Tuesday, May 31, 2011

3rd CP batch (with a friend!)

My friend, Katie, came over to play with me and my son today :) Somehow I roped her into trying out a batch of CP with me :) She decided to try out some Chai Tea scented soap, and I wanted to try out a soap using shortening that I had picked up yesterday.

This is the recipe:
Walmart GV Shortening (all-vegetable) 9 oz
Sunflower Oil 6 oz
Olive Oil pomace 3 oz
Coconut Oil, 76 deg 9 oz
Castor Oil 3 oz

Got all our supplies ready:

And started getting to work!

That's a proud Katie with her finished soap (this was her first time soaping!)

And here's a closeup of the soap before we ruined it in the oven, lol:

We popped it in the oven to do CPOP and it ended up overheating within 20 minutes! Gasp! No! I checked in on it and it had bloated up kind of like an air mattress :(

Luckily I caught it before it could do anything really bad, like explode in the oven sending soap all over the place! So, I turned the oven off and let it cool down in there. Eventually it evened out in its bloated state before settling down. And now it has this weird texture on top that we're probably going to cut off later down the road if it still turns out to be usable >_< Haha! Adventures in soaping, truly!

I can't wait to be able to cut this and see if it's alright or if it separated under that weird layer there...

I also have the results from my Pringles can molds. The top row of soap is from the can that I had left on my counter, covered with towels. It turned this icky green color :( And you see the ones with the large hole in the middle. I was expecting there to be a lye liquid inside (means a botched batch of soap) but it was dry and no liquid was inside, yay! They aren't round either :( It looks like a LOT of air got trapped in that can (it was the second to be poured so it was slightly thicker than the first can...
The bottom row is the soap I had placed in the refrigerator. It kept its original color from when I poured and you can still see the pink swirls in it. I probably should have waited a day longer to unmold this one because one side flattened a bit as I was cutting it.

I do notice that the set I had put in the fridge has a much stronger scent than the one I left on the counter...

After all these, I think I'm preferring the non-gelled soaps a bit more, so I might be keeping my soaps cold for a couple more tries :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sudsy Sunday - Second CP Batch

Hey guys- looky, two posts today! (Well, kinda, it's now midnight here...) Anyway, I managed to find some time to try another CP batch. Not sure how this one is going to turn out and I already don't like it because I used my least favorite scent in it (what better way to test out CP than with a scent you don't like ^_^;;). So, I'll start you off with my recipe:
Coconut Oil, 76 deg 11.2 oz
Olive Oil pomace 6.4 oz
Sunflower Oil 6.4 oz
Olive Oil 3.2 oz
Castor Oil 4.8 oz
teeny tiny bit of Berrywine FO (it just smells too much like wine for my taste, though I know other people really enjoy the smell).

The reason why I have the pomace and regular olive oil is because my regular olive oil is green, I have a lot more of it than the pomace but I didn't want my batch to have a green tint to it.

My mold: two Pringles cans, woot! Gonna try them out today.

I mixed my lye water and got my oils ready and didn't overheat them this time! Yay! Learning from mistakes is fun ^_^

So here I've poured my lye water into my oils already and I wanted to show you what saponification looks like (if you haven't seen it already). Sorry for not speaking throughout the video- I was concentrating on holding the camera steady with one hand and using the mixer with the other hand >_< That's also why I was being so timid with the mixing and why I put the camera down once it started to get thicker. I needed my camera hand to hold onto my bowl and get the rest of the oils hanging out on top mixed in.

So, I didn't get any pictures after this because I accidentally blended too long and got to a medium trace (decently thick) and since I was planning to swirl, I needed to work fast. I scented with Berrywine and spoon mixed the scent in, then separated out a little bit of the soap into another bowl and tried coloring it with some red liquid colorant, but I don't think CP soap likes liquid colorant. Instead of getting a smooth consistency of color the color seemed to turn into little granules mixed in around the soap. I don't know how to describe it... anyway, I was going for a pinky color... the other part I tried for a purple color, but it didn't take so well, either... I did the in-the-pot swirl technique where you pour the smaller amount of colored soap back into the big pot of soap and stir it once around with a spoon before you pour into the mold. Placed my Pringles cans in the sink and poured the soap in.

My camera really pooped out on me when I tried taking a picture of the swirled soap, so this is the best picture I have to show. You can kind of see the pink swirl in there...

Well, this recipe (total weight came to be just under three pounds) filled 1 1/2 Pringles cans. So, one is sitting on my counter away from prying little fingers covered with some Cling wrap and two towels. The other one is actually sitting in my refrigerator. Someone said you can put soap in the fridge to keep it from gelling (not necessarily a good or bad thing). So, in a couple of days, I'll rip them out of their molds and show you what they look like cut!

Cleaning Weekend!

