Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Weather in Weatherford

As you know, I am in the process of moving. We are moving from Arkansas to Arizona. This is supposed to take 3 solid days of driving. I had all the stops planned. Food and snacks for the trip were bought and stored away. Well guess what? Yes, we are stranded in the middle of Texas.

The winter storm that blew in seemed to chase us. I know really that we were driving into it. The roads were wet but still very drivable. We got off to a late start with the piddling things to load up our moving van with. Then of course, we had a little hiccup in that our suburban broke down. Some sort of alternator connection thingy. We were only able to get to the outskirts of Dallas.

In the morning the world was ice. There was ice everywhere, but I looked at the weather and the map and figured that if we could just get past Weatherford, we'd be golden. Then it took all day to get thru the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Let me tell you, when the sign says that there may be ice on the bridge, that is such an understatement. My GOODNESS, the overpasses in Dallas and Fort Worth are darn right scary when they are iced up! We made it to Weatherford around 4pm. I said I quit, I'm not driving in that in the dark. The road was crazy thick with ice and parts were melted, making it even more treacherous. Our minivan's alarm, which is being towed, went off several times.  

So here we are stuck in Weatherford. I hope we can leave soon, but in the end, I'd rather not drive in such icy conditions again. Not with my precious ones. But there is beauty in every situation. So while I await the thaw, I leave you with this image. I took this picture today. A truck had come in to the motel for a room. The couple drove from Arlington. It took them around two harrowing hours. It really was a beautiful find.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Moving Day Has Arrived

I think that most everyone doesn't like packing. I telling you straight up that I really don't. It is moving day and I still have things left to pack. This has been a very difficult move from the beginning. The night before, my Little Duder just up and started to vomit everywhere. My little Princess Flower climbed up the ramp of the moving van and then rolled down it. The older boys have very selective hearing.

Despite all the trials and hardships, I am excited that today is Moving Day! We will be on the road for three whole days, but I will be happy to reach our final destination. Pray for safe travels, there is fog this morning. I am hoping to outrun the winter storm coming this way.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Our family is in the process of moving once again. I won't have time to blog in some time. Moving with 5 kids now is going to be interesting. I am hoping this move with be a bit more organized. Sometimes when you plan though, things don't go accordingly. May the Lord be with us.

In the meantime, I did record a video on how I make my liquid laundry soap. If you are interested, here is the video. I will be writing another blog post on it with a recipe and more thorough instructions.

After the move I will be posting a video on how to make a quick no sew Swiffer pad with a microfiber cloth and KAMsnaps.

Moving is no fun. I have to pack away all my fun stuff. Until next time, have a very crafty day!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2013-2014 Homeschool Curriculum--Skinny

It's October and well into our school year. Funny how life keeps thrusting its head into my intentions to blog more. It's a good thing I really don't care about readers or views or whatever. I just like to write down things that appeal to me. Blogging is sorta like my online very public diary that people are welcome to read. I am going to continue on in my 2013-2014 Curriculum series because it is nice to have it down somewhere. I honestly keep trying to write it down in my Homeschool Planner, but my little notes keep getting scattered. I am not the most organized of homeschool teacher moms.

My guy Skinny is supposed to be in the Second Grade. He is having some troubles. Mainly with his teacher who should be doing a lot more with him. (See a chagrined face here) He has a lisp and for the longest time didn't talk. He is doing much better now. I believe Skinny is also a little dyslexic. My father, sister and brother all have some form of dyslexia. Cowboy Preacher is also dyslexic. So it is a pretty good chance that some of our brood will have it. I haven't tested him yet, he just shows some signs.

I evaluated his work and we have come up with a curriculum that seems to be helping. Skinny is a very stubborn little boy and doesn't like to follow all the directions given to him, but he sure does love the extra attention. That is the most important item on our new curriculum list. Skinny is spending more one on one time with me. Already he is improving.

His English is "First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind Level One". Spelling is from the site k-12 reader, first grade. Math is "McRuffy Math Second Grade" with the manipulables. Reading is "Reading Made Easy". I bought the cd disc for Roosiers, but he taught himself to read so we never used it. We'll be probably doing some things from the Old Fashioned Education site.

Everyone will be doing "Story of the World, Vol 1", Apologia's "Astronomy", and "Who is God" for Bible Study. I love using the Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System. Everyone will also be doing some form of copywork and handwriting.

I'm going to bring Skinny up to speed in his First Grade work first. I want him to get a firm grasp on the basics before really going through Second Grade. As you can see, he is doing quite well in math, so no worries there. I don't really like the McRuffy math in some places, but it isn't bad on the whole and Skinny really likes the manipulables.

