Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Home Made Laundry Soap

I've been a soapmaker for 10 years. While I know my 100% lard soap makes a terrific stain remover, it takes a lot of it to wash a load of clothes. My daughter sent me this link for making laundry detergent and I thought I'd try it.

I didn't have a 2 gallon pail, so I thought I'd just make a concentrate in my 1 gallon ice cream bucket and dilute it as needed. There was a note that said "Soap will be lumpy, goopy and gel-like. This is normal. Just give it a good stir before using." I didn't like that idea too much especially if I was going to pour it into a plastic jug for easy handling, so here's what I came up with.

I grated 2 of my 3 oz bars of soap because I wasn't sure how big a bar of Fels Naptha was. I put it in a stainless steel sauce pan and poured 2 cups of boiling water over it, put a lid on and let it set a couple of hours.

When I took the lid off the soap was completely melted. I added 2 cups borax and 2 cups washing soda and stirred. It was very thick! I put this mixture into my 1 gallon pail and poured enough very hot (near boiling) water over it to come up to the lip on the pail. Then I tried stirring it with a spoon, but it was producing a lot of foam, so I used a whisk. Yes, believe it or not stirring with a whisk didn't produce as much foam.

I let that set for an hour or so and sure enough, it began to separate. So I gently stirred it again with the whisk till it was all mixed. I continued to stir every hour or so until it was completely cooled.

The next morning I had a bucket full of soap gel. It was somewhat curdled, but there was no separation.

I wanted to be able to watch what was going on with the soap when I diluted it, so I poured one and one half cups of the concentrate into a 1 quart jar and filled the jar to the neck with near boiling water. I stirred gently until the soap was all dissolved into the water. It produced a small amount of foam, but not much.

I checked on it every hour or so. The foam dissipated, but no separation occurred. My camera batteries died before I could get a picture of the cooled soap, but it is a thin gel which can easily be poured, so no stirring before each use necessary! Now I can pour this into a plastic jug for easier handling and rest assured I don't have to stir before using.

Experiment successful! I'm a happy soapmaker.

Feb. 21 Update
I spoke too soon. The diluted gel does separate after a couple of days. :(

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday 13th

It's Friday 13th. The first one of the year and I just can't seem to get going today. I'm not a superstitious person, or if I am I tend to think of Friday 13th as a good thing, a day when good things happen. I'm of the opinion that you get what you dwell on, and I'm not going to dwell on bad things any day of the year. It's just not productive.

I'm thinking of how I want to make my affirmation ladder. I think I'll make it in actual ladder form, with semi-precious stone chips to represent various good things I want to happen. I wanted to start with citrine to help bolster self esteem, but I don't have any, so I've got to do some research. I know there are others that are good. Then I want to add rose quartz to open the heart to love and be loved. That's important in every aspect of life. Of course there have to be rungs for grounding, attracting positive events etc. I have to think on that some more.

Colors will also play a part. There must be some black to dispell negativity, white to represent the full spectrum of light/life.

I'm going to make this into a bracelet so it can be worn and used anywhere I may be when I need to remind myself not to be negative, to make the most of every situation, and to open my eyes to new ideas.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Janus is Finished!

I've finally finished the pendant "Janus". If I had to do it over I would change out the semi-matte silver lined green for a matte or matte transparent color. Oh, to have a bead store where I could shop for delicas in person and hold all the colors side by side in my hand! It's really hard to check out 800 + colors online. I thought the beads indicated by Bead Tool were going to be good but that one color is a little too shiny.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Worst of Winter is Yet to Come

If the geese know something the weather man hasn't mentioned yet, the worst of winter is yet to come. As usual the last of January and first of February we've been having mild, spring like weather here on the high plains of West Texas. Yesterday I heard geese honking and looked up. They were flying south! {{{shiver}}}

Well, there's nothing I can do about the weather, so I've been busy beading and general house work and maintenance.

I tried to make the Janus pendant with beads I had, but they weren't compatible. I ordered the beads the bead pattern program had called for and got them yesterday. I've got a good start on the pendant and it's looking much better than the one from the colors I tried first. I'll be posting a picture as soon as it's finished.


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