Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Any May a Beautiful Change

Nothing for a week, and two posts in one day? Life is crazy :) 

My friend Katherine Willis Pershey wrote a gorgeous, fantastic book called Any Day a Beautiful Change. You can buy it here. To celebrate and lift up this amazing book, I am participating in a blog carnival about beautiful changes in my life. This one is about soap.

I have always wanted to make soap. About 10 years ago I bought a gorgeous book on soapmaking that, no joke, took you from ashes in the fireplace to soap. That was a little more than I was ready for. But then things got crazy at home and work and the world, and I did what I always do: research new craft projects.

I am totally fearless when it comes to making things for the home. I began my research into soapmaking on the web, of course, and found a sweet little book which made it sound easy. And it was! Or at least, my husband reminds me, it was easy for me. I can follow a recipe, thanks to learning to sew at a formative age.

As the soap cured, I read up more about the process. I'm simplifying, but basically it goes like this:

Add lye to water. The lye will dissolve in the water having a chemical reaction and get very hot.
Melt oils. Add lye water to oils. Mix like the dickens, or use a stick blender. This makes your oils saponify, which is a really fun word to say. Try it. Saponify.

Then you wrap your soap which you've poured into a mold in a towel for about a day, sometimes as much as 3 days, sometimes as little as 8 hours. You want it to get really freaking hot before it can be safe. It has to undergo pressure and a chemical reaction and other science stuff.

And then you unwrap it, slice it, and put it back in the closet for at least a month. Because while it's soap, it's not ready. You can use it, but it will possibly hurt you and will definitely be soft and mushy. I assume you aren't looking for mushy soap.

You can see where I'm going with this right? This is how change works for me far too often. I identify a problem or area I need to make a change, I research, I make the steps of the change, then I sit in the closet (kidding), then I wait and see what God is going to do to me and with me. And usually it smells good.

We're going through about six huge transitions in our family right now, and it helps me to remember that the good stuff is coming, possibly not how we think it should look, but it is coming. Our life isn't always easy, and right now it is very very hard, but through it all I trust that God is with me. Sometimes I remember to thank God for that, other times I trust that God knows my heart.

May has been full of beautiful changes. I'm thinking the rest of the summer is going to be all right too.

Now go buy Katherine's book :)


I've been having a blast making soap from scratch these last few weeks. I began mid April with a basic soap recipe and a fragrance oil called Rise and Shine. It is great. We've been using it around our house, and I gave away a few bits to friends. I made it before my awesome mold from my brother arrived via Mom Courier (that is, my mom visited and brought it with her), so the shapes are from whatever I had lying around the house.

A couple weeks ago I made soap using the same recipe with Moroccan Mint soap. It smells fantastic. It needs to cure for 2 more weeks. Soap "cures" in order to fully saponify, that is let the lye do its magic and become harder. Since my soap has a high percentage of olive oil, it definitely needs the cure time. Here it is in the gorgeous mold Alex made. How cute is that little knob?

Since I was feeling crazy inspired, I made a few bars of olive oil soap, which is called Castille if its is 100% olive oil. I had a free sample of Cherry Blossom fragrance which is out of this world. I keep going over to it in our bedroom where it's curing and smelling it. I intend to buy a bunch more of it. I'll share a picture after it cures. The color is turning out really gorgeous.

And then two nights ago I made some bastille soap, which is a soapmaker joke term for soap that's mostly castille, but has some other oils in it. See how cool I am now? I know soap jokes. Ha. Anyway, I made it with buttermilk, baby food and the regular ingredients plus coconut oil. It turned out very, ahem, fragrant, probably due to the buttermilk. This was also made in a mold from Alex, this time with a PVC tube. It was tricky to get out, but thankfully I have a manly husband who hulked the caps off and didn't even complain that I woke him up to do so.

This soap will be extra mild, because of the recipe and the lack of fragrance oil and colorant (just the baby food). I've stored all the "turn now" and "Cherry blossom done today" in my ICal. Very funny to wake up and see soap instructions on my daily calendar.

