To Learn, You Must Do

It’s rare when I am surprised by anything I read online. The last time I was truly shocked about anything in the public domain was when Trump won the Presidential election. Watching the election night coverage (yes, we watched all night) was true “shock and awe.” That was the best reality show we have ever watched and the reactions were priceless (and gloriously genuine). Virtually no one expected that outcome, especially me. I didn’t vote for Clinton or Trump. I can’t stand any of the Clintons but figured Hillary was going to win no matter who she was running against. See? “Shock and Awe.”

Most of the online election aftermath has caused my eyes to roll way too much. Both sides, with their diehard supporters who never really paid attention to what their candidates actually believed, just irritate me. As much as I love the MAGAs’ dread when they realize Trump isn’t the ultraconservative they assumed he was, I really loathe those Hillary supporters who assumed, because I did not support her (and definitely did not support Obama), that I was a Trump supporter. I knew some of these people for over 20 years, yet they lashed out at me like I had suggested someone needed to start drowning puppies. They chose to ignore the fact that I had never supported any of the chosen Republican candidates that ran against Obama in both elections. All logic and reason left their overly emotional brains and (from what I have seen) has never returned.

This has never been more evident than what has actually surprised me online: they are scared and talking about arming themselves and either advocating for (or anticipating) a civil war. I have even read some hoping for a military coup. It feels like a really bad episode of the Twilight Zone since this is the same talk I saw from ultra-conservatives when Obama was elected to office except then, the “fight” was to preserve the Constitution and now the “fight” is to dismantle it (despite the calls to arm themselves). They just aren’t thinking this through. Why would they want to give up control of their lives (and their right to protect their lives) to the very people they are protesting against?

This is new territory for me. I knew what to ignore when Obama was first elected as mostly grandstanding (or in my off-line words, idiots being keyboard commandos) but I don’t know this new crop of people. I am not sure how serious they are or are they just typing all of that to make others think they are serious.What I do know is there are too many people within society who do not understand that just because they think (or say) something doesn’t mean they will always win. These people also do not understand that with every loss, there is a lesson that can be learned if they are willing to remove emotion from the equation.

I do know that, outside of the anti-Trump groups, I have noticed an uptick in worry and a desire to begin preparing for … something. I am not sure exactly what the impetus to prepare is. I do not think it really matters. Whether people are preparing for some sort of civil war, civil unrest, disruption in the food chain, nuclear war, natural disasters, or any other imagined scenario, the path toward independence and security is the same:

You can have all the books in the world but if you have never grown a tomato plant, you will never be able to grow all the fruits and vegetables you need to sustain your family. This also applies to splitting your own firewood or baking bread (you know, actually cooking) or sewing a shirt or repairing your appliances or any number of skills you think you will need to survive any of the disastrous scenarios people can imagine.

This also goes for life in general (which was the original intention of this post). If all you do is read books without putting into practice what you read, you have learned nothing. Online marketing, SEO optimization, building your email list, writing (and publishing) a book, improving your health, losing weight, increasing your strength … none of the knowledge you acquire from any book, course, or video will do you any good if you don’t physically DO anything!

So, where do you begin? Go through everything you have learned over the course of the last year and figure out what one activity you can do today, right now. Choose just one. Then tomorrow, choose another. Slowly build up until you are practicing what you were taught (and learning what will work and what won’t). Not everything you have been taught will lead you to your ultimate goal (or end up working the way you intended). So, you set aside those things that are not working for you and move onto another activity.

The most important thing to know is you cannot control everything. You will not get everything you think you want (or things will not go the way you have planned). This is called life. You either embrace that fact or you will end up just spinning around in circles, blaming others for life not going the way you intended.

Even if you believe that the climate changing is caused by humans, what can you really do about that? Can you, personally, eliminate all excess carbon emissions from the planet, allowing your tomatoes to grow better this year? No, and even if you could, what would happen if the climate didn’t change back? What if all the scientists who support human caused climate change are proven wrong? What would you do with your life then?

We all need to focus on what we can personally change: our sphere of influence. Plant a tree, get your yard equipment serviced so it burns fuel more efficiently, stop using so many weed killers or bug sprays, pick up the garbage on your street (then the next street, then your entire neighborhood), dig up your lawn and plant food, vote for a city councilperson who embraces your way of thinking, etc. These are the types of acts that will ultimately change the world, not blocking traffic or hiding in your house waiting for the end of the world.

