Tuesday, May 31, 2016

MY FIRST BATCH OF SOAP, ROSEMARY TOPIARIES AND A BUST...

So I really enjoyed my holiday weekend!  You?

As you know from my last couple of posts I have been anticipating making SOAP.  Homemade soap with good for your skin all natural ingredients....not like the chemical laden soaps you purchase at the store nowadays.  Anyway, I have been gathering my supplies for the past few months and I was finally able to make my first batch of soap this past week.  YAYYYY!







Looks like a yummy dessert doesn't it?

Though I was somewhat scared at first that I would screw everything up (especially when using the lye) everything happened just like the Youtube videos showed and my soap turned out great...what's more...IT WAS SO TOTALLY FUN!  I'm now addicted...for reals!!!

I made cold process MILK, HONEY & OATMEAL soap using 100% pure or organic all natural ingredients that you can get at just about any grocery store.




I used Pure olive oil, organic coconut oil, pure honey, old fashioned oats (crushed), evaporated milk, pure cocoa butter and not included in the picture, Taste of Thai unsweetened coconut milk to make a nice creamy moisturizing soap.

Because of the coconut milk, coconut oil, cocoa butter and pure honey used in the recipe, this soap smells delicious too.

I whipped everything up and poured it into my found "cheese box" mold.









I textured the top and let it set for 24 hours before unmolding it.  The waiting was the hardest part of the whole process!!








I then cut it into bars and lined them up like soldiers in the bathroom closet to cure for 4-6 weeks (cold process soap must cure...kind of like fine wine).












At first I was worried that my recipe with just 19 oz. of oils was not large enough to fill my mold right but everything turned out perfect and I got 7 nice size bars out of it.  I CAN'T WAIT to try it out!

In other news I FINALLY found a bust!




I've been looking for one of these for at least 3 years now.  Every shop I have been in has signs attached to theirs that read "NFS"....Not For Sale.  That is because they use them for the same reason that I wanted one....for display...of course if you know me, mine will be used for decor too...hehehe.

Anyway, they've had this one at the shop next to the office for over a year now but it also was "NFS".  Drats!!   The shop was closed for the winter and when they reopened here recently I went in looking for some more heat sealable teabags...I will tell you about those some other time...and I noticed my beloved bust now had a price tag on it...$25.00....SOLD!!!  I snatched it up so fast it's head fell off...




Just kidding, it never had a head but it did have a few minor flaws (that were there all along)...a tear in the linen at the top of the neck and no cap...but I figured I could remedy that.

I used a piece of lace that I picked up at a thrift store a long time ago to cover the tear in the fabric and a wooden canister lid I found at a local flea market for free as a cap.




Now she's good as new.





Lastly, I took a little time over the weekend to start a few Rosemary topiaries.




I took cuttings from a larger plant I bought a month or so ago and dipped them in honey water as a rooting hormone.  I braided three sprigs together for each topiary, planted and then staked them using a skewer and twine so they are stable and grow straight.










I really hope these take root and do well.  I have been wanting some of these for a long time.











Aren't they CUTE!!!  Please pray my black thumb doesn't kill 'em and they get big, lush and bushy!!  Hahaha.


Well that's it.   How was your weekend?  Do anything fun?  DO TELL!!!

Ciao,



Wednesday, May 18, 2016

KNOCKOUT ROSE PETAL JELLY...

I figured as long as we are still living at our current house I might as well make good use of all the goodies we have around here....and we have an abundance of roses right now.  Knockout roses!  Now the normal person would simply stick a few stems in a vase here and there to enjoy their beauty indoors but not me.  I had something different in mind for my roses.  ROSE PETAL JELLY!

Did you know roses are edible?  Yes they are...even the Knockout Rose variety.  Now while I don't go around noshing on roses all the day long, I figured I could handle some sweet rose jelly.

To make my jelly, I gathered up a large bowl of fresh roses...









Washed and rinsed them well in cool water and then de-petaled them...









I needed 2 full cups of petals for my jelly.








Once I had what I needed I rinsed them again and put them in a pot with 2 1/4 cups of water and simmered for 5-10 minutes.  Most people clip the white ends off their rose petals before use because they tend to be a little bitter but I tasted one of my petals and they did not need clipped as they were not bitter.





While they were simmering, I put a few pretty little jars and lids in a water bath to sterilize them...































After the roses had simmered for a while, I strained the liquid off...









Isn't that gorgeous???

