Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's a Party! #56

Who's ready to stop doing laundry and party? Me! It totally stinks to come home from such a fun vacation and get back to doing normal things!! Is it wrong that I want to jump back on a plane and head to Disney again? Since Greg is not going to go for that, there's only one thing to do...party!





Good-bye "Happiest Place on Earth"...





Good-bye Daytona Beach...




Hello real world...



Yes, it's true, we're back from Disney World. We had the time of our lives and so much fun, but now it's back to the real world. Everybody is going back to work and I'm back to crafting! First on the "to-do" list is finish up all those craft projects sitting on that table!

Thank you to all my friends who filled in with guest posts while I was gone. Weren't they awesome?!! I've missed all of you and can't wait to get back in the groove of things around this little ol' blog! I'm thinking we should have some giveaway's this month and in July, we have 4 birthday's, so stay tuned. Oh, and I got so many ideas from all the Disney shops while I was there, if you're still into Disney, they're coming, too! 

See you later this afternoon for It's a Party!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Guest Post: Cranberry Morning

Hi Creative Princess readers! I know why you're all here - because Terri is one crafty lady and always full of good ideas! I've gotten to know Terri over the past couple years and always enjoy her creativity and sincerity. So it is truly an honor to be a guest on her blog.

My name is Judy. I live in NW Wisconsin and blog as Cranberry Morning. What I do between gardening and letting the dogs in and out of the house is...make luxury, handcrafted soaps. I love it. I started a couple years ago and have expanded to several different types of soap and an online shop, SoapnSuch.com.




If you've never made homemade soap, I thought you might like to see a sequence of photos that would help you understand what is involved in getting a bar of soap out of some oils, lye, and distilled water.

A couple years ago, a friend offered to hold a little class for a handful of us who were interested in making soap. The first thing she told us was that no one under 16 was allowed to be in the class or wandering within our work area. I've kept that as a rule.

 Another couple rules that I never break are: Be mindful of what you're doing! Lye is dangerous. It can cause severe burns and blindness if not handled carefully and mindfully! This is one time you definitely cannot afford distractions. Never mix the lye and water in the same area where my dogs or cats (or kids, of course) are. I always mix my lye and water in the basement and wait until the fumes have completely dissipated  before I bring it upstairs to use in the kitchen. It is also a good idea to keep your pets gated out of the area in which you are going to work, just in case there's a spill.

Never walk away from oils that are melting in a pan on the stove. No one needs a house fire. Some of the equipment you see in the photo above are among the essentials:
  • Good rubber gloves
  • Safety Glasses.  Spills and splashes have been known to occur.
  • A Wire Whisk
  • A good rubber scraper
  • A stick blender
Not shown above are:
  • Stainless Steel Pots (needed for melting oils, for holding lye water, for cooking the soap, etc.)
  • Measuring spoons
  • A good digital scale

Measuring the lye. ALWAYS wear rubber gloves and safety glasses when handling the lye bottle, the bowl of lye, and the lye water while and after mixing. Also, always pour the lye into the distilled water, rather than the other way around.



Melting the solids. Above you see the solid oils melting over a low burner. As soon as almost all of the oil has been melted, I remove the pan from the burner and let the heat of the oils melt the remaining solid.



After all the oils have been measured out and the solid oils are melting, then is the time that I pulverize any botanicals I'll be using in my recipe.



 I also get the natural colorant and the essential oils and/or fragrance oils measured and ready to go.



Some colorants need to be infused. Some can be added at trace. In the photo above, (a different recipe), olive oil had been infused with the colorant in a small crockpot for a couple hours. Then I let it sit overnight before putting it in a cheesecloth-lined strainer, trying to keep as much particulate out as possible.



Back to our recipe. In this photo, the oils have all been combined and the lye water has been added and I'm beginning to blend them with the stick blender. It's a handy little tool. I hear that in days past Great Great Grandma used to simply stand all day and stir. YIKES. Not for me. The colorant and the botanical are close at hand so I can add them at trace. Trace is what it's called when the soap has thickened to the point of a thinnish pudding.



