2015 Audiobook Challenge: Q1 Check-In

This year, in addition to setting a goal to read 52 books, I signed up for my first Audiobook Challenge, which is being hosted by The Book Nympho and Hot Listens. I set a goal for 15-20 of my books this year to be audiobooks, which they call the “Socially Awkward (Don’t Talk to Me)” Level. Cute, right?

Tomorrow is their first quarter check in – so let’s see how I’ve done!

I created a separate Goodreads shelf so I can easily tag my completed audiobooks this year. And so far…(drumroll, please!)…I have completed FOUR of my books on audio! I’m right on track with my goal! Yay, me!

Side note: I’ve been in a reading funk lately – nothing has grabbed my attention and made me want to curl up non-stop with a book, so I hope to find something SOON that sucks me back in. If you have a must-read, my-favorite-book-of-all-time recommendation, I’d love to hear it! Even with my reading funk, I’ve read/listened to 12 books total so far this year, and Goodreads says that means I’m right.on.track.

Calendula Soap in Use

Remember that first batch of soap I made? Well it FINALLY was ready to try! I’ve discovered that the very hardest part about making soap is waiting through the curing period, which is recommended to be 4-6 weeks. This allows the excess water to evaporate creating a milder, longer-lasting bar. (Between you and me, from now on I won’t wait to full amount of time to try the soaps I’m making. I’m making so much soap right now I don’t care if it dissolves in the shower a little bit faster than normal.)

Here is a quick picture when I cut the soap (about week after making it).

Calendula Soap Cut

This recipe is predominantly olive oil with some sweet almond oil. This makes for a nice mild bar, but without a lot of bubbles or lather. Maybe we’re just accustomed to that with commercially made soaps, but I definitely think I’ll end up settling on a formula with coconut oil in it which adds some good cleaning bubbles.

Speaking of coconut oil, I’ve also tried the soap that I saved by rebatching which DOES have coconut oil in it…but not enough. I want more bubbles! LOL I do love the orange essential oil that I used though – so refreshing and invigorating. I will definitely be using this EO again!

#SchoolOfSewing: Lesson 2 Fabrics

In case your new to the School of Sewing sew-a-long with me, don’t forget to check out this Page where I have all the details and links to past posts.

Who’s ready for another sewing project? This month, we’re tackling Lesson #2 from School of Sewing* book, which is the Lined Drawstring Bag. For this project, I’ll be using fabric I already had in my stash. I love the bright colors!

Drawstring Bag Fabric

I’ll admit, I’m a little nervous about sewing the draw string (tiny strip of fabric that needs to be cut and sewn straight), but with the success I had last month in cutting straight lines I’m ready for the challenge.

My next couple weekends might be kinda busy, so I think I’m going to tackle this project over multiple evenings. Cutting one night, sewing another. Wish me luck!

What fabrics will you use for this project? Be sure to post a picture in the comments below! What are you looking forward to or worried about?

* Note: Links with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links. This means that, at no extra cost to you, I make a small commission when you make a purchase through my link. Thank you! :-)

#SchoolOfSewing: Lesson 1 – Finished Speedy Pillow Case

I’m a little late getting this post up, but I’m assuming you’ll forgive me. :-)

In case your new to the School of Sewing sew-a-long with me, don’t forget to check out this Page where I have all the details and links to past posts.

I completed my Speedy Pillowcase last weekend, and went through a wide variety of feelings. Let me get straight to the results though and share a picture with you of the completed project.


I adjusted the pillowcase to be longer for this crazy long pillow my husband has. We only ever had one pillowcase that fit it, and after nearly 15 years it finally shredded so he needed a new one. (It’s not a big fluffy pillow to make for a smooth picture like in the book, but it fits!)

I want to share as much about each lesson with you as I can – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I’m hoping I’m not the only one with bad and ugly, but that’s all part of learning, right? So here are some of my thoughts, feelings, and learnings from this project: [Read more…]

Adventures in Soap Making: Letting Go of Perfection

A couple weeks back, I made four small batches of soap to test out different percentages of olive oil and coconut oil. I’m trying to figure out which oils I like, in what quantities, to get a consistent soap that I like that has good bubbles, is moisturizing, lasts long in the shower, etc. The first lesson I learned that day: [Read more…]