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431  Re: Craftster Swag, taking over the world!! (Post pics of your Craftster swag here!) in Craftster Itself by MareMare on: April 11, 2009 10:57:22 AM
I wore my new shirt to see the premiere of the documentary Handmade Nation (Leah has a small bit in it!). I met klum78 there for the movie and Automaton J was there too!

(left to right, Automaton J, me, klum78)

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432  Re: COWS 7 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MareMare on: April 09, 2009 01:19:28 PM
Here's some action shots of Britney with her goodies from teachingjonah. She loved em!

And here's pics of what I sent to Knichole, ds game cases for her boys and a ballerina flannel blankie for the little gal she baby-sits

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433  Re: Amazing Crochet Motif Swap Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MareMare on: April 09, 2009 01:03:17 PM
I received from fantasticmio! She is such a good crocheter, these motifs are so much tighter than I can ever manage to crochet!

I really love the pattern of the red one, is it Tunisian?

Thanks so much hon!
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434  Featured Projects--Quarter 1, 2009 in Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects by MareMare on: April 05, 2009 12:58:07 PM
Here are the featured projects from the first quarter of 2009. All of these projects were posted in January, February, or March. Many of these were popular projects that have already been rocked or commented on quite a bit, and others might not have gotten quite as much attention the first time around. They were chosen by a combination of votes via the This Rocks button and my desire to highlight awesome, creative projects through a variety of soaps and other bath items as well as make-up and all the other great categories that fit under Bath and Beauty.

(click the pic to go to the thread)

First off, the winner of our first Bath & Beauty Board Challenge. The Challenge was to make a B&B product with an unusual item and Nymeria made soap with baby formula!

Next Step Baby Soap (aka infant formula) by Nymeria

And here are a few Valentines Day themed crafts:

Rose Bud Bath Melts (with recipe) by EmmyFNWL

My Tribute to Valentiness Day by simplyorganic

And an April Fools Day project! (or is it??...)

Dill Pickle Salt Scrub and Lip Gloss by EmmyFNWL

I doubt anyone hasnt seen this, it was a Craftster-wide Featured Project!
Anba: Troublesome Princess Cyber Soul by ambermi

And the rest of the Featured Projects!

Massage Melts by tinkswings

Cake, Anyone? by Nymeria

Rosemary Foot Scrub by Addicted to Soap

Mendi/Henna Designs by Solarwen

Soap Cigar Band Tutorial by Nymeria

8 Loaves of New Soap by mcook72677

My newest soap by shout4joy

Pin-Cushion Inspired Make-up by astr0zombie

My Latest Nails by malibukasey

CupcakesNoIts Candles by dip_n_dot

Massage Butter with Swiss Chocolate by PonyHuetchen

Thanks everyone for making and posting such great projects, and keep clicking This Rocks when you see something you love!

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435  Featured Member--swift in Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions by MareMare on: April 05, 2009 11:52:33 AM
Here is our new Bath & Beauty Featured Member~swift!

Swift has been a Craftster since early 2005 and makes amazing B&B items like mineral make-up and facial cleansers! Besides posting great projects and recipes she also is free with her help on the Discussions and Questions board. Here are a couple of her posts that made me go "Dang!"  Grin
(click pic for link)

A little intro by Swift:

Although Im known as Swift (after the author, not a description of my speed!) or SwiftCraftyMonkey, in real life Im Susan. Im a crafting dilettante I run a few youth craft groups, so I have to come up with new ideas every week but my true passion is bath & body formulating. I love the way it challenges me scientifically and artistically!

As much as I love crafting, I love teaching, and I get such great joy at being part of that a-ha moment when someone learns something new. I work for a non-profit charity and I believe in giving back to the community, which is why I started my blog at http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com. And as someone who really doesnt play well with others in group settings I ask far too many questions and want to know everything! I find the net is the best way for me to learn.

A friend insulted my crafting skills and challenged me to learn how to cross-stitch in 1996. Which led me to learn to crochet, knit, bookbind, sew, and create bath & body products. In the last two years Ive added candle making, jewelry making, and polymer clay to my crafty repertoire.

In May 2009, Im marrying an amazing and supportive man who encourages me in everything I do. Raymond and I have an adorable-fur baby, Blondie, the little cutie pie in my avatar. And yes, we are crafting everything for the wedding.

Q: Why (and when) did you begin making Bath and Body items?

It was a happy accident that led to my obsession with creating bath & body products. My best friend and I were sewing purses one afternoon, and it turned out to be one of those days on which I could not get a single thing right! To alleviate the frustration, we decided to make bath salts, bath bombs, and melt & pour soap. Then a batch of bath bombs failed, and, being the kind of person who cant stand not knowing how things work, I had to find out what happened. (We were using the wrong kind of citric acid!) I stumbled upon the Soap Dish and saw people making lotions, hair care products, and more! I had no idea any of this was possible, so I tried a few things and became obsessed. That was almost three years ago.

