Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Gifts, Soap Recipe & Meter Reading Results!
Gee, here in the photo, the hat looks kind of weird, but in person it doesn't, honest! The blue triangle you see is one of the ear flaps. It has one on the other side, too, just can't see it. You probably already knew that though :)
I've been busy knitting and making Christmas gifts for awhile now. Above is a hat and mittens I made for Kierra. I got her a light blue jacket this year for Christmas, too, and I thought this would look cute with it. The pattern for the hat is Morning Glories by Woodsmoke Woolworks. I changed it up just a bit as when I started it there were too many color carry-overs for me. The yarn kept tangling and it got me irritated (which is NOT a good thing!) so I undid it and did only two colors for the patchwork. I'm happy with the way it came out and plan on making two more hats using the same basic pattern but switching it up a bit. The flowers on it are just adorable!
The mittens are from a free pattern I got on-line. You can find them here:
http://afghansforafghans.org/mittens.html A very basic, easy mitten pattern and they came out nice, too.
I made each of my nephews, 26 and 21 a set of three washcloths and home-made soap.
I made two different kinds: lavendar and rose. I used crushed lavendar from my friend's garden, and crushed roses from my garden. I also used essential oils to scent them. They are wonderful. I used Lionbrand Organic Cotton for the washcloths and they are unbelievably soft. I think they'll like them.
We have been using the same soap recipe now for hmmm... about 10 years. Wow, where does time go? Anyway, you can make it with or without molds. I just bought these molds but for the past ten years have been using a wooden box my hubby made and then I usually just cut the bars.
Soap Recipe - Two Pound Batch
9.6 oz. coconut oil
9.6 oz. olive oil (or vegetable oil)
15.2 oz. palm oil (or Crisco)
12.8 oz. water
4.8 oz. red devil lye (this is only pure lye)
Optional: 3 oz. of butter (shea, mango, cocoa)
2 oz. of grain such as blenderized oatmeal or 1 oz. clay)
2 - 3 oz. of fragrance or essential oil
Mix oils (not essential oil) into a pan (stainless steel to be used for soap only) and heat slowly 'til just melted. Remove from heat. Put water in a glass Mason jar and add lye to the jar. DO IN THIS ORDER! MUST BE DONE OUTSIDE IN A WELL-VENTED AREA! Mix with a metal or stainless steel spoon. It will heat up on its own. Wait until it cools until it reaches 110 degrees (about a half hour). At this point the oil should be about the same temperature. Use a hand-held stick mixer and blend the lye solution into the oils and keep mixing. Once it starts to gel up a bit, then add in your essential oils. Mixture should be thickend up and pour into mold and leave for three days. Then remove from molds and let dry out. Cut if necessary. Let soap dry for about three weeks.
*KEEP ALL SOAP MAKING MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT FOR SOAP MAKING ONLY! Do not use utensils for anythin else!!!
Lye is very hard to get now. You can purchase it on-line from Bramble Berry, but be forewarned.. you pay twice the amount for shipping as for the product!
Meter Reading Results
Well, this was interesting (and still is) as I plan on continueing this little adventure for a while. We spend about $5.00, more or less, a day on electricity. I'm trying to lower that. We did lower it a bit yesterday as I walked around half the day turning off lights. I also unplugged a few things, like the iron, treadmill and sewing machine. I only use those items once a day, so I guess it won't kill me to plug and unplug them. I'm also hanging my laundry down the cellar instead of outside as the weather is just too cold for the laundry to dry out there. I still don't mind, though, as I find that hanging laundry is very relaxing to me. It kind of reminds me of when I was little... my mom always hung out her laundry (and still does) and I used to hand her the clothes. When I got older I would hang and take down the clothes too, as even then, I enjoyed the task. So, I'll keep trying to find ways to cut my electric bill. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments section as I will give nearly anything a try at least once!