Menagerie – Vacation Round-Up

Hi all!  I have been away for a couple of weeks.  I needed a break from work and from book writing, and maybe a little bit from creating too.   I took 2 weeks to do just “whatever” instead of having a plan.  Sometimes that is good for the soul!

My plans were somewhat interrupted due to the recent hurricanes and preparations for the next ones.  This made me have a “working vacation” since it caused some extra work at work.  At least I got to enjoy some free time in between “on call” events.

I started out  last weekend with a quick visit “up north” to see my sister, nieces, and deliver all the goodies I have been making them.    It was a nice trip, a beautiful day, and very enjoyable.  Needless to say everything I gifted them was well-received.  Especially the bath bombs — always the bath bombs!

While I was there my niece gave me a haircut and I noticed that she was hauling around all her cosmetology equipment in a tote bag I had made her years ago.  It was looking pretty “well-loved”.  I decided that when I got home, I was going to make her a new one.

She loves butterflies and I found this really pretty leopard print, butterfly fabric.   I also found some “faux leather” fabric that paired well with it.

I made her a 10×12 inch makeup case and a 18.5 x 18.5 tote.  The tote has 8 outer pockets (in the bottom, the faux leather part) and 2 inset pockets (one on each side) (the yellow slit you see in the fabric below).   The inside has 6 bottom pockets and 2 inset pockets.   So altogether, there are 8+2+2+6 = a total of 18 pockets.  That should hold quite a bit of cosmetology supplies.   She’s gonna love it!


I also make a mistake when I had made my sister’s pillowcase.  I was supposed to make her a king-sized set of them, but I had realized, after they cut the fabric, that I had only purchased enough to make a standard sized case.   So while at the fabric store, picking out the fabric for my nieces tote, I also picked up the right amount of fabric for a pair of king pillowcases.   She likes butterflies too, and this fabric was really cute!


And while I was in a sewing mood, I got myself a little bit of a couple of stretch knit fabrics to make myself yoga bands / hat bands.  These are really easy.  Essentially, you just cut out 20×6 inch pieces of the fabric, sew them down the long side, leaving a 1 inch gap open for turning, join the ends, sew across, turn right-side out, sew up the hole, and you’re done.  Takes about 10 minutes each, and most of that is spent trying to get the silky fabric straight so you can cut it.


I love these as yoga bands to hold my hair back, but also they look cute dressing up my plain straw hat.


While I was at it, and had already made a big mess, I decided to sew a cover for my body pillow.  I found some cute tropical fabric that has parakeets on it.   I didn’t take a picture because that body pillow is all wonky from use.  Most of the fluff has migrated to one end and it is pretty hollow in the middle — so it looks ugly, but I love the new cover.

My husband saw me sewing and requested covers for his pillows too so I made him a pair of standard-sized pillowcases for his extra bed pillows.  I had some aqua blue fabric with corals on them.  Unfortunately both my pillow and his pillow have the fabric going the wrong way because the fabric was directional, but who cares, nobody will see them but me.

My niece (the other one) requested some soap with activated charcoal, so I made her a batch of Indigo, Charcoal, Tea Tree & Lavender soap.  I made it palm-free with coconut, castor, olive, cocoa butter, shea butter, rice bran and meadowfoam oils.  It has a touch of coconut milk added at trace, to make it extra bubbly.


Then I had some fragrance called “Sultana of Soap”.  I decided to make this into a coconut, shea, olive, camellia, castor and rice bran oil soap.  It was white but the fragrance discolored it to yellow.  Turns out I don’t care much for that fragrance.  It’s another one that smells like laundry soap to me.  The swirl turned out pretty though and the soap behaved.


Then I decided to make a honey-almond soap.  I had not tried the technique yet of using bubble wrap to texture it, so I jumped in.   I mixed Almond Cybilla fragrance with Pure Honey fragrance (both from Brambleberry).  This one has kokum butter, shea butter, olive, babassu castor, olive, sweet almond and coconut oils.  I added an ounce of heavy cream and a teaspoon of honey at trace.  It was quite soft for a couple of days, but finally hardened enough to cut.


I put this in the freezer  to prevent heating and gel.   I had a little soap batter left over, so I made a cute little monkey and owl.  I didn’t freeze these, but they turned out a lighter color than the soap bars did.


And finally, I had some fragrance I was dying to use called “Black Pearl” from Nurture Soap.   It smells like candy.  I whipped it a little too much and it got bubbles, but it turned out fantastic and smells tasty.


I made this extra luxurious.  It has all the usual goodies (allantoin, glycerin, sodium lactate, aloe liquid, cetyl alcohol and polawax.)  I added the following though, to make it fantastic:  cetyl esters, camellia seed oil, evening primrose oil, murmuru butter and evening primrose extract.

I have been using it for the last few days and love it so much!


Before I forget, I also made a couple of reed diffusers for my house (Blend of “Hot Apple Pie”, “Pure Honey” and “Applejack Peel” fragrances) and  a lotion refill (Feather Lotion) (love this one).

And, I had a special visitor.  Can you see him in the picture below, at the end of the path? It was a HUGE coyote.  He doesn’t look that big in the picture, but that is taken with a telephoto lens because he is about 200 yards away from where I am standing.   He hung around for about 1/2 hour and then left.  I think he was hunting rabbits or turkeys (which also live in that field).   He has been here before.  He usually comes around about once a year.   I enjoy him, as long as he is OUTSIDE the fence and not bothering my dogs.


I have one more post to do today to wrap up with my activities for today, my last day of vacation.  That is coming up next.




7 thoughts on “Menagerie – Vacation Round-Up

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, I love the tote too. The reed diffuser recipe is in my book – Home Spa Formulary (on It’s a simple recipe that is so much fun because you can change out your fragrance profiles on a whim and make your house smell so lovely. I love pink grapefruit fragrance in my bathrooms. I like apple-spice scents elsewhere, although in the spring, I often opt for things like lilac. 🙂 In the winter, there are so many wonderful holiday scents (gingerbread, scents with pine notes, etc). You can just have so much fun with it.

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s