Monday, March 1, 2010

Happy March 1st

Well this year I'm trying so hard to make my finances better...So I took some Financial Peace University classes. Read the book the money makeover(Both are great if you need help with getting your money right) But the big thing is that I have a Financial adviser...Things still are not great but they are getting better and now that I'm getting to the end of being on disability and getting back to work(praise Jesus) things should get even better.....

Well if you know me at all I love to start shopping for Christmas now so I can get the good deals but this year I have been thinking about cheaper and greener ways and things I can do for Christmas...Yes Logan will get a DS game and Aidan something with baseball because I can't make that stuff but God has blessed me with a gift of craft and the work of my hands...I really believe that I can make just about anything...

So I found this book at the library called A Greener Christmas by Sheherazade Goldsmith It is a great book
You can get one from Amazon used for like $6.00
Anyways this book has so many different ideas like: Things to do with your Christmas tree, Giving, table and food..Its really a good book to check out if you are trying to find ways to save money this Christmas...

Also one thing that I would like to do is learn how to make my own soap. I found this website that has a easy homemade soap recipe here it is if you would like to try it out...

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been trying to figure out why no one knows how to do anything anymore. We can’t understand, let alone repair, most of the gadgets we use everyday. We increasingly eat packaged and pre-prepared food; even organic food often comes wrapped in plastic. We don’t know how to grow tomatoes, can peaches, hem pants, or build fences.

As the last generations of depression-era children or back-to-the-landers take their leave of this world, these skills go with them. When we try to learn from scratch we soon discover that recipes in books don’t tell half the story.

DIY Soap Making and Other Skills Slipping Away
I have never found why this knowledge started slipping away from us, but I am trying to re-learn some of the basics. I now make my own soap, hand lotion, yogurt, and bread. I am trying to figure out toothpaste, but it is hard to find good information on abrasion damage. I also found a great cheese site, which has a recipe for labneh, a cheese I can make from my homemade yogurt, and I plan to make other cheeses with my friends, who write about the Hundred Mile Diet.

Anyhow, here is my soap recipe. It is customized to use full bottles of most of the oils, so you don’t have a lot of inventory lying around, and you don’t have to do a lot of measuring. Normally, making soap requires a lot of finicky weighing, since measuring by volume isn’t considered accurate enough. So far I have had no problems, and, for those without a scale, I give both weight and volume in this recipe.

Making Homemade Soap Can Be Dangerous
Before we begin, let me stress that soap-making can be dangerous. Although it is easy to become comfortable with the process, you should only make soap when you fully understand the safety procedures.

Here is some general homemade soap information

Soap is made in two parts, lye and water, plus a mixture of oils. The two don’t combine easily, so they must be brought to similar temperatures. Lye and water get very hot when mixed, so the mixture must cool before being added to the oils.

The oils must be gently heated. The oil is nowhere near hot enough to cook with, but still, please do not start any fires. Every oil has a different saponification index, which is a measure of how much lye is required to turn that oil into soap. This means, if you run out of coconut oil, don’t go replacing it with olive oil.

Lye is VERY caustic, so don’t get any on your skin. It also gives off nasty fumes, so use goggles and very good ventilation or a respirator. Check out the Materials Safety Data Sheet on lye.

You will also need a mould. You could use a 9 x 13 cake pan, and line it with wax paper. I bought a used Rubbermaid bread box that is about 14” x 6” x 5”. This makes a big block of soap that is not safe to cut with a knife. I cut it with a guitar string wrapped around a couple of chopstick handles.

Homemade Soap: The Hardest Step
The hardest thing about soap is knowing when it is done. This is judged by a state called ‘Trace’. This is when a dribble of soap kind of stays on the surface instead of sinking into the pot. Think honey on a counter top as it slowly flattens out.

Check online for all the soap info you could want, from a very active community. The book that I used to work out this recipe is called The Soapmaker’s Companion, by Susan Miller Cavitch. This is also where I found recipes for hand lotion.

Here is my recipe for homemade soap

Lye - Mix in large pyrex measuring cup, stir with a chopstick saved from order-in Chinese food. Again, DO NOT BREATHE THE FUMES. WEAR GOGGLES.

700 ml purified water
270 g or 91/4 oz lye (one small container)

Oils –Mix in a big pot

Olive oil 955g 4.5 cups
Coconut oil 390g 500ml 2 cups
Grapeseed oil 515g 500ml 2 cups

Use the cheap pomace olive oil, virgin doesn’t work as well.

Let lye mixture cool to 110F. Warm oils to 110F. When both are at the same temperature, slowly pour lye mixture into oils. Mix with a stick blender until trace, periodically scraping sides and bottom of pan with a spatula. I mix with short pulses of the blender, and it only takes about three minutes.

The first time I made soap I used a whisk and my spatula, which I washed carefully later. Next time I used my Braun stick blender. Once I felt sure that I was going to make soap regularly, I bought a used stick blender at Value Village for $5.00 and dedicated it to soap making. If you use a whisk, you can look forward to hours of stirring. I also have a couple of thrift-shop thermometers, one for the lye and one for the oils. I have also heard of people making soap by feel. When the containers of lye and oils feel similarly warm to the touch, you are good to go.

At trace, add 10ml cinnamon oil. Mix as little as possible, just enough to combine. Theoretically, the soap can harden very quickly at this stage, trapping your spatula inside a giant bar. I have never had a problem with this recipe, though.

Pour into mould. Wrap with heavy blankets for 24 hours to keep the heat in and help the chemical reaction.

The next day, when soap has set, cut it into bars and store, separated nicely, on brown paper in cool place. Turn over after two weeks. Use after one month.

Share the suds.


Till Next Time....

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