Monday, February 23, 2015

New Soaps!!

Wow!  January came and went, along with most of February!!  We had two deaths in the family in January, and it's amazing how time vanishes.  Things are starting to feel like normal again.

The January Challenge Soap didn't work out.  Well, the soap is fine, it smells great and lathers perfectly. You just can't really see the swirl.  I didn't enter that one. I scented it with a combination of French Vanilla fragrance oil and Lavender essential oil.

February challenge came, and I was happy with my soap for this one.  I was all ready to upload my photo for the contest, and thought I'd get it done.  Then I got the email saying the voting had started.  Oops!  At least it's pretty!  I used one of the scents remaining from my candle days (I knew there was a reason I made sure those fragrance oils were also skin safe!!) called Casaba Mist.  It's kind of a light floral with a hint of melon in the background.  It must have a little vanilla in it too, because it discolored to a light tan (I didn't put any fragrance in the swirl part, so that I could work with the soap and not worry about color issues)

I joined a soap swap.  It's the kind where I make a batch of soap and send 10 bars to Bramble Berry.  They will then pack up a box of 10 soaps that aren't mine and return it to me!  I have some new fragrance oils on the way from their Soap Club, and will be using one of those (Ginger Patchouli) for the swap.  Now to decide what to do with color to make it pop!

Speaking of Bramble Berry, they just put out a call for the Spring S.O.A.P Panel.  The panel gets to test new fragrances and give feedback that helps BB decide what new fragrance oils to carry.  I think it sounds like a ton of fun, and would love to be chosen to participate.  They ask what your favorite product is from BB.  That's a toughie!  I love their selection of molds (and just ordered one from them), but I think my very favorite so far has been trying new fragrances.  It seems like every order I add a fragrance oil "because I might as well, if I'm already paying for shipping" 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Still working!

I'm still here, making soap, knitting, designing, wishing I could spin. . . The holidays crashed in on me, and then we had some family stuff to manage.  I'm working on a new soap challenge, so I'll probably post on that soon.  Hoping to cut it tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Soap Challenge!

Hi!  I'm back, after a long break from blogging.  Guess what?  I have a new hobby!  You're shocked, I can hear the collective gasp from here.



I have made quite a few batches of soap so far, and was inspired to join in on the Soap Challenge Club fun over at Great Cakes Soapworks.  This month's challenge was combed soap.  As I said, I'm new to soaping, and I'm especially new to colorants in my soap.  I've had a few, *ahem* learning experiments, shall we say.  My first try at coloring soap ended with a soap with three variations on the same tan.  My second attempt was OK. But the third, oh, the third was supposed to be a nice Christmasy Red and Green. It ended up orange and purple!! Lessons learned, research completed, new colorants ordered for the challenge!

J (and S) so nicely documented the process for me.  Excuse the ridiculously messy counters in the background.  I decided soaping was more important than cleaning (which I did do after the soaping fun was completed!)  Plus, I ended up using the end of a couple of bottles of oils, so those somehow ended up in the pics too. Also, excuse the messy hair.  (That's a story for a different blog, that has nothing to do with crafting and everything to do with the fact that I was not allowed to get my head wet for 12 days!) J seems to think every pic of something I'm doing needs to include the actual person doing said thing.


I started with a basic, slow moving soap batter.  I used the recipe provided by the Amy Warden, the club hostess.  It was my first soap with lard, but I'm glad I finally tried one!  Then I divided out a few small portions for colorants (but no fragrance.) In her example, Amy used five colors.  But I hate pink, so I just went with a little more red and called it good.





I scented and colored the majority of the batter, then poured it into my makeshift mold (I chopped up a box that some supplies came in! Feeling pretty thrifty about that one) as a base for the pretty swirls. 







Then the fun began!  I just layered the colors on, in squiggly lines, until I was out of colored soap batter.








Next comes the combing.  With my "fancy" comb.




More lessons learned:  Moving the soap to a safe place where it could sit for the chemical reaction to complete, some of the prettily swirled lines got less pretty. Next time (and there will be a next time, this soap is seriously fun, and just "wow"!) I'll plan to leave it in place for a few hours before moving it.


