Candy-Coated Customs: A Haul Post

Pepp Framed SMT main collage

Hey, look what finally showed itself, my MIA Sniff My Tarts custom order!  I placed this order in the summer at the end of June, but through a series of misadventures (some mine, some Sniff My Tarts’, some the doing of the always reliable postal service) it did not come into my possession until two weeks ago.  But it’s here now, and I have some nice blends to share with you, should you share my affinity for sweet, fruity bakery and other candy-coated treats.

But before the pretty, a word to the shopping wise: No matter how you’re shopping – virtually or in the really real world – stay on top of your purchases, particularly if they are of the pre-order or money-down variety.  And if something seems off – say, the order you placed at nearly the same time stamp as a friend, who received her order months earlier? – politely check in with the vendor to see what’s what.  Odds are it’s fallen through the cracks somewhere in the process, and it’s up to you to start hunting it down.

Okay, on with the pretty!  And this order was sooo pretty; colourful, eye-catching and nicely packed so as to preserve all that nice design work.  I was delighted with everything I pulled out of the box, particularly the minty sheet cakes, one of which was broken, true, but that just made it easier to immediately sacrifice it to the wax gods as a sweetly scented offering to the upcoming holidays.  I’ve actually already melted through a solid third of it, and it’s only been two weeks.  Better slow down, Tilly!  There is such a thing as too much mint (NEVER!)

SMT Sheet Cakes Collage

Mmm, and what delicious choices they were, too, although very similar in terms of composition.  What can I say, I clearly was of a mind for mint when I placed this customs order.  On the left we have my attempt at a recreation of Rosegirls’ Peppermint Coconut Mallow, using a blend of Sniff My Tarts’ Peppermint, Sticky Marshmallow and Coconut Cream Pie.  On immediate cold I find the Coconut Cream Pie to be largely absent, although it may be adding an as-yet-undetected creaminess to an otherwise delicious blend of wintery peppermint and whipped marshmallow fluff.  And look at those darn cute little embellishments!

Peppermint Noel Sheet Cake

The second decorated sheet cake I got was a straight-up blend of Marshmallow Noel & Candy (a scrumptious combo of Vanilla Bean Noel and icy peppermint) and Marshmallow Fluff.  This smells quite a bit like perennial Bath & Body Works’ Christmas favourite, Twisted Peppermint.  Or a mint Tic Tac!  I love both, so you’ve got no complaints from me.

Peppermint Mallow Sheet Cake

And no Sniff My Tarts customs order would be complete without at least a handful of delightfully delicious (and absolutely gigantic) frosted sugar cookies.  Each one of these cookies, which span my palm, will give me four melts.

Framed Frosted Cookies

The slam dunks of this order were Blackberry, Ice Cream Scoop Bread and Vanilla Waffle Cone (a tart, almost tea-like fruit blended with toasty vanilla bakery, and oh holy cow is it great), Circus Concession and Blueberry Noel (candy apple-topped funnel cakes enhanced with sweet blueberry cream) and Christmas Wish and Vanilla Butter Fudge (pine, peppermint and vanilla sugar cookies iced with smooth butter fudge.)

Ever so slightly less successful, but still quite good, are Pink Sands and Red Delicious Apple (ooh, this one was nearly perfect, but it needs a slightly tarter, more candied scent than Red Delicious) and Lemon Curd, Marshmallow Fluff and Coconut Cream Pie (the Mystery of the Missing Coconut Cream Pie is once again upon us, leaving us with one super puckery, ultra lemony melt.)

The little frosted baby cookies are in Marshmallow Noel & Candy all by its lonesome.  Because simple is highly underrated.

Finally, I ordered a number of singular scents (or scent blends) in these adorable piped hearts, which came in just the loveliest assortment of Fall hues – the rosy pinks and caramel browns are just so beautiful together.  Each one of these hearts will give me three to four melts, depending on the strength of the blend.