Some people use the petals and all in their jam, which I think would be lovely, but I decided that I wanted jelly and not jam; therefore, I left the petals out of my recipe.



I added the liquid back to my sauce pan with 4 cups of sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1 package pectin powder, stirring until everything was dissolved,
















Then brought it up to a rolling boil










Now on a little side note, your more fragrant rose varieties have more flavor.  Knockouts don't have much fragrance so they are pretty much flavorless.  However, I remedied that in my recipe with 7 drops rose essential oil.






I could've also used Rose water but I didn't have any of that on hand.

On another little side note, true Pure Rose Oil is EXTREMELY expensive...$100.00 or more per ounce.  I didn't have that on hand either for obvious reasons so I used a rose oil blend which is simply a small amount of pure rose oil blended with a carrier oil, which was pretty inexpensive.  You have to use a little more because it is so diluted but works well over all.

I boiled everything for 1-2 minutes and them removed from the heat.  I filled 4 sterilized jars with the jelly, reserving out a little to try right away...put the lids and rings on and then inverted them for five minutes to achieve a seal.




Let them set overnight and I have four gorgeous jars of Knockout Rose Petal Jelly...















YUMMMMM!!!

Recipe:

2 full packed cups rose petals (any kind)
2 1/4 C. water
4 C. sugar
1/4 C. lemon juice
1 packet pectin powder (1.75 oz.)
7-10 drops rose essential oil

I am going to attack our ginormous MINT bush next....Mint jelly anyone?



Thursday, May 12, 2016

A COUPLE OF THINGS I'VE BEEN MAKING...

As I've mentioned a few times I am going to be making homemade soap with high quality moisturizing oils and ingredients.  I'm almost ready to get started on that.  I had to get some equipment like a stick blender and digital kitchen scale.  I now have those things thanks to a few blessings from God and I am almost ready to get started.  I hope to be making my first batch in a week or two.  Yay!

In the meantime, I have been making a couple little things to keep on hand at my "market".


Scent Clips....









These are regular ol' clothes pins soaked in quality fragrance oils, all gussied up in cuteness and ready to be clipped to air vents either in the car or home.




I have made them in several different styles and fragrances.  They come in fruity, flowery and bakery scents to fit everyone's tastes.  I have several in stock and ready to go.






















Next up, I've made Homemade after bath dusting powders with hand made powder puffs.  These are made with the highest quality all natural ingredients and 100% pure essential oils.


















There are no harsh chemicals or skin irritating perfumes in these and they come in a few fragrance choices as well.  Cool mint, Vanilla Cinnamon and Lavender Rose.








I have a few other things in the works as well, which I will share later. Plus, I hope to get started on the soap soon.

So what have you been up to lately?






PS...In the event of sounding all weak and petty, I tell you that I hesitate (fret) to share my projects and ideas here.  I have had people (friends of mine) steal my projects and other ideas in the past and use them as their own. That REALLY irritates me.  Please be a good person and use your own ideas...at the very least don't steal from a friend!!  Please don't make me regret sharing here. I would really like to continue doing so.  Thanks!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

TREASURES FROM BAKERS CREEK SEED CO.

Howdy!  As promised I am back today to show you what I bought at the Bakers Creek Seed Co. annual spring planting festival that we went to on Sunday.


This is not the seed packet I purchased!!


Truthfully, I went with only one thing in mind...finding organic Spaghetti Squash seeds.  I have looked for spaghetti squash seeds in our area for the past two years but could not find any.







When I found Baker Creek Seed Co. here in Missouri and found out that all their seeds are organic, I couldn't miss the opportunity to go get me some seeds.  Yes I could've ordered them online or by mail from their free catalog...




but what's the fun in that especially since they have an entire pioneer village to enjoy.

Anyway, we are not planting a large garden this year because we are still looking to sell our house but I am determined that I will be growing Spaghetti squash and zucchini as well as tomatoes anyway.  My only seed purchase was the spaghetti squash seeds since we already have a few tomato and zucchini plants going.  I hope that if we are still in this house come harvest time that we have a bumper crop of all three.  Yummmmm!!!

While visiting some of the many vendors booths at the festival I bought a little something...that I really didn't need...and something I could easily make myself...but they were just so stinkin' cute I had to have one.  Plus the ladies selling them were of my same faith and all the proceeds were going to their church so I figured it couldn't hurt to support the church and all...wink, wink!!

