Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Oct. 28

The Abandoned (2007)
Upon hearing that her birth mother has died, an American woman (Anastasia Hille) who was raised by adoptive parents travels to her Russian homeland to take over the family farm she inherited. But almost immediately, she senses something's wrong. The plot thickens when she discovers she's not alone -- and seeing ghosts takes on a whole new meaning. Spanish director Nacho Cerdà helms this independent horror offering. 

This was a loaner from a co-worker. We had been discussing bad movies with good story possibilities recently and this was her example. She had described it as horrible in every way. As she told me about it though, the story did indeed sound interesting and I decided I wanted to see it for myself. Once again, our opinions differ greatly because I quite liked this one. LOL It got a little bizarre towards the end and there were a couple gory scenes but overall it was pretty good.

We had our monthly safety meeting at work today.  These things are always so boring because it's the same things over and over.  The only interesting things are the bits of general business info thrown in, like a State of the Union address.  Found out that we will most likely have Thanksgiving and the day after off as holidays, and that the whole week between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day will also be off.  With our 12-hour shifts, running 24/7, we knew going into it that production would be running every holiday.  So to hear we could very well have these biggest holidays off is wonderful news!  However, thinking we'd be working holidays, I used most of my vacation days on holidays so I could be off. see the 'problem' here?  If we're off, I have a bunch of vacation days to switch around and use up by the end of the year.  I could almost have the whole month of December off!  A good problem to have, I  BUT, there is still the chance the schedule might change and they'll say we need to work.  What to do, what to do.....

We had a moment of excitement today.  Hubby sent Ty a text asking if he was interested in a machine operator job or doing deliveries.  It would mean more hours and a raise.  Ty didn't want the delivery job because he's totally unfamiliar with that city, but he was indeed interested in the machine operator.  Hubby found out later they are looking for experienced operators, which most likely rules Ty out.  Bummer.  All hope is not lost though because he has been learning a little about the machines on the side anyway.  If they really need someone maybe he'll win a chance to try.  And we told him not to rule out the delivery spot either, because they won't just send him out on his own the first time anyway.  So I guess there is still hope he might get a little something more than what he has now.  *fingers crossed*

I was tempted to make more soap today.  Not exactly sure why I didn't.  Maybe cuz I couldn't decide what kind I wanted to do?  I really want to do an Oatmeal, Milk & Honey.  I was poking around the soap forum trying to get tips when I got sidetracked reading about other soap stuff and decided I wanted to try using colorants.  Read about that for a while, then got sidetracked again and ended up coming back to my original focus of natural colors.  By then I was tired and cranky and decided I have enough soap sitting already.

Oh!  I also got all bummed out because the fragrance oil I've been anxious to use next....I noticed today it's not even considered safe for use in soap!  GAH!!  The site I ordered from is a candle supply site that also does soap supplies.  Some of the fragrances are meant only for candles.  I knew that but had not noticed it on this particular scent.  Doh!  Someone online suggested I make 'smelly jelly jars' with it.  I'd never heard of them?!  I Googled it and they sound interestingly easy.  I might have to give it a try.

That's about it for today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oct. 27

Grace (2009)
When an accident takes the life of the unborn, 8-month-old fetus inside her, Madeline Matheson (Jordan Ladd) insists on delivering the stillborn child -- only to discover that the baby is alive and heinously hungry. Before long, voracious baby Grace spurns milk and forces Madeline to slake her insatiable appetite for blood. Paul Solet directs this masterful horror movie, while Gabrielle Rose and Stephen Park co-star.

This movie was stupid because nothing was explained.  I kept waiting for the end to hear why this baby was the way it was.  I kept waiting to find out what the history between the main girl and the midwife was.  I kept waiting to see just what the midwife really knew about what was going on.  Nothing.  It's not that the acting or anything was bad but I was left with an overwhelming need to know "Whyyyy?!?!"  Oh, and there are some very disturbing shots of animal cruelty on the TV in several scenes.  That was worse than anything in the story.  The images keep popping into my head and the old gag reflex acts up.  *shakes head*

Nothing But the Truth (2008)
Journalist Rachel Armstrong (Kate Beckinsale) turns Washington on its ear when she outs a casual acquaintance (Vera Farmiga) as a CIA agent. The government's formidable prosecutor (Matt Dillon) sends Rachel to jail for contempt, where she discovers the true impact of her decision. David Schwimmer, Alan Alda and Edie Falco co-star in this drama from Rod Lurie, the politically savvy filmmaker behind The Contender and "Commander in Chief."

This movie, on the other hand, was quite good.  It really gets you thinking.  You go back and forth on which side you think is 'right.'  It's like, ok, so she won't reveal her source...that's cool.  Very trustworthy.  Very noble.  Then as things start to fall apart for her you start to think 'Come on, just spill it already and salvage what you can of your life.'  You see the mess she's in and you wonder why she should have to suffer it when the unnamed source is probably out there living a normal happy life.  But then you find out what really happened, why she won't reveal and.....well, I got pissed.  It stuck with me for a long time, and I started to think she should have never even used that info.  So in the end, I didn't see her as any kind of hero or martyr or anything anymore.  Still, it was a good movie.

The Sorceress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel)
, by Michael Scott (2009)

The third book in Michael Scott's "Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel" series, The Sorceress, kicks the action up to a whole new level. Adding to the series' menagerie of immortal humans ("humani") and mythological beasts, the book picks up where The Magician left off: the immortal Nicholas Flamel (of The Alchemyst) and the twins, Sophie and Josh, have just arrived at St. Pancras international train station in London. Almost immediately, they're confronted with a demonic bounty hunter that immortal magician John Dee has sent their way. At the same time, Dee's occasional cohort, Niccolo Machiavelli, decides to focus his energy on Perenelle Flamel, the Alchemyst's wife, who has been imprisoned at Alcatraz since the beginning of the series. In this book, Perenelle gets a chance to show off her sorcery and resourcefulness, fighting and forging alliances with ghosts, beasts, and the occasional Elder to try and find a way out of her predicament and back to Flamel. Scott is as playful as ever, introducing new immortals--famous figures from history who (surprise!) are still alive. He also adds to the roster of fantastical beasts, which already includes such intriguing foes as Bastet, the Egyptian cat goddess, and the Morrigan, or Crow Goddess. Raising the stakes with each installment, Scott deftly manages multiple story lines and keeps everything moving pretty quickly, making this third book a real page-turner. More than just another piece in the puzzle of the whole series, The Sorceress is an adventure in its own right, and will certainly leave series fans wanting more. --Heidi Broadhead

I finished this book last night. The third in this series, this was my favorite so far. Nice little twist at the end that has me anxious to read the next one. There is nothing overly deep in these books, but they're a fun read. I got the first one cuz I thought it would be something Ty or Casey might like, thought it might encourage them to read. *snort* Then it just got to be 'Fine, I bought it so dang it *I* will read it.' I made a point of finishing this one last night because a new book from a different series came out today and I was all excited to start......