The extra attention and starting at the beginning is helping immensely. Skinny is really sharp and I'm quite sure he will be caught up in no time. It is so wonderful to be able to move on to the next assignment as he gets a handle on them or just sit awhile and go over things again.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

2013-2014 Homeschool Curriculum--Little Duder (aka Rockbiter)

When people find out that I homeschool my children, they usually ask what curriculum we use. I think they expect to hear that we use Bob Jones, Saxon or A Beka. The BIG names. Usually I have to think about it for a few minutes because, well, we don't use just one system. I wanted to homeschool to be able to give each of my children their own individualized program. I want to encourage their strengths and improve their weaknesses. I don't want to be limited in any one program that may or may not work for any one of my children. Also, I do not have a lot of money to spend so I have to be very crafty on how to spend my allowance on curriculum. I want the best bang for my buck, so as much as I would love to get one of the big names with a full curriculum packet, I cannot. Besides, we seems to do a hodge podge of learning styles I think we are almost unschooling. Almost.

Here is what I have chosen for Lil' Duder. He is currently 3 1/2 years old as of right now. He is fiercely independent at times and is extremely curious. This year he is joining his brothers in school because he won't get left behind and loves to copy his brothers. He is very intelligent and watches everything closely. Lil' Duder is my only southpaw.  He gets easily frustrated because he is unable to get it correct the very first time he tries a new task. He loves attention and is eager to please. Lil' Duder also loves to show off, just like his big brothers.

Lil' Duder will be doing two pages out of Christian Liberty Preschool activity book each school day. He will also be doing two pages of Building Thinking Skills: Beginning ages 3-4 a day. I also printed up a binder from Confessions of a Homeschooler. I really liked the idea of a daily notebook. I have some extra worksheets and coloring books to occupy him. Lil' Duder has a pretty good attention span and likes to keep busy so I need "makeup" sheets for him. I'd like to keep it simple for him in the beginning but already it is pushing me to give him more and more work.

I will be adding some lapbooks for him from Homeschool Share. I think he will love that. It will be fun to read him the stories then to work on the various activities offered by Homeschool Share. I really enjoy lapbooking and look forward to creating my own components so I am not limited.

Lil' Duder will join the rest of the family in the Bible Study, Science and History. I will go over these more in depth with one of the other boys' curriculum. We will be doing these subjects together. Each child will be doing an activity or worksheet appropriate to their skills. This system just works better for our family.

Lil' Duder will also be using the Easy Peasy online curriculum to kind of round things out. All more boys seem to enjoy it very much. It is a wonder and a blessing and I am so glad to be able to use this wonderful free resource.

We will also be doing various activities and crafts throughout the year from various places online and from books from the library. I really love working with preschool things. There really are so many wonderful resources online for this age group. I look forward to seeing Lil' Duder expand his brain in the coming year. Don't you just love seeing the world through the eyes of a preschooler?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Frugal Moms Beware: Homemade Wipe Solution Might NOT be such a Great Idea

My Facebook has been chock full of money saving tips and tricks. A great many of them I have known for quite some time and use often. There are some, however, you should be wary of. Before I started on my Soaping Adventure, I thought that all of these tips and trick were a very good thing. But that isn't always so. Sometimes one should bear in mind that not everything on the internet is good, safe, or well researched.

When you have little money, finding the little gems that have been around awhile seems like such a Godsend. As more and more people get away from the "toxic" cleaning supplies and start to use more "green" ways to clean, other items to save money start to take hold. One such savings is to make your own baby wipes and/ wipe solution.

I have to say that I really cringe at times now that I know how to make my own body products such as lotion, lip balms and of course, soap. I cringe at the ingredients and the directions on how to make wipe solution. I know mothers who would take on a company for poor manufacturing practices and yet in their own home with their own precious bundle of joy fail to follow those same manufacturing practices in the interest of saving a few bucks. The potential harm is just horrifying to imagine.

If you have been reading my blog, you will know that I cloth diaper my babies. My little Princess Flower wears cute little cloth diapers that I made for her. I use cloth wipes whenever I can. In fact, I wish I had more flannel, I love using the wipes for a lot of other things other than wiping a cute little tush. But whether you cloth diaper or use disposable diapers, making your own wipe solution for homemade wipes is the same.

If you wanted to make disposable wipes, then using a strong paper towel is the first ingredient. For the wipe solutions there is usually water, baby shampoo/soap, and essentials oils. Some have glycerin added. Others have a various different additives such as olive oil or some sort of moisturizer. None, not one I have read has an added preservative.

