Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016
God Bless Our Troops

Click on the cabin below to see our family website.

Click on the cabin below to see our family website.
We love what we do!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I made another video this morning showing my soap cuts

Word of the day:
Saturday of the Seventh week in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : St. Porphyry, Bishop (+ 420)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 10:13-16.

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Didn't get much done today.  The house is a wreck as it usually is when we come back from a trip away.  Things get dumped in the laundry room and it takes about a week to get things back to normal.  While we were away, my wonderful brother-in-law, Howard, assisted by Melisa and Claire, put up some great lighting in the dungeon.  It was a great surprise!!!  Now that it's lighter down there, I am really going to have to get to work cleaning.  Nothing like a little light to show you where you need to clean up your act.

Today I finally got to try my hand at making loaves for my fancy slices.  I bought a new pot for soaping, but it's a little bigger than I can handle.  I liked my stainless steel bowl, but I thought it would be handier to heat the oils and mix the soap all in one pot.  It's more awkward than I anticipated so I may be re-thinking using it.

I made a batch of Black Raspberry Vanilla (we call it Berry Pickin'), and a batch of a blend of a couple of FOs that I will be calling Breath of Spring.   The Berry Pickin' was swirled with a non-stable mica that started out purple, but morphed to a really pretty mulberry color.  The Breath of Spring is swirled with mica by the same name.  I really wish I had not goofed up on sending payment for my glitter.  I think that would just really make these two loaves.  I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight anticipating what these will look like.  I am very excited!

I uploaded a video to YouTube:

Word of the day:
Friday of the Seventh week in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : St. Tarasius, Patriarch of Constantinople (+ 806)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 10:1-12.

He set out from there and went into the district of Judea (and)
across the Jordan. Again crowds gathered around him and, as was his custom, he again taught them. The Pharisees approached and asked, "Is it lawful for a husband to divorce his wife?" They were testing him. He said to them in reply, "What did Moses command you?" They replied, "Moses permitted him to write a bill of divorce and dismiss her." But Jesus told them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and be joined to his wife), and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate." In the house the disciples again questioned him about this. He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Whoo!  We just got back from a 10 day trip including Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon.  I am very happy to be home!  I'm more of a homebody.  We did have a great time, saw some awesome sights and some weird people.  I wish I didn't have to get up early tomorrow to play Mass.  Not that I don't love it, but I am a person who needs more transition time and a day to regroup would be nice.  Oh well.

Before we left on our trip, I mentioned that I had found some great soaping videos on YouTube.  As always seems to happen, one or two nasty people have to spoil things for others.  I don't know if it's jealousy or just plain nastiness, but makes me sad because there are some terrific and talented soapmakers who give so much of themselves to inspire others and then they have to put up with someone else's lack of manners and civility.  I hope these wonderful ladies aren't run off of YouTube because I would hate to see the haters win!

Anyway, on the trip I had all kinds of ideas filling my brain that I want to try.  I was all excited about using glitter on my soaps, and I ordered some before we left.  I was very disappointed to come home and find that the package wasn't here.  I went to the website to contact the company and found that my order status said, "awaiting payment from PayPal."  So I have to wait a little longer to try that new little technique.

I have been using slab molds almost exclusively, but I have seen such beautiful soap made from log molds.  I have tried a couple, but I need a lot more practice.  I love bar soaps, and I have many faithful customers, but these pretty soap slices have me intrigued and I can't wait to try my hand at it.  No one around here makes soap like that. . 

Word of the day:
Thursday of the Seventh week in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : Bl. Thomas Mary Fusco, Priest (1831-1891)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 9:41-50.

Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward. Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe (in me) to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were put around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where 'their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.' Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I found the most adorable picture on Facebook last night!

 Poor Meghan is always sleeping in these pics.  I just love Madison's curls!

Word of the day:
Tuesday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : St. Claude de la Colombiere, Priest (1641-1682), Sts. Faustinus and Jovita, martyrs (+ c. 121), Bl. Michał Sopoćko, Priest (1888-1975)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 8:14-21.

They had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. He enjoined them, "Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod." They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread. When he became aware of this he said to them, "Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?" They answered him, "Twelve." When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up? They answered (him), "Seven." He said to them, "Do you still not understand?"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dashing in and will update later, but had to post these new soap slices that I'm working on!

