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Homemade Fabric Softener

I’m going a little off format while my soaps are setting up, because I’m so excited about a little item you might like to try out. If you’ve ever taken a peek at my Pinterest I don’t pin very many DIY items other than gift baskets. I prefer to actually try them out as I run across them to see if I actually want to recommend them to others.

One such pin I was skeptical about was homemade fabric softener, especially since it is essentially just vinegar. I’ve compared several of these pins and decided to try the most basic version with terrific results. I decided to cut down the measurements a bit. In a 16 ounce bottle (I actually used a food service bottle that I had on hand, plus I wanted to avoid any possible contamination by using a recycled bottle) I put 16 ounces of straight distilled vinegar with .5 ML of Christmas Eve Cookies FO. Most recipes call for EOs, but I had made 3 batches of soaps with the FO and was in the mood to keep working with it. Lol. I mean, how nice would it be to snuggle into a freshly laundered hoodie that smells like cookies?!

After I mixed the two liquids I dug out my old Downy ball from the dark recesses of the laundry room cabinets since I didn’t want to try to catch the proper cycle to add the mixture directly. (Yeah, I’m lazy, but I’m doing the laundry, so that’s enough work all ready in my opinion. *grin*) I subbed the vinegar in the exact same portions as I used to put in the Downy ball.

I admit that I was skeptical that the laundry would turn out scent free. From all of my use of vinegar around the house I knew that it would get my laundry extra clean, but I can always smell the traces of vinegar. I’m tickled to report that even straight out of the washer the clean laundry didn’t have the slightest hint of vinegar. Now that’s impressive considering my odd superhero sense of smell. *grin* Unfortunately I couldn’t smell the slightest bit of cookies though, so I’ll have to keep experimenting with measurements.

The best part is how soft the laundry was once it was dry!! Admittedly I also had an unscented dryer sheet in there, although I usually use one unscented and one scented sheet. (When you have a flare of a pain condition even scratchy clothing can be incredibly painful, so it becomes habit to go as soft as possible.) I like that I don’t have to use a scented dryer sheet now, especially since it’s one of my triggers for random rashes when I’m sick, plus that’s one less sheet of softener to clog my lint trap. (In case you never heard about it, wash your lint trap screen with soap periodically because the softeners coat the screen and make it less effective. Let dry and when you put it back in it will catch a lot more lint for you.)

I decided to do the ultimate test for my laundry. I used the vinegar in a gentle cycle on my jersey sheets. Gentle cycle isn’t well known for playing well with detergents in our house. Lol. Hopefully it’s that way for others and not just that we have a possessed washing machine that hates me, but that’s a disturbing thought I’ll dwell on later. *grin* After sleeping in the remade bed I can honestly say that this is the softest the sheets have been in a long time. I love jersey sheets because of their softness, but even with the dryer sheets they don’t usually come out as soft as when they joined our household.

A key thing to note is no matter what tips you read about adding the vinegar to the bleach compartment, so you can skip catching the proper cycle, please don’t do it. Vinegar and bleach create toxic fumes when combined. Commercial companies have incredibly smart people wearing lots of protective gear to handle that chemical reaction, so let’s leave that to them. The great part about this is that you may decide you can retire that jug of bleach if you like how to vinegar works on your laundry. I’m delighted to do that since I can’t handle the smell and I know that the vinegar sanitized everything just as well as that bleach would have. Another great feature is that you can now customize the scent to what works well for your household. You may just have to experiment and adjust, but what a great problem to have! To top it off, you don’t have to try and get rid of smells anymore!

Homemade Cleaner

I wanted to share a homemade cleaner recipe that I’ve altered from Pinterest.  A lot of people would like to go more natural lately and there are others, like me, that have some sensitivities that make commercial products a little dicey at times.  I’ve developed a chemical sensitivity to bleach and similar strong cleaners, so I had to look for some alternatives.  I found the following recipe by Frugal Foodie Mama named “Homemade Kitchen Lemon Cleaner” and I’ll discuss a few other options after the instructions/recipe.

“Ingredients

1 tsp baking soda

1 squirt of your favorite dishwashing liquid

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

water

2-3 drops doTerra Lemon Essential Oil

16 Oz plastic or glass spray bottle (bottle can be larger than 16 oz)

 

Add the baking soda, dishwashing liquid, & vinegar to the spray bottle.  Without capping the bottle, give it a few swirls to mix.  **I would suggest mixing this in your sink.  There is a possibility of a foamy “volcano” forming because of the reaction of the baking soda with the vinegar and soap.  Never shake the bottle to mix to keep the chances of this happening down. 