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Third (and Final) Amazon Store

Alright!  I have now setup my third (and hopefully final) Amazon store.  This one is woefully lacking in items listed.  This is my oldest blog and I have used so many various resources throughout the years to get to where I am today that I’ll be surprised if I remember them all.  I will continually add to the list as I remember (and scour my brain, computer, and bookshelves to jog my memory).

As of this moment, it has a list of all the store-bought gluten free items we have tried (and liked).  I have a list going of what we liked, what we hated, and the ingredients of each item.  My goal is to take all that information and figure out the right mix of gluten-free flours that we will like.  Right now, it seems as if there will be two (can’t remember if I’ve already typed that or not in my last post): one for quick breads/pancakes/muffins, etc. and another for bread like foods (you know, white bread).  I discovered that with each product link, I can add my own notes (so, of course, I did with all the products so far).

The other things I have listed are all the knitting and crochet books I have.  Those I also know are not complete lists but I’m pretty sure I’m only missing a few.  I have cookbooks listed and yes, that is not a complete list.  I will also include a list of books on gardening/homestead but my brain’s a bit fried right now so that list is empty.

The link to the store is to the right and along the top of the page (I figured doing a store like this would be easier than a links page, where we know web sites tend to disappear over time).

Also, here’s the link: My Amazon Store.  I won’t be posting an update every time I post something new to the store.  Just know that it’s there: a constant reference list of all the things I have enjoyed and learned from over the years.

I hope everyone is having a great Monday!

Brenda

Homemade Shampoo Recipes

When I first began my foray into online anything, I discovered a wonderful Yahoo group, whose primary focus was edible wild foods but we would stray onto just about any other topic you could imagine.  This list was one of those topics.  I have done my best to locate original sources for the information (and include links).

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Homemade Shampoo Recipes

I found this recipe here http://www.best-natural-cures-health-guide.com/natural-cures-shampoo-recipes.html. While it sound like a fantastic recipe, keep in mind that rosemary and lavender can darken hair.

First collect the following items:

  • 4 oz of liquid castile soap with any scent is that available – plain, peppermint, eucalyptus.

  • ½ oz of rosemary – stimulates the hair follicles and helps to prevent premature baldness

  • ½ oz of sage – has antioxidants and keeps things from spoiling and is antibacterial

  • ½ oz of nettles – acts as a blood purifier, blood stimulator, contains a large source of nutrients for hair growth

  • ½ of lavender – controls the production of sebaceous gland oil and reduces itchy and flaky scalp conditions

  • 2000 mg of MSM – provides organic sulfur to your scalp, which improves the health and strength of your hair. It also helps to drive herbal nutrient into the skin and follicles where they can do the most good.

  • one empty 8 oz plastic bottle, or any other empty shampoo or soap bottle.

Mix the herbs in a mason jar, which has a lid. Boil 2 cups of distilled water. Add 3 heaping tablespoons of the mixed herbs into the boiling water. Pull the boiling water and herbs off the stove. Let the herb mixture sit for 30 – 40 minutes. Put the 2000mg of MSM into the herb mixture after 30 minutes of cooling. After 40 minutes and the MSM is melted, strain the herbal mixture into a bowl.

Pour 2 to 2 1/2 oz of strained herbal tea into the 8 oz plastic bottle. Now, pour the 4 oz of castile soap into the 8 oz plastic bottle. Cap the bottle and shake to mix the ingredients.

The shampoo is now finished and ready for use. Use this as a base for all of the shampoos you make. You can add different herbs as you learn what these herbs do and how they help your hair. You can vary the ingredients according to your taste. But now you have a shampoo that has no additives that can harm you.

 


 

Organic Hair Shampoo

From http://naturalorganicshampoo.com/organic-hair-shampoo-recipes/  (Link Is No Longer Available)   For example, here is a popular home organic shampoo recipe:

  • 5 drops of essential oil (any type)

  • 1 tablespoon of glycerin

  • 2 cups of hot chamomile tea

  • 3 tablespoons of grated castile soap

Another recipe involves using ingredients according to your hair color or type. For example, tea of calendula is said to bring out the shine and highlights in red hair. Brunettes can benefit form using tea of sage or rosemary and those with gray hair will enjoy using betony which removes the yellow color.

Other possible ingredients in your organic shampoo can be lemon juice, coconut oil and even egg. You can mix the ingredients into a blender and use as normal shampoo.