The soap has been brought 'to trace' and I'm whisking in the natural colorant. Some colorants are added at trace, some are added to the oils at the beginning. It all depends upon the recipe and the colorant used. In this case, I am using a fragrance oil to scent this soap. This fragrance oil has a high enough flash point (the point at which the scent will burn off) that I don't need to worry about losing it during the cooking process.

* *There are different methods of soapmaking, among them, these three:

Cold Process: The soap has been brought to trace, all the colorant and scenting oils have been mixed in, and the soap has been poured into the mold. The soap stays in the mold for 26 hours before it's cut into bars. Cold Process takes the longest to cure, for it's curing (going through the saponification process) at room temperature. Any of my cold process soaps are cured for 4-6 weeks minimum.     

Saponification: Think of the oils and the lye water as enemies equally matched (that's where exact measurement of oils and lye and distilled water comes in!). During saponification, all the lye soldiers fight with all the oil soldiers and they completely cancel each other out. By the time saponification is complete, there are no lye soldiers and there are no oil soldiers. There is only soap. (Yes, I homeschooled for many years and I can hear myself saying stuff like this to my kids.) It's like hydrogen, oxygen, and water. oh nevermind. (Thank you, Bethany, water was a good example, but I'm stuck on those lye and oil soldiers.)

Hot Process: After bringing to trace, the soap is cooked in the oven where it goes through the saponification process BEFORE it is put into the mold. In hot process, fragrance oils and essential oils are sometimes added after the cook.

Cold Process Oven Process: This is when after the soap is brought to trace, all botanicals, colorants, and essential oils have been stirred in, and the soap is poured into the mold - just like in Cold Process, BUT, now it goes into the oven for a specified temp and time and then the oven is turned off and the soap finishes curing in the oven as the oven cools down.



I've got my mold lined and ready. My dear hubby made me three soap molds to my specifications. Two of them have removable partitions so that I can make smaller batches of soap - as needed. Also the ends are removable. That really helps in getting the soap out of the mold! I line the wood molds with freezer paper, shiny side up. Works beautifully!



This is the [hot process] soap after it has cooked. I test it to make sure the pH isn't too high. Some people use pH-testing drops, but I do the tongue test. So far, it's been just right and I've not zapped my tongue - ever. But I have noticed that I have no sense of taste anymore. (JUST KIDDING.) The soap at this stage is like semi-melted ice cream in consistency. I stir it, then scoop it into the wood mold. It' s good idea to smack the mold against the counter a few times as you're adding the soap, so that all the corners of the mold get filled. At this point, the soap is starting to set up, so it's important to work FAST.



The soap after having been scooped into the mold. It will remain there overnight, and in the morning I will cut it into bars and set them on the drying/curing racks. There they will be turned 90 degrees every day for a few weeks.



Last is the labeling and shipping. So there you have it! Why handcrafted soaps? Because they don't have all the nasty chemicals that many soaps have, they lather nicely without drying your skin, and only natural ingredients are used. Each of my soaps comes with a label that lists the ingredients. I never ever use animal products or artificial colorants. All my oils are top quality and my soaps are scented with essential oils and/or a good quality fragrance oil. They also last a looooong time! Setting your bar of soap on a slotted soap dish, keeping it out of the water and letting it dry between uses will extend the soap life. I hope this little tutorial has answered some of your questions about homemade soap.


Photobucket
...and more! Check out all my handcrafted soaps at
HomemadeSoapNSuch
 
Photobucket

Thank you, Judy! Judy is too modest and sweet to say this herself, so I will. I can personally tell you that her soaps are awesome!! The only problem I have with them is deciding what "flavor" to get when I order from her!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Guest Post: Paper and Lace

Hello Everyone,

My name is Nicole and I was one of the lucky people Terri chose to be a guest on her blog this month.  My project for this month is a Trash-To-Treasure Beach Themed Memo board/chalkboard.

 I rescued an old serving tray that was bound for the landfill, and created something that I believe is both useful and beautiful.  As soon as I laid eyes on this tray I knew I was going to convert it into a memo board on the woven side, and after realizing that the reverse side was relatively smooth that is must become a chalkboard!

