Handmade Philly Member Feature: Danni M

Danni Morinich, a member of Handmade Philly was given the opportunity to create a soap for The Italian Market Visitors Center. She lives in the neighborhood, she was not only honored to be asked, but so pleased at the result.

If you’re in the neighborhood for the Italian Festival Saturday, May 18th and Sunday, May 19th, stop by and see how she worked with the Italian Market Visitors Center to create a soap with an appearance that pays homage to the originators of the market in fragrances that are a nod to the importance of food in the market.
These gems make perfect gifts for the tourist, the foodie or those who still call Philly home while taking up residence elsewhere.

This soap is available exclusively at the Italian Market Visitors Center 919 S. 9th Street (Just south of 9th and Christian between Montrose Street and Salter Street (215) 278-2903.

Niesha Kennedy-Robinson is a lover of things handmade. Besides being a wife and a mother, she is the owner and operator of Wee Bit Trendy, a small online shop that provides Handmade Faux Treats for Baby. She loves DIY (why buy when you can DIY), and doing PR for Sharp with Art Group and West Park Arts Festival

GG: Handmade Holiday Shopping

Happy Thanksgiving everyone (in the US anyway)!!

The beginning of the holiday season is the most fun for me. I have yet to get all turkey-ed out, yet to be annoyed by all the shopping traffic and yet to be stressed that I didn’t get all the gifts I need. This is the most fun time to just peruse all the lovely items out there to see what might be the most fun present for each of my recipients. So I hope you don’t think I’m too early with this holiday shopping spree guide! Enjoy scrolling through all these great items and know, you have pleeeenty of time to pick up items for everyone on your list!

Stained Glass Mosaic Candle Holder from Earth Mother Mosaics

Phrenology Pillow from Thimbletop

All Purpose Skin Healing Salve from Lilith’s Apothecary

Vintage Pendant from Light Mosaics

Fabric Kit to make her Block Holder Books (found in the Fresh Fabric Treats Moda Bake Shop Book) from Jaybird Quilts

Scones from Kitchen Witch Cookie

Earrings from Glamorosi

Bracelet from Clare McDermott

Soaps for him from Mamoucha Soaps

Original collage from 111CollageDesign

Necklace from PleaseBikeThanks

Serving platter from Little Flower Designs

Earrings from Finch and Flower

Visor beanie from Mels Bells

Flower notecards from Allison Ostertag

Journal from Blue Toad

Many many many more items available here! Happy holidays to you and yours!

~Nicole Bruno, A Stitch in Design

GG: It’s not easy being green

With all those gorgeous handmade items available from the various Handmade Philly members, it’s so hard to pick just a few for a guide!! I know green has been used as a focus in the past but I think it’s definitely one worth going back to especially as all our green leaves start slipping away.  I’m sure you’ll agree after you’ve checked out the following items, available now (just click the picture!).

Green printed shirt from Bud and Branch

Felted Wool Mobile from SqrlBee

Green (while they’re not green in the photo, you can custom order them in green!! With any monogram you’d like! :)) monogrammed napkins from MaryJo Rosania

Chompin Broccoli print from You Wanna Talk Jive

Mung Bean Pendant from Real Fruit Jewelry

Three pack card set from Mattson

The Andrea from Steel Pony

Frida earrings from Night Owl Designs

Thank you notes from The Lettered Set

Green cloth mobile from Poppy and Bean

Sewing basket by BGartman

Stuffed owl from Crinoline

Papier mache pear from Insitu Decorative Arts

For purple, blue, white – or any other color you can think of – check out more items available here!

~Nicole Bruno, A Stitch in Design

GG: Autumn Glory

Ahh, finally the autumn is upon us! Even though the weather here in the northeast is kind of faking us out (high 70s and humidity?? where am i?!?), I promise that fall is on its way. And in preparation for this lovely season to come, I’ve gathered some wonderful items from the artisans of Handmade Philly.

