Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Whimsy Wednesdays #1- Hubby's Music

I'm a little sad today. I just got back from driving my husband to the airport and we know it will be at least 8 months before he is able to come home again, but it will likely be more towards a year before he can come back home. He is, however, very anxious to do his new job, so I'm happy for him for this opportunity. So, instead of going on and on about how I'll miss him and bore you all to tears, I'll leave you with a couple of great songs (some of his favorites). I hope you enjoy them!

Oh, this last one is from the Bollywood movie "What's Your Rashee". Some of it's in English, but most of it is in Hindi. It's a fun song and if you don't mind reading subtitles and have netflix, it's a really fun movie to watch (guy is being forced to get married within a week and so he decides to date one girl from each Rashee, or horoscope sign, to see if he can find a suitable match for himself. Hubby and I are in love with the main actress, Priyanka Chopra, who portrays all 12 girls that the guy dates and she does fabulously in portraying each character differently)!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Tutorial Tuesdays #1 - Easy Peasy Shower Scrub

Ooh, this shower scrub smells so awesome, makes your skin feel awesomer, and awesomest of all is that the ingredients can be found in your house! I love love love the way this smells of chocolate and coffee (two of my favorite things!). I make it every once in a while and it does wonders for getting rid of those pesky dead skin cells as well as adding a protective moisturizing barrier to my skin.

1 tsp olive oil
1 TBS brown sugar (white sugar can also be used here)
1/4 tsp coffee grounds (I used a hazelnut coffee for this!)
1 tsp hot chocolate mix (any store bought without marshmallows or homemade mix will work fine)
    (don't have hot chocolate mix? replace it with 1/2 tsp cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp powdered milk; or don't use it at all and use a bit more sugar and coffee grounds instead)

Mix all of the dry ingredients together and try to get all the clumps out. Once this is completely mixed you can mix in the olive oil (if mixture seems dry, add a little more olive oil). This recipe will make enough shower scrub for a one-time use. Be careful when making this shower scrub in bigger batches unless you can use them up within a couple of days (and store in an air-tight container). The moistened sugar and coffee can start to get moldy, especially if moisture from the shower gets into the mixture. If you really really wanted to make bigger batches, I can suggest pre-mixing the dry ingredients together and store in an air-tight container, take 2 TBS out and mixing with the olive oil right before going into the shower. Then get wet, and scrub this stuff all over! Using your regular body soap afterwards will get rid of any excess oil but will still leave that protective barrier from the scrub :D

What benefits do I get from the above ingredients?
Olive Oil: very good moisturizer and great for sensitive skin
Coffee grounds: exfoliate and deodorizer
Chocolate: skin softener, antioxidant, and smells great!
Milk: smooth, firms, and softens skin
Sugar: exfoliate, restores balance in the skin's oils

I hope you can try this and enjoy it as much as I do!

Muse Mondays #1 - Crafting for Good

So, when I’m feeling a bit uninspired to do my own thing or just have that crafting bug but don’t have anyone to make anything for I usually turn to secretly crafting for someone else.
Right now my favorite “Crafting for Good” site is dedicated to spreading happiness to the communities in which we live in by making and anonymously dropping off soft toys in random places (what fun!). The Toy Society is chock full of hundreds of little handmade creatures that people from around the world (currently 47 countries and counting!) have made and anonymously dropped off in parks, restaurants, museums, doctor offices, and many other random places so that they can put a smile on a stranger’s face. The best and most fun part about The Toy Society blog is being able to read the reactions from the people who find the little toys and it seems that anyone of any age including full grown men appreciate and enjoy finding the stuffed with love critters. It brings a smile to my face even thinking about it! I mean, could you imagine what it would be like to stumble upon a neatly packaged little toy with a note tied to it saying “I’m yours, take me home” and a neat little note explaining that someone in your community had taken the time to create the toy by hand in order to help your day feel better?
I know I jumped on the opportunity to do put a smile on someone’s face a couple of times ^_^ I did three drops (2 scotty dog puppies and 1 lil' bunny rabbit) and my son helped me drop them off!