Q: What is your B&B philosophy?

Creating incredible bath & body products is about knowing your ingredients. Get factual information and studies from reputable websites; dont believe urban legends or spam that shows up in your inbox! Be inquisitive. Why use sweet almond oil instead of sunflower oil? Youre not tied down to any one supplier when you know the INCI name of your supplies, and you can substitute what you want instead of the ones used by the recipe creators. I find this is the best way to customize your creations!

Know how your ingredients feel. Pour some oil on your hand, play with the hydrolyzed proteins, add a little conditioner to your body wash -- knowing what each ingredient brings to the party is essential for formulating. I thought my long, frizzy, coarse hair would love silk, but it became even frizzier! Thats how I found the protein my hair and skin loves.

Keep notes on everything. Get a notebook (or in my case, giant binder) and make notes about every single thing you did during each creation. I like to keep my recipes in a binder with plastic covers. I can write notes with a grease pencil and I transfer those notes to my computer if Ive done something significantly different. I always keep the dates of each batch and what I changed, and I always label every product with the ingredients. How else am I going to know which one I love and which one I will never ever try again?

Show no fear! If you want to make it, make it! Whats the worst case scenario? You waste a few supplies or create something you hate (although it might be something someone else adores). I always say I gain confidence from my successes, but I learn from my mistakes. If I hadnt failed on that third batch of bath bombs, I wouldnt have found this amazing craft!

Q: We love your mineral make-up, what can you share about the process?

Mineral make-up is the harmony of chemistry and art (wow, when you write it down, that really sounds cheesy!) Perfecting a base you love is the hardest part of mineral make-up creation, and its something most of us never think about because its not the cool, shiny part. A base can make the difference between a soft, powdery feel with longevity or a flaky mess that runs in the rain. I cant count how many batches of eye shadow base Ive made, sent out to friends for feedback, then tweaked before I found the one I love (the one posted on Craftster). But now Ive done that, I can create to my hearts content.

The actual process of making an eye shadow is very exciting. I choose a colour Id like to make something I saw, printed, or dreamed and think about how to get to that point. Do I start with something shiny or matte? Do I want to darken it with black? Do I want something highly pigmented or something sheer?

When you get your micas, iron oxides, and the like, put some on your hand and look at in the daylight. Note the main colour, then note the sheen, sparkle, and undertones. Make up a colour sheet with the name and a swatch of each colour on it so you know what each contributes to an eye shadow or foundation.

And try anything. Green and pink didnt go well together youve learned something not to do next time. Or perhaps they do, and youve created an amazing colour others covet. 

Q: What other B&B items do you make?

The short answer: Everything I use.

The long answer: I make every product in my bathroom, except the toothpaste and deodorant (and Im working on that!). Im a surfactant junkie, so I love making bubble baths, body washes, facial cleansers, and shampoos. Ive got a whole lotta hair, so I love working on new hair care products conditioners, leave in conditioners, de-frizzing potions and I love making lotions. Id never really used them before making them, and now I cant live without at least a body butter, hand lotion, and foot scrub!

Ive never tried cold process soap. Its not for fear of trying it, but I figure there are people in my community who have perfected their craft and Im happy to support their work!

Q: How did your first B&B project go for you?

My first attempts at bath bombs went very well, but the third was a dismal failure (see the happy accident story above!) Im very fortunate Ive only had one lotion go wrong, and that was because I made a massive mistake I didnt make sure the water and oil phases were at the same temperature. The water was barely lukewarm and the oils were above 70C. The lotion separated, and I learned a valuable lesson about the role of heat in emulsification! 
Q: Do you have any favorite techniques?

The techniques I use are pretty much what I consider good manufacturing practices, so its hard to really comment on the actual making of products. I like to have all the ingredients and utensils at hand, the fragrance or essential oils Ive chosen, and a large jug of distilled water at the ready. I make sure the landing area, where Im going to put the finished product to cool (fridge, freezer, countertop), is ready. When the product is cooling, I consider the packaging Id like to use (I have far too much, so this can take some time) and write down my notes for my labelling.

For formulating, I love to go through the stores or mooch through my friends bathrooms checking ingredient lists for products they like (with their permission, of course). I write down the ingredients and research each of them to see if they are essential to the product or just good marketing, then I try to recreate the essence of that product.

For mineral make-up creation, I get paint swatches or pieces of fabric or brochures from the cosmetics counter and use those as my reference for eye shadow ideas.

Q: What is your favorite B&B project on Craftster that youve posted?

My mineral make-up tutorial!

Although Im very pleased with my first tutorial on bath bombs!

Q: What is your favorite B&B project on Craftster that someone else has posted? 

I love Rayno24s cupcake soap tutorial!

Q: Besides B&B, what Craftster categories are you a frequent poster or lurker on?

All of them! Sewing purses, bookbinding, jewellery making, miscellaneous I read them all for ideas.

Q: What is your favorite non-B&B project on Craftster that you have posted? 

