Bath Bombs Galore!

Over the past few years, it seems bath bombs have been popping up at every skincare shop out there. Bath bombs leave your bathwater cleansing, soothing and delightfully fizzy. With their soothing scents and fun fizzy effect, it’s no wonder bath bombs are such a huge hit. .However, boutique bath bombs can be expensive and include a fizzing ingredient called citric acid that can be harsh on your skin.  .

It’s easy to make on your own using ingredients found at your local supermarket, and you can omit the citric acid. This recipe calls for cream of tartar (which is sold in the baking aisle in Asda!), which, when combined with baking soda, will give you the same fizzy results.

Ingredients & Materials Needed

256g (9oz / 2 cups) of bicarbonate soda

128g (4.5oz / 1 cup) cream of tartar

50g (1.6oz / 6 tbsp) of Epsom salts

Essential oils of your choosing

Coconut or olive oil

Water or Witch Hazel – in a spray bottle

Large mixing bowl

Large metal spoon

Silicone ice cube tray or mould

Method

  1. Combine the bicarb soda, cream of tartar and Epsom salts in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Add up to 20 drops of your choice of essential oil (or up to your desired scent) and two teaspoons (7g / 11ml) of coconut / olive oil.  If you have any dried lavender or any other dried flowers, you can add them at this point.
  3. Once all the ingredients are thoroughly combined, test the mixture by squeezing a small amount in your hand.  If the powder easily compresses together without separating, it is ready to place in the moulds.  However, if the mixture crumbles apart, add a single spray of water / Witch Hazel at a time until you can compress it into a ball.  You shouldn’t have to add more than five sprays of water / Witch Hazel.
  4. Now pack the mixture tightly into the silicone moulds.  You will find that the back of a metal spoon will help compact the mixture in to all corners of the mould.
  5. Leave the mixture in the mould for a full 24 hours to dry.
  6. Once the bath bombs have dried for 24 hours in the mould, carefully remove them and allow them to air dry undisturbed for another 24 hours.  Then, drop one in your bath and enjoy the fizz!

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Shortbread & Coconut Shortbread

It’s Gnings’ last day in school tomorrow, as he is breaking up for Christmas.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come around!

I’ve been struggling for ideas on what he should give to his teacher, and two teaching assistants, as a gift for Christmas; and with money being a bit tight too (I’m still on maternity leave), I didn’t really want to spend a lot.  So I thought, everyone loves biscuits, so that’s what we’ll do.  And that’s what we did!

I think I managed to make about 50 stars, and 35 “gingerbread” biscuits.  The stars cost approx. 50p, and the “gingerbread” ones about 75p.

Here’s the recipe:~

125g butter, softened

55g caster sugar

180g plain flour (all-purpose)

OPTIONAL – (1tbsp desiccated coconut)

Drop of water

  1. Preheat your oven to 190C (170C for fan assisted).
  2. Line a baking tray (or two) with greaseproof paper.
  3. Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and cream together, using the back of a large, wooden spoon.
  4. Sift in all of the flour, in one go, and stir it all together using the spoon (this is also the part where you will add the coconut – if you are going to.  This worked absolutely wonderfully).  When you’re unable to stir any more, use one of your hands to start “bringing the mixture together”, in to a dough.
  5. Add just a drop or two of water – just enough so the mixture starts to meld nicely.  Don’t add too much, otherwise it’ll end up all sticky, and icky.
  6. Once the dough has formed a lovely ball, turn out on to a work surface, that has had a ‘scattering’ of icing sugar (powdered / confectioners sugar), and roll out with a rolling pin, so that it’s about 1cm thick.
  7. Cut out your required shape(s) – squares, rectangles, circles, stars, etc. – and place on the lined baking tray.
  8. Lightly prick the top of the biscuits with a fork, and sprinkle a little more caster sugar on the top of each.
  9. Throw them in the oven (well, not literally) for 15-20 minutes, or until a golden brown colour.
  10. Allow to cool fully before digging in.  Be careful though!  They are incredibly moreish.

Excuse the pics – my camera is playing up a little 😦

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And this is how I packaged them up – all ready for Gningy to take in to school tomorrow:

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‘Creeping’ in to an 18th birthday party

It’s my “baby” cousins’ 18th birthday party tomorrow.  I say “baby”, as she is the youngest “cousin” in my generation.  It’s shocking…  She’s certainly not a baba any more!!

Anyway, as she is an avid gamer, she’s hosting a fancy dress party with “gaming” as the theme.

My son (3 yrs old) wanted to go as one of the Avengers, which there are plenty of games that have the Avengers in them, but I wanted something a little more original. Buying a costume is always easier, so I set myself up with a HUGE challenge (well, it was for me…), to make him a costume of one of his favourite Minecraft characters.

