Thursday, September 13, 2012

This Time I AM Going to be MATURE

What I mean by that rash statement is this morning I decided good enough is good enough.   I am not going to make myself (and maybe Kelly) completely crazy by attempting something that, while possible, cannot reasonably be accomplished in the time allotted. I feel really good about that. 

It is Thursday.  Saturday is the turn-in time for entries into the Tulsa State Fair.  (Yeah, we know Tulsa isn't really a state).  I signed up to enter two skeins of handspun yarn and a vest knit of handspun.  I could possibly get the vest completed, but I'm going to run out of handspun.  So, to complete this task, I'll need to spin more yarn AND knit between now and Saturday.   

I've calculated the waking minutes from now (Thursday) until the turn in date (Saturday) and subtracted the time wasted in working for a living and attending things I cannot reasonably dump.  So, in a RARE flash of maturity, I have abandoned the attempt to complete the vest. The yarn CANNOT be spun and plied and washed and dried and knitted and then the vest washed and dried in the remaining time, plus I don't have a button--the vest needs a button. 

Two skeins of handspun will have to be it for my entries--I'm mostly OK with that. :(

THEN, I got to work and looked at my calendar.  AND maturity just moved to the back burner.  

I am attending a continuing education seminar tomorrow, which is pretty much 8 hours of uninterrupted knitting.  The place is well lit and the chairs aren't too awfully uncomfortable--there is LOTS of coffee and it would be perfect except the coffee cups aren't very big and they have speakers that keep blabbing about stuff.   BUT, I'm pretty sure I can get the knitting done in that amount of time.

I only need about 50 yards of 2ply yarn, so although I'm not getting home until after 7:30 pm, I might try to get that spun and washed tonight.  I gotta figure out how to get it to dry quickly, but this IS do-able. 

I'll need a cool button, but I kind of have this idea that I might make some pounded copper wire affair.  The button wouldn't necessarily need to be functional for the fair. I hope I still have the copper wire at home where I think it is. 

Yeah, I'm back in business.


Monday, September 3, 2012

No Dirt on MY Hands

Yes, in fact I do know that a bar of soap can be purchased for less than the amount of change left in my jeans after a weekend.  

And, two people can only use so much soap. 

Yet, I spent most of this holiday weekend and untold dollars making soap.  


Why?  Well, over the last few months, I made one batch of soap at a friend's house, I've read books, bought ingredients, looked at web sites, took a DISASTROUS class, bought more ingredients, joined forums, bought molds, read some more, and soooooo . . . it was finally time to get my saponification on.  

I planned to make shaving soap for a birthday gift for some old duff  :) I'm related to who just happens to lather up with a brush. The recipe I had made 5 pounds but the mold I bought only held 3 pounds so I had to adjust the recipe by dividing by 5 and multiplying  by 3.  That was pretty easy math, and all was well until I poured the hot oil into the crock pot I planned to use and realized there was no room for the other ingredients (lye & water). So, I had to change the method from cooking in the crock pot to cold process.    

In cold process you mix lye and water and melt the solid oils and then cool everything to the same temperature pour them together and mix like mad until the stuff looks like pudding, pour into a mold, wrap in blankets and wait for a day, unmold, and cut into bars.   That was so much fun I had to make more.  

Next I made another cold process batch, but that recipe made 3.375 pounds (things are VERY exact in the soap world), but the mold I wanted to use was for 5 pounds.  So,  back to the calculator to end up with 5.6 pounds.  This batch was made with sunflower oil and was scented with lemongrass, and rosemary.  

Well, I had lots of ingredients left and I thought I should try to use the crockpot. So I went to Whole Foods and acquired ingredients. No calculations were necessary, I just followed the recipe (except for the scents which were orange, a bit of lemongrass, and rosemary) Cooking the soap in the crockpot was less trouble than cold process.

 Cooking in the crockpot & finished product

cooked in the crockpot

cold process
I like the result from the cold process better.  The bars are very smooth.  You can compare the photos and see the difference.   
Soap waiting to come out of the lamb mold
Baa! I made it!

I must have miscalculated--the shaving soap was a mess!

I made a bunch of these from the shavings
The soap has to sit around and cure for 6 weeks (actually it's just drying out so it will last longer--it's pretty soft at this point).  I should really be ready for a bath by then.  :)

It's back to the drawing board for the shaving soap--I haven't given up on that.  

Anyway, when you make soap the resulting mess is interesting to clean up because it's soap.  Right now my hands and kitchen counter are REALLY clean. 

My Tattoo

My Tattoo
A bike chain tattoo, that is It's chain lube ya know