Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Soap Challenge Club- Taiwan Swirl

I love soap challenges! Anything that gives me an excuse to break out with my soaping oils and spatulas is a GOOD thing. That's why, I was super excited to hear that the new Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge Club's challenge was the…



      Never heard of the Taiwan Swirl? You will LOVE it. It's easy to do, yet makes a remarkable bar of soap that looks like it took ages to create.

      For my SCC (That's "Soap Club Challenge") soap, I went with a CK-One dupe fragrance oil. It had great reviews, reminded me of being a preteen, and was a slow-moving fragrance. All of these great attributes made it the PERFECT fragrance oil for what I was trying to do. I figured that a clean, refreshing palette of crisp white, bright blue, and black would do this unisex fragrance justice. I love the results.
Want to see how I did it? No worries! I made a video! ;)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Vanilla Goat's Milk Soap

I've been playing with additives in my soap. With this one, I went a little overboard, but totally in a good way. First, I knew that I wanted to use egg yolks. Egg yolks are supposed to up the lather, and I've also heard that the fat in the yolk is super conditioning to the skin. I wanted a super gentle, super conditioning soap, so I decided…. 1.) Goat's Milk- Conditioning, great for sensitive skin. 2.) Egg yolks- Also conditioning, said to reduce redness and give SUPER LATHER! 3.) Avocado puree- Wait, what? Yup, avocado puree. I was playing with my food processor and made a great avocado puree. I made so much, though, that I froze the extra in individual cubes to save and toss in soaps that I thought would benefit from it. Since I knew this soap was going to be dark (from the vanillin in the Vanilla fragrance oil), I figured, "Why not?" So on to the avocado puree on the list… 3.) Avocado puree- ALSO gives great lather, and avocado is rich in vitamins A, D, and E… as well as containing a whopping amount of potassium, which helps the goodies penetrate deep into the skin. Score! 4.) Organic honey- antimicrobial, it's a humectant (attracts moisture and helps retain it), contains antioxidants AND, I thought it would go well with the whole goat's milk/vanilla theme. Who DOESN'T like vanilla and honey? If you raised your hand, I'm watching you… there's something weird about you. ;) 5.) Three kinds of butters. WHOOP! Okay, so it's cold outside and that means that it's prime dry-skin weather. I wanted to load on the butters. So I added cocoa, shea, and mango. If you've never used mango, it's phenomenal… try it. So enough of my rambling, you're probably wondering what it looks like.
The photo on the left is how it looked when I put it in the mold. The photo on the right is the end product. All prettied up and ready to start curing. It takes about 3 days after cutting for it to discolor to this point. I had planned on it discoloring, so I left it completely plain and embraced the chocolate-y beauty of it. THIS is why you always have to take vanillin into consideration when designing your soaps. My vanilla fragrance is from Bramble Berry. It smells wonderful! Excited to see how this one turns out.

Monday, June 24, 2013

New Week- New Giveaway!

     Summertime is my favorite time.  Bright colors, warm weather, LOVE!


     So to celebrate summer, Spicy Pinecone is giving away a free Rainbow Rattle Mini Lovey!


     This Mini Lovey has been hand dyed by me in a Rainbow Spiral, washed with professional, baby-safe detergent and finished with a baby-safe professional grade fabric softener for super plush, super snuggly softness.  A CPSIA compliant rattle has been sewn on the inside of one corner for your loved one's entertainment.  Our Mini Lovey measures 15" x 22" and is the perfect size for your loved one to chew and snuggle.

     As with all hand-dyed items, please wash by itself for the first few washes.  As always, machine wash cold and tumble dry low.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Great Cakes Soapworks Peacock Swirl Challenge

   Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks started a Soap Challenge Club and the first technique was the Peacock Swirl.  I had never tried this before, so I decided to give it a whirl.


     Rainbow Sherbert Peacock was born!  This soap is scented with Rainbow Sherbert fragrance oil from Nature's Garden, and it smells good enough to eat!  

      Okay, now the process....

