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DIY Gift- Homemade Soap

10 Dec

Welcome to another DIY gift! This is a method for making your own soap right in your kitchen. Homemade soap is an excellent gift or addition to your own home.

Cold Process vs Melt and Pour

There are two major methods of making soap. The first and more traditional method is cold process. This method uses lye and requires a curing process.  It requires a bit more skill and is not ideal for children.

The second method is melt and pour. The name is self explanatory. You use a soap base and melt it then pour it into a mold. You can purchase soap base from craft stores in either white or clear. Alternately you can purchase ready made bars of soap and melt it down.

In this post I use already made soap bars as I was unable to get soap base and it worked fine.

WHAT YOU NEED 

Soap base (craft store soap base or readymade soap)

Scent-essential oils or soap scent

Add-ins- I used loose leaf tea. You can use soap add ins or other herbs, dried flowers etc.

WHAT TO DO 

Bring water to a boil in a saucepan 

Place shredded soap into a heat safe bowl  and place that on top of the boiling water.



Add water as needed to mixture until it becomes thick and smooth.





Add scent and any colouring desired.





Spray mold with cooking spray to make removal easier.

Pour soap into mold and add add-ins

Spray the top of the soap mixture with rubbing alcohol to get rid of the bubbles.

Place into refrigerator or a cool dry place and allow the soap to dry out. Note that the more water you add in the melting process the longer it will take to dry.


Remove soap carefully from mold.

Lightly score the soap to decide where to cut.

Once you have sliced the soap you can allow it to completely dry out 

Wrap and gift!

This is an awesome DIY gift, the type of thing your friends will want to receive. Try it out and have an awesome day!

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A Few Autumnal Things

8 Oct

Happy Autumn! Whether you spend this time of year raking up fallen leaves and dressing warmly or you just enjoy the trendy aspects like PSLs and BBW candles.

I fall into the latter category (although I’m not a huge PSL fan) and today I’m sharing a few things that I will be using this autumn.

Bag

This year, I have become quite enamored with mini structured bags. This one, in a russet/chestnut shade by GUESS makes going about hands free easy and autumnal.

Makeup

Eyeshadow Palette 

Naked Heat by Urban Decay- If this isn’t autumn in an eyeshadow palette I don’t know what is. There is a great mixture of browns, coppers and reds that allow for a variety of warm eye looks as the weather cools down.

Just Peachy Matte by Too Faced– If this isn’t autumn in an eyeshadow palette I don’t… wait I said that already… but ditto! This palette is a fantastic mix of all the matte warm shadows you could need. There are peachy and deep red shades that compliment all skin tones.
Highlighter

Trippin Stick Highlighter by Fenty Beauty– Got that Fenty Beauty booty! This highlight stick gives an orange hued golden effect on my deep skin. I particularly like using it on my nose. It gives me Autum-glam vibes.
Lipstick

Matte Tease by Milan- Autumn lips are all about the plums and wines. This is a deep burnt brownish plum shade that adds the perfect touch to any makeup look.

Body Scents 

Perfume

Black Opium by YSL/Saint Laurent- I love this fragrance. It’s deep with some musk and a touch of sweetness. Fantastic for cooler weather. I initially tried this scent in a mini and loved it so much that it made it’s way onto this year’s birthday wishlist. Thank you to my beautiful friend Tanya for fulfilling that wish.

Body Mist


Warm Vanilla Sugar by BBW-
This year I’ve gotten back into layering fragrances. It creates a unique scent (in a good way) and if your overlying scent wears off you still smell great. This summer I used a Coconut body mist as my base scent but now I’m ready for this warm sweet vanilla scent that goes beautifully with this time of year.


Home Scents


Bourbon Butterscotch candle from White Barn/BBW-
This candle smells just like you would imagine, a little sweet, a bit dark and very warm. Perfect!


