Homemade Gifts: White Chocolate Koi Fish

homemade giftswhite chocolate koi fish (5)My last homemade gift of the week is yummy and cute white chocolate koi fish. For the last few years I’ve been making Victor what I call custom chocolates, meaning they aren’t made from scratch instead they are custom versions of chocolate we already love like Lindt.  I initially wanted to show you how to make soaps with jojoba beads but the molds still haven’t arrive yet after a month of waiting so this is the back up (the mold ended up showing up the day after I posted this – go figure).  I’ve actually done this as a DIY before so if you want more specific steps check it out here but I thought it’d be better than missing a day. Let me know though if want to see how I make unique melt and pout soap, I’ve been making a bunch in the last month and am addicted.

White Chocolate Koi Fish with Nuts

2-3 bars of your favourite chocolate bar

Filling (hazelnut, almond, coconut, rice krispies, fruit…)

Mold

Food coloring

In a glass bowl break apart the chocolate bars into small pieces and melt. I use a double boiler for melting chocolate but microwave will work. After melting simply pour chocolate into the mold half way, add in your filling and pour to the top. Or you can combine the filling after the chocolate is melted before pouring into the mold but the end design may not be as clean.  Tap the mold on the counter to release any air pockets and place in freezer for 10-20 min before removing from mold.

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Color Tip: Adding liquid dye to chocolate will cause it to seize up so you may want to consider painting it on afterwards or paint the mold. Below you can see an example of each type.

white chocolate koi fish (2) Right to Left: Color added directly to chocolate, painted on chocolate after hardening, painted to mold before pouring chocolate. 

Packing Tip: Place in a heart shaped container and wrap with candy wrappers.

white chocolate koi fish (8)white chocolate koi fish (1)

Important Note: Chocolate that has been melted and cooled are less stable than the original form so do not handle the chocolates for long as they melt easy and keep in the fridge until you are gifting/eating them.

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Homemade Gifts: Lime Dead Sea Salt Bath & Scrub

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lime dead sea salt (8)For today’s recipe I wanted to share one of my favourite essential oils in two different ways with lime Dead Sea salt scrub and lime coconut bath salts. Bath salts in general are great presents and they happen to be one of the easiest, cheapest and most customizable bath goodies that you can make so I love them. Not to mention lime is great for boosting your mood and good for the skin so it’s the perfect essential oil for a morning shower or a bath after long day. Dead Sea Salt is also refreshing and filled with minerals so it’s one of the best salts to use in the bath.  Where the whipped sugar scrub that I shared yesterday is more geared towards people who take baths, today’s salt scrub is more of a shower product. I have ever seen my boyfriend take a bath so I like to make it for him to enjoy in the shower and then the bath salts for bath lovers I know.

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Lime Dead Sea Salt Scrub

1 cup dead sea salt

1/2 cup coconut oil
*or any other type of oil

1 teaspoon of Vitamin E oil

12 drops Lime Essential oil

Lime soap dye

For the scrub you simply combine all ingredients together and place in a jar or container. I used a hand blender to combine mine together as the Dead Sea salt I bought was coarse and the blender helps make the granules finer.  If you don’t like a greasy texture you may want to start with 1/3 cup oil and go up from there to find a texture you like that is not too oily. Also don’t worry is the oil sets on the bottom of the container just give it a good shake before using.

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Lime and Coconut Bath Salts

1 part Dead Sea Salt

1 part Epsom Salt

a few drops of Lime Essential oil

a few drops of Coconut Fragrance oil

Bath Salts are easy, just combine your salt of choice with an essential or fragrance oil, and dye (if you want). Then place in a jar and you are ready to go. I made mine layered for a nice visual effect with green Dead Sea salt that smells of lime and white coconut Epsom salts.

Recycle Packaging

For a lot of my homemade bath treats I try and recycle containers and repurpose them. Glass jars you have around the house are perfect for bath salts and scrubs. These glass jars were actually yogurt containers that after a quick cleaning turn into a perfect 1 or 2 bath portion of bath salts. To finished them off I used silver candy wrappers (tin foil works great as well) and wrapped a piece of thin jewelry wire around the top to secure them so nothing spills and a pink bow to finish it off.