Fill the bottle with lukewarm water to the 14 oz line on your bottle.  Add the 2-3 drops of lemon essential oil, and swirl it around a few more times to mix well.”

 

This is a pretty easy recipe to recreate and I found an easy way to deal with that chemical reaction.  When it starts to foam just swirl a long straw in the solution and it won’t foam over.  It also helps if you add the water slowly and pause every so often.  Now, although it seems like it would mix better if you added the EO before the water the reason that you do it afterward is that you might lose the valuable EO if the solution does foam over, so make sure to follow the instructions. 

 

I used my favorite brand of EO, Crafter’s Choice, and it doesn’t change the recipe one bit, so don’t worry about scouring the internet for that brand.  I admit that I added a ML of lemon EO because one, I don’t have an orifice reducer on my bottle, two, I prefer to be able to do exact measurements with a pipette, and three, it didn’t have nearly enough scent for my taste.  Even with all of that I wanted more kick, so I added .50 ML of Meyer Lemon FO (fragrance oil) to the solution and stirred with my long straw.  (Nice thing is that this is a cleaning solution, so a quick rinse and the straw is all clean.  Lol.)  Now, my second bottle isn’t so close to the original recipe.  *grin*  I can’t let my other scents sit quietly when they can freshen my house up for me.  I decided to play with other antibacterial EOs (essential oils) that play nicely with my favorite FOs.  I mixed a bit of Peppermint EO, Eucalyptus EO, Wintergreen EO, and then a bit of Santa’s Tree Farm FO in place of the lemons.  It’s a bit more uplifting with a lot more aromatherapy benefits, plus they cover the smell of the vinegar a bit better for my super sniffer.  Just like in cooking a product recipe is just a starting point.

 

To save you some time having to research EOs the following ones are thought to have antibacterial/antiseptic properties: Oregano, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Clove, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Orange, and Lemon.  Of course scientists can never agree, so some others believe that Peppermint, Wintergreen, Juniper, Black Pepper, Geranium, Lavender, Pine, Camphor, Cardamom, Cedarwood, Citronella, Clary Sage, Frankincense (although I warn you this one is super expensive!), Rose, and Ylang Ylang.  There are tons of options, tons of disagreement, and a wide range of costs.  The great thing is if you don’t want to get too in depth with homemade natural cleaners and aromatherapy, then you can find some of the basics even at Hobby Lobby, like Eucalyptus and Peppermint.  Now, please note that these are all EOs, not FOs, since the essentials are the natural workers.  Never ever, despite temptation, use an EO straight out of the bottle on skin, please!  They need what is called a carrier, since they’re so concentrated and can be very harmful and toxic when concentrated. 

 

We’ve had a bit of a bug here after a cute Boy Scouts Honors event, so that’s why I picked the second blend that I made.  Peppermint and Eucalyptus are great for clearing the sinuses (think the gooey Vicks Rub that your mom used to rub into your chest) while also fighting the good fight against the bug.  I figure that I’m smelling it as I clean anyway, so it needs to do some double duty for me.  *grin*  Wintergreen has health benefits too, but it also reminds me of my grandpa’s wintergreen chew.  I remember sitting on his lap in his rocking chair and having the scent of wintergreen hug me as snug as his arms.  I usually dislike anything tobacco, but it’s one of the few childhood memories that I always have even when my illness fogs my mind and I can’t remember even my address.  The pine and balsam FO blend in Santa’s Tree Farm leaves that clean and fresh scent trace.  We don’t pick Pine-Sol for the color, after all.  *teasing wink*

 

