I forgot how to cut holes in things and use the gradient tool – but it didn’t take long to figure it out again. I may use this as part of a larger piece later.
I spent a surprisingly long time arranging the berries. I may still go back and add the little hairs to them and possibly a shadow. It may not be noticeable, but each berry is a slightly different color because I wanted to make it clear that they were distinct even when they were on top of each other like this.
The hardest part of the thorns was getting the lighter color to run down the middle. I’m still not 100% happy with it, but after spending hours trying to fiddle with ‘mesh gradient’ until I gave up, I’m going to call this good enough for now.
Edit: here’s my soap label made from the above images.
Back in the fall I took one day to make a loop through the Jemez. This is a favorite day trip of mine and each time I get to see a little something new. This time I took a side road up to see some tunnels through a steep pass that I’d never been out to see before.
Last week I went to visit a friend in Albuquerque and pick his brain about how to make molds for soap and resin casting. There was a LOT of information all at once and I’m still organizing it in my mind. Here are some of the photos I took during the workshop.
This is the shop where he makes his molds. Lately he’s been moving more into metal casting than resin, and one March (this year or next) I may come to a metal-casting workshop. In the back notice the very large mold of the very, very large horny-toad. I loved that sculpture. On the back wall there is also a nice mold of the classic archaeopteryx fossil. I would have taken a casting of that if I’d had space for it in my luggage. As it was, I barely fit the molds I made myself plus the LARGE quantity of hot green chili I brought back.
I’m getting ready to make some silicone molds for soaps and here are my first prototypes for the designs I want to use. A trilobite, a ‘white lotus’ from Avatar the Last Airbender and the BAT SIGNAL. The last one is because I’ve really wanted to make a menthol-peppermint soap and call it “HOLY MENTHOL, BATMAN!!”
I do not cross stitch myself, but I have a friend who does, and who has clever ideas, and I have images that I want to see get out into the world.
I spent about a week trying to find ways to convert images into cross stitch patterns using online tools, then GIMP, then Excel, then Gimp Plugins. Here are some of my preliminary results.
The octo-gear needs a simpler color scheme and to be made smaller. I think the owl needs more contrast but the rocket turned out well.
Just a quick post today. My first attempt at a “funnel pour” using one of my standard recipes and Frankincense and Myrrh fragrance oil. The black is activated charcoal while the yellow is the natural color of the soap. I expect it to morph into a tan as it cures.
Also check out my new silicone molds from Brambleberry.
Update – the soap is now cut
The local 4-H Arts program had a workshop where the kids could learn to make acrylic-pour art on canvas. Since I’d been looking at exactly that just a few weeks earlier and thinking that I wanted to try it out, I jumped at the chance to sign up with my two younger children.
We did a ‘flip cup’ pour with only 3-4 colors as this was suggested to get the best results for the kids. And I held back a bit to watch how everything turned out. Part of the secret seems to be patience – don’t rush the process of letting the colors spread out.
I happen to like the one made by my youngest best, I think choosing highly contrasting colors help the final outcome. I also noticed that the color I used most in the cup isn’t necessarily what you get most of on the canvas. (For mine, I used nearly 1/2 purple, but it’s not dominant in the final painting).
They are still drying right now and will have a poly finish applied before they are ready to go.
The kids loved this so expect to see more!
This château has everything: white stone towers, a river, grand rooms, complicated gardens, a tree-lined path and a hedge maze. We may be early in our journey, but I declared it “Peak Castle” all other castles are downhill from here. Technically I consider this a ‘palace’ – a non-defensive structure, leaving room for me to really enjoy some less elaborate and more defensive structures. While we were there we saw a few people paddling by in canoes which also seems a great way to view it.
I was impressed by the amount of copper-ware in the kitchens and the vast black-and-white checkerboard tiles in the long gallery that spans the river, but the best part was definitely the exterior of the castle and the grounds, which were stunning.
Blackberry-Basil, aka “Fantasy Berry” is officially ready to ship out!
I also have a small batch of my unscented, uncolored, shea & cocoa butter soap that is ready to ship out, but I haven’t figured out what to call it. I typically name the soaps after the fragrance and/or a notable ingredient. I could call it “shea & cocoa” but in this case I think the “unscented” part is a selling point for people with allergies. I’ve seen these called “Plain Jane” or “Minimalist”, but nothing is grabbing me.
Even without scent, I find I like this one rather a lot. The pure soap cured out and smells vaguely of graham crackers to me. I’d noticed this before in an oatmeal-honey soap, but I thought it was coming from the honey.
Now I’m just thinking of ridiculous names. “Sin Nombre” sounds rather dangerous, doesn’t it? It’s also what they called one of the Hanta Virus outbreaks in the 90’s, so maybe not. My husband is suggesting a marketing campaign around “I rode through the desert with a soap with no name.” Or something using this guy:
I probably need to work on marketing skills.
Today’s plan is for me to make a decision about the name and then make one or two batches of Manly soaps that should be ready for Father’s Day.