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Homemade Gifts: French Vanilla Whipped Sugar Scrub

homemade giftsFrench Vanilla Whipped Sugar Scrub (5)For Valentine’s Day I decided to send a few of my close friends a bunch of homemade bath goodies perfect for treating yourself after a long day. Instead of just keeping these recipes to myself I thought I’d share with you guys as these are great presents and useful to make for yourself even if you don’t believe in the corporate marketing holidays. The first recipe is this bubbling, foaming French vanilla sugar scrub that smells like heaven and is filled with vanilla bean seeds for that extra touch of luxury.

French Vanilla Whipped Sugar Scrub

1 cup sugar (250g)

1 cup whipped OPC soap (250g)

1 teaspoon vitamin E oil

1/8th cup coconut oil (30g)
or any type of liquid oil

1 teaspoon French Vanilla fragrance

Vanilla bean seeds

French Vanilla Whipped Sugar Scrub (6)French Vanilla Whipped Sugar Scrub (3)Steps

  1. In a bowl combine soap and sugar the whip with blender until soft peaks.
  2. Add in oil, Vitamin E and fragrance as well as any extras, like vanilla seeds, mica or honey.
  3. Place in a container.

Simple adjustments

  • Instead of the OPC soap you can use any type of melt and pour soup or use more oil (1/3 cup to 1/2 cup), however this will limit how whipped you end product looks and the texture.
  • Instead of vanilla fragrance you can use vanilla extract.
  • Vanilla seeds add extra smell and exfoliating but not necessary if you don’t have easy access to whole vanilla beans. ( I just happen to have some left over from making my own vanilla extract)

*If you are going to be using a sugar scrub in the shower you should consider adding a preservative to it. Even though a sugar scrub doesn’t require a preservative on it’s own it will be in close contact with a water source and that can cause it to spoil. 

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Things That Make Me Smile

This month’s things that make me smile is slightly Valentine’s Day themed just a tad as I went a little crazy with my snail mail. I was going to share a bunch of photos from my Toronto trip that happened last weekend but I realized I had so many they really deserved a post of their own. It goes without saying almost everything in Toronto makes me smile…except not sleeping – I never get a lot of sleep when I’m there. Again like last year I don’t really have plans for Valentine’s, it’s just one of those non-holidays but I do enjoy convincing Victor to buy me Lindor chocolate (he is on his usual health food kick so it’s like pulling teeth to get him to contribute to my sugar addiction). I love getting him a card though and sending postcards to friends covered in as many pink hearts as I can find. As always you can always share what you made you smile this month in the comments.

things that make me smile (1)Kaoru Hasegawa artwork. I have a bunch of her postcards that I need to figure out how to frame, they’ve been sitting on a shelf for a year now.

things that make me smile (3)The crazy amount of Valentine’s Day stickers I was able to get.

things that make me smile (5)things that make me smile (4)Sending snail mail to friends filled with stickers and love.

things that make me smile (9)Butter being amazed by what ever she can see from our 3rd story front window. Try and spot the mini rainbows.

52 Weeks of self-portrait (1)things that make me smileMy new hair color, it keeps changing shades and I love them all. Pale hair in winter fills me with joy.

things that make me smile (2)Getting a copy of the limited zine Bablien (this will be the featured zine next month, I love it so much however it’s too bad that it’s not going to be reprinted).

things that make me smile (1)My origami paper case filled to the brim with so many different patterns of paper. I am starting to make 2,000 cranes for future mtlcranes as well as another project I’m keeping huss huss right now.

things that make me smile (2)All my Instax film that I picked up this month from Japan. Twin Star, Hello Kitty and My Melody instax film is so cute, and I already shot two of them so you can see the patterns in an upcoming Lomography Wednesday post.

things that make me smile (3)My new boots! Victor bought me these as a late Christmas present and I love them. I wasn’t sold on the yellow laces to start but they have grown on me.

