Friday, July 18, 2014

New One of a Kind Handmade Bags and Purses




I've been sewing together one of a kind bags and purses recently, using some neat fabrics I got a hold of. I'm hoping to get more and create more soon! Clothing items similar in design and fabric styles should be available some time in October. I don't know anyone around here to model clothing items, so I usually do it myself, but I'm 7 months pregnant right now and due around September 10th! (:

**PLEASE NOTE**
I will NO LONGER be renewing listings on Etsy. I've had the Etsy shop open since November of 2013, and despite all my efforts to promote left and right, offer discounts, lower prices, etc.. I am not making nearly enough sales to keep the Etsy shop going. With it costing $0.20 to list and re-list each item, and the fees, it is just not economically reasonable for me when my actual website is only $7.00 a month. So, if you see anything here and try to get it from my Etsy shop but don't see it, please go to my official website at www.molylenore.com/shop and you will find it there (if it's not already sold).

Thanks ^_^




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lots of New Handmade Wearable Art, Coupon Code, B2G1 Sale

☺Use coupon code 20OFF25ANDUP to save 20% off any order $25 or more☺

☺B2G1 earrings promo: buy 2 pairs of earrings, get 1 pair of equal or lesser value FREE! Put the link to the free pair you want in the comments box upon checkout☺

These offers are available in both my Etsy shop as well my website shop.

One of a kind beautiful silver titanium quartz druzy ring, wire wrapped in pure silver wire and mounted to an adjustable 925 sterling silver stamped ring


Lots of new earrings featuring rainbow titanium quartz points, silver titanium quartz druzy beads and more.. Elegant new age, sci fi, and steam punk styles.







Friday, May 23, 2014

New Isis and the Pyramids Necklace

This is a new necklace I create last night using azurite beads, lava beads, black glass beads, iridescent glass beads, an also Tibetan silver pyramid beads. The centerpiece is a large silver Isis pendant with beaded accent floating above her head :)
I'm going to be taking a break from jewelry making for about a week or so. I'm finally almost out of supplies o__O I've ordered some more online, also grabbed up a few genuine gemstone beads from Terra Blue to use. Once everything's in I will start creating and listing more things.
Also, I'd like to get more soap made. Anyone have suggestions on a scent/oil blend?




Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Lots of New Creations and a GIVEAWAY



Enter the giveaway for a chance to win $50 worth of anything you want, along with free shipping. You can enter 3 different ways and can be anywhere in the world. This ends on May 23rd!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lots of awesome new stuff is up for grabs.. including genuine elytra jewel beetle wings jewelry, unique black nebula sparkle wrist cuffs with glow in the dark star constellations and more.










Monday, April 14, 2014

Frugal Fashionista Clothing Swap May 2014 Event

Some things I've created (necklaces, a one of a kind raw quartz and sterling silver ring, bracelet, and pairs of earrings, many soap samples, too!) and am packing up to send off to Frugal Fashionista Clothing Swap for their event in May. In addition to being able to get some awesome second-hand items, this event also sells grab bags full of goodies and other handmade items created by independent artisans like myself. All money made from this goes to support the hardworking ladies who throw the event, as well as donations to RAINN and other community services. Please check out their FB page and/or view their Meetup site here for more info. Thanks! (:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Zen Cart 1.5.x Removing The Border Around ALL Buttons

At the moment I am customizing a Zen Cart template to use in a new web shop I'm working on. I figured out a lot of things pretty quick, but there was one thing annoying the hell out of me all day. To make it worse, no amount of searching in Google or the Zen Cart forums resulted in any use. People would ask something like 'How do I remove the border around my Add To Cart button?', & someone would reply 'Add this code to the bottom of your .css stylesheet..' but NO ONE ever asked how to just get rid of ALL the ugly button borders. It is next to impossible to figure out which class to add at the end of the stylesheet for EACH button, trust me, I tried all day. Finally I figured out the one simple thing to do:
Open up the .css stylesheet for your template (your_shop_directory/includes/templates/your_template/css/stylesheet.css -Replacing 'your_shop_directory' and 'your_template' to what you actually have them named, of course).

