Saturday, February 27, 2010

How to Re-Fit old Jeans by Inserting a Patchwork Panel

This is an old tutorial I wrote almost a year ago as a guest on another blog (under username coquiainjelfire).  I am reposting it on my blog here in an attempt to inspire myelf to write and post more tutorials on this blog.
We all have them. Those jeans that we USED TO be able to wear. Those jeans we WISH we could still wear. I admit I am guilty of keeping a bunch of jeans I wore in college. Ten years and two kids later, and there is very little chance that I will ever be able to wear them again, even if they were, by some odd chance, to come back in style again.

Since I have serious problems getting rid of perfectly good clothes, there is a simple solution: make the jeans fit by adding a side panel that provides a little more room. Let's start with the jeans we are going to refit.
These jeans are pretty great, with the exception, of course, that they are about 2 sizes too small. On the plus side though, they are in great condition, they have the right length inseam for me, they have a button fly (which I love), and they are boot cut, so I won't have to add any additional width at the bottom to account for tapered jeans. They're also FREE, having been in my attic since I got pregnant with my 6 year old.  If you don't have those jeans you wish you could still get into, you can also hit up any Goodwill or second hand shop and pick up a pair of jeans for very little money.  If you want your jeans to be paneled, the best would be to get a pair about 2-3 sizes too small. 

The first thing to do is to rip out the outseams with a seam ripper. I do this exactly the way your sewing instructor told you NOT to rip out seams. I put the seam ripper between the two sides of denim and cut the threads. Since the jeans have been sewn together with a chain stitch, you should be able to get enough play to just pull and rip without ripping a hole in the denim....and heck, it's quicker.

Cut all of the stitching on both sides from the beginning of the waistband to the hem. At the hem, tear out the stitches a few inches to either side of the seam and unroll the hem around the outseam.

Once your seams are ripped out, remove the stitches and left over thread pieces. Do NOT press the jeans after doing this. At the waistband, cut the waistband straight up from the seam.

At this point, measure the outseam of the pants INCLUDING the extra fabric from the unrolled hem, but NOT including the waistband. This will be measurement A.
Additionally, measure the width of the waistband.

Then, try on the pants. Yes, post rip. Now you can get them on. The way I like to do this is by running a belt through the belt loops and tightening it so it hits at my waist.

Straighten out the jeans so the seams are in the right place and measure how much space there is between the outseams. Measure in a few different places along your hips, thighs, and waist, and be sure to measure on both sides. One measurement will be the largest. Use that one to give you an idea of how wide your side panels will have to be, as you can see in my picture here.

I need about 4" at the lower hip. For the panel I need to make, I will add 1" for seams and an additional 1" for comfort, for a total of 6" of width. This will be measurement B.

Note: this is a good time, if you want to, to add any appliques, embroideries, or other embellishments to your jeans.

Now, you know how large the side panels of your pants will need to be. (A long, by B wide). The easiest way to do this is to cut a single piece of fabric to that measurement. I, however, tend to prefer to make a patchwork panel for the sides of my jeans, so that is what I will be showing.
I start off by laying out the patches for my pants to get a good idea of how they will look. I then sew the patches together. Since the patches are cotton, and cotton is lighter weight than denim, I like to also add a lining piece of fabric for the inside of the jeans. This adds weight and also increases the durability of the panels.
For the waistband, I take a piece of fabric the width of the panels and twice the length of the waistband plus 1" for seams. I fold the fabric lengthwise and place the raw edges lined up with the top of the panel going into the side of the pants. If you are using a lining piece, line this piece up also, matching the wrong side of the lining to the wrong side of the panel with the waistband piece on the outside, sandwiching the panel piece. Additionally, I like to have a small piece of heavy duty elastic to add to the inside of the waistband. This helps pull in the waist from the comfort inches I added into the pants earlier.
I cut a piece of elastic 1" smaller than the actual measurement I needed from the pants when I measured them (for me this is 3"). If you prefer not to have elastic in your waistband, make the waistband the actual width you needed added to your jeans plus 1" for seams, and taper out from the waistband measurement along the sides of the panels until you get to the full width of the panels at approximately 3-4" below the waist. I prefer the elastic because it allows for "fat days" and slight weight fluctuations.
Line up the elastic with the center of the waistband, pin right sides together, and sew your side panel onto your jeans. The easiest way to do this is to have the jeans on top going through the sewing machine, and sewing right along the old seam line. The jeans should still have a slight fold where the old seam was. Just slowly follow along in this. No worries about the different coloration from the dyeing of the denim showing,and the jeans will automatically press to the side after stitching so they lie flat.You will need to be careful when sewing around the rivet. Just go slowly and make sure you don't try to actually sew it. It should be off to the side, but in some jeans it is close.