I've also gone back to school part time which has been great, but by the time the end of the day rolls around, I'm totally uncreative and exhausted. Good exhausted, but nonetheless, I'm pretty sure my mojo is resting. So, I hope you like these soap pictures. Thank you for coming by. I really appreciate it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Papertrey Blog Hop

 I am participating in the PaperTrey Ink blog hop. I chose to focus on the white, black and green colors in the photo, as well as the round image off the page. I used PTI spring moss cardstock for the base, and stamps from the Grunge Me set. The center features some generational stamping. I also threw in some chocolate pearls for the heck of it. Are you playing along with the hop?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Life You've Imagined

 I got the inspiration for this card from RetroSketches. I especially like the rounded edges of some of the corners of the sketch. I used some MyMind's Eye Lost and Found paper here, along with some seam binding ribbon, twine, and wooden buttons. The sentiment is from Verve's Words of Wisdom. Thanks for coming by!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dream a New Dream

I'm playing with the Play Date Cafe color splash challenge to use black and white and splash of mustard yellow. I broke out my new Hero Arts Bold Pop Designs set, which comes with matching die cuts. It was a bit of a splurge, and I'm happy I went ahead and used it. It is really nice to stamp, and then cut out without having to worry about the delicate parts. The sentiment is from Verve's Words of Wisdom set. I've used about half of it, and they are all great. Perhaps a week of cards with the set? Thank you for the visit.

Monday, May 21, 2012

One Layer Mini

The One Layer Wednesday challenge this week was to make an image that is 2 inches by 2 inches. I was inspired by several of the others playing along who didn't use squares as their images. I used one of my Spellbinders labels, #11 I think, to make a mask which I worked within. I stamped this great leaf within the cut out die cut. It kind of ended up with a weird leaf on the right side. Oh well. The sentiment is from that awesome set from Verve Words of Wisdom. I threw in some silver balls to hopefully tie it together. I liked this challenge. I kept thinking of ideas, and had to remind myself that it had to be one layer. :)             

Thanking you for taking time to visit me today. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eco Smooches

I've been obsessed with masking this week. I don't know why. I took the sketch from Paper Smooches and masked it to make the different images from the Eco-Friendly set go together. I like the idea of using them to make a non-weather card. The sentiment was selectively inked. It normally says "You're partly to mostly awesome".

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Live the Life You've Imagined

I enjoy working with a sketch, and I've been trying to stretch myself in the way I think about them. A square on the sketch doesn't have to be a square, that sort if thing. With that mentality I present this card made using a Hero Arts stamped flower (CL596 Pattern Hearts and Flowers), and a Verve sentiment (Words of Wisdom) set.

I didn't originally plan for this to be on kraft, but my almost 4-year old was with me while I was crafting, and had my trimmer, so I had to use a pre-cut base. He made some portraits of our family while I made cards. Here's me:
Don't you like my blue hair? He writes from left to right, bottom to top. We're working on it, but slowly, because it's still so cool that he's writing.

And my husband:

Distinguished nose, wouldn't you say?

Anyway, special thanks to Cheiron who sent me this stamp set after I won the Hero Arts Flikr group scramble last weekend. I love it. And to Verve for the sentiment set after I won Mojo on Monday. It's been an awesome crafty week thanks to the generosity of others. Thank you.

Feeling Sketchy sketch:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Unscripted Friday

I love sketches. They help me get halfway to a card without even having to think. So, this half-thought out card was inspired by the Unscripted Sketches site :) I used some My Mind's Eye Lost and Found Hazel (I think) paper. I cut out the medallions and used the back of the page for the green circle-ish things at the bottom. Thanks for the visit.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Generational Girls

The challenge at the Just Us Girls site this week was generational stamping. I had seen it before for a Papertrey Ink Make it Monday challenge and loved it. I should do it more often! So, thanks to the JUGS ladies for making it this week's challenge. I went VERY simple, and used a stamp from Verve. I stamped the middle first, then left and right. Thanks for coming by.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Retro Red

I am playing along with Retro Sketches again. I like the style their DT use, and get a lot of inspiration. I'm not a color-er usually, so the blogs with folks who stamp and use patterned paper are more my style. Always great stuff from RS.

