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11  Custom Wedding Favors in Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects by Nymeria on: September 17, 2009 09:01:38 PM
So my friend's SIL is getting married and she asked me to do the favors for the bridal shower. She wanted something unique but low-key and homemade. Her SIL is very chic and modern, but digs the homemade stuff. SO...

Her colors were turquoise and chocolate brown, and she's big into baking. My Girly Bar just happens to be chocolate brown (colored with cocoa) and scented chocolate/vanilla (<3 Smitten), and I decided to do a caramel lip balm that was colored turquoise:

Of course my friend also wanted to be cost-effective (she needed 15 favors, that adds up quick!) so I used cellophane bags that you get at Michael's for like $1.92/50, some of that crinkly filler that is $1/bag at Wal-Mart and some gorgeous ribbon that Michael's had on sale that happened to be in the bride's colors. Voila!

Up close:

Kinda group shot:

(Yes, they are sitting in a Carter's shoe box. Professional, huh?)

So that was my homemade, cost-effective bridal shower favor! Smiley

Comments, criticisms, & cheesecake recipes always welcome. Grin
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12  Broncos lipgloss for tweens! in Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects by Nymeria on: September 17, 2009 08:16:12 PM
Okay so I had two dilemmas on my hands. I had these nifty 5-section containers I won in the first challenge that I still needed to find use for. Then I had to make a favor (long story) for two tween girls. They're both Broncos fans, but they're also tweens (read: girly) soooo... what to do?

I decided to do lip gloss because what girly girl doesn't like lip gloss? And this was born:

The blue is vanilla because, well, Smittenheart would give me the stink eye if there was no vanilla. The orange is bubblegum. Why the red, you ask? It's mint and I put it in there so they would have something girly to balance their football love.

A slightly better depiction of the colors. You'll notice my fingers are red. I'm messy.

The first picture is a little "off" because of the darn flash. Hard to photograph!

For anyone curious, the lip gloss is 75% oil, and 25% beeswax. I did 32% castor oil, 33% safflower oil.
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13  Cloth grocery sacks in Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General by Nymeria on: September 02, 2009 08:22:12 PM
I think someone posted a project similar to this awhile back, so I apologize for the duplication, but it's new to me! Grin

I love using reusable bags, but I don't like how the ones you buy at the grocery store never seem to fold small enough to fit in my purse, ergo they often get left in my trunk or car because I just forget them!

Also, I dislike the boxy, paper bag-style construction. I guess I just like plastic bags! So one night I took a WalMart bag, snipped off the bottom edge and the top handle edges (the places where the plastic is fused closed), laid it on 3/4 of a yard of fabric and cut!

These are SO ridiculously quick and easy, I've already made 6 of them for me, and 4 for others. I happened to use A. Henry fabric on these three because I liked it, but the rest are just good ways to use up that yard of fabric you bought on sale and have no plans for. Smiley

Laying flat:

Filled with some cans so you can see how the sides gusset like real plastic bags:

The first three, folded small so they fit in my purse!!:

Thanks for looking!! Smiley

ETA: I should say that because the sides gusset (is that the word I want?) these will carry the same amount (if not more because they are sturdier) than a regular plastic bag. I managed to fit a cereal box, a box of crackers, and a bunch of cans in one with no problems. Smiley
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14  Monkey "Quilt" (more of a blanket but...) in Quilting: Completed Projects by Nymeria on: August 28, 2009 11:18:40 AM
Okay so first I'm mildly embarrassed to even post this on this board. The actual quilts on here are gorgeous!!  Shocked  This doesn't really belong in the same row with real quilts, but I'm not sure where else to post it!

This is a quilted blanket for my daughter when she transitions to a twin bed this winter. I used Moda's Goodnight Monkey fabric and basically chopped up and assembled two layer cakes and some yardage for the back. Everything is sewn by machine and then once I put in the pure cotton batting (with coupon at JoAnn's it was the same price as the polyester!), I used the machine to sew along all the blocks. So it's kinda quilted, but I don't have the right machinery to actually do a pretty quilted design. I also like how lofty it is; seems to make it more cuddly! Smiley

The whole quilt, laying over my sofa:

Close-up of the block "pattern:"

The yellow backing:

Until we get a bed for my daughter, it makes a lovely cat bed...:

Comments, critiques are welcome and appreciated!

Thanks for looking! Smiley
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15  Superfat and You! (aka Superfat defined) in Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions by Nymeria on: July 14, 2009 08:19:36 PM
There are a lot of posts on here with people throwing around the word "superfat" and from the context it is clear that people are not entirely sure of what the word means in regards to cold process soap. A lot of people talk about superfatting like it's a fancy technique when really it's probably something you've been doing all along and just didn't know it! So I have created this thread to clear up some confusion.

Figure 1.1: Majestic Mountain Sage's Lye Calculator Screen

For the purposes of this thread, I threw together a recipe that is 20 oz. of coconut oil, 20 oz. of olive oil & 10 ounces of palm oil. It was all I could think of on the fly, don't take it as an actual recipe, lol. Let us continue:

Defined: Superfat (synonymous with the phrases "excess fat" & "lye discount") is, quite simply, where there is more oil than lye can "consume" during the saponification process and the soap has excess oil. The golden standard for superfat is 5%. So on the above screen, 7.42 oz. of lye will give you 5% superfat. On most lye calculators, when you enter in a recipe, it will automatically feed you this 5% range because it's the most common and workable range, however anything in the "green" range above is workable and considered to be "good."

