In the morning, I made a large batch of Cashmere & Silk.
I used my usual oils - Palm, Coconut, Palm Kernel, Olive, Avocado, and Sunflower and then added a healthy amount of Shea Butter. I replaced most of my distilled water with Goats' Milk. To the lye solution, I added Silk Fibers -- yes, real silk. I used a little Titanium Dioxide (TD) because the goat's milk turns the soap to the orange-tan side. The TD would give me some nice white swirls.
I mixed everything up and poured it in one of my wooden log molds and the rest in a 9-bar slab mold. I didn't put either of these molds in the oven to finish them off because any soap made with milk heats up so much internally all by itself. In fact, most people put their milk soaps in the refrigerator or freezer after pouring but I didn't have room in either. Now, I need a fridge/freezer just for soaping!
I set the molds on the table and proceeded to clean up.
I turned around to check the soap on the table and saw a tiny crack starting on the top of the log. Then, right before my eyes, the crack extended down the middle of the entire length of the soap log.
Well, I left it alone.
Last night, I unmolded it and cut it into bars. The cracks on top are hardly noticeable. And, it's GREAT soap! So silky feeling on the skin. Lathers like a dream.
I also made three other batches last night.
The first one, I was very excited to make. I have a new vertical mold with a divider down the middle which enables me to make a divided soap log. I decided on the fragrance Sweet Orange Chili Pepper and colored the soap one half orange and the other half red.
This morning, I slid the top off the mold and it had not set up correctly. I tested it and it had a very high pH. It was lye heavy. Not good. The scent and color - both fantastic. The soap, however, is unusable. I'm hoping that I can rebatch this - adding more oil for the lye to combine with, cooking it in the crockpot, and then remolding it. I won't be able to use the vertical mold because the soap will be too thick.
When I got to the second and third batches, I discovered that I didn't have quite as much lye solution as I should. I divided what I did have and made the two batches.
Well, this AM when I found that batch #1 was lye heavy, that could explain why my lye solution was short for #2 and #3. Even though I am VERY careful when measuring my ingredients for soaping, I must have made a mistake and used too much solution for batch #1. This would make batches #2 and #3 superfatted - more oil than you have lye to saponify. They should be very moisturizing soaps. The pH for these two batches is just fine.
As long as I've been making soap, this is the first time I've had a lye heavy batch. The soap gremlin was at work yesterday.
Hopefully, I'll have better luck tonight.
Yesterday, I went to Knitting At Noon at Dorothy Lane Market. We had a nice group and got a chance to work on our Olympic knits. Sara was the only one with a finished object. She showed us this darling baby hat - the Baby Amanda Hat. I love the top! This is a free pattern on Ravelry.
Speaking of Ravelry - am I the only knitter that was totaly unaware of the brouhaha with the United States Olympic committee? The USOC attacked came down addressed Ravelry for its use of the word Ravelympics and various individual's knit / crochet patterns that feature Olympic rings, etc. both free and for sale on the site. If you GOOGLE "Ravelry Olympic Controversy" you'll find lots to read. I know it's water under the bridge but having just found out about it, I'm a little steamed. I have watched each and every Olympic game for as long as I can remember. I love the Olympics.
The "cease and desist" letter that the USOC sent Ravelry was ------ well, I can't think of a word I want to use to describe it. It was directed at Ravelry and, in a way, its over 2 MILLION WORLDWIDE members. The tone, the language, and the insinuations were a little harsh.
As an artist, I definitely understand copyright and/or trademark use infringement, but the wording in the letter just doesn't sit right with me. The USOC got after Ravelry a couple of years ago for selling a pin for the 2010 Ravelympics with Bob, the mascot, wearing a knitted hat and a gold medal. Ravelry took the pin off their site but not before raising nearly $4000.00 for Special Olympics from its sale. You can find references to the Olympics and pictures of its symbols, such as the Olympic rings, on so many products - both used with permission and not. I've even seen colored condoms arranged to form the Olympic rings advertised. I can understand protecting the trademarks but pairing 'Ravelry' with 'lympics'. The USOC is going to find fault with groups of knitters getting together and casting on for projects to knit while following the Olympics?? Come on!
The letter stated that "using the work 'Ravelympics'" for doing what we do "tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country's finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work". Denigrate and disrespectful??
The sentence in the "cease and desist" letter that really bothers me is this one --
"The Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony."
I think you could just take out the words 'Olympic Games' in the USOC's sentence and insert the words 'Ravelry members'. I believe that the over 2 million members of Ravelry epitomize "ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony." I feel that we do it with no steroid use, no corporate sponsors, no pictures on Wheaties' boxes, no TV ads, no two week TV coverage, etc. etc.
