Posts Tagged With: Kelowna

September Already

It seems that summer has taken its leave. The weather has suddenly turned cooler and wetter. That’s very good news for the British Columbia/Washington State fire situation; if I’m not mistaken, all of the fires burning around here are now under control and a campfire ban has been lifted. Our skies are clear of smoke; they’re not clear, though. It’s still overcast but it’s regular clouds, rain clouds, not smoke. This doesn’t mean winter’s on its way yet; September and October can still be very warm around here; it does mean that autumn crops are coming on strong! Apparently, the farmers growing pumpkins have them ripening far ahead of their usual season.

Around here, life is interesting. There have been a few changes around the yard, nothing I need to share but it is definitely more quiet (a welcome change, to be sure) around here.

Trinity and Ethan were here last night while Mom had a much needed night off. They’ve been (and are) outside with their roller blades, trying not to fall, and avoiding the rough patches on the road (we live on a fairly quiet street so I’m not worried). So far, there have been a few tears but no major injuries, thankfully.

One of my co-workers let me know this week that I’ve become obsessed with soap making; you know what? She’s right. I made another batch before I left for work yesterday, in addition to the batch I’d already made this week.

This is a soap from Anne L. Watson’s lovely little book “Milk Soapmaking”, which was available on Amazon at no charge. As the name of the soap suggests, it’s made with yogurt! I’m surprised at the array of ingredients that can be used in making soap.

Yogurt Parfait sliced

I wanted to be able to tell, at a glance, which soap is which, so I coloured this one with some blue colorant that I still had from my lotions and potions making days. I didn’t want a solid colour so I mixed some of the colorant with a bit of the oil and coloured half the soap batter, which I then swirled back into the uncoloured mixture before pouring into the mold. I love the result.

This one has also been scented. In this case, I used a blend that I’ve used in the past as part of a muscle rub – equal parts of ginger, juniper, rosemary, and peppermint essential oils. Now that it’s curing, the scent is amazing; the peppermint is definitely there and the remainder blend very nicely with the mint, making it an almost masculine scent.

The one I made yesterday is also from one of Anne L. Watson’s books, “Smart Soapmaking” (also free on Amazon). This one is the Almond Facial soap, made only with liquid oils (just how many people do you know who just happen to have fractionated coconut oil lying around?). I wasn’t sure what colour to make it because, again, I want to be able to tell at a glance which is which, and decided on pink and purple, simply because those are the other two colorants I have on hand.

Mermaid soap 1

This soap took a lot longer to solidify than any of the soaps I’ve made so far; I think it’s because of the fact that there are no solid oils (fats or butters) in it. The colours are amazing and it makes me think of a mermaid’s tail, with the swirling pinks and purples that Trinity loves so much. Because the soap is still a touch sticky on the top, I decided to take it a step further.

Another item I have left from my lotion making days is some opalescent cosmetic grade glitter, very fine, very sparkly, and very Trinity! Before I let her cut it, I sprinkled some of the glitter on the soap and we now call it Mermaid Soap. The wavy cutter only adds to the mermaid feel, don’t you think?

Mermaid soap

As for my knitting, the face cloth is about two inches from being finished. I’m hoping to have it finished this weekend but we’ll be taking Kristen and the kids to the I.P.E. That stands for Interior Provincial Exhibition, the longest running exhibition in British Columbia. That will take care of tomorrow. Monday is Labour Day, though, and I’m off; perhaps I’ll have time to finish it then… and immediately cast on for another one.

Now, I’m rambling so I’d best go finish up the breakfast dishes and get this day going. Happy Labo(u)r Day to all!

8_ribbons

 

Categories: Blogging, Finished, Just stuff, Knitting, Making Soap, The Weather | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Soap Making, Part 2

We woke up to a very smoky sky here in Kelowna. From my reading online, a lot of people were under the, thankfully, mistaken impression that Kelowna was on fire. As I say, thankfully there are no fires within our immediate vicinity. Unfortunately, the smoke is coming from the Stickpin fire, burning across the border in Washington state. That fire is now threatening to move into BC and it’s being watched carefully by both British Columbia and Washington State fire officials.

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This picture doesn’t quite capture the redness of the sun. It was quite the surprise to step outside and see a red sun up in the sky. We were even able to look at it with binoculars and could very clearly see solar flares on the sun’s surface. It was a truly unique experience. How often do you get to look directly at the sun and not hurt your eye? The smoke, however, is extremely unpleasant. The radio has been warning that outdoor activities should be limited while the air is as smoky as it is. To be honest, it’s affecting me a little; my nasal passages are stinging and… it stinks!

My soap making adventures are continuing and, I have to tell you, it’s almost addicting. Once you’ve made one batch, you start looking at recipes and wonder what this recipe would be like, or that one…. That’s exactly what’s been happening. After last week’s three batches, I’ve made another two batches this week.

The first batch I made yesterday is a bit of a riff on a recipe I found online. It’s a shaving soap for the men (and possibly the women) in my life (not that there are a lot of them.. men, that is). It’s based on this recipe. I didn’t have all of the oils in the recipe and I certainly didn’t want to make 5 lbs of shaving soap. That’s a lot of soap! Using a lye calculator I found online, I altered the recipe to make a smaller (approximately 2 lbs) batch using ingredients I had on hand. I only had to buy a pound of shortening (which includes palm oil and can be substituted 1:1 for said oil).