Hey guys- Sorry about not posting yesterday, but I have decided that this long weekend is cleaning weekend! The entire house is getting done over and I may even be breaking out an old toothbrush to do some scrubbing, too >_< If I feel like taking a break later tonight after lil' bubba has gone to bed I'll see about making another batch of soap and actually remember to put a memory card in my camera to take my pictures :)
Wish me luck and hopefully I'll get to a place where I can do some soapy craftiness!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fiber Friday - Combining days

So... once again I missed out on Trinket Thursday... I had a pounding headache all day and thankfully today, it has disappeared! Anyway, I thought maybe I could make up for it by combining Trinket Thursday and Fiber Friday by inundating you all with some Fiber Jewelry!
Just like any other jewelry style, fiber jewelry is made with all sorts of different fibers: fabric, yarn, thread, natural and synthetic fibers... and comes in all sizes. I'm not one for the really large style jewelry so a lot of what I will show is more along the lines of things I like... simple, elegant, small, with just a slight bit of spunk added in the mix! I'm being a little lazy at the moment and will probably come back to edit this post later tonight, but I invite you to visit my Fiber Jewelry board over at Pinterest to see all the loverly jewelry :) Plus, more will be added in the future!

And then, of course, the obligatory update of the Tom Baker Dr. Who Scarf ^_^

Currently sitting at 2'2" and 227/1042 rows which is about 22% done. This is going to take over a month to complete >_< And I think I made it a bit too wide (it's 55 stitches wide... probably should have made it more around 40 stitches wide) but I've put so many hours into it, I think I would cry if I frogged it and started all over... herm

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Whimsy Wednesdays - My soaping results!

Hi all! I woke up this morning and checked in on the soap I made yesterday ^_^ So I thought I share with you the results!

Mmm... brownies.... they smell soooo good!
no... wait... that's my soap!

I was hard and slippery to the touch so I tried to unmold it and it was sticky wherever the sides touched the mold. It was a bit difficult, but I persevered! I just wanted to show you what the bottom side looked like...

...not very much like soap, which had me kind of worried if the inside looked all crystally, too!

Nope! The inside looks like soap! yay! And to prove that it is truly some kind of soap, here's a picture of my mold after I ran water into it:

Why, are those bubbles I'm seeing?

So, thank you for taking a gander at my first ever from-scratch soap ^_^ And I think this one will be called something like "Her-She's Got Almonds!" (if you're just now joining us, I invite you to go read yesterday's blog; but I will tell/remind all you that I had used Hershey's cocoa powder and some almond fragrance, thinking on the chocolate almond bars that are pretty tasty out on the market. Get the name now? Hehe!) Now I shall let it sit on the rack for a couple of weeks to get harder and ready to use! ^_^

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - A change in events

Hi all! I sat down to my computer today to actually share with you my first attempt at Cold Process Oven Process soap! I was so excited because I managed to juggle taking pictures at the same time :D ...only to find out that I didn't have the memory card in the camera... the camera I have doesn't have any memory on its own so all those lovely and wonderful step-by-step pictures are actually non-existent! Oh the horror!
I did, however, manage to snap one picture of my soap while it is now sitting in its comfy oven blanket, so here's a sneak peak of my first ever made-from-scratch soap!

Let's see... I used this recipe:
8 oz. Coconut oil
6 oz. Olive oil
4 oz. Castor oil
2 oz. Sunflower oil

It's not going to be a very hard bar of soap, but I didn't have any of the harder butters on hand and went with what I had. According to SoapCalc, my soap should have:
Hardness (29-54): 38
Cleansing (12-22): 27
Conditioning (44-69): 57
Bubbly (14-46): 45
Creamy (16-48): 29
Iodine (not actual iodine, it stands for something in how the chemicals get bonded together) (41-70): 60
INS (136-165): 160

I must thank Emily Shieh today for helping me get the last minute questions and answers before I began!

So, unto story time. I cleaned my kitchen, yay! Then I prepared my lye/water mixture outside because my house doesn't ventilate very well. I like the lye that I used because it was in crystal form and didn't get all static on me. While I waited for my lye to cool down, I prepared my oils and got them heating up while I also prepared my fragrance and colors. I used .75 oz. of Brambleberry's Chocolate Espresso fragrance mixed with some Cappuccino Mica and actual Hershey's cocoa powder for one section of the soap and .5 oz. of Brambleberry's Almond fragrance with some titanium dioxide (white) for a different section of soap.I found out that I need to watch my oils a bit more closely >_< They got up to around 150 degrees F and I had to stir for a long time to get them cool enough to soap with. I'm really hoping that doesn't affect the final outcome of my soap *fingers crossed* No dreaded orange spots please! Please!

