Wednesday, April 30, 2008

mozy-ing along

I found these two adorable spools of thread at Frenchy's today, on my way home from work. They're sweet and cheerful and springy. They're 'Coats & Clark's Boilfast' and the price on top says 15 cents. Which is probably what I paid. Take a peek here if you want your very own collection.

After the hard drive drama this week, Spark covered the perfect topic today. Backing things up. One of the guests recommended Mozy, which is what I think I would like to go with. I'll keep you posted.

very good news





Mr Mac is back, and it seems as though my data has been saved! I'm still not able to access my photo library, where the Phillip pictures and videos are, but Adam thinks they're still there but we just can't open the library. All of my soap recipes and information is back! I will be backing it up tonight.

I was a busy bee last night, getting things ready for Saturday's craft fair. The pictures are some of the things I have ready. I have all kinds of other things which aren't pictured - please stop by on Saturday between 9 and 4 at the Fire Hall on Pleasant Street here in Yarmouth. You just might find the perfect Mother's Day gift!

Monday, April 28, 2008

bad news

Our hard drive on our once-perfect MacBook is dead. Really dead. (Sub-bad good news is that it’s under warranty.) The really bad news is that I had several un-backed up soap recipes, logos, signs, and other soapiness. (No need to give me a hard time about this; I’m already kicking myself. Really hard.) The really really bad news is that I had all kinds of photos I loved on it. And the really, really, really bad news is that I had all kinds of un-backed up photos and video clips of my babe on it.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

swinging


Phillip went swinging for the first time today. Although his eyes are closed, this picture captures his latest 'thing' - the O. He'll put his mouth in this perfect little circle and say 'oooh' and sometimes suck in air to make a whistling sound. Sometimes he closes his eyes. It is SO cute. I caught him at the tail end of the O, so his mouth isn't perfectly round, but still cute. He loved swinging. (And, I'll happily admit, so did I.)

We had a busy day. After swinging, we went for a walk in the woods, and I captured the above reflection. Next up was the driving range (I am no Tiger Woods, that's for sure), and this afternoon we played in the garden. A lovely sunny Sunday!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

short pyjamas (or, Phillip laughing)

video

We don't yet have our decent computer back, but I had this clip on my memory card from the day before it died. I thought you might enjoy it.

I received a few more swap soaps this past week, and you can see the latest ones here.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

sugar scrub, tulips, and hyacinths, oh my!

For body scrubs, I usually smush together some sugar and grapeseed oil, along with essential oils and whatever other goodies tickle my fancy. But I was in the mood to try something new today, so I tried some whipped sugar scrub (the original recipe is here.)

Whipped Sugar Scrub

1/2 cup coconut oil (available at the grocery store, if you don't happen to have several pounds of it lying around, as I do)
a cup or so of sugar - enough to get the scrub to the desired texture
a few drops of essential oil (I love peppermint for an invigorating scrub)
1 tbsp water

Whip your coconut oil with a stick blender until it's creamy. (You may have to heat it for a few seconds in the microwave if it's really cool and firm.) Add in the water while it's being whipped, which will contribute to the fluff factor. Pour in sugar (or salt) as you continue to whip, until you have the desired consistency. Add a few drops of essential oil, and you're all set! If you're using a stick blender which you use for food, mix in the essential oil by hand so your soup doesn't taste strange. Because it was all that we had on hand, I used fancy-schmancy fair trade organic cane sugar from Just Us, which gives it the lovely beige colour. I can't wait to try it in tomorrow's shower! These sugar granules are quite a bit larger than regular sugar, so I may have quite a rough scrub.
I ordered a bunch of bulbs last fall when Vesey's had a special deal on - 50$ worth of bulbs for... 50$. By the time tax, shipping and handling were added to the advertised 25$ price, that is. Anyway, white tulips are my all-time favourite flowers (I'll probably say that about the peonies when they're in bloom) and I'm happy to report that these babies seem to have had a productive winter.

We looked out this morning to see that our hyacinths (ordered at the same time) have colour! I swear, yesterday they were all greenish. Lovely!
And I made a batch of hot process Oatmeal, Milk and Honey soap after work today. It's firming up in one of my loaf molds. Orange and vanilla make it smell just like a Creamsicle. Mmmm!

Mr MacBook, our computer, is still being repaired - I've had to resort to using an old laptop and my little camera. I'm so spoiled! We had to send it away, but I'm hoping it will come back to us soon.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

frownie mac

I know that I've sung the praises of our MacBook before (and I will continue to) but it caught the flu that's been going around and is ill. As in, it won't work. So there will be few to no posts until it's back and repaired. Of course, it's when Adam's in the middle of his thesis, and my un-backed-up soap signs and other craft fair related things are on it. And inaccessible. Sigh.

