Posts Tagged With: Trinity

Pizza Day

This week, the kids had pizza day at school. Mom decided they didn’t need to participate in every single pizza day; it comes around once a month and the slices are $3.00 each. For a single mom, two kids and two slices each, $12.00 is no chump change. They seemed a little disappointed but not overly so. I decided to step in.

No, I didn’t pay for pizza day. I suggested that we have our own pizza day… at my house. They could pitch in and make their own pizza with whatever toppings they might want. That’s what we did and it was fun!

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I made the pizza dough while the kids were upstairs meeting Samson, the pup that’s being boarded with S for the next couple of months (he’s a mastiff akbash cross). Once it had had time to rise, I sent Kristen upstairs to get them while I prepped the toppings. Then we got to work.

Both of the kids helped to roll out their own pizza crust and then got to embellish them with whatever toppings they wanted. It was a lot of fun and the pizzas were pretty darned good. I draw the line at pickled asparagus pizza, though.


 

The pizza dough recipe we used can be found at Giada DeLaurentis’ website. We heartily recommend it. The pizza sauce was made with one can of tomato sauce, one can of tomato soup, a tablespoon or so of tomato paste and a tablespoon or so of Italian seasoning and a teaspoon of garlic powder. Simmer until the flavours meld, then allow to cool before using.

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Categories: Baking, Cooking, Just stuff | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

October Means Halloween

It seems we have a tradition started. Living in an apartment doesn’t give Kristen and the kids much room, or a place, for pumpkins. Last year, she and the kids brought their pumpkins here and carved them. Yesterday, we repeated that event.

They picked up their pumpkins from a local grower and brought them over here for carving while I was finishing up another batch of soap.

A fun and productive afternoon was had by all.

Categories: Blogging, Finished, Garden, Just stuff, No Knitting, Soap | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Weekend of Experiments

I know this is my second post today but I’m rather pleased with myself and wanted to share. That’s okay, right?

One of the things I’ve noticed about a lot of soap recipes is that they give the ingredients by percentage. For instance, my latest soap has this formula:

  • 50% tallow
  • 25% coconut oil
  • 25% olive oil

at 6% superfat

And that’s it. At first, that put me off. However, having done a bit of research and reading, I’ve come to really like the percentage way of doing things. Why? Good question.

At the moment, I have two log molds; each holds a batch of soap that has 30 ounces of oils. How do I know? Well, there’s a formula for that… width of the mold, times length of the mold, times height of the mold, times .40. (i.e. 9.25″ long by 3.5″ wide equals 32.375… times 2.5″ tall equals 80.9375. Now take that number and multiply it by .40. That equals 32.375; that number would be the total number of ounces of oil you would need to fill your mold. Are you confused yet?

Length times width times height times .40   Easy, peasy.

So, I have a mold from years ago especially geared to children. It has lions, elephants, and geese in a grid (cut marks). I’d show you but it’s full of soap at the moment and I really can’t turn it upside down to take a picture. I measured it, easy to do as it’s a square mold; I figured that it would take 19.75 total ounces of oils to make a single batch that would fill this mold.

Not very exciting from this angle, is it?

Edited to add:

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Using the percentages above, as well as an online lye calculator (I’ll post links at the end of this post), I came up with the following recipe:

  • 9.75 oz. beef tallow
  • 5 oz. olive oil pomace (the cheapest olive oil you can find)
  • 5 oz. coconut oil

With a superfat of 6% (the percentage of oil that will not be saponified by the lye, to put it simply), I would need:

  • 7 oz. water
  • .5 oz aloe vera extract
  • 2.8 oz. lye

And that is exactly what I used. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla oil that I still had from way back and, after all was mixed, poured it into my mold, where it is now waiting to firm up.

I’m not going to go into the entire process; there are more than enough good tutorials out there if you’re interested in making cold process soap. I’m just so pleased that I now know how to size a recipe for any mold I might have. Using the percentage method, it doesn’t matter the size of the mold or the size of the batch; it’s easy to size it to fit.

As for the soap, as I wrote, I’ve scented it with vanilla but, other than that, it’s plain… no colour added. It should be a fairly hard, white soap with good cleansing and good lather. Hopefully, it’s something that the grandchildren will like.


Where to find lye calculators:

These are by no means the only ones; a Google search will bring up others. From my own research, these are the most popular lye calculators.

Next step? Design my own soap recipe…. one day.