For heaven's sake, we're over two million fiber people who LOVE what we do and strive to do our personal best with each and every cast-on. We love sharing our passion with others. And, re: world peace and harmony - well, you just have to look at our membership roster and know it's hard to not be peaceful and harmonious with fiber and pointy sticks in hand. Knitters are also very generous folks and contribute quite nicely to the world around us. All you have to do is look at the tiny little tote board on the sidebar of the Yarn Harlot's blog to see that fiber folks have donated $1,102,556 to Doctors Without Borders and that's just so far.
Yes, fiber folks are the epitomy of the Olympic spirit. Except we just don't do it every two to four years. We have that spirit each and every day of each and every year. The internal drive to create just as they have the drive to compete.
There, I said my piece. **sigh**
Now, we could invent a new game. Let's watch the next winter Olympics and see how many handknit sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves/mittens, socks, etc. we spot.
As I type this post, I'm watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in London. I am an Olympic junkie. Can't get enough.
Love these games where differences of countries are set aside. Where homeland difficulties are momentarily forgotten.
I love these games where drive and determination are honored and excellence recognized. Where dreams come true. Where so many young people have the opportunity to be a part of something so much bigger than themselves.
I will be glued to the TV for most of the games as I have been for many many before this one.
Tonight, one of my local yarn shops, Wooly Bully, sponsored a Ravellenic Opening Ceremonies at Dorothy Lane Market in Springboro. Everything was decked out in red, white, and blue. Even the food - angel food cake with cool whip, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries. There were red, white, and blue chocolate candies, too.
We each had a goodie "box" which contained an American flag, tea bags, an American flag pin, a little ball of waste yarn, a few sticky notes, red, white, and blue stitch markers with a special one made by Sara that reads Team Wooly Bully 2012. There were also a few pieces of candy with gold coins. Gold coins - how appropriate! Sandy, also made pins for everyone with the US flag and red, white, and blue ribbon. Thanks to all who planned and prepared for this event - it was fun!
The idea of the Opening Ceremony was to cast on for a project and knit it to completion while watching the Olympics. And, yes, there will be a Closing Ceremony, too. I will miss the closing event - I'll be at the Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair.
I cast on for the Garter Stitch Baby Jacket for Little Miss B, my granddaughter. I'm knitting it out of Vintage Chunky By Berroco. Miss B will turn one the end of August so I cast on for the 18 month size but after knitting about two inches, I decided that it was going to be too big. So, I pulled it out and cast back on - this time, for the 12 month size. This should be an easy fun and, hopefully, fast knit. I already have my polymer clay buttons which I think are so cute! Click on the picture to the right to get a closer look at the buttons.
So, I'm going for the GOLD! I WILL finish my little sweater and Miss B will be decked out in pink this winter.
Speaking of gold - I think I've hit the gold with the soap I unmolded tonight. WOW!
I made two batches of beer soap today.
When you make soap with beer in it, you have to make certain that it's flat. Very flat. If it's not and you add lye to it, it will volcano. Not good! So, I opened the bottles last week and then boiled and simmered the beer yesterday. Next, I froze it in ice cube trays.
I measured all my ingredients out, melted my oils, and got everything ready. Then, I very slowly added the lye to the frozen beer cubes.
The first batch I made was using Shock Top's Raspberry Wheat beer. This light colored beer made a beautiful caramel brown soap! Andy said it looked like a Reese's Cup. I added Raspberry Porter fragrance oil. Then, I added brown oxide so I could have a little color interest and swirl.
The second batch was made with Guinness Extra Stout beer. This was a much darker beer to begin with and made a deeper brown soap. I used Oatmeal Stout fragrance oil and added ground oatmeal to the soap. I also topped the soap log off with oatmeal.
I've already used pieces of both of these soaps and WOW!!! They both smelled amazing and produced great lather. The best part - they left my hands so so soft!
I'm not a beer drinker but I am now a fan of bathing with beer soap!
Gives "suds" a whole new meaning!
Next beer soap will be Honey Nut Ale with a Hazelnut and Toffee fragrance oil.
On the to-do list tomorrow is Cashmere & Silk soap with real silk fibers and Sweet Orange Chili Pepper soap.
Stay tuned for more pictures!
