Category Archives: Handmade

Soap, Soap, Soap

Lavendar/Cedar and “Fruit Explosion”

Above: Lavendar/Cedarwood (essential oil blend) and “Fruit Explosion” – mango, papaya, pineapple, guava, apple.

Lemongrass/Cassia and Clean Scent Blend

Above: Cassia/Lemongrass (EO blend) and ___(yet unnamed)___… it’s layered with Clean Laundry and Lavender fragrance oils… smells “clean”, nothing like lavender (I haven’t yet found a synthetic lavender blend that smells like lavender).

I ordered a few pounds of essential oils to play around with. I wanted about half of my line to be EO blends, rather than synthetic fragrances. We’ll see… I figured since they’re for sale at the food co-op people would be more interested in the au-natural route. That hasn’t been the case so far, however. None of my EO or unscented soaps sell well; the ones that do well are Blueberry (??), and spicy ones. The bold colors may help; something new anyway. It takes a long time (and a lot of patience) to pour a striped log of soap like that.

Still putting together a website to sell them on, as requested. I sent a few bars to a friend in the army, and they were well received! I do need to get these guys for sale in another location, as my log mold holds 22 bars of soap… so I have quite a stash saved up.

I also have a bunch of little sample-sized bars, which I am very willing to give away. (Hint, hint)

I may experiment with a few more things this weekend… possibly another batch/recipe for shampoo (or maybe shower gel this time), more liquid soap, and I’m thinking toothpaste. I got some tooth soap from someone who also makes this kind of stuff, and it’s quite wonderful. I’ve been reading tubes, and I’d like to whip up some… but rather than go the “soap” way with oils and lye, I think I’ll try the “conventional way” with sodium coco-sulfate (not SLS like the rest of them)… and xylitol if I can get my hands on some.


Lemongrass and Cassia

Ahh, the weekend. The co-op schedule is full but unfortunately weekends rarely mean time off, at least recently. I have a stack of website work to do… but fortunately I don’t get calls or e-mails from clients over the weekend, so it’s not too stressful.

I hope to make a few batches of bar soap this weekend as well. I ordered a bunch of essential oils that I’m hoping to test out. I had time last night to make this batch of Lemongrass and Cassia. Colored with annatto seeds (top, cassia), black oxide (stripe), and blue and green ultramarines (bottom, lemongrass). Smells pretty nice. The lemongrass inspired Chris to make a thai curry after I finished pouring it.

We had plans to travel this weekend… to check out a big chunk of land in the Hinckley area, actually. Unfortunately, highs this weekend are in the negative digits – not good weather for walking around an empty piece of land. So we delayed the trip; hopefully the first weekend in February we’ll be able to check it out. It’s an amazing opportunity, with the potential of (some day) near 40 acres, and maybe opporutnity to acquire even more eventually.

Still a far-off possibility though. I’m most anxious about moving my business across the state. A move like this would require a “real office” in town though, which I’m incredibly excited about!

Cat Houses

More Cat Beds

So, this is what kept me quite busy in the weeks before the holidays. It all started with the cat house I randomly decided to make one Friday afternoon:

Cat House

… that moved on to a cat bed:

Cat Bed

… and eventually progresed into quite a project. Turns out, everyone in my family has cats. (Surprise). All in all… I made the cat house for Kallie, the bed for Niko… and another practice cat house. Then four cat beds (plus one that didn’t turn out quite as planned) and two more cat houses for my family. Oh yeah, and a life-sized stuffed cat for my mom. The two houses for my brother’s cats and mom’s cats turned out the best, by far:

Cat House

Cat Bed

(Kallie tested all of them, and approved). And there was a bit of time in there to put together new labels for my other handmade stuffs.

Jessi’s Handmade Stuff

Yeah, tons of photos. But it was hard work.

I took a week off over Christmas, and I’m having a really hard time catching back up. I’ve been falling behind with projects for the food co-op, and it seems like EVERYBODY needs a website redesign before the middle of January. On the bright side, my February web design bills are going to look pretty nice!

A lady who shops at the food co-op keeps bringing my handmade soap back to Italy with her. She requested that I have a website so that her friends in Italy can place orders before she goes there. So, another thing to add to the bottom of my pile of “things to do”.

Crafty Weeks


I’m not sure exactly who reads this weblog, so instead of posting pictures of what’s been keeping me busy over the past couple of weeks, I decided to post a picture of Kallie eating lima beans. Mmmm… lima beans!

I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to buy Christmas presents for my family, or make them all. I have a pretty good list started, but traditionally the family Christmas Present time goes on and on, with everyone spending way too much money on everyone else.

The sad thing is, all said and done, my handmade gifts are racking up more on my credit card than a quick shop-and-go trip to a big mall would cost me. But… I’ve been learning to sew this year, and I’ve been playing around with Potassium Hydroxide and some (cosmetic) emulsifiers/detergents/etc… and some really nice new soy pillar wax… it’s mostly the guys in the family that I’m worried about, I guess.

The sewing projects have been turning out far better than I ever thought they would. I’ll post pictures after the holidays.

TONIGHT… because I wore holes in my slippers last year and have been tripping over Chris’s slippers as I try to wear them this year, I am attempting to sew a new pair of slippers for myself. My “projects” have left me with some extra material that is perfect for slipper-making, so I hope they turn out. I will post pictures of those if they do!

T-shirt Cat


Here’s Kallie, sporting her little Flash Dance-style dress. She was spayed in early October, and two weeks later her scar became infected, and she wouldn’t stop licking it. I heard about the t-shirt idea, and it worked like a charm – she couldn’t lick any more, and the infection completely cleared up after a day. Saved us a trip to the vet. She’s mostly healed up by now (this picture is from a while ago).

It has been pretty busy around here. My website business just keeps growing – that’s a good thing! We are coming up on the busiest time of the year at the co-op, so I’m preparing for that as well. For the past few months, the co-op has been consistently seeing its highest month in sales – ever… I can’t imagine what November and December (our two busiest months, historically) are going to look like this year.

In my wee freetime I’ve been doing lots of crafty stuff. I’ve finally figured out votive candles (they are not as easy to make as one would think), so that’s been kind of fun. I’ve got a couple of big crochet projects. And yesterday I made this nifty little thing:


… I think we’re heading out to a larger town with a nice fabric store today. I have some things in mind for Christmas presents. I found the shiny blue fabric on the cat house at JoAnn’s in Willmar for $1/yard (!!!) a while back – I’m kicking myself for not buying more of it now.