8/26/15

Yogurt Soap Rebatch

A couple of weeks ago, I made a batch of Yogurt Honey Soap. It was the first time I had tried out the recipe, so I made a small trial batch, which was a good thing, because the soap stayed too soft for my liking, even after 2 weeks of curing. Since the soap itself smelled wonderful, and the ingredients were top quality, I decided to try and amend the soap with ingredients that may help make a harder soap.
In order to do so, I had to rebatch the soap, which is basically just shredding it, adding the least amount of liquid possible, and melting it slowly in either a crockpot, or a double boiler.
In my case, since the soap was still quite soft on the inside, I simply cut it into very small pieces and melted it with a tiny amount of coconut oil in a double boiler.
To try and harden the bar, and to absorb some of the generous amount of honey I had put in the original recipe, I added some organic ground up oats and natural beeswax.
The soap, which smelled great before, now smells good enough to eat, and seems to be firmer than the original soap. Well, here's to hoping it will be a great bar of soap when cured!!


8/7/15

Yogurt honey soap

Today I tried out a new recipe. I made a small batch of yogurt soap. It seems to be extremely popular at the moment. I have read lot of reviews about how great yogurt soap is for the skin, and how nice it feels, so I decided to make some to see if it lives up to the hype. I guess I will find out in about 3 or 4 weeks.
I used whole milk Greek yogurt, raw honey and Young Living bergamot essential oil as additives to my basic recipe. I also used calendula infused, first cold press virgin sunflower oil, first cold press extra virgin olive oil, pure, raw, unrefined, first cold press organic coconut oil, and organic cold pressed castor oil. All quite expensive ingredients, hence the small batch.
I put it in the freezer to prevent the gel phase.

8/5/15

Web Comic

Check out this web comic. It is done by my daughter Cassandra. Please share the site, as she is trying to get some traffic and possibly some work from this.





7/31/15

Soap Unmolded

The castille soap is out of the mold and it looks great. No air bubbles on the sides and the color is nice too. I prevented the gel phase by putting the soap in the freezer overnight. In the past, especially with larger batches, I have had problems with "soap volcanoes", so I tried not insulating and putting it in the freezer. Of course the fact that this is a small batch and only one kind of oil, without any EOs or sugars and milk, has helped prevent the gel phase too, and I might not have had to put it in the freezer at all. I will try that next time. One thing I have noticed is that the soap is hardening slower than usual, and I will have to wait until tomorrow to cut it. 



7/30/15

Castille Soap

Just finished a small batch of castille soap. It is baby mild and made with organic, first cold press, extra virgin olive oil, infused with organic calendula petals. It should be ready for use in about 4 or 5 weeks.

7/26/15

Tinted Lip Balm

Now that I am done with mosaic, I have time to make soaps and other body products, and of course go thrifting again.
Here is some tinted lip balm I made yesterday. The tint is achieved with alkanet root powder, which I infused into olive oil. When I made the trial batch of lip balm, I simply added the powder to the melted oils, which did not quite work out, because it left them grainy with tiny little red particles of alkanet root showing. So I discarded that batch, and infused the oils with the powder. In order to speed up the infusion process, I put the root powder and oil into a glass jar, which I then put on top of a submerged washcloth in a small pot, filled 1/3 with water and let it simmer on low, for about 6 hours. It is important to check the water level and adjust as necessary. I then strained the oil through a coffee filter and used the filtered oil in my lip balm recipe.
While the lip balm color looks very intense, it is actually pretty light, and provides just a hint of tint,
hence the name Hint of Tint.
Of course I neglected to take pictures of every step again, but I am sure there are plenty of instructions to be found elsewhere on the internet.
Today I might try out the beet powder I purchased to see if it creates a different, more intense color.





Finished Mosaic Piece

I just finished this mosaic for a shower in a local home, that I have been commissioned to create.
The black scroll design mimics the wrought iron of the front door of this house. The material is polished travertine. The piece measures 5ft by 30 in. It took about a month to complete.
As usual, I became attached to the piece and was sad to see it go. It was installed yesterday, and I will post pictures of the piece installed, once it is grouted and cleaned up.






7/14/15

Help

Well, this post is different from what I usually blog about. Here is the deal:
my oldest daughter lives in Sweden. She finished her masters degree in graphic design from the University of Gothenburg in 2013, and decided to stay in Sweden. She has been trying to find a job with no luck. She has been working online, taking on small jobs to support herself, but now her savings are running out. She has a lot of talent, but not a whole lot of luck. Below is a link to a site called Patreon, where you can help her out, if you would like to. You don't have to donate if you do not want to,  just sharing the link on your Facebook, or Twitter, or whatever social media account you use would be a great help.
CASSANDRA'S PATREON

Thanks to all of you, willing to help,
Petra

7/8/15

I am back!

I did not realize it has been that long since I last wrote anything in this blog! It has been over a year and a half!
Well, during that time I took on a public art piece, built in Ikea "Billy" shelves, refinished a side table, dragged home numerous other pieces of furniture that still need to be refinished, found a lot of beautiful items at thrift stores and made a lot of soap.
The public art piece took over a year from conception to completion, and, as it always happens when I take on a big project, took over my entire life. During the time I worked on the mosaic called Partners, my household was completely neglected, and even though I finished at the beginning of this year, I am still trying to deal with the fallout. Oh what a mess!
If you would like to see pictures of the project, here is the link:
PARTNERS MOSAIC

Here are some of the pictures of the numerous other projects I have completed and some of the items I have found while thrifting.

Imperial Glass Lace Edged Katy Blue cups circa 1935




Two vintage Noritake lustreware plates in exceptional condition from the 1910s


A Rosenthal bowl with a sterling silver foot, also like new.



8 pristine W.H. Grindley "Sunday Morning" cereal bowls that appear to have never been used

The list of finds goes on and on, so much, that I have dedicated one of the spare bedrooms to store all of my treasures. Hopefully I will find the time to take pictures and list them in MY ETSY STORE soon. 

This is a Drexel side table I found at my local Goodwill store for $7. It had lots of stains and rough areas and needed a lot of attention. With some wood filler, oil based primer, a lot of sanding, several cans of spray paint, 4 casters and two handles I had left over from the desk I built in my studio, it turned out pretty well. 


BEFORE

AFTER


Some pics of the built in Ikea Billy shelves. Please keep in mind the pictures were taken with an older phone, so the quality is not as good as I would like it.
There are many tutorials on how to build in these bookcases, so I did not deem it necessary to provide step by step instructions. 















10/12/13

New Batch of Cold Process Soap

I finally managed to make two small batches of shaving and facial soap. This is the first time since I have returned from Europe in mid July and I was running very low on inventory.
I made a new "flavor" called White Tea, Ginger and Honey. I added some Vanilla EO and it smells "yummy".
I also made a batch of my regular Prickly Pear, Tea Tree Oil soap. Both should be ready for sale in my Etsy store in about 4 weeks, just in time for the Christmas season.