Then the soap had to sit for a day.  Once the soap had set up a bit, I could pull it out of the mold and cut it.  Here's the result:

The top of the soap has a different texture than I expected.  I'm not entirely sure whether this is due to the recipe, or if it's due to the measures I took to avoid soda ash (a white coating on the top of the soap, which I thought would take away from the effect of the combing) I guess more experimentation is in order!  I am quickly going to be overrun with soap at this rate!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Whee!

Geez, it has been a while since I posted (again)!

I just booked our trip for this year. We are going to Maui, just the two of us! My sister is going to stay with S and the dogs!! (Can you tell I am excited?) And what am I doing to plan for this trip? Searching out yarn stores on Maui, of course (big grin). Hey, we have two months to figure out the rest of it . . .

In other news, I've been busily knitting, testing and writing patterns! It is an interesting balancing act to get them all done. I have a pattern for sale, and another that will be available soon (April 15 - after all the yarn club members have received their packages) . . . And one of these days, I will figure out how to link to them here!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

oooooh, designer

I'm in the process of getting set-up as a designer on Ravelry, where I can upload the pretty PDF files of my patterns. Here's the sad version of my first one for now! The pattern has not been tested, so use at your own risk!!

Clown-y Mittens

When my daughter needed a new pair of mittens, I let her into my stash to choose her yarn. She chose a brightly colored handspun, named“Taking Out the Clowns” because it is murderously bright. When she chose this yarn, she also stipulated that blue must be at the tips of the fingers. But the only way I could ensure that was by knitting them “backwards” from all the patterns I could find.

So I made it up as I went along.

Size: about 4 year old size. (wrist ~5 inches)

Yarn: My hand spun BFL, approximately fingering weight.

Gauge: 30 stitches = 10 cm

Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm), US0 (2mm)


Here is a link to the pattern page on Ravelry
where you may download the PDF for free


Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Baby!

Happy Fourth Birthday S!

She got to open one gift this morning, and is wearing her Tinkerbell dress already. We're planning out our day based on the birthday activities we need to complete - where to get her cake (ice cream cupcakes from Coldstone) and what she wants for dinner (Mac & cheese at Red Robin - at least this morning that's what she wants!), not to mention what she wants to bring to school tomorrow to celebrate!

Birthdays sure are fun when you're 4!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yowza! It's been a while since I posted. I've done lots of knitting, a little spinning, and all sorts of other "stuff." No pictures, because most of it is stealth (gifts) and the rest, I'm too lazy!

It seems late to post the Sock Summit summary. It was awesome. I bought some stuff. I won more stuff. That's probably enough anyway.

I've been knitting like crazy. For the holidays, for Barb and Kollage, for me - not so much I guess. That's wishful thinking. But there are grand plans for "me" knitting, once the holiday stuff gets finished. I have some lovely silk lace yarn for a Featherweight Cardigan, and a whole bag of Malabrigo in Forest (holy cow what a great gift!) just aching to be a nifty cardigan for me too. Anyone with any ideas is welcome to weigh in. I have a couple options from my Ravelry queue, but I'm open. . . This much lusciousness is so tempting for so many things!

I have been spinning, and planning my spinning . . . I've spun a few natural colors (CVM, some merino/baby alpaca I got in a swap), and a few chain plied fun tops. I'm learning long draw (what you can do with top, sliver, and batts), and feeling more confident with my modified long draw. Posted pictures of most of it on Ravelry. And what I haven't gotten up there, will get up eventually. Lambtown yielded a little new fiber (8 oz of Cormo), but the Yolo Wool Mill trip on Halloween yielded my project for next year. . . I found 26 oz of chocolate merino (at a steal of a price)! I'm planning to spin it up into DK weight yarn, see how much I get, and figure out a lovely sweater to knit for myself from there! I need to decide if I want to do 2ply or 3ply, probably 3ply, because I usually like the look of that better (but after I knit up S's mittens for the holidays, I'll know better). OK, I know I said (somewhere) that I had no desire to ever spin for a sweater. And we'll see if I ever get there. But that's my project for the next year. People change, right? This sliver is just so gorgeous, and such a great price, I could not pass it up! (and I even had to fight off a couple spinners, as I was waiting for my change hehe).