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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Gift Giving

When giving gifts for all occasions, most of us look for gifts that don't cost us an arm and a leg.  I like to give soap gifts and add a washcloth or dishcloth.  I came upon something called an almost lost washcloth.  While I was searching the blog Simply Notable where this free pattern was in, she also included a mini almost lost washcloth for a facial or even for dishes.  The links to these patterns are:

I have tried to make the mini almost lost washcloth.  The pattern calls for worsted weight cotton yarn and a size 7 or 8 set of knitting needles.  I usually have smaller weight yarn on hand, so the first one is thinner than I desire.  When I made the second one, I used two strands of cotton thread and a smaller needle.  I like the look better, but it doesn't look like her examples.  On the third mini washcloth, I used size 4 knitting needles and sport weight cotton yarn,  I liked the look of this best.

 If you want something handmade, quick to make, not so ordinary, and cheap to make, this is a perfect gift for women. 

Thank you for viewing my blog. 
Have a great weekend!


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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Twinkle Soap

I have practiced making soap using a new pouring technique.  It is called a tall skinny shimmy method.  Basically the soap batter is divided into 6 different containers and colored 6 different colors.  One by one, the soap is poured into a tall/skinny mold, along the long side of the mold while the mold is tilted.  The mold is moved and tilted the opposite direction with each pour.  The complete amount of each color is used when it is poured.  With this technique you get a bar of soap which is 6 different colors.  This technique is the November soap challenge for Great Cakes Soap Works Challenge.  My soap batter was a little too thick to do this method well, but the soap came out interesting.  I used mica to color the batter.  A light pink mica, a dark pink mica, a combination of both pink micas, a light green mica, a dark blue mica, and a combination of the green and the blue micas in the last one.  I also added jojoba beads in the pink colors. I swirled all of the 6 batters for some interest.  I found the green and the blue micas were not stable in cold process soap.  They came out gold colored.  Even though the colors morphed, the soap came out pretty.

 What have you been working on lately?

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Thank you for viewing my blog.  Have a great day!!!  Dawnie

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fall Projects

I have been knitting washcloths or dishcloths.  I have placed one to three decorative buttons on the top under a loop.  At least one button is vintage.  I thought this would be a great gift with a handmade bar of soap.  This washcloth is made with a cotton-linen fiber.  The pattern is one of those easy learning patterns, but I used thinner thread and a smaller needle.  I bought this thread some time ago, but it has been in a plastic container waiting me to get around to making something.  The thread is 4 ply with 4 different colors.  It contains the colors of off white, linen, hot pink, and dark coral.  I have made other washcloths or dishcloths with varied colors also.  This is one of those projects you can do while doing other things and not worry where you are in the pattern if you take a break and go back to it.  I will eventually place these for sale with a matching bar of hand made soap.  What fall projects have you been working on?  I hope you are enjoying the cooler weather.  We sure are.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Pine Tar Soap

In the molds setting up.

This is what happens when soap  sets up fast.You get air pockets.

Pine tar soap is an old fashioned soap known to be helpful to people who suffer from skin ailments and itching.  Pine tar is used by farriers on horse hoofs for conditioning and for sores. I made a batch if pine tar soap this weekend.  In the batch, I used a blend of lavender, pink grapefruit, and lime essential oil to mellow out the strong pine tar smell.  I also used shea butter and raw milk.  It is all natural ingredients, but not vegan due to the milk usage. Once the pine tar is placed into the batter, the batter sets up very fast,  I learned that I shouldn't make large batches unless I placed all of the batter into one large slab mold, or had a helper for pouring batter into smaller molds.   

How was your week?  I hope it went well.  My dog and I had a quite a lot of nap time
bonding time on the recliner this weekend. 

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 Have a good week!  Dawnie

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Magrathea Shawl

I finished.  Made with Invicitus Yarn  https://www.etsy.com/transaction/1057661964  
The pattern is from  Martina Behm  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/magrathea

I somewhat blocked this shawl.  I want it to look more casual and not stiff with points.  The pattern is extremely hard to figure out.  Once you figured out what the pattern meant, the knitting was fairly easy.  If you are one that needs the shawl to balance and the left to match the right perfectly, this shawl is not for you.  I saw the shawl knitted in the yarn shop in Yarns Told and Sold  http://www.yarnssoldandtold.com/
I like to stop in Salina on our trip to North Central Kansas to see family.  They are always very helpful in the yarn shop.

How was your weekend?  I hope all is well with you.  Dawnie

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Lavender Soap with Citrus

I have some left over bits and pieces of citrus soap from trimming the bars of soap up and making them more presentable.  Those bits and pieces can be melted down and used to rebatch soap.  I prefer using bits and pieces in new soap batter.  It adds color and interest, and it is not ugly, like some rebatch soap can be.  Sometimes when I rebatch soap, it turns brownish. (all of the various colors mixed together make a brown color)  Even though I leave a few un-melted lumps of soap in the melted soap batter, it is still not as attractive as using the bits and pieces this in fresh soap batter.

I love the smell of lavender.  It gives me a romantic, clean feeling....................  Our grandmothers were known to use floral fragrances.  Lilac, rose, lily, lily of the valley, lavender, etc.  Well, I am a grandmother and I also love floral fragrance too.  Not only does lavender smell good, it is is said to help deter fleas.  This summer was a difficult summer for our dogs.  They had to be treated twice for fleas.  We even tried putting salt and diatomaceous earth all over the floors and the furniture.  It didn't seem to work and lavender soap would be a lot easier to deal with and it would smell good too---if it works.  When the dogs bring in fleas, I get bit.  The lavender soap is mostly for me. 