Once you reach the hem, you may have some fabric left--cut that off straight across. Then sew on the other side of the panel, again with the jeans on top. Stop right before you hit the waistband on the way up, pull the elastic through the casing, and sew everything together. It should look like this when you are done:

Repeat with the other side.

Once the side panels are all sewn in, I like to finish the seams. This will keep them from unraveling. I have a serger so I just serge the edges of the seams, just as they were before I ripped out the side seams of the jeans. If you don't have a serger, you can zig-zag along the raw edge, or you can use an over cast stitch if your machine has one.

For the hem, re-roll the jeans back to how they were originally rolled. The panel will start to roll for you. Just follow that roll all the way across, top stitch following the old hem seam, and you are done.

To troubleshoot length: If your jeans are NOT the correct inseam length, there are a few ways to work through this. If the pants are too short, measure how much additional length you need. you can either cut off the hem, and sew a length of fabric onto the bottom for this extra length as an easy fix, or you can use this more complicated method: After opening the outseam, but before measuring for the needed length of the panel, cut the measurement of the additional length you need above the hem plus one inch off the hem off the jeans. For example, if you need 3 extra inches, cut your jeans off 4" above the factory hem.

With the jeans open, sew a strip of fabric that is the extra length you need plus 1" for seams onto the bottom. Then sew on the hem of the jeans. Finish the jeans as above.

Try on your new jeans and give yourself a pat on the back.

Two additional trouble shooting tips:

1. If your jeans are tapered at the ankle, you can counter that by tapering the bottom of your side panel so the bottom of your jeans is nice and straight...and along those same lines, if you like flares, just flare the panel as much as you want. Above all, feel free to experiment!

2. If you are getting too much fabric at the hip, where your legs start, you can taper your panel slightly along the "front seam" of the panel from about 1/2 way down the thigh upwards to the hip, and even through the waist to have less fabric. (By slightly I mean MAYBE a total of 1/2 to 1 inch TOTAL by the top of the taper.)  A lot of jeans tend to be snugger in the hips and rear end than other pants, so the extra fabric may not give yout he look you prefer.  This is an easy fix that you can decide whether or not you want by trying on the jeans before finishing the edges and hemming.  I have jeans that I have both ways, depending on how the jeans were sut in the first place.

Another great thing about these jeans: If you get tired of the way they look, or if you lose or gain weight so they no longer fit again, you can just rip out the panels and start all over again! Good luck and Enjoy your new wardrobe!

Sellers of the Week (eBay Edition) - 2/27/10

I thought I would talk about a few eBay buyers I have bought from, since this was an eBay-focused week for me.  A lot of handmade items I bought and used this week came from eBay sellers.

I like checking on eBay for supplies, larger orders, resale, AND handmade. A lot of sellers are on both Etsy and eBay, and eBay is a great place to find handmade seller's closeouts.  When you are on a tight budget, eBay is a great place to check. A number of sellers I have highlighted here have eBay shops also, since eBay gets such a huge exposure.

Anyway, Three eBay sellers I have used and recommend:

1. Franks11 - this seller is my go-to for cotton quilt fabrics.  They have awesome customer service, and really listen to you.  Yes, they sell in bulk, but their quilt fabric is of the highest quality, and is shipped super fast.  Franks11 has actually CALLED ME at times when they have gotten extra special shipments in at super low prices to let me know about them.  I highly recommend them for bulk fabric.