Framed Piped Hearts

The big hit of this order was Apple Cider Latte, on whose many delicious qualities I already expounded here.  Of the others, Honey Gingerbread ranks a close, warmly spiced (but not spicy) second, with Under the Big Top (a creamy blend of Circus Concession and Vanilla Smoothie) joining them on the podium in third.  Pumpkin Marshmallow Latte is scrumptious, and actually smells like sweetened pumpkin puree, and although I think Willow’s Cuppy Cake could benefit from a lot more presence (it’s quite light on cold) I love its beguiling bakery blend of what I swear is white cake, strawberries and peppermint?  Or is that just residual mint from the two sheet cakes?  That only affected this one scent?  Hmm, seems unlikely.  And while I know that Ultimate Bakery is a much-loved favourite, I didn’t quite care for its Pink Sugar-laced blend of cinnamon apples and sugar cookies.  Must be that dastardly Pink Sugar at work again; we’ve tried so many times to be pals, and it just never works out.

So there we have it, my second Sniff My Tarts custom order.  ‘Twasn’t without its difficulties, but now that it’s here in my hot little burners, I’m pleased as punch with my choices.

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Plucky Duckies

Plucky Duckies Collage 4

Today’s little wax haul comes to you courtesy of The Melting Duck, fine indie purveyors of rainbow-splashed, mica-dusted mini shapes and gigantic wax duckies.  I’ve been smitten with their huge assortment of adorable shapes, unusual colour combinations and pop culture-influenced scent blends for some time now; Halloween seemed the perfect time to test these duck-filled waters (shame my order didn’t actually arrive until the week after Halloween.  Shamer still that at least part of my order was to be a Halloween gift for friends.  Still, knowing my pals, I think they’ll have no problem tucking these guys away until next Fall should they feel that strongly about the very serious issue of seasonal melting. 😉  Me?  I’m jumping in straight away!)

This was such a fun package to open; this was my first order with The Melting Duck, and everything I pulled out of the box (“Whhhaaaattt’s in the booooooooxxxxxx?”) made me grin with delight.  Such detail, such whimsy!  First, let’s examine those plucky little duckies a little further.

Plucky Duckies Collage 3

Except these duckies – The Melting Duck calls them Demented Ducks – are really not so little.  Weighing in at just a little under eight ounces per duck, there’s quite a bit of waxy goodness here.  And look at the mindful little details – the swirls and layers of colour, the very demented-looking googly eyes, the tiny Jack-o-Lantern glitter embedded in the middle duck’s wing.  Adorable!  Because you can’t get a good sense of the scale of these massive shapes as measured against each other, here I’ve set a Demented Duck in Heads Will Roll, a pumpkin cupcakes and candy corn blend, beside a favourite 60 ml bottle of perfume from Solstice Scents.  They’re so big, it’s totally quackers (wah-waaaahhhhhh.)

Plucky Duckies 3

I actually chose just two scents in ducky format, Heads Will Roll and Briarcliff, a pumpkin, vanilla and marshmallow blend.  But a few days before my order went out, The Melting Duck said that owing to a bit of a pouring snafu, a scent I had chosen in the mini shapes – Duckin Donuts, a coffee-and-pastries blend – would no longer be offered in those shapes; would I be at all interested in some Demented Duckin Donuts?  I was, and so that’s how this charming little coffee brown duck (and a couple of his melt-mates) wound up rounding out my trio of fabulously fragranced foul.  I’m so glad I nabbed this one, too – had contemplated the refund The Melting Duck nicely offered, but chose to move ahead for my husband, who would mainline coffee in all its various forms if only he could.  He loves his mocha scents, and he’s going to love this one, too, because it’s a goody – smells JUST like the inside of a chain coffee shop, right down to the pleasant, comforting fragrance of fresh brewed coffee and glazed, yeasty pastries.  On an ounce per ounce basis, this very plump duck and the three cups (already melted one) worked out to more wax than I would have received in the bakery bags of mini shapes; an appreciated little bit of overage for the manufacturing goof.  Twas a nice touch.

