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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Today the weather was in the high 70s.  I wonder, will we  have Spring or just catapult straight into summer.  The school year is winding down for the kids.  

I'm still working on the soap for the Girls on the Run soap bags.  I have about 150 to make yet, and most of them still need to be bagged.  After that the labels have to be attached.  I guess I know what I will be doing this weekend.  Maybe I can corral the kids to help as my mother's day gift.  

I finished another rug the other day.  This one looks like sand and water so I have nicknamed it Sand 'n Surf.  

I have been sneaking in some quilting time.  I ordered a foot and feeddog cover so I can do some free motion quilting.  But now the machine is jamming.  I'll take it in tomorrow.  It needs a cleaning anyway.  I was in the Singer store last week and they had a free motion long arm machine with a compact table.  $5000.  A lot of money, but about half of what the programmable machines go for.  I have to improve my piecing skills quite a bit to even dream about a machine like that.  In the mean time, I will do my quilt as you go squares that I am making for a quilt for my son-in-law. 

 I have a quilt that I'm hand quilting for my oldest daughter, but I can't find my hoop top!  grrrrr.  I have 2 grandkids that still do not have quilts.  So many addictions - so little time.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy May Day everyone! As I write this, it is 42 degrees outside. Gotta love Michigan. I have been super busy the last few months. Since I am a church musician when I'm not making soap, candles, rugs, stockings, fudge, or lamps, April was especially busy. Easter, you know, the busiest time in the church. Add to that additional grandkid time and something had to give - blogging. We had the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival last weekend and our little Claire competed in the Princess pageant. Here she is hamming it up on the parade float with one of her friends. She's the one on the left.

So now it's time to gear up for making soap for the Girls on the Run race bags. So far I have 87 soaps done out of the 650 that I need to do. Also, I did 4 batches of Apple Jack and Peel soap for a barn wedding. This is the third request I have had to make soap for weddings. Must be a new trend.

I've also started making tin can lamps. I absolutely love them!! These are timer lamps. Some are electric and some are battery. They glow for 8 hours and then automatically turn themselves off for 16 hours. Then they turn back on.

In February I had surgery on my hand for carpal tunnel. That slowed me down for a couple of weeks, but I am back to making rugs

This summer I plan to get back to quilting. I have missed that so much. The problem is, there are too many things I love to do and not enough time to them.

Making Honey Blossom Soap

Wow! It's been quite a few months since we have updated. Life tends to happen, doesn't it? Here is a new look to an old favorite!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It's been a while so I thought I'd better update.  October 15 is my annual traditional "start thinking about Christmas" day.  (December 15th is my annual  "wish I'd started October 15th day")

Anyway, things have been hopping here at the Sugar Bush.  The grandkids keep us all busy.  The guys have started the fall harvest, and we are two shows into our fall craft show schedule.  We continue to be blessed by wonderful support from our customers.

The stocking orders are starting to pour in and it's a challenge to keep on top of them.  (A good challenge, to be sure.)

This year we have been experimenting with different fudge flavors - Kit Kat Crunch, Peppermint Patty, Snicker! Snicker!.  (Shown is the Snicker! Snicker!)

 I have yet to make the pink peppermint yet, but speaking of peppermint, I made a batch of peppermint soap last night.  I am chomping at the bit to cut and see the pretty swirls inside.  But when I went to put it on the cutter, it felt soft so I will wait.  I did unmold the overpour, though.

Madison has started pre-school so Meghan is now becoming my Sugar Bush helper.  She is unpackaging all of the bulbs for my lamps.  I ordered her Sugar Bush tee shirt.  She is very excited.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

First of all - Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers, father figures, Godfathers, etc out there.  I hope your day is wonderful!

After last week's batch of Lavender and Lemongrass, I was itching to do a re-make on a lot of our soaps. (Maybe itching isn't the best word to use).  I actually made 4 batches of soap last week.  I normally make soap on Mondays, but because warm humid weather is approaching, and because we do not have central air, I decided to make soap while the sun didn't shine - so to speak.

 I noticed that I was almost out of Lemongrass - so I made a batch of that:

Then I discovered I was almost out of Country Roads  - so I made a batch of that.  
Actually, I made a batch of this a couple of weeks ago and the colors bled and morphed.  Good soap, but not terribly pretty.  I was thrilled with the way this batch turned out.

My Lavender stock was dangerously low (it's always dangerously low) - so I made a batch of that.  
I was so excited by how this turned out that I had to try an idea I've had in mind for a while.