Splendor: A Luxe Novel, by Anna Godbersen (2009)
New beginnings.
Shocking revelations.
Unexpected endings.
A spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new role as a young wife, while her sister, Diana, searches for adventure abroad. But when a surprising clue about their father's death comes to light, the Holland girls wonder at what cost a life of splendor comes.
Carolina Broad, society's newest darling, fans a flame from her past, oblivious to how it might burn her future. Penelope Schoonmaker is finally Manhattan royalty—but when a real prince visits the city, she covets a title that comes with a crown. Her husband, Henry, bravely went to war, only to discover that his father's rule extends well beyond New York's shores and that fighting for love may prove a losing battle.
In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away or will they shine ever brighter?

Remember earlier this year when I was reading this series? Well the fourth and final book was released today and I made a point of going to town today just to get it. Wouldn't you know, the Evil Empire does not have it yet. I should have figured this would happen because they didn't have The Sorceress until about two weeks after it came out. If I would have pre-ordered from Amazon I could be reading it right now. Someday I'll learn. *sigh*

In goat milk soap news....I started using my second bar several days ago.  This would be the Cranberry Spice bar that I ordered back in the beginning of this soap madness.  I don't like it nearly as much as the Oatmeal, Milk & Honey bar.  There doesn't seem to be any noticable scent in this.  It seems to leave more oil on my face too, not nearly as much as with regular face soap I had been using but more than the oatmeal bar.  It gets mushy alot faster in the shower too.  So, I'll use this one up and make a mental note to not order it again.

Why would I need to order anymore anyway, you're asking?  Aren't you making your own now, you're pointing out?  Heh, yeah, have had another setback and considered giving it up.  I'm starting to think now that being sick the last several days has had a big roll in that mood swing but even so it's still in my mind.  How did this change of heart come about, you're surely wondering?!  Well it's been a combination of things.  The more I read the more confused I get.  There is so much to learn!  I don't just want to make some basic boring thing that just gets the job done.  I want something lovely and worth making.  So then there has been the Battles of the Swirls that I am apparently just not meant to win.  When I think I'm ok with not doing swirls I see on the forum all these pics from people who just made their first batch and what do they have?  Beautiful swirls and clear, perfect colors.  GAH!

Another sore spot is the waxy look my soaps seem to take on.  Everyone else has beautiful creamy looking soaps.  On top of everything else I've noticed my colors are fading and changing into some really hideous shades of ugliness.  Seriously, my yellowish-tan Gingerbread scented bars are now an ugly grayish greenish brownish color.  Whyyyyy?!  The scents are fading to where I was sure there was nothing left but when hubby held one right up to his nose last night he said he could still smell it.  (I'm all stuffed up from my cold, so I couldn't smell a thing.)

Even this 4-6 weeks of curing time is part of my crabby mood.  When you're just starting out, this wait is really frustrating.  I want to use the soaps.  I want to know if they're any good.  I want to give them to the people who have asked about them.  I want their feedback.  Yet I have to sit and wait and watch my colors fade and turn ugly and wonder if those people will have lost interest.  And when I finally do have soap to hand out will the bars still be ugly and no longer scented and the people will be secretly thinking 'Wow, that's pretty freakin' nasty for soap' and just taking it to humor me?

Plus, being sick and working the past three days has not left me any time to do anything but sulk.  I even announced to hubby last night that I was closing up shop and he was shocked.  He listened to me whine and vent, and suggested I just give it more time, that I'm sick and crabby and shouldn't be worrying about soap.

SO!  Today was my day off and I'm starting to feel better.  I went to town this morning to get my book which was not there, and when I got home...when I stepped into the house...I could smell the wonderful pumpkin spice aroma of my soap!  I got all excited.  Ty said he still smells it everyday.  I got more excited, realizing maybe it really was just my stupid head cold that's been preventing me from smelling it.  Woohoo!  I took all my soap bars down from their curing place up on top of the cupboard.  I did some trimming with my sucky trimmer (definately needs to be modified), cut them down into smaller bars so I'll have enough to hand out to everyone who wants to try them, then used my veggie peeler to bevel edges.  I inspected every bar, cleaning up edges and rough spots and stuck on crumbs, etc.  I was amazed to see that the carrot orange swirl bars that had turned ugly gray-brown are getting orange again!!!  A brighter orange than what I started with!  I really don't know if they'll continue to's only on the edges for now....but it's perked me up tremendously!!

I went ahead and set up my lightbox and took new pics of each batch.  I don't know if I'll post them because I still have some learning to do on that part of things too....tweaking the white balance and focus and stuff.  Plus, if the colors are going to keep changing these pics will mean nothing in the end.  If anyone wants to see them, let me know and I will post them.

The point of all this though is that my spirits were lifted today by these few small things and I don't think I'm quite ready to give up yet.  One sore spot is still the name.  I can't come up with a name that I like!!  I'm already reconsidering the Viking versions.  I'm currently kicking around 'maiden' and 'Springvale,' trying to come up with something that has that down home crafty feel.  I'm wondering if just plain ol' 'Springvale' would be enough?  Hmmm.

Well I've nattered quite a bit tonight.  Tomorrow is our dorky safety training at work so half of my day off is shot.  Bleah.  Oh well, I have no book to read and no soap to make anyway.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Oct. 23

The pic above is the view from my window here at the computer.  This pic doesn't do it justice though.  It's quite peaceful, and I love it now that it's Fall.  Many times I'll just glance outside and end up daydreaming.


I'm sick again.  That nasty Cootie Death Flu is making its second round in our house.  Casey had it first this time, missed a day and a half of school this week, and last night it hit me like a truck out of nowere.  It's just a nasty cold, people.  Don't worry about swine flu here.  But still....BLEAH.