I made this simple card using the Hero Arts dogwood stamp and ribbon from the Ribbon Carousel. I actually started with the ribbon and made the card from there. I knew I wanted to stamp the dogwood in black on white. Isn't it a gorgeous stamp? Thank you for coming by!

In non-card news, I have fully jumped into making handmade soap. My family has been using the first batch and no one has burned their faces off :) Yesterday I made some Moroccan Mint soap. All the soap I have/will make is palm oil free. Here's a picture of the soap curing yesterday. My little brother made the mold. Cool, eh?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Casual Owl

I made this very simply owl card for the CAS-ual Friday challenge for feathered friends. I can't seem to make any fancy cards with this owl, beyond the different colored eyes on this little buddy. Maybe a crazy background for this owl next time? Whaddya think?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Play Date Elephants

I love elephants. I love them especially for kids' cards, which I'm envisioning this for. I would write inside "Never forget how much I love you". The elephants are stickers from K and Company. I'm playing with the Play Date Cafe color challenge. I appreciate your visit.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


This is my second post for today, thanks to my sweet husband who watched the kiddos while I crafted for a couple hours this afternoon.

I'm playing along with the Paper Smooches challenge, and the Lawnscaping Challenge. PS had an inspiration photo. I drew on the pattern of the sunbeam, and the sun itself. I used images from the Eco-Friendly set. I'm kind of obsessed with zigzags and chevrons and thought they would be a fun background. Lawnscaping called for a clean and simple card. I hope this fits the bill. Thanks for coming by!


Super quick post for the Mojo Monday challenge. I wanted to see if I could do the Mojo sketch on one layer, with a lot of masking. I like how it turned out, and can mail it to a friend who recently passed her comprehensive exams for her PhD. The stamps are all My Happy from Hero Arts. Thanks for coming by!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I had been planning to make cards all week, but didn't quite make it up to my craft room, aka the table in the corner in our bedroom. I think it was probably that my internet connection was wonky, and who really wants to make cards if they can't watch reruns of Supernatural or Sons of Anarchy on Netflix? I mean, really.

But, I played along with the 90 Minute Scramble on the Hero Arts Flickr page today. The challenge was to make a card in 90 minutes for yourself, using something you like, versus all those cards we make for others. I used kraft as my base, because I love it. I threw a little hot pink in for colors in between the kraft and fudge stock.  The stamp set here is My Happy from Hero Arts, and I broke out some new seam binding from the Ribbon Carousel. A few paper flowers, and all done. Love, love.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


A few weeks ago Maria F gave me a Liebster blog award. It was totally unexpected and so sweet of Maria. The details on the Liebster are:

'Liebster' is German for 'dearest'. The award is a 'share-the-love' arrangement, given to inspirational bloggers with less than 200 followers (based on Google followers).
Here's the to-do list of any Liebster award recipient:
1) Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you
2) Reveal your five blogger picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
3) Copy and paste the award on your blog 
4) Hope that those you award forward it to their favorite bloggers

Check out this pretty card from Maria. I also liked her cutie tag here. She makes a lot of her own embellishments. Check them out for great ideas for using up scraps of fabric. 

I know that Lynn Mangan has received a Liebster before, but I wanted to pass it on to her myself. I started following her blog first before all the other card blogs that are now on my list. Her clean and simple style is so inviting and encouraging for new stampers. She makes it look easy, and I need all the easy in my life I can get. I also love her stories of her family

Katherine is a wonderful writer and is celebrating her first book's publication. Check out the series on Any May a Beautiful Change for some gorgeous stories. She is also participating in the 12 on the 12th challenge to take 12 pictures on the 12th of each month. Those are some gorgeous babies she's got. 