So - I made one more batch.  I'm calling this one Americana.  It  got a lot of attention on our Facebook page.  Now I have a ton of ideas swirling in my head for some special edition Christmas soaps.

I have also been experimenting with different flavors of fudge.  We have added Snicker! Snicker! to our line.    Made with peanuts and caramel bits, that one disappeared pretty quickly.  

Click to see full size image

Next was a fudge inspired by Heath Bars.  This one has almonds and toffee bits.  We had a contest on our Facebook page and the winning name was Almond Toffee Delight. 

Click to see full size image

 I want to do a pink peppermint fudge for Fall and Christmas which will have some of those soft peppermints ground up in it. Then there will be a Peppermint Patty fudge which will have Junior Mints in it.  Now I am getting bombarded with other ideas from several people.  I have this summer to finalize all of this and then in September we start getting orders for Christmas Stockings. (Which we have been working on since January)  

October starts our Fall craft shows and we have added two more to the four we usually do.  And to add to the fun, we are having a change in leadership at our parish (where I work when I'm not playing with grandkids or making soap, fudge, candles, and rugs.).  Not only will we have a new priest, but for the first time in my time at the church, we will have a man as our business manager.  Lots of changes ahead.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Out of yesterday's chore list, I managed to do everything except package soap.  I finished a rug I have been working on.  I love the colors in this one.

Today's chore list included: Cutting up and processing sheets. Harold and I went to a graduation party on Saturday and stopped at a couple of garage sales on the way down. I found lots of sheets. Anna also found me some on Sunday. I washed them all yesterday. I like to get them ready for cutting before I store them.  I love the colors in the stack on the left so I am keeping those together for a pink and turquoise rug.

Evening update:
Oh, my aching back.  It has been a looooooong day.
I managed to get everything done that was on my chore list.
I made a batch of Lavender today.  For once I will wait to cut it because I won't be home tomorrow.  I'm excited to see how this one will turn out.  I did the bottom layer in pale lavender with purple jojoba beads sprinkled in.  The top layer is white with lavender and purple swirls.

I packaged up and weighed the rest of the Hunter's Green scent masking soap.

Photo: Hunter's Green Scent Masking soap, cured and ready to go!

I also packaged the Lavender and Old Lace.  I did a little more straightening in the dungeon.

I am finishing the last of the 10 stockings that I need to take down to Nina's tomorrow.  When that is done, it's PJ time in the big chair with my library book.

Monday, June 10, 2013 - Cutting Lemongrass Soap

Ugh, my big chore for the day is to get soap oils measured. It's my very least favorite part of soapmaking. I have somewhat streamlined the process, so it isn't as bad as it used to be. The part that makes it so tiresome is actually only measuring the hard oils. I hate having my hands all greasy, but at least with the coconut oil, soybean oil, and palm oil, I can scoop it out and be done with it. But cocoa butter - oh, that evil cocoa butter. In order to keep prices down, I order it in a 50 pound chunk. It requires a hammer and a butter knife to chip off the chunks. And my lovely scale always decides to shut off before it is all measured. Today I hammered the butter knife down so far into the chunk that I couldn't get it out again. Sooooo, I have one batch of oils measured. I will pour these into four smaller buckets and each of those is enough for one batch of soap. I think I will do several of these today and then I won't have to bother with it for a month or so.

The girls were here this morning so I finished my Lemongrass video from yesterday.  They like to watch me cut soap and they absolutely LOVE to sniff it.

Friday, June 7, 2013 - Lavender and Lemongrass soap.

It seems to be either feast or famine with my blog posts.  I actually like to blog, but there are so many things I like to do and so little time.  Yesterday I tried something different for one of my old soap recipes.  I love to blend fragrances and during the summer, Lavender and Lemongrass are my absolute favorite blends.  In the past, this soap has had a rather lackluster appearance.  Lemongrass fragrance oil results in a kind of dull translucent soap.  I decided to add Titanium Dioxide to the main batch before separating into colors.  I love how this turned out!  I did a video of this batch.  I have a new camera and while the video is much better, it takes hours to upload.

I also finished a praire rug today.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ah, more rain.  Not what I was hoping for.  Working in the damp basement is doing nothing for this cough.  Maddie and Meghan came over this morning and the plan was for them to help me package the little heart soaps I made yesterday.  Well, that didn't work out because the soap was to soft to work with.  They were disappointed, but we can wait until next week to do them.  They just have to be made in time to cure, but they can be packaged when I get to it.