 


 

 

Basic Shampoo

From: http://christianhomekeeper.org/sylvia/2009/03/17/homemade-shampoo-recipes/ (Link Is No Longer Available)

  • 1 bar basic soap, grated

  • 4 quarts rain water

  • 2 slightly beaten eggs

  • 1 tsp. powdered borax

  • 1 oz. bay rum

Dissolve soap in boiling water. Let cool. Add eggs, borax and bay rum. Stir to mix thoroughly.

Note:Bay Rum is a men’s cologne that can be found in drug stores and department stores. Caswell Massey makes a very nice Bay Rum.

 


 

Chamomile shampoo

From: http://christianhomekeeper.org/sylvia/2009/03/17/homemade-shampoo-recipes/ (Link Is No Longer Available)

    • 1 handful fresh or dried chamomile flowers

    • 1 3/4 cup boiling water

    • 3 tablespoons pure soap flake, OR save leftover pieces of soap.

    • 1 tablespoon glycerin

    • 5 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

You also will need:

  • 2 heat proof bowls

  • a sieve

  • a wooden spoon

  • a clean 14 ounce bottle with tight fitting cover

Place the flowers in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let stand for 15 minutes, then strain into the other bowl.

Clean the first bowl. Combine the soap and hot infusion in it. Let stand until the soap softens – a few minutes. Beat in the glycerin and food coloring until well blended.

Pour the mixture into the bottle. Keep in a cool dark place.

 


 

Basic Shampoo for Normal Hair

From http://hubpages.com/hub/Shampoo My recipes include vegetable oil for natural moisture that stimulates hair growth without clogging the skin, and liquid Castile soap for convenience. Where each recipe calls for a light vegetable oil, use your favorite: jojoba, sweet almond, avocado, apricot kernal, or coconut oil!

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap

  • 1/2 tsp light vegetable oil

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients until well combined. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Massage through wet hair and into scalp. Rinse well.

Scalp-Soothing Shampoo

  • 3 bags chamomile tea

  • 3 bags peppermint tea

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 Tbsp liquid Castile soap

  • 1 tsp light vegetable oil

Instructions:

Bring water to a boil. Steep all six tea bags for 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. Remove tea bags and add liquid soap and vegetable oil to brewed tea and stir until well blended. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Massage generously into hair and scalp. Rinse well.

Moisturizing Shampoo for Dry or Damaged Hair

  • 1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap

  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel

  • 1 tsp glycerin

  • 1/4 tsp light vegetable oil

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients until well combined. Store in an airtight container at room temperature, and shake before every use. Apply liberally to wet hair and let sit a few minutes before rinsing well with cool water.

Lightening Shampoo for Natural Highlights (Blondes Only)

  • 1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap

  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 tsp lemon zest

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients in saucepan over medium heat 1-2 minutes until heated through but not boiling. Cool to room temperature and strain out lemon zest. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Shampoo hair as usual, rinse well.

Herbal Shampoo for Dandruff Relief

  • 2 Tbsp fresh rosemary

  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme

  • 2 Tbsp coconut flakes

  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 Tbsp of liquid Castile soap

  • 1 tsp light vegetable oil

Instructions:

Bring water to a boil. Steep herbs and coconut flakes in boiling water for 20 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and strain solids from water. Add other ingredients and mix until well combined. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Apply amply to wet hair and massage into scalp before rinsing well with cool water.

 


 

 

Dry Shampoos

From http://beautifulwithbrains.com/2009/08/14/diy-beauty-3-homemade-dry-shampoo-recipes/ If you have oily hair or are on the go and don’t have time for a shower, dry shampoo is a great fix. It won’t clean your hair as well as normal shampoo, but it will make it look presentable and save you some time too!

I’ve tried several dry shampoos in the past, but I’ve never been satisfied with them, so I’ve decided to make my own. Here are a few of my favourite homemade dry shampoo recipes:

Cornstarch

  • 1/2 cup of cornstarch

Massage cornstarch to your scalp and let it absorb oil for a few minutes. Brush it out to remove it.

Almond and Cornmeal Dry Shampoo

    • 2 tablespoons of cornmeal

1 tablespoon of ground almonds

1 1/2 tablespoon of orris root

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl and massage just one teaspoon of the mixture into your scalp. Brush your hair to remove the mixture. If hair still feels greasy, repeat the steps again.

