I have been asked often enough "Where did you come up with the name Mabel White?" In my hobby days it was Martha White. It was just a nick name people assigned to me related to the Martha White instant mix company. They are known in the south for great instant mixes such as biscuits and brownies. When Martha became a business, I had to change the name because I seemed to be entering the home improvement market and did not want the real "Martha" to sue me. I was not worried about the baking company--they love the site. But the craft company needed a name that started with an "M" because I already had MW on the back ground of thousands of web pages. A contest ensued over the internet between myself and at least a hundred other people. We sought a name that was old fashioned, yet contemporary. We voted on every M name there was and the e-mail was always full regarding this topic. Everyone involved had open minds, but nothing seemed to be marketable. This contest went on for three full days and I could not believe no one could not agree on a name. On the third night I went to bed and read a piece of mail. A customer had addressed the envelope to the Mabel White Company instead of Martha White and that is how the company name was founded. So, we are no longer Martha.
Enter "Not Martha"
Someone came across a site called "Not Martha" that discussed in a very detailed and helpful manner how to make lip balm, bath bombs and more. When I saw the site I just fell in love with Megan Reardon, photo on the left. She is one of the most creative people I have met and her work astounds me. Her most recent focus is on sewing and knitting, click here for her site Sew Wrong. After talking with her a bit, I now have her permission to discuss her site and how great I think she is. I think her web design elements are worth a look even if you are not into crafts, but maybe into design.
The unveiling of her work to Mabel customers comes at a perfect time because one of Megan's highlight topics include the treatment of Easter eggs. I discuss how to color your own eggs naturally, (click here for one of my earliest PDF files) but Megan has really added a new dimension to crafting with eggs. Before I discuss her ideas I will mention if you know how to make a small hole in an empty egg shell you can fill the shell up with melted dark chocolate. When it cools, it can be decorated. When the shell is taken off, you a have a perfectly shaped true chocolate egg. I melt my chocolate in the microwave for a few short seconds until melted. I insist on making my own chocolates for Easter They are much more affordable and quality cannot compare. Fall of 2003, after the hot summer is over, the Mabel White Company will be offering wholesale chocolate coins on the site along with some candy molds. Small and cute soap molds could also be used for making your own chocolates. To see Megan's outstanding archives of stuff to make click here.
Megan really knows how to decorate an
Easter egg! Click
here to see a ton of beautiful and inspirational ideas of egg decorating projects.
The photo to the right is not even her line of Easter egg ideas, it is a project she
Piņatas" that you can put gifts or surprises in and as she states in her
site "these work perfectly for my you-have-to-destroy-it-to-open-it thing I'm
always looking for." And she adds "I also plan on using these for Easter
eggs." It appears balloons are instrumental in this project, but the sky
is the limit on the results. Click here for
Megan beat me to this article. I do not even drink wine but I find the new wine charms to be so beautiful. So much, that I made a few to go around the bottles of wine I cook with. I did not know how easy they were to make, I think I paid $25 for the first one of mine--just to get the inspiration. When I bought it, I learned the wine glass charms are supposed to serve a functional purpose--so you know which glass of wine is yours. Since I have not been invited to any M. Stewart parties, or forgot where I have been the night before, I guess I would not know the etiquette behind wine charms. Aside from that introspection, they are so pretty and as Megan says, so very easy to make. Click here to see how Megan makes wine glass charms.
I notice having "wine charms" is such a neat thing, artists are even selling sets with holiday themes and a myriad of other events. I understand weddings is another major market for wine charm makers.
Betty O'Day of the famous Betty O'Day Spa in Chicago helped me understand what the new "bath ice cream" rave was all about. Just when I thought bath bombs could not be any more techno, here comes bath ice cream. Betty reports they are beautiful and also excellent sellers. She says they appear to be simply made with two ice cream scoops stuck together and the colors are themed out with tantalizing ice cream themes. For those of you that do not know about bath bomb construction, 1 part baking soda to 1 part citric acid, a little cornstarch and enough fragrance oil to make it stick together but not fizz. Packing them tight is also important. This project is much easier when more than one person is helping. If you desire color, they can be achieved with natural colors--such as skin safe spices--or oil based colors. We are sad to report that cake decorating colors seem water based and do not work. We add a little melted lip stick to the fragrance oil for color. We then mix the fragrance oil with the powders. A hand mixer could blend the bath bomb ingredients without using a food processor and clouding the plastic parts forever. Mabel's natural coloration chart is included in the subscriber master library. The grade of citric acid does matter. Monohydrate is more expensive but does offer the best fizz possible. Mabel White is one of the few retailers that sell the monohydrate grade. Click here for our citric acid.
In the endless pursuit of soap packaging ideas, we came across this photo. Here the photographer used cinnamon sticks to adorn one, a dried pansy for another and a maple leaf for yet another.
Making Ceramic Tiles and Other Pottery Pursuits
Everyone loves hand painted ceramic and glass. If you have clay in your back yard, all the better! Getting into ceramics and pottery is a real commitment, but with good taste, the rewards are breath taking. The pottery to the left facilitates the use of contemporary shapes and bright colors such as bright yellow with pink.
Recently at a craft show we saw the most beautiful hand made tiles that were 3D in effect. It was enough to make a person want to redo their entire kitchen and bathroom. A few tiles had the broken mosaic look with a half of a cup protruding. As we get into the world of pottery, making hand made tiles is most likely the easiest learning curve for us and if the patterns come out right, one we can use to actually revamp our kitchens. Making our own tiles, we can save tons of money and still have that very rich look. It can't be that hard and we are game! We also decided, as an alternative to the time consuming two bake process we could use the same sponge ware techniques described below which allows you to paint simple white tiles, anyway you like, and simply coat when done with a two coat Delta glaze. If this is OKAY to use for food service, it must be fine for making your own hand painted tiles. Home Depot sells plain white and bisque colored tiles for about 30 to 70 cents each. This would be a great project for kids! Who knows what designs they may come up with. We are going to try to plaster broken coffee cups onto our designs and then coat them. You could make a splash board for your kitchen, cut out one whole section of counter and replace with the tile, mount four of them to make one wall hanging, and so much more!
This month we discuss three very novel and easy to prepare foods. The first one is Toffee Apple Salad and just one of those things you want to eat every bit of. The second is cheesy baked potatoes salad which is just one of those great ideas we wonder why we did not think of it ourselves. The last food item is pan seared tuna. You know, that excellent appetizer that costs a small fortune? It is so easy to make and you can do it for under $5.