After the girls went home, I made a batch of candles, several batches of tarts, and several batches room sprays.  I have one more batch of fudge to make, but I needed more of one of the ingredients.

Tonight I played for a class of kids who are preparing for First Communion and Confirmation.  Immediately after that I went to do a class with the RCIA.  I miss teaching, but there is only so much time in a day.

I planned to stop at Walmart to get a few things, but it was rainy, windy, and cold so I just made a quick stop at Family Fare to get a loaf of bread and some potatoes.

Doesn't sound like I did much today, but I never stopped moving. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Let's see - what did I do today?
Started off the day with Madison, Meghan, and Garrett.  Never a dull moment with those three around.
First off, the girls turned on the CD player which is, and has been, their custom.  Garrett, who is Claire's little brother, has heard this song before.  So he did his little dance.

Despite the fact that Garrett is a little tornado boy, I did manage to get a batch of chocolate peanut butter fudge made.  I had some help with the testing.  Notice Maddie's ponytail.  That is her 80's look inspired by the Princess Pageant.

Thankfully, Harold made a roast the other day, so I didn't have to worry about lunch.  After the monkeys went hope, I made a batch of Maple Cream Fudge, a batch of Hazelnut Coffee candles, a batch of Country Orange Spice grubby tarts, and 120 more soap hearts for the Girls on the Run race bags.  I have one more batch of those and they will be finished - and none too soon because they have just enough time to cure before the event which will be in Shepherd this year - woohooo!!  Tomorrow Madison will help me package them and put on the labels.

Sunday April 21, 2013

It's been a very long time since I've updated this blog.  We got slammed with stocking orders in October (which, coincidentally was my last post) and we never really got caught up.  Now the Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival is next week and my workroom has been filled with water.  We had 4 funerals in 5 days at the church last week. Thank goodness I started getting ready early so we have most of everything we need.

Today I am making fudge - chocolate, to be exact.  Because I am on a program to reverse my insulin resistance, I can't test it so I have to rely on other people - and by other people, I mean Harold, who is always a willing tester.

Yesterday was the Maple Syrup Festival Princess Pageant, and our little Claire was a contestant.  She sang, "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."  She and Maddie have sung that song hundreds of times in our living room, but watching her sing it here made me tear up.

The video isn't very good, but you can hear her very well. There are actually three videos, her song, her interview question, and her group dancing.  I need to find my video camera because this one isn't very good. Claire is the 4th girl from the left with the pink tights, turquoise skirt and turquoise gloves.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Exciting news.  Our webhost, DIY Estores, is hosting an online craft show.  You can avoid the hustle and bustle, enjoy a cup of cocoa and go shopping in your jammies! 

Join in the fun and join us in November for the EZ Craft Show

Word of the day:
Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B
Saint(s) of the day : St. Mark, pope († 336)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 10:2-16.

The Pharisees approached and asked, "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?" They were testing him. He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?" They replied, "Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." But Jesus told them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate." In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

Friday, September 21, 2012

I spent the morning blending a new fragrance oil for our fall products. It brings to mind the crunch of leaves in the fall, the freshly turned earth in the fields, a touch of maple and some other fantastic scents. It reminds me of our beautiful country road in the fall and so I have named the scent in its honor - Autumn on the County Line. I made a batch of candles and will post a pic of those when I have the labels. They are sage green and smell so wonderful.

 I usually make soap on Mondays, but I made another batch today using our new fragrance so that it would be cured in time for our October 27 craft show in Carson City.  Here is a pic of it in the mold.  I can't wait to cut it tomorrow!

Saint Matthew, apostle and evangelist - Feast

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 9:9-13.
As Jesus passed by, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, "Follow me." And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
He heard this and said, "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Here is the Cranberry and Spiced fig cut up. It looks a lot different doesn't it? I smells wonderful!!   I did a combo of "in-the-pot" swirl, plus I went in with the bottom of a wire coat hanger and rotated that a bit.

Wednesday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time
Saint(s) of the day : St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr († 305)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 7:31-35.

Then to what shall I compare the people of this generation? What are they like? They are like children who sit in the marketplace and call to one another, 'We played the flute for you, but you did not dance. We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.' For John the Baptist came neither eating food nor drinking wine, and you said, 'He is possessed by a demon.' The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, 'Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.' But wisdom is vindicated by all her children."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's been a while since I've blogged. We've been really busy with Christmas stockings. Our stocking season started a bit early this year and I have been swamped with making them.  So far we have sold 121, but I have also made about 60 bottoms so I really didn't slack off on my vow to have stockings made by this fall.  Another shop posted that they received their issue of the Country Sampler - the October issue which is where our ad is so we shall see what we shall see.