Oatmeal and Baking Soda Dry Shampoo

  • 1 cup of ground oatmeal

  • 1 cup of baking soda

Mix the ingredients together and massage the mixture into your hair. Let the powder absorb the oil and then brush your hair to remove it.

 


 

Dandruff Treatment

From: http://christianhomekeeper.org/sylvia/2009/03/17/homemade-shampoo-recipes/ (Link Is No Longer Available)

  • 3 teaspoons dried rosemary

  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

  • 2/3 cup boiling water

  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar

Place the herbs in the bowl. Pour in the boiling water. Cover and allow to steep for 20 minutes.

Strain into the bottle, add the vinegar, and shake. Store in a cool dry place.

Shampoo and rinse the hair thoroughly; massage a small amount into the scalp. Between shampoos, massage in a small amount before going to bed. This can help eliminate dandruff.

 


 

Pre wash honey treatment

From: http://christianhomekeeper.org/sylvia/2009/03/17/homemade-shampoo-recipes/ (Link Is No Longer Available)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • 5 drops rosemary, lavender or geranium essential oil

In a cup sitting in hot water, warm the olive oil and the honey ( or you can use the microwave for heating – be careful) Stir in your choice of essential oil and mix well.

While the mixture is still warm, apply it all over your hair, massaging well into the scalp. Cover your hair with the shower cap (or large plastic bag) wrap the towel around your head and leave on for 10-15 minutes. For severely damaged hair, leave on up to 30 minutes.

Remove the towel and shower cap, and wash your hair with a mild shampoo or baby shampoo.

Makes enough for one application.

My Soap Making Page

When I originally wrote up this page (2006), I was in the mindset that my soap would not turn out right if I didn’t have this special ingredient or that special ingredient.  Now?  I would just make soap with three basic ingredients: Fat, Water, and Lye.  The recipe really isn’t as important as the ratios: X amount of fats to X amount of water with X amount of lye.  Anything extras, like types of fats or herbs or essential oils are just that: extras.  If you enjoy math as much as I do (not), the easiest place to do the math for you is here: MMS Lye Calculator (the best one out there).  You just type in how much (and what kind of) fats you have and it pretty much does all the math for you.

Now, for the reason I am posting this here.  I am completely re-designing my website.  It’s been ugly for way too long.  Since I do most of my “work” here (and on my 2 other blogs), I’m turning it into basically a placeholder for links to my blogs, You Tube pages PLUS adding that same information for some special women I know.  So, I am transferring the last bit of information I had stored there to this blog.  Now, without further ado, to present my original soap making web page, in its entirety.

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Soap Making

As daunting a task as soap making seems to be, it truly is a simple process. Once you get the basics down, the possibilities are endless! Here are some links to get you started:

The key to soap making is being prepared. You must have everything there, ready to be used, and the correct lye to fat ratio (see MMS Lye Calculator). You can try any recipe you see on-line, but be sure to check the lye calculator to ensure the proportions are correct. If the proportions are not correct, you can either end up with a soap too soft to use or so harsh it can burn your skin. Like I said, preparation is the key.

I make soap using what I have on-hand. I typically use anything you can eat. The only time I buy anything special is if I run out (I did not grow enough), or just really like it (like Coconut Oil). I keep soap making as simple (and natural) as possible. This allows me to make soap if I run out of Coconut Oil, or a particular essential oil. Purchasing as local as I can is also important to me. If I can’t find something close by, then I branch out. My Coconut Oil I purchased from a food supplier in Los Angeles, and essential oils from Arizona. If I find a supplier closer to me, then I will purchase from them. Do your best to purchase from organic sources that you (or someone you know) trust. We put enough chemicals into our bodies that we don’t need to add more.

This brings me to essential oils (referred to as EO in soaping circles). Not only do I use essential oils for their fragrance, but also their medicinal or aromatherapy qualities. The beauty of essential oils is their purity. When you get lavender essential oil, that’s all it is. There are no unknown scents or colors added. Unless I know the supplier is reputable, I am very weary of Fragrance Oils. I never know what kind of oils they used to make that particular scent. There are books out there that give formulas for mixing your own essential oils. Give those a try before purchasing a Fragrance Oil (usually referred to as FO).