The first puppy I made

My lil' man Zack learning about giving and making the drop himself

The Toy Society actually had its start back in 2008 in Australia when it’s creator, Bianca, tried a social street project to see how observant people were of their surroundings. She placed handmade toys in inconspicuous places to see if people would notice them and as a reward for being observant, those who found the toys got to keep them! Since then, the movement has picked up momentum and is categorized under RAK or Random Act of Kindness, another movement in society that’s been gaining momentum and can now be seen throughout the web and world in several different other ways:

Operation NICE was created by Melissa who loved the idea of being kind and nice to the people she meets and to the people she doesn’t meet. She started leaving “nice notes” in places where people would find them. These notes could be a simple statement of “You’re Awesome!” to a nice (albeit somewhat cliché sentiment, but still nice to hear) “The world is a better place because you are in it”. I think the best part of this project is how simple and easy it is and it doesn’t cost hardly a nickel! Just get a piece of paper and write a nice affirmation on it and tape it up somewhere! Genius!

The next bit of inspiration that I have isn’t really considered a RAK but rather a RAC or Random Act of Craft. I’ve been wanting to participate in this for a couple months (well, since I discovered it, anyway) but haven’t had a real chance to yet, though I do still plan on doing something with it. Whether you call it Yarn Bombing or Guerrilla Knitting (I’m more of a crocheter, so Guerrilla Crocheting?), it’s still a really fun way to add color and beauty to your community! Simply put, you go out and find an object you want to decorate in your community (such as trees, light posts, bike racks, etc.), measure it, go home and create a piece of craft that can wrap around it (you want the craft to be slightly smaller so that it can be wrapped tight around the object, then when no one is looking you tie your craft around the object and voila! You’ve just beautified your community! Some people do this RAC alone while others find groups of people to yarn bomb with (some of these groups have been able to completely cover whole parks in one night with their crafts!) Check out some of these yarn bombing creations! (hint: click on the picture to go to the page where I found them! And no, the pictures are not hot-linked ^_~)

99 Yarn Bombed Trees by KnittaPlease - The Blanton's Faulkner Plaza in Austin, Texas
This was created by 170 volunteers!

Yarn Bike by erindoy1

Yarn Bombing on Facebook Here you can see lots of different pictures from all over and from different artists all in one fell swoop!

There's one last Crafting for Good I want to share with you that combines both RAK and RAC, but it seems that the site it's on is currently down, so I shall be updating this post as soon as the site comes back up ^_^ Please forgive me!

EDIT: I found the original post that I was thinking of which ended up leading me to where she had gotten inspired from!

Hats For the Homeless, though it's not the official name of the project, and even the project isn't really a project and rather just random smattering of people doing a good deed for others, is a wonderful way to spread some warmth (literally and figuratively) during the cold winter months. Please, click on the picture to be able to read the full article! It's a great and inspiring story! And I shall leave you with a quote from the article as I think it sums up what this entire post is about:
"What a tangible way to say, 'I care'"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sudsy Sunday #1

Soap. It keeps us clean. It comes in some rather pretty scents, too! But have you noticed that many of the commercially produced soaps cause your skin to chap (especially in the winter)? I never really had any problems with my skin chapping until a couple years ago. It might be because I had a kid and was, and currently, constantly having to wash my hands or it could be because I'm simply getting older and my body can't bounce back as readily as it used to. Whatever the cause, all I know is that my hands would end up chapping so bad they'd get to the point of nearly bleeding- let's all say it together now, "eeeewwwwwwwww!" Lotions helped out a lot let me tell you! But I have recently learned that not all soaps can be treated equally as I set out to find a new and gentler soap to use.
What did I discover, you ask? Well, I found out that I can make my own soaps with wonderful moisturizing properties in my own home! I must say I shall never go back to store bought if I can help it!

What is soap really?
This is what I came to understand through my own research, so please correct me if I'm completely off-base on some of this (it's broken down into as lay-man of terms as I can get)!
Soap can be broken down into three main components: fats and oils (animal or plant), water, and lye (aka sodium hydroxide). Lye is a very caustic ingredient that must be handled properly and used in the proper amounts in conjunction with the water and fats and oils. The lye instigates a chemical reaction within the fats and oils called saponification which causes the fats and oils to break down into fatty acids and glycerol. Don't worry, the fatty acids are not harmful in any way! In fact, it is the fatty acids that hold all the cleansing power of soap! The fatty acids that comprise soap can pick up and surround grease and dirt particles on your skin and make it easier for water to rinse the particles away. In many commercial soaps the glycerols are often processed out of the soap to form a more "pure" soap. This is particularly saddening because the glycerols are often skin-loving moisturizers and wonderful for those people with sensitive skin! Glycerol is also known as glycerin and is easily noted for its clear, transparent/translucent appearance in soaps. (Glycerol has many many other uses as you can read here)
Once the saponification process is started the fragrance and colorant is added to the soap before it is poured into its mold. I will have discussions on the different kinds of fragrances and colorants used in soap in the coming weeks. However, next week I will discuss the different kinds of base oils and fats that are used in creating soap and what benefits they have for the skin!