The Creeper.

This is what he looks like in the game…

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This is what he looks like as a plush toy…

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And this is my personal take on one…

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Minecraft  (7)

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So now I’m going to rightly “blow my own trumpet” and say that I am overly proud (isn’t that a Sin?) of my creation.  I made my own pattern, cut everything out, sewn everything together…  Eek!  I’m so chuffed, ha ha.

Now, some of you may be thinking “why is she so proud of that?”.  Well, let me tell you…  Before this little project, the most I have ever created on the sewing machine before, was a “traders’ apron”, and I thought that was fab!

Thoughts / comments welcome x

Homemade Hell

I’m sure I’ve mentioned, in previous posts, about my hand made jewellery and accessories ‘mini-business’, Treasures and Trinkets.  This post is about the little highs, and the oh-so-many lows that I have suffered since starting crafting.

I was trawling through various pages on facebook one day, when I saw a page that a lady had made, showing off her creations ready to sell to the users of facebook.  Although the items were impressive, I told myself that I could do that; I could make that; I’m sure I can make items better than that…  And that is how I started.

I bought some beads, wire, fixing and findings, and then I made a page on facebook.  I chose the name of the site immediately.  Treasures would be the earrings, bracelets, anklets and necklaces; and the Trinkets would be any accessories that I would make, such as keyrings, bookmarks, mobile phone charms, etc.

The items that I had bought came through fairly quickly, although I was missing a few vital tools to handle the fiddly bits.  I rushed out to our local DIY store, and bought a set of pliers!  The set had three different types of pliers.  One was a wire cutter, one was a flat-headed pair, and the other was a needle-nose pair.  Just what I needed, and they were only £2.99!

I began with the basics.  I made a pair of earrings, with parrot charms.  The next pair I created had beads and a charm…  The more I made, the more ideas I had.  I then stretched out to created bracelets with wire, but I could never tie the knots to strength, so I tried my hand at using earring findings instead.  All of my items were beautiful, and my husband, mum, and other family members agreed.  However, the test was now to come.

I found a neutral coloured background, and I photographed all of my creations to put on facebook.  Uploading, typing descriptions, sizes, working out costs, etc. for each item was painfully long and dull.  It was wonderful to think that a pair of earrings that I had made, could be sold for £1.50.  I thought I worked out the prices beautifully…

I joined several networking pages, and I started to promote my page.  ‘Likes’ and fans started dotting here and there…  Eventually, I had over 800 likes!

Then all of a sudden, I received a message…  “I came on your page to wish you luck with your new venture, but I’ve seen that all you’ve done is copy my items…”  Several messages, threats and nasty comments started appearing on my page over the next few weeks…

I had done nothing wrong.  I hadn’t copied a single item of the questioning competitor.  I had checked all of my items against all of hers, and what I saw astonished me.  I had uploaded a photo of a pair of earrings two weeks before the messages started; on the page of my competitor was exactly the same pair of earrings (her own work), with a date stamp of just four days after I had uploaded mine.  She had copied me!

I did not rise to the insult.  I simply deleted all of her comments and messages, and I blocked her, and her page, from accessing me and my Treasures and Trinkets.

Right now, I’ve had my page open 20 months.  How do I know it to be such an unusual amount of time?  Well, I started it when my little man was a tiny tot.

Anyway, besides the torment of an envious person, how’s the business?

Two words.  A nightmare.

I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that, over the past 20 months, I have made two sales.  One pair of earrings, and a ‘wish bottle’.  The two came to a total of £3.50.

How much have I spent on my ‘mini-business’?  Probably about £150 over the 20 months.

Personally, I think that it all depends on what you’re selling as to whether you will get your sales on facebook.  I’ve seen other jewellery and accessory pages have less than a hundred fans, and yet there are comments after comments on their pictures, asking to buy their items…  It’s not that their jewellery is any better than what I make, or that they’re selling it for cheaper than I am, it’s that their jewellery is so different to mine.  They do ‘wire work’, fiddly beading, etc.  And their prices are so much higher than mine!

So let’s stray away from the dreaded FB.  I have been to three craft fairs with my items.  Two fairs were a complete and utter flop, and one was highly successful.  The two fairs that were a disaster were professionally organised by a craft / produce fete company.  The successful fair was a church tabletop sale!

It really make me wonder why I bother.  I’m feeling really let down that I have so many ‘likes’, yet so little sales…  I know it’s quality, not quantity, and I know that out of the quantity of people who like my page, there are probably only one or two that are quality.  It’s really sad to say.

Anyway, that’s Treasures and Trinkets.  Or, that ‘was’ Treasures and Trinkets.  I’m contemplating shutting the page down, but I have a few people tell me not too because my work is beautiful…  If that were true, where are my buyers? *sigh*