Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sage, Rosemary, and Mookaite

I've got two soaps off the curing rack and in the shops. Well, they are actually restocks that I have had out of stock for a bit.

The first is White Sage. I love this scent. It's clean and smooth. A really nice scent for both men and women. The scent is from a fragrance oil, which is a good, high quality, skin safe, phthalate free (as is all the fragrance oils I use) oil.

And the second one is Herbal Rosemary. This is the perfect kitchen soap. I use rosemary essential oil for this soap, along with some powdered rosemary which I make a swirl with. This soap will get the onion smell out of your hands when cooking!!

Yesterday I made two soaps. They're both still in molds, I'll probably cut them tomorrow. They are both fragrance oil soaps. The green one is French Lilac, cause spring is coming!! The white one I had intended to be Lily of the Valley. However, I only had a drop or two of Lily of the Valley fragrance! So I started with that. Then, I poked around on my fragrance oil shelf, and found a couple of drops of Wild Rose and threw that in. Them I put in a bit of Ethiopian Myrrh. And finished it off with a couple of pipettes full of Ylang Ylang. It smells, well, kind of jasminey. I'll have to come up with a spring time name for it.


I have finished up a couple of pieces of jewelry. This will help answer your question, what the heck is mookaite?? :)

(click on any photo to enlarge)

I love this necklace! The focal is a wonderful carved bead, made from mookaite. This is from the website, ...

"Mookaite is the common, or popular, name for the rock with the geological name Windalia Radiolarite, being a fine grained, silicified and multi-coloured, radiolarian siltstone, found in outcrops, principally on Mooka Station (a sheep farm of around 700,000 acres)on the west side of Kennedy Range in Western Australia. The Kennedy Range itself is located approximately 90 miles east of Carnarvon and 25 miles to the north west of Gascoyne Junction, a small town of around 60 people, and located at the first (heading west from Carnarvon) sealed crossing of the mighty (usually dry) Gascoyne River."

I had a little trouble with this necklace at first. I used one of the sterling silver toggles I had gotten from Blake Brothers at the Gem Show. I tried on the necklace and wore it for a little while, to see how the horse bead set .. whether it would move around, hang sideways, whatever. Well, dang if the toggle didn't come loose on me ... twice!!! So I had to restring the necklace and put a different toggle on it. But my question is, what the heck do I do with the 6 or 7 toggles I have that I now know won't stay toggled together???? So this is what I did with one set ...

Ha Ha !! I made earrings with them!!

I also made a couple of pairs of earrings with pearls and amethyst.

This one is with green pearls

And these, purple pearls

I also made a bracelet with mookaite, that matches the horse necklace

Earlier in the week, I finished a necklace made with Red Creek Jasper mixed with some brown aventurine. This is nice!

And a pair of earrings to match

So, as you can see, I have managed to keep busy. :)

Here's a Dakota picture. She's kind of mad at me because I had to bring her to the vets for her shots. She started screaming her head off as soon as I started putting her in the carrier, and she screamed the whole way to the vets. A real drama queen!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


This is my cat, Dakota. We got her a couple of years ago from the Southern Arizona Animal Shelter. She was already 6yrs old when we adopted her. And she is a perfect lady!

When I take pictures of my soap and jewelry, I do it in the afternoon in the dining room when there is plenty of sunlight. And she's always hanging out in the sun while I'm taking my pics.

Look at how clever she is to position herself just right so the rung from the chair is keeping the sun out of her eyes! And I love how impossibly long her front legs are, and the way she stretches them out in front of her and crosses her paws a little. So casual!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Red Creek Jasper - Earrings this time

Yesterday, I made a few pairs of earrings with some of the Red Creek Jasper I got at the Gem Show.

This is a very pretty pair, with lots of Bali sterling silver

Second pair

Third pair (I like the colors in these)

And the last pair, very simple

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fruit-A-Licious, and Red Creek Jasper


I cut my four layer soap this morning. I like it! I'm a happy soapy camper. :-D

Here is the first log, waiting to be cut.

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And here it is! Bottom layer is Cantaloup Lily, second layer is Pineapple Crush, 3rd layer is Agave Lime, and the top layer is Orange Lemon.

When I was pouring the second layer, I had a little trouble pouring lightly and in some soaps it caused a little bit of a wave instead of a straight layer.

All cut and on the little rack, ready to be carried into the soap room. I wait a few days for them to harden up a little before transferring them to my large curing rack, to keep fingerprints down to a minimum. :)

And I made sure to make a few quarter bars. :)


I finally got some pics of the Red Creek Jasper jewelry I made last week. Got it all listed in my Etsy Jewelry shop, Jewelry From Tucson.