Land of the Lost (2009)
After accidentally uncovering a portal to an alternate universe peopled with dinosaurs, Sleestaks and other strange creatures, park ranger Rick Marshall (Will Ferrell) and his two kids are forced to navigate a dangerous new world. Brad Silberling directs this big-screen adaptation of the classic 1970s adventure series "Land of the Lost," the high-concept, low-budget fantasy dreamed up by famed children's television producers Sid and Marty Krofft.

Watched this last night and it was just good dumb fun.  Some parts were stupid but overall we were laughing and enjoying it.  The beginning and the end, both times Will Ferrell was appearing on the Today show were probably the best parts of all.  LOL

I made a light box yesterday.  A light box, you ask?  Yeah, to help take better pics of objects such as...well... soap.  I have been admiring pics by other people on the forum, or on eBay or whatever, high quality professional looking pics of beautiful lovely soaps.  Mine are just kinda blah, iffy lighting, etc.  Time for a light box.  Made it yesterday but had to wait till today to try it out because I didn't have a proper lamp to use.  Took a bunch of test pics and was horrified....and pissed! see the color was still way off.  I mean, come on!  I bought the dang 'true white' bulb and the box is all white, and I tried different settings on the camera.  Why don't mine look beautifully lovely?!  Read some tips online and did some tweaking in my photo editing program and.......

Not bad, huh?!  That was just a quickie test shot.  Now I need to gather up some fun little props, clean up my soap edges, and take some proper pictures.  Woohoo!  The next step in the process has begun!.

That pic is also worth noting because it is my first ever batch of goat milk soap.  WOOT!!!  No, my first six batches did contain any goat milk.  People had told me to practice with water and I just never progressed to the milk with all my swirl misadventures.  As for this first batch, it overheated quite alot so it's not as pale and creamy looking as I was hoping it would be, but overall it doesn't look too bad.  I want to try and make everything from this point on with goat milk.  Not sure if I'll make another batch tonight or not.  I'm running out of time if I want these handed out before Christmas, but at the same time I have seven batches already.

Plus, I'm feeling pretty crappy today.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Oct. 19

Vinyan (2008)
Paul (Rufus Sewell) and Jeanne (Emmanuelle Béart) lost their young son, Joshua, in the 2004 tsunami, and cling to the hope that one day they'll find him. Believing she sees Josh in a brief video of orphaned children, Jeanne convinces Paul to undertake a rescue mission. The couple spends the last of their savings on a journey into the jungles of the Thai-Burmese border, where unknown threats await them. Fabrice Du Welz directs this dark odyssey. 

I had never heard of this before seeing the preview for it on another movie dvd. It looked interesting so we Netflixed it. I watched it this morning Not what I thought at all. It was weird, a style that I don't care much for but I can't really say whether it was bad or not. It's one of those kinda arty looking things...not much dialouge, lots of moody shots of faces and scenery, dream scenes that you're never really sure if they're dreams or not....stuff like that.  It's also one of those movies that doesn't explain everything or wrap it all up neatly at the end.  Hubby and I probably have different opinions of what happened in this movie.  Did the mother go crazy?  It would seem so if she was taking so long to consider boys that were so obviously not hers.  Was something guiding her?  Like a possession type thing?  They had talked briefly about a 'vinyan' being an angry or confused spirit or something.  And the end was just...heh, was not expecting that.

The Messengers 2: The Scarecrow (2009)
To protect his crops and his family's livelihood, North Dakota farmer John (Norman Reedus) erects a fearsome scarecrow, which turns out to be cursed. As the malevolent entity wreaks havoc on his life, John struggles to maintain his sanity and defend his loved ones. Directed by Martin Barnewitz, this terrifying prequel to the horror movie The Messengers co-stars Matthew McNulty, Claire Holt and Heather Stephens.

I liked the first Messengers movie so I was excited to see a prequel.  Unfortunately this one sucked.  It was far from terrifying and didn't really tie in much to the first movie.  The ridiculous nudity and sex scenes were so unnecessary.  The boy was way too old to be carrying a stuffed bunny around, and it never explained whatever the connection was between him and the scarecrow.  There was nothing creepy going on in the house either.  The first one was sooo much better.  Don't even bother with this one if you think you're going to get some explanations about what brought us to the point of the family in the first one.  Total bummer.

I was a little worried about my soaps last night.  From what I saw when I peeked at them and what I was reading at the forum, I was starting to think these had gotten overheated and would be odd looking.  I went ahead and unmolded them a little early cuz I just had to know.  Managed to get my cutter to work fairly decent but misread my guide lines and cut one whole batch on the thin side.  *grrr*


The red one on the left is the Cinnamon & Balsam scent.  The lighting in this pic makes it look half orange.  It's's an even shade of dark pink/light red.  It smells wonderfully holiday-ish.  The one on the right is the Sweet Pumpkin Spice I'd been wanting to make all this time.  The edges look crappy in this pic, and the swirls didn't go as deep as I'd thought but it still looks pretty darn good!

This is the Gingerbread scented one.  This one smells amazingly yummy and filled the kitchen with its lovely aroma for a while.  After some time though, I think the red one is taking over scentwise.

My next little project is to make a lightbox to take proper pics of my soaps, and other things.  I found directions online and it's way easier than I ever imagined.

I checked Walmart for rubber stamps today.  They had NONE.  What the heck?  They used to have a huge selection!  So I stopped at JoAnn Fabrics and found a couple possibles but in the end decided not to buy them.  I'll look around online, see if I can find some clipart or something and try to design something that I can just print out.  I was also thinking about names again today.  Yesterday I was all gungho for something with 'cottage' and/or 'ivy,' and now today I thought 'Duh!  What about castle-something?'  Or something medieval, and then name all the soaps something medieval related.  Heheeeee!  But that might turn off some people just by name.  I've seen some homemade soaps online that I just breeze right over because the name or logo just seems so cheesey or hokey or...stupid.  Yeah yeah yeah, don't judge a book buy its cover.  I know.  So for now I'm still totally up in the air with the name/logo part of things.