Plucky Duckies 5

I also picked up two bakery bags of mini shapes (plus a couple for friends, which I had to hold myself back from photographing, because they’re not mine!)  I chose a couple of very unlike me scents, All Hallow’s Eve (the purple, black and orange shapes, a sweet and creamy blend of candy corn, pumpkin cupcakes, buttercream crunch cake and caramel corn) and Ghost Stories By the Fire (the orange and grey shapes, a candy-sweet, almost floral blend of Marshmallow Fireside, Earl Grey tea and vanilla ice cream) – unlike me in that I’ve had quite a bit of trouble with pumpkin scents this season (headaches) and also because both fragrances contain scent notes that typically send me fleeing (candy corn, Earl Grey tea, Marshmallow Fireside in anything aside from all by its lonesome.)  But I really like both of these blends – actually, I like all the scents I chose, even the ones I gave away – probably precisely because they’re not my usual.  It’s good to change things up every now and then. 🙂

Plucky Duckies Collage 1

Ugh, and how stinkin’ cute are these little shapes?  I die for the wee little duckies in both blends, but the Dia de los Muertos skulls, baby broom and grinning Jack-o-Lanterns of All Hallow’s Eve are outstanding.  Such lovely design work, it almost seems a shame to melt them.  But melt them I will – I’ll just try not to stare directly at the duckies while it’s happening.

Plucky Duckies Collage 2

If you’re interested in getting in on all this sweetly scented ducky action, you can join The Melting Duck’s Facebook group to stay up-to-date on future pre-orders and new releases.  They actually just held the final pre-order of the year for a number of holiday-themed blends, although I managed to abstain; I’m pretty flush with wax at the moment.  But no doubt they’ll be back and raring to go in the new year with all sorts of adorably fun shapes and colours and scents, and we’ll be there then!

Fall Fun Series II: Crazy for Cranberry

Cranberry Collage

Yeah, sometimes the ol’ Alliteration Generator just completely goes on the fritz and starts spitting out the laziest, most common words it can find.  Cranberry Craze?  Sounds like a flavour of Mountain Dew.  Crazed for Cranberry?  Sounds a bit like a mental health concern.  So basically there’s no unique, alliterative way of expressing my love of cranberry except to say I’m – sigh – crazy for it.

Except…am I?  I mean, I like Bath & Body Works’ Frosted Cranberry scent as much as the next person during the holidays, but otherwise, it’s not really my jam.  For that, I actually prefer lingonberry sauce or my mom’s spiced red currant jelly – excellent on all manner of roast beast. 😉 But cranberry scents?  Eh, I guess, for the Fall and Winter months, if you insist.  It’s not a scent I ever gravitate towards outside of the festive season, and even then, not so much.

Which is, I suppose, why I still possess this nearly two-year-old old bag of Cranberry Marmalade-scented Mini Melters from Rosegirls.  Also because – hoo doggy!- she’s STRONG.  Deeply spiced and a whole lot astringent, this cranberry is here to party.  Spice-haters and those with sensitive sniffers need not apply (this includes me; this wax makes my nose itch and tickle quite fiercely.)

But I thought I could turn this scent into something a little more palatable through the judicious use of more Mini Melters, and so that’s precisely what I did, whipping up two yummy blends – one bakery, one fruity-sweet – that let this nice, but bit-too-much, seasonal scent really shine (also, why all the ice and snowflake imagery in this, the Fall Fun Series?  Because late Fall in Canada actually means early Winter; we’ve already had a couple of didn’t-stick snowfalls and many, many mornings of frost.)

Cranberry Vanilla Bean Smoothie Collage

The addition of Rosegirls’ Vanilla Bean Noel and Marshmallow Smoothie scents proved to be the perfect bakery foil for Cranberry Marmalade’s dark spice notes, combining to create a creamy-dreamy, caramel-topped treat studded with tart, lightly spiced dried cranberries.  I basically made a scone without the scone part!  And it’s scrumptious; Vanilla Bean Noel is fast becoming a blending favourite.