There are some fantastic colors that can be added to your soaps. To me, it’s adding more expense to the soap unnecessarily and more chemicals (whether natural or man-made). My soaps are naturally colored, by the herb I am using or the soap making process itself. When I first began, I thought I needed everything under the sun in my soaps to make them better. For my kitchen soap, I added cornmeal and for my lavender I added the lavender buds. Over time, I realized those additions did not make me any cleaner and just left a mess in the tub. Now, simple soaps are the way to go.

Once you get to the point where you are ready to begin the process, you need to consider safety. Lye is extremely caustic. I always wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, glasses (any kind will do, as long as they protect your eyes from splashing lye), real shoes (not sandals), and rubber gloves. The only chemical that has burned me worse than lye is paint stripper. Also, you need to be in a well ventilated area. The first time I made soap, I did it in the garage (with the doors closed). As soon as the fumes reached my face I had an instant asthma attack.

The containers you do your mixing in are also important. They can be earthen ware, stainless steel, or plastic. No other metals can be used, since they will react with the lye. It is best to only use these items for soaping. You will need two containers, one for the lye solution and one for the oils. You also need something to stir the liquids with. I use wooden spoons. One thing to keep in mind is lye will weaken wooden spoons, so keep an eye on them and if they show any signs of weakening (splintering) then get a new one.

Now for molds. You can either spend up to hundreds of dollars on fancy molds, or go down to the lumber store and make your own. Some people use candle molds, which are fine as long as they are not tin. Mine? I took an old wooden T.V. tray and removed the legs. I flipped it upside down and made a frame with pine 1X4s. That’s it! I line the mold with freezer paper (not the kind with plastic on one side, but traditional freezer paper), pour the soup into the mold, then tamp it down to eliminate air pockets (I knock the mold against the table).

The following description of my method of making soap is called “Cold Process” (or CP). I have always liked this method because it is a slower process, and since sometimes I am not as organized as I should be, this gives me time to run and get whatever it is I forgot.

Melt all your oils, and keep them lukewarm. Mix the lye and water, ensuring the lye is completely dissolved. Once the lye water is the same temperature as your oils, SLOWLY pour the lye water into the oils, stirring constantly. Continue stirring for what seems like forever (or use a hand blender, like a Braun mixer). When it has the consistency of soft pudding, that is called trace. That is the time when you would add any essential oils or other additives you desire. Stir a little longer, then poor into molds.

Now, you need to choose how you want the soap to look. Do you want it solid (milky, looking like store-bought soap) or would you prefer a more translucent color (similar to glycerine). If you want your soap solid, you only need to place something thin (like paper towels) over the mold to prevent dust from getting on your soap. If you want it more like glycerine, wrap the mold with a heavy towel or blanket. It’s the temperature difference that changes the soap. Leave the soap in the mold for 12 to 24 hours (if you leave the soap in the mold longer than that, it will be virtually impossible to cut into bars).

Cutting the soap into bars can be tricky. If you are making soap to sell, you have to have bars that are consistent in weight. If you are not planning on selling your soap, just cut the bars so they can comfortably fit in your hand. Then you can finish off the edges of the soap using either a knife or vegetable peeler. They can be any shape you want. Use your imagination!

Place the bars on a shelf or rack that allows good air flow, and let them cure for at least 4 to 6 weeks. This allows the soap to dry and harden. You will know when it’s ready. If you can squeeze the soap, you have to wait. The amount of time needed depends on how humid your environment is. To protect your soap from dust, place cheesecloth over the top. Once your soap is ready, store it like you normally would any soap. I keep mine in separate cardboard boxes, separated by type. OH! One more thing. The longer your soap sits, the more any scent will dissipate.

About Milk Soaps

You can take any soap recipe and replace the liquid (water) with cow or goat milk. There are two things you need to do that are different. If you want a white soap (due to the high natural sugar content in milk, which caramelizes/burns at high heat) the milk has to be frozen (I froze mine in ice cube trays). I tossed my frozen goats milk in the bucket, poured the lye over the ice cubes, stirred until the milk was no longer frozen, then proceeded with the rest of the recipe. Otherwise, the color of the soap will end up being anywhere from light tan to dark brown. The other change is you do not insulate the soap (wrap it in a blanket or towel). I found this article (with video) that may help: http://www.marthastewart.com/article/making-goat-soap.

 


 

My Basic Recipes

This is my basic recipe, and one castille recipe for soap. With this, I can just change the amounts of the other ingredients if I am out of an item then run it through the lye calculator again.