Now find this line of code here:
#navCategoryIcon, .buttonRow, #indexProductListCatDescription {
margin: 0.5em;
        border: 1px solid #474747;
border-bottom: 2px solid #262626;
}
and REPLACE it with this:

#navCategoryIcon, .buttonRow, #indexProductListCatDescription {
margin: 0.5em;
        border:none;
}

PRESTO! Borders gone :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Easy Beginner's Tutorial For Homemade Cold Process Soap

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, here is a tutorial for how to make a small batch of cold process soap in your home, using materials you either probably already have, or can get easily if you don't have them.

I decided to make this tutorial because most of the tutorials and soap recipes I've found online in the past were usually really big batches of soap (5 pounds or more) and using more complicated/harder to find tools than most beginners have (not everybody has the money or room to dish out on a huge, fancy wooden mold right off the bat). Making your own cold process soap can be very tricky at first, and most likely, over time, you will find ways of making it that better suit your needs, than what I or somebody else is going to tell you. Like for example: my first 3 batches of soap were made from a very lye-heavy recipe and using oils that I discovered over time do not make as good of a soap that I want to make. So eventually I came up with my own mixtures and methods to suit my needs, and finally get the soap I wanted. Also, since you're just beginning, you most likely are going to mess something up. That being said, you certainly do not want to be out a whole entire canister of lye and pounds and pounds of oils! So let's try to keep it simple, and start small and easy :)

Note: if you want to see the photos larger, just click them. Yes, I watermarked them with my name. It took me quite some time to juggle not just making the soap but also my camera, in order to make the tutorial for you. I'm not asking for anything in return for any of it, except to not steal my tutorial and photos as your own. If you want to re-post this tutorial somewhere, feel free to do so, but please provide the link back here to the original post. Thanks!

First things first, gather up all the materials you will need:

~The oils/butters: For this batch/recipe, you're going to need at least 24 ounces of olive oil, 4 ounces of coconut oil, and 4 ounces of shea butter.

~At least 5 ounces of sodium hydroxide, also known as lye. Make sure you get pure sodium hydroxide/lye. Do NOT use a mixture! I buy mine at a local, independently owned hardware/farmer's supply shop in my town. You can also usually find it at Ace Hardware. I never see it anywhere in Lowe's or Home Depot though. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SOAP MADE WITHOUT SODIUM HYDROXIDE/LYE: even pre-made melt and pour bases were created with it. All soap goes through a process called 'Saponification', and after it 'Saponifies', there is no longer any lye within it because it has reacted with the oils which then creates glycerin. You are not going to be putting raw lye on your skin! So, don't worry.

~At least 8 ounces of chilled, purified drinking water.

~2 Pyrex (or other glass, cooking safe) measuring cups. 1 needs to be at least 1 cup, the other at least 2 cups measuring capacity.

~1 4.5"x8.5" (1.5 Qt.) Pyrex (or other glass, cooking safe) loaf mold.

~1 handheld (also referred to as 'stick') blender. I use one made by Big Boss, that I got from Amazon.com for around $20. You can also buy them at Target, Wal-Mart, places like that..if you don't feel like waiting for it to be shipped.

~A Crockpot of at least 3 quarts, with the removable, ceramic inside. Also with the low, high, and warm setting. I got mine on sale at Target for around $15.

~A sturdy, cooking safe plastic or wooden spoon with a long handle (never use anything metal while making soap!)

~Some wax paper to line the glass loaf mold with, and some tape to tape it down to the mold.

~A pair of gloves. Also either an allergy mask or bandanna to cover your face with when mixing the lye up.

~A digital postal or food scale that can measure accurately in ounces, also with a tare/zero-ing out function.

~Some apple cider vinegar, which is used to clean up things that had lye touching it, also use it on any place you may have accidentally spilled any lye. The vinegar makes the lye no longer active, so it isn't harmful and won't burn your skin if it touches it accidentally.

The following materials are NOT required, unless you want your soap to be lavender scented, with a colored swirl and lavender buds on top, like the soap in the photos here used for the tutorial.:

~1 ounce bottle of lavender essential oil.

~3 tablespoons dried and crushed lavender buds.