I mowed part of the lawn today.  We really have not done it very much at all this year.  Part of it is laziness, and part of it is weather that hasn't made the grass grow very fast.  It was a fairly decent day and we probably won't have many more so I decided to get out there and get busy.  I only did about a third of the yard.  Ha.  I realized I should be getting my tulip bulbs planted while this weather was nice, so I quit mowing to go get that done instead.  We didn't have quite enough dirt to fill the flowerbed like I'd wanted but it was enough to get the bulbs burried.  Threw the last of my wood chip mulch over the area and now we wait and hope they come up in the spring.  Along with whatever is already planted, we put in 50 new tulips bulbs, 15 hyacinth, and 12 crocus.  Should be interesting.

Well, bedtime now.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oct. 18 - Even more

I'm so excited today that I'm already back to post again.  How lucky you all are!  But now I want help with something.  I think I mentioned this recently but my successes today have brought it back to fill my thoughts.  I would like to think of a name for my 'soap line.'  You know, like a brand name.  I'm still a long way from ever doing this as a business but I think it would still be cute to have a name and packaging for the ones I give away now.

I really want something country-ish, something homemade crafty warm fuzzy feelings-ish.  I suppose it should be something related to our area, like Smelly Marsh Soaps or something.  lol  Or how about Cows Beyond The Hill Soaps.  LOL  But I live in a boring area.  So I've been trying to come up with anything really.  Cottage and ivy keep rolling around in my brain.  Cottage Ivy.  Ivy Cottage.  But there is no ivy here, and no cottage either, so that's just kinda misleading.  But the logo picture in my head is awesome.  Then I also try to think of something Viking-ish, but that just seems cheesey.  I could at least do purple/yellow in the logo maybe....hmmm.  I also try to come up with things relating to my millions of hours spent playing UO...there are alot of cool names and places in that game.  Bleah.  Just can't come up with anything.

Ideas, people.  I need ideas!

I'm excited about designing the logo and labels too.  I think I'll play around with this tomorrow.  I've looked at some soap boxes online and while they're really cool, I don't think I'd go that route unless I was really doing alot of business.  For these early stages I'll just play with some basic card stock 'cigar band' style packaging.  I'm going to look at rubber stamps tomorrow.  If they have a cottage and some ivy I guess I'm set.  LOL

I peeked at my three babies and they're all coming along nicely.  The yellow-brown Gingerbread has turned a very deep dark brown in its gel stage.  It's too dark now but if it cools to something between this and the yellow it started with I'll be happy.  The red one has darkened quite a bit.  That one seems to already be cooling down and hardening up again so I think that darker shade of red might stay.  Cool!  And the pumpkin one is still very dark, very much still in gel stage.  No way to tell how it will look when it's done.

I can't wait till tomorrow to cut them all and see how they really turned out.  *SQUEE*

Oct. 18

So sooooo happy today!  But first I must backtrack a bit to show you how I got to this point.

Ok, so you may have heard that I've taken a slight interest in homemade soap.  *snort*  I was scared to death to make my first batch cuz the thought of failing at something so many others do so easily was horrible to me.  My first batch was so easy and flawless that I got over confident.  My second batch was a semi-failure.  I learned from my mistakes in that one and went leerily into my third batch.  Another semi-failure but for different reasons.  Although not nearly as upset that time as the time before, it still knocked me down quite a bit.  I was rethinking the kinds of soaps I wanted to make, but not ready to give up.

In my already low spirits, the soap makers forum that I'd joined dealt me another blow or two.  It had started to seem that the old pros over there are willing to help in the very beginning but then can't be bothered.  It seemed that they all chat amongst themselves about their fabulous new soap experiments or their business successes or whatnot, but patience seemed thin with new soapers.  And then I was dealt the dreaded 'Please use the search function blah blah blah' response by one of the moderators who seems to have nothing better to do than tell everyone to use the search function.  Hello, moderators (or anyone) of any board, do you know how much people HATE to hear 'use the search function'?  Do you know how inaccurate the search results are?  Do YOU have time to read thru 20 pages of results where 98% of the matches are simply the words coming up in passing conversation?  GAH!!!!

So I was feeling disgusted with that forum and discouraged in general.

Then yesterday hubby and I made some wooden soap molds and a soap cutter.  I'd been wanting these since before I even made my first batch.  I just hadn't wanted to bother hubby with it cuz I somethimes think he finds this new hobby silly.  But yesterday we made them.....a one pound batch size, and two two pound batch sized molds, and the cutter.  They are not perfect but they're pretty nice looking and good enough to start with.  If I really do get into this, and stick with it, I'll have him make me some better ones.

I'm not sure if this cutter will work good enough though.  I tried trimming my already made soaps, trying to get them a little more squared and proper looking.  There was too much slop, or play, in the cuts and they always came out slightly angled, pushing the soap back as it cut.  Maybe it will be different with full size uncut logs, but if not we will need to redesign or modify, put some stoppers in.

So ok, I was feeling kinda loserish and down about making soap....was almost considering giving up.....then decided 'screw it!' and I'd have to figure things out on my own.  I decided to give up swirls and colors and just work my way thru my various fragrance oils and see what I ended up with, cuz some are known to turn soap different colors.  I still really wanted to make my pumpkin soap but I'd decided this morning that I would skip the use of the spices and the making of the brown swirl.  And that's what I had in my head when I started the batch.  Things were going fine, everything mixing well, and I got to the point where I add the canned pumpkin.  Aha, it turned the mix orange like I'd heard it would, and it still continued to mix just fine.  Now I need to add the fragrance oil and I'm a tad nervous cuz I'd heard this one would turn the mix brown.  It mixed fine and I didn't see it affecting the orange color, so I'm feeling confident again.  I poured a small amount into another container and added a small amount of McCormicks pumpkin spice.  It mixed great and gave it a medium brown color.  Yes!!  Neither mix is thickening too fast.  All is going great.  I pour the orange bulk of the batch into my wonderful new two pound mold....and it fills it nearly to the top, which it wasn't supposed to do.  Doh!  Oh well, no turning back now.  I drizzle the brown over the top and do a proper swirl.  And it worked!!!  I was so excited!!  IT WORKED!!!!!

It's kinda hard to see in this pic but the swirls are definitely there.  I think there might have been a bit too much of the brown batter, and it sucked that it went all the way to the top of the mold but worked!!  I covered it and 'put it to bed' and when I peeked in at it a couple hours later it was gelling nicely.

