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Sunday, January 31, 2016

A walk among the cypress trees...................

I made a small batch of soap again this weekend.  My results are as follows:





I had to make that swirling Taiwan swirl again.  It came out a little different because the batter leaked a little into another divider, but I think it turned out beautiful anyway.  It is like the Forest Gump box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.  This is the third time I have made this type of swirl.  It is somewhat addicting.

I used two colors of green, 24 K gold mica, and white.  This is fragranced with essential oils of cypress, peppermint, and lemongrass.  It smells wonderful.

Please view my web store at:

http://www.custercottage.com

And visit my Etsy shop at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage

 

Have a great week!  Dawnie


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Circling Taiwan Swirl and Other Soapmaking





The batter................

Swirl/slide soap.  This is called Hardy Har Har soap.  Ed Hardy blend of fragrance and essential oils.  LOL











Circular Taiwan Swirl in the mold.

 Circular Taiwan swirl.  What I an going for is on the left.  The one in the center is the center cut.  The one on the right is fine, but looks more like a tulip than a lotus flower.  Only one lotus flower is in a log mold and it is an end cut.

The extra batter goes into circular bars.  The swirl turned out nicely.

Most of the soap I made yesterday.

Even though it is too late to enter the January contest for the circling Taiwan swirl soap, I had to try my hand at making the design again.  I used the colors of bright yellow, bright purple, and coral.  I also made some swirled/slide soap with a lovely design.  I used the same colors, but I added white and bright green in larger quantities.  I love the way the colors mingle and create a secret design in the soap until it is unmolded and cut.  In my recipe, I used tallow, coconut oil, sunflower oil, shea butter, and coco butter and used full water with 5% superfat.  This recipe makes a nice hard bar of soap with a lot of great skin nourishing butters.

How I make soap:  I measure out the fats and butters.  Then I heat the fats and mix the butters in with the warm fats.  This melts the butters since they are very hard.  I then blend all of these fats with a stick blender, adding a little titanium dioxide to keep the soap white.  In another container, I combine ice water and lye.  I usually wait approx. 30-45 minutes after I mix the lye water.  This gives it time to cool down, but I can allow much more time If necessary.   Once the time is up, I add the lye water solution into the fat and butter solution.  (The oils are usually room temperature.)  I use a stick blender to blend it all together for a minute or so to emulsification but not trace.  I add the fragrance and blend it for an additional 30 seconds.  ( I used a blend of Ed Hardy fragrance oil, lemongrass essential oil, vanilla rosewood fragrance oil.  Ed Hardy fragrance oil is too strong for me so I have to blend it with other scents.

Now I separate any batter I want to color by placing the batter into container(s), adding color to each container, and stick blending the batter and color for a few seconds.  Now the fun begins.  I prefer to have a lot of one neutral color with a small amount of bright color.  If you remember from my previous posts, the rule of thumb is to keep the soap fairly light in color so the bubbles are not colored which in turn would possibly darken washcloths.  If that happens, I have added too much coloring.  Any number of colors can be added to the design at this time, but the soap starts to set up once it is blended, so too much time devoted to mixing the colors will take away from what time I have left to work the design. This is where I have to rush.   It is best to have containers ready and colors premixed or ready to go before I blend the lye and water solution into the fat solution.  Lately I have been using mica for my coloring, when I don't use herbs and spices.  For my colors, I place approximately 2 teaspoons of mica in a container, add about 1.5 cups of soap solution.  If the color does not evenly spread through the deign it is fine with me.  Dark and light of the same color will add some contrast and interest in the design.  If the fragrance causes the soap solution to set up fast, it will dictate how much time I have to deign my soap.  Floral fragrances tend to make soap set up fast.  Once my design is planned and my colors mixed, I place the mixture into molds.  I usually use silicone so I don't have to line the molds.  If I use a wooden mold, I have to line the mold ahead of time.

I know soap making sounds like a lot of work, but it became fairly simple once I learned how to judge my time and what emulsification and trace should look like.  I usually type my formula into a SAP calculator from Soaper's Choice so I know how much lye and water to use.  I also have a computer program that tells me what cleansing and hardness qualities my formula will have.  At first I preferred to follow recipes or use just one fat such as tallow or lard.  After that, I branched out.

The Circling Taiwan Swirl Soap Method:  Basically the soap loaf mold is divided into 4 sections lengthwise.  In the 4 sections you pour at lease 3 colors of soap batter is poured with one color in each section.  Then the dividers are removed.  A back and forth action from short end of the mold across to the other short end of the mold and all along the mold inching along using a tool such as a skewer or a spoon handle to mix the colors and give them a swirl into each other.  You stick the tool all of the way to the bottom of the mold.  After that step is completed all of the way down the soap mold, you circle the interior mold edges a couple of times with that same tool.  This action makes the swirls start to tilt.  The work is done, so let the soap set up for a day or so before unmolding.  Once unmolded, the soap is cut into chunks approximately 2 1/4 inches thick and then cut across through the center of the chunk, making 2 bars.  A lotus pattern should show up on one end of the soap log.

I hope I explained this so you are able to understand it.  I made soap using this method a few days ago.  You can check it out at: http://custercottage.blogspot.com/2016/01/scrubbie-yarn-and-circling-taiwan-swirl.html

Please view my web store at:

http://www.custercottage.com

And visit my Etsy shop at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage

 

Dawnie

 

New grand-baby picture.  She loves spending time with the chickens.  She can imitate the chickens very well.




Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekend Hat Project Photos

This first hat is made with a ribbon yarn with an added eyelash yarn on the sides.  Both yarns have added sparkle.  There is a little charm hanging from the center of the hat.  This is made for a girl age 6 on up.



