Friday, October 23, 2009


Hello, Crafters and other friends!

    As I've stated many times, I'm a "Jill of All Trades."  I love variety and trying new things.   One of my many crafting forays was an attempt at soap-making.  Mind you, I did not have a 'scratch' recipe... I purchased soy-based soap 'melts' into which could be put fragrances and colors.  I made several one year for my grandsons' Christmas gifts.  They were quite amused to get little bars of pink soap, scented like bubble gum and with a tiny plastic pig encased in the middle.  AHA!  You have to actually wash your hands to get the toy! 

  That bit of gift-making experimentation over with, I packed up the supplies and put them away.  In the meantime, we moved.  To say that chaos ensued would be a world-class understatement!  Eventually, I got my new art studio up and running, but it very quickly got taken over by our full-scale bisque ceramics operation.   All my other crafts languished in various closets and cupboards.

    (Creating ceramics is an extremely dusty enterprise, and dust is incompatible with all my other crafting ventures, e.g., jewelry, scrapbooking, soap, needlepoint, etc.  The dust is very, very fine, and sifts into literally everything.  A closed cupboard offers no protection.  If you have ever sanded wood with a power sander, it is finer dust than that; if you have ever done sheetrock sanding, it is finer dust even than that!)

    As this year's budget is on the tight side, I again thought about the soap, and since I now have granddaughters about the age the grandsons were during my first attempt, I thought to unpack the soap stuff, and do a reprise.  Well don't you know, I tore apart my craft cupboard in the studio, and no soap making supplies were anywhere to be found.

    I did find some candle-making supplies, and instantly learned that candles should not be stored in a room that reaches over 100 degrees F. on a regular basis (when the kiln is running).  Ooops!  Well, of course, I did know that candles should not be stored in hot places, and we carefully keep all our holiday and emergency candles out of the attic.  However, at the time my art studio was finished and things put inside was before I acquired the kiln and began the ceramics business.   By the time we installed the kiln, I had completely forgotten the candle-making stuff was in there.  Grumble, grumble...I know now!

   Among the other things I found, however, were some stenciled coasters I had begun making years ago, and which got packed up with all my other crafts for the move.  I had completely forgotten about them as well.  However, now that I've re-discovered them, I'll be putting the final finishing touches  and listing them in my Etsy shop.   As to whether there will ever be any more of these made depends on my being able to find similar material. 

   Many of my crafts are 'upcycled' from things originally with a very different purpose.  Not quite "scrap crafts," though; I don't make reindeer from egg cartons, for example. The wood from which the coasters were made  began as packing material to prevent bailing wire from cutting through paper-wrapped bales of wood-chips.  (My elder daughter used to have a couple of Guinea Pigs, and we used the wood shavings for their cage litter.)  However, since I no longer purchase bales of wood chips, I no longer get these pieces of thin wood.  It is not sold in that thickness at retail.  The only such thickness is found in balsa wood, strips of thin plywood, or bass wood, intended for hobby model-makers, and the cost is prohibitive.  The search goes on.

   I have also found my stash of sewn-on sequins in assorted shapes, which I use to decorate some very special Christmas stockings.  These stockings are very labor-intensive, and I usually just make one pair every now and then for special friends.  That said, however, I am now stuck on the problem...once again...of not being able to find the appropriate raw materials.  They use old-fashioned nylon stockings (not pantyhose) with a seam up the back of the leg, and also mens' old-fashioned thin silk dress socks.  Trying to find either item nowadays is, well, let's just say the proverbial needle in a haystack has a better chance.

   I have a lot of work cut out for me still as I continue to search through my cupboards, looking for my soap-making supplies.  Who knows what other forgotten crafts or supplies I will find as I search?  It's a regular first-class detective mystery!



My Friend, Christine B.

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