I was SOOOO happy and excited that I cleaned up my tools and started another batch.  I'd read that one of my fragrance oils would turn the soap a red or pink color.  Since it's a Christmas scent, that's wonderful.  And since I've been wanting to make these soaps to be ready by the holidays I figured I'd try that one next.  I whipped up a smaller, one pound batch with no fancy extras except the Cinnamon & Balsam oil, and it did indeed turn it a dark pink/light red color!  Everything went wonderfully on this batch too.  I poured it into my new small mold and found that this one did not fill all the way to the top.  Awesome.  I wondered what happened with the pumpkin batch, like, had I miscalculated something?  Whatever...two successful batches!

I am riding high at this point, totally back to loving this hobby and thinking 'Ha, I *can* do this!'  My family is laughing at my enthusiasm, and we're making jokes about having to build a room for my shop.  I see that I have enough ingredients left to get one more would be a shame to let my last new mold sit empty.  Browsing my list of oils, I decide to do one of them that contains vanilla because it will turn tan or brown.  Clean up my stuff quick and get set up for my third batch of the day.  Craziness!

Although I wasn't sure if gingerbread actually contained vanilla or not, I really wanted to use my Gingerbread fragrance oil because it would go along with my holiday theme.  I checked a couple sites hoping someone would have a review of it but couldn't find anything to say if it would color the soap or not.  Oh well, only one way to find out.  For the third time in one day my batch mixes wonderfully and I add the oil.  At first I don't see any change.  Bummer, oh well, at least it's scented.  But wait....I see some....yellow.....?  I keep stirring and it goes from a yellow to a tan, or a yellowish light brown.  I was hoping it would have been darker but hey, I'm three for three today!  I pour it into my other two pound mold and this one also fills right to the top.  This tells me the measurement of the two pound mold is off.  We'll build some new ones.  But for now.....

I don't know why my colors are so off in that picture.  Things that are white look blue....!?  The soap actually looks more yellow-y in real life.  But I did it, three successful soaps...including the elusive swirl!  So sooo happy with things today.

And to add to it, hubby made a comment about something I'd actually been thinking about this morning in bed.  Yesterday when we were out in the cramped and dirty garage making the molds, hubby had been talking about how much he wanted a proper workshop.  We'd talked briefly here and there over the years about fixing up the barn so he'd have a workshop but it was one of those things that was always like dream talk.  Since my soap addiction hit we'd made jokes about fixing up the barn and turning it into a soap shop.  Totally unrelated, we'd recently been talking about going on vacation for our 20th wedding anniversary (summer 2010).  This morning I was thinking maybe we should take the money we would have spent on vacation and put it into redoing the barn.  Well sure enough, this afternoon hubby suggested the same thing and I had not even mentioned my earlier thoughts.  I told him then that I'd also thought of it and we laughed, then both agreed that maybe this is something we should seriously consider.  We're going to jot down some notes and ideas on what we'd like to have in our 'shops,' see if we can come up with some workable plan.

One thing we're both in agreement about is the guy who did our house will NOT be doing our workshop.

And then to top off an already wonderful day, the Vikings won their game in the final two seconds again.  WOOOOOT!!!  Who's undefeated?  Who's in first place?  That's right.....the Minnesota Vikings.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oct. 15

My soap book arrived today!  I've only done a quick flip thru it so far but will be spending some quality time with it as soon as I get this posted. 

Yesterday I had decided I was going to shift gears and make the natural looking soaps.  This morning I happened to see someone's pics on Facebook......a longtime soaper.....and the urge to make the swirly soaps returned.  It's kinda like a mission now.  Like I have to do it until I get it right.  For now though, I don't plan on making any soap until hubby can build some molds and a cutter.

Looking at some other pics of soap, and then looking at my own, I've found a whole new reason to be dissatisfied.  I don't know if I can describe it but mine look kinda shiny, the white portions look kinda pearly or.... waxy.  Yes, waxy is the word I'm looking for!  I've wondered if that will go away as they cure, but I also remind myself that both of my swirly batches have has something go wrong so maybe that's why they look that way.  My first batch doesn't look anywhere near as 'waxy.'  Ugh....I'm just so frustrated and impatient with it all right now.

I just found out today that the daughter of a co-worker also makes soap.  Co-worker didn't seem impressed though, said she'd gotten a bar for Christmas last year "that had flowers in it, and had the sticks and shit poking out.  Like I'm gonna rub that on my skin?!"  LOL  I'm also discovering that the people at work I've been talking to about this soap craziness all seem to want the fancy little pretty shape soaps, or the soaps with things inside.  I definately don't want to do 'treasure soap.'  Again, frustration abounds.

No pics tonight.  I'm rushing this so I can go look at my book.....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oct. 14 - later

Booked our hotel today.  Two nights in the heart of Minneapolis.  Woohoo!  I'm excited.  Hubby's excited.  We're excited.

Today was Casey's last day of behind-the-wheel training with the Drivers Ed. instructor.  He's relieved, but I reminded him that now we have to practice practice practice cuz it's still a long time before we can make his road test appointment.  Bleah, I'll be glad when this over.  I thought it would be easier after going thru it with Ty, but it's not.

My soap making book still didn't come!  I'm hoping it's just delayed since Monday there was no postal service.  Today was the estimated delivery date.  Usually Amazon is well ahead of their estimated dates.  It kinda worries me though because I recently had a package go missing.  Tracking showed it was delivered but we never saw it.  I'm thinking our mail carrier delivered it to the wrong house (not unheard of for him) but you'd think any decent person would return it, right???  Anyway, I'm hoping like crazy that book shows up tomorrow.

I mentioned in my post from earlier today that I'm reconsidering the type of soap I want to make.  These are some examples of what I mean:

(Both of these soaps can be found at Etsy, in 'vistahsoap's shop, not that I am promoting her or have ever bought from her, but her pics are beautiful and so are her soaps.)

Anyway, yeah, I think this might be the type I try next.  Enough of the swirly two-toned frustration.  I'll carve my place in the soap world by making good old fashioned looking stuff!  *nods head in dramatic fashion*

As for that orange swirl batch I made talking with the forum folks today it appears the problem may have been that I cut back on the water in my batch like I was supposed to to accommodate the carrot puree but then that puree (and all of IT's liquid) went into the small portion that I poured out to color, thus  diluting that part of the mixture.  After sitting 26 hours it was suggested that I get it out of the mold and let it get some air, even let a fan blow on it, to help that extra moisture in it evaporate.  So I popped it out of the mold, went ahead and cut it even though it was still soft like cheese, then set it on a drying rack in front of the fan.  The scent took off after several minutes....smells wonderful.  The bars seem to be drying nicely now.  I'm still not satisfied with the look color/swirl wise but what are ya gonna do?  The forum people are once again saying it's not that bad, and we learn from our mistakes.

