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Archive for November, 2008

All I Really Want for Christmas…

A friend sent this to me earlier and asked if I had seen it. I had not. I’m glad I have now.

All I can say is wow and I’m sure glad I had a box of Kleenex sitting right next to me (still pretty buggy, you see).

I wish we could welcome them all home.

Buggy Again

Still feeling buggy. Blah! I hate the flu. Or whatever this is.

It’s mean. And it bites.

Like these guys.


Have you ever been bitten by a huge friggin’ ant like that one? I stepped on one when I was a teen and it hurt for days. Its body was so strong that I squashed and squashed and it would. not. die.

I’ve not ever been bitten by a spider that I know of though. The one there is supposedly a spiny orb weaver. We found it while walking a trail at a local wildlife reserve last weekend. She was pretty small… 1/2″ or less. But magnified she sure does look fierce. Apparently spiny orb weavers are good garden spiders since they eat pests. I think I prefer her right where she is. Though maybe if she came to visit my gardening would go better considering part of the problem was pests.

Ooor maybe not. I think I’ll take my chances.

A Little Buggy

That’s how I feel right now. Or a lot buggy, really.

*sneezes*

I caught my hubby’s cold. Achoo. My throat hurts. Can I cry now?



I’m not feeling very thankful today. I’ll be thankful when the crud goes away. I am thankful for my man. And my macro lens. Both of which help me photograph cool bugs. (Though only one of which helps me catch bugs. Don’t worry. I love him anyway.)



What are you thankful for today?

Happy Thanksgiving!

I can stand on my own…

two one feet.

Rooted and Grounded

This weekend we took the camera and went to a park that is nearby. There are lots of geese and ducks that live there. There are also these lanky old trees that are the coolest things. Their trunks run along the ground really low so you can sit on them. They’re curvy and cool and would make a great photo location. I took a photo of my hubby sitting there, but he’d die if I posted it. Sorry.

The cool old trees also have cool old roots. They come out of the ground and follow it, sloping down into the pond. I wish I could have captured it on camera better, but I don’t have a good wide angle lens… yet.

Macro Monday #4

Week #3 must have proven to be a little easier, because we have several winners! However, one was pretty much right on the money. Mrs. Smith said:


“Ok, after much thought and deliberation, I think it is a photo taken just under the ridge of a cherry flavored Dum Dum sucker. : )”

It was strawberry flavored (my favorite!), but yes, it is indeed a red Dum Dum lollipop. And no, I did not eat it after taking the shot. I threw it away.

Germaphobe here, sorry.

This week, you get a twofer! A two for one special. Two photos, one guess. *grin*



I think these are pretty easy, so I’m sure someone will get it fast. Will it be you? Can you outsmart my macro?

Good luck!

Adventures in Soap Making

People, I made soap!

Okay, well, I sorta made soap. I guess what I really did is turn some lovely handmade cold process soap base into scented stuff. But I made soap… that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Of course I had to photo log my journey. What kind of blogger would I be if I did not?

First I had to measure off one pound of the goat milk soap base and cut it into chunks. For a really dry soap, grating is best, but this soap was still pretty fresh and soft, so I took my chances and cut it into chunks.



Then I dumped it into a pot. Now, melting the base on direct heat like this was not one of the recommended methods of rebatching it. However, I don’t have a double boiler, did not want to use the microwave, or take hours melting it in the oven. So, I decided to take my chances. Because me taking my chances in the kitchen?

That always works out well.



Next I measured and added 1/4 cup milk, added it to the pot and turned the heat on low. While it got to cookin’, I decided to measure out my essential oils to try to get a good combo of scents going. I decided to try a mixture of cedarwood and sage based on a soap I bought off of Etsy for Dustin. He loved it. Any handmade soap that excites my husband is a good soap in my book because then he looks at me just a liiiittle less strangely when I go and spend our entire life savings on it.

I decided to throw in just a tiny hint of lime because I’m obsessed with citrus. Just a tiny bit though. You have to be careful wth citrus oils. Actually you have to be careful with all of the oils.

Let me take the time to add a healthy warning here. Essential oils can be good and wonderful and they can be dangerous. Don’t go adding them all willy nilly to things. In fact, don’t play around with them at all unless you know what you’re doing. I don’t know what I’m doing, so I really should not be within 100 meters of them. However, I did look them up on my supplier’s website to get the safe and recommended 1-lb soap amounts for each of the oils. Hopefully our skin will remain on our bodies and we will not melt when we step out into the sunlight.

Let me also throw in another warning here. Don’t use your food stuffs for your soap stuffs. Once essential oils, fragrance oils, or colorants touch any of your food stuffs they can no longer be food stuffs. I bought a cheap set of pans, spoons, and measuring items to be used only for soap.

Ok, enough of the scary stuffs.

