I forgot the charcoal pencil line that I put in the original. Of all the other things I could have forgotten I guess this is the best outcome.
I went back and forth on how I was going to design this soap. My original request was for lemon. The problem here is that lemon essential oil wont hold its scent in soap. I went looking for a fragrance oil and after reading reviews of its performance I decided I would likely loose my lemon scent with fragrance oil or it would be so mild the lavender would simply overpower it. I know that I could use lemongrass, but it just isn’t as perfect of a match with lavender as an actual citrus scent, after reading many reviews on fragrance performance the closest match turns out to be a bergamot black tea fragrance. Bitter orange is not far off from lemon so it should work to fill the request and will blend with lavender perfectly. After that there were questions like would the yellow and purple be too silly looking? If I left it at white and yellow and ground up lavender flowers… should I mix the scent or split it between the colors. In the end I went with both colors even if it’s silly and to split the scents between the colors. So the extra made an additional two lavender bars on the side.
Soap Contents: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Distilled Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Castor Oil, Rice Bran Oil
Colorants: Queens Purple Mica, Yellow Mica, Racing Stripe Orange Mica, Gold Shimmer Mica, Activated Charcoal
Fragrance: Lavender Fragrance Oil, Bergamot Black Tea Fragrance Oil
Method: Tilted Base, Pencil line, Hangar
I make this at least once a month, it’s easy to throw together in 20 minutes after work and then do some relaxing while it’s in the oven. I haven’t run out of things to do with Lavender yet…
You can generally find Herbs de Provence in the spice section of a large grocery store. What’s in Herbs de Provence? Generally Savory, Fennel, Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram, Basil, Oregano and Lavender flowers… give or take a few of those, depending on the recipe. If you are more adventurous there are many variations of an Herbs de Provence recipe online to explore.
2 pieces Bacon
4-5 Chicken Thighs
1/2 cup Flour
2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence
1 Shallot, diced
1 cup Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
6-8 Marble, Fingerling or any small variety Potatoes, cut in half
1 tablespoon fresh Parsley, chopped
1/2 cup Sherry
1 cup Water, hot
preheat oved to 350F
In a small bowl add 1/2 cup flour, herbs de provence and mix.
In a medium sized frying pan cook two pieces of bacon until crispy, remove bacon and set aside.
Dredge chicken thighs in the flour and place in the pan with the bacon grease, cook for 4-5 minutes on each side until nicely braised.Remove chicken from pan and set aside with bacon.
Add Shallot, potatoes and mushrooms to the pan and cook until the onion starts to brown and the mushrooms shrink and release their liquid.
Add sherry to the pan and deglaze, once deglazed add water and simmer 1-2 minutes.
While that is happening crumble the bacon into tiny pieces and add it back into the pan. Sometimes I add the parsley at this stage and sometimes I add it after I take it out of the oven later. Add braised chicken thighs back into pan.
Cover and place in the oven, cook for 40 minutes.
Serve with bacon herb sauce in the pan spooned over the top.
I have a few friends who really like Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs scents so I ordered some small samplers to experiment with. I’ve also got a sampler of Silk Amino Acids so I will be trying out some new lotions. I decided on the following combinations.
Base lotion: Distilled Water, Sweet Almond Oil, Emusifying Wax, Argan Oil, Cocoa Butter, Vegetable Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Coconut Oil, Vitamin E and Oat Extract, Preservative
Scents: Antikythera Mechanism & Belladonna
Base Lotion: Distilled Water, Emulsifying wax, Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Silk Amino Acids, Preservative
Scents & Extracts:
Jack fragrance with Oat Extract
Twilight fragrance with Evening Primrose Extract
Miskatonic University with Sea Buckthorn Extract
Balms & Cooking
I gave flavored Lip Balm a go, let the reviews help me decide and I ended up with Passionfruit Rose. I am always too timid to add colorant to lip balm, I should have made it a more bold pink. These are for my holiday giveaways.
Next up on my list was a repeat of my lavender balm.
I also made a big pot of Carrot Ginger Soup to bring to work and share with my coworkers… but then I ate it all… oops. Must plan to make double next time?
To keep skin moisturized for the winter I have adapted my usual recipe slightly.