Vintage Lemongrass

Lavender and Old Lace

Word of the day:
Saturday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : St Benedict of Anian, Abbot (c.750 - 821)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 8:1-10.

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, he summoned the disciples and said, My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance." His disciples answered him, "Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?" Still he asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" "Seven," they replied. He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them, and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also. They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over--seven baskets. There were about four thousand people. He dismissed them and got into the boat with his disciples and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I have been a soap freak this week.  Here is a peek at the Maple Syrup Festival soap.  I listed it on Etsy.  I'm not sure how long I'll stay with Etsy as the only thing I ever seem to sell is stockings.  Today I tried a new technique with a mold Harold made me out of PVC pipe.  I didn't use enough contrast in the colors so we shall see what we shall see.  I used part of the batch to make a soap loaf.  I think I need to rein it in and work on one new thing at a time.  For now I think that will be soap loaves.  I'll post those pics tomorrow.  In the mean time, here is a pic of the Maple Syrup Festival soap.  I'm really pleased that the lighter swirl showed up.  I wasn't sure it would.  It smells really nice.  The only problem is that I poured it at such a thin trace that ash formed.  I'll have to bring it to a thicker trace next time.

Word of the day:
Thursday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : St. Scholastica, Abbess (+ c. 543)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 7:24-30.

From that place he went off to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, "Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs." She replied and said to him, "Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps." Then he said to her, "For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter." When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Last night's soaping session was less than satisfying. The lilac soap seized up on me and I had to glop it into the mole.  The cupcakes I tried to make have been turned into soap balls and the heart cakes will be cut up for samples.
In the light of a new day, the lilac doesn't look to awfully bad.  I kind of like the purple melt and pour effect - the color didn't come out all that great and the small amount of melt and pour brightens it up.  The lemongrass came out okay, but the green swirl doesn't show up.  I didn't have enough oils for the two molds so the bars are kind of skimpy.  I'll pack those and sell them at a reduced rate.  I have decided that I really don't want to move my whole soaping operation down stairs.  I will measure the oils and do the packaging down there, but I don't like to do the actual soapmaking there.  I don't have enough counter space and the lighting isn't very good.

Today I measured some more oils and ran out of castor oil.  I went to order more and my supplier is out.  Grrrrrr.  I love this supplier, but I am in the middle of a batch and I need that oil so I will go elsewhere just this one time.

Tonight I made a batch of Maple Syrup Festival.  I put a swirl in it this time.  The dark swirl is cocoa and cinnamon.  When the soap cures, there should be a lighter swirl in there also as the fragrance oil has some vanilla in it which darkens the soap.  I reserved some without the FO and I am hoping that swirl will emerge eventually.   Even if it doesn't, the soap should come out really pretty.  The cocoa and cinnamon really brought out the maple scent.  I smells soooooo good.  I can't wait to see how it turns out.

 I ordered a new mold today. It is silicone lined and it's a double mold with a "dam" feature to shorten the second log.  That will work well for me because my batches are too big for a single mold and too small for a double.  I have a log cutter on my wish list.  :)

The other day I placed an Etsy order.  It came today.  It was from Ariel's Secret Garden.  This is a mom and daughter duo and they do an awesome job.  Their videos caught my eye during the recent snowstorm.  I wasn't really looking for "how to's" so much as a peek into someone else's soaping room.  I found a whole new world of soaping on You Tube.  Now, about the order.  First of all, I ordered it last Friday so the shipping was super fast. Opening the box was like Christmas morning.

                                                                     I bought this:

and it came packaged like this:

I also bought this:  

And here is how it looks in my bathroom.  Of course the soap in it was made by me.  The cake soap isn't fully cured yet so I will be waiting until March to use it.  That's okay because it is so pretty I don't even want to open it.

Just the items I ordered would have been a thrill because they were wrapped in such pretty tissue and the shipping box was stamped with pretty stamps.  There was a lovely postcard with a note on the back from Ariel.

But they also put in a full cake of Powder Room rose soap, and a couple of samples of their other soaps.  And they also put in a bath bomb.  Since we have no tub anymore, I will give that to one of my daughters to enjoy.

It was just a very fun experience.  It was obvious that whomever packed that box really loves what she does!!