~1 heaping teaspoon of purple mica color powder (make sure to use FDA approved, cosmetic safe ONLY colorant powders when making soap).


Step 1:

Place your larger Pyrex cup on your scale, then zero it out so that the weight of the cup itself is not showing (make sure you have your scale set to ounces, too). Measure out 4 ounces of shea butter, then zero the scale out, and add 4 ounces of coconut oil. Put this into the Crockpot and set it to LOW. Now, return the cup to the scale, and pour in 24 ounces olive oil, then pour that into the Crockpot. Your oils total 32 ounces, which is going to give you a batch of soap close to 2 pounds.


Step 2:

Leave all the butters and oil to melt on the LOW setting. This is a great time to go wash out the cup real good (you will need it to make the water and lye mix), and also to start on the water and lye process. Everything will be melted in about 30-40 minutes.


Step 3:

Place your clean, large Pyrex measuring cup on the scale, remembering to zero out the weight of the cup. Pour in 8 ounces of the purified drinking water. Now set the cup aside. Put the smaller Pyrex cup on the scale and zero out the weight. Take your canister of lye (might want to shake it up a little in case there's any annoying clumps inside. Shake it with the lid on TIGHT and hold it AWAY from your face!). Cover your face now, and either open a window or turn on an exhaust fan. Do not do this process in an enclosed area with no air circulation. Open up the canister of lye (with your gloves on, of course), and SLOWLY pour in between 4.27 to 4.30 ounces of lye. It's usually hard to get exact measurements, but as long as you're in-between that 4.27-4.30 mark, you'll be good. Go ahead and put your mixing spoon into the large cup of water. Now, SLOWLY pour the lye into the larger measuring up of water, while stirring gently. Make sure to not do this backwards! You don't ever want to pour the water into the lye.. it will make a mess. Also, do this with your face as far back as you can get it, because you don't want to breathe the fumes that lye and water make when mixed together. This is why I say to use a spoon with a long handle ;)


You will notice that the water heats up a great bit and even may have some steam rolling off the top. If lye seems to be crusting up on the bottom, just keep stirring, it will dissolve. Stir until you no longer see any white residue floating around (usually takes about 5-7 minutes). Now is a good time to put this in a fridge to let it cool off, while you prepare your soap mold, and the butters and oils finish melting in the Crockpot. Also, go rinse your spoon off with vinegar, wash it, and put it to the side. You will need it at the final steps.

Step 4:

Line your glass loaf mold with wax paper. I do this by pulling out a sheet about a foot and a half long, start by taping it to the outside of one of the longer edges, then gently pushing the rest of the wax paper into the mold and all around the edges, continuing to tape up around the edges so the wax paper stays in place. Now put in a teaspoon of olive oil and rub it all over the inside of the mold, on the paper. Make sure you do this, or when it's time to get the soap out of the mold, you will probably end up really annoyed and pissed off.


Step 5:

By now, your butter and oils are probably all melted, or at least really close to being melted. Take your stick blender and blend on low, in 3-5 short bursts to mix up the oils (also helps get any last little chunks of that shea butter to melt). Now grab your water and lye mix out of the fridge, it's cooled off enough by now to be used. Slowly pour it in a little bit at a time, while using your stick blender in short bursts on low speed to mix it in with the oils. Now, go ahead and start using the high speed, and make the bursts a little longer, while moving the stick blender around in a circular motion. You will notice after about 5-7 minutes that the oils and butter that started out dark yellow are starting to look more pale yellow or even like milk, but the mix is still sort of watery. 


Step 6:

Continuing mixing, you will notice the mixture starting to get slightly thicker. This is because its getting a 'light trace'. 'Light trace' is when the soap mixture starts to look like watery pudding, and if you take out the stick blender, it leaves a little 'trace' where the mixture drips down, like in the picture below. If you are wanting to add the lavender essential oil, then set the Crockpot to WARM now, and pour the entire bottle of the lavender essential oil in. Continue mixing in short bursts on high speed for about 15-20 bursts. If you aren't using the lavender essential oil, then just keep mixing for the 15-20 bursts anyways, but without the lavender.