Now, this isn’t the super cleanser that works miracles, but it does a great job as a regular cleaner.  I used it to clean my stove surface (it wasn’t a heavy duty job, but worked great on the little bit that had gotten away while making pizza), all of my kitchen counters (even got some Kool-Aid out of the surface that my husband had missed, which impressed me), door knobs, and it worked really well against pet slobber.  *cracking up*  The big test for me was my big mirror and the front door, since I seldom can do them because I usually can’t be around commercial window cleaner.  Plus, Bo, my dog, has super snot and slobber that sticks as well as those stupid sticky hands I had as a kid that I threw onto walls and stuff.  *shudder*  It’s weird to think I loved those things and the thought of it now grosses me out so much I think I’m developing a wrinkle from scrunching my nose right now.  Lol.  Anyway…with just a little elbow grease (and I mean little, since my muscle weakness keeps me from having much umph, so for a “normal”, it should work doubly well for you) I was able to remove all traces of slobber, snot, bird droppings (I don’t know how that bird aimed at the storm door, but kudos, although it needs a little less fiber I think), dirt, a light skin of woodstove smoke (*embarrassed look* yeah, I missed that whole Spring Cleaning thing and am just now cleaning Winter off the inside of the storm door…doh!), and even a smooshed mosquito.  It didn’t remove the tiny bit of sap that has been on the door for the ten years we’ve lived here (I don’t know what the previous owners were into since there’s sap on the door, glow in the dark nail polish spots on the carpet, and weird packaged mac & cheese-like bright orange-yellow stains on the linoleum, but whatever), however this is the cleanest the storm door has EVER been, even when I was healthier and able to clean more.  This definitely passed the test for me.  The vinegar is seriously amazing (kills germs, bacteria, and mold!), so I’m tickled that I found this simple blend.  *On a side note, I’ve been bragging on vinegar for a few years now, and I’m not sure if I mentioned it before, but even if I did, it’s worth mentioning again.  Vinegar is awesome at sterilizing your cutting board.  You don’t think about it, but those tiny cuts in the board love to hold nasties that you can’t see and think you got out when you washed the board.  After you scrub and rinse your board,  pour some plain white vinegar over the board, give a light rub (preferably not with a rag or sponge that you just contaminated, so go for a second one), and rinse.  The vinegar will keep working and help keep those nasties from contaminating your next meal or even cabinet.  You’ll notice that it’ll smell fresher too, since the stinky bacteria is dead.  You can go ahead and do a happy dance once you’ve tried this.  It rocks that much, so I understand. 

 

I hope you give this a whirl and that you have as much success as me.  If you have any questions or whatnot, please feel free to comment.  If you look me up on Pinterest the original pin should be under “Useful tips” if I remember right.  Happy pampering! 🙂

You See A Tomato, I See An Opportunity To Pamper

I have almost two handfuls of doctors that I see for my illnesses and to try to get some control over my symptoms. Unfortunately a lot of the attempted treatments fail and the continual changes leaves my body in turmoil, which eventually begins to show on my skin. Since the doctors get paid little nowadays (believe me, before you think they all have mansions, I’m happy to chat with you about the overhead that goes into running a medical office – I ran billing, payables, and communication for one for years, and it’s not as pretty as you’d think), they have to push patients through like it’s a cattle drive. The worst part is when they have a patient with as complicated medical issues as mine, they just don’t have the time to deal with everything. It ends up boiling down to “is the treatment helpful enough to outweigh the negative parts?” That leaves it to me to figure out some holistic treatments for those bothersome side effects and new symptoms that crop up with every change.

For some time now I’ve had to deal with skin changes, such as dry and oily areas suddenly changing, and then switching back up on me once I get a handle on them. Then there are some sudden and really nasty side effects such as sores, patches of raw skin, and boils. Unfortunately most everyone with a chronic illness will deal with at least one of those symptoms, if not all. Thankfully I’ve found one humble produce that I often have on hand that has helped me a whole lot. You say tomato and I say, um, tomato. *grin* Betcha never eyed the leftover slices of tomato from your BLTs and thought they’d make a great new skin treatment. I tried it out of desperation and it worked so well that even some of my scars are improved. I talked to one of my doctors a few days ago about it and after she examined me she said that she couldn’t recommend anything else that would work any better than what I was doing. No medications, changes to hormones, or clinically approved topical ointments that would work any better! What do you think of them a–ahem, tomatoes?

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty. You can use the tomato in a ton of different preparations and you’re only really limited by how much you are willing to research (or experiment if you’re that adventurous and daring type *grin*). Doctors and scientists believe that tomatoes have a ton of vitamins that work even if they’re soaked in instead of digested, plus they’re full of antioxidants. While I’d grow bored if I wrote about all of the believed benefits that come from consuming tomatoes, I’m going to focus on the topical benefits. The big guns believe that they can help with sunburns, clear up oily skin, draw pus from pores, wick away pus from where the tomato meets the skin, treat acne, reduce/tighten pores, reduce irritation, soothe skin and inflammation, remove scent (we’ve all heard stories about bathing in tomato juice if you get scent kissed by a skunk), reduce itching, and soothe some topical pain (although logically that’s probably because it’s relieving the inflammation and whatnot). I’m sure there are a lot more benefits that are being noticed and researched, but these are the benefits I know of firsthand. Seriously. And doctor approved. (Although you should always talk to your doctor when considering holistic treatments and you may not experience all benefits as listed, yada yada, and definitely don’t try topical uses if you are allergic when ingesting them!) *settling back into my chair and taking off the imaginary legal hat*

