January 30, 2012

A Little Something For Myself

The holiday season is finally over and done with. Can I get a hallelujah!?! I have been knitting non-stop since October for other people and haven't knit a stitch for myself. That's about to change. I've been eying up Aidez for about a year now and haven't had the kahunas to think that I could actually knit such a beautiful sweater. Check out the cables on this thing.

I casted on last week using the always economical Cascade Eco and while it's not going as fast as I'd like, it's definitely coming along nicely. This is one of those projects where I need to be careful what I'm watching/doing otherwise it's very easy to mess up.

It would be nice to have it done sometime soon so I can still get some decent wearing time before the winter is over. The season of The Fisherman's Widow will officially commence next month so that should help.

To catch you up on what I've been knitting/crafting since the holidays have been over, here are some of my most recent projects . This past weekend, I finished making myself some super cute boot cuffs that turned out awesome.

Josh has been asking me to knit him a blanket for as long as I can remember, but I just haven't been in the mood to take on such a task. So I hit the sales at Hancock Fabrics right after Christmas instead where they had fleece on sale. I bought 2 yards each of dark blue and a deer/bear (no bass, shoot) themed print for about $10 total. I lined up all the edges and sewed them together to make this comfy blanket.

Not bad for my first large sewing project. Between the blanket and the hat, he should be good to go for his first trek to the Bassmaster Central Opens next month. At least when it comes to staying warm.

January 17, 2012

Adventures in Soapmaking

I love Pinterest. It is full of great ideas for any interest you may have.  If you haven't been to this site you should check it out.  Or not.  It's very easy to spend hours on it and totally forget about the stuff you should be doing.  A couple of weeks ago I came across a pin for making mason jar soap dispensers and handsoap.  I figured this could be the perfect DIY project for myself that would help break up all the craziness that comes with the holiday season.  So I set off to find all the stuff I would need.  I found the Mason Jars on Craigslist, the pumps came from various places around my house, the glycerin came from Walmart (behind the counter at the pharmacy) and the soap came from The Bibelot in NE Minneapolis.  I'm pretty sure that a lot of other soaps would have worked just fine but I figured I may as well get the good stuff and really stretch that dollar to buy the heavenly smelling Honey & Almond.

I started off by grating the soap (make sure you have at least 8 oz. worth) and adding it to an already boiling 1 gallon of water.  After doing some research I learned that it may be best to use distilled water for this since you don't know how long it will be sitting in your cupboard after you make it and you never know what is in your city's tap water.  After visiting 3 grocery stores (that seems excessive, right?) and not finding the distilled stuff, I finally had to settle with purified water.  That will just have to do.  Once the soap dissolved, I added the 2 Tbls of glycerin, stirred it around for a minute, turned off the heat,  put the lid on and walked away for the next 12 hours.  What I came back to was pretty amazing.  It had transformed into liquid handsoap.  There was a somewhat hard layer on the top which was easy to break apart with a hand mixer, however, I still had a few lumpy parts so I then went at it with my immersion blender.  That did the trick.  I was able to refill the gallon jug and a quart container with the soap for a total of 5 quarts.  If you figure the average hand soap bottle you buy in the store is around 8.5 oz for $2.50, than you just made yourself around 19 bottles worth.  For a total of $10 in ingredients adds up to $40 of savings.  We all know I love a deal and it was so simple too!  I would have loved to show you guys the pictures that I took of this whole process, however, they seem to have miraculously disappeared from my camera.

Next, I started making the soap dispensers.  First, I took a hammer and lightly broke out the ceramic insert of the zinc top.  Then, using my hubbys drill I made a hole through the center of the lid that was large enough to put the pump through (Again, sorry for the lack of pics as this was a solo endevor and it's difficult to snap a photo with a power drill in your hand).  I ended up needing to use a pliers too, since my drill bits weren't quite large enough for the job.  The zinc was fairly pliable so it was pretty easy to manipulate.  From there, I used my hot glue gun on the inside of the lid to secure the pump. 

Once it was cooled, I put my soap in the jar and screwed on the lid.  I made 3 of these in total.  One for the kitchen, bathroom and shower.  Since I used a body soap to begin with, there shouldn't be any issues in using this as a body wash too!  Plus, how cute are these??