Anyway, here it is...








a FEED SACK TOTE BAG.  Isn't it sooooooo adorable?  I don't have any animals and I don't live on a farm but I am going to find me some feed sacks somewhere and make some of these myself.  They are perfect for toting around crafting stuff, crochet stuff or for taking to the grocery store.  Plus the "plastic tarp type fabric" is easily washable with a sponge and little soap and water.  No washing machine required!!






My other purchases were from a swap meet we stopped at on the way home.  Wooden cheese boxes. I have been looking for a few of these to use for soap molds when I start making some homemade organic soaps soon.  Wooden molds made especially for soap making are around the same size and same kind of wood but are pretty expensive.  I figure I saved myself around $40.00 by getting these....besides these are WAY cooler than any traditional soap mold, right?






Anyway, I am super excited to get my seeds planted and to put my other purchases to good use.

What did you do this past weekend?  Anything fun?  Anything exciting?



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

BAKER CREEK SEED CO. ANNUAL SPRING PLANTING FESTIVAL...

I had such a great time on Sunday at the Baker Creek Seed Co. Annual Spring Planting Festival.  The whole family did!!


I probably haven't mentioned much about this on the blog but I have been studying up on organic gardening for the past few years.  After finding out how our government has duped us over the past 45 or so years into believing that our food and drug administration was regulating the quality of our foods to make sure everything we consume is "safe", when all along for bigger and better profits, they were allowing and even supporting commercial farmers and places like Monsanto to produce and plant genetically modified seeds to poison feed the great people of this country....and...allowing packaging companies to use poisonous materials in the packages our food comes in as well...I decided that I want to do better when it comes to feeding my family.  I want organic at a price I can afford (which means growing it myself) so I have searched out a place right here in Missouri that sells organic heirloom variety seeds....and it's only about an hour and a half drive from my house.  I also found out that each year they have a big shindig...their ANNUAL SPRING PLANTING FESTIVAL to celebrate all that wholesome good seed and plants....so we went on a little road trip Sunday to enjoy the festival.







The farm is set up like an old time pioneer village with old time hotel, restaurant, general store, apothecary, livery stable, mill and much more....the mach town is called Bakersville Pioneer Village. Really NEAT!!! For the annual festival they had over 150 vendors there selling their homemade organic, goods, plants, foods, crafts, small farm animals and other wears.  There was live music too....fiddlers, cello players, yodelers, etc.  All sorts of fun things to see and do. It was SUPER, SUPER crowded but we had such a good time.

I wanted to eat at the restaurant which serves vegan food from fresh ingredients right off the farm there but the line was a mile long.  The neat thing about the restaurant is that they don't have a set price for the food.  You pay by donation.  I did have a delicious bowl of organic cowboy beans and cornbread from their outdoor kitchen where the line wasn't so long.  It was by donation also...and I tried a sample of fresh, creamy goat cheese from one of the vendors.  Very tasty!!!

Shamefully I didn't take a ton of pictures because I just wanted to enjoy my day there without being tied down with the camera.  However, I did take a few to show you....





















Pops (my father-in-law) and the kids took a horse and buggy ride...







Awww...isn't he pretty?!!


This view is from the entrance gate and that's only about a third of the vendor tents that were set up.  I'm tellin' ya this was a BIG shindig!!



 I bought something from this cute booth....which I will show you tomorrow after I get a picture of it.  All I can say is that I plan on making some of them for my little boutique....but I am trying to keep all that on the down low until everything comes together.



These were my favorite musicians.  I love old time bluegrass fiddle music and these KIDS played beautifully.




These guys were good too.

We also met this group of entertainers...







Of course I was respectful to ask if I could take their picture because I know that native american Indians oftentimes do not permit their picture to be taken.

Of course we were on a real farm so there were all kinds of animals to be seen...sheep, goats, chickens...






I didn't get a picture of it because it was so crowded but the Seed Store (where they sell all the organic seeds) was huge and filled with not only seeds but other cool handmade stuff.  Here's a picture from their website...





I can tell you I absolutely love this place and we WILL be visiting again....probably in the fall.

If you would like to take a trip to Bakersville Pioneer Village aka Baker Creek Seed Co. or learn more about them, go to their website HERE.

I promise if you are in Missouri and interested in organic farming or just like outdoor adventures and activities it's worth the drive.  If you are not in the area they do sell their seeds online.  Plus they will send you a free catalog so you can order by mail.

I'll be back tomorrow to show you what I bought on our trip.

Ciao,



Blogging tips