Back to the subject of the preferential fragrances of our grandmothers.  They didn't have the choices of fragrances we have today.  However, I don't understand why we want to make soap smell like leather, grass, dirt, tomatoes, lettuce, campfire, etc.  It may make for an interesting soap, but I don't want to smell like dirt.  I try to remove the dirt smell!  LOL  I know, these fragrances appeal to kids more than old women. 

I made a batch of lavender soap, with bits and pieces of citrus soap, and lavender buds.  I swirled some lavender color in the batter.  The background is a tad bit of lavender color, but it will probably change as soon as it cures.  I expect the color to go to an antique looking lavender.( a little pink and gray in the lavender color)   I used lavender essential oil, some lavender mica, and some lavender buds in the soap. I also used some ROE (Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract) which makes the white batter a little brownish, even-though I use a very small amount.  ROE helps keep the soap fat from going rancid.  I have seldom seen this in my soaps, but I have smelled the old fashioned lye soap in the hardware store and it smells like it was made with stale oil.  12.5 percent of the oils is organic unrefined shea butter which is a light golden brown in color.  Instead of water, I used raw cow milk from an Amish dairy for all of the liquid.

I think most people prefer lighter colored soaps.  Some soaps turn brown due to the fragrance oils (vanilla scents) and due to what additives are placed in the soaps; such as honey, or herbs.  I use a little titanium dioxide in my soap to help offset the brown colors.  What color(s) of soap do you prefer?

With this inside view you can see the lavender buds and the tiny specks of citrus soap. 


Thank you for viewing.  I hope you had a great week!  Dawnie

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Soap Contest---with updated photos

I joined a contest at Great Cake Soapworks. http://www.greatcakessoapworks.com/  
I usually pay my dues to join, watch how Amy performs the technique on video, and then I don't make the soap for the contest.  The first time I joined, I panned to participate.   I changed my soap formula to meet the criteria giving the soap a longer time to set up.   I made a huge batch.  Why not?  I had visions of sugar plums in my head.  I seldom use the same exact formula twice, so a little difference is OK with me.   After I made the huge batch, which riced on me, (I used a different brand of fragrance oil and it caused the soap to rice, or become grainy looking like rice) I decided to make smaller batches for future contests. LOL   Instead of sugar plums, I got prunes!  Yes, the soap can be re-batched, and some has been, but there is still a chunk of it on the shelf.  

This contest is to use an alternate liquid, other than water.  I usually use raw milk and a tiny amount of water.  My first thought was lemonade.   Many will use tea, green tea, or something like that.  Maybe a can of Dr. Pepper would work in soap, like in a dump cake.  LOL  Well, Why would someone want Dr. Pepper soap, unless you could manufacture that smell and this contest requires no artificial colors or fragrances.    

I eventually decided to make a lemon-limeade.  I made it the normal way you would make lemon-limeade, except I pulverized the whole lemon (seed, rind, and all).  I added water, sugar, and lime juice.  In the oils I used the zest of a lime.  The oils/fats this time was tallow.  The lemon-limeade was a little tart, but I did add sugar.  Some people swear that sugar and salt make a soap harder.  Too much sugar can make a soap volcano.  I added one teaspoon of powdered annatto seed to make the soap yellow.  I probably did not need to.  The soap looks a more pumpkin color.  I used pink grapefruit and lime essential oils.  After texturing the top a tiny bit, I sprinkled a tiny amount of organic lemon peel powder and salt.  I can't use glitter this time so I hope the salt aids in sparkle!  

Fat, lime zest, and essential oils.
Ready to pour into the mold.
In the mold.


The batter did not get very hard, so I had time to try this tool.  I bought this hair pick several years ago and put it away.  I stumbled on it again and decided to give it a go.
This side gave me quite a few ideas.
I had a little extra.  These set up faster.  I used the end that is in my hand in the above picture.

Just out of the mold.  I cut it a little early, but I wanted to see how it looked.  The lime zest does stay green. 

Part of the contest is to explain why we used the liquid.  Is it the novelty of the liquid, or is the liquid great for nourishing your skin?  What are the qualities of the alternate liquid?   Lemons have been used for centuries as beauty aids.  Lemons can lighten age spots, remove black heads, the citric acid exfoliates, etc.  Elbows and knees are darker on most people.  Lemon juice can aid in bleaching elbows and knees to match the color of the surrounding skin.  When I was in high school, I used an astringent with lemon juice in it.  I was told by a teacher that my skin looked too pale.  She wondered if I was feeling well.   Don't over do it with the bleaching.  LOL  One source stated that the PH balance would be altered with the use of lemon juice and if you go out in the sun, your skin could be more irritated.   The links below are great places to read all about lemons.




Lime benefits on the skin are more controversial since lime oil can burn the skin.   As diluted as the lime is in my soap, it is not going to burn skin.  Lime is also used as a fragrance in cosmetics.  Lime is a great fragrance for men.  Lime also kills germs on the skin. The nutrition in a lime is very high, so put it in your diet.  You can read about limes here:


I will try to come up with a name when I post the cleaned up soap pictures.

I have a second idea for making another batch of soap using an alternative liquid.  Who knows, it may be my entry for the contest.  I hope you had a great week!

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Thanks for viewing!  Dawnie


I found that this soap does not lather very much.  I personally prefer more lather.  It also takes a while for this soap to get hard.  It initially gets hard enough to un-molded, but it takes a while to get harder.