My Scented Serenity...

Welcome to my blog! Here you'll find the humble musings of a novice Aussie soap and candle maker. I hope you'll join me on my learning journey and feel free to leave comments, give advice and ask questions. I hope to be able to share with you my learnings, and inspire others, as much as so many talented people have inspired me.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pamper Packs Revealed? Not just yet!

Wow!  It has been a while since my last post!  I actually started my blog while my husband and I were away on our annual holiday.  It was a good time to sit and review, and consider what next.  Nothing like having endless hours and a very relaxing atmosphere to get your head space right!

In fact, while on the subject of holidays, I would actually like to take this opportunity to make a recommendation to all you holiday-seekers out there, and give a shout out at the same time to the management and staff ('cause they're great people!  Always friendly & helpful!) of  Blue Pacific Resort

If you ever have the chance to visit Mackay, in sunny Queensland, Australia, then I recommend a stop-over at this resort.  It is a great place just to relax and unwind.  There is so much to see and do in Mackay if you're the kind of 'hyperactive' holiday-maker who likes to have a very full itinerary...there are numerous islands just a stone's throw away  to visit and national parks, plenty of great places to eat, shop... 

Can you tell I like it here?!!  So much so, we have been spending our annual holidays here for at least the last fifteen years...our home away from home!  There's nothing like taking in the view with a stroll along beautiful Blacks Beach, or if you are like us, taking it easy on the deck chairs along the beachfront admiring the scene (we can often be spotted with a nice little glass of red in one hand)...

(or white!!)

I find the beachfront is a great place just to be still and think.  There's nothing like the sound of the ocean for soothing one's soul.

We often find ourselves still sitting here at sunset, too relaxed to wander back to our unit.

We were fortunate this trip to sit face to face with a full moon for a few evenings while watching the world go by on the beachfront.  Sometimes it's handy to have that mobile phone with you on holidays!

It was actually while were we here on one of our previous trips that I finally had the courage to have a go at my first ever CP soap. 

SOAP!  Ah yes, soap.  I've digressed enough.  Now that we are back home, and slowly getting back into the usual routine after a lovely, long, relaxing break, I've realised I haven't touched this blog!

So, I know I promised to reveal my pamper packs following my last post on my Christmas soaping marathon, however I think I want to show you some of my other goodies first.  Remember I mentioned there was to be a whole bunch of goodies in these packs?  Well, there was a whole lot of 'stuff' crammed into the apple-barrel like pots I bought especially for the job.

After my CP marathon came M&P soaps, sugar scrubs, bath bombs, candles, some applique work and even some cooking!

I was being totally adventuresome with this plan.  Not only was I new to soapmaking, but I'd never even laid eyes on sugar scrubs before, and only ever once before had I made bath bombs.  But, with a little help from the Soap Queen and her TV tutorials, I was ready for anything!

I decided to try a sugar scrub recipe I obtained from the Soap Queen blog (from memory, I think acknowledgement should go to Erin Pikor from Naiad Soap Arts, for the recipe), as well as another I borrowed from Jude's Aussie Soap Supplies Recipe Formulary.  While I found both of these recipes great starting points, I couldn't help making a few tweaks here and there, and eventually settling on the tweaked formula for the end result.  These little yummies were scented with Strawberry, Watermelon, White Tea & Ginger, Applejack Peel and Cinnamon Sugar fragrance oils.

Sliced and diced, a dozen of these cubes fit nicely into a bail jar.

Unfortunately, in my frenzy to beat the clock, I neglected to photograph my bath bombs.  Mind you, it was slim pickings to find a perfectly formed fizzy to photograph!  Living here in tropical North Queensland, the temperature and humidity here around Christmastime is incredible.  I had all sorts of hassles trying to get my bath bombs to form properly and actually hold together long enough to set.  If they weren't falling apart on me, they were setting hard in the moulds and refusing to come out!  I was thinking this might be a nice little extra sideline for my range of bath products...but now I'm not so sure.  :/

In between bouts of soapmaking, I was also candlemaking.  This is another craft I've really grown fond of.  I think I've mentioned in an earlier post how I had gone down the candlemaking track once before, but soon lost interest as I was displeased with the quality of wax and fragrance I was using.  But recently I've been able to renew my skills in this area but with good quality soy and palm waxes (yeah, yeah I know...if I'm being ecologically conscientious, I wouldn't be using palm wax, but I do make sure I purchase the sustainable variety from recognised suppliers), good quality FOs and EOs and 100% cotton wicks.  If I'm honest, I'd have to say I actually prefer the palm wax to soy as I find the scent throw to be better and, how about those wonderful patterns in the finished products!  Gorgeous!

Here is my collection of pamper pack palm pillar candles...

I didn't get around to photographing my soy collection, but there were basically three kinds of container candles produced in varying sizes and fragrances.

In between times, while waiting for soaps and candles to cure, I'd do some stitches here and there in my attempt to create each family member a special Christmas stocking.  I had planned to do this many years ago however I just never seemed to find the time with my hectic working life.  Not only did I not have a great deal of free time, I also lacked the inspiration and motivation.  This project always seemed to end up in the 'too hard basket'.  But this year was it!  I was determined to make them no matter what!  So I got busy making eight different stockings!

These six were for the fam...

One for my husband...

And one for me!

While I'd like to take credit for the design of these little beauties, I can't.  Four of the patterns were created by The Chook Shed Pattern Company.  The other four I designed myself based on the Chook Shed's pattern.

Now I know you think I've gone a little nuts with all this Christmas stuff...and you'd be right!  But I was on fire!  I was really in the zone!  So why stop there?  You'd think all this would be more than enough, but oh no! 

Did I mention cooking?  Yep, that's right.  To round this package off nicely, I had great intentions of baking up a storm with some treats like Chocolate Fudge, White Christmas, Rocky Road, all those nice things, and shoving them in a jar just to add one last little bit of sweetness to the whole deal!  But what I didn't count on was, just how long all of this was going to take, plus...having to label, wrap and package all the bits and pieces!!

So, common sense prevailed and I just let go of the baking idea.  Luckily though, because we'd had an influx of homegrown fruit...mangoes from our trees, bananas from my mum, rockmelons from friends...I had already been busy teaching myself how to make jam!  I know! What next I hear you ask!  I had oodles of the stuff!  So I had the stocking stuffers I needed, and with one little trip to the supermarket just to round off the yumminess with some chocolates...I was done!

I can almost hear you breathing a sigh of relief!! :p

You thought this saga would never end...didn't you?!

Oh!  It ended alright....

Until the next episode...happy soaping!

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