2. Lotus in the Moonlight - This is a wonderful store for resort and casual flowy clothes.  Annie, the owner/designer is in Bali and uses the beautiful fabric she finds there to make gorgeous clothing.  Yes, she has gone pretty streamlined at this point, but everythign is still her design. The shipping is fabulously quick, adn if you buy a few items, she will combine.  The only negative is, a lot of her stuff is dry clean only, as my husband discovered when he washed everything for me one day.  I love the designs, and if you are into the flowy look, you should really check them out.

3. Parawire - parawire is a great resource for wire. I get a lot of my silvered copper wire from parawire, because their wire is such great quality. Parawire has their own site where you can get their wire in just about any color or length that you want. parawire's eBay store is their "closeout" store where wire that has not quite lived up to their exacting standards, closeouts, spool ends, etc. end up for HUGE discounts.  Their shipping is quick, and they are very reliable.  You need to keep checking this site, because when their items show up, they go fast, and there is not always much in the eBay store.

And those are my three sellers of the week!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This Week's Review(s) 2/20

Well, it's been a light week for reviews.  I have a LOT of samples from a lot of different sellers, but they all seem to be soap samples. I only use about one sample of soap per week, so I am slowing down on the reviews.  I have also been burning the same candle all week, since it was a nice big jar candle.  Since tonight's bath was using a bath bomb from a company I have already reviewed, that means I don't have a lot of reviews for you this week.

This week's soap was from Delta Moon Soapworks, in a scent called "Rainforrest" Other than the psychotic little English teacher in my head cringing at the misspelling of "Rainforest", I must admit that I can see why this soap is one of their best sellers.  The scent on this soap is very mild, just barely covering up the scent of "soap" when you wash, which is great if you don't want an overwhelming scent on your soap, or if you want to put on perfume after your shower.  So far, the soap sample has been holding up very well, and lathering nicely. I feel nice and squeaky clean after washing without feeling dried out, which I love.  I have a couple of other samples of soap from Delta Moon Soapworks, and they all seem very nice and of good quality.

As I mentioned earlier, I have been burning the same jar candle all week.  Though I have spoken about them before, I will give a shout out to Unicorn's Pride for their wonderful smelling candles.  I believe the last time I brought them up, I was talking about their awesome soaps.  Unicorn's Pride is run by a woman who I met over the internet a few years ago. She is very skilled in so many areas, and has turned her abilities into a great business.  Lana, the woman behind Unicorn's Pride, makes lovely soaps, lotions, shampoos, and body sprays along with her jar candles. She also hand crochets scrubbies and washcloths to use with her products, making it a real one stop shopping experience when you go to her shop.  If you need a hat or scarf, hers are very well made, too, and a natural extension from her other crocheted products.  I know Lana is all about happy customers, and she is one of my go-to sellers.

Since I have been sick this week, I have been all about the tea.  I had bought a bundle of teas from Blue Raven Tea over the holidays, and I have been drinking their Autumn Harvest Rooibos loose tea a lot. Autumn Harvest, Icewine, and TeaMan's Christmas Blend and Apricot black teas have been my saviors all week. Blue Raven Tea has great customer service and super high quality tea.  I have a bunch of different flavors of loose tea from Blue Raven Tea. My favorite is Seven Treasures Black blend...unfortuantely I love it so much I am out this week, adn it is out of stock, so I am checking back. Don't buy it all on me, readers!  (OK, if you beat me to it again, I'll live...I'll just pout a lot)  A lot of their flavored black teas, regular black teas, and destination blends seem so awesome, I am excited to try a bunch of them!  Blue Raven Tea is constantly coming up with awesome sounding (and tasting) blends, and they just keep me coming back for more. 

Well, that's about all for the reviews this week, but March samplers are coming out soon, so I shoud have a bunch more to talk about soon!  yay!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Some of my Etsy Purchases

Just a quick note today mentioning some Etsy sellers that I have bought from who I had a great experience with.  I am going to stick to three a week with a BRIEF review. I am sorting them by their etsy seller id.

