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Friday, December 30, 2016

2017; A New Year

We've almost made it, 2016 is just about a memory; albeit a bad memory. Here's hoping we get through the rest of it intact.

I'm finishing up the year replenishing soap stocks. I made a batch of Lavender Meringue Goat's Milk Soap this week.

This is probably the most labor intensive soap I make. The meringue on the top is a whipped shea butter soap. It's then dusted with a lavender mica for color.

The bottom soap is rich in olive oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. I then use a lavender clay to color it and scent it with lavender and a touch of peppermint essential oils.

By using a little peppermint essential oil, I find the lavender essential oil holds it's scent better. Between the layers, I add organic lavender petals.

The final product provides a rich, decadent bathing experience!

I'd like to take a moment and thank all my great customers this year. I hope everyone who received Lora's Beauty for the holidays enjoys it and thank you for supporting a small business!

Here's hoping (and hoping and hoping) 2017 brings you happiness and joy!

Ed's hoping too (either that or he wants me to get the camera out of his face!)

Happy New Year and good riddance 2016!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Painted Chair

Well we're in the homestretch now. The holidays are officially stressful!

At least since we've past the Winter Solstice, the days are now getting longer..millisecond by millisecond, but it all adds up!

This has nothing to do with the painted chair, which I'm about to share, but we've taught Ed The Bird, as he's referred to around here, how to whistle the Andy Griffith Theme Song.  Now try getting that tune out of your head!

Anyway, this little chair Alec picked up free on the sidewalk and brought home. It was in excellent condition and aside from an ink stain on the rattan seat it really didn't need any work. That stain bugged me though and I figured the chair would look better painted anyway.

So after sitting on my workbench for a couple months, I painted it with milk paint of course.  The white is Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint Ironstone and the gray is Real Milk Paint French Gray.

The chair has some nice details on the back. I used sandpaper to remove some of the paint so the original dark finish came through to accentuate the details.

The ink stain, after several coats of paint, finally quit bleeding through.

I'm hoping I'll find a nice little desk or table free on the sidewalk to pair with this chair.

Of course, this chair will be available in the Home and Patio Sale in July!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Snow and Cookies!

I don't have much to share this week beeeecaaaause......




Yes, we got snow in Portland on Wednesday.  The snow photo was taken on Thursday so some of it melted.

Something about a snow day before the holidays makes me want to bake and the best cookie known to man is the chocolate chip cookie!

This recipe is Betty Crocker's because there's no need to mess with perfection (and lots of butter!).

There's still time to place an order from Lora's Beauty for delivery before the holidays! Nothing says "I love you" and "Happy Holidays" more than a bar of goats' milk soap!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Winter Is Here

Portland had it's first ice storm of the year last week. I very gingerly went outside to take some photos.

It's amusing to me when people talk about how Portlanders don't know how to drive in the snow. Well, this is the kind of snow we normally get. In this kind of weather, it's hard to leave your front porch, let alone drive.

It's important though, to keep the bird feeders stocked. Even the tiny hummingbirds are out and need food.

The ice and snow sure make for some beautiful photos.

Here's what's left of our summer peppers.

Our Christmas lights are hanging in there.
As are the tree branches.

This kind of weather makes for a great day to make soap and what kind of soap do you think of when it's icy out?

Why, Peppermint Menthol Goats' Milk soap of course!

Pick up a few of these beauties for the holidays!

Friday, December 9, 2016

A Few Quick Things For Friday

Weather permitting, we're getting our tree this weekend! Last weekend we did the annual drag out all the holiday lights, plug them in, confirm they don't work and throw them away. Just for fun, this year we added a step to the process and hung them outside BEFORE confirming they didn't work! *sigh* Anyway, we've got to pick up a few new strands of lights this weekend as well.

I haven't broken down and started playing holiday music yet. I usually start the week before, or sometimes, the night before Christmas. This song, though not really holiday music, got a nice update this year. The original version always sounded a little smarmy.

