We set the traps. No mice. Nothing. Figures, right?

Then the other night while my husband was out by the garbage cans, he hears this rustling sound. He looks in the can and sure enough there are two little creatures sitting in the bottom. And darn it, they are alive!! And they look cute!! Smelly, but cute.

It's one thing to dispose of a dead little creature once you have trapped it. It's another thing entirely to have to actually kill something that looks at you like this. Not going to happen.

Even my big, gruff, tree climbing man didn't even consider disposing of these two little guys. Nope....gave them some toilet paper to cuddle up in. A dog biscuit...just in case they got hungry. Some water of course. Oh...and brought the whole garbage can into the mud room so they wouldn't get too cold. He's such a sweetheart!

Yesterday we took them to a nearby field and let them go free. Run little mice, run free. I tried to take pictures of them leaving the garbage can but they were way to fast for me.

I guess I'll throw away the traps now...maybe I can find a live trap somewhere and put it in the crawlspace under the house...maybe we'll catch some more...I sure hope not!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mad Hatter Soap

Mad Hatter Soaps
You know how exciting it is when you go to the post office and find a parcel of treats has arrived? I could barely contain myself until I got home to open this little package.

Part of Mad Hatter Soaps appeal is the entertainment factor she has managed to incorporate into her products. Each soap sample I ordered has a awesome name like Mephisto, Superstition, Kashmir and Moonstruck. On top of that her descriptions are wonderfully intriguing...."The scent of mystery and myth, dark and foreboding at the core, soft and sultry around the edges, tinged in sweet irrationality"....that alone made me instantly want to try "Supersition"!

Each soap sample was nicely labeled with a full description of both the scent and the ingredients. And the ingredients!!!! Goodness gratious....we're talking upscale here! Chock full of silk and exotic butters...I feel tempted to either wear or eat these soaps.

As soon as I was finished taking the above picture, I ran upstairs to our bathroom to try these babies out....and I tried all of them!! Each and every one has a fantastically exotic scent that is geared to those who prefer a more sophisticated scent. There is absolutely nothing ordinary about how they smell.
Lathering action on all the bars was above par...huge fluffy bubbles and the bars glided exceptionally well across my skin.

I haven't made a final decision yet as to my absolute favorite out of the four bars but I think I'm leaning toward "Moonstruck"! If you go and check out her shop, you'll see that I'm not the only one who likes her products....she's had to close shop until December 1/09 to restock her shelves. To see the sort of stock she usually carries, just click on '1340 sales' under 'other items' on the right hand side.

Enjoy browsing...make a'll be glad you did!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pink Glove Dance!

I love gave me the giggles!!

Sunday Drive on Saturday

We decided to take a little drive yesterday. A cruise into the hills to go find some snow. It wasn't hard. Within a half hour there it was...everywhere! The kids and the dog had a bit of fun with the toboggan and I had some fun with the camera.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Soap Making Business

Has the idea to start a soap making business been sneaking into your thoughts, haunting your dreams?

You, like many others, probably feel overwhelmed and excited all at the same time. Excited is good....overwhelmed is not!

Go slow, do your research, make a list of 'to do's' and then break each task down into smaller chunks.

Small challenges are easier to accomplish and give you a sense of achievement....of progressing forward.

I am not by any means an accomplished business woman! I tend to be scatterbrained...always thinking ahead to the next project before finishing the one at hand. Building myself a soap making business is a challenging task....mostly because I keep changing my mind on where I want to go with it!

Read on....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Craft Project - Pillow Box Tutorial

Give this easy craft project tutorial a try. Make these cute pillow boxes and use them for packaging up your handmade soaps or other bath and body products.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Seagrass Handmade Soap Recipe

Seagrass Handmade Soap
Check out this wonderful seagrass handmade soap recipe.

Bright, fresh and uplifting, this soap is made with a blend of Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Lemon and Lavender essential oils.

Fashion Statement

Latest Scarf Fashion
Came across this while poking around facebook....too funny! My personal favorite is Granny with the tattoo!

Here's the original link for those interested in purchasing a set of these beauties!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Give the Gift of Gluten Free

Holiday time can be somewhat depressing for those unable to eat gluten rich foods. It's so sad really....think holiday goodies and you'll probably have a hard time coming up with many that don't involve wheat flour.

I love holiday baked goods! Actually, I adore them! When I realized that I couldn't eat flour anymore, my main thought next to not eating bread was "What about the Christmas baking?"

I've yet been able to replace sandwich bread to my satisfaction but I have found that sweets like cakes, brownies and cookies can be very good indeed. In fact, I have found some recipes that are definitely just as good as wheat flour baking.

Previously, I blogged a brownie recipe that I really love. There's only one problem ....I hate getting all the ingredients out to make it. So much work and such a huge mess for one tray of brownies.

With that thought in mind, I reworked my favorite brownie recipe into a mix. Now I just have to pull the ingredients out once in awhile, make up a bunch of mixes and put them away until the urge for brownies hits. When it does, all I have to do is grab a mix, add eggs, vanilla and oil and cook. How easy is that? Really easy...the only thing easier would be for someone to make the mixes for me!

Which is where giving the gift of gluten free comes in. If you know someone (or are someone) who can't have gluten, I bet they would love to receive a gift that not only feeds their cravings for baked goods but is fast and easy as well.

This recipe is a little different than the original recipe I posted and I like it even more...the brownies are thicker and the texture is smoother.

Gluten Free Brownie Mix

1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Tapioca Flour/Starch
1/4 Cup Corn Starch
1/4 Cup Gluten Free Flour (I use Sweet Sorghum or Brown Rice)
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Chocolate Chips or Chopped Nuts (optional)

Place all ingredients into containers and seal. I line up large plastic cups on the counter and place a cellophane bag into each cup. I then measure out the sugar into each bag and then follow with the rest of the ingredients. Once you've measured out all the ingredients add a tag giving the directions as follows.

Chocolate Brownies

Add ½ cup melted margarine or oil, 2 lightly beaten eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract to contents of package. Mix. Pour into greased 8 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Do not overcook. Cool and slice.

I serve these brownies with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce...sooooo good!

Here's the hot fudge sauce recipe. It's very tasty and will keep for quite a few days in the fridge...if it's around that long!

Hot Fudge Sauce

In a small sauce pan combine the following:

4 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
6 Tbsp Water
1/2 Cup Sugar
3 Tbsp Butter/Margarine

Bring mixture to a full boil and remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly then add 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.

PS...the tags in the picture mention that the brownies will fall...not anymore...not since I reworked the recipe. Good and thick they are now!