By this time I saw that it was not melting very fast.



See?

So I turned up the heat to medium low.

That worked.

See?

That is what I called the rice krispie phase. Because a couple weeks ago we made rice krispie treats and the melting soap looked a lot like melting marshmellows.

Another warning: melting soap is not melting marshmellows. Don’t eat it. Even though it’s goat’s milk and oil.

Then it hit the tapioca pudding phase, which I failed to capture. Sorry. I was too afraid you’d eat it.

Next comes the vanilla puddin’ phase. Ahhh, vanilla puddin’.


See? Aint she purdy?

This is where you stir in the extra stuffs. Essential oils, fragrance oils, colorants, seeds, herbs, small critters…

I just chose the cedarwood, sage, and lime essential oils. I decided to keep it all natural. No pretty colors needed. It was a nice creamy vanilla puddin’ already. Who needs, like, purple? I wanted to add some kind of exfoliant but I didn’t know if what I had on hand would work so I skipped that.

It was time to pour it into the mold. Now, I must have misunderstood the mold description when I bought it because I thought it made a 16 oz bar in each of the cavities. However, I quickly found that there was no way the entire 16 oz was going to fit into one cavity. Apparently it makes two 8 oz bars of soap. Oookay.


I had to let it cool off, then popped it into the freezer to harden it long enough to get it out of the mold. Once it softened up again, I cut it into weird sized bars.


See?

Now we have 8 2oz bars of cedarwood sage soap with a twist. It smells delightfully spicy with just a little refreshing zing! in the background. Love it.

We’re supposed to wait a few to several weeks for it to fully harden and be ready to use. However, I confess that I took the tiniest bit of it and used it on my hands. It lathers like a dream.

I have four more pounds of soap base left and several scents from which to choose. Next time I’m doing something girly. Once I use all the base, I want to buy my own oils and lye and make some completely from scratch.

You know me. I’m clumsy. Doesn’t seem like such a wise idea?

Pray for me.

And don’t eat my soap. It just looks like white fudge.

Do you Etsy?

No?! Well, you should!

Etsy is awesome. I Etsy. All my friends Etsy. You should Etsy too.

If you do, would you like to visit my treasury?

Rockin’ Robin

An Etsy treasury is where an Etsian shows a collection of some of their favorite items… usually going with a theme or color or both. The cool thing about treasuries is several times a day, one is picked to be shown on the front page. This brings lots of exposure to the artists who both make the treasuries and are featured in them.

2 Belles & a Bead is also currently featured in a treasury made by one of my good jewelry buddies, Laurel!


At the time of this writing, both Rockin’ Robin & Sultry Sexy SILVER are on page three for hotness. I’d love for one or both to make it to page one! They both expire tomorrow afternoon, so there’s not much time left.

So how can you help? If you Etsy, I’d love for you to sign into your Etsy account (buyer or seller, it does not matter) and visit both treasuries. While being signed in, if you will click on each individual item featured it will help boost the treasuries further to the top. If you leave a comment on the bottom, that helps too. If you’re not comfortable leaving a comment but still want to help, the clicks alone would be great!

No pressure, no pressure. ;oP

But at the very least, you really should Etsy.

Macro Monday #3

*Ding ding ding*

We have a week #2 winner! Woooo! None other than my very own mama. Yes, she won fair and square. She was not in on it nor was she present at the time the photo was taken. I guess living on the coast helps though, since…

“It looks like it may be seaweed or algae with some broken sea shells.”

… is exactly right. I believe it is some kind of algae or moss growing on a rock that Dustin and I found down at the bay. The little white things are indeed broken pieces of shell.


You’re all winners in my book though just for playing, and some of you had quite the entertaining answers. *grin* Please, keep them coming.

Here is this week’s photo. Something a little red to get you into the holiday mood…



Oooh. The intrigue! Can you outsmart my macro?

Let me know if you participate with your own close up shot on your blog!

Have fun and good luck. *grin*

Cuffed

I have a thing for bracelets lately. I don’t mean wearing them, I mean making them. I don’t think I could personally pull off a cuff, but for some reason I’m obsessed with them. I made two in the past couple months and I like them both and wish I could wear them both.

I also have a thing for bangles but haven’t made any yet. Soon though, soon.

Black birch sterling silver cuff:


Rippled copper cuff:


<------ Oh, and do you see the little sponsor section over there to the left and down a bit? If you see Zaja Natural there, go click and buy. For real. Do it. Best soap ever. In case Zaja Natural is no longer there, click here and buy. Try the charcoal facial soap. I’m so not kidding. Ask my husband, he uses it too. In fact, I think I need to order some more soon. And the dead sea mud scrub? Divine. Oh and look! Now she has deodorant!

Someone buy a cuff. I need to go shopping.

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