The second hat is made with green yarn which has added sprinkles of other colors.  Along the sides is green eyelash yarn.  A fancy vintage looking button is in the center.  It is also made for a girl age 6 or older.



2 new weekend projects are completed.  I am seriously behind on listing my items on my website an on Etsy, but I did add 3 new items on Etsy today.  I hope you had a great weekend!  Dawnie

Please view my web store at:

http://www.custercottage.com

And visit my Etsy shop at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage

 

 





Sunday, January 17, 2016

Scrubbie yarn and Circling Taiwan Swirl Soap

Have you seen the new scrubbie yarn?  Most of the adds I have viewed have been from Red Heart Yarn.  I purchased some from another company so I could test it.  It is polyester and has a little scratchier feel than normal yarn.  It is not harsh, but it would aid in cleaning dishes or exfoliating your skin.  I made a few dishrags and a rose scrubbie.  I think any of what I have made will work in the kitchen or in the bath, even on a face.  As I was experimenting, I knitted a second yarn along with the scrubbie yarn and made a potholder.  Here is a link for some of the Red Heart Yarn at Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=scrubby+yarn&tag=mh0b-20&index=aps&hvadid=4161158967&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_h15hx579_e


Rose crocheted scrubbie.








Pot holder with 3 buttons on the top.
Amy Warden at Great Cakes Soap Challenge Club has a new challenge for January.  It is called the Circling Taiwan Swirl Soap.  Basically the soap loaf mold is divided into 4 sections lengthwise.  In the 4 sections at lease 3 colors of soap batter is poured.  Then the dividers are removed and a back and forth action with a tool such as a skewer or a spoon handle is used to mix the colors and give them a swirl into each other.  After that is done all of the way across the soap mold, you circle the mold edges on the inside a couple of times with that same tool.  This action makes the swirls start to tilt.  Once the soap is unmolded, the soap is cut into bars approximately 2 1/4 inches thick and then cut across through the center of the bar.  A lotus pattern should show up on one end of the mold.  My version of this challenge is:




 

After it came out of the mold.  Notice the blue turned to purple.

These are the cuts.  The mold is small so I only got 6 bars of soap.  The ends are to make a lotus pattern.  Maybe they do.  I think I should have swirled more and made my cris-cross design smaller.  I do like the center design the best.

Don't you agree that the center 2 pieces look the best.  See the heart in the center at the bottom.  I swirled the blue color with white and also the coral color with white.  The two other sections were swirled with both coral, blue, and white.  Since the directions were designed with 4 equally wide sections and mine soap was made with 2 large and 2 small sections, this may also have influenced my design.


This was my first attempt at the Circling Taiwan Swirl Design.  I don't think either end cut would be nice enough to enter into the contest.   I did get some experience with the design and I enjoyed making the soap.  

I may make another........................

 

Please view my web store at:

http://www.custercottage.com

And visit my Etsy shop at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage

 

Thank you for viewing!

Dawie

 

 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wishbone and Hook, Line and Sinker Hat

As I was using a bar of soap that I made several years ago, I noticed a design embedded in the soap.  The design is a wishbone.  Can you see it?
I just finished making a hat for my son.  It was made with a Noro Rainbow Roll that changed colors as I knit.  I used straight needles instead of the circular needles.  I planned to embellish the seam decoration more, but I think it is fine the way it is.  I crocheted the seam together on the inside and crocheted around the bottom edge and along the side of the seam on the outside.   I think it turned out real cute and can be worn by anyone young at heart.  The pattern is Hook, Line and Sinker by Sharyn Anhalt. 






Monday, December 28, 2015

SOAP AND OTHER THINGS



The first soap I made this weekend was made with tallow, raw cow milk, coconut oil, sodium hydroxide, shea butter, soap shreds from fisherman soap, fragrance, blue mica, and cornflower petals.  The soap came out more of a gray blue than planned, but it is still pretty  The fisherman soap shreds show specks of a brighter blue in the center cut bar of soap.  The fragrance is a mixture with a slight floral, vanilla, blueberry, and mandarin.  It smells lovely!

The second soap I made this weekend is made with Vanilla, Mandarin, Bourbon fragrance oil.  It also smells lovely.  It goes great with the above soap fragrance and with Clorox from cleaning, and toots.  LOL

 
HAVE YOU NOTICED THAT MOST OF THESE MOLDS BOW IN THE CENTER?  I HAVE PURCHASED SOME BOARDS, BUT I HAVEN'T PUT THEM TOGETHER YET.

These were on sale at Hobby Lobby last week.   I THINK THEY WILL MAKE GREAT DISPLAY SHELVES FOR SHOWS.  SO FAR THEY HAVEN BEEN A FUN TOY FOR THE GRAND-DAUGHTER

How was your week?  I hope all is well with you.   We are almost in 2016.  Are you making any resolutions or changes in the new year?  Dawnie

Please view my web store at:

http://www.custercottage.com

And visit my Etsy shop at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage




Saturday, December 26, 2015

Misc. items



 


I received several lovely Christmas gifts.  This is one of them.  I love it when they are handmade and especially if they are re-purposed.




She loves to watch the chickens.  They had to be checked on three times today.



The fisherman's soap looks very rustic now that it has cured.  The soap has been planed and it still has white ash.  It is throughout the bars. This is our favorite soap.

New tea cozy, reversible.  The bright sparkle blue does not show up well, so the picture does not do it justice.  The light blue also has sparkle in the yarn.  It is a fun tea cozy,  There is a dangle from the loop.  My sister made it.  She makes jewelry and it blends well with either side.  It is removable. 
The trivet under the tea pot is also reversible.  It is made with handspun wool yarn.  There is a little sparkle in the yarn also.  The reverse side is cotton fabric with farm scenes.


How was your day?  Thank you for viewing my blog.  Dawnie