In other news, I won a surprise on Sarah's blog! I'm excited for some mailbox delight.

Have a pleasant Spring week! If you're looking for some bloggy goodness in my absence, check out some of the links to other fun blogs in the right sidebar.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

sleeping snoopy

Some more miscellaneous pictures from this week. There was a stunning double rainbow one evening as the rain began,

Phillip and Snoopy were sleeping identically side by side,

And the crocuses are still amazing. If I were a bee, I would certainly be attracted to that cheesy orange colour.

the mighty OJ, product body, and soapaholics anonymous

I found this mint condition Mighty OJ juicer at Frenchy's last week. Is it not the most adorable appliance you have ever seen? It's solid metal and weighs a ton, and juices like nobody's business. It came in the original box, and I bought it knowing full well that it will likely get little use as a juicer. I still bought it, and it has made me smile every single time I've looked at it. Definitely worth $3.00.
And my swap soaps from Joanna of Product Body arrived! They smell and look delicious, and I can't wait to try them out.

And I will try them out, after I use up the rest of this bar from Heidi! I neglected to take a photo before starting to use it, so here's a half-used bar. You can see the other bar she sent, here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

p-man in the garden

P loves the flowers which are coming up in the garden. But when we first set him down on the grass, he's in the above position (Adam took these pics) for about 5 minutes. As little of his body touching the grass as possible. Or maybe he's pretending to fly. Either way, what a silly baby.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

did i mention that i drove a vespa?

I sure did!
And the garden is coming alive.

I realize that there hasn't been much writing taking place here on the blog lately. I think it's because I've been so busy that I don't have time to synthesize everything I take in and come up with something intelligent to write. But there is a book I'd like to tell you about.

I just finished reading 'The Spiral Staircase' by Karen Armstrong. Her writing is such a pleasure to read. It is beautiful, precise, clear, and intelligent. The book is structured around T.S. Eliot's poem Ash Wednesday, and tells the author's life story, more or less. I won't say anything else except this: if you have the chance to read any of Karen Armstrong's writing, don't pass up the chance.

I have two recommended books waiting on the nightstand. 'The Kite Runner' and 'Eat, Pray, Love' - I hope they're worth the read. I am not the type to finish a book if it's terrible (except for 'The Devil Wears Prada' - I still don't know why I wasted my time finishing it). There are too many other things I'd rather be doing than spending my time reading a book I don't enjoy.

While I think of it, we watched The Constant Gardener this week. Wow. Loved it. 'Arresting' is the descriptor that comes to mind. Excellent acting and a completely absorbing story.

And speaking of gardening (I'm rambly this evening), we've been doing lots of work outside this week. Since the days are so long, we have a couple of hours after I get home from work to putter around the yard. Our compost was picked up this morning (5 giant yard bags and a full green bin) and the green cart is full of twigs and leaves and branches and such again. And I filled another bag.

And sometime between yesterday afternoon and suppertime tonight, our first daffodils opened! Pictures will be coming soon. Happy Thursday!

spiced rum shaving soap and whatever happened to the honey almond exfoliating gardener's bar

spiced rum shaving soap 2

In case you may have missed it, I have all of my soaping fun on my other blog. You can see how my gardender's bars turned out here.

Above is a photo of a some bars of a new batch of Spiced Rum Shaving Soaps. They are perfect, if I do say so myself. Thanks to Annie for sharing her base recipe with me, and for coming over to make the batch with me!

i drove a vespa!





This was by far the highlight of my year to date. Ingrid's husband brought their new Vespa over for us to see last night, and we even drove it (only about 50 yards, so don't worry, Ingrid! :)) Phillip even got to sit on it, but we didn't let him drive. That's avocado all over his face; it was supper time.

Jamie - 50 yards = 45.72 metres (corrected, oops! I forgot to double it.)
It's hard to be a metric warrior! I should make more of an effort.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

amaryllis & beach

You may remember that I had had minimal success with amaryllis. Until Phillip arrived, apparently. This year we have had a ridiculously beautiful time watching them bloom, and this one's on round two after a brief hiatus.
Here's my first soap batch in one of my new molds! Honey Almond Exfoliating Gardener's Bar. It looks terrific! I can't wait to unmold it.
And we went for a little walk on this beach this afternoon. I spent hours and days and months on this beach when I was a kid. It's always nice to see what's new and what's not.

butter tart squares


From April 2008's Canadian Home & Country magazine, which I love:

Butter Tart Squares

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar. Stir in flour to make a soft dough. Press into 9x9 pan and bake for 10-12 minutes (dough will still be pale).
In a large bowl, beat together brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, lemon juice, and vanilla. Stir in walnuts and raisins. Pour filling over par-baked crust, spreading evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until filling begins to bubble and carmelize. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.

