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Saturday, September 24, 2016

This Week

Child Hat

Sunflower Pot Holder/Hot Pad/Trivet --- aside for the button it is made from all cotton yarn.

Mammy Hot Pad/Trivet/Pot Holder---Aside from the buttons, it is made from cotton yarn.

Do not be offended by this hot pad.  It is a similar duplicate of one from the 50's.  My sister-in-law had a collection in her kitchen years ago.  I loved them.  Mostly due to the vibrant red next to the white and black back ground.  These are made as part of our American Heritage or Americana.  They are not to poke fun of or belittle any race.
Doll Hot Pad/Pot Holder Trivet---aside for the buttons, it is made with 100% cotton yarn. 

PS  Don't forget to go to my website at: https://www.slipperywhenwetsoaps.com or my website at: https://www.custercottage.com or my Etsy shop at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage
Thanks for viewing!  Dawnie

Hand Carder Covers and Spinning

Some bloggers make a living from his or her blog.  Not I (obviously).  When I mention a company I do it because I really like them, not because they are paying me.  I recently purchased 2 sets of hand carder covers.  Hand carders are used to comb wool prior to spinning it.  Hand carders can be pretty dangerous when they are not used since they are sharp wires.  I found a lady on Etsy that makes covers for the hand carders.  She does excellent work --- not a stitch out of place.  If you ever need to purchase a cover, look for Michelle Lee at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TextileSanity
As a bonus, Michelle sent me some wool rolags ( little long rolls of combed and blended wool).  These were made in a Merino wool and a silk blend called Eternal Love.  I had to spin these lovely rolags up.  It made a beautiful yarn, as you can see from my pictures.

 I hope you have a great weekend!  Dawnie

PS  Don't forget to go to my website at: https://www.slipperywhenwetsoaps.com or my website at: https://www.custercottage.com or my Etsy shop at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday, August 29, 2016

Soap Mold Supports and a Trivet

I have dreamed of making some kind of support for my silicone soap molds.  They go wonkey when they are full of soap, so I support them with jars and kitchen gadgets until the soap sets up.  I have designed several in my head, but never made any.  I purchased a few different sizes of boards and I finally made a prototype or two.  This is what I came up with:

I am not a woodworker, so don't expect perfect.

I hope these help my wonky molds to behave.

New crocheted trivet hand spun and hand dyed using Shetland wool.  I used the microwave to dye the trivet after it was made.  The trivet was varied in cream colors so the dye came out that way too.  I really liked the way it turned out.  My sister made the little jewelry decoration on the edge.

Thank you for viewing.  Dawnie

PS  Don't forget to go to my website at: https://www.slipperywhenwetsoaps.com or my website at: https://www.custercottage.com or my Etsy shop at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Handmade Laundry Butter or Laundry Cream Soap with Updated Pictures.

(Using a salad shooter is the easiest way to get shredded soap.)

Shred 36 ounces of 0% superfat coconut oil soap. The original laundry butter recipe is at http://custercottage.blogspot.com/2015/03/laundry-butter-recipe.html  and it calls for only 6 ounces of shredded soap.  I prefer to make larger batches.

Add 36 cups of boiling water and mix.  (2 gallons and one quart is the same as 36 cups)  I added a lid and allowed the soap to melt into the water.  Now, cool mix a little more.  It can't be boiling, but it can't be too cold or the borax will not mix in well.  The original recipe states that if it is too hot, the soap will form crystals.

 Add 6 cups of Borax to the mixture.  

Then add 6 cups of washing soda and mix well.  

*If you want to make your own washing soda, place 6 cups of baking soda in a roaster or on a baking pan.  Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

Baking soda is much softer than Washing Soda.  Washing Soda feels like it has sand grains.

(After adding Borax it is still thin, but not as see through.)

After adding the Borax and Washing Soda, allow the soap to cool and gel for 3-6 hours.  If you try to speed up this process, more crystals may form.  

(After the gel, you may find a thick top with a syrup like on the bottom.  I cut a hole with my stick blender to show how it may look.)