Sustainable Home’s Basic Soap Recipe

  • 28 ounces of Olive Oil

  • 28 ounces of Coconut Oil

  • 44 ounces of Shortening

  • 7 ounces of Cocoa Butter

  • 14.9 ounces Lye

  • 40 ounces Water

  • 4 ounces Essential Oil (optional)

Castile Soap Recipe

  • 107 ounces of Olive Oil

  • 13.7 ounces of Lye

  • 30 ounces of Water

NOTE: For Liquid Castile Soap, place 1 cup grated Castile, 3 cups water in a large pot. Turn on low heat and stir constantly until soap has dissolved. Add 2 Tablespoons glycerin. Once dissolved, transfer to a jar and cover tightly.

As you can see from the Castile Soap recipe, soap can be as simple or as complex as you want. What I do to make each type of soap unique is firstly, decided what kind of soap I want. For my Lavender soap, I start a few days ahead of time. I heat up the water and oil (seperately, of course), then put lavender buds in the liquids and let them steep for at least 48 hours. Then, I strain and make my soap. This adds more of the lavender into the soap and colors the soap naturally. My lavender soap turns out a very pale lavender color. For my Kitchen Soap, I do the same with dried Calendula (Marigold) petals. I have even thought of doing this with coffee, since coffee is supposed help remove odors from your hands. For hand washing dishes, I grate some soap, mix it with water, and use that just like commercial detergent. Not only does it cut the grease, it does not dry your hands.

Here are pictures of some of the soaps I have made, when I thought I was going to do this as a business (I was going to post exact recipes but now that I am reading all the recipes I developed, I will hold onto them):

dirtdigger1

 

This is my Dirt Digger Soap. It has Calendula-infused water and oil, lemon essential oil, ground calendula petals and cornmeal for that extra scrub. This was made in 3-inch PVC pipe.

dirtdiggersoap

 

This is the same Dirt Digger Soap as above, with the sides cut and a cigar band label with raffia. The hand cream in the picture had some lemon essential oil in it but because I did not use a commercial preservative, I had bottles explode! LOL!

emulotionsoap

 

This soap was also made in the 3-inch PVC pipe and prepared for sale as above. I replaced some of the oils with Emu Oil.

lusciouslavender

 

This soap is my favorite, though I have run out (I swore I would not make any more until ALL my soap is gone). Lavender infused oil and water, lavender essential oil, and ground lavender buds. The color of all these soaps are natural, from the infused oils/water. This soap was made in a log mold, then cut with the crinkle cutter.

lavendersoap

 

All dressed up! 🙂 These soaps were named for dear online friends of mine. I have many more but that is why I decided not to publish the recipes.

 


 

Liquid Soap

There are three ways you can make liquid hand soap:

  1. Make bar soap, grate it, then mix boiling water with it to get the right consistency. This is good for making small batches at a time. Without adding a chemical preservative, this will go rancid and/or bacteria can grow if left sitting too long (more than two to three months or so in the summer and it needs to be discarded and a fresh batch made).

  2. Go to a good craft/hobby store, like Michaels, and purchase liquid soap base. It’s basically unscented liquid soap. Then you can add some essential oils to scent it or add natural anti-bacterial properties (lavender and rosemary are good for that, if you like the scent, tea tree oil is a great anti-bacterial though a little goes a long way and smells very medicinal).

  3. Make it from scratch.

Here are three basic recipes (liquid soap requires potassium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide, which is your Red Devil lye. This is basically the difference between hard soap and soft soap):

Basic Liquid Soap (you can use any oils you want as long as you adjust the amount of lye)

http://www.snowdriftfarm.com/form_liquidsoaprecipes.html (website is no longer online)

Measurements by weight

  • 45 oz. coconut 76 degree

  • 80 oz. sunflower seed oil

  • 48 fluid oz. Water

  • 26 oz. Potassium hydroxide (This is a 3% lye discount.)

  • 2 to 2.5 gallons Dilution Water

Liquid Soap (you can use any oils you want as long as you adjust the amount of lye)

http://www.thesage.com/recipes/recipes.php?.State=Display&id=102

Measurements by weight

  • 1 ounce weight Avocado Oil

  • 4 ounces weight Coconut Oil

  • 11 ounces weight Hydrogenated Soybean Oil (shortening)

  • 3.1 ounces weight KOH (potassium hydroxide)

  • 8 ounces water (and we all know that water is the same in ounces weight as it is in fluid ounces)

Instructions:

Mix as usual.