Categories: Just stuff, Making Soap | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Just A Little Bit Addicted

Ok, you could make the case that I’m just a little bit addicted to this whole soap making thing. In the past three weeks, I’ve made seven (yes, seven… what of it?) batches of handcrafted soap.

Let’s see… there’s Coconut Milk Soap, Castile Soap, Honey and Oat Soap, Lavender Goat’s Milk Soap, Shaving Soap, Java Jump Start, and, as of last night, Borax Soap. Just what is Borax Soap, you might ask?

Well, for one, it’s a pure white soap that contains borax (no surprise there) and beef tallow. Yes, you read that correctly… beef tallow. For those of you who might be scratching your heads wondering what beef tallow is, it’s just like lard (rendered… or melted… pork fat) except that it’s rendered beef fat. Just do a Google search for “beef tallow” and you’ll come up with all sorts of reasons it should be part of your life, whether ingesting it or putting it on your skin. It really is a healthy fat, especially if you’re getting grass fed beef fat.

Tallow soap is one of the hardest soaps you can make, not difficult… hard. It’s a beautiful snowy white and, apparently, lasts and lasts. I know it sure set up quickly. Trinity and I put the soap together after dinner last night and at about 1:30 a.m. (why, yes, I WAS still awake!), I took it out of the mold. When I got up this morning (at 6:30 a.m… that was a good night’s sleep…. not!), I cut it into bars and put it away to cure.

Tallow soap

My first impression when I unmolded it was that it looked like a giant block of lard. At this point, I could have already cut it and it had only been in the mold for about 5 hours.

Tallow soap3

Borax Soap, in the cabinet for curing

I can’t tell you how good it feels when I peek into my spare room and, now, into this cabinet and see all this lovely soap just waiting to be used and shared.

Soapsoapsoap

I’ve already started using (and sharing) some of the Coconut Milk Soap and I can report that I love it. It has a smooth creamy lather and feels really nice on the skin. Obviously, after only a couple of weeks, it’s still a bit soft and will benefit from sitting longer but I’m thrilled with it.

Part of the fun of making these soaps, too, is the learning process. In doing some reading, I’ve discovered that my Honey Oatmeal soap “gelled” too fast, almost “volcano-ing” (that’s when the saponification process goes too quickly, basically cooking the soap… from what I understand). That’s not a bad thing as it helps deplete the lye more quickly. I’ve already sampled a bit of this soap and can report that it’s very nice, too.

Of these, two are my soaps: the white one (see how white it is??) and the brown one (Honey and Oatmeal) to the left of it. The rest are soaps I've purchased.

Of these, two are my soaps: the white one (see how white it is??) and the brown one (Honey and Oatmeal) to the left of it. The rest are soaps I’ve purchased.

This morning John commented, “You’re making Christmas presents, right?” Um…. yes, I suppose so. I can’t just hand out bars of soap, though (can I?). So…. I decided that I should knit some face cloths. That would accomplish two things: one, I’ll have something to give with the bars of soap and two, I’ll be working down some of my cotton stash.

Stay tuned… I should have enough knitting done by tomorrow to have something to blog about.

 

Categories: Blogging, Finished, Just stuff, Making Soap | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A Nice Quiet Family Kind of Day

It’s a nice, quiet day around here. Trinity, Ethan, and one of the neighbour’s girls are here, all of them on their individual tablets (mine’s safely out of reach); John’s reading on his Kobo and here I am, blogging. It’s Family Day here in BC, a statutory holiday for almost everyone; because a lot of their clients are in the U.S., Kristen’s new job celebrates American holidays. She’s working today, which is why the kids are here.

Even though we’re all on our individual pieces of the electronic world, I have done a few real world things today. I went shopping before picking the kids up from Kristen’s. Once here, while they were all (actually) playing, I baked a cake for tonight’s dessert. We’ll be having a roasted chicken with potatoes and vegetables, a favourite around here.

Persian love cake

Persian Love Cake (not quite like the picture in the recipe)… that’s rose scented, saffron coloured, whipped cream, by the way. The cake is cardamon and lemon flavoured.

It’s been a lovely long weekend and I’m loathe to see it end, to be honest. I still have a lot of stuff I’d like to do this weekend and I know it won’t happen. I’ve started another couple of knitting projects (big surprise, right?). I need more time to work on them. What are they? Well, I’m glad you asked… not much in the way of pictures, I’m afraid.

