sorry i missed posting last week, but the holidays get so crazy i could not find time at all. i'm sure you all are like me and have a ton of people to consider during the holidays. it can be be quite overwhelming and the cost can be outrageous. i had family, co-workers, bosses, dance class teacher, friends and daycare/pre-school teachers all to consider - that's a lot of people. so i like to make things that you can create in batches and then deal with the exceptions later plus hopefully have extras for last minute gifts that you may have missed. first, for my husband's family i make a screenprinted shirt and a family calendar (the photos being the most important part of the calendar) and the shirt is to commemorate the rustic lake cabin where we vacation. for the larger batch gifts, i made soap and buckeyes and then beer and sugar scrubs for some. actually, i didn't make the beer at all, my husband did. it's a german altbier and it turned out quite well, i just made the labels. i decided to make sugar scrubs specifically with one giftee in mind and i'm so glad i did. i did not make a large batch so not a lot of people received sugar scrubs and i think i only gave them to women but they are so moisturizing and smell great. i will definitely be making more of those soon. i changed up the buckeyes this year because i really wanted to incorporate pretzels. the idea was to make them like a cake pop, but the peanut butter mixture that makes up the ball is not the same consistency as a cake pop but being on a stick helped me dip them and helps in eating them. so basically they are a peanut butter sugar mixture ball, put on a stick (with some chocolate as the glue) and then dipped in a chocolate and pretzel mixture. i'm not a peanut butter fan myself, but i heard from lots of others that they were a tasty treat. and finally i made cold process soap. i made two kinds: cranberry pomegranate and pumpkin spice. i don't really know why i don't have a photo of the actual soaps, that was silly, but the cranberry pom is a nice red and cream swirl with cranberry seeds mixed in and the pumpkin spice is a shimmery goldern pumpkin color. they both smell fantastic, but i'm preferring the cranberry pomegranate at the moment. i made both traditional shaped bars and decorative "peace" bars of soap. and then the packaging...chevron everything. i have these fantastic little parchment bags that i found in different colors of chevron that i decided to use that design in all the labels. i just create all the labels and print them on sticker paper and cut out. i thought it was a great look. and, oh my, the organizing of everything. i take over the entire dining room table and use post it notes to section off groups of people so i can make gift piles for wrapping and making sure everyone gets the appropriate gifts (since almost everyone's gift bag is different: for example, alex's main teacher also got a gift card and some hair bows and so forth.) the organizing alone is enough to overwhelm you with the holidays. and here we are, so much prep work and it's over in a flash. but it's awesome to hear now, after the holidays, how much people are enjoying the soaps which they are just getting around to using. happy new year.