If you want to try it out on a boil you can simply cut a slice off of your tomato (the bottom works perfectly, since you don’t have to worry about the juices and pulp on the bottom side then) and hold it to your skin. I’ve seen a variety of times recommended online, but I honestly left it on until I felt relief since my symptoms all have pain associated with them. The heat from your body will warm the tomato, which I warn you can feel really funky at first and make your nose wrinkle while your toes curl. As long as it doesn’t hurt, it’s well worth it, so keep going.

Now, if it’s a boil and you’ve never had one before, those things are painful and that pus can easily contaminate other vulnerable skin. The tomato works well because the heat and natural acid from the tomato will help the boil come to a head and burst. The pus will soak into the tomato instead of sitting on your skin or seeping into other pores. You may experience a reduce in swelling as soon as this happens (within about half an hour), but sometimes it may take more than one round. Make sure to be careful; be cautious about having anything touch the inflamed skin after the treatment, and be ultra hygienic. Always dispose of the tomato after use and never be tempted to reuse a section, even if you don’t think the head came up. A key tip – wash any clothing and skin that comes into contact with the area, even if it’s just a light swab or glancing touch. You can even try mashing the tomato into a paste and apply that to the boil. Rinse off after the desired time period and put all towels used right into the laundry. This will prevent accidental re exposure. Hopefully you’ll find relief very quickly. Remember, heat brings it to a head while coolness with reduce inflammation and let it finish healing.

For facial acne, tightening pores, and generally clearing your skin, it’s mind boggling how many things you can try. Have fun with this since it’s a great chance to pamper yourself a bit and take some me time! You can have a little spa fun and put sliced cucumber over your eyes while laying slices of tomato over your face. Sure, you’ll look weird, but those gals spending a ton of money to get bird poop smeared on their face for a premium skin treatment don’t look any prettier during their treatment, so don’t worry about it. *grin* You can mash the tomato up and mix it with your favorite plain yogurt that you like to use on your skin. (For me it honestly depends on what I have on hand. I personally don’t swear by one over another, but a lot of people have preferences. Reminds me of a phrase my grandma used to say about people and opinions, but that’s best left unwritten. *smirk*) If you like sugar scrubs you can even cut a chunk of tomato, dredge it in some sugar (raw or granulated – you can research and decide your preference, I prefer granulated white or brown), and rub gently over your skin (although I’d recommend that more for body and not face, since I’m not a big believer of sugar being great for the face). You can even use just the juice from the tomato and mix it with your preferred milk. (Yeah, I’m so not going to argue with anyone over coconut milk, buttermilk, goat’s milk, or whole milk being better than the next. That’s like telling a Coke drinker that all colas are the same – they’ll still wrinkle their nose when they sip the Pepsi and tell you how wrong you are. Nope, not worth it. Lol.) If you feel really awesome and empowered add a bit of honey to your mix for maximum healing and pampering. Apply to your face and allow to sit on the skin like a mask, then rinse and pat dry (read “pat dry”! Quit rubbing when you towel dry whenever possible. *grin* Believe me, your skin will glow in appreciation for your extra effort.).

Hopefully you are inspired to experiment a bit with tomato and see if it works for you. I sincerely hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. If you decide to experiment, please don’t hesitate to leave some comments about it. I’d love to hear about your concoctions. Happy pampering! 🙂

Breakfast with Gummy Worms

I learned about two previously unknown skills that I have while trying to make pancake soaps. First, I am very good at creating khaki colored soap. Even more impressive than this special coloring skill, I apparently excel at creating a pink version of khaki. I used yellow dye and somehow managed to create a really pretty pink hue to the khaki soap. *cracking up* These previously unrealized skills may come in handy at some point, and I appreciate them, but they weren’t very useful this past week. Lol.

I attempted to correct the pinkish khaki soap to match the general hues of pancakes…um, apparently that’s a skill that I still lack despite quite a bit of practice. *grin* I never managed that golden grilled color, but after I poured the pancake soaps I realized that they look like chocolate milk rounds. Doh!