Earlier this week, our younger son, Taylor, celebrated the grand opening of his restaurant, 525 At The Berry Burk, in Richmond, VA. Monday, he was on "Virginia This Morning" cooking his Pan-Seared Scallops with Sweet Pea Lobster Risotto. Tuesday, there was a ribbon cutting with Richmond's mascot followed by lunch and menu sampling later in the day. I hated missing the festivity. They seem to be very busy. Hopeeverything continues to go well. (Chef Taylor is third from the left.) Try this link for 525 - Facebook.
Today was moving day - well, at least partial moving.
The soapmaking area was priority.
Andy has finished the basement all except for a few finishing touches. He helped me move everything related to soapmaking downstairs. WHAT A JOB! We started working this morning and I finished around 10:30 PM and then cut my first soap bars in my new soaping area.
It's wonderful to have everything in one place and within easy reach again. We've been in Ohio almost three years now. I didn't make soap for almost a year after we moved and then gradually started moving soap stuff upstairs to the kitchen and utility room. The jugs, 50 lb. buckets and boxes of oils, soap molds, cutters, measuring pitchers, spoons, spatulas, etc. etc. slowly began taking over everything in the utility room and kitchen.
The soap area looks GREAT! I'm trying to forget all the mess in the rest of the basement. A gazillion boxes for me to go through. YUCK! I'm hoping I can recruit some friends to help move the knitting stuff down to the basement and organize what's already there. Wonder if they'd accept payment in soap?
I made three batches of soap this morning - from left to right - Winkin' At You!, Sea Salt & Lotus Blossom, and Raspberry Lemonade.
These logs are now unmolded, cut, and drying in my new soapmaking studio! Yipppeeeee!
Top to bottom and left to right - Raspberry Lemonade, Sea Salt & Lotus Blossom, and Winkin' At You!
I unmolded the three batches of soap this morning.
I was super worried about how one of them would turn out. The pink and green colors were SO pretty before I popped it in the oven. When I peeked at it after an hour or so, the pink had darkened to a rusty red and the green had darkened, too. Yuck.
You can imagine the happy dance I did all over the kitchen this morning when I slipped the end off my mold and saw this. The pink and green colors were more muted but still pretty. And, LOOK at those layers!!! Yippppeee!
The fragrance is Hot Pink Lime and it is a refreshing citrus scent. Here are the bars cut and drying. So pretty!
The other two batches turned out well, too.
Mayan Gold is on the left. I used Ochre Oxide to color it and dusted the top with Gold Mica. Mayan Gold is a wonderful fragrance for women or men. It's a warm scent with touches of musk, vanilla, and spice. Yum!
On the right is Cucumber Wasabi Cilantro. This is a crisp scent and is topped with dried cucumber peel.
These will be ready in a couple of weeks - boxed and ready for use.
Here's a picture of the soaps made this week. It's a good start but there's much more to come!
I have lots of other batches to make. Trying to get ready for the Mid-Ohio Fiber Fair in August and the holidays are on their way. I do sell my soap - I want to get an Etsy shop or Artfire or whatever set up. Anyone have feedback on any of these types of sites? At present, I take orders via email - you leave a comment if you're interested in ordering or email me and I'll email you a list of what's in stock.
Andy and I headed over to the Warren County Fair last night.
In the south, the fairs are in the fall so it felt a little funny to be walking around in the heat and humidity. They had fans on the animals and frozen water bottles as ice blocks in the cages.
We saw sheep in very stylish attire.
There were naked sheep. They looked very cool. Cool as in temperature cool.
There was a bunny getting a pedicure.
These alpacas were very curious and watched my every move.
And, OH, the chickens and roosters! I could do a whole post on them.
I loved their colors and hairstyles. There were some very sharp looking ones - very tailored and dapper. Then, there were WILD ones! Some were still wearing their bedroom slippers (lots of feathers on the feet). Others could be mistaken for Angora rabbits - they were so fluffy looking.
This chicken had to get its beauty sleep - the heck with all the commotion.
These birds - doves, I think - were so pretty with their tail feathers fanned out.
The rabbits were so pretty but there were very few Angora rabbits.
Loved the goats! They are also so curious. They nibbled my jacket whenever I got within range.
If Andy hadn't been with me, these two babies would have a new home once the fair is over. They were absolutely adorable!
We also ate dinner. Philly Cheesesteak and Fried Veggies. Yum!
Yes, I'd have a farm full of animals if I could. I'd have to get a new husband, though.
I really think these baby goats would have fit in my pockets!
This Nubian goat was very hungry.
Bunnies bunnies everywhere!
And, these Pygora goats were so cute! I love how they look at you - just so curious.