I’ve started another pair of knitted clogs for John; I know HE’LL wear them………. out. This time, they’re navy with charcoal gray soles. I think that, this time, I may add some leather to the soles; hopefully, they’ll last a little longer than they usually do.

In addition to his slippers, I’ve also, finally, started a tea cozy. I’ve been meaning to make one for years and now that I have a four-cup Brown Betty, it’s time. For the cozy, I’m using some of yarn I had in my stash… forest green and purple.

Tea Cozy

Now, it’s time to relax for a while before dinner needs preparing. If the weather was nicer (it’s gray and damp here today but at least the snow has pretty much melted away), I’d shoo the kids outside to play and claim my comfy chair.

Categories: Baking, Blogging, Cooking, Slippers, The Weather | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

December

And suddenly, it’s December! We’ve had snow, we’ve had freezing rain. We’ve had cold temperatures (down to about -15ºC); it’s warming up a bit now (at about 3ºC right now). Both John and I have been hit with our first colds of the season; mine kept me home for two days. We’re on the mend now, thankfully.

snow bikes

With winter weather comes the urge for knitting. I’ve really been bitten by the knitting bug this winter, more than I have all year. I suppose the break from knitting was a necessary one. Coming back to it now, I’m finding myself enjoying it more than I have in what feels like a very long time.

This past week, I’ve kept my needles busy. One of Ethan’s slippers is finished… well, the knitting of one slipper is finished. The second is almost half finished. They won’t be completely finished, of course, until the felting process is complete.

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The little piece of purple yarn is there as a marker for joining the cuff to the foot. Once felted, these slippers will look like high top running shoes, complete with laces. Once Ethan’s are finished, I’ll make Trinity’s and won’t felt them until the kids are around to watch the process.

I also started, and finished a small project for a friend with a baby. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that scarves on little ones can be a hazard and the use of scarves is no longer encouraged for infants. When the weather’s cold, though, little necks need to stay warm, too. I’ve always been of the belief that if it’s cold enough for you, as a parent, to pull on a sweater or wear a jacket, hat, scarf, and mittens, you should be dressing your child accordingly as well.

To that end, I went hunting on the Drops (Garnstudio) web site and found a cute little pattern for a neck scarf that ties at the back.

The pattern is Henrik VIII (click the title to see the pattern). It uses less than one ball of yarn and would have been finished in one evening if my cold-clouded brain had comprehended the increase row near the end. If you check out the pattern pictures, you’ll see that it covers the neck nicely and looks almost like a dickey. It should definitely keep any cold winds or gusts off of the recipient’s neck.

The yarn I used was some leftover Sandnes Garn Lanett Baby Ull, 100% superwash wool on 2.25 mm straight needles.

I also decided this week that I’m going to knit another pair of socks for myself… maybe. I’m not sure I have any more of the yarn I started with so this may end up just being an experiment that will be frogged once I see how it fits after turning the heel.

red socks

We shall see. For now, it’s simply mindless knitting. I’ve been toying with a few ideas. I may knit this one up to the heel, work the heel in a different colour, then work the cuff in a third colour. Hopefully, working it like that might leave me with enough yarn to work the foot of the second sock in the same way. I only have one 50 gm. ball of the red yarn, unfortunately. I bought it quite some time ago so I doubt I’ll be able to find another ball of it; even if I did, I don’t remember what brand it is as there’s no tag or label with it. I do know that it’s a superwash DK wool and is very soft and cushy. If I do manage to make a matching sock, they will definitely be nice and warm. I like nice and warm!

Before I end this post, I have to do a bit of bragging. It’s not bragging about myself; I have to brag about my daughter. She’s been crocheting for some time now but has never quite picked up on how to read a pattern; well, she sure can now!

owl hats

Ethan doesn’t look very happy, does he? He wasn’t feeling well when Kristen picked the kids up from school and, shortly after this picture was taken, he threw up. He does love his hat… really! Kristen has been keeping her crochet hooks flying and I have convinced her to join Ravelry. Once she saw how easy it is to look up all kinds of crochet patterns, she was hooked (yes, bad pun, I know… couldn’t resist).

There’s more I could write about but this post is, I think, long enough. I’ll save the rest for another post. For now, I’d best get going. I made a big pot of pea soup last night and I’m planning on baking a couple kinds of bread today – Raisin bread and another couple loaves of white bread for the freezer. As well, there’s laundry to do and Christmas decorating to be put up, and…… well, you get the picture.