At least the pats of butter turned out fairly well with a mixture of different glycerin bases, although after I poured the first three I realized that I was pouring them waaaay too thick. *embarrassed laugh* At least they look soft and creamy. Here’s the first picture featuring the butter soaps. I’ll probably remelt the thick ones and pour them thinner. I should note that all of the components are scented with the Brown Sugar FO, which smells just like a rich maple syrup. Yum!!

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Two of the pancakes are about the right thickness, despite the color issues.

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Finally I’ve decided that I should do two for a short stack instead of 3, which looked way too clunky. All that’s left is to “glue” the stacks and butter to one another with a bit of soap, and then I will drizzle a rich brown syrup soap down the stack (well, hopefully I can manage that color, but I’m open to using my imagination *grin*).

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While I’ve been working on a proof on concept pancake soap I also ended up with a refreshed search for the worm mold for Worms in Dirt. A very clever friend brought up the idea of searching the toy department and also found some creepy crawly creature chocolate molds. These searches triggered new related search links that I haven’t had before and suddenly I heard the choir sing. Hallelujah! *impish grin* I feel so stupid admitting this, but despite what an imbecile I seem like for not thinking of this in all of this time, I am tickled to have found gummy worm molds. *quick happy dance* They can withstand high heat, have the perfect shapes and characteristics, and I don’t have to pour them individually like I would with lure molds. Even better I don’t have to learn yet how to create my own silicone mold like I was debating. Booyah!!

20130528-014902.jpg See – gummy worm mold

I’ll pour the syrup for the pancakes tomorrow hopefully and then get to testing it. I’m curious to see if I can get a more complicated soap to stay together once it gets wet. *crossing fingers* In the meantime is anyone ready to brave the storm and go to IHOP with me? My kitchen smells so yummy and now I’m craving real make-my-butt-five-times-bigger pancakes.

Pancakes and Boulders

In the morning I tend to resemble Grumpy Cat. I’m pretty upfront about that. My body has a different idea of the day’s cycle (I mean, I’d probably do well as a vampire lol), so when someone mowing woke me early and the pain pills hadn’t kicked in, storm clouds started gathering. *failing at an innocent look* The mailman soon cheered me up with packages from Amazon, thankfully, and I opted to give raging at the world a rest for a bit. (Before those that know me say anything, I added “a bit”. The truce may not hold if the chocolate hides from me later. You have been warned. Plus, we all know that it’s just a matter of time before my sarcasm comes out to play. Put some chocolate on the table and just back away slowly. It’d be wise not to say anything too. Lol.) Anyway, the first box had the new silicone mold in it that I’m going to use for the pancake soaps.

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I put my pop can in view for a size reference. We all know how much I suck at measurements, so I didn’t realize they’d be a realistic size. To help with the syrup dribbles I also got some injectors. I saw them on a soap crafter site with tips on how to help prevent soap from setting inside of them, and if I can get the technique down, these will be awesome. (I know – they’re originally for giving oral medications to animals, but soap crafters are well known for using things from the daily world for crafting, so what the hey. *grin*)

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I think the pancake stack soaps have the potential of being even cuter than the Splish Splash Ducks. *performs a teeny chair dance*

Despite my excitement I’m a bit distracted, though. My mind has a habit of fixating (as if that’s a new piece of insight *cracking up*) and the last few days have been no different.

You see once upon a year (ugh, let’s not visit the exact number please. Meh. Lol.) I had been writing poetry and vignettes for a few years when suddenly during my Current Events class “I am the grim reaper of your dreams…” started repeating over and over in my mind. Admittedly it was a surprisingly grim phrase to go on loop, but I couldn’t shake it. I finished my work before the rest (yep, I was that student lol) and wrote the line. Within ten minutes I had finished the first draft of my poem, which I ended up using a few years later in an international competition.