Preservatives have become a nasty word in today's vocabulary. Honestly, I do try to stay away from foods with preservatives in them. It isn't entirely possible for my family, but we do try. In beauty and body products they are necessary. I don't know how many of you realize that there are preservatives in your lotion, your shampoo even in liquid soap.

Fact: oil and water is a breeding ground for all sorts of nasties.

Mold, bacteria, and yeast will grow in the right conditions. Often in a warm environment with an oil and water combination. Frankly, I do NOT want to expose my precious ones to abnormally high concentrations of those nasties. I understand perfectly that my family doesn't live in a bubble. We aren't hermetically sealed from contagions. Neither do I operate under the impression that my children are very sanitary. Mostly they aren't. Goodness, you should see some of the things they do. Of course, if you are a parent or just know a child, then chances are good, you already know.

Most of the wipe solutions I've seen seem to rely on the preservative already in the baby shampoo or other soapy type vehicle. I know from my research into making my own products that a preservative can have some additions, but that is my own creation. I know how much and what type of preservative I used and whether it can withstand a broad spectrum of pH or needs to have range of pH to work properly. Using someone elses product, you don't have that information. I also note that they don't always let you know that you really should use distilled water rather than tap water. The fact that you are adding extra water is going to throw off the formula and thus the preservative most likely will fail.

Another item I note about the directions for wipe solution. Many do not tell you to sanitize your workspace, your tools and your containers. How many times have we heard horror stories about tainted products? How do you think they got tainted? Good manufacturing practices don't only apply in big companies. If you are going to save money and go through the process to get a similar product, don't you want it to be safe to use in the end?

I could make a wipe solution. I do have a broad spectrum preservative I could use. But I don't. I don't like the thought of my cloth wipes sitting there in a moist environment for such a length of time. I don't find it difficult to take some time and run some warm water on a wipe(I usually do a couple at a time) and then change a diaper. I have no problem grabbing a paper towel and wetting it and using it as a disposable wipe. Often, I only really need is water. I keep a small travel bottle of baby wash on the diaper table for the really difficult diaper changes. It is easy enough to add a tiny drop of soap to the wipe and work it in.

Now I have preservatives because I make a lot of my own products, but I'd hazard to guess most moms wouldn't even know where to get some let alone how to use them. Frankly, it is easier and cheaper for me just to use simple tap water as I need to.

I have seen in my cloth diaper world, some concentrated wipe solutions. Some I know have preservatives, so I would likely use if I ever wanted to fork over the money. Others I can tell, don't. I guess I am becoming my mother, reading the ingredients labels. And I have generally informed myself what long officially sounding names are, perhaps you should do the same. It is easy enough to do, do a search for INCI names, your world will expand.

An example of preservative failure. This is my Little Duder's moist flushable wipe container:
This is what is inside:
I know these wipes are preserved. Most store bought ones are. I believe what happened here is that this shipment most likely got very hot. Heat kills the preservative, makes it inert. I shudder to think of wiping Lil' Duder's bottom with that.

Just because you can't SEE the mold, bacteria, or yeast doesn't mean it isn't there. Plainly you can see this has been compromised, but often you can't see that your wipes have been tainted. Does your baby has back to back diaper rashes or a diaper rash that doesn't go away? Yeast rashes are so difficult to get rid of in the first place. Does it come back? Do you know why?

How often do you wash your wipe containers? I never gave it a thought before. But I think I will wash my wipe containers more often and spray them down with some 91% Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol) from now on.

Do you still want to save money making a product such as this? Perhaps you can find a better way. Please, before you make any frugal tip/trick, do your own research. Research the ingredients, research to see if anyone made this before. Research to see if anyone who used such came to any harm. Even trusted sources are human and can make a mistake. It is up to you to keep your family safe, even if you have to do it frugally.


Organizing the Piles of Shopping Bags

I've been overrun with t-shirt shopping bags. My little holders were stuffed full and my little helpers didn't know what to do with the extras so they have been stashing them willy nilly all over the house. Personally, I don't like bulging bags of bags. I think it looks ugly. I decided to take some time out to get them bundled how I used to bundle them. I've been on an organizing kick lately. It felt so good to have those unsightly bags all bundled neatly into one little basket.

Here is my video of how to bundle them if you'd like to try your hand at it. I tried to make a short video, but you know what? I like talking and I tend to ramble. Have fun!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Cuticle Oil and Eyeshadow Primer

I finally got around to making some cuticle oil for myself. Now I just need to remember to use it more often. I also needed some eyeshadow primer and since once again we are without income, I couldn't just go out and buy some. Happily, I had most of the ingredients. That is what I love about crafting, you can always make stuff or come to another way of thinking about what you need and how to get it.