The cut bars:

Another thing I"m not liking is the size of the bars I have so far.  My first two batches are more like chunks because of the tray I used.  I didn't really like them so I tried a regular bread pan for the third batch.  Comparing these bars to my chunks, I think I prefer the chunks.  I can't wait till this weekend, when hubby can make me a proper mold.  I need to use the next few days to redirect my reading and studying to the kind of soap I want to make about additives like oatmeal and petals.  And where the heck do I buy stuff like that??  Well, oatmeal, ok that's easy but the other things I've seen used.....??

Anyway, the three soaps I've made so far, showing the sizes:

Hubby is also going to make me a cutter so I have straight edges and square corners...hehe.

Well, you've had the pleasure of TWO picture filled posts today.  I expect to see tons of comments now.  How about just a couple comments?  Can we hope for one comment.......?

Nite, people!

Oct. 14

Provided by
We will be attending our very first Minnesota Vikings game!  We bought tickets last night for the Nov. 29 Vikings-Bears game.  WOOT!  Going to a game is one of those 'We should go' things that would get mentioned from time to time but never acted upon.  The whole Favre frenzy, and Minnesota having a great year so far (5-0, 1st place) must have been enough for hubby to actually want to do it now.  The boys decided they don't want to go so it looks like a weekend away for hubby and me.

I was looking at hotels online last night but haven't made any reservations yet.  Have to look a bit more today.  I'm pretty excited about all this because we're actually going to be staying in the heart of Minneapolis.  We're such smalltown folk it's unreal.  I'm looking forward to all the big city stuff like seeing the nighttime skyline, taking the shuttle over to the train, taking the train to the stadium.  Heeee!  I'm such a dork!  I think we'll even be there long enough to take the train to the Mall of Amercia, but it will be Thanksgiving weekend so it will no doubt be madness with the start of Christmas shopping.

I will be taking tons of pics!

Year One (2009)
Banished from their primitive village after the tribe elders deem them too lazy, Zed (Jack Black) and Oh (Michael Cera) leave everything they've ever known behind and embark upon an adventure-filled journey through the ancient world. Co-starring Hank Azaria, Oliver Platt, Olivia Wilde and David Cross, this epic-sized laffer is a collaborative effort from comedy giants Harold Ramis (Groundhog Day) and Judd Apatow (Knocked Up). 

We watched this a couple nights ago.  I am not a fan of Jack Black, and it wasn't as wild and crazy as I'd thought it would be but it was still quite funny.  The two scenes with the ox drawn carts were possibly the best parts of the whole movie...a high speed ox cart chase?!  LOL

I have two other movies sitting here but so many other things are keeping me preoccupied that even when I do sit down to watch I'm too impatient to remain.  I haven't even been doing any reading lately, except at work.  Even my renewed interest in UO (game) has been shoved aside for now as I continue my soap making obsession.

Ah yes, the soap!  My fragrance oils finally came on Monday.  I had ordered a 10 bottle sample pack with 10 scents of my own choosing.  They also threw in an 11th bottle, a free sample of their choosing.  There was a catalog in the box too.  So that was all cool.  Yesterday was my day off so it was time to make more soap.  I was still leery about doing it after the fiasco with my second batch.  I spent more time researching just how to add colors and scents, made a bunch of notes about what I'd done last time that probably caused the problems, and eventually decided it was time to just get back in there and do it.  I'm not happy with the tray mold I used the first two times, so I searched the kitchen for possible alternatives.  I also tweaked my recipe a bit using an online 'calculator' program.  And then I had to decide which of my two soap ideas I wanted to make.

I decided on an Amish Harvest scent with baby food carrot puree/orange swirls in white soap.  It's hard to see in this pic but there are yellow-orange and off-white swirls in there.  Everything went alot better this time.  The only small problem was that the smaller portion of batch, the part I put the carrot puree in, would not thicken up.  It was taking forever, even with the stick blender, and when the main part of the batch was thick enough and ready to pour in the mold I had to just pour the orange part regardless.  The white was a good swirling consistency but the orange was still quite runny.  Hopefully the white was thick enough to sort of 'hold' the orange in place.

My first two batches went into gel stage very early, very easily.  This one didn't even have the first tiny signs of gel until about fours after pouring.  By seven hours it looked like it was in full gel stage, so I suppose that's good.  I wonder though if it was the carrot puree that slowed the thickening and the gel?  I cut back the water amount like I'd read about.  Hmm, I don't know.  I checked it this morning when I got up and....about 16 hours's still looking somewhat gel-ish but a slight little poke with my finger found it to be rather solid.  I'll let it sit 24 hours like usual but I'm wondering if it will have to sit longer since everything else about it took longer.  Guess we'll find out.  I can't wait to see if the swirls turned out!

Hopefully the soap making book I ordered will come today.  I'm also looking forward to this weekend because hubby will be building me some wooden molds and a cutter.  Although, I'm curious to see how this latest batch looks out of the mold cuz I used a regular bread loaf pan this time.  I don't really like the size or look of the bars from my first two batches cuz they're like fat little chunks instead of lovely bars.  This bread pan batch should allow me to get larger/thinner *bars*.

The more I read from that group I joined the more intimidated I am about ever trying to actually sell my stuff.  I realize I'm a long way off from that point anyway but just thinking about it.....gah.  I guess it will have to be something that I totally throw myself into if that's what I want to do.  I will need to study and learn and invest time and money.  It was fun the other day at work, thinking about possible 'brand names' and label designs.  I'm totally open to suggestions, people!!!  I have a few ideas already.

I'm also finding I absolutely love the look of the old time, or the 'rustic' type soaps.  You know, the simpler colors that have speckles of things like petals or spices throughout.  Well, ok, I absolutely love the look of the beautiful 'I wanna eat it!' type soaps but something about the other types seem like the route I want to go.  I was reading that the pretty soaps, the delicate shaped molds types end up being people don't use them, so they don't buy more.  If I'm doing this I want something I can keep selling.