1. SabrinaLeaf - I bought two pottery leaf soap dishes from Sabrina leaf.  They were extremely well packaged, and I get a lot of compliments on the soap dish in my guest bathroom.  They shipped quickly, and their work was of great quality.

2. haveitconfections - I LOVE Have it Sweet's caramels and homemade marshmallows.  Every time I buy from them, their packaging is professional, the items ship within a reasonable amount of time, and they have excellent communication.

3. Sandyssundries - last year, I got some awesome fingerless gloves from Sandy's Sundries.  They were the perfect size for my hand and shipped super quick.  I literally wore them to death, then my daughter stole them and lost a few.  Now that I am in Texas, I have less use for them, but they're great for chilly days.

And those are my three sellers of the week!  Thanks to all of them for a great transaction!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Two Weeks' Reviews 2/2-13

So, I missed posting my reviews earlier this week. I take full responsibility for this, as I was on an internship week, and was just too tired to post my reviews.  Also, as of last week, I only had one item to review, due to some disappointments, so it's probably a good thing that I waited.

Speaking of disappointments, since I am uncomfortable saying negative things about sellers on this blog, if I have a bad experience with a seller or sample, they will just not be mentioned by name here (though a general statement about "don'ts" may be based on something I have dealt with from them).  If I review a seller or product here, it will be because the positived outweigh any negatives that I have encountered with the seller, and I feel confident in recommending their products. This may mean that I don't review one of my typical products in a week due to my disappointment.

And now.....On to the reviews!

This week's soap is actually a foaming sugar scrub.  I have had a few foaming sugar scrub samples from The Soap Diva in my soap drawer for a while.  I got them from the Little Black Boxes, and due to my discomfort with using sugar scrubs in general, I haven't used them.  Well, last week's soap from Vintage Soap Shoppe lasted all of last week and most of this week.  Since I like to start new soap samples on the weekend for purposes of my reviews, I had a few days before I broke into the new sample.  For some reason, instead of just pulling out one of my "go-to" soaps, I decided to be daring and pull out one of the sugar scrub samples instead.  Let me tell you, I am glad that I did.

One of the things that had been turning me off of thiese samples was the fact that they were in plastic condiment to-go containers. This makes for a relatively small sample that, to me, looks a  That the Soap Diva had taken the time to print a lovely professional looking clear label on their containers countered much of this impression, and led me to keep these samples.  I understand that money is tight and that sellers don't want to spend too much on samples, however I have just had too many of these containers explode in my samplers, their contents getting on everything for me to feel anything better than ambivalent about their use.  What makes the Soap Diva special is, their choice of sample container is the ONLY negative that I could find with this sugar scrub....oh, and I looked on the website, and their regular scrubs come in a lovely jar.

Here in Houston, we have been having quite the cold snap.  Temperatures have been in in the lower forties for days. This has led to my typical winter nemesis: dry skin on my limbs and a grease slick on my face.  I normally have extremely oily skin all over, but when I am in long sleeves and long pants every day and going in and out of temperature controlled buildings, the skin on my arms and legs gets all dry and scaly.  Inevitably, my face is all broken out and I am slathering on the lotion everywhere else.  After a few days of using this scrub, though, I noticed that my arms and legs were not sucking up as much lotion as normal, and I was getting less itchy over the course of the day.  I give a large amount of the credit to the Soap Diva and their sugar scrub. 

The Soap Diva offers soaps, body butters and lotions, regualr sugar scrubs, candles, and wax tarts all in a huge variety of scents on their website.  Their prices are extremely good, and I look forward to the day that the come up on my "buy today" list.

Since it has been so chilly, I have also been shooting through the lip balm.  I have taken to carrying a pot or stick in my coat pocket, my purse, and my car.  Fortunately, even with my AS allergies, I have had plenty of lip balm, due to a few wonderful sellers.  One of the sellers, I was introduced to through Sampler Village. In last month's Sampler Village box, Luster Canyon sent out a lovely little set of a wonderful lotion and a little mini lip balm tube. WELL!  Every morning, I rub the lotion on my scaly legs, and every day after lunch, I pull that little mini tube out of my pocket and rub on some of the lip balm.