Both of these formulas come from the Point of Interest blog by Susan Barclay-Nichols. If you've never visited her blog, you might find a lot of lovely goodies to look over. Here is the cuticle oil and this is the link for the primer. Each formula was calculated for 50 grams. Here is my little video making of:

I have to say it wasn't very good. I'm still learning, but I really like making videos. Uploading? Not so much. And of course I could spent days editing. Not my most favorite thing to do really. I'd rather take pretty pictures and make lovely things.

Just for your information, I did sanitize all everything I used and needed beforehand. I think I forgot to say that on the video. I certainly don't want to have nasty things growing in my products for sure.

I didn't put any labels on my cuticle oil since they were just for me and really, it kills me to label that tiny little pot every time. I know, I'm weird. Since I offered my excess primers to my nieces, I thought I would do a pretty little label for them. I used the Avery 2" x 2" square labels. I didn't want to fuss with getting in done in my usually Microsoft Publisher, so I just used the online program which turned out pretty well.
This label is just a little too big for my lip balm tubes, so I cut about 1/8" off the side of the label. If you have steady hands, it isn't too difficult to put the label on. Unfortunately, this label wasn't meant to be put on a round object. They all started to pop off after a little while. I was not happy. Happily, a simple solution was just to use some crystal clear packing tape to seal the labels. I did need to trim a little off, but that was easily done with a razor blade.
All in all, both of these formulas were very easy to make. I thank Susan for all the hardwork and knowledge she put into creating these wonderful products.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Molds in Use

Once again I'm lagging on my blog and that is not what I want to do. I have several ideas for articles and videos. Honestly I'm playing catch up at home, but in doing so, I am getting better organized. I did get some videos published. For those who want to see the new, cute, smaller molds in action:
I'm still quite new to videos and I hope to improve as I continue. Frankly, it takes so long to upload them to YouTube I am not quite sure it is worth it. Maybe if I can get a better connection. But I love videos! I also love to write and shouldn't stay away from it for so long.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Smaller Molds

I just got my package from Brambleberry! I am so excited! I don't normally alter from my norm of only ordering my soap supplies once a year. These new molds were offered after I made my order in February. I was just going to wait until next year, if I remembered, but then Brambleberry had a coupon code for these very molds! I could not resist. I pleaded and reasoned with Cowboy Preacher to let me buy some of these molds. And so now I have some.

Isn't my husband the best? Yeah, I love him so.

I do love to make soap, but since I am just a hobbyist, for now at least. I want to try out some new designs and scents, but don't really want to be swamped in soap.

I have three 4 lb wooden molds and two 2 lb wooden molds. I really love my wood molds, lined with freezer paper and all, but I am looking forward to trying these silicone ones out. I know I will probably have to keep them in the molds a little longer, but I hope it will be worth it in the long run. I will be sure to post my results.

Click on the link if you want to buy one or more for yourself==>Brambleberry's 1 lb Silicone Mold

I love how they always give you a little sample. This time I got a sample of Red Apple. I love appley scents. I think I will try out this little sample in my new mold! Catch ya later, I've got some soaping to do!

Monday, June 10, 2013


I've changed the name of blog yet again. So goodbye to A Little Creative Fun and Hello to The Ladybug's Soapbox. I decided to change to tie into my new Facebook page. If I were to start up my own soap company, I'd like to use The Ladybug's Soapbox.

In other news, Cowboy Preacher and Roosiers took off to camp this week. I'm left at home with two sickies. Princess Flower and Skinny are both sick with who knows what. It isn't too serious. Princess Flower takes after me and just sleeps it off. Skinny is the one to pay attention to. He likes to, uh, make a mess, so to speak. So I hope I'll be able to get back on here sometime this week and re do my video on making some cuticle oil. We will see.

Also Rockbiter is changing his name to Little Duder. He's a funny little dude. Anyhow, I decided to get off the fence about potty training him. I was waiting because we were going to be taking a trip. Starting to potty train and then a trip doesn't bode well for successful potty training. The good thing is that he is old enough to understand and wants to potty train. The bad thing is that he is also very stubborn and often says he wants to go in his big boy undies. Even though I potty trained my oldest 3, it still seems like such an undertaking every time. But I am a certain that potty training boot camp works. I just wasn't counting on being left with 2 sickies.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Take Note!

Being a soapmaker, there really isn't a shortage of soap around my house. I have a lot of soap, what can I say? I'm addicted to making soap.