Once the soap has cooled and gelled, mix the soap with a stick blender.  Make sure you get everything that may have settled to the bottom of the container.  This makes approx. 10 quarts.

(After mixing.)
 I have found that the soap sets up a little more as it ages.  Some extra water may be required or it will be hard to remove the soap from the container.  You may wish to add some fragrance oil or essential oil prior to placing the soap into containers.  This is optional, it will not make your clothing fragrant.  I usually add about a teaspoon or less per jar.  If you are gifting some of this soap, you may wish to add a tad bit of mica to make the soap prettier.  I use 2 tablespoons of laundry soap per load of laundry and this recipe gives you enough to wash 320 loads of laundry. Now you are done, unless you want to make fabric softener.  

(It may thicken once it sets for a day or so.)

Powdered fabric softener recipe:  
One cup of solar salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, one tablespoon of fragrance oil.  I used baking soda to help with removing odors.   I plan to use 1/2 cup per wash. 
(Morton salt makes solar water softening salt crystals and this tends to be the least expensive way to purchase all natural salt crystals.)
This recipe only gives you enough fabric softener to make 3 loads of laundry.

I hope you find this recipe easy to read and follow.  Try it and let me know how it turns out for you. 


PS  Don't forget to go to my website at: https://www.slipperywhenwetsoaps.com or my website at: https://www.custercottage.com or my Etsy shop at:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/CusterCottage

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Soap Company Review

Recently I was introduced to soaps from Bubba's Soap Company.  The follow are pictures of his soaps:

The ingredients vary from bar to bar, but all of his soap make lovely suds.  He makes a coconut milk soap and he makes a soap with coffee grounds and anhydrous caffeine. He named the coffee soap The Morning BrewIsn't that an adorable name!  Normally I don't like Dragon's Blood fragrance.  In his soap, Dragon's Blood smells quite lovely.  Many soaps are adorned with ribbons.  His website is at: http://www.bubbasoap.com/  Check it out and let James know what you think.  I'm impressed!


PS  Don't forget to go to my website at:
or my website at:
or my Etsy shop at: 

Fabric Softener

Dear Wonderful Readers,

I have been researching fabric softeners.  I don't want to use vinegar or add the little fragrance beads we usually use because both can smell obnoxious.  I found a couple of places on the internet that said to use Epsom salts, essential oil, and baking soda.  I know salt makes water soft, from experience making soap.  One example of this is at:

Another idea came from popsugar.com.  Their suggestion is to add Epsom salts into the laundry for softening it. 

I found another place that suggests ice cream salt or sea salt and essential oil.
Christina, the author of the hippy homemaker, mixes this salt mixture into her hand made laundry soap.  She said the salt crystals dissolve in her wash.  Someone wrote into her blog and was wondering if she thought water softening crystals would be OK to use since they are cheaper.  Sea salt would be way too expensive.   I researched prices and It looks like a 40# bag of Morton solar salt from the salt mines in Hutchinson, Kansas, can be purchased for around $10.00  in most hardware and some grocery stores.  I actually spent $12.45 for 2 bags at Ace Hardware in Wichita, Kansas. 

The following link will give you several benefits of Epsom Salts.  Epsom Salts is a naturally occurring mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate.
Formula: MgSO4

From my experience with ice cream salt or rock salt, it is not always white.  The Morton Solar Salt is white, very few specks of any other color are in the bag.  The following will explain the specks:


"I'm finding some little black specks in my solar salt. Will it hurt my softener?
No, solar salt is a natural product made by evaporating seawater. It is harvested much like an agricultural crop and consequently may contain minute inclusions such as earth, small pebbles, and other naturally occurring materials."

Salt is sodium chloride or NaCl  When I used saltwater or brine to make soap, it made the water very soft.  Obviously salt makes water soft.  Does it soften the clothes too?  The package says it provides softer clothes and towels.   