Luster Canyon's Lip Balms are unsweetened.  They do use flavor, but there is no sweetener, so the flavor is very light, though the scent is wonderful and strong.  There is only enough flavor tomake the lip balm not taste like "lip balm".  It's enough.  I also love the tiny little tubes.  They fit perfectly into my jeans.  I might have to go try to bug them to make me a little sampler set of their other flavors in those little tubes.  I have a bad habit of losing lip balms for a few months at a time when they're about half done, because I put them "somewhere special" and start a new flavor, then forget where I put them when I am ready to get back to them. These little sizes are perfect for that!

Luster Canyon's lotion is not oily at all, yet very moisturizing.  It lets off a nice scent that dissipates pretty quickly, which I like, since I don't always want to smell my lotion all day.  I don't feel like I have to slather it on, and it works all day. Luster canyon also makes soaps, and you can get their soaps in coordinating scents with your lotion, which is always nice, since you don't have to worry about clashing scents.

On a customer service note, I wrote an email to Luster Canyon asking them about whether or not their flavors had artificial sweeteners in them.  They got back to me extremely quickly, and were friendly and professional.  You can't ask for anything more than that!

Another lip balm I have been using this week is from Babynme.  I found this seler on Etsy this past Christmas when I was looking for AS free lip balms.  Babynme were very quick getting back to me and were nice and professional.  I ordered their Cinnamon lip balm, and it has a gret flavor and good coverage. They have a good sized pot of lip balm, and a great price.  They shipped quickly and were just wonderful to work with. Babynme offers other bath and pody products on their etsy site, and they have a few other affiliated sites.  Check them out!

Since I don't like putting sweet or strong scented lotions on my face, I usually use unscented Lubriderm after washing my face at night. Well, this week, I ran out and never got tot he store to buy more.  As luck would have it, in this past month's Little Black Box, I got some lovely body butter samples from Main Element Love in a scent called "rise and shine". This lovely citrusy scent is light and airy, so I decided to give it a try as a face lotion.  I think the only people not happy about that decision are the ones at Lubriderm. The body butter perfectly moisturizes my skin without making me break out or become a giant oil slick. The butter is a good consistency, not to firm, yet not too gooey, and perfect for the little pot that it is in.  As an added bonus, one of the things I find most exciting about this lotion find is that Main Element Love is IN HOUSTON!  yes, that's right, they are close by, so I should be able to get their body butter, soaps, shampoos, scrubs, hair care, or bath bombs whenever I want!  Sweet!

Speaking of bath bombs, I tried a new one this week.  Mainely Naturals sent these adorable race car bath fizzies in to The Little Black Boxes, and I used mine in my bath last night.  It was super fizzie, and gave off a perfect amount of scent.  I ahve discovered that, event hough I have a huge tub, I don't like how much oil I get from the huge bath bombs, so this one was just perfect for me. Mainely Naturals scents their race car fizzies with orange oil, which is a nice clean scent. They have all kinds of other lovely scented products in their etsy store, also.  I actually have another fizzie from an additional LBB that I bought, and I think I need to hide it from my kids before they fight over who gets it in his or her bath.

One of the things that I love about Valentine's Day is the CANDY.  The Sampler Village had a bunch of fabulous candies and goodies in it, and I just want to mention them.  There was some fabulous rock candy from Tracy's Home Canned goods, an awesome fondant bear that my daughter gobbled up from CRLCreations, and a lovely heart fondant cake topper from Two Sugar Babies.