I might ask on the board, see if I can 'borrow' some pics of some of the amazing soaps people over there have made.

Enough about soap.  If you're still reading, I thank you.  LOL!

We've started a new mini-obsession here....the Wii game Boom Blox: Bash Party.  And now I must go play.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oct. 12

Going to start with a random bit of info.  I had learned a few years ago that actress Laura Ramsey was born and raised in this very same area that I was born, raised, and still live in.  She went to the same school that I did, that Ty graduated from, that Casey still attends.  She went to school with one of my current co-workers and they had been casual friends in those days.  I found that all very interesting.  But more recently, like a week or so ago, I found out that she had actually worked in the same place I work?!  She would have been there the same time I was since I've been working there the last 20 years.  Heh, that's kinda cool.

Ok, just wanted to share that before I forgot again.

In other news..... my fragrance oils (for my soaps) came today!  Finally!!

I had ordered the 10 bottle sample pack, and they threw in an extra freebie sample bottle along with it.  So I have 11 wonderfully smelly oils to play with now.  I should be set for a while since I make small batches and went to cut them back even more.  I'm also still leery about making any swirly or scented soap after the mishap the other night.  I wish someone could just tell me 'you need to this and this and do it this way at this time only' instead of five people with five slightly different ways of doing it.  It sucks too that one little mishap could knock so much wind out of my sails.  Then again, I'll never get better if I don't keep trying.

Hubby commented this evening "How much soap are you going to make?!  Geez, it's only the four of us and how fast can we go thru soap?"  I had to straighten him out, telling him the soap isn't for us...we'll be lucky if we get any of it cuz I already have people asking for it.  Then he was kinda like 'oh, so now we don't even get to try our own soap' but I reassured him we'd always have some of each batch.  He's hard to figure out sometimes, worse that a woman.  Heh.

Even with my fear of soap failure feelings I found myself thinking about labels and possible names today.  LOL!

Well, bedtime I think.  Tomorrow is my day off so I'll hopefully get a post written about something other than soap.  I have movies and books to talk about!  But for now....zzzzzzZZZZZZZ

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oct. 10

Sorry I missed yesterday's entry but I had a busy day and I was sick on top of it.  I know, it was horrible to leave you all in suspense about the outcome of my soap.....

Tada!  A success!  I had checked when I got up yesterday morning and it felt quite firm but I figured I should leave it the full 24 hours to be sure.  I only made it to 23 hours though cuz I was so dang anxious to see how they'd look.  I cut 10 good sized bars (just under 5oz each), admired them, then put them up for the next step... 4-6 weeks curing time.

I was so happy, and so amazed that it had all been so easy and had gone exactly as it should.  I was *really* wanting to do something with color and/or scent now.  Back to the messageboard for ideas of things to use, then waiting for the mail to come to see whether or not my book and oils would be there (they weren't), then it was off to town again.  This time I bought cocoa powder, canned pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and baby food carrots.  I'd been told the cocoa would not leave any scent but would be good to do a dark brown swirl.  The pumpkin would make an orange soap, and the spice would make a brown soap, and if the two were swirled it would be cool looking.  And the carrots (juice or puree) would either give a lighter orange soap or a cool orange swirl.  All awesome ideas as far as newbie me was concerned.

I spent more time reading and asking questions and eventually thought I understood the process of adding extras to batches.  I was anxious to make a batch but hubby was willing to take me to Hobby Lobby in Oshkosh so off we went.  They had several fragrance oils to choose from.  I ended up buying just one (Honey Almond) because I already have a bunch ordered from an online supplier.  This Hobby Lobby bottle was just something for me to play around with, to try my hand at making something scented.  Hubby and I had decided if I scented the white/brown cocoa swirl soap it would be like a candy bar.  Once again,  I was totally excited and couldn't wait to get home and use it.

We got home later than I'd hoped and I decided it was too late to make a batch.  An hour later though I decided 'I need to do this!' and hurried to get everything ready.  I remembered to line my mold this time!  Everything was going fine.  I poured out enough to use for the brown part and squirted the fragrance into the main part of the batch.  Stirred up the fragrance part, and turned to stir up the cocoa part.  It didn't want to mix!  I got kinda panicky and frantic, knowing I didn't have tons of time.  It finally started mixing and I turned back to the main batch to give that another stir.  That one was already setting up!!  GAH!!!  I started stirring like crazy then decided there was no more time for that and I needed to get this mess into the mold.  Poured some brown on the bottom, tried to pour some of the white but it was like lumpy mashed potatoes and I had to kinda plop globs into the tray.  Deciding there was no time to try for layers or swirls, I just poured and plopped everything in the tray.  It looked horrible and I was positive it was trash so I tried a bit of swirly action....then just ended up smooshing everything down, trying to at least get it flattened in the tray.  It looked like a tray of either vomit or mashed potatoes and gravy.....

I was so upset, I swear I almost burst into tears.  There are plenty of stories on the messageboard about letting what seem to be failed batches go thru their process and you might still end up with something cool even if it's not what you originally wanted it to be.  Sooooo, I covered it and tucked it away to let it do it's stuff, but I really was upset.  Thoughts of 'whatever made you think you could do this' were bombarding my brain.  In just a span of a few moments I went from grand dreams of opening a shop to the lowly despair of feeling like an idiot and never wanting to try again.

After the initial shock I started thinking about it.  Why did it do that?  What exactly had I done?  Could I have avoided it?  I started recalling things I'd read, and I think the fragrance oil should have been the very last thing I did.  I also think I need to get some different containers because if the one I'd used to mix the brown portion would have been bigger I could have really stirred, and if the tray I use for a mold would have been deeper I would have been able to attempt swirling better.  I've noted all these things and had slowly been regaining a bit of courage and desire to continue with this crazy new hobby.

When I checked it this morning before work I found this.....

It was very dark and appeared to have gone into the gel stage overnight so I had a bit of renewed hope.  All thru work I was wondering about it.  I know for a fact it won't look anything like it was supposed to but maybe MAYBE it might still turn out ok enough to use....?  I got home a bit after 7pm, which would be 22 hours after pouring.  It still looked quite dark but felt quite firm.  I decided to let it sit longer, go the full 24 hours, and have just now checked it again.  The scent is definately it still just does not look as solid or as 'dry' as my first batch did when I cut it.  I'm tempted to just cut this anyway.  Hubby's anxious to see too cuz he just called from the other room 'It's been 24 hours.'