The Necklace

And the bracelet


Ray and I went to Whitewater Draw this weekend, to see the Sandhill Cranes. Once again, we saw THOUSANDS of cranes! Check out Ray's blog here -

Sonoran Connection

At the end of the post, he posted a video I took of some cranes landing. I took it with my Droid, so it's not very good, but it will give you an idea of how noisy they can be!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Gem Show Stash

Friday, I was able to get in one more run to the Tucson Gem Show. I needed a few sterling silver toggle clasps, and I wanted to look at turquoise.

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

This was the last day for the G&LW show on the south side of town. This is the one I always go to, because it is so convenient for me. I skipped the Gem Mall and headed right for the Holidome. I wanted to check out Kalpataru Beads for my sterling. I kept my blinders on as I passed pearls and turquoise and other wonderful beads. Some of the vendors were already starting to pack up, and they all looked pretty tired. I found Kalpataru, but was disappointed that their silver was $1.39 a gram. A bit too steep for me! So I headed over to the Inn to check out Colbaugh Processing. These are the folks that process the turquoise from the Kingman mine. I didn't buy anything. Not sure why, maybe because there wasn't anything new, and it was crowded in the little room.

So, I was heading back to the holidome tent when I decided to go into the Blake Brothers tent. They do mostly sterling silver jewelry, charms, chains. I thought I would take a look, see if they had some toggles. FINALLY found a table with some sterling silver beads and toggles that were on special for 89 cents a gram. Yay!! So I got a handful of toggles. :) And still had enough money for a few more beads.

So, into the Holidome tent I went. And I found the booth for Intrinsic Trading, the folks I had bought from on my first trip to the Gem Show. I just seemed to be drawn to chunky jasper and agate this year! First, I got these two horse beads. The dark gold and reddish one is mookaite. Isn't it pretty? The blue one is sodalite. Both of them are drilled to be threaded on beading wire.

These are some mookaite beads to go with the horse

A strand of large moss agate beads. I haven't measured them yet, they look around 12mm or so.

A strand of amazonite, which will go lovely with the carved amazonite floral bead I got earlier in the week.

This strand of beads is Mexican Onyx. When the helpful young lady running the booth told me this, I must have looked a little skeptical, because she quickly explained, yes, it's called onyx. It's a form of calcaite. My "skeptical look" was only because I had always associated onyx with black, not that I doubted what she told me.

And finally, a strand of Botswana Agate. I don't think you can tell from the not-so-good photo, but they are faceted. I like Botswana Agate, and I like SAYING Botswana Agate. :-D

And that is this year's Tucson Gem Show! :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Soap of Four Layers

Yesterday I made a soap with 4 layers ... Fruit-A-Licious

First layer, scented with Cantaloup Lily, colored with red clay

Second layer, scented with Pineapple Crush, colored with gold mica

Third layer, scented with Agave Lime and lime essential oil, colored with green clay and green oxide

And the final layer, scented with orange and lemon essential oils, no color added

No soap gremlins, all the fragrance oils behaved themselves, the only problem was the HUGE mess in the kitchen when I was done! :-D

Thursday, February 10, 2011

From stash to jewelry

I've already made a few things from my Gem Show stash beads. Wanna see?? :) I had to dive right into the blue agate. I must have summer on the brain.

A necklace, bracelet, and 3 pairs of earrings (1 pair already sold, and is currently on their way to St. Louis!). I mixed the agate with some aquamarine, just nice seashore colors!

The necklace is really fun, maybe I should have named it Bam Bam, or The Wilma Flintstone Cruise Wear :-D

The bracelet is pretty, doesn't include any of the "plumper" sized beads so it's comfy to wear. The only thing is, I think the extension is too long, but I'll leave it as is for now, when it sells I'll let the buyer decide if they want it shortened.

And 3 pairs of earrings. The earrings with the "plumper" sized beads are the ones that sold already. :)

AND I have already finished a necklace using some of the Red Creek Jasper. No pics yet. I mixed one of the 5 piece sets with a little bit of turquoise. yumma yumma, it's gorgeous! I'll take pics later and post.

AND I completed and listed a 3 strand amethyst bracelet I was working on before I went to the gem show. For all you February babes out there, this is a nice one!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Taking it to the shower

This morning I needed a new bar of soap for my shower. I love going in the soap room and choosing a bar of soap for myself! So many choices!!

This morning I chose Night Breeze. Yeah! Good choice! :)

Now, my soaps are big honkin bars of soap, they weigh at least 5 oz. And I don't bevel them, so when I first start turning them in my hands to lather up, it's a little hard on my hands. So once I get the soap wet, I use the back of my thumbnail and run it along the edges of the soap to smooth them out a little. It doesn't take long before the edges are rounded out.