 

Phase 1

Allow the water and KOH to be mixed and then added to melted fats. Stir until trace (read use a handblender). Allow to sit for a few days until pH tests low. .

Phase 2

Then slowly stir (read use a spoon) in extra water to create a liquid soap.

Notes & Comments:

Heidi Feldman (list member) uses a gelled water, created from soaking irish moss in water, when adding the water during phase 2. Also, scenting is done is phase 2, not in phase 1. The reason? It sticks!

For a smaller batch, and step by step instructions (with pictures) you can try this recipe: http://candleandsoap.about.com/od/liquidsoap/ss/basicliquidsoap.htm

Suppliers

If you can’t find suppliers locally, here are a few I have purchased from and really like:

http://www.soapies-supplies.com/shop/

http://www.brambleberry.com/

There are tons of recipes on the web for making soaps and shampoos. As long as you verify the correct amount of lye with a good calculator MMS Lye Calculator you can’t really go wrong!

 


 

 

Laundry

There are many recipes online for laundry soap. I would suggest trying them until you find the one you like. I only tried one recipe but I ended up going back to Tide.

With my husband’s greasy work, and a 13 year old, I use a homemade spot treater. I got this recipe from The Frugal Shopper. I LOVE this stuff! It works so well I use it for cleaning everything! It especially works wonders on a greasy stove!

Stain Remover

  • 1/2 cup of Ammonia

  • 1/2 cup of Vinegar (great way to use that white vinegar)

  • 2 Tablespoons Liquid Laundry Detergent

  • 2 quarts water

I don’t add the Liquid Laundry Detergent, since mine is powdered. Pour ingredients in a 1 gallon bottle (used plastic vinegar bottles work perfect for this). Make sure the lid is on tight, and shake bottle to mix. Pour into a spray bottle, and spray away!

 


 

 

How Did A Newbie Do?

I get so excited when someone tries soap making for the first time, and that’s exactly what an online friend did after reading this page. Here is his experience:

“July 17, 2006: Well, I made my first attempt at making soap. Just basic plain lard based variety. Figure if I start simple and something goes wacky I may have a chance to figure out what went wrong since EO is subject to being converted also plus other variables would complicate that process. Learn first then get fancy. 😉 Anyway, 4 pounds of lard, 8.45 ounces of lye and 24 ounces of water later I have a batch in a computer keyboard box lined with plastic for a “mold”. Trace wasn’t happening worth mentioning after three hours of stirring. I think one thing affecting it was I used the maximum amout of water recommended. So I started using a regular blender at a lower speed (puree) and let it blend for about 4 minutes per load which brought it almost to trace then stirred all the “blended” loads together and started a second run through blender. The second blender run required a higher speed and after only a minute or so it was tracing big time, almost like warm buttercream frosting. After running it all through blender second time I stirred it all together again to even it out then poured into my “mold”.

I would highly recommend using a stick blender and won’t attempt this again until I have one since it was close to 90 minutes before the batch would stop separating almost immediately when stirring stopped which obviously is not good. I think this may be related also to the water issue. I did use one trick from Hershberger in the Walton link which is to use ice water and ice when mixing your lye. Keeps the fumes down a bunch and takes less time to wait for it to cool since it doesn’t get as hot. Eight ice cubes and ice water from a jug till it measured 24 ounces, then added the lye. Worked great.

At any rate I should end up with a little over 5 pounds of soap for a total cost of about $4.50 which is about 30 cents less than what half that much Ivory soap would cost me so its a good deal. I’ll try to remember to let you know what its like to use after its cured.” “August 08, 2006: Just a quick note to let you kow the soap works great. Somewhat drying but then I didn’t allow for a lot of excess fat. It doesn’t give lots of lather but then lard soap isn’t supposed to either. But, when you wash with it you can see the difference in ‘clean’ compared to ‘factory soap or detergent/deodorant bars’. Thanks for prompting me to do this.

Laughs at Hurricanes”

New You Tube Video – Drop Spindle and Plying Setup

So, I was stressed and felt like I couldn’t keep my head on straight, so what did I do?  Spliced together two previously private videos (made them for some friends on Facebook) and posted them to You Tube.  lol  Check out the warning!  Yes, I use foul language on a regular basis and I had originally made these videos for friends.  But, I wanted to show all of you how my brain works and didn’t want to shoot new videos, so here you go!  Consider yourself warned.