Spiced Cran-Apple Punch Collage

As seasonal ciders and punches are my favourite things to see on a holiday party table, I thought it would be nice to create a spiced punch sort of scent.  Except actual punch (or Koolaid) scents and I are no bueno; they provoke headaches and sneezing fits in both my husband and I.  And so I both tempered AND sweetened-up the Cranberry Marmalade scent with a tiny touch of Cotton Candy Frosting, before adding a rather inspired dash of Apple Clove Butter.  I feared the addition of the Apple Clove Butter might push this scent blend into total spice overload, but my worries turned out to be unfounded – Apple Clove Butter is subtly, subtly spiced, with none of the sharpness of Cranberry Marmalade and all of the smoothness of actual apple butter.  It’s a lovely, juicy scent, and paired beautifully with the other two fragrances, creating something that really did smell like a gently wafting crock pot of some festively fruity concoction.  Yum!

The Gift of Friendship

Gift From Jay

My awesome online buddy Jay of The Candle Enthusiast recently sent me this amazing, incredibly thoughtful gift, and I hardly know what to say – it’s almost as though every item was tailor-made for yours truly, or at the very least, carefully, carefully chosen.  You’d swear we actually know each other in the Really Real World! 😉  Jay would say I’m easy to shop for because I wear my pop culture obsessions right on my sleeve (sometimes more like tattooed across my forehead) but the sentiment remains – regardless of how very easy it is to decipher my likes, this is an outstanding gift, so wonderful and thoughtful.  Thanks again, Jay!

So in addition to a number of custom-blended wax melts, which predictably got smashed all to crap and back again at the hands of the postal service’s ever-so-loving touch, my package included a clamshell of Dapper Dachshunds’ scented wax in Uncle AC, a blend of smoky tobacco leaves, cherry wood, honey and vanilla.  I’ve been railing on for ages now about my fruitless search for a tobacco fragrance that reminds me of the pouches of cherry tobacco my grandfather used to keep rolled up in his breast cardigan pocket, and this is it, this is it, this is totally it!  I’m never going to be able to melt it; looks like this guy will be a “for nostalgic sniffing purposes only” kind of fragrance.

Another hit on the wax front were these Stranger Things-inspired waffle wax tarts from Bonjour Wax Co.  They smell like the phoniest of the phony syrups on any given IHOP table, but I adore them, and Stranger Things as well (might have loved season 2 just a bit more than season 1, if that’s even possible.)

Eggos

In addition to an adorable little Sally plush (which I’ve hung from a light switch in the diningroom, home to all my weird stuff) Jay also included some charming little kitty erasers, which I’ve been huffing because do you know the last time I smelled a rubber novelty eraser?!, and this absolutely stupendous Handbook for the Recently Diseased Deceased enamel pin.  I am SOOOO smitten; have been eyeing the prop Handbooks on Etsy for years now, but this is so much better because I can wear it!  I have already pinned it to the lapel of my winter coat.

Handbook

And finally, we have the find of all finds, Gravity Falls-inspired teas!  From Adagio Teas, these Gravitea (heh) Falls blends draw their inspiration from shooting star Mabel (top) and brooding emo goth dork Robbie (bottom.)  In addition to smelling just fantastic (particularly Robbie’s Blackberry Berry Blues) these teas are impeccably themed – Mabel’s rosehip-based blend contains candy sprinkles, a delightful little nod to Mabel Juice, an ultra high octane beverage of Mabel’s own devising that contains a handful of dinosaur figurines and which Grunkle Stan describes as tasting as though “coffee and nightmares had a baby.”  And Robbie’s dark fruit blend contains tiny, shriveled up berries, surely a nod to his shriveled up berry of a heart.  I just love them!  Love it all!  Thank you so much for this wonderful present, Jay!

