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I didn’t give up!

My sister gave me this years ago when I first decided I wanted to write a novel. With many false starFullSizeRender (1)ts over the years, I finally got serious this past January and set a goal to finish my first draft by the end of May. I did it! I have a completed first draft!

One thing that’s made a difference this time is joining a writing challenge called #writechain. The idea is to set a manageable daily goal. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 words or 1000, just as long as you can do it daily. I set a goal of 100 words. In the beginning it was difficult to get just those 100 out. Other days I wrote thousands.

Now that the first draft is done I will change my goal to edit one page daily. My plan is to have my manuscript ready to go out to my critique partners by the beginning of August.

Cupcakes!

My step-dad turned 70 a few days ago and I volunteered to make cupcakes for his birthday party. I’m a fan of buttercream and have a tried and true recipe, but I was feeling adventurous, so I set out to find something different. I found this buttercream recipe from Butter With a Side of Bread. The difference is the addition of Marshmallow IMG_5911Creme. It adds such depth to the flavor. Plus the texture is more airy.

I used the same recipe for the chocolate frosting but added a couple of Tablespoons of cocoa powder and used coconut flavoring in place of the vanilla. So yummy! Then I made my step-dad’s favorite, German Chocolate.

While I need to improve my piping skills, I had so much fun making these cupcakes that I plan to make a few dozen more for Frodo’s graduation party coming up later this month. Ack! My baby is graduating! I am going to need more than a few cupcakes to get through that!

Timber!

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A couple of days ago we had bad storms. I was standing at the back patio door “watching” for tornadoes. It rained so hard it flooded our back patio, there was lightning and thunder and hail. At one point the whole house shook, but then it was over and we went to bed.

The next morning I got a text asking if we were okay. A neighbor had spotted a tree down in our yard. Ah, so that’s what shook the house! The tree landed on the storage building attached to the garage. Thankfully everything in the buidling was okay, and more importantly we didn’t fly off to Oz.

Feeding the Beast

It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten to make any “fun” soap. Trying to keep the store stocked with not only soap, but all of my other products, keeps me rather busy. A few days ago I got the urge to go a bit crazy with color.

This particular method is called in the pot swirl, abbreviated in the soap world as ITPS. The standard method of doing this is to pour each of your colors, usually two or three, into a main color,IMG_4184 then take a spoon and give it one stir, then pour into your mold. (Here I actually used 5 colors.) The combination of the stirring and pouring is supposed to give it the design. I’ve never had luck doing it that way and my colors always ended up muddied. My friend Laura shared with me that she skips the stir part and just lets the pouring make the design. It totally works!

Once it was poured I went back and added color on the surface of the soap thenIMG_4188 drew the thin end of a spoon through it in S shaped patterns vertically across the mold, then horizontally. I know there is a name for this technique, and although I’ve been making soap for 6 years now, I’ve completely drawn a blank.

FullSizeRenderOne of my favorite parts of soapmaking is cutting the soap and seeing how it turned out. I love how each bar has a different pattern. Colorful soaps take more time to make than my regular bars, but in the end it feeds the creative monster inside of me. I must feed the beast, so therefore I create. If only the beast washed dishes!