Also, as a new feature on my blog, tomorrow, I am going to discuss a few good sellers I have bought from. Some will be repeats of sellers I have reviewed, and some will be sellers I have never mentioned here before. I wan tot bring up sellers of items that I have bought over the years that I have had a good experience with, adn some of those sellers are sellers of the type of thing I might not otherwise review.  I am not sticking with only the sellers I bought from recently because I am on a very tight budget, so I have not had a lot of buying money recently,and I want to be able to mentiona  few sellers every week. I do not make a purchase every week, so I am mentioning older sellers, too.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sample Pet Peeves and Sampler Boxes

There are a few negative things that I have been noticing are a constant theme in a lot of the samples I have been getting in my sample boxes. They make me wonder if sellers don't realize how important they are.  Working under the assumption that a seller is interested in my opinion and my reasoning for WHY I have not bought from them, I figured I would list a top five of my more major pet peeves when it comes to samples.

NUMBER ONE: Poor Quality Samples and/or Contact Information. I have had wax tarts that, though they burned well and put off decent scent, arrive in samplers wrapped in saran wrap, fall apart in my hands, and leave dye on everything. I've gotten soap that is unevenly cut and attached with scotch tape to a hand written "business card".  I've gotten lotion (I think) samples in mini disposable condiment cups that are completely unlabeled. I've gotten beautiful samples that were unattached to a business card, or items labeled with the seller's business name, but no URL.  I've had great samples that I have loved that haven't said what scent they are.  Why, if your promotional material is of shoddy quality or shows a lack of attention to detail, would I think that your packaging or the quality of your product will be better when I purchase from you? 

This ties in to....

NUMBER TWO: No Ingredients Listed.  I have allergies.  People in my family have allergies. People who I buy samplers for have allergies. Even if buyers don't have any allergies and are just conscientous about what goes into/onto our bodies/homes, we should NOT have to look up the ingredients from your product.  If your candle causes my husband's face to swell up, I want to know what was in it, so I can compare it to ones that DON'T make him swell up and see what he is reacting to.  If you send out an artisanal tea, I NEED TO KNOW if there are nuts in it.  Yes, I am one of those people who will look things up, I'll even email you about it, but it irks me a little if I have to.  (If you are polite and swift about getting back to me, that may erase my irk.)

NUMBER THREE: Food Scented Bath and Body Products. I opened a lotion the other day.  It was from a seller I have gotten lots of samples from and who I really want to like.  They have super professional packaging, great specials, and I have heard great things about their product quality.  I just can't bring myself to even PUT their lotion on my face.  Why?  The one I opened the other day smelled like strawberry-banana yogurt.  It was also pink and the same consistency of strawberry banana yogurt.  I put some on my finger and brought it toward my face.....and wiped it off on a napkin.  I felt like I was about to smear strawberry-banana yogurt on my face. The only reason I even CONSIDERED putting this lotion on is because it's the winter and I don't have to worry about attracting bugs. In the spring or summer, there is no way.  I also had to throw it away in a way that I kept it from my kids.  They may be 6 and 7, but they HAVE tried to eat food scented lotions and whipped soaps....I don't buy food shaped and scented soaps and candles for that reason.

So many things come in scented like food or sweets.  It bugs me.  You are losing a lot of potential customers.  You do not only have to contend with the possiility of the buyer not liking the scent you sent out, but also the possibility that they won't want to wear a food scent all day. I know I am not alone in the not wearing or using food scented products population.

NUMBER FOUR: Hyper Specific Seasonal Scents.  In October, I got so many pumpkin scented things, by Thanksgiving, I had been smelling them for a month emanating from all of my storage drawers.  After a while, I didn't even want any pumpkin pie, and it's my FAVORITE. I still have more pumpkin scented stuff than anyone could ever use.  Same thing with Peppermint and Pine scents this December.  Already this January, I have gotten a world of strawberry and chocolate scents.  Set yourself apart!  EVERYONE is doing the popular scent of the month, so do something different! You don't want me sick of its scent before I even get to trying your product.

