Lavender Rosemary Soap : Step by Step

I've made simple homemade soap with varied results in the past, but I finally found a recipe worthy of sharing. Follow along and make some too! Let's make a big mess together and then use the soap we made to clean it up!

Being Lavender Rosemary soap, you'll be needing lavender and rosemary, silly. I used fresh rosemary and dried lavender...but fresh lavender and dried rosemary or any combination thereof is fine. You'll also need lavender and rosemary essential oils, glycerine soap base, and one teaspoon pulverized dried rosemary.

Pluck your rosemary and lavender until you have about 3 Tablespoons (total, not each). Pour one cup of steaming hot water over the herbs and let them infuse for about 10 minutes. That's right, you're infusing! Look at you! After 10 minutes, strain out the herbs.

Now grab your glycerin soap. I used a pretty big loaf pan as a mold, so I needed a lot of glycerin soap. I think I ended up using nearly 5 cups. You don't need to make that much, whatever you have on hand, between 3 and 5 cups should be fine. Cut it up into cubes, and melt it down in a microwave or a double boiler.

While it's melting, pulverize that dried rosemary! Probably a mortar and pestle would work best, but I don't have one, so I used a wooden spoon. It didn't work very well, but it didn't really matter in the end. I sort of liked the bigger pieces.

Once your soap is liquified, pour in your infusion, pulverized rosemary, and essential oils. I don't remember how many drops I added, but my gut says it was around 30 drops of lavender, and 20 of rosemary. I say just keep dropping till it smells good.

I know this picture is blurry, but I wanted show the swirly food coloring! So pretty. You don't have to add food coloring, but my infusion was just purple enough to turn the mixture a sickly grey, so I decided to purple it up a little bit. You only need a few drops.

Stir it all up really well, and pour it into your mold. A silicon loaf pan is great because it's easy to pop out the soap when its hardened, but they tell me you can use a normal loaf pan, just spray it with non-stick spray stuff first.

Wait a few hours till it's nice and solid, and pop it out!

Cut it into bars! You can use a fancy soap cutter, or just use a knife like normal people.

Wrap those soaps up! Tissue paper or wax paper both look nice. Use washi tape for extra credit!

Are your soaps going to be presents? Get crazy with it! Make them look like expensive. After all, crafting is about the praise you get when you share your work with your friends and family, isn't it? I have a great vintage stamp set that is terrifically difficult and painstaking to use, but the results are pretty charming.

There we have it! Soaps!

Drawing on Mugs

This Christmas for my husband's family gift lottery, I decided to get all DIY with our contribution. Armed with my beloved Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paint marker, I made four camping/nature-themed mugs, and further equipped with Alton Brown recipes, whipped up some spicy hot chocolate mix and homemade marshmallows to complete the package.

I was excited about homemade marshmallows, but they ended up being an awful lot of work and mess for a final product that tasted EXACTLY like store-bought. If I was to do this again, I'd make them special somehow - maybe cardamom marshmallows. Actually...that's a pretty good idea.

Wedding Invites

I've been meaning to share my wedding invites for a good month now, and this morning I finally laid the finished products out for their photoshoot.

The very first thing I did for this wedding was the stamp. I drew a picture of the barn we'd be dancing in and sent it off to be made into a stamp. If you're in the NYC area, I cannot recommend Casey Rubber Stamps in the Lower East Side enough. John Casey has made a few stamps for me now, and they are always perfect, he his stamps are made with real red rubber, as opposed to the plastic stuff more commonly used these days.

I used the stamp to make the rsvp cards, and also stamped anything that could be stamped at the wedding.

For the rest of the invite, as well as the programs for the ceremony, I designed them in photoshop and then screen-printed them by hand using my beloved Print Gocco. The Japanese company that made this little screen printing kit shuttered it's doors in 2009, and today the supplies are dwindling and the prices sky high. Luckily, as a bit of an art supplies hoarder, I had a small pile of screens and bulbs with which to make my prints.

The paper I used is my absolute favorite paper of all time to use for all things - Fabriano Medioevalis single cards and envelopes. They have rough-hewn edges, a perfect thickness, and a beautiful texture. And the 4-1/2" × 6-3/4" cards fit perfectly in the print gocco!

It was definitely a laborious process to hand print each piece of paper, but I couldn't be happier with how they came out, and each piece is slightly different from the next.