I still had a few soaps hanging around from my last soap swap. The Autumn one, so I have a lot of spicy ones to choose from. Well I chose the one that smelled like cinnamon. Even knowing that cinnamon is a sensitizer I used it. My hands aren't all that sensitive, but let me tell you, that luscious cinnamon smelling soap really did a number on them. Nothing bad, just my hands were dry and itchy. Really itchy! I'm glad I didn't try it on my face and that Cowboy Preacher didn't use it (he likes to use the hand soap in a pump).

I decided that after that little fiasco, I needed a super mild soap to help me get over the cinnamon. You have to understand, I love cinnamon. It is just smells wonderful and so homey to me. I went thorough my soap boxes looking for a nice soap. I found a bar that must be 3 years old at least. It was an old goat's milk soap from before we moved to Arkansas. I made it for babies.

What is the point of this post? Well, I love the mildest of that old goat's milk bar. It really helped. It doesn't have the bubbles I love, but it has a great feel and it doesn't leave my hands feeling dry. I wasn't so great at taking notes at the beginning of my soapmaking adventure. I like to experiment a lot, playing with a base soap recipe. So as you may have caught on, I didn't take great notes on this bar.

It is sad to know that I made a really great bar of soap and I may never replicate it again! I know it has olive oil and maybe shea butter and it definately has goat's milk, but I don't know what else I may have put in the soap. I even remember the fragrance I used, but the recipe is gone. My memory isn't what it used to be. So my point is: take notes of your creations so you can create them more than once.

Of course I know that some of you just won't. How do I know? I was once like that. I saw any number of times others telling me to take good notes. Did I listen? Well, yes eventually, but at first, not remotely. Ah, how wonderful it would be if I had taken better notes.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sugar and Spice

Just the beginning...


Bear with me, she has FOUR older brothers.
She knows she's cute.

Enjoy the Creative Mind

Boy Genius designed, cut out and sewed his "Ultramatrix" cuff. Can we say, someone loves Ben 10? It warms my heart to watch him craft with complete concentration from beginning to completion. Crafting Rules!

And one for the Baby Brother...

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Being Sick is No Fun

Well as the saying goes, "The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry" (Robert Burns). Last week I had intended to make another video, but alas Salmonella broke in and attacked the whole family. Only Princess was spared. Salmonella is evil, just plain evil. Let me tell ya, trying to take care of mulitple sick boys while being sick yourself is NOT a picnic. So last week was just some down time for us to recover as a family. In fact, Cowboy Preacher is still not too hot right now.

I actually did do a video, but I kinda dropped the camcorder. So some of it went missing, which I needed. The rest of the video went bye bye. I'll just record another one. I hope you look forward to learning how to make some lovely cuticle oil. I really needed some, but I made extra to give away as gifts. It would make a nice Mother's Day treat.

Here is a picture of one recipe I am testing for shaving soap. I am looking forward to testing this soap out.
Next on the soap list is Pine Tar and some colorant tests for getting some lovely purple soap. Until the next time.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Custom Nails with Brambleberry's Nail Polish Kit

Well of course I have been neglecting my blog again. Sorry folks, life continues to march forward. Honestly I've been intending to write but certain things keep popping up. My little Princess has been sick and I haven't felt too hot lately.

On with the show! Literally, I've had some time to play with some of my new toys this year and videoed myself playing around with my nail polish kit. Boy Genius had gotten me into watching reviews and how to videos on YouTube. He then wanted to publish some himself and that got me wanting to make some videos of my own. Well it also helped that a few of my friends wanted to see some visual tutes. I like to share what I've learned.

I really liked this kit. I think Brambleberry did a wonderful job putting together the items you will need to make some really rockin' nail polish. The only downside to the kit I could see is that I wish they had included a mini scoop or two. Thankfully, I did have some on hand, but I know that some people could have used them. On the bright side, you can mostly likely use those specialty measuring spoons (ie dash, pinch).

With my yearly restocking of supplies for my soap and lotion making, I decided to buy Brambleberry's Glittery and Bright Nail Polish Kit. It is only $24.99 and they have really reasonable shipping. I really liked the colorants offered by this kit. I have been wanting to do my nails ever since Brambleberry announced they were carrying the Suspending Nail Polish Base. I waited and waited for my order time to come around just so I could add this kit to it. It is a great starter to see if you really want to get into making your own custom Franken Polish. I confess I was very plain and didn't really mix many colors together. I really liked the colors and wanted to see them shine on their own. Next year I am planning to mix some of my own color blends and see where that takes me.