I liked these beeswax sushi candles, although there isnt much of a tutorial. I have changed the design somewhat since I posted this, but I still think theyre fun!  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=86418.msg815123#msg815123

Q: What is your favorite non-B&B project on Craftster that someone else has posted? 

I love this tiny wallet. Ive modified it to include a change section for my camping trips!
preg_replace('/(.{49})/', '$1 ', '__________________________________________________________________________')

Thanks so much to swift for being a Featured Member! If you would like to be a featured member or if there is a member that you would like to see featured please shoot me a pm.
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436  Re: Traveling Scarf Swap Gallery! (Round 3) in The Swap Gallery by MareMare on: April 02, 2009 05:24:00 PM
Here's the section I did for Ma Rut's scarf:

And the whole thing alltogether:

The colors in the second pic are more true to life. Also the flower will probably need to be blocked to lay correctly, I just noticed in that pic that one of the petals is bent up funny.
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437  Speedy Recycled Noodles in Recipes and Cooking Tips by MareMare on: March 18, 2009 03:28:09 PM
I came home really tired from work last night and found some left over pan fried noodles from the Chinese place the other night. Normally I'm so tired by 10 pm I would have just microwaved and scarfed em, but I decided to cook a real meal! I tried to get the veggies in small pieces to cook quickly and found some a piece of cooked chicken in the fridge.


1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
Assorted veggies (whatever's in fridge!) I used:
2 carrots, peel removed and then peeled into thin strips
3/4 cup diced broccoli
1 small onion, halved and then sliced into thin wedges
5 large brussels sprouts, cored with sharp paring knife to separate leaves
1 cooked chicken breast, diced
Salt or Soy Sauce to taste
Granulated or fresh garlic to taste (I was out of fresh!)
2 teaspoons sesame oil, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
Leftover cold noodles (I had about half a large take out container, but they were packed down)

Heat vegetable oil in saute pan over, when hot add veggies and stir fry on medium heat until tender crisp. I like my onions softer so I put them in first. Add chicken and warm through. Rinse cold cooked noodles under hot water to get off the oil and to loosen and separate. Don't totally drain, throw them in pan while still dripping a little. Get everything tossed together and hot and season with sesame oil, salt or soy sauce, granualted garlic (if using fresh add when you cook veggies) and red pepper flakes. Taste and readjust seasoning if necesary. Drink some tasty beer while you're chopping and cooking and it seems even quicker!

*I also had mushrooms and water chestnuts, wished I would have added those! Other veggies that would be awesome: canned bamboo shoots, asparagus, cauliflower, zuchini/yellow squash, or cabbage. And of course use whatever cold cooked meat you have or leave it out completely. Also raw shrimp cooks so quickly that would work great too.

For Italian style noodles, use the same leftover chinese noodles or leftover spaghetti/angel hair/fettucine noodles and omit the sesame oil and soy sauce but add some dried or fresh Basil and/or Oregano and/or Italian Seasoning. Tasty veggies for Italian style might be onions, drained canned tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus and spinach. For meat try sliced sausage links, chicken, or shrimp.
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438  Re: COWS 7 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by MareMare on: March 18, 2009 02:01:02 PM
LOL I was just uploading pics! Thanks hon! I will get some action shots when I see the girls, your pics are prettier than mine sitting on my kitchen island! I love all the pink and purple and totally want to steal the owls (but that would be mean, so I won't lol!)

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439  Re: Traveling Scarf Swap Gallery! (Round 2) in The Swap Gallery by MareMare on: March 18, 2009 01:36:26 PM
Here's belated pics of tattooedcrafter's scarf I sent on last week.
My section:

All together so far:
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440  Roasted Brussels Sprouts---No, really! in Recipes and Cooking Tips by MareMare on: March 03, 2009 07:10:59 PM
I never ate Brussells sprouts because my mom didn't like them, although I eat basically all other veggies. A couple years ago we did a co-op type produce thing where we got bushels of produce fresh off the farm every week. We got a ton of brussels sprouts so I found a recipe on allrecipes.com and cooked em up. Seriously, best things ever. I will eat them over french fries every time! This is a great way to cook any veggies, a fave combo of mine is cauliflower and red onions along with the brussels sprouts! They get that yummy roasted flavor that brings out the natural sugars, mmm mmmm.

3-4 cups (or more, whatever) of brussels sprouts, trim off the end if it looks icky and peel of any outer leaves that are holey or black or brown. Cut in half if they are very large
1-2 Tablespoons of oil
1/2 teaspoon or so of kosher or sea salt
Cracked black pepper
Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 or 450. In a large roasting pan lay the sprouts out in one layer. Sprinkle the oil over the top and toss gently to coat. Add salt and pepper and stir again. Cook in hot oven, stirring every 5 or 7 minutes. Cook a total of 15 minutes or more, the darker they get the more the natural sweetness comes out. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necesary. If you didn't use very much oil a touch of butter might be good, but usually not needed. Voila, love!
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