NUMBER FIVE: Vague or Non-Existent Labels and/or Directions. It took me over 3 months to figure out what the heck wickless candles were for. I really thought they were some sort of cruddy potpourri, and I HATED THEM.  Then I learned what they were and how to use them. Now I use wickless candles 3 or 4 times a week. Wickless and wicked candles are my most frequent purchases.  The person who sent directions and an explanation is at the top of my buy-from list because I appreciated that she took the time to make up a little explanation card.  I am still confused by disolvable body butter and sugar scrubs.  I have bought a few solid shampoo and conditioner bars, and have yet to figure out how to PROPERLY use them.  There are other things I have gotten, and I don't even know what they are! things that look like little food things but say "DON'T EAT ME", yet don't tell me what to do with them; beaded thing-a-ma-bobs that are not long enough to wear as a necklace, but seem too bulky to be a book mark.  Etc., etc., etc.  Things are labeled in some sort of obscure way, and I can't figure them out. If I can't figure out what it is, how to use it, and why to use it, why would I use it? If I don't USE it, why would I buy it from you again? 

So, there you have it. My top five pet peeves of samples I get from samplers.  I'll tell you, though MOST of the samples are awesome.  They leave me drooling for a full sized item or five.  Some sampler senders are guilty of one of these every once in a while.  It happens.  This is why I usually cut everyone some slack.

I alo tend to buy my sample packages from reputable box sellers that I have heard about from word of mouth from multiple buyers and sellers.  I know there is some trash talking going on around some of these sellers, but that's not really something I care about as a buyer.  That being said, I have gotten good quality boxes from the following sellers:

The Little Black Boxes

Sampler Village

The Sampler

I also recently ordered from this seller based on good word of mouth:

Out of the Box Samplers

Because I am a "bath/body/candles/edibles" person, I really have a strong love for the samples from Sampler village which are mostly items in that category and The Little Black Boxes, which tends to get a great blend of everything every month.  The Sampler is more paper goods, cards, and jewelry based, which is not really my thing, though their sampler was excellent.  I mention this because the Sampler may not come up much here, but you should check them out. 

Out of the Box is my newest sampler box discovery.  The box I ordered looks like it has a good blend of items in it. I will have to see how they compare over the long run.

Well, I am off to a charity auction for my kids' school tonight and then watching the SUPER BOWL this weekend.  Look for a lot of items being reviewed early next week.  That's what happens when I have to get gussied up.  Have a great weekend, and GEAUX SAINTS!!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Late Reviews! 2/2/10

Ok, I am late with my reviews this week. I was waiting for a few people to get back to me.  Some did, some did not.  Also, I had to cram for a practice test last weekend, so I was not as organized as I would have liked to have been coming into Monday.  I know. NO MORE EXCUSES! Give us reviews!!

Now that I am done pointing fingers around and making excuses, this week's soap is "Lavender and Cream Soap Blondie" from Vintage Soap Shoppe. I got this soap in one of the NEW SAMPLERS I tried out this month, Sampler Village. I am really liking Sampler Village, but I'll talk about samplers later.  There are some things I really like about this soap.  I love love love love love how they cut their sample.  Most soap samples are about 1oz. The seller will take a 4 oz. bar of soap, cut it in half, and then cut that half in half again making a thin cross section of the finished soap from top to bottom. (note: I am totally guessing on how sellers make their soap samples).  Often this is done (I assume) because the soap is made with some really neat layers, and the sample can show off the cool look of the soap as well as its body cleansing prowess.  The sample I got from Vintage Soap shoppe was not cut that way.  It was a square chunk cut out of a four oz bar like you would take 1/4 of a peanut and butter sandwich.  The sample has been very easy to hold onto, and I haven't had to fold it over and re-squish it together from getting too thin.

Also, this soap has some sort of granules in it which work just like a built in loofah to exfoliate while you wash.  Especially in the winter, when we are all so susceptible to dry skin, a little bit of help with the exfoliation is appreciated.  The soap is very moisturizing, too!  Vintage Soap Shoppe uses all natural ingredients, and makes candles, body polish, soap, lip balm, and other bath and beauty products. I have put a bunch of their items on my favorites list.

