Embracing Opposites Soap Challenge July 2015

Sponsored by Greatcakes SoapworksThe idea is to show opposites using soap as the medium and utilizing a log mold and a center divider.

Ohhhhh… I thought and thought and thought some more.  A vision of colors.  Blue on one side and orange (not just any orange but neon orange), and then a  purple neon swirl in the orange and a yellow neon, glow in the dark swirl in the blue side.  (I’m not totally blind yet!)  I envisioned wispy, jubilant swirls of color in dazzling neon glory.  Hmmmm…. Maybe one neon color would have done the job.  I decided on a summery citrus/floral fragrance I’ve used many times, it’s cooperative, and I love it.   I used a predictable Bastille recipe, high in olive oiI,  but also did a significant water discount,and  it moved quicker than I had planned.  OOPS!

Oh my, this began to accelerate.  Not soap on a stick, but working on it.  I don’t scare easy, I’ll tell you, so I continued.   This will not be the wispy, carefree swirls I envisioned, rather  like some weird pop art thing.  Swirls!  Quick, where’s my hanger tool?!?!?  Oops, don’t have a tool for this size mold.  Plan B:  find a spoon!!! Or a knife!!!  Anything!!!   Knife, not ideal, but will work.

Well now, It’s in the mold, and we’ll see tomorrow.

“Here comes the Sun!”   IT IS NEON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT IS BRIGHT!!!!  Definitely when the vision and reality are in different universes.

neon 1

You may wonder if I’m colorblind. No…it only appears that I am. This is an awesome, luscious recipe, it smells beautiful, and it’s glow in the dark neon.  Win-win I’d say!

Here are a few more pics.

This entry was posted on July 17, 2015. 8 Comments

Slaving away making soap!

I am working on restocking some of my popular soaps.  Here are a couple recently made.  The Denali Granite, Lavender Rosemary Mint and Talkeetna Rain.  Pick a favorite?  Can’t do it!  I love them all!  All available second week of April.Denali Granite Soap 3.14.15 lavender rosemary mint soap 3.14.15talkeetna rain soap 3.14.15

Quilting a bag

Update to this post; I finished my bag!  And I love it!  Here are finished photos.

tote finished

Here’s the bag turned to the reverse side.

 

 

tote reverse, 2tote reverse

 

And a look at the side panels.

tote sideIMG_0180

 

I first tried free motion quilting many years ago, about 35 years I think.  I took a class at a local fabric store and remember recommendations to get a spring that replaced the press foot.  Unfortunately, I was never wildly successful with this setup.  I did do a couple very small projects that I can’t remember.  They were not very good, I’m sure!  I eventually became to frustrated with my less than stellar results and gave it up.

So, 35 years later and not one, but two awesome sewing machines that happily sew anything I ask, I am again tackling machine quilting.  I’ve taken several  online classes and finally, the planets and  karma seem to have aligned.  I am finding I enjoy the quilting process, quite a change from my experience years ago.  So, on to my current project.

I am working on a bag utilizing techniques in Leah Day’s Craftsy class Free Motion filler, Vol 2.  I love using my Janome 7700 for quilting because it has speed control.  It can sew a lot faster than I can and since I’m concentrating on perfecting my stitches, speed control really helps keep things manageable.

I don’t have a flat surface for sewing, a really useful feature when quilting.  I put some of my sewing books to good use to build up a larger, flat work surface.  Not perfect, but working pretty well for this small project.

IMG_0121

Here’s another view of my jerry rigged flat work surface.

 

IMG_0123

 

 

Here’s a shot of one side of the bag, pinned and ready to start stitching.

IMG_0118

 

Here is one of the sides in progress.

IMG_0125

Here’s a shot of the back of the bag in progress.

IMG_0130

 

And the completed quilting, both sides are beautiful.

 

FMQ tote side one FMQ tote back side one

 

Day three of the bag project and I started on the second side.

bag side 2, closeup

 

Below is progress from today.  Hoping to finish the bag by the end of the coming weekend.

bag side two

 

Free Motion Quilt Sampler project

Cold, gray, threatening to snow (or maybe rain the way this winter has been.)  What better way to spend the day (assuming you’re a sewing nerd) than to practice new techniques.  I recently have taken several Craftsy classes by Leah Day, a talented young woman who teaches classes online.  I was working on a free motion quilting sampler to practice techniques from Free Motion Fillers, Vol 1.  The quilting on this small project took about 4 hours, and I have another 2 or three hours of work to finish.

I used my Babylock Jane machine to piece and quilt this project.  Because this machine sews so fast, I duct taped a small screw driver to the foot pedal so I could not sew at full speed.  This worked great till my duct tape loosened and we were off again at breakneck speed.   I have to work on that, maybe a bigger piece of duct tape!