But once that was done, I added my lye to the oil and stirred it in with a spoon first then used my brand new hand blender to blend the concoction together. And wow! It was really cool to see the green-tinted oils turn off-white in a matter of seconds! Saponification is a cool process to watch :D I got a light trace in about 5 minutes so I separated the batch into two bowls and mixed one with the brown fragrance/colorant and the other one with the white fragrance/colorant. I tried to get a nice swirl in the soap, but that didn't want to happen (I made too much of the white for what I was going for). Anyway, now it is all sitting in my oven until tomorrow when I can take it out and cut it up! I'm praying it won't separate on me during the night, 'cause that would just suck! But being my first batch ever and I'm not technically following all the soap-making rules, I wouldn't be upset if it did happen. It's all a learning process, you know?

I am going to go enjoy the smell of chocolate wafting through my house now and I hope you got at least a little chuckle from my escapade ^_^ And for those of you in tornado alley, I hope you make it through the storm safe and sound!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Muse Monday - Nature's Color Theory

I love going to the flower gardens! All the pretty colors and scents just put me in a great mood. I find it fascinating how nature can come up with her color pallets for her plants. I hope you'll be able to get some inspiration for playing with colors in whatever you create ^_^

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sudsy Sunday - Shieh Designs Soap Review

I have a confession. I got into soaping because of a challenge that I joined on Craftster where we have one year to post a completed project in every board. One of the boards is for Bath and Beauty and for that board I decided to try out soaping. Part two of this confession begins like this: I had been blinded by commercialism. I mean, we're all told that the stuff sold in stores has been tested by scientists and FDA approved (when needed) so it MUST be better than handmade, right? Right?
Boy, have I been wrong when it comes to soap... I have been noticing a drastic change in my skin since I've been getting older. This past winter, my skin turned on me and became extremely dry and cracking. Lotions helped a bit, but boy did they burn and hurt :( I switched to the commercial soaps that touted "extra moisturizing" in hopes that they would help save my hands, but it still didn't help. The damage had been done.
Never will I rue the day that I received my first batch of melt and pour soap from Brambleberry and made my first soaps. Already I could feel a difference in the level of moisture in my hands! That made me curious and so I searched for more information on why this was. That's when I happened upon another great website/forum TeachSoap where I met lots of great soapers!
This is what I learned from them and from other searching around the interwebs: Old school cold process soaps are the best. Why is this? Well, commercial soaps start out with cold process, then they reprocess the soap over and over to extract glycerin (a clear and natural byproduct of the soaping process) which is used in many other commercial products (especially in food). Melt and pour soap is a glycerin based soap where extra glycerin is used in the soaping process to make a clear soap. Glycerin is a great moisturizer! So, we have commercial soaps taking the moisturizer out of their soaps and Melt and Pour soaps which are used mainly for being moisturizing (and pretty ^_^). Meanwhile, Cold Process soaps get the best of both the cleansing AND moisturizing worlds!
So, I got curious as to how Cold Process would hold up between the other two extremes, took the plunge and bought 3 wonderful soaps (my mom's day present ^_^) from one of the avid forum users over at TeachSoap, Emily Shieh from Shieh Design Studio. She works with both Melt and Pour (M&P) and Cold Process (CP) soaps.
The three soaps I ordered from her were:

Lilac in Bloom CP
This one still needs to cure, so I haven't been able to use it yet. But it's beautiful to look at and it smells so prettily of lilacs!

Milk Clay Facial CP Soap
This wonderful soap doesn't show it's true sparkle (it actually does sparkle!) until it gets wet. It is a soap suited for oily skin because of the clay in it, which works wonderfully for my forehead and nose (I have combination skin on my face). The bar lathers up nicely and though I was worried about the scent, Red Currant and Thyme, it has turned out to be my favorite scent to date! It makes me extremely happy that this soap is going to last me a long time because it makes my bathroom smell incredibly yummy ^_^


Magnolia and Orange Blossom CP
This bar is just pretty to look at, too. Straight from the packaging, I noticed it had a weird spicy note to it which threw me off, but now that I have let it sit out in the open, it has lost that note and smells wonderfully of the Mangolia floral with just a hint of the orange. It's a harder bar and takes a little bit to come to a lather, but once those bubbles start going they are so nice and creamy. My hands feel squeaky clean after using this bar ^_^

Emily was also incredibly nice and added some other samples of her work into my box :) So along with what I ordered, I received some small pieces of the following soaps to try out!

Sea Glass
I had actually posted this one up a couple weeks back. I loved the look of it then, and now I can say I really love the scent. It's a barely-there clean scent and it create bubbles and lather very nicely. This is fighting for the best soap I received from this order (fight for first against the Milk Clay Facial Soap).

I love the soft pink versus the soft gray look of this soap. The scent is very perfume-y to my nose and as such I would use this when I go on date nights with my hubby :) I haven't used this one yet, so I'm not sure how it lathers and cleans yet.