Night Breeze .... scented with an essential oil blend of orange, lemon, clove, patchouli, and ylang ylang. The ingredients -

olive oil, coconut oil, distilled water, sodium hydroxide (lye), sweet almond oil, rice bran oil, goat milk, avocado oil, plus the essential oils listed above.

Right off the bat, this soap smells GOOD! Orange is the main smell, followed by the lemon, then the clove. I couldn't smell the patch. The ylang ylang I caught whiffs of, very subtle, very nice!

It's not my best latherer, but it still lathers nicely. No big bubbly lather, just very fine, creamy bubbles. No complaints about it from me!

The bar has a nice creamy feel to it, in part from the goat milk. I just love adding goat milk to soap, it really does make it creamy! :) Goat milk = creamy. It left my skin feeling good, not dried out at all (not to say I don't use lotion ... I live in the desert after all!).

Once I got out of the shower, the lovely scent stayed with me for awhile, and left my bathroom smelling yummy. The ylang ylang adds just enough floral !

So, all in all, I am very happy with the way this soap turned out! It's the first time I have used ylang ylang, and I was afraid I would use too much, so I went very light handed on it. And ... I like it!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gem Show Stash

The big Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is in progress here in town, and will continue until Feb. 11. I went today, with the idea of buying more turquoise, cause I love turquoise! And the folks that process the turquoise from the Kingman mine are always set up at the Holiday Inn.

I blew my entire budget at the first Gem Mall pavilion, didn't even make it up to the Inn. And didn't buy any turquoise! tsk

THIS is what I bought

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I manage to stop at 3 booths, and that was it, my money was gone!

The first booth I stopped at was Lanshang Co. at booth 1106. LOTS of nice gemstones! I ended up buying these lovely light blue faceted agate beads. I think they are going to make FABULOUS summer pieces, a necklace, bracelet, earrings. The large beads are about 18mm and are as big as plumper marbles! :-D I could make a real nice Wilma Flintstone necklace with those. LOL The smaller ones are 9mm.

Then I stopped at Multi Creations at booth 1107/1208. I love getting my Bali silver here, it's always really nice! They also have lots of Hill Tribe silver, but I'm always drawn to the Bali. This year, they're selling it for 99cents a gram, last year it was 69cents a gram. So you can see how much silver has gone up in the past year!!

This year, I got 2 strands of bead caps, which I don't usually buy but I have been wanting to do a few pieces with decorative bead caps. The larger caps are 12mm, the smaller are 6mm. I'm thinking these will help dress up some of the earrings I make.

From there, I knew I had enough money left for my turquoise, but figured I would continue poking around in the Gem Mall pavilion. And I stopped at Intrinsic Trading at booth 1219. *sigh* That's as far as I got. He has some gorgeous Red Creek Jasper that I started looking at. Beautiful 5 piece sets cut and drilled in beautiful patterns, with plenty of different sized strands of Red Creek Jasper rounds, flats, ovals. So at first I thought, I'll just get a couple of these 5 pc sets.

Then I had to get a few strands to go with them, because I didn't think I had anything at home to match.

And he also had some beautiful cut pieces drilled just right for beading, so I thought, well, get a few of those.

See how the holes are drilled? Perfect for a focus for a necklace!

And look at this one, I really love the colors and the design

So at this point I'm thinking, have a totally busted my turquoise budget?? Well, not completely, but certainly cut into it a bit! But, I kept looking. And found some gorgeous stuff called Ruby Zoisite! I couldn't help it, I said to heck with the turquoise! I need this stuff!!! Look at it!

The beads are beautifully faceted, and the focal pendant is lovely and smooth. With a bit of silver, I'm going to make a dynamite necklace and matching earrings!

This is what says about Ruby Zoisite
"Ruby-Zoisite, also known as anyolite, is the natural combination of ruby and zoisite crystals in a single specimen. Zoisite, the same mineral as tanzanite, provides an earthy green and black color while ruby lends pink and red highlights. Ruby-zoisite is usually shaped as cabochons or carved into decorative shapes, including animals and religious icons.

Ruby-Zoisite was first discovered in 1954 in Tanzania. The name anyolite derives from the word for "green" in the native language of the Massai.

Ruby-Zoisite has a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, and is thus of moderate hardness."

So, you can see, it's a newer gemstone which doesn't have much history associated with it.

So, there went my budget for turquoise. All I could do at this point was to finish up what was left of my money right there. :)

A piece of carved Amazonite

An Ametrine pendant (Ametrine is Amethyst and Citrine together). I have plenty of both amethyst and citrine to make a necklace and matching earrings.

A carved Chrysocolla lizard pendant

And that's it! No turquoise!! :-D