Gravity Falls Teas

Fall Fun Series II: Exsquashted

Exsquashted Main

Perhaps it’s because every single pumpkin fragrance gives me wretched headaches (even those I previously had no problem with) but I am not feeling the pumpkin love this autumn.  Typically I’m drowning in all manner of pumpkin spice-scented candles and bath and beauty products, not to mention a boatload of pumpkin spice lattes, but this year?  Precious few pumpkins.

First, it seems that my body’s aversion to pumpkin scents (if not my sense of smell, because I really do like them) is not vendor-specific.  These pumpkin-based scents from Super Tarts give me just as bad a headache as any other wax I’ve encountered this year.  Unfortunate, as they’re pretty yummy fragrances, all (Elm Street, a maybe-too-bready blend of pumpkin creme brulee, toasted marshmallow and sweet cornbread, Psycho, a tart, slightly spicy blend of warm pumpkin bread, sweet raspberries and spiced sour cream cake, Addam’s Family, a rich blend of salted caramel, pie crust and pumpkin cupcakes and 28 Days Later, a sweet bakery blend featuring Blueberry Pumpkin Patch, cake batter, vanilla ice cream and cranberry preserves.)

Pumpkin Basket

Here’s my Yankee kitty, Sophie, holding a couple of cubes of Elm Street over her pumpkin cauldron.  I’ve never cared for the Elm Street movies (undead child molester – uh, neat?) but I always thought Freddy had style, and so does this slashed-up, two-toned tart (red and dark brown stripes, of course.)

Sophie the Cat

Finally, here’s a beer my husband grabbed yesterday on a run out to the grocery store – local Ottawa brewery Big Rig‘s Tales From the Patch, a spiced pumpkin porter.  And what precisely is a spiced pumpkin porter, you may be asking?  Well, an alcoholic beverage I can’t quite wrap my head around, for one.  Spiced pumpkin beer soda.  Creamy pumpkin soda beer.  Carbonated pumpkin beer drink.  You know, I’m not really doing Big Rig or Tales From the Patch any favours here with my not-so-descriptive abilities, but I actually am underselling this one – it’s not that offensive, with the flavours all coming at you in separate, but equal, measures.  Also, the can glows in the dark!  Ooh, shiny! *runs away in distracted glee*

Beer Collage

Bubble Bubble, Suds and (Some) Trouble

Main Soap Photo

Continuing my unfortunate streak of items I wish I had exercised a bit more caution in purchasing, here’s the back half of my large Rhinestone Housewife order, this time a quartet of spooky suds from Dreaming Tree Soapworks.  I noted in a post last month that I had had some trouble with the colourfastness of one of those bars of soap; it was a dark chocolate brown, and in combination with the soap’s plush, but slightly oily, composition, it had the rather gross tendency to leave fatty-looking bits of brown sludge behind on everything it touched.  To the point where I tossed the bar a few days after writing that post.  And not without some regret either, because I really love these olive oil-infused soaps in use; they’re incredibly lush and leave my skin feeling super soft and moisturized.

Soaps in Coffin

Some of these spooky soaps regrettably suffer from the same problem as that chocolate (brown) bar, particularly Monster Mash (a perky fruit punch fragrance) and The Pumpkin King (a spicy squash.)  Using Monster Mash is particularly distressing, as it suds-up into a bloody sort of pink that kind of makes shower time feel like Carrie-on-stage-at-the-prom time.  Which is both seasonally and thematically appropriate, but maybe not the greatest, cleanest-feeling way to start the day.

Soaps in a Row

Ah, but they’re pretty, and they all smell so lovely.  One of the things I do really love about these soaps is the way they really hold on to their scents; they remain strong and true week after week.  Which means if I can get over the kinda gross factor, I’ve got months and months to enjoy Monster Mash and The Pumpkin King, as well as Fruit Fool (far left), a scrumptious apple-blueberry scent, and Poisoned Apple (far right), a zippy, caramel (crab)apple fragrance.