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Pick of the Week: Hugs and Misses Postcards

hugs and missesThis week’s pick is the awesome postcard set called Hugs and Misses (30 Postcards of Awkward Romance) by Wilhelm Staehle. Staehle is known for his Silhouette Masterpiece Theater, which is the name of his site where every Wednesday he features an etched carving. All the Hugs and Misses postcards feature one unique etching into a wonderful painting with a comical, witty, and often crude joke that plays into the silhouette etching.  Each postcard is the standard 4×6 size and features a full color matt front and a standard backing with a custom stamp icon (each is unique and reflects the front). They are vibrant and each etching has amazing details and the paintings are beautiful. The jokes range various types of humour so there is definitely room to amuse everyone, for myself I found a few a bit boring but overall I really liked them. They are perfect to send in the mail or give out to friends for Valentines Day’s as well. Have a look below to get a sneak peak at some of the postcards.

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February Treasures

February Treasures (2)February Treasures (1)

February Treasures start of the year with some of my favourite Valentine’s Day themed Etsy and Storenvy items for yourself or a lucky somebody. I would say roughly themed around Valentine’s Day as I always think of pink and candy this time of year even though it’s still dreadful outside and I’m sure there a blizzard around the corner.  I was thinking about sharing a whole bunch of cute cards I found on my search for Victor’s but I realize not many people do that anymore( if that’s your thing however check out my Etsy for TONs).I’m obsessed with the donut bracelet and the mushroom purse the most this month. Food accessories are always delightful to me for some reason, I wish my life was filled with watermelon dresses, ice cream purses and the like…

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Things That Make Me Smile..

Eck! There are so many moments in my life and things I have around my house that make me smile, this post is really hard to choose. Right now it’s a mix of things I get in the mail and just random photos I end up taking of things I love that don’t really fit into any of my other daily posts.  I love it. Anyways here’s this months of things that make me smile:

things that make me smileNew additions to my My Little Pony collection

things that make me smileCute finds from Toronto like these cat brooches and postcards.

things that make me smile (2)The results of my attempt to do splatter paint on a frame

365 (339) (1024x680)Butter always makes me smile but this is extra adorable

365 (353) (1024x675)My co-worked texted me out of nowhere asking me if I wanted this while she was at Salvation Army, so amazing

things that make me smileHanging out on a playground in the snow

we are wolves (17)Seeing my favourite band We Are Wolves play for free

things that make me smile (1)Fun random presents from good friends that remind me of my childihood

kodak duaflexPlaying around with my vintage cameras

valentine giftsValentine’s Day presents from Victor and myself

If you took any photos of things that make you smile, show me in the comments as I’d love to see. I love putting together this post, and cannot wait to do more of these.

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The Girl Who Stole Hearts

citizen erased photographyI always feel blessed that I have beautiful friends who let me take photos of them. While I was in Vancouver I got together with my friend Lisa-Michelle who also happens to be a fellow photographer. We always have fun hanging out together and getting dressed up and taking shoots of each other (you should all feel very bad for her because I am terrible at poising and scowl constantly). She got engaged last year which is so exciting as she’ll make the gorgeous bride. I couldn’t help but share these before Valentine’s Day. I also shared in the summer a few double exposures from this photo shoot that you can check out .

hearts (15)citizen erased photographycitizen erased photographyhearts (4)citizen erased photographyhearts (11)hearts (13)hearts (2)

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Pick of the Week: Pinhole Press “Valentines Day Addition”

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Pick of the Week: Pinhole Press

Pinhole Press is an online store that specializes in turning your photos into various gifts from cards to magnets and everything in between. There are plenty of online companies that do this but one thing that Pinhole Press offers that is pretty unique is wall decals made with your favourite photos. That’s why I choose them to be my Valentine’s Day pick of the week. I love decals and combing them with your own photos is a great gift whether for friends, family or your significant other. Having a photo to remind you of the good times is something everyone likes and decals are renter friendly and functional.  They offer 3 sizes of photo decals from 3x4in, 5x7in and 11x17in at a very reasonable price. The shipped mine within a few days and I got them in less than a week so you can get them just in time for Valentine’s Day! Below are the photos of my decals I picked up and a review if you want more information.

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