Around fifteen years later… *cough* (we’ll go with that number and just move on, okay?)…random ideas will plague me just like “Grim Reaper” did. A children’s book series, several poems, and a few careers spawned from these odd occurrences and yet again I’m being plagued. This one is seriously weird though. I learned years ago, the hard way, that I’ll feel like I’m going insane if I don’t work with these phrases somehow, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to please this demon. “Under the Boulders” keeps repeating in the style of “Under the Boardwalk”, although it’s all about the “over the shoulder boulder holder” (that’s a code for bra, brassiere, a sling for the girls, whatever term you like, just in case you didn’t have a really fun loving mom like me that taught her daughter the song early on). *laughing* All I can think of is either a refreshing lotion or drying powder for the heat of Summer that’s coming on. I think I’ll leave “the boulders” out of the marketing though. *grin* Can you imagine witnessing a customer being stopped in the aisle in Wal-mart? “Excuse me, Ma’am, but I love whatever scent you’re wearing! Could you please tell me what it is?” With a blush the customer replies “Well, it’s Under the Boulders Bewbies Refresher.” *shaking head* And people thought that Poe was…interesting. Hah! “They ain’t seen nothin’ like me.” 😉

Breakfast Anyone?

I got a little…imaginative…the other day when I took an extra dose of pain medication to try to tame the beast for a spell. I did what any other bored woman who is addicted to technology does while distracting their brain – I shopped on Amazon. *cracking up* I had to order something for my mom and it’s incredibly logical to add things for yourself to get to the magical total that gets you free shipping, especially when you’re not registering on the sane scale. *grin* Logic, dear Watson. While looking at silicone molds (isn’t that what you search when spoiling yourself? Lol.) I ran across an intriguing mold that made me think of breakfast. To be fair I’m kind of obsessed with breakfast foods anyway, just ask my husband who never heard of eating breakfast for dinner until me, and still doesn’t care to do that ten years later, which fuels the obsession further. Ahem. It’s a rather simplistic mold, but my brain suddenly started picturing different steps to create a rather fun soap. Here’s the mold:

20130510-132516.jpg I’m going to try making soap pancakes. *flashes a huge smile* I hope to pour a few shallow disc soaps, use my small square mold from the Lumps of Coal soap for a creamy yellow pat of butter, and drizzle brown soap over it to look like maple syrup. (The Coal soap is from waaaay back when I first started the business – they were little black square soaps scented in licorice and packaged in a small organza bag for gift giving.) I think I’ll scent the pancake soaps lightly with vanilla (I never ventured into dough-type scents) and I have a brown sugar FO that smells a lot like maple. I’ve done several drizzled soaps (Dessert Soap and Splish Splash Duck to name a couple), so I know what can go wrong and how to fix those issues, which helps me feel a lot more confident and excited over this soap. I’ve been doing a lot of research about soap “carving” and fondant tools, and think that I might be able to soften the edges of the pancake soaps with the fondant tools. I just can’t figure out how in the world I’ll manage to package them. They may get some plain ol’ Saran Wrap because I don’t think boxes or bags will fit quite right. I just had to share the excitement. It’s my happy thought right now and has helped keep my spirits up the last few days. I’m crossing my fingers I’ll be able to walk and stand again by the time I get the mold (and a book/CD Rom kit for making your own will, as well as an acne tool – because we all buy such an incredibly odd combination of items *rolling eyes at self*). I really look forward to seeing if I can get pancake soaps to turn out and it’ll be interesting to see what challenges pop up while trying.

I hope you all have a wonderful and sunny weekend! How about we all have a small stack to celebrate Spring trying to come to all of the states? 🙂

A Lemon a Day

I learned in testing the new Lemon Scrub I’m experimenting with that a lemon scrub a day brings the ants to play.  Meh.  Every sugar scrub that I have made before has soap in it in some form, until the Lemon Scrub.  I never thought that leaving soap and extra glycerin out may be an ant deterrent.  Who knew?!  *bewildered shrug* I’ve never had such a watery and loose scrub before, so maybe that’s why it’s so attractive.  Or it could be because it’s so stinking cold when insects think it’s time to become active.  We seldom ever have trouble with ants thankfully, but holy smokes!  This definitely made up for it.  There were so many ants covering the lid of my jar that it looked like a moving black lid instead of bright white.  *cracking up*  I admit that I love the smell enough that I think I’ll just use the scent in my regular scrub recipe and use that for my Summer scrub instead.  Good thing that I have set myself a minimum of 2 weeks of testing now (after the Worms in Dirt issues lol).  As much as I was startled by our ants, I would be positively mortified if it had happened to a customer.  It makes sense that the soap in my previous versions of scrub deterred the ants.  I mean, we obliterate ant trails with dish soap and it stops and/or kills them, so it’s logical in retrospect.  It’s funny how things always make sense when you look back at the mistakes.  *grin* 

 

On a secondary note Slimer, the attempted leg gel, is now gone.  I caught Larry playing with it, making it plop around, and that just iced the cake for me.  *cracking up*  I can’t make up my mind if I really want to give it another shot.  Of course, Silly Putty wasn’t suppose to be a toy when it was accidentally created, either.  (Cue the “Weird Science” song.) 