Supplies you will need:
The Glittery and Bright Nail Polish Kit
Mini Scoops or some small measuring spoon
Cotton Balls
Nail Polish Remover
Paper Towels
A working surface you are not afraid to get messy on (I used a notebook paper on the video, but I'd recommend a piece of freezer paper myself)

I did actually video when I first got the kit, but I really flubbed and made a huge mess. My children insisted on being in the spotlight and it really was too chaotic to publish. I will say that the first time pouring the nail polish base into the bottle was a disaster.  It was cold and I was too eager. The nail polish base was thick and didn't pour into the bottle in the narrow stream that I had watched on the Soap Queen videos. After I cleaned up that mess, I sat back and thought it might be because the base was cold and it was rather full. I promise when I get another one, I'll film pouring the first bottle again. I believe in learning from others mistakes. Who knows, I might get it right the first time. Anyhow, in the video I mention paper towels and nail polish remover but never used them on camera. Well it is still handy to have on hand IN CASE you make a mess like me. I used the cotton ball soaked with remover to clean up my messed up bottles.

Here is the video.

I hope you enjoyed watching it and gathered some useful information. Again, I really like this kit and I plan on buying more supplies to feed my new habit of Franken Polish.

Here are the resulting nail polishes:

  1.  Sheer Purple Veil: 4 mini scoops of Sparkle Violet Mica (Not included in kit, I just had some from last year)
  2. Candy Apple: 3 mini scoops of Cellini Red (this was the one I made on camera, also not included in kit)
  3. Turquoise: 5 mini scoops of Cellini Blue (5 is really too much, I'd try 3 next time)
  4. 80's Pink: 3 mini scoops of Red/Blue mica (this really takes me back)
  5. Soft Peach: 4 mini scoops of Coral Mica
  6. Stormy: 4 mini scoops of Luster Black Mica 3 mini scoops of Silver Glitter
  7. Dark Before Dawn: 3 mini scoops of Amethyst Purple Mica, 1/2 mini scoop of Luster Black Mica
  8. Disco Pink: 5 mini scoops of Red/Blue Mica, 2 mini scoops Fushia Glitter
As I mentioned I find that I don't much like glitter in my nail polish anymore, but that is just me. I got mica everywhere, I'm messy like that. I had so much fun making these. My Roosiers was happy to hear I plan on getting more supplies. He doesn't much care for the smell, but I think he enjoys the colors. I think he plans to be a Mad Scientist like me. :)

Please stop by again, there is always more to craft.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

New Toys

It's late and I'm up playing with my new toys. My wonderful husband, Cowboy Preacher, got me a tablet and a video camera. So I've been playing with both of those this last week. I am hoping to start making so video tutorials for some of my friends who have asked me to do this. Plus, my eldest son, Boy Genius, had got me hooked on video reviews. So I'd like to do a few of those as well.

I love watching other soapers on YouTube. There are many more now then when I was looking how to make soap. I hope to join the group.

Will I be posting more because I have the tablet? Probably not as I type much faster on my laptop, but it will be great for small posts like this one. Until next time, have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Little of What I've Been Up To

My recent efforts into soapmaking. I have to say, most of these didn't turn out like I had planned, but I have come to like the results.
  1. Sweet Tarts Sweet Heart soap, contains olive oil, coconut oil and palm. It is scented with a fragrance oil from Nature's Garden, smells like Sweetarts to me; grape, berries and oakmoss.
  2. My Tester soap, contains olive oil, coconut oil and palm oil. This was a free sample from Nature's Garden. The soap separated on me and needed to be rebatched. You can read my adventure's of this here. Skinny calls this soap the Sausage soap, LOL. The scent came through the cook very well, at least for my nose. It is a very fruity, juicy scent. If I can get this again, I'd like to try it in my usual 4lb batch instead of a smaller one. 
  3. Rose and Violet soap, contains olive oil, rice bran oil, castor oil, coconut oil and mowrah butter. Scented with Nature's Garden Rose and Violet fragrance oil. This soap accelerated on me due to being too cool and soaping in a cold environment. It came out quite well, just not as planned. I popped a few rose buds and petals on top.
  4. Easter Confetti soap, contains olive oil, coconut oil and palm oil. Another scent from Nature's Garden, Champagne Pomegranate. Using up the some of the colored soap from my Sweet Tarts soap.
  5. Flowery Meadow soap, contains rice bran oil, palm kernal flakes, castor oil, mowrah butter, soybean oil, palm oil and almond milk. Yet another Nature's Garden scent, very floral. This one overheated and is still very slick with oil. I'm gonna test it out and see if I need to wait longer for the soap to reabsorb the oil or if I should go ahead and rebatch it.
  6. Twilight Skies soap, contains rice bran oil, lard, coconut & jojoba oils. My very first all essential oil soap with Lavender, Lemon Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Orange, Clove and Star Anise.
I was in a Nature's Garden kick I think.  Even though I don't sell my soap, I love making it. I'm addicted to soap making. I have made another soap not pictured here for Cowboy Preacher, Barbados. A scent that Cowboy Preacher helped to blend. It smells divine, spicy bay, rum and coconut. Even more soap is in my future. Happy Soaping.