Sandhya Jha is a former classmate and matchmaker of mine. That is, she set up my husband and me lo those 10 years ago. Of course, that's not her only claim to fame. She's done and doing about 1,000 things, including fixing the city of Oakland and inspiring a church. She wrote during the season of Lent almost every day on hard issues. Abortion? Racism? Inner peace? Yep. All that and more. 

Daffodil Campbell is a writer and mother living in Hawaii. I found her through the Rage Against the Minivan site, which is a great one. Daffodil is also a foster parent, and I have appreciated reading her posts about their foster son, whom she calls Dude. Dude is going home soon, and she writes beautifully about that. Check out this post especially: "I give them back because these babies are not mine. And this is not about me." My family is a foster family, and it has been really good to hear about another foster family, even if they are so far away. I appreciate what she is doing. I also liked this post about "what the hell kind of mother are you?

And also Chari Moss at Little Miss Littleness. Chari has a sweet style that is very pretty. Like this and this. She recently had a post comparing card stock companies' colors. So helpful for those of us who like to match stuff. She's all over the place designing fun cards.

The blogoverse is full of great stuff for card-makers who like to read about religion and politics and baby-raisin'. I hope you like these suggestions.

I anticipate being back with some cards tomorrow. In the meantime, thanks so much for swinging by. I love to hear from you.

Thanks also to the new folks who are official followers. It's good to see your faces on the sidebar. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Stuff I liked on the internet

I had an awesome weekend. My parents and niece were visiting this weekend, and my church had a big craft fair where I displayed my wares. (That joke is not getting old) And we had a big party yesterday to celebrate my acceptance into a Masters program. So many margaritas to drink before I become a serious student. Anyway, there are cards on their way, but perhaps not today. Why not read some internet stuff instead? 

Click on the title of the post to read the whole thing

PETA is fine but sometimes I question their priorities ~ The Bloggess
Note: She is a comedienne: "When I was little I got a duck from the carnival and he was awesome.  His name was Daffodil and he lived in an inflatable raft in the backyard with the cats.  He was very happy.  But then my mom decided he’d be happier with other ducks because he started to think he was a cat, so we let him go at the lake and then a month later all the ducks were eaten by homeless people who lived under the bridge.  This is all true.  I think the real problem here is the homeless problem.  And by “homeless problem” I mean the problem I have with homeless people eating my pets."

In which I wonder about Pinterest ~ Emerging Mummy 
"Pinterest is the fantasy league of consumerism and it speaks to the larger issues that we battle as a society: I am my image, I am what I consume, I am what I purchase, I am what I desire. How will anyone know I’m cool and quirky and fun and unique if I don’t have the stuff that proves it? We become avatars of our true self, unable to be without the proper accoutrements to display it."

Miracle Week ~Momastery
"And everybody’s always telling us to BE GRATEFUL BE GRATEFUL BE GRATEFUL and there is something to that. But for me, gratitude comes in moments, all encompassing, out of time moments- Kairos moments- and as a general knowing in the back of my head and heart. Gratitude is not always front and center for me.  And I don’t want to be bossed or guilt-ed into gratitude. Life is beautiful, and there is much for which to be grateful. But life is also tough. The big things are tough –  like I’m sick, and I’m not getting better, and the little things are tough, like – WHY IS THIS PLAYDOH SO FREAKING HARD TO OPEN? The big and the little stuff get me down. And that’s okay. No need to be grateful all the time."

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thanks Alicia and Mel

A few weeks ago Alicia posted this sweet sentiment digi on her page as part of the Play Date Cafe challenge. Cute!! I printed it onto some digi paper from Mel. The hardest part about digi for me is remembering what I have and using different things together, like I did here. I'd welcome your suggestions about organizing digi images.

I die cut the flower from blue vellum, and border punched the side. That's fast becoming one of my favorite techniques, which I first saw on Kim's blog. Love those Paper Smooches!

My parents are coming this weekend to visit with my niece and should be here any time. Yippee!!