Large Mixing bowl
spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol
digital kitchen scale
double boiler (makeshift with a pan of water on the stove works just fine)
containers for your final product
2 oz Stearic Acid
1 oz Avocado Oil
.5 oz Shea Butter
.5 oz Emulsifying Wax
8 oz Distilled Water, heated
1 oz Melt & Pour Shaving Soap, grated
10 ml Aloe Vera Extract (It can be used up to roughly 15% of the total weight if you want more.)
Fragrance, optional. I only used 6 drops for this entire batch, you don’t want to over scent something that will be used on someones face. (mine is Lavender and Cedar scented this time.)
Preservative of your choice, not optional
Use the Isopropyl Alcohol to disinfect all of your equipment. It is important to take note that even though a measuring cup is part of the tools it will not be used for measuring anything, all measurements will be done by weight. A measuring cup is just easier to hold and pour with.
In a double boiler melt the Stearic Acid, Avocado Oil, Shea Butter and Emulsifying Wax.
Meanwhile, In a large mixing bowl add 8 oz of distilled water and microwave until steaming hot.
When the oils in the double boiler have completely melted whisk it slowly into the hot water, followed by the grated soap. Mix until creamy and smooth.
Using pippets add the Fragrance, Aloe Vera Extract and Preservative.
Spoon into container, leave without lid for a few hours to prevent condensation on the inside of the lid as it cools.
I’ve wanted to try this for a while.
I’ve started collecting grocery store circulars and paper shopping bags. Something better to do than just throw them away. The basics are that you cut it all up into small pieces and toss it into a blender with water and blend it until it is a pulp, then add it to a tub of shallow water and strain it using window screen, then transfer the strained part between two pieces of felt and press the water out. I used a picture frame, remove the back and glass and stretched across where the glass would be. it’s exactly the size of a standard piece of paper.
After I got a good idea of my technique, I had to improvise so I cut up some sheets of freezer paper and used those to dry the paper on since they can be reused.
I added some emerald gouache and some lavender flowers to see the result but I need a better technique for adding color next time. I can faintly see the difference between the regular paper and the ever so slightly tinged green paper. I love that the paper smells like lavender.
I am going to go pick some baby maple leaves and wildflowers this afternoon and press them dry for my next batch of paper.
For now I am thinking of ways to use this for my soaps. I’ll need to play around with it more for the right look.
Adding Lemon Balm, Lavender and Chamomile to steeping water, I am still sad my mint did not sprout with these others and I am using dried stuff. Here’s what I’ve been making as iced tea’s this week as I’ve been trimming up my garden.
Fresh Lemon balm chamomile tea
2/4 cup fresh lemon balm leaves
1/4 cup Chamomile flowers
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1.5 cups of boiling water removed from heat.
Pour over herbs and steep for 5 minutes
Lavender Mint Tea
1 teaspoon lavender flowers
2 teaspoons dried mint
1.5 cups of boiling water removed from heat.
Pour over herbs and steep for 5 minutes
I’ve also remade a few things I ran out of so I have a fresh batch of Lavender & Cedar Shaving Cream, Lavender Lip Balm and a Lavender & Tea Tree Foot Balm. In a few more days I will be able to start picking and drying wild lavender on my walks, I can hardly wait.
Lavender Lip Balm + Foot Balm Recipe
.5 oz beeswax
.75 oz Coconut Oil
.25 oz Cocoa Butter
15 drops Grapeseed Oil
10 Drops Vitamin E
20 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
Add Beeswax, Coconut Oil, Cocoa Butter and Grapeseed Oil to a double boiler and melt gently until all ingredients are dissolved.
Remove from heat and add Vitamin E and Lavender Essential Oil, Stir and pour into lip balm container.
I took the second half of this lip balm recipe and I added 15 drops of Tea Tree and 10 drops of peppermint and poured the remainder into a container to cool. Now I also have a foot balm.
Great for rough dry skin, eczema or diaper rash. This one was a special request for a baby. This could also be used as a lip balm so grab a small container or two for a few bonus lip balms.
1.5 oz beeswax or candelilla wax
2 oz Coconut Oil
4 oz Avocado Oil
1 oz Shea Butter
20 drops Lavender