It all started a couple of days ago, when I happened to pick up an old - and only - copy I have of Martha Stewart Living (November 2001, to be exact). I have always hung on to this magazine because it has a number of good recipes for Thanksgiving and for various biscuits (baking powder, buttermilk etc.). Jean-Marc came home for lunch that day, saw the open magazine, and asked me about it. I explained what it was and showed him the nice article on chestnuts (and many chestnut recipes) and he was impressed. I honestly haven't given Ms Stewart much thought in the past 8 years, but I thought I'd check out her website. I went through a number of recipes and saved a few to make later and then I went to the craft page. The ideas for homemade soaps got me thinking about making bath products and that was enough to send me out of the house and down to the local craft supply store.
I bought some bulk glycerin and then I discovered a nearby baking supply warehouse that is open to the public. I carefully went through each aisle and ended up buying some cardboard boxes to package Christmas baking in (as gifts), as well as some bulk pecans and walnuts to go in said baking. Yesterday I set out to make soap, reading up about what I could add to the clear glycerin to make it look and smell nice. In the end I had enough glycerin to make four kinds of soaps: mandarin, honey oatmeal, bergamot tangerine cinnamon clove and mandarin cinnamon. I just used my muffin tins as moulds and learned that once the soap had set, twenty minutes in the freezer would be enough for them to come out fairly easily. I then packaged them in sets of four to give away as gifts.
In the meantime I also wanted to start on my holiday baking. I made ginger snaps to give away, and in preparation for the pumpkin cheesecake I'm making for Christmas, and I made cranberry pecan shortbread and almond pepper biscotti. I will package up the three sorts of cookies in the boxes I got the other day and they will be, along with the soap, our gifts for the adults this year. It's fun getting crafty at home and it's something I'd like to have the luxury to be able to do more often!