Pomegranate Noir travel candle by Jo Malone-
This is my very first Jo Malone candle (or anything for that matter) I have been lusting after these products for actual year’s and I finally bit the bullet. I opted for a travel candle which is really a mini so it was cheaper and I can see if this brand is for me. The fragrance is a deep fruity mixed with woodsy one. It’s great for cooler months especially but I think I would love it year round.


Book

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake- Last but by no means least is my autumnal reading. I actually began this book a few weeks ago but only got a few chapters in, not because the book isn’t awesome, just because I’m not awesome. Anyhow this story takes place in what seems to be someplace in Europe around the middle ages and involves three sisters separated at birth all vying for the same crown in a rather unique way. The setting is dark and chilly with lots of woods and feasts. A perfect autumnal read.

Thanks for reading and have an awesome autumn!

A few Spring things

12 Mar

A few Spring things

Happy spring! So even though the Spring Equinox isn’t until March 20th,  today is the day where clocks spring forward, so technically it’s spring right. I should also add that I do not live in a temperate climate so technically these seasons aren’t experienced where I am but it doesn’t stop me from totally getting excited about this time of year.

I decided to do a post sharing some things I have been recently enjoying and plan to continue doing so into the upcoming spring season. The items aren’t spring themed, just happen to be living them right now.


MAKEUP


Sweet Peach palette by Too Faced

This palette is a re-release from Too Faced, originally being a limited edition but now added to the right permanent line and massively expanded to include highlighters, blush and lip colours. This was a surprise favourite for me because initially I was unimpressed. Quite a few beauty bloggers/vloggers expressed disappointment with the palette and I was genuinely turned off. I actually walked into Sephora to purchase an entirely different palette a few weeks ago and just glanced over at this one. I switched the colours and I was hooked. 

Packaging

The packaging is the standard Too Faced metal palette that closes magnetically. It is ombre peach coloured with raised peaches across it. This actually makes it a bit difficult to stack with other flat palettes.

Product 

This palette costs $49 US and it contains 18 shadows each 0.95g .There are 5 matte shares all in neutral colours that I think can work for any skin tone. The rest of the palette is comprised of satiny and shimmers in corals, coppers and purples as well as an olive shade and a shimmery black shade.

Impression

For me, I love this palette. I can create complete looks with it alone including a completely neutral look (but why would you want to with all these awesome shades) 

Moda Makeup Brushes

Moda face brushes

By now most of us who have an interest in makeup would have heard of the Artis makeup brushes. For those who haven’t , it’s a set of flat head high end makeup brushes. These brushes made their rounds in the beauty community last year but for many of us regular folk the price was just too high. Then came the dupes.There are more than a few companies who have fashioned their version of the Artis makeup face brushes charging a pretty penny for them too. Then came Moda. This brand has been steadily making a name for itself as a brightly coloured, affordable, decent quality drugstore makeup tools line. I first knew of this brand of face brushes through Emmy Noel, one of my favourite beauty YouTubers. She gave them her stamp of approval and that was all I needed to hear. This set of four brushes goes for around $15 US at Walmart and is by far the cheapest I have seen any of these brushes yet.

Style

These are paddle head brushes compared to your typical makeup brushes with very densely packed fires. The colour is awesome resembling a cross between oil slick and mermaid skin on the handles and unicorn hair for  the bristles. Honestly I was sold on the appearance alone.
Function

The largest brush is meant for foundation (liquid or creme). The second size is meant for blush and bronzer.  The third one is for contouring and the fourth and smallest is meant for concealer. Obviously you can use the  however you like. I find myself getting the most use out of the two larger ones. I appreciate applying my foundation with something different to a sponge. I also find I use less product when I use this brush to apply. The blush brush is the perfect size for blush application.

If you are interested in this style of makeup brushes but can’t or won’t splurge on the more expensive version, definitely give these a go.