First, I had to get all of my supplies together:

     I used micas and titanium dioxide from The Conservatorie to color my soap.  The marbling rake was made using curler picks and a piece of cardboard.  I liked the look of a tightly swirled peacock swirl, so I spaced mine closer together.  :)

     I mixed up a slow-moving soap recipe to give myself time to work with the swirl, lined a pizza box (I wanted a lot of room to work), and then got all of my colors into my squeeze bottles.  Poured the majority of my soap batter (colored with TD) into the box, and then took a deep breath...

  It was time to start squeezing and marbling.  I went crazy with the colors, but also squirted some white to help define the swirls.

Above is a picture before using the rake and doing the "S" swirls...
And now (above) here is the photo AFTER swirling.  I am now SUCH a fan of this technique and really can't wait to try it again!  

     After a day of drying, it was ready to cut and shoot.

     Hungry?  ;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Thermofax Screen Printing

     I've always wanted to learn how to screen print and recently found a very easy and economical way to do it.

    Thermofax screen printing!

     Super easy, and even easier on the wallet.  Also, babies look cute in hermit crab onesies.  ;)

Here's how:

TONS of possibilites.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Music Made Me Do It... and More Experimentation

     Okay, so it took me a while to recover from Christmas.  With four kids, I think it's amazing that I made it through the holiday without any help (husband deployed, but returning soon) and with my sanity relatively intact.  Go, me!  *fist pump*  Everyone still has all their arms, legs, toes, and fingers... so I'll call it a victory.

     Cheerleading aside, I've been busy since my last post.

     When Kai was a baby, his all-time favorite song was Owl City's "Fireflies".  If you haven't heard it, you can hear it here.  I've had it on my playlist forever, and he still requests it every now and then.  The last time he did, I had an idea to put fireflies in his room.

     How to do it?  VINYL!  More specifically, glow-in-the-dark vinyl.

     And if Kai was going to have fireflies, it was only fair for Cam to have them too.  So I got to work painting up some (4) canvases.

 And then designed a file in Silhouette Studio Designer Edition for my fireflies.

Afterwards, I cut the fireflies out of glow-in-the-dark vinyl and enlisted the help of my kids to put them on the canvases.  They had a blast!

And then we lined them up to admire our work.

Next, we tested their glow-in-the-dark abilities.  Believe it or not, they glow BRIGHT!  I just couldn't get my iPhone to cooperate with a good pic.

Finally, we hung them up.  The boys love looking at the fireflies when they go to bed at night.

     After the firefly canvases, my latest project has been dyeing fabric.  I tried a few different experiments, and I think that the shibori dyeing technique is by far my favorite.  (All the way to the left.)

     These were done on cotton gauze with Dylon fabric dye.  I'm still experimenting with different techniques and would love to carry some hand-dyed baby blankets in the shop once I've tested a few different things out and see what I like best.

     Hope everyone is enjoying their new year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Embellished Burlap Table Runner How-to

     I wanted to have something fantastic on the table for Christmas dinner this year.  I've seen a lot of burlap being used for various projects and thought to myself, why not a table runner?  From there, the idea just kind of took off on it's own and evolved several times.  At the end, though, I'm super happy with what came to be...

    There were a few firsts for me, (using burlap, fabric ink, and a new material for stenciling) so it was a bit of a shot in the dark experiment.  Sometimes shots in the dark work out!

Here's what you'll need:

Main fabric- I used burlap.  You can find it at your local fabric store.  You'll want enough to have one continuous strip across your table plus about 12" or so on either side to hang over.  (So length of table + 24")
Backing fabric- I used muslin that I had in my fabric stash.  There should be the same amount of backing as there is main fabric.
Rotary cutter and Scissors
Ruler or measuring tape.
Sewing Machine
Paint Mask- This was a first for me.  I guess this stuff is used for painting cars, but it can be found at vinyl suppliers (I used H&  You'll need enough for your graphics plus a 1-2" border around the design.
Transfer tape or contact paper
Sponge Paint Brush
Fabric ink- I used the stuff that came in my Silhouette kit, however, it's the same as you can find at the hobby store for silkscreening.
Vinyl Cutting Machine or a steady hand, utility knife, and a lot of patience- I used my Silhouette Cameo, as I am seriously lacking in that kind of patience and it was a huge design.  If it's just a small one, I could see doing it by hand, though.
Weeding Hook or needle and tweezers
Iron and/or Heat Press- I used both, though just an iron would be okay.  You'll see in the tutorial how I used them.
Freezer paper or scrap paper- To keep the ink from bleeding through onto the surface of whatever you are painting on.

