Adventures in Soap Making: Letting Go of Perfection

A couple weeks back, I made four small batches of soap to test out different percentages of olive oil and coconut oil. I’m trying to figure out which oils I like, in what quantities, to get a consistent soap that I like that has good bubbles, is moisturizing, lasts long in the shower, etc. The first lesson I learned that day: [Read more…]

#SchoolOfSewing: Lesson 1 Fabrics

Ok, this year got off to a slow start so I had to delay the start of the School of Sewing sew-a-long by a month, but I’m looking forward to finally jumping in and getting started! If you haven’t heard about learning to sew with me, or just want to catch up on the details, you can go to the 2015 School of Sewing page to see what’s in store.

Lesson #1 is the Speedy Pillowcase, and I’m really glad that the first project is so simple so I can dip my toes back into the world of sewing. The first part of the book had so much great information about how to choose a machine, tools you’ll need, etc., and since I’ve tried learning to sew before (over a year ago!), that was informational for me but thankfully I have everything I need to get going. If you don’t, I highly recommend spending the time to read the first 70 pages of the book. I’m mostly going to need to concentrate on cleaning my machine and changing the needle to make sure it’s ready to go. (See page 65 – 66 for great tips for both of these items.)

So really, I got to focus just on picking fabric for this project. I gotta say – I feel like I SUCK at this! I knew I wanted to make this pillow case for one of my husband’s pillows that is extra long (and hard to find pillow cases for) so I wanted something gender neutral or masculine. I went to the fabric store and was immediately overwhelmed. I did stick to the quilting cottons (as recommended) so that helped narrow it down a little bit, but still. Thankfully, my husband approves of my fabric choice.

School of Sewing Lesson 1 Fabrics

Ugh – I took this picture at night with terrible lighting so I don’t think the colors are coming through well. Have I mentioned lately that I’m not a photographer? :-) I promise to get pictures of my finished product in better lighting so that the colors come through.

Anywho…I’m ready to tackle this project next weekend. Are you ready? Have you picked out your fabric yet? If so, please share! I need fabric inspiration and want to see what you’ve selected!

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First Batch of Soap

Hey guys…I DID IT! I made my very first batch of soap! I’ve been wanting to do this for a couple years, and finally committed to doing it this year with the support of the Bramble Berry Soap Crafting Club. I get one kit per month and an online class with lots of support and encouragement. This first kit is a lovely Cleansing Calendula Bar (pg 158 in the Soap Crafting book). Fairly simple recipe which was GREAT for helping me just to get the supplies and rhythm for how soap comes together. Here it is freshly poured into the molds. (Yes, the little mold is just a food container. I had extra “batter” and didn’t want it to go to waste.)

CalendulaSoapInMold

 

I have to admit I’ve been intimidated at the idea of making soap – but now that I’ve done it, I can see I’m going to be HOOKED on making my own soap. No more soap buying for me!

Here are they key things I learned with this inaugural foray into soap making:

  • Working with lye isn’t as scary as it seems – but it is good to have a HEALTHY fear and respect for it. I watched lots of videos and read lots of blog posts on lye safety and I was confident and super careful.
  • Even though I thought I had everything I needed set out and ready to go, I didn’t. Thankfully, most things were easily within reach and now I know for next time.
  • Turns out, I was far more anxious about the clean up than I was about mixing the lye water. Did I splash any lye water anywhere? Did I get everything clean? Is it safe to take off the goggles and gloves yet?
  • The actual mixing and pouring of the soap is only about 20% of the overall time and effort. Prep and setup, and clean up definitely take much longer.
  • The hardest part? I now have to wait a couple days to get it out of the mold and 4-6 weeks of curing before I can actually use it! ACK! I am not a patient person! I’m going to have so much soap made before I can even TRY any of it! LOL

I’m already anxious to start experimenting with more recipes, and don’t see myself being able to wait until next month’s kit. I think everyone I know is going to get soap for gifts this year just so I have something to do with it all. And I just might be “forced” into selling some too. ;)

Have you tried soap making? Do you have a favorite recipe, website, or blog that you follow? I’m submerging myself into all things soap making right now, and would love some more resources!

 

Disclosure: Links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning at no cost to you, I receive a small commission if you making a purchase through one of my links.

Puppy for My Nephew

I am SOOOO late in sharing this post, but January was pretty rough in our household. Super sick kitty, business trip, brought home the flu, sick husband, still coughing. BUT, we are all on the mend and life is slowly returning to “normal”.  I shared this sneak peek back in December of a project I made for my nephew. But now you can see the whole thing!

ChristmasPuppy

I modified the pattern from the Simply Cute Dog pattern in the book Animal Amigurumi to Crochet (Annie’s Crochet) so that it would look more like my nephew’s dog. The color changes for the spots took some work as this little guy is pretty small so it was tight working with the two colors in the rounds. There were some frustrating nights getting this guy done, but in the end I love him – and more importantly, so does my nephew!

By the way, he named him Snoopy. :-)

 

Disclosure: The link above is an affiliate link, meaning at no cost to you, I receive a small commission if you purchase the book through my link.

School of Sewing – Delayed

January has gotten off to a rough start in my household. One of our kitties was sick for a couple weeks, resulting ultimately in surgery (she is fine now, thank goodness!); during her final steps of recovery I headed out of town on a business trip and brought home the cold/flu/plague and am just now barely feeling like I might be recovering…but is SLOW GOING. My husband also caught a cold (thankfully not as bad as mine, because I REALLY needed someone to take care of me these past 4 days) and my other kitty had to be taken to the vet yesterday and is now on antibiotics. So I want a do-over to the fresh start a new year is supposed to bring.

In the spirit of Being Gentle With Myself (my number one goal for 2015), I am giving my household the rest of January to try and get back to “normal” and pushing all activity out one month. That means that my School of Sewing activities will now start in February. I’ve put up a page that recaps the approach I’ll take, and updated it with the new monthly schedule. You can find that page here:

SchoolOfSewingPage

 

That also means there’s still time for you to grab the book, get your sewing machine and supplies ready, and join me starting in February! :-)