Making Cold Process Soap for the First Time

About a month ago, I finally tried something I’ve been wanting to try for ages: making cold process soap! I think I’ve been drawn to soap making not only because of how beautiful artisan soaps can be, but also because they contain simple, real ingredients (and I’ve been known to have several mysterious skin allergies crop up from time-to-time).

Cold process soap making kit

So, I bought myself a beginner soap making kit from Bramble Berry. The kit came with everything you need to make your first batch of soap, including a recipe. The kit did not come with any colorants, however, so I purchased some of those separately to try (go big or go home, right?). The box the kit comes in even doubles as a soap mold, though if and when I do this again, I’ll purchase a proper silicone mold.

Other than the oils, lye, fragrance and other basic ingredients that come in the kit, you’ll have to supply a few things on your own like bowls, a stick blender or other mixing tool, gloves, eye protection, etc. Bowls and gloves I bought at the dollar store on the cheap, and they worked just fine!

Since I’ve been dying to try this and because this was my first time, I made sure to do a bit of research before diving in. I found some soap makers I like on social media and learned what I could from them. Bramble Berry’s blog is a great source for this kind of thing. Their youtube channel, Soap Queen TV, has a lot of great info and tutorials. I am also in love with just about every soap made by Tania of Soapish, and she’s got a great youtube channel and an even better instagram account.

Cold process soap

So, feeling mostly well informed, I got started (and soon learned that soap making is more about trial and error and less about feeling well informed from the get-go)… I mixed all my ingredients and then portioned things out into several bowls and mixed in my fragrance oil and mica colorants (Caribbean Blue and Aqua Pearl) – one bowl had fragrance oil but no colorant.

Cold process soap

I had to work pretty quickly because I got a little overzealous and I think over mixed my soap a bit. So, not much time for process photos here! But I did what I think is called a drop swirl, adding my base soap and then the colored soaps as well. I let the batch cure for about 24 hours and then cut up my bars with a sharp knife before letting them continue to cure for several weeks.

Cold process soap

Obviously there’s some room for improvement here, but I feel really good about the results of my first attempt. And the Cranberry Fig fragrance smells so delicious (though next time I think I’ll find some colors that “match” the fragrance a little better)! The soap lathers really nicely and has a smooth, creamy feel. I definitely see more soap making in my future.

kimberly

 

 

This post is not sponsored and there are no affiliate links here – I just wanted to share my thoughts and experience :)

DIY Holiday Decor // Rose Gold Reindeer

Rose gold reindeer on mantle

Hi! I come to you today with a different sort of paper crafting experiment that I did over the weekend. Some of you may remember my bright, sparkly, reindeer DIY from several years back. For that project, I sketched a reindeer image onto a large canvas, covered it in Mod Podge,added lots of sequins, and stuck it on my fireplace mantle. Something about antlers and sparkles screams Christmas to me. That’s normal, right?

This year, I thought I’d do something a little different, but mostly the same. I used the same subject matter, but made a smaller version and used a different technique, and I love how it turned out!

Foiled deer holiday decor

To start, I google image-searched “reindeer silhouette” until I found a simple image that I liked. I then printed it out with a toner ink printer (NOT an ink-jet or other kind of printer) onto some cardstock. I needed this to print with toner ink because I planned to foil it with my Minc foil applicator (though you could try using reactive foil and a general laminating machine for this as well). I had some 5″x7″ picture frames hanging around and wanted to use those, so I made sure to cut the printed sheet down to a size that would fit inside my frame. I got the frames at the dollar store, so this project was really inexpensive, too!

Foiled deer holiday decor

I ended up making two framed reindeer. For this first one I chose some rose gold foil. I cut a piece of the foil, layered it over my appropriately-sized panel, put it in a carrier sheet and ran it through my Minc to fuse the foil onto the printed image. I have the larger-size Minc, but the Mini Minc would be perfectly for this, too.

Foiled deer holiday decor

I chose a different reindeer silhouette and some gold foil for a second image, and then put both in frames. One lives on the fireplace mantle and the other in the dining room.

Gold and rose gold foiled reindeer

I love the chic look of these decorations, and they were so simple and quick to make! The beauty of this project is that you can use this technique with any subject matter and with any size frame – as long as the panel will fit though whatever size Minc machine you have!

I have a few other holiday decor DIY ideas in mind – we’ll see if they make it off the ground. Never enough time!

kimberly

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Easy DIY Wine Rack

DIY wine rack

It’s been such a long time since I’ve done any real DIY projects around the house, but I’ve been wanting to construct some kind of wine rack for quite a while. I found this plan on Shanty 2 Chic and knew it would be perfect (and easy enough for a girl who is still a novice when it comes to power tools).

DIY wine rack

The whole project went very quickly. We followed the directions (I did have some help!) and were able to assemble everything in less than an hour. All of the cuts were very simple, and everything is attached with screws and some wood glue.