Prepare to a)eat the entire pan or b)have people over to help polish the squares off. They're amazing.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

new soaping tools


I received the best possible delivery this afternoon, courtesy of a very kind friend of ours. He was gracious enough to make me four of these beautiful wooden soap molds with fitted lids as well as a loaf cutting frame-y thing! And for a steal of a deal, too. I'm hoping to make a couple more batches for the upcoming craft fair, which will have a good three weeks to cure, if I make them this weekend. Speaking of which, the soaps I have made are taking over the house.




And I adopted this book from the library! There's a pattern for an elephant in it, which I'm itching to make for P. I even have a pair of grey socks waiting to be used. But soap is kind of taking up my crafty time at the moment.

Happy weekend! I hope you have something pleasant delivered to your door, too.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

happy carrot

For the past week or so, I've been whipping up batches of soap left, right and centre. There's a craft fair coming up on May 3, and I'm going to have a table! I'm quite excited. It's only for a single day, which is manageable, and I already have quite a few soaps ready. I needed to get some more cold process batches made so that they will have enough time to cure properly before the fair, so that's what I've been working on. P went to sleep early this evening, so I got two more batches made. The fair will be just before Mother's Day, so I made sure to whip up a nice batch of cold process Creamy Lavender, since everyone thinks that mothers like lavender. And I'll have a few gift sets, too! If you're in the Yarmouth area, the craft fair is Saturday, May 3, from 9-4 at the Fire Hall on Pleasant Street. Hope to see you there!

The bars above are my Happy Carrot Complexion Soap, which is made with organic carrot juice and organic grated carrot. It's cured and ready to go. It has howood essential oil in it, which gives it a faint health food store smell. I love it. And it's up in my Etsy shop today!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

gassner goodies




I'm participating in my first soap swap, and received my first goodies in today's mail from Elizabeth at Gassner Custom Soaps. I was tickled find these three beauties - she sent an extra Baby Bee bonus bar for sweet Phillip, along with a Juicy Grapefruit Loofah bar and another moon soap (in the muslin bag; I'm not sure what the fragrance is). I'm especially fond of the Juicy Grapefruit Loofah bar. Anything citrus and grapefruit especially is my favourite type of scent. I also love a good scrub in the morning. I can't wait to try these out. You can see the Gassner Custom Soaps blog here. and her Etsy shop is here. Thanks so much, E!

Monday, April 07, 2008

hat

Adam took this picture of P a few weeks ago. Definitely one of my favourites!

they're back!


The sun did indeed appear last evening, and Phillip went to bed early. So Adam and I scooted outside and took some pictures. It was sunny today, and that's the forecast for the week. I see more full clotheslines in my future.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

safer sunblock

I've been searching out safer sunblock to use on Phillip this summer, and I'm happy to tell you about this one. Even though Aveeno is owned by the giant Johnson and Johnson, I'm a fan of this sunblock. It rates a nice, low 3 on Skin Deep, and has an SPF 55. It has UVA and UVB protection, is available pretty much anywhere, and costs approximately $13.00 (here in NS, anyway), which isn't at all unreasonable. It's fragrance-free, and waterproof, too. I think we'll all be using this one this summer. By the way, don't forget to check the expiry date on your sunblock before you start using last year's leftovers. (I'm really sounding like a mother, aren't I?) The sun did peek out for a few minutes while Phillip was having his bath, so I'm especially looking forward to a reason to use sunblock!

chinups


Phillip had a lot of fun doing this last night before his bath. He's remarkably strong. Adam had a hard time getting him to let go. By the way - the smell of the JASON apricot body wash you see in the shower is lovely, but it scores a 5 on cosmeticsdatabase.org (Skin Deep) and I won't be buying it again, now that I have an abundance of my own soap, which lathers beautifully on a shower loofah. The container is so huge, I've been using it since last August. I'm finally getting to the bottom.

I've had the most delightful weekend. Phillip has been a very happy camper and we got to hang out both yesterday and today while Adam was at work. Today I did some cleaning up in the yard and shed while Phillip happily watched from his stroller after a pleasant walk. The sun didn't appear as the forecast led us to believe, but I'm holding out hope for tomorrow.

Friday, April 04, 2008

daddy's eyes

Almost everyone who sees Phillip says "What gorgeous eyes!" or something to that effect. Just like Adam, when Phillip wears green his eyes look green. When he wears blue, they look blue. And they have a gorgeous gold ring around the pupil that looks like a little sunflower. Just like Adam's.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

moss braille

I teach braille as part of my job as a teacher of students with visual impairments, and when I picked these little moss dots up in the garden (they all blew off of a tree in a tremendous wind we had recently) I couldn't help but see a braille cell. Does anyone know what word a full cell of braille dots represents? Bonus points if you didn't have to Google it.