Colour Switch


Color Switch by Vera Mona

This little tin here was a true game changer for me. A colour switch allows you to reuse the same makeup brushes in the same time frame i.e while creating the same look. I was going crazy trying to create a cute look and realising I didn’t quite have enough brushes to do it with. If I used my brush cleaner, the brush got wet and wouldn’t dry out in time.

Until

I got

Color Switch

This invention is genius. It is essentially a circular chunk of very  porous, hard sponge not unlike that found in aquarium filters. You rub the brush in circles to get off product. You can use both sides and wash it when it gets particularly dirty.

Milani Lip Color Remover

In this day and age where long wear matte lipsticks are a dime a dozen,  this little tube is a saving grace. It is the colour and consistency of a petroleum jelly lip gloss. This thing really works! Just put it on and remove using a bit of tissue and the lip color comes right off.

SKIN AND BODY CARE

Elf Hydrating Bubble Mask

E.l.f mask



While other drugstore brands are busy expanding their makeup line, e.l.f has done that and is now making a foray into affordable skin care. So far I’ve seen facial cleansers, masks, day and night time moisturizers. I picked this one up because I’ve been curious about bubble masks but didn’t want to buy an expensive one only to hate it. I don’t hate this. I have feelings opposite to hate for this. 

Packaging

The packaging with this skin care line is a real winner. It is in a pale aqua cylindrical tub set into frosted translucent hard glass making it look rather luxe. The product comes through a hole in the top via a pumping motion.

Product

The mask comes out as a clear almost greasy substance with a mild you citrus scent. Upon touching moist skin it becomes white and foamy but it takes about two minutes before it truly bubbles. Bubble masks feel weird. Lol. The sensation is tingly and feels as if I poured a Sprite onto my face. After use my face felt clean but not dry which is what the product promised.


Philosophy Pink Marshmallow Buttercream shower gel

Shower gel

Philosophy makes intensely scented bath and body products. Whatever the scent is on the bottle is EXACTLY what it smells like.This can be used as shower gel, bubble bath or shampoo. It lathers well and leaves a gentle lingering scent on your skin. What I love about Philosophy products like this is that they print actual recipes on the front of the bottles to go along with the fragrance. I picked this one up from T.J Maxx and paid about $4 which is about half of the original price  (according to T.J. Maxx)


Body Shop Italian Summer Figure Body Cream


Cream

Yes, I am featuring a summer fig cream in a spring favourites post. This was another T.J.Maxx (my favourite off-price retail store) find and it was a good one. I paid $5US for mine but you can get it from The Body Shop for about $10. This cream comes in the traditional Body shop cream container and the graphics are clean and simple as with most body shop products. It smells delicious. It is rich and a little sweet with a fresh almost grassy undertone. It’s the type of scent that makes you constantly sniff your hands (or foot or whatever body part you put it on). The consistency of the cream is soft and whipped and extremely moisturizing.


FRAGRANCE

Elizabeth and James Nirvana rollerballs 

Rollerballs



Elizabeth and James is a line owned by the prolific business savvy Olsen twins: Mary-Kate and Ashley.  The names come from two of their younger siblings and the Nirvana fragrances have become more and more popular. 

I previously used the Nirvana White as a fragrance sampler set I got from Sephora about a year ago. Since then I’ve been hooked. The Nirvana line now has four fragrances: E&J Nirvana White, E&J Nirvana Black, E&J Nirvana Rose and E&J Nirvana Bourbon.

These fragrances have something for everyone occasion. The White has a clean fresh daytime scent. Black is darker and more musky and great for evening to night. Rose is light and romantic and almost powdery, fantastic for day wear or a date night. Bourbon is my favorite. It does somewhat embody the essence of Bourbon. It has depth and a bit of sweetness. I prefer this for nighttime but it can work in the day as well.

 I purchased this set of four rollerballs from Sephora for $28 which is a bit of a bargain for rollerballs these days. I am into buying sample or travel sizes of items because it allows me to test something before committing to a full size as well as giving an opportunity to try many things at once.


