Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summertime Fun

Actually, I was being sarcastic.  This will NOT be fun, but there is no way to avoid it.  Our entire septic system must be replaced.  I took some pictures of my yard being excavated.

They dug 4 holes in all.  The first one was to see what was going on with the existing tank.  That's when they found out it was almost rusted through and had to be replaced.  Since the drain field pipe was also rusted though, guess what?  Yep, the drain field has to be replaced as well.  Do you see where the fun part comes in?  Neither do I.

The other 3 holes had to be dug because they needed to see what the soil was like at the deeper levels.

On the plus side, I may be getting rid of the big evergreen bush in the yard.  It has been a real PITA to maintain along with all the other trees, vines, etc in the summertime.  They plan to do the work sometime the week of July 8, 2013.

This is them covering up the 12'x10' hole that was dug to find out the condition of our septic tank

Now that they have covered up the first hole, it's time to dig more!

To the left you see the bush I hope they take out when they install the new system.
If I can I'll try to get some pictures taken during the installation process too.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Something new - Making soap!

I love the smell of Rosemary and Mint together, so that's the type of bar soap I made.  I took pictures along the way and as you can see, it was an interesting process.  Before I got any further though, I would like to thank the MommaMuse web site.  She had a Rosemary Mint cold process soap recipe I used and as you will see, it turned out well for a first try.
Here are my ingredients for the soap.

I lined the molds with freezer paper.  My wonderful husband made the forms and designed them so I could open them easily but "lock" them closed when pouring the soap.

I also had to measure my ingredients and mix them in a safe container.  Here are my measuring tools and soap pot.
Stainless steel pot, Pyrex measuring bowl, thermometer & safety glasses.  Look out!  I'm going in!

Now that I have all my ingredients together, my measuring tools and the molds ready to go, let's get started!
Here I have added the necessary oils to the pot and melting them over low heat.

Now for the fun part, measuring the lye.
I have my distilled water measured and I have weighed the lye.  I have to be careful when I mix these 2 ingredients.  I add the lye to the water and stir, but I had to be careful of fumes.  After I mixed them I set the bowl outside to cool off.
While the lye/water mixture was cooling, I added the olive oil to the heated palm oil and palm kernel oil.  This helped cool off the oil mix.  After the lye/water mixture had cooled to room temperature, I mixed it into the oil.  After that I had my husband pour the rosemary and mint oils in the pot while I was still using the hand mixture.

I forgot to take pictures of the soap right after I poured it in the mold but here you can see what it looks like.
After pouring the mix in the mold, I wrapped it with plastic wrap and then wrapped everything in a thick towel.  I then let it sit for 24 hours.

The wait is over.
Unwrapping the soap log.  Now is the time to cut it into bars because it is still soft enough to do so.
I am using the miter box to (hopefully) cut my bars straight.
For a drying rack, my husband came up with a great idea.  We had this wire shelf we weren't using, so he cut a couple of 2x4's  and used them to prop up the other side of the shelf.
My bars have been cut and put on the drying rack.
The bars didn't come out very uniform and I molded the soap scraps I had left in that little plastic bowl.

Now that the soap is drying, it's time to make some labels.
I found a black & white pattern but change the color to purple.  I decided to call them Genie Bars & put an abstract 'lamp' on the label.

Here's a front and back look at the labels I made.

It was a fun experience and not really all that hard.  I wish you could smell the fragrance, it is quite uplifting and should be a good soap to use in the morning to wake me (or you) up!