Step 7:

Remove the ceramic liner of the Crockpot and turn the Crockpot OFF. Pour 3/4's of your soap mixture into the soap mold if you want to make a color swirl. If you're skipping the color swirl, then pour all of it into the soap mold. Also, if you're not using the swirl or lavender buds, skip the rest of step 7, as well as step 8.


If you want the color swirl, then toss in your heaping teaspoon of colorant powder into the last 1/4 bit of mixture that was left in the Crockpot, and then blend it up with the stick blender on low speed.


Carefully pour this into the soap mold with the rest of your soap mixture thats already in there. Take your spoon and poke up and down with it, also stirring up from underneath a couple times, then going side-to-side with the spoon until you get a neat tie-dye effect like this (why my purple colorants always end up sort of blue in soap still evades me *lol*.. not sure if its the yellow-ish tint from the shea butter or reaction to the PH or what)


Step 8:

Now, if you want to, you can sprinkle across the dried, crushed lavender buds across the top. Gently blend them in, just a bit into the very top, that way they aren't just sitting there and fall off soon as the soap hardens.


After all of that is done, you can now sit your awesome new soap in the fridge to go through the gel process and harden up. The gel process is when the soap is turning into soap, it gets really hot inside, and if you pick up the mold and look underneath, you will notice it looks white around the edges but almost liquidy and clear on the inside. Don't worry, it's supposed to do that!

This gel and hardening process takes around 3 hours. You don't have to put it in the fridge, but I always do, to help prevent the soap from over-heating and turning inside out, puking itself up all over the place (that's never fun). Rather you decide to put it in the fridge or not, check on it every 5 minutes or so for the first 30 minutes to make sure it ISN'T doing the 'turning inside out' trick. If you notice it starting to do this, quickly take the spoon and gently push it back down until it stops. Nothing is wrong with your soap if it does this, it just got really hot during the gel process.

Now The Final Steps!:

After about 3-5 hours, you most likely can now get your new soap out of the mold. Do this gently and with patience, because it will not be entirely hardened by now. Slide your fingers up under the edges of the wax paper where you taped it, making sure to get all the tape off the side of the mold. Now, grab the wax paper by the sides, at the top edges, and carefully pull your soap up out of the mold. You can also usually get it out by just flipping the mold over top side down and letting the soap slide and fall out, but since I have lavender buds sitting all pretty on the top, I don't want to risk messing that up, so I'm pulling it up out of the mold.

You may notice it still being sticky/gooey around the edges. This is fine and normal. I always take mine out of the mold before its completely hardened because it slides out of the mold easier, and also since its now out of the mold, it can get more air around it and harden up the rest of the way quicker. Gently pull the wax paper down, off the sides of the soap. Now let the soap set out like this overnight, or at least 2-3 hours. The longer the better, because its a lot easier to cut and you don't get sticky soap mix all over your knife when you finally cut it into bars. I cut mine into one inch wide bars with a bread knife, on top of a piece of cardboard. It gives me between 6-7 bars that weigh between 3.5 to 4 ounces once cured. Your soap may look like this when first cut: lighter at the top and edges than in the middle. The color will even out over time as it cures.


Curing Your Soap:

Soap needs to 'cure' up some before you use it. This is to make sure it is PH balanced and to let the water evaporate out, so that the soap stays harder and lasts longer. This can take anywhere from a couple of days up to a few weeks. I don't use a lot of water in my soap mixtures, and I always make sure to use coconut oil and/or some kind of butter in it that also makes it harder. I cure my soap by placing each bar on a cooling rack in a ventilated room for a day or two, then store each bar in a brown paper bag. I've used it as soon as 5 days before with no bad results, but of course the longer you wait, the longer the bar of soap will last. 


After being cut and curing, your soap is ready to use :)
To make it last even longer, make sure you sit it upright, on a soap dish with no standing water in it, in between uses. That way it dries back out. If you leave it laying down in water, it ends up a pile of jelly goo..which, is still usable, but of course isn't as easy to use, and doesn't look as pretty!

