Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bath Bombs and Trade-a-Holics...

Bath Bombs and Trade-a-Holics...

Well, as many of you know, times are tough these days and money is tight for many of us.  Having dumped all of my savings into going back to school, this reality is the story of my life! 

To help make ends meet and provide a bit of mental respite from the big monkey on my back (otherwise known as my Master's thesis!), I've begun invest a bit more time into my jewelry and sell off my precious treasures!  This can be tough at times - not just for the cost of materials - but also because I pour so much of myself into each piece of jewelry that I make.  I often get sad to hand over my jewelry or say goodbye as the envelope is sealed and it's dropped off at the local post office. Nevertheless, it makes me so very happy every time I hear someone ohhh or ahhh at one of my pieces.  It's such a great feeling to know that someone appreciates your work and is willing to invest their hard-earned money for something that you created.  What a great feeling!

That being said, it takes time to build up a business.  Especially one so competitive as jewelry!  So the pocket book is empty for the moment.  This reality does, at times, make for a creative and fun reaction. 

As a break from the monotonous day-to-day life of a 30-something student living with her parents in a tiny wee village of 300 people and devoid of the luxury of having a steady income, I tried two new things this week. 

Having spent almost every day for the past 2.5 months wearing the same khaki green carbo pants and a Cricketeer wool sweater that I borrowed from my ex-boyfriend almost 20 years ago (I still love this sweater... but not the ex-boyfriend!), I will openly admit that I miss designer clothes.  I miss being stylish.  I miss gourmet coffee and lounging in coffee shops. I miss spa days and fancy restaurants. I miss my expensive organic soaps that don't bother my allergies... and I miss shopping. 

Oh the unbounded joy of finding that perfect thing that you simply MUST have...  Browsing the shops, gazing at sweet looking window displays, trying on clothing made with the softest of fabrics, chatting with the shop keepers and bringing home your new goodies wrapped up in tissue....  Ahhhh the memories!

Right - I can hear my friend Sarah telling me now - get to the point, Tara!  Okay, so in the middle of a relapse, I decided to try two new things to bring the 'lux' back into my life. 

1. I made bath bombs to make bath-time fun again (and as gifts for my nephews that are visiting tomorrow!)

2. I picked all of my favourite shops on Etsy and asked if they would be interested in trading with me.

Bath Bomb Fizzies...

If you haven't heard of them before, a bath bomb is something that you put in your bath tub.  It fizzes and whirls letting out oils and lovely scents while softening the skin.  I would call them an all-around sensory delight!

I have wandered into "LUSH" many a time, poking around the aisles and debating on whether or not to test my luck when it came to my allergies.  I was given a LUSH bath bomb as a gift once.  After deliberating for weeks on the possibility of having an itchy and unsightly rash develop, I finally tried it out.  Disaster.  Same with their lib balm which was also given as a gift. 

So far Aveno, Aveda, Origins and sometimes Nivea seem to be the only 'safe' options.  My favourite being
Origins bath and body products.  If you are in the Ottawa area, you can find them at the Bayshore Shopping Center.  Wonderful products but - as to be expected - they are not cheap!   

Anyway getting back to the point, being broke means being resourceful.  So I decided to create my very own bath bombs.  One day, I would like to expand into soap-making but one step at a time!

I used a few drops of cucumber-scented essential oil, 1 part citric acid (also known as sour salt or vitamin c powder), 2 parts baking powder, 1/2 part corn starch, rubbing alcohol, a few tablespoons of grapeseed oil and almond oil, 3 drops of food colouring and a handfull of epson salts.   After mixing the dry ingredients, the oils and food colouring were added.  Then I spritzed the mixture with rubbing alcohol until a damp-sand like texture was achieved.  Then it was time to squish the mix into molds. 

I tried using cookie cutters but that didn't work so it was all pressed into some plastic heart-shaped candy molds, popped onto some wax paper and left to dry over night.  While my bath bombs were a bit too brittle to be used as gifts, they did the trick for personal use!  I think next time I will try to find kaolin clay which should make the bath bombs solid enough to package and post to my friends as gifts.

Citric Acid is tricky to find.  If you are in the Cornwall area, support your local business by buying your citric acid from Sharyn's Pantry on Pitt St.  With the new bulk food store opening up off Brookdale, I'm sure they could use your support!  If you are not in the Cornwall area - and to get some tricky ingredients such as Kaolin clay - try Jan Ferrante's online shop Skincare Naturals.  Although I've not purchased from Jan just yet she's already shown me some A+ customer service and I will soon be pressing the "checkout" button...
Here are some pictures of my bath bomb adventure!

Trading on Etsy!

While I don't have a lot of money to shop with, I do have a lot of jewelry-making supplies and excess stock!  So I wrote to all the shops that sell my most favourite Etsy items and asked them if they would consider a trade.  While many didn't reply (that was a bit of a downer!), some did.  Most shops either didn't trade, couldn't trade or won't trade until the holidays come around again at which time I'm to send them a reminder.  However, two shops DID express interest.  Yeah!  

So I'm waiting to hear back on our potential 'trades'.  I've picked out two gorgeous items from (will not mention name!) which is based in New York City and a pile of metal stamps to use in my jewelry design.  This is so exciting!

I've been eye-ing up (will not mention name!) work for awhile now and I'm soooo excited!!!!  I just heard back from (will not mention name!) and the trade is on!  Normally, (will not mention name!)says she doesn't do trades but she's making an exception - woo hoo!  My first official online trade!  I'll let you know it turns out!

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