Categories: Knitting, Slippers, Socks, The Weather, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ever Onward

In spite of having a cold and feeling rather yuck, yesterday was a productive day. Trinity’s socks are finished and have gone home to live with her; she’s happy. Ethan’s slippers have been worked on and, if I do say so myself, are looking pretty good.

slippers1

The colours work well together and, being a Bev Galeskas pattern, the knitting is going well. Bev’s patterns are well-written and, as long as you can read, are easy to follow. I’ll probably have one slipper done today and the second will be started.

I don’t know how well you can see the needles in the picture but they’re square. I’ve never worked with square needles before. Here’s a close-up.

Square

 

They are (blast it, lost the packaging already!), if I remember correctly, Knit Pro needles, size 6.5 mm. I’m still not sure whether I like them or not. The price was right and I needed them so I bought them and will use them for the slippers. Will I use them again? Time will tell.

We’ve had company this week and Zelda brought me a gift… professional bread pans. She knows I like to bake bread. And when I say “professional”, I mean bakery bread pans professional… old.

Bread pans

This is one half of a 4-loaf set and I absolutely love them! I had the time and desire to put them to use.

rising

That’s one batch of Halifax County White Bread. That’s the title in the book… why it’s Halifax County White, I don’t know; it’s nothing more than a basic white bread, really.

baked

I am more than happy with the results. The consensus around here, from Ethan on up, was that the bread is delicious and tastes like more! As soon as Ethan walked in the door, with the scent of freshly baked bread permeating everything, he complained about being hungry. I think he had four slices!

As a thank you, I gave Zelda & Ian one of the loaves; there’s about a quarter of the other loaf left. I’ll be baking another batch later today… for the freezer.

texture

 

In case you’re interested, the recipe is from a little book I picked up years ago, “Great Bread Every Time” by Marilyn Barbe. As I recall, every recipe I’ve made from that book has been a success. I am finding, though, that I don’t need nearly the amount of flour that the recipes call for. That probably has to do with our elevation. I’ve made enough bread in my life, though, to know when the texture is just right. For example, the above recipe called for 9-10 cups of flour; if I had used all of that, the bread would have come out as hard as a brick. I only needed 6-7 cups of flour to get the right consistency and elasticity required.

After yesterday’s success on the bread-making front, I think it may be time to start a batch of sourdough bread again.

Categories: Baking, Blogging, Finished, Knitting, Slippers, Socks | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

And Now It’s Two Down

Well, as of this morning, Trinity’s socks are done! Even though we’ve had company most of the week, I’ve been working on her socks every night; it’s only been a few rows while watching a TV show on the computer but it was progress. When I compared sock #2 to sock #1 this morning, I only had two more rounds to work and then the cast off.

I think she’ll be happy.

Trin socks1

This was sock #1 after I gave Ethan’s his pair earlier this week. And this morning?

Trin socks finished

Done! Off the needles. Packaged up and ready to give to Trin.

Hmm, I purposely didn’t make them match but they do come close, don’t they? (And the little string bow at the top is only there to tie the socks together.)

Now, what next?? Ah yes, the slippers!

Categories: Knitting, Socks | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Can’t Resist Another Update

It’s Tuesday morning; I should be getting ready for work. So why am I blogging??

Well, I’m just kind of excited about knitting these socks, that’s all. You’ll probably be sick of them before I’ve finished knitting them but… oh well.

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Ethan’s second sock is now ready for the heel, a little further along than in this picture. Since I still need to concentrate on what I’m doing with the heel, and it is not conducive to TV knitting, I decided to start on a pair of socks for Trinity.

After John went to bed last night, I knew there was no way I could sleep yet, so I pulled out yarn and needles and cast on the toe of her sock. I thought about doing two at a time but let’s take this one step at a time. Besides, if I knit one sock from one end of the ball and the second sock from the other end of the ball, they’ll end up being completely opposite in pattern from each other. That would drive me (and probably her) crazy. And, at 10:00 p.m., I wasn’t about to pull out the digital scale and divide the yarn into two equal balls of yarn. That was simply beyond the scope of my capabilities at that time of night.

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As of this morning, the toe is complete and I have some straight on TV knitting… until I get to the heel.

It feels good to be back in the world of the knitting!

Categories: Blogging, Knitting, Socks | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

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