On to the Black Friday Sale!

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I went over to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving and we all – meaning the girls because men apparently have trouble being silly – played a game called HedBanz. It was pretty neat and definitely a great family game. You basically wear a headband and you get a card for it that you can’t see. You then have to guess what you are by asking the other people playing what you are. Like “Am I an animal?” “Can you eat me?” “Do I have hair?” etc. I was a dragon first. Then I was a giraffe. My mom ended up being spaghetti, ketchup and a shirt!

 

So now that Thanksgiving has come and gone for the year, I suppose it’s time for the shopping to commence. I won’t be braving the malls – I never do having worked in retail at the mall for many years – but I will be shopping online and of course supporting other artisans like myself. For Black Friday this year I’m offering 45% off everything – including sale items – from my shop, Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen, through November 23rd, 2012 11:59pm ET. Just enter coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY at checkout for the discount on great bath and body products including my Handmade Pumpkin Pie Milk Soap (pictured) that comes wrapped and ready for gift giving or stocking stuffers. Happy shopping!

A Scrapbooking Magazine Feature for one of my DIY Projects

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My DIY Washi Tape Stash Tin Project that I blogged about in August, was featured in the October 2012 issue of the UK Magazine, Scrap365. This news is a little late, but I only just found out myself when I received a parcel in the mail today from England. I knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when. If you missed this DIY project you can find it here.

Speaking of magazines, the December issue of Whole Living Magazine has a scrumptious recipe for making Spiced Hot Chocolate. Simply combine 1 cup of almond milk, 1/2 cinnamon stick, a bit of grated nutmeg, and a pinch of cayenne in a sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Once your spiced almond milk has steeped, whip in 1/4 cup (or 1oz.) of your favorite chopped dark chocolate and enjoy. The same issue also contains some interesting drink recipes for creating festive cocktails using Prosecco – a sparkling Italian white wine.

And of course, being the tea lover that I am, all this talk of beverages has me in the mind to buy a whole slew of spices in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs to create chai tea mix blends to gift for the holidays.

Also today, you can grab the ebook, Holiday Cookies: 14 New and Delicious Cookie Recipes (including one for Fido), at no cost for a limited time. It includes information on cooking cookie basics – hey, we can’t all be pros – and recipes for moon cookies, thumbprint cookies, molasses cookies, peppermint swirls, chocolate chunk cherry cookies, reindeer pellets, homemade dog treats and more!

Will you be making gifts for your friends and family this year?

Severe storms cripple areas of the United States

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I apologize for the lapse in blog articles recently. Many states, including Southwestern Virginia where I live, were devastated by storms Friday night. Locally half of my city’s population in Roanoke lost power, while some areas were knocked completely off the grid. The news is saying outlying areas will have full power restored by Thursday or Friday, while Roanoke is not expected to regain full power until Saturday. Temperatures have been soaring to a hundred degrees and more, and thunderstorms last night knocked power out for another 30,000 people in my area who previously still had power.
Vehicle crushed by tree toppled by Friday night’s wind storms. Photo by Cody Dillon-Owens
Some areas for which water is pumped in through wells are experiencing water shortages. There’s also a fire blazing in a nearby county. A block down from us, on my street, they still have no power where a tree knocked down a power line last Friday night. The tree has been removed, but the power line is still laying in the middle of the road. The road itself is taped off only with yellow caution tape. I only had internet service restored this afternoon, and lost power for a short time today. I’ve been very lucky. Unfortunately, many in Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia and other states are still without power and supplies. Gas stations are closed due to power loss or have run out of gas. Food has been lost in homes and grocery stores. And people have lost their lives. Please keep everyone affected by these storms in your thoughts as we all work to try to recover from Friday’s storms and the severe thunderstorms that have further crippled areas since Friday night.

New Handmade Soaps and a little Nom, Nom, Nom.