BBW Tomato Vine Candle

Candle

This candle smells diVINE!  (get it?) Bath and body Works continues to grow their candle line exploring more sophisticated scents. This is one of those and what a great job they did. This candle smells earthy, green and a little bit tart. It is very fragrant and throws fairly well. This works well being burnt in the mid morning to early afternoon as well as a fragrant backdrop for an after dinner glass of wine.

Those are my spring favourites. Maybe something I featured is a favourite of yours or maybe you’ll want to test out some for yourself. Have an awesome day!

Champagne Gummy Bears

28 Dec


Hello everyone.  Hoping you had a beautiful Christmas/Holiday season and are as eager as I am to leave 2016 behind. It hasn’t been all bad but it was definitely messy. 

This is a recipe I tried a couple months ago but I thought would be a perfect NYE treat… Champagne Gummy bears. Of course, you can also use regular wine.

I first heard of these about two or three years ago. At that point they were only being sold by a very high end gourmet candy company and though beautiful and delicious looking, not easily attainable for me.

Then the pictures and tutorials began showing up on Pinterest and I knew…I had to try.

The recipe I used is a mash up of two I found online.  One is from Cooking with Janica and Sprinkle Bakes. I used less gelatin than both recipes called for and it gave me a softer gummy which I prefer. I also used the recommendation from Sprinkle Bakes of adding an additional flavour because just using the wine makes it a bit bland. So let us continue. ..

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 cup Wine– champagne, prosecco, red, white, blush. I used a white, a red and a sparkling rose.

2) Gummy bear molds– I bought these on Amazon, each can make 50 bears and it comes in pairs.

3) 3 packets of gelatin (or if you want a vegan option, use agar-agar)

4) Food colouring– Depends on the flavour, I used pink for the rose, red for the red wine and a little yellow for the white wine.

5) 1/2 cup of white sugar

6) 2-3 drops of wine food flavouring – yes this exists but I couldn’t get any when I wanted it so I used strawberry, I think any berry flavour can work.

7) Squeeze bottle– for easy delivery of the gel.

Ingredients 

WHAT TO DO 

1) Mix 3 packets of gelatin with water and let it dissolve.

2) Add sugar and mix in.

3) In a saucepan /frying pan Pour in wine and allow to come to a boil. 

4) Add sugar/gelatin mix to warm wine and stir in to dissolve.

5) Add food colouring and Flavouring and mix.

6) Pour gelatin/syrup into bottle and carefully fill molds.

7) Place in refrigerator and let firm up- I left them in overnight 

Sugar and gelatin 




Add water




Fill molds




Finished gummies 



They look like gummy bears, they kind of smell like gummy bears but they don’t quite taste like gummy bears. They taste like a sweet cocktail or wine cooler. This is a sophisticated treat that’s pretty straight forward to make and I think it’s a perfect party favour for a NYE shindig!

Try this out and eat gummies responsibly. Have an awesome day!

DIY GIFT- Christmas Cookies

10 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 10

Welcome to day 10 and the 3rd edible DIY. Today I will share 5 Christmas cookie recipes…sort of. What if I told you that you could make as many types of cookie as you want with just one base recipe? Ca-razy right?  Not only crazy but totally possible . From a simple sugar cookie recipe I will demonstrate how to make: Chocolate ,  Red Velvet, Peanut Butter, Apple Spice and of course a regular sugar cookie.

PREP

So you need to begin with a good sugar cookie recipe and make up as many baches as you require. I used a recipe from Joy of Baking which I have linked. I will still briefly  go through the process of making the batter but hers is far more in depth, so check it out.Her recipe makes approx 20, 4 inch (10cm) diameter cookies. I made up one batch which I divided into 5 parts.

PART 1- Making the Batter

WHAT YOU NEED 

1 3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup butter (unsalted)

3/4 granulated sugar 

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract 

Sugar cookie ingredients



WHAT TO DO 

1) Combine and whisk dry ingredients in a bowl.