The highlight in the Arts & Crafts section was this entry in "Ceramics". A Yarn Bowl!!! How about that!?! And, it was a winner!!
We had just a smidgen of rain today. Not enough to settle the dust. We need rain badly. Everything is so very dry.
One thing that seems to be thriving, though -- my sunflowers.
I don't plant sunflowers but seem to keep a small crop of them all summer. One of my birdfeeders stays full of black-oiled sunflower seeds. All around the feeding station and throughout my garden, my feathery gardening crew plants these seeds. I even have several coming up in the grass. Anywhere a sunflower seed can hunker down and find a little piece of soil.
The honey bees were all over these flowers today. They were loaded down with yellow pollen.
I don't think there's a cooler flower than the sunflower. Some of them grow too close to the birdfeeders and inevitably, the racoons try to climb them and end up breaking them. But, I've watched the determined sunflowers - if there's the smallest fiber still attaching the two pieces of stem, they will continue to grow and even bloom. They're a tenacious plant.
I also don't think any other flower has a more awesome construction / design than the sunflower. Just look at the swirls of this new flower head above. These will all be sunflower seeds eventually.
The sunflower not only is beautiful but birds and humans enjoy their seeds. Sunflower oil is used in foods and in cosmetics. It contains Vitamin E, as well as, other nutrients. I use High Oleic Sunflower Oil in my soap as it's an emollient and so good for your skin.
Today, I unmolded and cut the soap I made last night. Here are the bars drying. From left to right, An Apple A Day, Bergamot Coriander, and Magnolia & Orange Blossom. Not sure which I like most. I'm leaning toward the Bergamot Coriander but do I have to choose?
It has been so hot and dry here in Southwest Ohio. Finally, we had a little rain today. Too little - hopefully, the days ahead will bring more.
My garden is hanging in there with daily waterings. The Roma Tomatoes are just starting to turn red. And the cucumbers are -- well, they're turning, too. This particular one is turning in a circle! A doughnut cucumber. The lettuce, arugula, and spinach are done. I harvested some carrots. They were so deformed looking! they went straight down and then off in all angles. Wonder if the soil is too hard for them to grow straight downward. I have four cabbages that are ready to cut. I should plant more radishes - I think there's plenty of time for another batch to mature.
I cut more flowers this week - two varieties of daisies, three varieties of coneflowers, and Black-Eyed Susans. I love fresh cut flowers! Beside the vase of flowers picture, is a picture of Shasta Daisies and Pink Poodle Coneflowers in the garden.
The birds help me plant flowers. Lots of lots of sunflowers! Some they plant where I would like to have them but most of them come up in amongst my other flowers, in the walking path through the garden, etc. The ones they plant too close to the bird feeding station usually get broken. The racoons attept to climb them to get up to the feeders.
This one -- they planted in a corner of one of the raised beds. Perfect location. And it's gorgeous. Sunflowers are such pretty flowers. After I enjoy the flowers, the birds pick them clean of seed.
Today, I worked on the computer fiddling around with my soap recipes. I have new molds and needed to calculate the volume of soap / ingredients. I made three batches using the log molds tonight and they filled perfectly.
I made (from left to right) - An Apple A Day, Bergamot Coriander, and Magnolia and Orange Blossom. They are in the oven now. I'll remove them in the morning when they've thoroughly cooled. Then, I'll cut them. I'm always so excited to cut the logs. I never quite know what the inside of the logs look like until I cut them into bars.
Grocery shopping takes on a whole new life when you make handmade soap.
Spa bar series continues - Carrot Top will soon join Cool As A Cucumber and Strawberries and Cream. I'll substitute my water with 100% carrot juice and use an appropriate fragrance. I can hardly wait!
Next up is beer soap. I have a variety of beers on hand - Raspberry Wheat, Nut Brown Ale, Cream Stout, Pistil which says it's brewed with dandelion, and Blonde Ale. It will be fun to pair fragrance oils up with these brews.
I'm going to try and get a batch of soap done tonight. Not sure which fragrance to use. You'll have to check back!
The first (on the left) - Teak & Cardamom. It's a nice warm scent with a touch of spice. The soap has ground cardamom sprinkled on top for interest.
The second batch is another "spa bar" - Strawberries & Cream (on the right). This soap contains fresh strawberries, plain Greek yogurt, cocoa and Shea butters, and strawberry seeds. The strawberry seeds are throughout the soap and also sprinkled on top. They will add an exfoliant factor to the soap.
I was all set to make soap again tonight but am out of Castor Oil. Must wait until my oil shipment arrives tomorrow.