Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Good clean fun

Have you tried making soap yet? Wow -- what a fun, easy craft, and couldn't be more perfect for kids. The whole thing was Dean's idea, actually. We were harvesting basil from the pot on the back deck and he paused to talk about how the smell of basil is one of his favorites. This led him to observe that it would make a great smelling soap, which is why we headed right out to Michael's the next day. I had saved instructions from an old issue of MSL and was able to put my hands on them (a minor miracle, being able to find something I'd saved); you really don't need more than the instruction on the glycerin base package, but if you want to be ultra-prepared, here's what Martha says. [If the link won't work, go to and search 'soap making.'] I knew the molded plastic bear packaging that came with the little bear cake/bread molds Dean picked out not long ago would come in handy someday and it did work perfectly for his basil bear soap. We used mini tartlet pans for the oatmeal/vanilla bean soaps. It would appear that you simply cannot make bad soap (unless perhaps you get too out-of-hand with the stuff you try to add?) and we're thinking about the gift-making possibilities already....

Wanted to report, while I'm at it, on my first foray into the Martha Stewart line at Michael's. I guess different stores have the option of how much Martha they offer; the store I visited had what seemed a pretty measly, half-aisle selection (others have described endless delights, row upon row of goodies). I bought the one thing I was actually looking for -- an 8.75 x 11.25" "specimen box" (shadow box frame) for the chipmunk by Dean. The $17.99 price was ridiculously high, which I realized after I got it home and discovered that the box is topped in clear plastic, not glass (couldn't tell for sure at the store and I guess I had hoped for the best). The plastic was scratched, which you couldn't see because of the shrink-wrapping. The Martha label was glued -- glued! -- to the box on the outside (um, yeah, the part that shows) and the specimen pins they included were about 1/4" or more too long (pressing the pins in as far as they will go to hold up the thing you are displaying in the box still leaves the pins sticking out too far for the lid to close -- I had to cut the pins). If the price tag had been $7.99, I would have accepted these issues with good grace, but the quality and price are sorely misaligned. I may bite, in future, on some of her smaller stuff in the line, but I won't be rushing out anytime soon to do so.

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