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I have three new handmade soaps curing as of several days ago that I think all just smell fabulous! I have also ordered some lavender essential oil so I can make an all natural lavender soap for spring, and of course, I have my order in with my co-worker’s daughter for some super awesome, tasty Girl Scout Cookies. Yes, I am a bonifide Girl Scout Cookie addict. My favorite Girl Scout Cookies are the Peanut Butter Sandwiches or what used to be called Do-Si-Dos. (Psst. Serious Eats has a knock off recipe for their tasty peanut butter sandwich cookies on their blog.)
But on to the soaps! You can look forward to these beauties being available for sale from Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen in about three weeks.
Bella’s Kiss Handmade Shea Butter Soap – A lovely, soft and feminine blend of Violet, Gardenia, Jasmine, Grapefruit, Vanilla, and White Woods. This scent is perfect for teens and young women! Though I’m late 30s and love it too!
Abalone & Sea Handmade Salt Bar Soap – A fresh, unisex scented sea salt bar soap with shea butter that combines the scents of Daylily, Sea Shell Abalone, Lime, Ozonic, Sea Spray Accord, Rose, Jasmine, Freesia, Lily, Beach Daisy, Woods, Musk, and Marine. I made this one for my boyfriend who was a huge fan of my Big Lick Salt Bar.
Pomegranate Cream Handmade Shea Butter Soap – I’ve had this one before it just looks a little different this go ’round. This soap boasts a fabulous scent combo of exotic, spicy pomegranate, wild bergamot, dewberry, iris, and jasmine followed by spicy notes of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, with base notes of precious woods and cedar. Currently you can buy a goat’s milk lotion from Rebecca’s Soap Delicatessen in this scent here!

And just in case Peanut Butter Sandwiches are not your favorite cookie, I won’t tease you by just giving you just one recipe for making Girl Scout Cookies. There are also recipes for making Caramel DeLites or Samoas at Yum Sugar, Tagalongs at Baking Bites, Thin Mints at Baking Bites, and Trefoils or Shortbread Cookies at CDKitchen. What’s your favorite Girl Scout Cookie to buy?

A Handmade Christmas All Wrapped Up! Onto Valentine’s Day!

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With Christmas all wrapped up, it’s time for me to start thinking ahead to the next “gifting” holiday – Valentine’s Day! Of course, I haven’t forgotten New Year’s, but I ate so much over the past few days I’m not sure I want to think about another carb filled party just quite yet. I’ll let that one sneak up on me. Valentine’s Day, however, I do like to plan for. I love finding unique, handmade treasures for my sweetheart and I enjoy making them! But first I want to share a few of the handmade finds I gifted for Christmas.
For Christmas I gave my sweetie a handmade guitar wallet from Found. As you can see from comparison it was greatly needed. Scott’s old Family Guy wallet was in such poor shape it had a huge hole in the middle. Regardless, he was very reluctant to let it go. The wallet from Found was the perfect replacement. It was hand crafted from remnants of leather hides and upholstery samples and has a spot inside not only for money and cards, but also a guitar pick. (See photos.) Perfect since Scott is both a bass player and guitar player. Where the guitar pick goes, rather than putting a traditional pick in that space, I included a hand stamped guitar pick necklace for him from Wyoming Creative. He was very excited by these new gifts. However, I still had to be the one to throw out his old wallet. For anyone who has ever been married it was sort of like tossing that old, holey t-shirt he still wears when he’s not looking. There’s that sort of mock devastation.

And, just for fun – because all sane men love bacon – I gave Scott some handmade Crispy Sizzling Bacon Lip Balm from Soap Art. Not only was he a huge fan of this very bacon smelling lip balm, but my dog Jasper wanted a lick too!
Now that all of the Christmas gifts have been opened, I’ve been working on some love inspired soaps for Valentine’s Day. The soap log pictured above was just unmolded today and sliced into bars with my handy Chef’s knife. It’s a cold process soap made with a combination of olive oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, rice bran oil and others and is scented with a Red Velvet Cake fragrance and a Red Currant scented soap heart center. Once it’s been exposed to air for a bit, the entire bar – minus the red soap heart – will turn a dark, chocolatey brown the same as the edges. I’m still working on a name for this one though, so if you have any ideas feel free to share them! I’ll also be introducing a White Chocolate Raspberry scented soap for Valentine’s Day as well.