#reverb10 – Day 6: Make. What was the last thing you made?

December 6 Prompt

Author: Gretchen Rubin
The Happiness Project

Prompt: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?


I started making soap again. I’ve been making it on and off since about 2003, but I tend to go in fits and spurts. Make a ton of soap in a short amount of time, then not make any for months.

It’s been many months since I made my last big batch. I’m not even sure if Flora was born the last time I made a serious batch of soap. So it’s definitely been a while.

It felt really good to get excited about a non-computer-related hobby again. Of course, I spent lots of time online sourcing the best prices for my materials and reading up on new scents, but eventually I had to leave the laptop and iPhone and get my hands dirty (or clean really, since it’s soap and all).

Here are some of my latest creations:

Massage bar soapMassage bar. One of my newest molds, it’s a large bar and it looks gorgeous up close.

Snowflake soapHeart soap

Guest soaps (smaller in size) with snowflakes and hearts. This was my first time painting the shapes (or in the case of the heart soap, around the shapes) It turned out better than I thought, which always makes me happy).

Fish soap

Fishy soap! The fish part comes from an Ikea ice cube tray. The fish is then put in the oval mold and the second colour of soap is poured around it.

These soaps are made using the melt and pour method. Some purist soapmakers consider this slacker-style soap, which is okay with me. Melt and pour works like this:

  • Get your hands on some melt and pour soap base. This is premade, unscented, uncoloured glycerin soap. Other oils may be added. The fish and massage bar soaps have hemp oil in them, and the guest soaps have goat’s milk.
  • Melt the soap. This can be done in the microwave, or in a pot on the stove
  • Add your chosen fragrance and colourants
  • Pour into soap molds
  • Let harden, pop out of your mold, wrap and put in your bathroom
  • Scrub away!

I haven’t gone over the finer details like how much fragrance to use (important in these scent-sensitive times). That information can be found online or in books related to soapmaking. I am happy to talk more about it in the comments if anyone is interested. This is a craft you could do with school-age kids quite easily. I’ll likely make soap with my daughter when she gets a little older.

Two things I really like about melt and pour soapmaking are:

  • Soap is meant to be used. So many crafts just hang around the house, long after they should be tossed because “someone made it”. Soap can be admired while on display, enjoyed while using and put to rest when you’re down to the last tiny sliver. There’s a lifecycle.
  • Soap is a forgiving medium. I’m not the best crafter. I get sloppy and things never turn out as nice as I would like. Mistakes in soap can be considered artful, and at worse, you can always melt it down and repour it.

This is a craft I really enjoy. It’s easy, quick and produces impressive results. I’m happy to answer any questions you have, so if you have any, leave them in the comments or drop me an email.

Slacker Crafts: How to make an easy DIY necklace holder

Necklace holderAfter adding two more necklaces to my collection yesterday (thank you buy one, get one free sales), I decided I needed to get them out of the jewlery box I’ve used since I was 13 years old. The drawers were getting crowded and they were getting tangled up in each other.

I knew necklace holders were a thing that existed, but I’ve only ever seen them in the store when I had no interest in them. Rather than chase an object I wasn’t sure I’d find easily (they’re not something I see every day), I did some Googling and YouTubing last night to get ideas on how to make one that worked for me. I saw several different kinds and they all gave me ideas for my own.

I made the pictured necklace holder in less than an hour on Sunday afternoon. I think it took me longer to pick up the supplies. Fussier crafters may take a little longer, but it really was a quick and easy thing to do.

Here are the supplies I used:

  • Framed bulletin board
  • Fabric
  • Ribbon (optional)
  • Chain
  • S-hooks

I went to the hardware store first so I could pick up the chain and S-hooks. Then I went to Sprawl Mart (hey, it’s near my house!) and picked up a bulletin board, some pre-cut fabric and some ribbon. I ended up needing two pieces of fabric because one pre-cut piece didn’t cover my whole bulletin board and I didn’t want to make a third stop at the fabric store. Slacker crafters unite!

When I got home, I found my staple gun and brought my supplies upstairs to my bedroom. I laid the first piece of fabric out and placed the bulletin board over top. I folded the edges over and stapled them to the back of the frame. I did the same with the second piece. A better crafter would probably have sewed the two pieces together first (and maybe even ironed the fabric), but being a slacker crafter, I used the ribbon to cover the overlap of the two pieces of fabric. I stapled the ribbon to the bulletin board. When I realized that the tape holding the ribbon to the spool left a mark, I put another piece of ribbon on over top so the mark would be covered. Stapled that on.

Finally, I attached the chain using – you guessed it – the staple gun. I missed the chain link on the first go, but that turned into a happy accident. It allowed me to bend the staple around to create a hook which will allow for chain adjustment as the collection grows. I repeated the happy accident technique on the other side.

Once the chain was attached, I hung one end of the S-hooks through the chain links and hung the necklace from the other end. Using S-hooks and chain rather than just attaching the necklace to a wire or ribbon allows the necklaces to hang neatly – no sliding to the middle and no drooping.

I’m thrilled with the results I got from such a small amount of work. The holder is sitting on a bookshelf in my bedroom. You could also put it on the wall, but I like mine where it is.

An alternative to chain would be to use furniture tacks and put them on the bulletin board and hang necklaces from them. My research taught me that furniture tacks would work better than regular ones because they are longer and heavier. Another quick Googling showed me that you can get some really pretty tacks that would look great with the right fabric.

Hope this helps any fellow necklace lovers out. Spend a little extra time and it would make a great gift for someone else. (You shouldn’t slack on gifts.)

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
This work by Melissa Price-Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada.
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