 

I guess my misadventures will help any of the DIY readers.  If you want to make your own scrub, add some melted soap to the mixture.  *laugh*  And, no matter what others tell you, don’t add cornstarch to Aloe unless you want something to play with.  Maybe if I scent a blob of it with Bubblegum FO I could have a best selling non-toxic toy on the market.  *impish grin*

I cloned Slimer

After a couple of tests both new experiments will need to be redone. I’m not as concerned about the scrub, but I somehow created Slimer instead of the energizing gel and will call The Ghostbusters if the jar moves. *grin* I’ll be honest – it’s gross. *laugh* I poked it 6 times and got a slight moistness on my tip, but it just bounced right back. Only furniture and your Hippy Aunt’s mold of jello jiggler should bounce back like this. I’ll leave out the thickener, that’s for dag on sure, but I think I’ll also approach each incorporation a little less aggressive. So we’ll see soon! In the meantime, I think it moved.

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I’m not sure that it wants me to test it anymore, so back to the kitchen.

I’m not sure if the brief heat I was enjoying while making the scrub was the culprit or the little changes I made had a lot more impact, but some of the sugar melted into a simple syrup. To use the scrub you have to swirl your finger in the mixture for a few moments. Well, I learned one thing for doing these two experiments together. I’ll add some cornstarch into this scrub since it thickened the Aloe so much!! *grin*

Anyway, I’ll let you get back to things. I will return to treating the energizing gel as the old slime I used to get in gumball machines as a kid. I may have a new niche if the blob does cool moves down the wall. 😉

Summer’s A’Comin’

I was busy experimenting yesterday, but it seemed weird to include them with the cocoa melts post. The gloom has finally lifted and Spring has come to Kansas. *grin* It’s been absolutely beautiful, although seems incredibly warm at 80 just because it’s been cold so often. It was too warm in the house for soap to set and I was too restless to make anything but experiments. In honor of the warmth and sunshine I decided to try and make a few summer ready items.

The first is a lemon sugar scrub. This smells like fresh squeezed lemons, perfect for some iced tea or lemonade, and has no kitchen cleaner-type notes to it at all. *happy sigh* I found a recipe for a sandal scrub during all my research and made a few changes to it. There’s brown sugar and granulated sugar for the main scrub, and although the brown sugar doesn’t do magnificent things, it softens the scent of the mixture and made it look awesome, in my opinion.

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It’s thought that Lemon EO (essential oil) has a lot of antiseptic properties, helps clear grease and dead skin, and may even help to fight headaches while it’s helping to heal small blemishes or cuts (although I’d advise asking a doctor before using it on wounds of any type). There are a ton of possible aromatherapy benefits too, with relieving depression and fatigue being key ones, which is why I thought it’d be the perfect EO for a summer scrub. There’s Aloe Vera in the mixture too, so you get that soothing and moisturizing feel from it. I’ll test it for a few weeks, since I can only exfoliate every few days, but the first test was fantastic. If I closed my eyes I could almost imagine that I had a tall glass of lemon tea in my hand while I reveled in a warm summer rain. (I was in the shower and it’s kind of hard to have a fantasy that doesn’t include rain when you’re in there. *cracking up*) The exfoliation is super soft and the sweet almond oil left my skin smooth and moisturized. It sounds like such a crock, I know, but I tested it on one arm and compared them after the shower, and literally the tested arm looks so much healthier and I don’t have any dry spots yet, almost a whole day later. It may be close to time for a happy dance.