 I painted the woven side with white milk paint and the smooth side with chalkboard spray paint.  I adhered the fishing net to the front of the memo board with hot glue after painting both sides.  For the chalkboard side I painted a Scrabble tile holder with the same white milk paint and adhered it to the chalkboard with hot glue after the paint had dried.

 The sea star on the front was a gift from my brother from one of his trips to the ocean, and the rest of the sea shells were in my stash.  The green sea glass was purchased at Michael's as was the little Tim Holtz glass bottle.

  In keeping with the beach theme I used some simple cotton rope as a hanger and voila! I hope you enjoyed this project and found some inspiration to create something beautiful of your own!  Please feel free to stop by my blog and say hello. http://paperandlace123.blogspot.com/

Thanks again Terri for featuring me as a guest on your blog! 

Hugs, Nicole


This is the before shot of the woven side of the serving tray.



Here is the before shot of the smooth side of the serving tray.



Here is the after shot of the memo board.



This is the after shot of the chalkboard side.



Wow, Nicole! It's beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Disney Travel Activity Kit

Okay, so I told you I was a horrible traveler Here when I made the Airplane Bingo for something to do on the plane with the kids. I know myself and knew we were going to need more to do to keep me from fitcheting.



And something to keep everything in.



I had this planner that I bought in January to keep myself organized. See how well that worked out? It's still brand new.



I had Jordyn stick ribbon to one side of double sided carpet tape. I thought I took pictures of her doing it, but must not have. After she had it all stuck on, I cut between the two ribbons. It's a great way to use ribbon on projects like this without using glue!



When you're ready to use the ribbon, you just peel the backing off the back and it sticks great. I attached a Mickey Mouse washer to the zipper. The tutorial for it is Here.



For something to put the Airplane Bingo cards in, I took cardstock and folded it in half. I glued one side and added the ribbon tape and punched holes in the other side.



Of course, more Disney stickers!



There's paper already in the planner, but wanted to add a white board to draw on. I had one that could be cut to fit...



and Greg came up and cut it for me.

Have I ever told you the story behind that saw? It does everything! One morning Greg and I were in the car going somewhere and he told me my saw would be here in the next day or two. What saw??? and why would I want a saw? Evidentally, one night when he couldn't sleep, he turned the t.v. on in the bedroom and I woke up and saw an infomercial for it. I begged him to order it for me and he did. I thought he was lying and just wanted it for himself, but look where he put it...in my craft room! Okay...maybe I should believe him now that I talk in my sleep!!



I stuck more ribbon tape around the edges.



I took the pencil bag that came with the planner and mod-podged paper to it.



The Draw Something Disney cards that I made are Here and it all fits in there perfectly. Now, if that doesn't keep us busy for the 2 1/2 hour plane ride, I don't know what will!

Happy Friday!

Here are the parties I join each week.



Pin It

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's a Party! #55

Don't you love parties? Especially ones where you can see what everyone has been doing lately? There is so much creativity out here in blogland!! So, what are we waiting for? Let's go!





Guest Post: Craft Geek

Hi Creative Princess readers!

I am Jesika from Craft Geek I love to cook, craft, sew and a million other hobbies. I am excited to be here helping Terri out and sharing a fun and super easy recipe.


I love all types of vegetables but since I am the only one in my house I tend to have vegetables that last forever and a day so I need to think of all kinds of ways to use them all up. On my most recent trip to the farmer’s market I found a huge bundle of asparagus and it was super cheap so I had to take one home.
<>
yum


So I sat looking at the remaining bundle after roasting and steaming the other half. I wanted to do something that incorporated roasting but did not have the same taste as the asparagus I had the night before. I decided parmesan cheese would make it different but still fabulous.

Ingredients:

Asparagus
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Freshly Grated Parmesan

Seasoned and ready for the oven!

Super Easy!! Heat the oven to 400 and roast the asparagus with olive oil, salt,& pepper for 12 minutes. Once that goes off remove and sprinkle with parmesan and return to the over for 3-5 minutes or if you have more food to prep turn the over off when you add the cheese and it will melt the cheese and keep it warm.

Roasted and awaiting cheese!