Their videos can be found on You Tube.  Here is one featuring the soap I bought.  

Here's another good one:

Word of the day:
Monday of the Fifth week in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : Bl. Rosalie Rendu, Daughter of Charity (1786-1856)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:53-56.

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Well, I have been so excited about some new soaping ideas and so eager to get started. I made a lilac soap, wanting to try my hand at those great soap cupcakes I've been seeing on You Tube. I poured some of the batch into one of my shorter log molds. I separated out some more into 2 pitchers with a lilac and a purple color. The batch seized on me. I had to smoosh the soap into the molds. The piping I attempted turned out terrible. I took 2 of the cupcakes and molded them into soap balls. Those don't look too bad. I tried doing to fancy topping on top of the loaf, but it doesn't look very good. Then I had the bright idea of pouring some melt and pour that was tinted purple. It really didn't help. I was not a very happy camper - plus, I do not like the lilac fragrance and it was giving me a headache. Sooooooo, to make myself feel better, I made a batch of lemongrass soap and split it between my other two log molds. I tried to put a green swirl in it, but I don't know how that will turn out. I also put a fancy topping on top of it. This one I did CPHP so I am hoping that one will turn out. I will post pics tomorrow (if the lilac doesn't look too bad).

Word of the day:
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : St. Paul Miki & his companions, Martyrs (+ 1597) - Memorial, Sts., St. Dorothy, Virgin and Martyr (+ 304)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 5:13-16.

You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I have been a YouTube junkie for the last few days. I discovered a whole new world of soaping out there. I listed some things on Etsy and even made a crude video and posted it on YouTube. I am still tweaking it. For some reason it ends with Happy Holidays and I'm sure I didn't see that when I picked the template.

Today Anna and Melisa are coming to help in the dungeon. I did quite a bit down there last night and made a list of chores for today. The hardest part of the process will be dealing with the remnants of my old knitting machine business. That will be hard.

The basement is beginning to look more like a basement and less like a dungeon.  We had a family pizza night tonight so I am feeling a little bit fuller than I'd like.  LOL!

I also re-did our You Tube video:

Word of the day:
Saturday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : St. Agatha, Virgin & Martyr (+ 251) - Memorial
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:30-34.

The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, "Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them. When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

Friday, February 4, 2011-Third Snow Day

Well, I cut the soap this morning. I think it's cute, but it smells like vanilla - not cappuccino. I will most likely call it Vanilla Latte. I had some scraps leftover so I made some soap balls. One of my friends has been bugging me for soap balls, so I think these will be a little present for her.

Cut soap - these bars weigh more than our slab mold bars - most likely because of the glycerin soap embed
Soap Balls

The bottom is starting to darken

Word of the day:
Friday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : St. Jane of Valois, Queen and Religious (+ 1505)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:14-29.

King Herod heard about it, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him." Others were saying, "He is Elijah"; still others, "He is a prophet like any of the prophets." But when Herod learned of it, he said, "It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up." Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married. John had said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him. She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee. Herodias's own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, "Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you." He even swore (many things) to her, "I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom." She went out and said to her mother, "What shall I ask for?" She replied, "The head of John the Baptist." The girl hurried back to the king's presence and made her request, "I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist." The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison. He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The kids have been thrilled to have 2 snow days in a row.  I spent the last day searching You Tube for soap videos and found some wonderful soapers. This video, from Kia at Beacon Creations inspired me to branch out from my usual functional and utilitarian primitive type soaps.

I explored her videos a little further and love them!!  Not only is she a talented soaper, but she comes across as a wonderful person!

Here is my little try at soap in a log mold with a fancy top. (Inspired by Kia's lovely Rose soap.) I used a Cappuccino fragrance oil and my hope is that the vanilla in the fragrance oil will darken the bottom half and the top half (no fo) will stay light like the foam on a cappuccino. The hearts I stuck in there because I LOVE cappuccino. We shall see what tomorrow's bar cutting will bring.

Word of the day:
Thursday of the Fourth week in Ordinary Time
Today the Church celebrates : St. Blase, Bishop & Martyr (+ 316)
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 6:7-13.

He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick--no food, no sack, no money in their belts. They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic. He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there. Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them." So they went off and preached repentance. They drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.