Dry ingredients 


Whisk


2) Beat sugar and butter together then add egg and beat until smooth, adding vanilla extract.

Butter, sugar and egg


Vanilla extract

3) Slowly add flour then beat until smooth batter forms

Add flour


Batter


Place the batter in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. This part is very important for cookies!

PART 2-Flavouring the Batter

Remember this is for 1 batch divided into 5, however the amount of flavourings you add is subjective depending on your preference.

WHAT YOU NEED 


Peanut Butter

1) 1 tbsp of smooth peanut butter- This gives a moderate peanut flavour, you can add more or less to suit you.

Chocolate

1) 1tbsp Cocoa powder- This makes it very chocolatey, if you prefer a milder chocolate flavour use less.

2) 1/4 cup chocolate chip morsels/ candy melts- I used both milk chocolate and white chocolate . 

Red Velvet

1) 1/4 tsp cocoa powder

2) Red food colouring (I had only a few drops so mine came out pink 😦

3) White chocolate morsels/candy melts

Apple Spice

1) 1/4 cup diced apple – I used a gala apple.

2) 1/2 tsp spices- I used cinnamon and nutmeg .

Flavouring ingredients .



WHAT TO DO

Peanut Butter

1) Mix in the peanut butter until batter is homogeneous in colour.

Mix



2) Replace in refrigerator for approximately 15 minutes to firm up again.

3) Portion into circular cookies in the size you wish (remember cookies always spread) and create the iconic peanut butter cookie crisscross with a fork.

Peanut butter cookie


Chocolate 

1) Mix in cocoa powder until fully blended.

2) Form you cookies then add the chocolate chips on top.

Chocolate cookie


Red/Pink Velvet

1) Add cocoa and food dye and completely mix in.

Mix



2) Form cookies and add white chocolate chips

Red Velvet Cookie


Apple Spice

1) Add apple bits and spices and mix

2) Form Cookies

Apple Spice cookie


Sugar Cookie

1) Use a cookie cutter and cut out cookies

Sugar cookie

Bake at 350 f (175C) for 10 minutes or until edges start to brown.

Remember, cookies like most baked goods continue to cook for a bit after coming out of the oven so the cookies may seem a bit soft at first but they will harden.

Finished cookies


Cookies



Package and gift!

Wrapped in wax paper


When I think of sugar cookies I think of Christmas time, the super sweet vanilla smell makes you feel warm inside. If you’re wondering how all these flavours work with a sugar cookie, the answer is they work beautifully. The background flavour and texture of a sugar cookie lends to sweetness and provides a light cookie with a good crunch but does not in anyway take away from the added flavours.

These make great gifts, my sister gave everyone sugar cookies about six years ago and it was fantastic.If you are thinking of doing this as with most DIYS I recommend making large amounts to cut down on overall cost. You can package off a few (like pictured here) and use them as stocking stuffers or fill up a tin or jar and give as a gift.

I hope you enjoyed this post and found a flavour you might like to try. Thanks for reading and have an awesome day.

DIY GIFT- Brownie Mix in a Jar

9 Dec

BLOG-Mas DAY 9

Today we do another edible DIY gift. This is Brownie Mix in a Jar. This could easily be cake mix or pancake mix or almost anything you like. For this I chose brownies.Whatever baked treat you decide on, you can select a recipe of choice and basically put the dry ingredients in a jar.

Brownie Mix Ingredients 

For this Brownie Mix I used a slightly varied version of a recipe on Joy of Baking. Everything this lady does is golden. I substituted white sugar for brown sugar and added walnuts and pecans.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 150g of chocolate chips

2) 113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

3) 2 tbsp cocoa (unsweetened ) powder

4) 1 cup brown sugar -I used coconut sugar (most brown sugar will be less sweet than granulated  sugar, you can substitute it with that if you want it more sweet)

5) 3/4 cup flour

6) 3/4 cup pecans and walnuts (mixed)- you can add  whatever you like here; MMs (or Smarties), pretzels, crushed oreos etc (just make sure it’s dry)

7) Transparent jar with lid for storage.