I’ll get right to the point and show you a pic of the quilted project.  It is not finished (need to bury the thread ends) but still looks great.

fm sampler done

Here’s a look at the back.

freemotion back 2

And the back finished.

fm back finished

And a look at different sections of the top.

freemotion blue

And a finished blue corner.

fm blue corner

freemotion closeup

fm another crner

Christmas Apron 2014

I recently visited my daughter and she was wanting a cute apron.  Bingo!  Mom can sew!  (IF ANY OF JOIE’S FRIENDS ARE READING THIS, DON’T TELL HER!  I don’t think she checks my blog!)  So, I made one for her for Christmas and it’s reversible to boot.  Hope she loves it.  I used a pattern from Sugar Pie Chic, the Simply Chic Apron pattern.  Very cute, and easy to make.  Also, the instructions are good.

My daughter loves mermaids and I had found a mermaid themed fabric last year with her in mind.  I figured I might as well make it reversible, since it doesn’t take much more work.   As you scroll through the pictures, keep in mind that I made a number of changes to this from the original instructions.

  • I made it reversible
  • I drafted a new pocket
  • The changes I made significantly changed the construction steps in the pattern directions.  Unless you’re an experienced seamstress, just follow the instructions.

Here is the bodice, one side has the mermaids, the other side is a coordinating water print.  It’s hard to tell from the picture, but the bodice is darted for better fit.  And of course, neck ties at the top.

 

IMG_6556

 

Here is the reverse side of the bodice.

IMG_6555

Here is the skirt.  The skirt is gathered, waistband is attached.

IMG_6558

 

Skirt ties pinned on and ready to stitch in place.

 

 

IMG_6562

 

Below, bodice and skirt has been stitched to waistband.  The waistband is pinned in place to be topstitched.

 

IMG_6561

 

 

Taa Daa!   Finished apron, the mermaid side.  I drafted the cute heart pocket.

 

joies apron

 

Here’s the reverse side.   The bodice looks darker in the pic, but is the same fabric as the skirt.

 

 

 

IMG_6565

 

 

Soap Challenge December 2014

A spoon swirl challenge this time around via Amy Warden’s Great Soapworks Challenge.  I love spoon swirls and have had something in mind, so here goes!  My vision is a soap that brings to mind the breathtaking Alaskan Northern Lights.

Northern_Lights_Over_Portage_River_Valley_Alaska[1]    20141208_112918    20141208_112933

The beautiful colors dance, ripple and undulate across the Northern sky.  One of our great winter pleasures is a soothing soak in the hot tub while watching the stars and the Northern Lights.  Maybe throw in a glass of wine, too!  Rather than a graphic reproduction of the landscape, mountains and night sky, I like the idea of a suggestion of the snow-covered Alaska Range mountains.   I attempted to suggest the mountains and the colors I associate with our winter night sky.  My unmolded, uncut soap above.

This soap is the third batch I’ve made with this idea in mind.  The first are lovely, but this is close to my idea!  Here are some of the finished bars.

north lights 2

I used my go to recipe that includes olive oil, palm kernel and palm oil, coconut, shea and cocoa butters, and castor oil.  It is an awesome recipe and makes a luscious moisturizing soap.  Colors are Nuture  Vibrance micas.  I soaped at about 105 degrees F.

Stick-blended to light trace then separated out about a cup of batter into three separate cups to color.  (Next time, I will use less batter for finer swirls)  I added titanium dioxide to the remaining batter.

My micas are premixed in a bit of olive oil, so added a bit of teal, purple and apple green to each of the cups of batter.  (not all colors in each cup; one color to each cup)

north lights 1

Looks a bit like a hanger swirl, but really is a spoon swirl!  To do this look, I poured about 2/3 of plain batter into a TS mold.  Then poured from a higher level the colors, one after the other.  Things were getting a bit thick, maybe honey thick.  I spoon swirled from one end of the mold to the other, then made a few more swirls randomly through to make sure all was swirled.  Next, spooned the rest of the plain batter into the mold.  Then I spoon swirled, only trying to go into the area between the plain and the previously spoon swirled part.  I did not come up to the top.  I wanted to keep the top white.  I finished with texturing the top to suggest mountains, and added snowflake glitter (appropriately, I’d say!)

20141208_112756

When planning the fragrance, I wanted cool, outdoorsy, magical.  A tall order!  I blended a combo of EO’s including lavender, fir, patchouli, citrus and rosemary.  Love the way this smells!

north lights 3

And one more of the cut bars in my soap room.  These aren’t cleaned up yet, but you can see the lovely variation in the bars, just like the ever-changing Northern Lights!  (The lighting in there is not the best.)

north lights 5

This entry was posted on December 12, 2014. 18 Comments