In the photo, it’s the loaf of soap in the foreground. It’s a little on the dark side right now but as it cures, it will become lighter, like the bits stuck on the paper in the extreme foreground.

Shave and Goat Milk

The second loaf of soap is one that I’ve been wanting to make since I first came across the recipe on Pinterest. The recipe is Nana’s Lavender Goatmilk Soap and it smells amazing! Even though I made this loaf about eight hours after the shave soap, it’s already much harder. I have a feeling this will be a hard, long lasting soap. It, too, should lighten up quite a bit with drying. If you read the recipe at all, you’ll see that it contains powdered lavender flowers in addition to lavender oil. I just happened to have some of that, left over from my cream and lotion making days. It’s nice to be able to use up some of the stuff I still have on hand.

This morning, I cut both loaves into bars… 9 of each; each loaf measures 8.75″ and I cut them into 1″ bars, leaving one slightly smaller bar. I’m even thinking of cutting some of the Lavender Goatmilk bars in half as they’re fairly large bars. It might help make the soap last a little longer, too, although that could just be perception.

Shave and Goat Milk2

Now, there’s just one more soap I’d like to try. This one, which is also the featured image for this post. Can you imagine the scent? Coffee, along with ginger, cinnamon, clove, patchouli, and sweet orange?? It would be like chai meets breakfast (coffee and orange juice?)! The coffee grounds in the soap help to provide exfoliation and/or scent removal (garlic? fish?) in the kitchen. And it looks like a fun technique. Maybe next week.

Edited to add: I did make the Java Jumpstart Soap this afternoon. Tomorrow, I’ll have an idea of how it turned out. It’s my very first attempt at mixing colours. For now, my soaping has come to a halt (we’ll see how long THAT lasts!); I probably have enough soap to last me the rest of my life even though a few bars have already been earmarked as gifts for family members and friends.

In the comments on last week’s post, I asked if anyone knew where I might be able to find lye (not that I’ll need any more for a long time); after phoning my local Home Hardware store, I found out that they carry it (in Aisle 5, thank you very much). Question asked and answered. Coincidentally, had I really looked at the container my mother gave me so many years ago, I would have seen that it, too, had come from Home Hardware.

Categories: Blogging, Finished, Making Soap, No Knitting, The Weather | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

One Week Later

Last week’s snowfall is now a memory. It was one for the record books; the last time this school district had a snow day was 40 years ago, when they closed the schools for one day. Last week’s snow resulted in two snow days for our school district! We also broke a long standing record for the most snowfall in a 24-hour period, one that had been standing since some time in the 1890’s, apparently.

The following three pictures were taken within a 24-hour period. And, for those of you who live in areas where you get a LOT more snow than we get? I know this doesn’t look like a lot; it really isn’t. We don’t really get a lot of snow here. Up in the mountains, yes, we do; but down here at lake level, we do get some but not like you get in the prairies or out east. You have my sympathy.

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flower boxes2

flower boxes3I do have other things to talk about, including knitting. Where do I start? Well, after buying my Samsung tablet last weekend, I knew I needed to buy a cover for it. I looked at the covers in Future Shop, London Drugs, and various other locations but was appalled when I found out the prices. I cannot see paying about $45 for a cover so I went online. I found one at Amazon for less than half the cost of what I saw in the shops. Even with the shipping and taxes, it was less than the pre-tax price of the covers I could find locally. And it’s red. I love red.

I’m also waiting for a set of screen covers to arrive, probably next week. Incidentally, since I got the tablet, I’ve read two murder mysteries and am well into the third. I haven’t read this much in….. well, I don’t know how long. It’s no wonder I’m not getting much knitting done! One of my sisters turned me on to BookBub and I’ve been downloading some of the free books available there. As well, I’ve finally figured out how to download books from the library to the tablet. Right now, I’m reading “The Camel Club” by David Baldacci.

There has been some knitting, too. I finished a pair of fish lips kiss socks for myself. They look rather Christmas-y; that wasn’t necessarily the intention. I found a partial ball of red DK weight yarn, enough to make one sock, or the foot portion of two socks. Then, I came across a ball of white DK weight acrylic and decided to use the white for the heels. I could have used white for the cuffs, too, but it’s acrylic… not the nicest acrylic I’ve ever worked with. It even squeaked on the needles! I went back to my stash and found two balls of green DK, the same brand as the red. Both the red and the green have wool, possibly even 100% wool.

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The socks are a touch big on me but I’m hoping that a wash will solve that. I know that the heel won’t shrink but I do hope it will at least tighten up the socks a bit. They are, however, nice and warm and cozy. They’re meant to be worn around the house, in my slippers…. which need replacing soon.

One of the main reasons I wanted to knit these (other than the practical reason of keeping my feet warm) was to test the Fish Lips Kiss pattern on adult sized socks. I’m very pleased with the result, even though they’re a bit large for me. Realistically, I should have used a smaller needle (I used 3.25 mm, I think); that would have made the knit a little tighter; and for next time, I know to make the foot portion a little shorter before starting the heel.

Now, on with the day. There are letters to write, postcards to send out, dishes to be done, knitting to get to, a book to finish…. you get the idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Blogging, Finished, Just stuff, Knitting, Socks, The Weather | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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