Soaps in the Sun

So I’m well, well covered in the soap department.  Now I just have to turn around this bad shopping juju that has plagued seemingly every retail transaction I’ve made in the past two months.  This, however, delighted the crap out of me (and my husband, who was likewise impressed) – this American Psycho-worthy business card from The Rhinestone Housewife.  We seriously Patrick Bateman’d all over this thing – look at the card stock!  That sucker must be a quarter of an inch thick!  And yes, we really are that easily amused. 🙂

Card

Super Tarts

Super Tarts Order Full

Straight off the top, I’m of two minds about this rather large order of scented wax from Super Tarts, a pop culture-minded vendor out of the United States.  On the one hand, I’m delighted with the absolutely gigantic selection of themed scents, from The Walking Dead and Ghostbusters, to Harry Potter and the Ninja Turtles.  I had a total blast perusing their 26-page-strong product list in search of waxes, soaps and scrubs in scents inspired by Egon, Hagrid or CORAL!!!  Coincidentally, that’s also how I wound up placing a maybe-too-large order (okay, definitely too large) for my first time at Super Tarts bat – I was just dazzled by all that fun choice.  And any vendor that offers products themed to Beetlejuice and The Lost Boys is more than all right with me.

But on the other hand, this order arrived on my doorstep absolutely thrashed.  Shipping was obscene – I’m too ashamed to share the amount with you – and the packaging slight.  The clamshells, packed tightly together, had just a handful of packing peanuts tossed on top of them, which offered zero protection from the X-Men who vetted my package at customs (fairly certain Wolverine had a go at this poor box.)  When I opened the parcel, this is the sight that greeted me.  I spent half an hour picking tiny, shredded flakes of packing peanuts off my clamshells, and in some cases, from INSIDE my clamshells (never let it be said the postal system is not thorough(ly useless.)

Busted All to Crap

And while I recognize that postal snafus are outside of the purview of a vendor, there was an evident lack of care in the packaging of this box; over half of my clamshells arrived broken, gouged or otherwise.  Made me wonder precisely what that exorbitant shipping fee had bought me.

Super Tarts TWD Collage

And I was also dismayed to find that for the most part, that lack of care extended to the products themselves – most of the seams of my clamshells were smeared with bits of dried wax, the labels were wonky, and in a few distressing cases, the clamshells themselves seemed to be disintegrating beneath the wax.  It wasn’t much of a first impression.  In fact, it will most likely be my only impression; this was not a good enough retail experience to warrant a repeat visit (with absolutely no shade directed towards my friends who love Super Tarts and suggested I try them out; you don’t know until you try, and everybody’s experience is just a little bit different.)

Super Tarts Harry Potter Collage

But on the other-other hand (lot of hands here) – the one that’s attempting to make lemonade out of very expensive, very damaged lemons – I’ve been having a lot of fun melting through this wide assortment of scents.  There’s a little bit of everything here – Super Tarts touches on so many different fandoms – and so far I’ve really enjoyed their scented take on superheros, Harry Potter and favourite horror movies of my childhood.  Many of the unique scent blends are delightfully unexpected successes, and wonder of wonders, Super Tarts’ pumpkin is one that does NOT set my head a-thumpin’.  The delicate little overlays on top of some of the clamshells are also quite cute.  You know, the ones that aren’t smashed all to crap. 😦  I particularly like the horror movie blends – Day of the Dead, a non-cloying blend of pecan pie, creme brulee and waffle cone, and Psycho, an unexpectedly delicious blend of pumpkin bread, sour cream coffee cake and raspberries, are real standouts.

Super Tarts Scary Tarts Collage

Anyhow, focusing on the positives here and trying to learn from this lesson – as in, don’t go big until you know precisely what you’re dealing with.  Expect the postal service to savage your parcel.  And if a shipping fee seems too high, that’s because it is.  So maybe heed that sensible voice inside telling you to approach a first-time transaction with some degree of caution, yeah?  I stumble so that you may learn and all that good stuff.