Handmade soaps have been making a comeback, especially with the advent of melt and pour glycerin soaps (I'm one of the melt and pour users at the moment), and therefore has become more than just a craft but an art form to keep up with today's marketplace. Many soapers are pushing the boundaries of what they can produce with their soaps and many of them succeed in creating eye-catching beauties! Check some of these beautiful handmade soaps!

Cold Process Solar Angels Shea Butter Soap by Eleja
(I am in love with the look of swirled soaps right now and Eleja shows her talent very well with this piece!)

Cold Process Limited Edition Sea Glass by ShiehDesignStudio
(Getting the uneven layers like this is so mind-boggling that they just had to be shared!)

Melt and Pour Painted Soap Starry Night by PJ Soaps
(many of PJ's handpainted soaps can take several days to create!)

Melt and Pour Crystal Gem Soaps by ADKaromatherapy
(yes, that is soap! Don't they look like beautiful gems?!)

Melt and Pour Black Raspberry Vanilla Cupcake Soap by Burnt Mill Candles & Soap
(don't be fooled by these yummy looking treats because these, too, are soapy wonders!)

Melt and Pour Fruity Melon Soap by Rose City Soap Supply

And though these aren't the best of pictures, I will share with you the first two bars of soap I have ever made :D

I call this one BreakTime. It's an exfoliating bar in two parts. The bottom has a base of oatmeal soap scented with Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey and some drizzles of light gold mica to imitate honey and the top part is a simple white soap base with Chocolate Espresso fragrance and coffee grounds for an exfoliate.

This soap is based off of a kit I bought from BrambleBerry. It's a swirl technique and came with a most stunning fragrance call Yuzu which is apparently a Japanese citrus fruit and I am completely and totally in love with how it smells!

Congratulations, it's a craft blog!

  Hi! And welcome to my blog, DelightfulU, where I will be sharing crafts from my repertoire and from around the web to delight, inspire, and intrigue you! You may find that most of my posts will be about bath and beauty products because I plan on turning DelightfulU into a store for such products (while still keeping the integrity of this blog).
  I will try my hardest to post a little something something every day and have a general breakdown in my head (well, it will be written down here in a second) of what I would like to focus on for each day of the week:

    Sudsy Sundays - showcase beautiful handmade soaps, scrubs, bath bombs, etc. from around the web and discuss different techniques, share recipes, and more!
    Muse Mondays - these are the days where I plan on pulling inspirational ideas from photographs, stories, videos, etc. Just anything that can inspire you to create in whichever medium you prefer :)
    Tutorial Tuesdays - pretty self-explanatory ;) Could be a tutorial on any type of craft medium, baking/cooking, etc.
    Whimsy Wednesdays - my choice as to what will be discussed; I am a nerd (I love my sci-fi, music, math, anime, and computer science) on so many levels it's almost not funny (almost, hehe) and my interests vary greatly depending on my moods, so this day is open to whatever intrigues me for the day!
    Trinket Thursdays - one of my oldest crafting loves is making jewelry, so this day will be dedicated to all the pretty shinies found around the world ^_^
    Fiber Fridays - this day will be devoted to any type of fiber related craft including but not limited to sewing, crochet, knitting, spinning (yarn) and even paper craft (paper is a fiber after all!)
    See what I made! Saturdays - this will be the day that I focus on all the projects that I've made progress on during the current week :)

  So, there you have my game plan and let's hope I can keep up with it! I know I'm crossing my fingers. It might be a slow start, but if you hang tight with me, I'm sure I can get it going smoothly and it will evolve into the blog it should be!
And if you are at all interested in who I am, here's some info for you. My name is Tamra and I am going to hit the big 3.0. at the end of this year. I have a B.A. in Studio Art which hasn't really gotten me anywhere so far job-wise but my passion for art and creativity still remain! I'm a wife and mother and am blessed to be able to stay at home to watch my son. I get a lot of my inspiration from nature so you can look forward to a lot of projects relating to birds, flowers, trees, astronomy, etc.

  I guess this concludes my first "See what I made! Saturday" I made a blog :D and I look forward to sharing many more days with you all in the future!