Meal Planning 2013

Well, it is another year and of course I'm late posting my little Meal Planner. Actually I debated whether I wanted to continue making this available or not. I have the undated version from a few years ago still available. For the last few months I have been meal planning using an app on my android phone. Yes, I'm a little behind the times and such. I like it that way. A friend had posted on Facebook an article on how to get more organized using your smart phone and I decided to look into it.

I've been using Pepperplate. I like that is has a section for recipes, planner and shopping list. I organized the shopping list according to how I shop. I love that. Adding recipes from some of my favorite cooking sites is dead easy. I still need to work on adding my recipes to the queue, but I'll get to it eventually. I like how I can increase or decrease the recipe. I have some issues with the shopping list, but I think that is me.

It has been nice. It has been easy. I found though, that I miss writing things down. It was nice just to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea, my pencil and Meal Planner and just jot meals down. My boys liked having it around to look at themselves without always asking me what was for dinner. I don't generally add the meals to my little poster when I plan on my phone or computer. So here it is, my 2013 Meal Planner.
I decided to be a little more fanciful and decorate it a little. I am usually frugal and save my color ink for the "really important" stuff, but sometimes a gal has got to have some color. You can download it from my Dropbox here. Instructions on how to put the booklet together are here.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Nature's Garden Haul and Testing

 My family was thoroughly blessed this Christmas Season. Our church was very generous, to my children and to Cowboy Preacher and I. So as part of my Christmas gift with some of our Christmas money, I got myself some lovely fragrances. It was a lovely little splurge I don't get all that often. So here is my Nature's Garden haul:
  1. Burgundy Rose 4 oz (This is a restock for me, love this scent)
  2. Creamy Coconut 4 oz (Another restock)
  3. Bergamot 1oz
  4. Champagne Pomegranate 1oz
  5. Christmas Cabernet 1oz
  6. Lemon Meringue Pie 1oz
  7. Mojito 1oz
  8. Misbehavin 1oz
  9. NB Baby Bee Buttermilk type 1oz
  10. Yuzu 1oz
  11. Basil Sage Mint 1oz
  12. Lime Cilantro 1oz
  13. Dragon's Blood 1oz
  14. Oatmeal, Milk and Honey 1oz
  15. Sweetgrass 1oz
  16. Tomato Leaf Coriander 1oz
  17. Peppermint 1oz
  18. Sangria Punch 1oz
  19. Bay Rum 1oz
  20. Ocean Mist 1oz
Most of these I will be using in soap. Some will make it to lotions and bath bombs and such. Cowboy Preacher has never been more delighted smelling fragrances from Nature's Garden compared to the other companies fragrances. He has a great nose, so I usually drag him into smelling everything with me. In fact, he already told me which ones he wanted in his soaps and lotions. O happy day! The whole family gets into the sniff-a-thon. I'm a little sensitive to scents, so most of the 1 oz samples will make it into my usually 4lb batch of soap. Unless, I also make a matching lotion, the it will be 2lbs and some lotion. So this will be a lot of soap. *Happy Dance*

 I signed up for the free 1 oz fragrance tester sample as well hoping there'd be an available sample left for me. I was happy to see that did get one. Papaya Guava Mango.

It was kind of a mystery. There was no information on it. Nature's Garden is good about listing what you need to know about a fragrance oil. I thought it was terribly exciting to be testing a new fragrance. It smelled so fruity and very juicy. I had already started to plan what I wanted to do with this.

Now the soap I had planned for this tester was going to have four colors. Natural soap base to see if the fragrance discolored the soap. Pink kaolin clay for the guava, French green clay for the papaya and tumeric yellow for the mango.

I used my Trinity soap base (40% Olive oil, 30% Coconut, 30% Palm Oil) as I knew how it would behave. I decided that instead of a 4 lb batch, I'd go with a 2 lb batch (I mean 2 lbs of oils, so with the addition to the water and NaOH, the finished soap will weigh more than 2 lbs).

The problems start.