WHAT TO DO 

1) Assemble your ingredients and place a funnel or makeshift funnel  ( I rolled wax  paper into a cone shape and taped it) into the jar so your ingredients can land where you want.

PROTIP : Do not be like me and use the wrong  sized jar, try to estimate what size jar will fit the ingredients beforehand. 

Jar with funnel 



2) Pour in your first layer, flour and tap bottom of jar to counter to make it as level as possible.

Flour layer




3) Add second layer, sugar in similar fashion. If you are using granulated sugar you may want to place the cocoa powder between the sugar and flour for contrast. 

Sugar added


4) Add the next layer which for me is cocoa. Next time I would put the flour between the cocoa and sugar for more contrast.

Cocoa layer


5) Add chocolate chips and nuts on top.

Add toppings and extras




6) On a large tag or piece of paper, write the name of your mix (Brownie mix), list the ingredients included as well as what will be required and write the instructions on how to prepare.

Tag and twine




7) Add to jar with twine and it’s ready to gift!

Finished gift


When your giftee is going to make her/his treat advise them to carefully scoop out each layer so they don’t end up getting mixed together.

This gift is visually pleasing and as much fun to give as it is to receive. You can get as creative as you want adding whatever toppings and extras you think your friend or relative will love making it really personal. The cost of this gift depends heavily on the ingredients you choose however most basic baking supplies are inexpensive and if you plan on giving multiple people this gift it will really cut your cost down.

Thank you for reading and have an awesome day ! 

 DIY GIFT- Christmas Bark

8 Dec

BLOG-Mas Day 8

Welcome to Day 8 of Blogmas and welcome back to DIYS . This is one in a series of edible DIY gifts , if that’s your thing. As with crafty DIYS ,  sometimes baking your own gifts can be more costly and definitely time consuming BUT if  you are savvy and do it in bulk it can turn out more budget friendly and of course it is made with loads of love.

Today’s DIY is Christmas Bark which is essentially chocolate filled with many things and broken into shards of deliciousness. Please stay tuned…

Ingredients 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Chocolate – I chose Cadbury milk chocolate .  You can use chocolate chips or candy melts as well, I personally find candy melts a bit too sweet in large amounts hence my choice of regular eating chocolate.

2) More chocolate – To compliment your main chocolate . I chose white candy melts but you can use any colour or type of chocolate you wish. I think peanut butter chips(like chocolate chips but out of peanut butter)  would go well with this.

3) Stuff– What I mean is, miscellaneous morsels such as dried fruit, nuts, candies etc. I used a trail mix I had containing dried cranberries, salted cashews, almonds and dark chocolate chips.

4) Wax/Parchment paper– To line the container you use.

5) Pan/Cookie Sheet– Alternately you can use a silicone mat.

WHAT TO DO

Line your sheet ahead of time and clear some space in the refrigerator . 

1) Melt the chocolate in microwave in 30 second bursts  (or use double boiler technique )

Melted chocolate 

2) Spread milk chocolate onto sheet.

Chocolate spread

3) Add white chocolate  (or other colours ) in marble fashion . 

White chocolate added

4) Press in additions (nuts, candies etc) throughout chocolate . 

Add “stuff ”

5) Refrigerate and let harden-I left mine overnight . 

Hardened bark

6) Using hands or long sharp knife, break into shards.

Broken up bark




7) Wrap and gift!

Wrapped in wax paper

The bark tasted delicious ,  the contrast of the very sweet cranberries with the salty cashews and the mild cocoa flavour from the milk chocolate is a winning combo.

This is a cute gift. It’s great as a stocking stuffer or for a large group of persons e.g coworkers. The cost varies depending on the chocolate you use and what kind of toppings you add but no doubt it can be a fairly economical gift.

Be sure to try this one out and have an awesome day!

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