Step 1- Cut your main fabric and backing to the size of your table plus 24" (that gives you 11" of overhang on either side after factoring in a 1" seam allowance) for the length and then the width you want plus 2".  (Mine was 20" wide.)  For burlap, I found that an easy way to make a straight cut was to pull on one of the end threads.  It would gather the burlap and eventually snap, but left a nice, clean straight line to follow for when you cut it.
Step 2- After your main fabric and backing are cut, iron freezer paper on to the back of your main fabric.  (Main fabric being the top fabric that you are going to paint.  See which side of the burlap you want to use... some sides are prettier than others, and iron the freezer paper onto the ugly or "wrong" side.
And keep ironing...
... until the back parts of the runner that will have the graphics on them is completely covered.

Step 3- Using your cutting machine, cut out your design on your paint mask.  You may have to cut the paint mask down to fit onto your mat.
     Also, if your design is large.... you may have to cut it in several sections.

Step 4-  Weed your design.  Using your weeding hook, remove the parts of the stencil that you will want to paint.  This part may leave you a little covered in paint mask vinyl.

Step 5-  Lay out your design the way you want it.

     Once you're happy with how it looks (keep seam allowances in mind!  Don't place it too near the edge or some may disappear into a seam), use your transfer tape or contact paper to remove the design from the backing and onto your main fabric.  (Use the squeegee over the transfer tape once it's on top of the vinyl and then peel off the backing... then place it on your main fabric and squeegee again.)  Before I put the contact paper on top of the vinyl to remove it from the backing, I like to stick the contact paper on the carpet and pull up a few times to get the stickiness down a bit.  Makes it easier to remove later.

Step 6- This is BY FAR the hardest part of making this.  Peel back the transfer tape.  Go slow, take your time.  Cut the excess transfer tape away as you're doing it. I don't have a photo of this step because I was charging my phone, but use one hand to hold down the vinyl and the other to remove the transfer tape.  This takes awhile.  Be patient.

   I do, however, have a pic of some of the words with the transfer tape peeled off while the rest wait for  transfer tape and placement.
     As you get the decals on there, go back over them gently with your squeegee, and/or press firmly with your hand to resticky it to the main fabric if it came up at all.

Step 7-  Now comes the fun part.  Using your sponge brush, apply the fabric ink to the decals, being careful to stay within the frame of the decal and not go out of the lines.  I did a thin coat and waited for it to dry.  Then did a second coat a bit thicker... blotting up and down with my brush.
     What you DON'T want to do, is paint so forcefully that you pull up your stencil... or blob so much paint that it bleeds all over the place regardless of the stencil.  The freezer paper will also help keep the ink in check.

Step 8-  Once the paint is COMPLETELY dry, peel back the stencil.  This was my favorite part by far.  So fun to see the end result peeking through.  Then, heat seal it.  You can either use an iron and iron through a protective layer of fabric (such as an old pillowcase) or a heat press if you want to blaze through it.  Make sure you use a teflon sheet if you use your heat press.

Step 9-  Now it's time to sew it together.  Pin your fabric right sides together.  Starting on one long side, sew down and around 3 sides with a 1" seam allowance.  Leave one short side open so you can turn it right-side out.  Iron.

Step 10- Tuck the unsewn short side inside 1" and press flat.  Sew as close to the edge as you can.  To finish the runner off, top stitch around the entire  runner.  I topstitched slightly under 1" to catch and hold all of the layers.  Then, you're done!

     Send pics if you guys make some!  I'd love to see them.  Enjoy!