It was a super good super easy side and pretty healthy too. All in all I would try it if I were you!
<><><>
All Done!

Thank you for having me Terri and be sure to stop on by and check out the other recipes and crafts I have on my page. :]

Stay Crafty & Thank you again!

-Jesika


Thank you, Jesika! That is the absolute favorite way we cook asparagus at our house. We all love it and I can never fix enough of it!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Guest Post: Life with My Pollitos


Hola A Creative Princess readers. My name is Sapphire and I'm over from my lil corner in the blog-o-sphere, Life with My Pollitos. I

ramble blog a bit about mama-hood, crafts, recipes, my Latino culture & everything else in between.


I'm honored to be guest posting for Terri. She's one of my favorite craft bloggers. I happen to love all of her re-purpose crafts. She totally thinks out of the box.

 
Today, I would love to share with you an obsession of mine. Wreaths! Yes, I adore looking at and making wreaths. Who knew! Since joining Pinterest last summer, I've pinned over 78 wreaths, and have re-created several here, here, here and here. Making them is almost like a mommy time-out for me, and the big bonus is that they make my front door welcoming. Now what you may encounter inside is a different story. I, kid! I, kid!

With Summer right around the corner, I'd like to show you a fun and colorful wreath that I recently created. Perfect for a luau this, Cocktail Umbrella Wreath will make anyone smile. Plus it is sooooooo easy to make.

What you'll need:
  • Straw wreath
  • Cocktail Umbrellas (Learn from my mistake & go straight to Party City, that is if you have one in your area.)
  • Ribbon of your choice
  • 2 greening pins or something similar

What to do:
  • Keep your straw wreath wrapped in plastic
  • Open your little parasols & stick them into the wreath, until totally covered.
  • Cut your ribbon to the size you desire, pin it to the back of the wreath, using the greening pins
Now how easy was that?!? And in no time you'll have something similar to this cutie...


I hope I've inspired you a bit today. Please feel free to stop on over to my neck of the woods for other interesting reads. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for having me, Terri!


 


Thank you so much, Sapphire! Now I've got to confess something. I ask Sapphire to do this tutorial because I absolutely adore it!! How perfect for summer!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Guest Post: Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo




Hi, it's me Mindie from Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo. I am here to make a confession.  I own many cookbooks, and have even been published in one, yet I almost never prepare recipes straight from a cookbook.  I tend to enjoy throwing meals together from the bounty found in my pantry.  I like to create recipes on the fly.  Every so often one of those quick fix last minute pantry raid meals turns out to be amazing.  The recipe I am sharing with you today is just one of those recipes.  I raided my pantry, trying to make dinner on a small budget and in a short amount of time.  This recipe is not only quick but uber delicious.  

Ingredients:
Serves 4 to 5 people

12.5 ounces of fully cooked and chopped chicken (or 1 large can of cooked chicken)
             4 ounces of chopped fire roasted green chilies  (or 1 small can of fire roasted chilies)
1 can (10 ounces) of mild green chile enchilada sauce 
1 can (15.25 ounces) of yellow corn, no salt added, drained
8 ounces of light sour cream
1 cup of shredded cheese (I used taco blend cheese)
1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 egg (for muffin mix)
1/3 cup of milk (for muffin mix)

Optional: Before serving top with more sour cream. Serve hot sauce on the side. Garnish with chopped green onion or cilantro.


Directions:

In a large casserole dish, greased or sprayed with non stick butter flavored spray, mix your chicken, chilies, enchilada sauce, corn, and sour cream together. Top with your shredded cheese. Then pour your corn muffin mix batter that you have already prepared over the top.  Bake in a preheated 400 F degree oven for 20 minutes or until corn bread crust is done in center. 

Step 1 mix first five ingredients together.


Step 2 top with shredded cheese.


Step 3 top with your corn bread muffin mix batter, bake and enjoy.


This is one of those recipes that will surprise you with how good it is, yet it is so easy and affordable to prepare. Thanks for letting me spend some time with you all today.  I hope you will give this recipe a try, I know you won't regret it. 



Thank you, Mindie!

I can tell everyone that this recipe is awesome! I fixed it after Mindie sent me this post!


Pin It