DIY wine rack

Once everything was put together, I sanded and then stained the rack with some Dark Walnut stain – two thin coats!
DIY wine rack

After the stain dried, I got out the sander to rough sand it in some spots to give the wine rack more of a rustic look.

DIY wine rack

Once I was finished roughing it up,Β  hex bolts were inserted into the pre-drilled holes on each shelf. Lastly, I painted on some chalkboard paint at the front of each shelf so that the wines can be nicely labeled. However, I have yet to get out and buy some chalk, so that part will have to wait. :)

DIY wine rack

Some of the wines fit a little too snugly, so if you decide to make a wine rack for yourself, make sure you drill the holes for the hex bolts as close as you possibly can to the edge of the shelf. I have to learn to be careful about snagging the wine labels on the hex bolts, too.

DIY wine rack

We had to mount the rack with heavy duty toggle bolts, but wood screws would probably suffice in most cases.

DIY wine rack

I love how this little lady turned out. She’s such a nice addition to the dining room!

kimberly

Homemade Dog Treats // Peanut Butter Parsley Bites

Radar CookieLast night, Radar was in desperate need of dog treats. We were fresh out and he was behaving, so it really was becoming somewhat of a tragedy. So, not willing to go out and pay for treats, my husband and I decided we might as well make him some homemade ones. I’ve made some in the past (here) but hadn’t made any in quite a while and I’m not sure why because these were so quick and easy to make. They only have a few ingredients (although some of them you may not have on hand), and only took about 30 minutes to bake. Granted, some of ingredients are little strange, but he LOVED them.Totally worth it.

Knowing what’s going into the food that your dog is eating is so satisfying. Here’s the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 C brown rice flour
  • 1 C rolled quick-oats
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1/2 C dry milk
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C peanut butter
  • 1 egg white (optional, for coating)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300Β°. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, oats, parsley flakes and dry milk). In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs, add the water and peanut butter and mix. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until it comes together and can be rolled out. Roll out the dough about 1/4″ thick and cut into desired shapes. Place the cookies onto a greased baking sheet for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy. To give the cookies a shiny finish, brush a thin coating of egg white over each cookie before baking (optional).

Recipe adapted from here…(and be sure to check out that post for even more home made dog treat recipes).
kimberly

So That Your Headphones Don’t Get Tangled…

Posting today to share a quick tutorial I followed a few months ago to create this cute pouch for my earbuds.

Earbud PouchI am not someone who sews. by any stretch of the imagination, but with a lot of help (many thanks to my friend, Molly!), the little pouch came together. Now it lives in my purse helping to keep my earbuds from winding up in a tangled mess at the bottom of the bag. All you need is a sewing machine, some fabric, a zipper and some basic sewing skills.

IMG_3115

Zip Pouch for Headphones

The Circle Zip Earbud Pouch Tutorial from Dog Under My Desk can be found HERE.

kimberly

DIY Confetti Bags for New Years Eve

I hope everyone had a merry and blessed Christmas! Mine was great. Lots of family time and lots of good food. I think I’m finally coming down off of the 4 day sugar high I was on, too.

I’m just popping by today to share this great idea for a quick and easy New Years DIY that I saw this morning on the LawnFawn YouTube channel. I loved it so much I had to share.

I just love how fun and colorful the confetti bags are. They add a nice hand-made touch to a new years celebration, yet they look super easy to make. I wish I had thought of them myself! Since I’ll be celebrating at someone else’s house on New Years Eve, and won’t have to clean up, I might have to make some of these bags to bring along…. :)

And just in case you’re looking for some more easy New Year DIY projects here are a few others that I love:

kimberly

DIY Clarifying Shampoo // The Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

Adding an apple cider vinegar (ACV) rinse to your hair care regimen is ideal for those of us who want to remove product build up and get rid of some itchy-flakies. Mixing up this quick and easy rinse, and using it after shampooing or on its own before conditioner once a month or every two weeks can really make a world of difference, especially if you’re like me and tend to go a few days between washes when it comes to your hair (if we’re being honest, I only shampoo my naturally curly hair about once a week – this helps me to keep my hair from becoming too dry, and/or experiencing a lot of breakage due to constant wear and tear from washing and combing and styling, plus I don’t go through product so quickly).

apple cider vinear rinse

Benefits of ACV:

  • Balances hair and scalp pH
  • Removes product buildup
  • Soothes itchy, dry scalp
  • It’s an inexpensive alternative to clarifying shampoo (plus no parabens or sulfates, naturally!)

To make and use the rinse: Mix one part organic ACV with 3 parts water. I like to mix mine into a small plastic applicator bottle. Apply the ACV to your scalp and roots, then distribute throughoutΒ  you rhair to the ends. Massage your scalp for a few minutes, then rinse. Follow up your cleansing ACV rinse with conditioner and continue on to style as usual.Β  If you don’t use the entire rinse in one application, just leave in the shower for next time. Easy Peasy.

kimberly