The second experiment is an energizing or refreshing gel. This one I have some mixed feelings about. I’m not sure how sellable it would be, because it looks and feels…weird. I can’t think of any other polite descriptions; I just keep coming up with juvenile and gross comments. *laugh* The main ingredient is Aloe Vera, so it’s great for the skin, and it has Peppermint EO and Wintergreen EO to give some zing. The EOs are also thought to be great for aromatherapy; comforting, uplifting, relaxing, and not to mention that they help with congestion. I admit now that I was just excited to be experimenting and adapting some recipes that I found, and failed to think through a few of the ingredients. I added EOs and oils to suit my interests, and what not, but the original recipe for this gel called for cornstarch, and that’s such a toss-away ingredients when looking at bath recipes that I didn’t give it any thoughts. Yeah, you know that I face palmed when things went wrong, and you all ready know something went wrong because it’s just my destiny for something to go wrong. *grin* Anywhatsit…I added the cornstarch to my own version of the recipe and happily started to stir. Then I got my small whisk and beat the crap out of the mixture. Then I brought out the big gun – the electric whisk. I know that this little bad boy can send bath whip from my stove all the way to my kitchen table (I wish I could say that only happened once *blush*), so I figured this mixture had met it’s match. Let’s just give that a big, fat nope. Let’s just make that italic to emphasize that the cornstarch beat me. Nope. This fun little mixture turned into a super thick, gelatinous cloud that can stay in form for the first few attempts to rub it in. That’s some serious witchy superpowers there! *grin* I forgot to mention that I never could get the cornstarch to fully incorporate either, so there are pockets of white floating around in this blob. I know the benefits of the ingredients, so I was able to set aside my nose-wrinkling over the texture and used it twice so far. I like how my skin feels afterward, although it’s not as refreshing as I expected. At first. Take a shower and rinse it off, and be prepared to dance a little. Or maybe that’s just me and my super senses from my Fibro. *laugh* Once heat hit those mints came back to life and had some zing. I loved it, truth be told. *grin* I love when products surprise me like that (not when they surprise me by having gelatinous superpowers though…meh).

20130430-123626.jpg See, the blob doesn’t even fall off of the spoon. There was too much shadow (and I’m too clumsy to be able to snap a pic with my other hand) for the shots of the blob staying put when held upside down and completely sideways to come out.

Top it all off I tried to cut my coffee soap loaf and package it. Doh! The frosting was extra soft and stuck to the bag, while the bar tried to melt where I touched it as I cut and packaged it. Although the grid paper helped to get somewhat even cuts, I need to work on improving that a bit more still. The different sections aren’t totally equal. I set aside this project to finish once it gets a little cooler again.

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Top it with fiddling with the cocoa melts and getting the rest of my supply order, and I’m feeling pretty happy with myself. Although today will be a review and research day, I can tell. That whisking…whew!

I hope you have a wonderful and pampering Tuesday!

Cocoa Massage

I thought I’d start off with a DIY recipe. You heard all about the cocoa massage melts in a previous post. I can’t get them to look prettier and they resemble cracked jagged rocks. Meh. I really like how my skin felt after testing it, though, so I want to share the recipe for those with the inclination to make them. You’ll need some molds for this, but you can even use ice trays. I found that silicone molds worked best for me, because these buggers don’t want to budge after the set. If you have a bite size brownie sheet mold it filled all 24 holes in mine, plus three other small molds.

You will need:
1 cup of grated cocoa butter (available all craft stores, etc; and always measure before grating; keep a paper towel handy while grating since your body heat will cause it to melt, so keep wiping as you go, but don’t try to grate while holding the towel, no matter how tempting it is))
4 Tbsp dark cocoa powder (from the baking aisle)
6 oz (or 4 tbsp) Sweet Almond Oil (available in health stores and some craft stores)
4 tbsp Beeswax granules (you can also grate a square of it, but if you can find the granules they are way easier)

Put all of the ingredients in a double boiler and melt over a medium low heat. Whisk it frequently. The mixture will look frothy for a while; just use a spoon to check that the wax is fully melted. Once the mixture is fully incorporated and smooth work fast to pour the mixture into the designated molds. This will clump fast! Worst case situation you can pop it in the microwave in a safe container for a few seconds and it’ll buy you a few minutes.

The massage square melts with the heat from your skin. It will look brown on the skin at first, but as it soaks in, or you spread it to other skin, the brown disappears. If the squares will not set up and you find that the inside is still wet when you test one, then you can put them in the freezer for a few minutes. The only down side to freezing is that they will not look overly appealing because of the temperature differences. If they are setting well, let them sit and settle for a few days. That freezer is the last resort. Anyway, if you have any questions, let me know!
All you do is let a square warm in your hand and rub it in anywhere (except overly sensitive areas). It works so much better if someone else massages it in for you, too. *sassy wink* I hope a few of you enjoy the recipe. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me and I’ll try to help. Have fun!!

They massage in really well. If your body heat isn’t melting it as desired, just hit it for a few moments with the blow dryer.

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