Monday, 14 January 2013

Focus 2013

Now that I've recovered from the frenzy of the holiday season, I'm taking some time to focus my energies on my businesses and what I want to create for them this year. It is a difficult task, especially when it means that you need to slow down and minimize your efforts to maximize your gains- a fact that keeps making itself a theme for me.

Over the past 3 years, I've tried different things- some worked and some not so much. In this learning process, what I have discovered is that it really is better to do one thing really well than to do lots of things fairly well. Perhaps it stems from the numerous requests I've had from people only to find in the long run, that catering to the few is not profitable.

Well this year all that is gonna change. I still have lots of plans in my head, but only a select few will become reality. It is time I elevate my thinking and place my work in the category of luxurious value it deserves to be in. Less is more, details are important, craftsmanship becomes manufacturing. I am ramping up for a very successful year. I am excited to show you the changes and see what manifests!

Are you an entrepreneur? What is your focus? How do you perceive your brand? How do you want others to see it? These are the questions I've asked myself. You live and you learn. It's taken me 3 years to understand and align my vision with my creative process. (Not an easy thing to do when all you want to do is create!) I think I've got it though. Can't wait to see how it all turns out.

Monday, 24 December 2012

On the 9th day... I ran out of time!!

Well, in keeping with my usual holiday tradition, I spent so much time working and getting things ready for the holidays that I ran out of days for my 12 days of DIY! Perhaps I will plan better next year and start them in June! I hope you found the ones I was able to post helpful and I wish you all a very happy holiday season!

Merry Christmas to all and to all... a good night!

Friday, 21 December 2012

On the 8th day of DIY... Homemade Laundry detergent

I started making my own homemade laundry soap about a year ago. It is a great way to go eco friendly and costs just pennies per load. You can make it quickly and easily and put it in a large bail jar or special tin and give as a gift. I found a great post on Soap Deli News that shows you how to make it!
Photo by Rebecca Dillon of Soap Deli News

On the 7th day of DIY... Loose Leaf Tea

Loose leaf tea shops are popping up everywhere! For the price of a single cup, you can make a whole jar of your favourite tea blend to give as gifts to friends and family. You can purchase herbs and spices from any herb store, bulk store or health food store. I love Mountain Rose Herbs because they have an enormous selection of organic and wildcrafted herbs and spices at very reasonable prices. For just a few dollars you can make multiple batches of tea for gift giving or enjoying yourself.

I have a few favourites that I enjoy throughout the year. They are very easy to make and only require a few ingredients and some nice containers to put them in. Tea tins make a nice choice for gifting and they come in a variety of sizes to suit any need. You can order them from many packaging suppliers such as New Directions Aromatics, Specialty Bottle or Mountain Rose Herbs.


Licorice Mint Soother 
1 part Licorice Root
1 part Peppermint
This tea has soothing licorice root which is great for coating a sore throat. The mellow minty sweet flavour is sure to please any herbal tea lover!

Evening Calm
1 part passionflower
1 part lemon balm
1 part chamomile
I love this blend after a hard day. If I'm feeling a bit frazzled, it helps calm my nerves and I sleep like a baby!

My Chai
1 part cardamom seeds
1 part clove buds
1 part crystallized ginger
2 cinnamon stick (in chunks)
2 vanilla beans (cut up)
3 parts black tea
You can adjust this recipe to suit your taste, but I find this version very rich and yummy! You can also substitute Red Rooibos Tea in place of black tea for a very mellow tea.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

On the 5th day of DIY...Gift wrapping options

There are so many ways to package a gift that shows you care and they can be done without spending a fortune! Here are a few of my favourites! Now granted, some are easier to make than others, but trust me-you'll have fun doing it!

I found several fun videos on YouTube that teach you how to craft your own packaging from a simple piece of paper or fancy cardboard. You can find the supplies for all of these at your local craft store...or even just around the house!  Hope you find them fun and informative!

How to make  a pillow box:

 How to make a gift box:

How to make an Origami Box:

The last one is my favourite, but as you can see, it is more ambitious than the others. I hope you have fun with this project and save some money on gift wrap!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

On the 6th day of DIY...Fun with Scrubs!

For this DIY fun day, I am turning it over to the "Queen" of bath and body DIY, Anne-Marie Faiola at SoapQueenTV who did a super episode covering scrubs for the face, body and lips! I couldn't have done it better myself! Without further ado....Take lots of notes, enjoy and don't forget to order your supplies from Brambleberry!

Onthe 4th day of DIY... soy candle fun!

I recently had a grown up play date with my friend Andee to show her how to make soy candles to give as gifts to our friends and family this Christmas. I provided the wax, wicks and smelly stuff... while her task was to find some nice inexpensive holders for our creations. She went to a local thrift store and picked up a whole bunch of great glass containers that were just perfect for our project!

We decided to make soy candles although I also enjoy beeswax too! Soy is known for its soot free, clean burn that lasts and lasts. It holds scent very nicely and is eco friendly. I got mine from New Directions Aromatics, but you can get candle making kits at your local craft store.

Candle making is a fun and easy project that you can do in your own kitchen with relatively little equipment. All you need is...
 a pot
 pyrex jug
 stainless steel tablespoon
 wax of your choice (we used soy because of the clean burn)
 dye blocks (optional)
 wicks (to suit size of candle)
 fragrance oil or essential oils
 popsicle stick (you'll see why)

  And away we go!.....

First lay out some old newspaper on your pouring surface to prevent any damage and catch spills.

Set up your pot with a bit of water (a la Bain Marie)
Measure out wax in your pyrex jug (I like to work 1 lb at a time)
Turn stove on to medium ish (just under) heat and set jug in pot
Allow time for the wax to melt, stir to ensure even melt

Remove the wax from the heat and turn off the stove
Add your fragrance (1tsp per pound for EO, 1/4 oz per pound for FO)
Shave in colour if desired ( We tried mixing 1/8 of a block of red and a bit of blue, could have used twice as much to get deeper colour)

Wick setting

Now you want to get your wicks set and there are a couple of way to do it. You can use glue dots (highly recommend) or you can just wax set them. The only problem with wax setting them is that your wax will remelt and possibly dislodge the wick from its position. Allowing the wax to cool a bit before pouring is a good way to prevent wicks from moving too much.

Here, I set the wick in place and used popsicle sticks to hold it in place until the candle solidified.

 In general, your candles will probably need a couple of hours to set completely. We took a nice lunch break and came back to find our candles were ready!
Voila! Our finished candles!

                                    Aren't they pretty!