For Future Use:

When you believe you have your soap making down, and would like to experiment with your own oil and butter mixtures, check out this link. This is the MMS Lye Calculator. It has never failed me once and is very handy for calculating the appropriate amount of lye and water to use for your choice of oils and butters. It can also give you some helpful instructions.

Disclaimers:

By following this tutorial, you are acknowledging that you have read and understood all of the safety precautions listed. Failure to do so may result in injury and/or a ruined batch of soap. I hold no liability to any injury or failed soap batches that may result from you using this tutorial. I also do not claim that this is 'the only way' to make soap -there are thousands of ways and they all tend to be different for nearly every soap maker, since results can vary due to ingredients and tools used, weather and altitude conditions, etc. Use this as a beginner guide, then work your way towards your own unique method that suits you best.

Thank you for checking out the tutorial. I hope it helps you out!

~Molly



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New Rose, Patchouli, and Orange Soap In My Etsy Shop! Also, Now Carrying Vegan Lip Balms

This is a new rose, patchouli, and orange soap I recently put up for sale in my Etsy shop. It has raw, organic shea butter added into its ingredients, which is super great for skin. The smell is absolutely wonderful.. not too prissy, not too 'hippy'. I recently sent a bar to a friend of mine and she loves it. I'm using it myself right now, and not to toot my own horn, but it's pretty awesome ;)

Also: I now have vegan lip balms you can have made in your choice of either a shea butter, mango butter, or cocoa butter base. There are 8 flavors to choose from. I'm quite partial to the banana, myself.. guess it's the monkey in me hehe.

Last but not least.. I'm thinking of making an easy step-by-step picture tutorial for soap making soon. I've noticed a lot of soap tutorials are for huge batches and try to get you to use and buy all this expensive equipment you don't need. I want to show people how you can make it with things you most likely already have in your kitchen! Also, when you're a beginner, it's never a good idea to make 5 pounds or more in a batch.. You will probably mess up (I know I sure as hell did), and that is a LOT of wasted material. I make my batches between a pound and a half and two pounds. It fits in one simple Pyrex glass loaf mold (most people already own one of these.. try using that instead of paying $50 for one of those fancy wooden molds!). We shall see.. it may very well be the next blog post I make!



Some Neat One of a Kind Long Feather Earrings I Recently Made

I went pretty over-the-top with these. I had to buy feathers from 3 different suppliers to get the look I wanted! It was well worth it though. Even if no one ever buys them, I love just staring at them sometimes (haha).
They are made with long black and white grizzly rooster feathers, long violet purple fading into electric blue (ombre dyed or tie dyed I think is the term?) rooster feathers, peacock eye feathers, peacock frill feathers.. all wrapped up in pure sterling silver wire (not dipped or silver-filled, but pure silver.. had to work real careful with it!). Then I added violet purple and electric blue pheasant tippet feathers to sterling silver chains that dangle down with the rest of all these glorious beautiful feathers. You'd think these were really heavy, but they only way an ounce, surprisingly.
I call them 'Deja Vu Lucid Flying Dream Earrings' (:



Lilly MoonCat's Makeup Competition #2: Under Water

My lovely talented friend Lilly Mooncat is holding her 2nd makeup competition right now. The theme is 'Underwater', where you choose anything ocean or lake themed (mermaid, fish, Cthulhu, etc.). You can win free stuff by joining as either an advanced or beginner entrant. Even if you don't join, you should check it out to see all the entrants (fun eye candy!). Check it out (& also sign up) at this link.


Jane Priser Art

I want to share with you some of THE MOST AWESOME pieces of wall art I've ever seen. They were created by Jane Priser in Junction Colorado, U.S.A.

If there's 2 things I love to look at, it's cats and star people. This lady has made the most perfect eye candy of both.








Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Black Skull Flower Elegant Gothic Victorian Necklace

I made this necklace recently because I felt like making something dark and creepy yet pretty!

It has a skull bead in the center of the black bloomed flower and there's real deer bone bead accents as well.

I made the centerpiece by layering a couple floral filigrees on top of each other then finishing it off with the howlite skull bead on top (:

That drop hanging from the center bottom of the flower has a cool floral bead cap with a genuine onyx stone inside of it ♥