**Anything BELOW 5% (the bright red blocks above) and you run the risk of your soap being lye heavy. Unless you have done the recipe before at <5%, avoid those %'s!! I have a recipe that calls for the 1% range and even I eschew that for 5%! **

Let's say you want to go over 5% superfat and soap at the 7% range. There are two ways to do this. One, you can add excess oil, generally done at light trace. In this case you'd add maybe 1-2oz. of extra olive oil at trace. Or, you can use less lye (always follow the numbers on a lye calculator! Don't just start subtracting lye, lol). Since 5% calls for 7.42oz. of lye, if you cut it back to the 7% range, 7.26oz, there will be less lye to consume the oils and your bar will be a little softer, but more moisturizing on your skin.

If you notice, MMS's lye calculator only goes to 10% (the blue range). The reason is that while superfatting soap makes very moisturizing, mild bar of soap, it also makes a very soft bar that is prone to rancidity. All of that excess oil is unsaponified which means it's basically free-standing. The more free-standing oil, the more iffy the shelf-life. Also, the more prone to DOS (dreaded orange spots) is your soap. Very few people will suggest soaping over 10%. While I am a big fan of Susan Miller Cavitch, I do disagree with her suggesting that you go as high as 15%. It just seems like courting disaster to me.

Okay, so let's say you accidentally superfat at 10%+. I did once make a batch at 17% superfat by putting in 12 oz. too much of olive oil because math and I are not friends. DO NOT PANIC! The soap is going to be very, very soft. Generally so soft that you may want to leave it in the mold for a couple extra days before cutting. Normally soap needs about 3-6 weeks to cure and allow for excess moisture to evaporate, but anything over 10% will probably need 6-8 weeks to cure. While it will never get rock hard, it will get harder than the fudgey mess you are most likely dealing with.

I will add more to this as it comes to me, but in the meantime I wanted to start the thread and get some opinions on the matter and all that jazz. Questions, comments, etc. Smiley
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16  Fourth of July Cupcakes! in Dessert by Nymeria on: July 04, 2009 09:27:12 AM
These are my red, white and blue cupcakes. They are white cake with blueberry filling and raspberry buttercream frosting. Smiley

(God bless Martha and her kitschy toppers)
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17  Re: Make-a-Friend Round 4: The Gallery in The Swap Gallery by Nymeria on: June 25, 2009 09:19:57 PM
I got my lovely box! It's awesome!! For some reason like 4 of my pictures aren't uploading tonight, so I'll add more tomorrow, but I had to get the pictures up. Thank you, DesignVigilante!! Smiley Smiley Smiley

When I opened the box:

YES! Notebooks to help my disorganized self get organized!! LOVE the illustrations she did.  Kiss

Ramune: Greatest. Soda. EVER.

A beautiful tea mug with about a bajillion teas to try!!

She sent me a ton of awesome food like Pocky (everyone loves teh Pocky including my daughter who made QUICK work of it...), tempura batter, some coffee, some shortbread cookies that are addictive and awesome stuff. But I had to photo the mustard because as she knows from our conversations, I'm a mustard-aholic! Grin

More pictures to come, I promise, but I had to get these up to show everyone what an awesome job she did. Thank you SO much!!!
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18  Chocolate malt cupcakes w/marshmallow & ganache frosting in Dessert by Nymeria on: June 18, 2009 12:41:03 PM
Okay so these don't look like much, I admit. But they are epic! I'm bummed I didn't think to get a picture with JUST the marshmallow on top, but you can kinda see it's there...

The cupcake is malted chocolate and is very moist and yummy (little too tender for my tastes, actually). Then it is topped with homemade marshmallow + then dipped in ganache made with Lyle's Golden Syrup. Why? Why not! (I was out of light corn syrup and just happened to have a jar of Lyle's, lol)

Up close:

Group shot (you can kinda see the white of the marshmallow peaking through on some):
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19  Sunflower cupcakes in Dessert by Nymeria on: June 13, 2009 07:14:59 PM
Okay so yes this idea was taken from "Hello Cupcake," but I still think they're cute. They're devil's food cupcakes with marshmallow filling and almond buttercream icing. The sunflowers are Oreos with almond buttercream petals and red M&M's ladybugs.
They were a custom order for a bridal shower; I guess the bride is VERY into plants and is a huge fan of sunflowers. Smiley

The cupcakes:

The poor husband thinking he's going to get to eat one... (the white part of the Oreo is covered with frosting petals in the finished version)

The poor husband finding out that NO cupcake for j00!
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20  Wastin' away in Margaritaville... in Dessert by Nymeria on: June 11, 2009 10:32:13 AM
To celebrate summer and all things fun and festive, I decided to make these cupcakes I call "Margaritaville." Real clever, huh?  Roll Eyes

Anyway, they are margarita cupcakes (white cake mix + frozen margarita mix -- don't get the store brand. Get a good brand!) with coconut filling and lime cream cheese icing. The icing is amazing; it's a little tart but sweet, too. I added the sprinkles because, well... why not? They made me smile. Cheesy

Group shot:

Single shot:

Fortunately my husband works in an office with a bunch of human garbage disposals (read: men) so they won't be sticking around the house to tempt me! Though my 18-month old definitely enjoyed tasting one. She likes tart stuff like her mama!  Grin

Comments & criticisms welcome!! Smiley
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