I had Meghan, Madison, and Garrett this morning.  We went for a walk.  They like to snitch corn from Grandpa's field. 

The last two weeks I've gone down to the Cathedral to sing in the diocesan choir.  I don't usually do it in the fall because we are so strapped for time as it is, but as is indicative of the Church in general, choir membership is down and there was a need.

I haven't made soap in a couple of weeks so today after the kids went home, I mixed my lye water.  Tonight I made a batch of Cranberry and Spiced Fig.  I love this scent.  It smells very Christmasy.  I also ordered a new fragrance oil that I am excited to try.   Here is the Cranberry and Spiced Fig in the mold.  Tomorrow I'll post of pic of it cut up.  It will look quite different than what you might expect.


Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth week in Ordinary Time

Saint(s) of the day : Saint Thomas of Villanova, Bishop (1488-1555)                                                                                                                                                                  Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 7:11-17.
Soon afterward he journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, "Do not weep."
He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and he said, "Young man, I tell you, arise!"
The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming, "A great prophet has arisen in our midst," and "God has visited his people."
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea and in all the surrounding region.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ahhhhhh,  it has been so long.  This summer has just been jam packed with stuff to do.  I am so far behind with so many things - but that seems to be the status quo for me.  So let's see if I can update.
Last week:

 Made pepperberry wreath soap.  (This feels really good in the shower on a hot day!

Made a ton of tarts.  Some lamp grubbies, bundt cake tarts, and grubby tarts scented with Harvest Home.

Finished two rugs:  One for Claire

And one for Nina

Made a bunch of Christmas stocking for an order
Loons game on Friday night (they lost)
Family reunion on Saturday
Family party on Sunday
Started a new rug for Ben
And various assorted other stuff.
Word of the Day:

Monday of the Fifteenth week in Ordinary Time

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 10:34-42.11:1.
Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword.
For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's enemies will be those of his household.'
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.
Whoever receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and whoever receives a righteous man because he is righteous will receive a righteous man's reward.
And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple--amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward."
When Jesus finished giving these commands to his twelve disciples, he went away from that place to teach and to preach in their towns.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Well, it's been a jam-packed couple of weeks. We went down to Ohio on Friday to celebrate my nephew's graduation. His party was on Saturday so we made it a sort of 3 day mini-vacation. I love mini vacations. Harold suggested we stay in a tree-house cabin that Howard told him about. We were only able to find ONE vacancy and that was for Friday night.  The cabin is located in Berlin, Ohio - in the heart of Amish Country so I knew right away that this was going to be a winner of a weekend.    It has all of the amenities of normal motels and then some.  It had a jacuzzi, a flat screen TV, the countertops were granite and on and on.  We were reading through the guest logs and there were references to a mysterious "George."  It seem that there is a tradition of hiding one dollar bill and then leaving clues for the next guest.  We found all but one and we left another in a secret place.

We have been getting stocking orders already so I sewed up a bunch on the drive down.  We visited some shops and at one of the thrift shops, I found a treasure trove of sheets to use for rugs.  I've already used on in a rug I am making for Madison for her birthday.  The pink stripe is from a comforter we found.  As you can see, it isn't finished yet - hence the tag on the right hand side.  It will be trimmed with yellow.  Madison has been helping me with this rug by handing me strips so I asked her if she would like it for her birthday.  Her party is on Sunday so it should be finished by then.

 I had the 5 oldest grandkids here yesterday morning.  It was a pretty lively time.  Melisa can always tell when Meghan has been here because she always buckles the belt on Garrett's carseat as soon as Grandma takes him out of it.

Friday was Sam's 30th birthday.  Madison keeps telling everyone that her Daddy is 40.  I didn't get a good pic of Sam because the kids stole the show.


Clay and Claire were there too, but I can rarely catch them long enough to get a pic.

Yesterday I went back to work getting inventory ready for this fall.  I was working with Cider Mill scent and - mmmmmmmm - I can't wait for Fall.  I made some new shaped tarts with some small bundt cake molds that I bought for soap.

and I made some more electric grubbies.  The house smells wonderful!!  I am so blessed to be able to do so many of the things I love.

Word of the day:

Wednesday of the Tenth week in Ordinary Time

Saint(s) of the day : St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church

Jesus said to his disciples: «Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.

Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.