Tickets went on sale this past week for The Festival of the Dark Arts at Fort George Brewery in Astoria, Oregon in February.  I wrote about the great time we had last year here. If you like dark beer, dark days, and dark arts, you shouldn't miss this.  Get your tickets quick, they go fast as do the hotel rooms!

I'm still restocking my soap reserves. This week I replenished the Patchouli Cedar Sage Goat Milk bar. This is a great bar for the men out there. It's packed with garden-fresh sage, cedar wood and patchouli essential oils, creamy cocoa butter, and olive oil. It contains a wonderful outdoorsy scent at the same time being a very luxurious soap. Pick up a few bars for the man in your life, or for yourself!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Gift Guide

It seems like everyone in the blogosphere does a gift guide, so not to be out done...here's mine:

Wine from Shallon Winery in Astoria, Oregon.  This was on my list from last year because it's worth it and as of August the owner was still alive and running the winery! Unfortunately the only way to get this wine is to visit the winery, but lucky for you, the trip is so worth it!  This winery is a one man operation and he's about 80 years old.  The first thing he'll do when you walk in is lock the door. Don't be alarmed, he just wants to devote all his attention to you and not be bothered by any other pesky customers.  Allow at least 30 minutes to listen to his spiel and taste his wines.  This will not be a quick 'run in for some chocolate wine' kind of trip. WHOA! Did she just say CHOLOCOLATE WINE!? Yes I did and it is fabulous!!!

Ransom Dry Gin I have it on good authority that if you're a gin drinker, this is the gin to get.  It's made in the Willamette Valley of Oregon and has won numerous awards. Pair it with a cocktail recipe book such as The New Cocktail Hour: The Essential Guide to Hand-Crafted Drinks or these awesome handmade tumblers with embedded Oregon, Washington, or California mountain tops and you'll be set for the long winter ahead!

Everlane Linen Scoop-Neck Tee  Ok, enough with the booze....I purchased one of these last September and I loved it and have worn it so much, I just ordered two more! I really like the way they drape effortlessly and the fact that they're so versatile. They can be worn with jeans or can easily be dressed up with a skirt or blazer.

Leatherman - Micra Multi-Tool Because what's a gift guide without a knife? This is a great tool for your purse or pocket. I'm rarely without mine, except when I get it taken away at the airport because I forgot to remove it from my purse--fair warning. This tool and my Maglite Flashlight are two items that get moved from bag to bag.

Camera Bag/Backpack. Speaking of bags, I love the bags from this shop and the fact that they are so inexpensive. I purchased one of their backpacks a few years ago and it has held up great. I use it as day pack and sometimes a camera bag by using the optional camera insert pouch

Keeping with the camera theme, about a year ago, I purchased this camera strap  for my camera. It sure beats the Nikon nylon strap that came with the camera. It's soft and not itchy and is very well made with leather ends and quality hardware. I'm almost always asked about it when I use it. The store sells wrist straps as well.
Palo Santo Incense Sticks This is my latest obsession! I've been a big time candle burner in the past but these sticks have just about ended my candle burning. If you've never burned palo santo before, you simply light the end of it, then blow out the flame and wave the smoke around your room (you can chant if you like). The sticks don't burn for long but the woodsy, clean scent they leave behind really last without overpowering like some candles do.

It's at this time of year I really appreciate my pogies. What are pogies you ask? Well they're handlebar mits for your bicycle that keep your hands warm and dry. I purchased mine a year ago from Portland Pogies. After riding with them all winter last year I can honestly say they are the best bike accessory (besides helmet and lights) I've purchased! If you know of a year round bike commuter, this is one gift that's sure to please!

 Soap from Lora's Beauty  This was also on my list from last year and is an obvious promotion of my wonderful, artisan soaps! However, for those of you who haven't tried the awesomeness that is artisan soap, may I recommend a few. The Peppermint Goats' Milk Bar made with menthol and peppermint essential oil has been a popular soap. Know someone who has trouble waking up in the morning? Get a few bars of this for their stocking and shower! Another favorite is the Little Black Bar (pictured) made with activated charcoal and scented with a blend of lemongrass and basil. This is a great facial bar or use it for shampoo and enjoy the benefits of activated charcoal for your hair!