Wild Lavender Honey
This one also threw me off when I first took it out of the package. It smelled heavily of honey, but now that it's been sitting in the air the lavender scent has broken through and smells heavenly with the honey. Again, I haven't used this bar yet so I'm not sure about those details yet.

I've been enjoying my new soaps immensely and my skin has never felt better! Please, go and check out her blog and etsy store for her new and upcoming soaps! She has a couple of pumice scrub soaps curing that I'm thinking about purchasing in the future when I get some extra cash in my pocket!

Also, because of this positive experience has convinced me to start thinking about doing some CP of my own... In fact, I already went out to my local Ace Hardware and purchased my first 16 oz. of lye ^_^;; Now all I need are the oils and correct tools!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

See What I Made Saturday - Looking in the past

Hello all! This week I've been working on some secret squirrel-y stuff for a swap so I haven't really worked on anything else besides that and the scarf I posted yesterday. I'd love to show off what I had created but I have to wait until my partners receive their packages before I can show the stuff off.
So, instead, I think I shall get you acquainted with some of my past accomplishments. I dabble in a little bit of everything and am constantly teaching myself new techniques :) So, here's a peak at who I am through my crafting! Anything with an * means the picture is linked to the Craftster page where I have more pictures and explanations of that item.

Yarny things:

Army Blanket for my brother- I've done a couple of blankets (and tons of scarves) :)

*Winter set using Tunisian Crochet

*Blue from Blue's Clues- my own pattern


*For the Make-a-Friend Swap- Used her favorite colors purple, orange, and green and some of her favorite themes: dragons and fairies. It was machine pieced and hand quilted.

*For the Mini-Art Quilt Swap- This one is titled Burlesque! And it won me a Best of 2010 Craftster Award!

Glass Etching:

Set of mugs featuring characters from the old 1956 movie Forbidden Planet. Made for the Favorite Movie Swap.

*Army Logo Chessboard for my dad :) Sorry for the blurry picture. This was taken a while back and I couldn't get the glass to come into focus correctly.

My first etched chessboard based off of the anime Revolutionary Girl Utena. I loved the rose logo in the show :)

And of course the obligatory Pep Boy from the Fallout series mug made with lots o' love for my husband :D (<- that's a cheesy grin)

I've dabbled in a lot of other things: ceramics, spinning, polymer clay, jewelry, stenciling, and others I can't think of from the top of my head. The next time where I have a Saturday with nothing to show what I did that week, I'll take you back into my past forays again showing some of the other crafts I've created. I hope you enjoyed looking at these :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fiber Friday - Back in the Saddle

Ok- so incredibly sorry for the major delay on this new blog. I finally got a suitable compromise worked out with the people who have been causing me the most stress I've felt in a long while so now that that's over (hopefully), I shall be getting to our regularly scheduled program! Woot! That being said, my crafting finances have gone down to $0, so I will be forced to use only those crafting materials that are currently on hand. I view this as a great opportunity to become really really creative with what I have :) And don't worry, I have plenty of material on hand to last quite a long while!

So, this week's Fiber Friday is actually thanks to one of my friends who requested a special item from me :)

Here are some hints:
1. The yarn he had bought for the project:

BTW, I love the "I Love This Yarn" brand. It's acrylic, so it's much cheaper than say, wool, but it still feels very soft and you can wash it without worrying about it felting! Woot! Win all around :)

2. It's a knitted item.

3. It's an item found on the main character (well, one of his many manifestations) in a TV show that has been running since 1963.

Any ideas?

Well, if you guessed Tom Baker's scarf from Doctor Who, you are sooo right!

I got the pattern from The Doctor Who Scarf and my friend decided he wanted the first incarnation of the scarf. So, now I will sit down and knit knit knit for hours on end, while taking breaks of course, to keep working on this blog and setting up my new shop and working on my other crafting obligations!

And if you don't believe me that this scarf will take up most of my time in the next month, this is how far I've gotten in about 4 hours of work:

I'm a very slow knitter :( But at least the pattern is extremely easy! The only stitch used in this is... the knit stitch (this is also known as the garter stitch). So, I shall be getting lots of practice in and hopefully become really super fast as I get my knit on! This will also give me lots of time to rewatch the new Doctor Who series and possibly get into some of the older episodes that have made their way on to Netflix.
So, wish me speediness and I'll give you progress reports as I get through the colors!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Augh! Life sucks the life out of me sometimes...

Dear me... :( I've been having to practically run around my home acting like a chicken with it's head cut off because of something that just pretty much landed in my lap. I don't want to go into any details about it, but I wanted to let you know that I haven't forgotten about posting here and hopefully things will soon turn to normal and I can start to do regular posts once more! Thanks for being patient :)