Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Soapies

I did something crazy the other day. I made four batches of soap. I've been making soap for at least eight years, but lately I haven't made any. Why? A combo of reasons, including the fact that the last few batches I've made have failed in some way, so I was leary of wasting the money on raw ingredients for more batches that might not turn out. I actually started out with all new ingredients on Friday and did a few other things to hopefully break my losing streak.

Everything went well and since I started out with fresh ingredients I don't anticipate any problems cropping up during the curing process.

Of course, since I was completely out of soap (in fact, recently I swapped with a friend of mine, Mandy, because I was out of soap for personal use!) I had to make one of my favorites, Oats n Honey. I typically make two versions of this, one unscented, that only has the natural fragrance of the oats and the honey, and another version that contains a synthetic Milk, Oats, and Honey fragrance. This time I mixed it up and instead of either of those options I very lightly scented it with a Snickerdoodle Buttercream sample that Brambleberry sent in my last order. I typically use 1/2 to 1 ounce of fragrance PPO (per pound of oils) in a recipe, but I only used 1 ounce of fragrance in this batch that contained 96 ounces of oil. However, It. Smells. Awesome!

I also made a batch of my Shea Luxury soap.This was a bar I developed several years ago when I introduced a "Spa" line of soap that included larger bars with fancier ingredients. I no longer make most of those soaps, but this one had to stick around! I use 65% unrefined Shea Butter in the recipe, and no fragrance. The finished soap is an awesome creamy color with soft bubbles. It's also a very hard bar because of the proportions of Shea.

I don't currently have pictures of my last two batches, but one is Tomato Leaf, which smells like a tomato plant growing in the sun, and Red Sedona, which is a  fruity, bright fragrance. Both of these have fun swirls, Chromium Green pigment in the Tomato Leaf and very light neon pink and neon yellow in the Red Sedona. 

I cut the soaps over the weekend after they sat in their molds for a day or two. My nephews "helped" and had a lot of fun. They also requested a share in the profits. Ummm, no!

These soaps will be for sale in my Etsy shop in about 3 weeks. I also plan to make Dragon's Blood, Black Raspberry Vanilla, and another batch or two next friday.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

A do.Good Stitches Converging Corners Charity Quilt

I recently joined the Faith circle of do.Good stitches, which is a modern charity quilting bee organized on Flickr. December was my month to choose a pattern and color scheme and everyone in the group sent me two blocks.

 I picked Converging Corners from Film in the Fridge because I'd had it pinned for a long time and a fellow guild member had made one and it looked great! I asked everyone to make (2) 12 1/2 inch blocks in purples from lavender to dark purple to fuchsia, as well as periwinkle and aqua, and to mix it up, I asked that some of the white background pieces be replaced with light to medium solid gray fabric. The results were wonderful!

It took longer than expected for everyone to get me their blocks but all together it looked pretty sweet.

Even more exciting was that my friend Rachel at 2nd Avenue Studio volunteered to long arm quilt it for me! She also generously donated the batting and backing. She quilted some beautiful feather designs all over it.

I'll be shipping this off tomorrow to our group leader so that she can give it to our charity, which is for girls who have been rescued from human trafficking.

Monday, April 01, 2013


I'm starting add juicing into my diet more. Initially I was going to do a juice fast, but that idea didn't last long. I'm going to be replacing 1-2 meals a day with juce and eating as healthfully as possible at my "food" meals.

Last night, I made a tasty dessert style juice (ie, more fruit than vegetable). This was 1 naval orange, 1 blood orange, 2 grapefruits and about 1 large carrot. I know "they" say not to juice grapefruits because of its possible interactions with some medicines, but none of mine interact so I'm not worrying about it. Sadly my grandma did have to stop eating grapefruits years ago due to medication interactions, she used to love them so much!

This is my first juice for today, a kind of V8 style juice, and my first time juicing many of these vegetables: Tomatoes, carrots, celery, cucumber, red and green bell pepper, red onion, garlic, broccoli, parsley, cilantro. I tasted it like that and wanted it to be a smidge sweeter, so added one red apple. The first drink seemed very oniony/garlicy, but after that all I could taste was deliciousness! I'm pleased with this one, and it made a lot of juice, at least 3 of the glasses you see below.

I had bought some fruits/veggies to juice a week or two ago, so I have the tail end of that plus a quick trip I did this morning where I scored some great prices on a bag of yams, and bags of fuji and granny smith apples. I didn't like the looks of the cucumbers and I just used my last one, so I'll have to come up with something else for my next few juices since I don't plan to get more groceries until Wednesday.

My favorite, go-to juice is my Green Juice: cucumber, romaine lettuce, spinach, granny smith apple, carrots, lemon. It's so yummy! Sometimes I leave out the carrots, but they are so good and so inexpensive that I try to fit them in whenever I can.

I found a few recipes yesterday that used yams/sweet potatoes. I've never juiced those before but will soon!

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