Speaking of Etsy's favorites list....I use mine as a wish list more than a favorites list.  I don't think this is unique.  I catch flack all the time for having a HUGE favorites list, but honestly, if the husband wants to pick me up a surprise every once in a while, he has told me how much he appreciates my (not so) little list.

Since this week I also started pounding the pavement, I used some of my lovely perfume samples!  Now, I have an unhealthy obsession with perfume, and have more of it than a family of 10 women could use in a lifetime, but that doesn't stop me. This month, I got nother wonderful sample from Lemon Lollipop.  This month's sample is actually a scent called "Lemon Lollipop" which, I have to admit, confused my poor little brain, asI was sure lemon Lollipop had forgotten to list the scent on the sample.  Silly me!  I actually lucked out, and Lemon Lollipop is one of a small number of sellers who overlapped in my samplers, and I got TWO samples this month! Go me!  The little samples will last you about 10 wearings, which is just the perfect amount of time for you to decide whether or not you really love the scent or whether it smells nice int eh beginning, but gets old fast.  Lemon Lollipop has a number of affiliated shops, and if you love a bunch of their scents across shops, they will put together a single custom order for you with the simplest email request or convo on etsy.  I really like all of the unique scents that they have. It is not all the same scents that everyone else is offering (though you can get a few of the mre popular ones, too).  They also offer solid perfumes, candles, and all kinds of other bath and body products. 

A thought: I have been getting Lemon Lollipop samples for MONTHS in my LBBs, and I had never ordered from them.  I finally pulled together a little money and am taking the plunge, since I ran out of samples of the scent "Sultry Summer" that I was wearing a lot and ran out of.  When I reached for it again yesterday and realised I was out, I knew it was time to bite the bullet.

I jsut realized that I am right this very minute burning a new brand of wickless candle.  I got a "Spring Rain" scented wax melt in my Little Black Box last month from Silver City Scentsations.  I was in the mood for a non floral, non-food, non-spicy scent, and this one just jumped out at me.  it is a lovely light scent, and the wax melts cleanly and without any smoking. The tart is just the right size for my burner, too. No overflow is always a good thing. Because this is a lighter scent, it is less noticeable in the house, but it does a nice job, and it is exactly what I was looking for.  I'm sure Silver City Scentsations other scents are much stronger seeming because they are stronger scents, I just do not yet have the experience with them.

I burn some sort of candle almost every day.  Even the hubby likes my candles, and he helps me pick out the scent of the day.  I have a LOT of votives, jar candles, and wickless candles.  At one time the hubby thought I had more than anyone could ever use, but now he realises I have less than a year's supply.  Now, if I could just convince him I don't have too much tea....(OK, I do have too much tea)

Last, but certainly not least in this week's reviews is the lovely Pink Sugar Cupcake mini bath bomb from Bath Talk that I got in my sampler from Sampler Village.  This bath bomb is 2 oz, which actually worked out well for me.  When we bought this house, I inherited a HUGE tub. I usually use the big bath bombs, then spend quite some time after my bath scrubbing up the leftover slick.  These little cupcakes let off a decent amount of scent for their size, but due tot he enormity of my tub it was a lot lighter than I was used to, though there was some scent and it did help set the mood.  HOWEVER, the clean up afterwards was so much easier.

I love how cute these cupcakes look, though I was thrown off by putting a "cupcake" intot he bath tub.  I admit, I prefer the regular shapes of the bath bombs, but the cupcake shape did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying this bath and wishing I had more of these cupcake bath bombs. Bath Talk has full 6 oz cupcakes in their etsy shop along with some lovely looking scrubs, soaps, and lotions, so eventually I will stop wanting and start having....Again, as you have heard me say so many times...."SOON....SOON!!!"

Ok, I am off to make a cup of tea, work with the kiddos on some homework, and tweak some cover letters.  As a few coming attractions, I will let you know what I plan on blogging about soon.  I will be discussing a few of the samplers I have gotten over the months and why I plan on continuing to order from some and not from others, and I plan yet another discussion on samples, some of my pet peeves, and some things that make them stand out.

Have a great week!!