Crochet and Knit Washcloths

So, I never said I’m the fastest crafter (any type of craft) but man!  I disappeared (as in didn’t even turn on the computer yesterday until after hubby got home from work) and this is what I have to show for it!  Well, I do get easily distracted and have been working on a creative something in my head (will post pictures once I figure out how to do it and get it done … have to devise some sort of frame) so that may explain the multiple attempts at the one (yes, just one) knitted wash cloth.  I kept dropping stitches and messing up the pattern.  That’s why I didn’t have the computer on at all yesterday.  That was the only way I could concentrate enough to finally get it done.

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The two green and one tan were crocheted using this pattern.  The tan one looks used, well, because it is.  I wanted to try it out in the shower.  See, I wanted something that would really scrub my skin, so that one is wool (don’t freak out … it’s not fancy wool.  I had barely half a skein of something labeled “Mothproof 100% Virgin Wool Knitting Worsted” from Kmart … the price tag says it cost $1.07 so that should tell you how old it is … got this one in the grab bag of yarn from the thrift store).  It worked well except my fingers kept poking through the holes in the pattern.  All the other yarn is acrylic.  Here’s a close-up:

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The burnt orange on is knitted with this pattern.  I love the way it turned out and would have been even better if I hadn’t lost track of which side I was on and got the pattern backwards.  Oh, well.  This is why I am not selling the fruits of my crochet and knit labors.  🙂

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Time to catch up on all my emails (and Facebook posts) that I’ve neglected.  Once I finish that, it’s onto something creative.  I really want to paint something but currently do not have the right paints (I need something for wood and/or metal).  I just haven’t gotten that far in the planning stages for those projects.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Jewelry Box Idea

I got this beautiful jewelry box from my sister (I love it when she cleans out her closets … it’s like Christmas).  I loved the wood but as you can see, there are spaces for pictures on top.  I don’t know about you but the idea of having to dust off pictures in tiny recesses (not to mention there was nothing to protect the pictures from dust and cleaning anyway) really disturbs me.

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So, this popped in my head.  Basically, pin cushions!

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I took a piece of thin cardboard (well, it was the bottom flap on an envelope for Avery address labels).  I cut it to the size of the photo area, then traced each hole with a pen.  I then cut bits of fabric, roughly one inch larger than the hole.

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I then used fabric glue (I’m sure someone could think of a less messy way to do this) to glue and gather the fabric pieces so they were just outside the traced shapes, leaving one end open so I could insert the stuffing.

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Let it dry, then fill.  I used some polyfill I’ve had for years.  I just left the open end open, inserted the cushions into the holes, then secured with the wood locking plate.  My initial idea was this would be great for lapel pins, hat pins, brooches, etc.  I looked for anything to use to display in the picture but I didn’t even have something ugly to stick in there!  I’m obviously not a brooch kind of person.  🙂

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Finished Full Apron

Well, I’ve been a bit busy.  I’m really enjoying sewing and can’t wait to move on up to something that can be worn out in public, though this is pretty dang close, even though it is an apron.   So, let’s start with the basics:

This is the pattern I used:

apron

I am not a girly girl in any way (my usual attire is a 3X White T-shirt and sweat pants, worn with Birkenstock shoes, of course).  Hair?  Makeup?  Twice a year, at the most.  So, to test myself, I chose apron E (center right) but decided to add the ruffle to the bottom.  For some reason, I felt the ruffles over the shoulder would be a bit much.  🙂

This pattern was much less confusing than the bath robe I made.  The only thing I had to learn, really, was machine gathering.  See, I could never understand what they were saying when I read about how to do gathers on a sewing machine, so I decided to just do them by hand.  Well, since these sewing projects are being done so I can learn how to make things properly, I decided to look again.  Once again, You Tube to the rescue!  Now, I had two comments on my Facebook wall about this.  Both said they learned to machine gather by sewing three (not two) lines of basting.   I will try that next time.

I did change one thing, though.  There is no way I’m going to button and unbutton (or try to slip this thing on) the straps.  So, I left them loose and just tied them around my neck (I still need to figure out how to make button holes on my machine, anyway).

And since I am not a girly girl, I decided to go all out and become one for the photos of this apron.  I love this thing!  The fabric I got from my hubby’s grandmother.  She was a spit-fire of a woman and we miss her dearly.  I think of her every day.

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