I usually soap cool, barely letting the oils melt before adding the hot lye solution. I get antsy and don't want to wait for the solution to cool down. I like to freeze the distilled water and make a cooler solution, but I forgot to freeze the water. Let me tell ya, if you soap cool, it isn't a good idea to do that in a cold room. The  soap was starting to accelerate to trace when I only wanted emulsification. Oh well, that's ok, I'll just plop the soap into the mold. So I separated out the soap batter so I could mix in the colorants. Then I remembered I hadn't even added the fragrance. So it was a dollop in each of the colorants and the rest into the main uncolored soap.

I stick blend the fragrance into the soap. It loosened up immediatly. Some fragrances have done that to me in the past so I was kinda happy. More room to be creative. It loosened up the colored soap batter as well. Then I look in the main bowl. SEPARATION!

At first I thought it was only ricing on me, but no, I could see the oils coming right out. Working as fast as I could, I tried to stick blend it all into submission. No dice, it would blend together great, then start to separate as soon as I stopped the hand blender. So frustrating, I could almost cry for the lost of the beautiful soap I had envisioned. I molded it anyway and put it into the oven to force gel; hoping for the best, expecting to rebatch it anyway.

I worked on some other soaps and then went to bed. The next morning this is what the soap looked like.  I noticed that the soap left in my soap bowl was bright yellow, interesting.

Floating oil on top. Grains of lye heavy soap. *Sigh* Rebatch time.

One thing you should know about me. I can't stand wasting anything. Most especially the ingredients making up a soap. I know I can salvage this, it is just going to look ugly and most likely flash off the scent. Now, I've never had a situation like this before, but I was hoping that despite the separation, I could save this soap.

Into the crockpot it goes. I was surprised to see how hard the soap under the oils was. Cutting through the lye heavy soap, I could see how it was crumbly like all the research I had done said that lye heavy soap would be.

As you can see, the natural soap base has turned very bright yellow. I used too much of the pink kaolin clay, so that looks more red than pink. The green didn't even show up and the yellow was muted by the non colored clay. Since it was still fresh, I didn't add any additional water. But I was concerned as to how much oil was lost, so I added the rest of my avocado oil to the pot, around 2 or 3 ounces, so this soap will be really superfatted.

After it cooked a nice long time, it looked very much like my hot process soap looked. I molded it in my round silicone mold and let it sit. Even though it is very humid and rainy here, once it cooled completely, it was hard enough to unmold. I like how pieces of the "red" came through. I usually would add more fragrance oil at the end, but I guess cooking it on low helped a bunch. This soap still smells wonderful. I was really surprised. Now it will most likely be too light for some people, but in the end, this is the concentration I like my soaps to smell. It even leaves a light scent on my hands that disapates in time. The soap turned out lovely lather and feels very nice in the end. So I guess I don't mind too much that it looks a little brownish with red flecks. I love this scent.

Nature's Garden, my recommendation is that this is not suitable for cold process at all. It seems to discolor the soap yellow. The fragrance cause separation in cold process. It works great in Hot Process though. I really love how fruity this scent is and I would definitely buy it for my Hot Process soaps.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year! 2013

Happy New Year everyone. I hope that everyone had a safe and fun holidays. Our Christmas was fairly quiet, peaceful even. I got to sit back and enjoy the joy on all the kiddos faces. Several people blessed our children greatly this Christmas and they enjoyed the blessings full well. It was Princess' first Christmas, but we didn't do any special photoshoot or anything. I wanted a stress free Christmas and I got it.

My New Year's goal is to get to blogging a bit more. I have loads of ideas and crafts I'd like to share. Princess is getting more independent and I am getting my energy back. My schedule has been sadly lacking so it is off to reorganize my Home book a little. Actually, it is a total mess since I haven't cracked it since Princess was born. My sanity has suffered for it I think. I have be making inroads into being more organized and that has made me feel loads better. I have also lost 10 pounds this Christmas season, crazy. I am looking forward to losing more baby fat as well.

I have been watching some new videos and people on YouTube and they have inspired me to start experimenting. Cowboy Preacher is also looking forward to some special formulations I am planning to hopefully help with some skin problems he has been dealing with. I look forward to all that I will be learning from these trials and experiments.

New Year's Eve we usually have a Game Night at the church, but really I didn't feel well enough to put something on. So we stayed at home. What was to be a early night for me, turned into diluting a liquid soap I had made a couple years back. I had found it in my soaping supplies with no note as to the ingredients. (Another goal is to take better notes.) I knew it was olive oil based and so decided to play with it. Since I had sealed the soap paste in a vacuum bag, I knew it was still alright to use. It turned out great. I scented it with a little Sangria Punch from Nature's Garden. It smells divine, I am so buying more of the fragrance. Later on I will be doing a post on my haul from them.

2012 has been an excellent year and went by so fast. I am looking forward to seeing what God has in store for 2013.