Neck cowl from Lemonhalf

Fingerless Mitts from Blue Betty Shop

Autumn leaves necklace from Chandeluse

Beret from Mels Bells Cloche Hats

For the birds flying south this fall – a necklace from LaRoca Gallery

Scarf from Punk Rocknits

Tea bags print from PragyaK

Toddler slippers from Wooly Baby

Cup of joe locket from KVanvliet

Flower bath salts from Volta Soaps

Forests of the world stationery set from ReadWriteBooks

Green glass earrings from Wydinya Studio

Even if you’re not prepared to move into fall, don’t forget to check out a ton more items available here appropriate for any season!

~Nicole Bruno, A Stitch in Design

Gift Guide: Celebrate Spring!

Though I am a solid winter girl at heart, I do get a thrill at the changing of the seasons. And of course, the start of baseball season helps to ease my tears when the snow begins to melt. So celebrate the season with an item (or two!) from the Handmade Philly repertoire.

Nothing says spring quite like this sweet skirt from Chloe & Boo.

Love love love these deep blue earrings from Wydinya. Looking forward to a clear blue spring sky to match!

Pick up these great little snowflake soaps from Lillian’s Apothecary just in case all the snow melts before you get to enjoy it.

There’s nothing like warming up with some tea during the blustery winter months though for spring you may want to  swap out your actual tea for this painting by K Vanvliet.

Though it is getting warmer, the snow’s not gone yet! Wooly Baby has some lovely booties for your little one who’s itching to get outside and run.

If your green thumb is a bit like mine (brown?), opt for Pigeons in the Attic’s version of a flower pot instead.

If you’re as excited about upcoming bounty of fruits and vegetables, you’ll flip for PragyaK’s delightful carrot print.

Klaatu Collection’s juicy ring is the perfect way to get spring’s colors into your accessories now.

Get prepared for your garden’s bounty with Fabrik’s reusable produce bags.

Earth Mother Mosaics’ coasters are like a little slice of citrus fruit any time of the year.

Spring is wedding season and almost any bride would love the addition of this necklace from d’Olivia Jewelry on their special day.

In anticipation of even the bugs that will be headed our way in the next few months, pick up one of these adorable onesies from Super de Duper.

Have a little bit of spring any day of the year with this sweet little tray from Insitu Decorative Arts.

With all of these items and the many more not featured, I’m sure you can find a way to celebrate the coming of spring!

~Nicole Bruno, A Stitch in Design

Gift Guide: Valentine’s Day!

The fabulous artisans here at Handmade Philly have proven to me yet again that they have the inventory to fill any need. And the need this time of year is Valentine’s Day. Whether you fall for the hearts and flowers every year or you try to duck out of the over the top celebrating, there’s definitely something here for you. So scroll on to check out all the items available for purchase – right now!

Love the ability to mix up any outfit with a super cute cocktail ring, and this one from Antebelle is perfect with practically any outfit!

Get your point across without even saying a word. Grab this fantastic pin from Amy B’s Jewelry and show your lover what you think about them.

With all the statement necklaces out there, you know your honey will standout with this handmade piece from BGartman.

You know how much your love appreciates their tea (or coffee!) so dress it up for them with this great little tea cup by E Bohner Designs.

Bud and Branch lets you lock away anyone’s heart with this fantastic padlock necklace.

Be a secret admirer this year by sneaking this pin onto your love’s winter jacket. Made by Crinoline and sure to brighten up anyone’s day.

Mobiles aren’t just for babies! Pick up this fishy delight by SqrlBee to decorate your sweetheart’s office space.

Keep your honey warm with this fantastic cowl by Lillian Jackson.

If your other half is a sucker for old school, pick up this fantastic mix tape necklace by Aurora21112. (Earrings also available!)

If a cowl just isn’t enough to keep her warm through the snow, grab this shawl from Punkrocknits and stay toasty.

Brighten up her purse collection with this great little turquoise number from Janzibar.