In my picture, the plate on the left is the usual crystals we purchase for our family fabric softener.  Very little is needed per wash.  The clothes retain the smell after the laundry has been washed and dried. 

The plate on the right is my new fabric softener.  I used one cup of solar salt, 1/2 cup baking soda, a tablespoon of fragrance oil, and a teaspoon of blue mica.  Remember they used blueing to make clothes look whiter, so out of colors, blue seemed to be the best color to add.  LOL  Without using quite a bit of fragrance, my clothes will not smell fragrant.  That will not hurt my feelings at all.  I have sinus issues and asthma.  Just for fun, I added a tad bit of mica to color the salt crystals.  I also added a tad amount of oatmeal, milk, and honey fragrance oil.  I used baking soda to help with removing odors.  I have 2 dogs, and a son with stinky feet.  I plan to use 1/2 cup per wash.  I tend to wash large loads of laundry so I usually use 2 tablespoons of  laundry butter per load of laundry.  I could fill up a jar with both the laundry butter and the fabric softener mixed together, so it would be easier for me to measure out into the laundry. It would measure out to be 1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup per load, or 5/8 of a cup.

The ingredient label of the fabric softener we use is impossible to find.  When you go into the website, where the label said to go for ingredients (www.purex.com), it asks for your 10 digit numbers.  If the numbers start with_____ or _____ they would be followed with a * or ** then the formula is the old formula.  (The code is hard to read on the bottle since it is black letters on a dark purple background.)  When I clicked on one of the listed codes, nothing happened.  For the new formula, which my bottle is, there is not a link.  I finally gave up finding the ingredients, and I emailed the company for the answer.  We'll see if they respond.  The website does say that "Purex® Crystals is an in-wash fragrance booster, which provides freshness that lasts for weeks."  Do you remember all of the fragrance that comes out of the dryer vent when you dry clothes?  Do we really need all of that fragrance in our clothes??? 

I am sorry that this blog post is so long.  I wanted to provide you with information about salt and Epsom salts.  I also want you to save money and live more green.  I have not, nor do I plan to figure out how many loads of fabric softener could be made from 40 pounds of salt.  Feel free to do so.  LOL  I have tested this formula and I am happy with the results.  I plan to use the new fabric softener and see how it does over time.  Thank you for reading my blog.  Let me know how it works for you.

I mixed the fabric softener and laundry butter.  I added a little extra water to aid with mixing.  I can see someone in the future placing this mixture into small containers and drying it so it would be easier to toss a dried cube into the wash.  The little dab on the plate ans the two front jars is the laundry butter and the fabric softener mixed together. 

  My soap website is about finished.  It is located at:http://www.slipperywhenwetsoaps.com
Take a view around and let me know what you think.  The store is set up and you can make purchases.

My latest hand spun hotpad.  I spun the yarn with very soft wool.  I was not concerned with any lumps and bumps that ended up in the yarn.  After spinning a single yarn, I plied it with red polyester thread.  The last two rows are made with an added soft red wool in the yarn and no thread.  As you see, a tiny spinning wheel is under the loop.  I am trying to add these charms to hand spun items I make.  I don't have patience to make large items.  I do spin fine without lumps and bumps.  I like to save all of the wool that does not comb out well with my flick carder, and use it for the lumpy bumpy yarn.  The only way I can spin a fine yarn is when I comb tufts of wool with the flick carder. 

Future Project

I want to make soap in the above mold.  I bought the items for the last contest at Great Cake Soaps, but I didn't get around to making soap for the contest.   I happened to place the pre-made PVC pipe fittings into this mold which is approx 2-2.25 inches wide.  They fit perfect.  The right fitting in the mold has a funnel placed in it.

 I have decided that mixing the laundry butter and the fabric softener together is not the best solution for me.  Water tends to pool in the mixture as it sets.  A dry soap and fabric softener will work much better when mixed.

I have been using this softener for a while now and it works great.  My clothes are nice and soft.  One item had static in it, but I tend to dry my clothes and then turn the dryer on again because the clothes set too long and wrinkled.