Pick up these sweet little hearts from LaRocaGallery to show just how much of your heart she has.

This quilt and bag kit from Jay Bird Quilts is the perfect gift for the sewing enthusiast in your life. He or she might even make one of the items for you!

Any fan of the written word would love love love these darling little strawberry notecards. Give your dearest hope of the spring by purchasing these from MollieDogPaper.

Hope you were able to find something – for yourself or your other half 🙂

And as always,  don’t forget about the many offerings from the wonderful members of Handmade Philly!

~Nicole Bruno, A Stitch in Design

Melt and Pour Soap-Making: the perfect DIY Holiday project

glycerin soap Looking for a really easy, inexpensive project that will produce a gift nearly everyone loves? Try your hand at melt & pour glycerin soap making. This is distinct from ‘true’ hot process and natural cold process soap-making, which is much more involved and more time consuming. In M&P soaps, you can work on a simple project that will take you a short amount of time. Take advantage of the relative ease and get creative! There are lots of really interesting M&P soapers on Etsy from whom to get some inspiration.  A lot of the fun comes from the molds you choose to use, the scents you add, the addition of botanicals in a clear glaze top, or the creation of fun and interesting designs such as this bacon and egg soap set.

One of the best parts of soap making is the inclusion of natural fragrance. My preference is always to use pure essential oils, which are the natural product of extracting (via steam distillation) the volatile oils from plants. I find synthetic fragrance oils to be cloying and irritating, and often unhealthy because of the addition of chemical fragrance fixatives such as “pthalates”, which have shown endocrine disruption in laboratory testing with mice.

The first step is finding Melt and Pour soap base. And then it’s as simple as that…you melt it and pour it into molds! I prefer to use organic soap base, such as Stephenson’s, as many bases are weighed down with more questionable ingredients such as sulfates, or often irritating chemical foaming agents.

organic melt and pour soap base

organic melt and pour soap base from KandleKaz.com

You will want to use a stainless steel (not aluminum) or enamel coated pot. Put on a double boiler for best results, but I’ve also done fine melting the base over the lowest possible stove-top setting. Just be sure not to walk away too long, as you don’t want the soap to come to a boil.

Stirring melt and pour soap base

Stirring melt and pour soap base

DIY Directions:
1. Melt 2 lb block over low heat. (Stir with a utensil designated for soap making.)
2. Once melted, remove from heat.

Adding essential oil blend to melted soap base

Adding essential oil blend

3. Add fragrance to desired strength. I prefer about 60 – 100 drops essential oil to 2 lbs soap. If you add too much fragrance it will affect the quality of the soap.

Added colorant to soap base

Add colorant to soap base

4. Add some colorant if desired. You can buy soap chips from suppliers or use natural powdered herbs such as turmeric, which creates a lovely butter to deep orange color, depending on how much you use. You can also try regular old food coloring.  Stir well until blended.
4. Pour into molds and allow to cool completely before popping out (an hour or two).
5. Wrap in cellophane to protect the glycerin, which is prone to “sweating” when exposed to humidity. I prefer to shrink wrap soaps, as they are best protected this way!

1. Melt clear base in one pot and an opaque base in another. Add fragrance to both when removed from heat.

soap poured into molds

2. Pour a thin, clear layer into your molds and sprinkle some herbs or blossoms on top (lotus, chamomile, calendula, and rose, or lemongrass are all nice choices)
3. Once that is somewhat cooled down, pour the opaque base into the mold.

white base being poured into mold

white base being poured into mold

4. Cool, pop out of molds, and wrap in cellophane.

soap wrapped in celophane

From Nature with Love (melt and pour soap, essential oils, fragrance oils)
Essential Wholesale (essential oils)
Bramble Berry Soap Soap Making Supplies (everything, including molds)
Sun Feather Natural Soap Company (everything, including molds)
organic orange soap scented with cardamom and other spices

Post written by Sarah Powell, proprietor of natural bath, body, and herbal product business, Lilith’s Apothecary.