Ok, hubby's convinced me to cut it anyway.  While it's nowhere near what it is supposed to be like, and it's riddled with air pockets, I was quite surprised by what I found inside....

Even so, I'm still quite bummed at what a fiasco this was.  It's killed my desire to rush into more batches.  Since my book and my oils didn't come in today's mail either, I think I'm content to just wait until my next day off to maybe play around with Batch #3.

Off to bed now.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oct. 8 - I did it!

I made my very first batch of soap today!  I was so nervous and excited, and it ended up being way easier than I ever could have imagined.  Of course this was just a tiny little beginner batch, nothing fancy at all about scents or colors added.  I didn't even use my goat milk in this one.  Everyone told me the first one should just be to get familiar with the process, so that's what I did.

The hardest part was probably trying to figure what containers to use.  The common practice is to use large (10 or 12 quart) stainless steel kettles but the common practice is also to make bigger batches than what I was about to make.  Plus, those pots are not cheap and I am not willing to put my money into one until I know that I will stick with this....and have reason to make big batches.

I was so worried about the whole lye mixing part of it, all the websites and tutorials are huge on the safety info.  Maybe it will be a little trickier when I start using the goat milk but with plain water it was a breeze.  Well, overall it was a breeze but I did have a couple worrisome moments.  One was when I was thinking 'Ha, it's not getting very hot' and then I noticed I was looking at the C side, not the F side of the thermometer.  DOH!!!  Then I was like 'Oh crap!' and adding ice cubes to the sink water.  Later it was cooling down too much before my oils were heated up enough so I was again all 'Gaaaaaah!' and pulled it out of the water to hopefully slow the cooling.

And then there was another 'Doh!' moment while melting the oils.  It seemed to be taking a long time so I kept inching up the heat, thinking I'd read somewhere to put it on medium heat.  Looked at the thermometer and it was a bit over 150degrees.  GAH!  I'd read you should keep it around 100-110, so I was scrambling to bring the burner heat down, then took the pan off the heat altogether.  Then I was worrying about the lye that was cooling off too much and the oils that were not cooling off fast enough.  I put the oils pan in the icy water in the sink, hoping that would help bring the temp down.  I did manage to get them both around 100degrees before I combined them.

Then the most hysterical moment came when I first turned on the stick blender in the pan.  "SPLOOSH!*  The mixture sloshed all over but I was able to stop the blender in time and only a couple dribbles actually made it out of the pan.  I had to tip the pan way to the side and keep the end of the blender way down in the deepest part with minimal movement.  I see now why the deep kettles are used!!

You do an alternating thing when you're mixing the liquids at this point.  You don't want to just use the blender cuz apparently the little motors burn out pretty quick or something.  So I'd read that you turn it on for 30 seconds or so, then turn it off and use is as a manual stirrer for a bit, then turn it on a bit more, etc.  I'd also read that this stage can sometimes take quite a while, other times it happens fairly quick.  Mine took a short (I thought) amount of time, maybe five minutes.  What you're doing is mixing it till it thickens.  It's called 'trace' stage.  This is how mine looked at that point......
It's a lovely.....if color at this point.  Remember, it's just a plain beginner batch.  I'd had a small moment of panic during the lye/oil heating/cooling process when I realized I had not prepped my mold before I started all of this.  So I was scrambling to get that done, wondering what would be quickest.  I'd read a bunch of different ways to line molds, even using vaseline, but in the end I just grabbed the cheap waxed paper we always have on hand and kinda smacked down a semi-smooth lining.  Once my mixture was at trace stage I quickly poured it into my mold.....

You can see it's already darkening.  It looked delicious at this point, like a frosted cake or some butter or something.  LOL  I'd read different things about what to do at this point....either wrap it in towels or don't.  I wasn't sure what to do and since I didn't get a reply on the messageboard in time I decided I'd better go ahead and wrap it.  So, a piece of plastic wrap went over the top, then I tucked it away on a shelf, wrapped in two bath towels, to begin the next long part of the process.  Most things I've read say it should sit for 24-48 hours before it's taken out of the mold and cut into bars.  Some things have said it can be done as soon as 12 hours.  Maybe it depends on the ingredients, the conditions?

Once I had it tucked away in the blankets I immediately cleaned up my utensils and things.  And I was so excited and hyperly proud of myself that I wanted to make another batch right away.  I was all giddy, 'I LOVE THIS!' and sending pic messages on my phone.  I couldn't make another batch though because I'd used a good portion of some of my minimal supplies, and I didn't want to make another boring plain batch.  I want colors and scents! 

Ty was laughing at my dorky behavior all morning.  He agreed to go to town with me cuz I wanted to restock what ingredients I'd used, and I wanted to check the GNC store in the mall for essential oils.  Even though I already have an order for oils placed from an online site, I was so anxious to make more soap that I found I could not wait until those oils get here...sometime next week.  I'd heard that GNC would have a small selection but at least it was something!  Wouldn't it just figure that the essential oils shelf was practically empty?!  The store dude said for unknown reasons they just weren't getting stock in anymore.  He said they would order what I wanted, and it would come directly to my house with no extra fees but the whole point was that I wanted something NOW so I could make more soap NOW.  I also noticed their oils were quite expensive.  Did the math when I got home and even with the shipping charge from the online place, it still comes out cheaper ordering from them.

So, dangit, still nothing to make fancier soaps.  I asked on the messageboard for ideas, things to use that might already be in my cupboards.  Got several good suggestions but all for things that I don't have in the house.  *SIGH*  How aggravatingly frustrating to not be able to make another batch today!!!  I'm heading back to town tomorrow morning though, buying some of these common ingredients, and making Batch #2!

Anyway, after almost four hours my soap looked like this, in gel stage......

After nine hours, it's starting to lighten up again, starting to harden now......

And I just checked it again, 12 1/2 hours after pouring, it's really lightening up and quite firm now but I don't think it's enough to unmold it and cut yet.....

I can't wait to see how it is in the morning.  I can't wait to cut it.  I can't wait to make more!!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oct. 7

My second order of the goat milk soap arrived today.  I've been so excited about the idea of making my own that the thrill of getting this was gone for a while.  But now that they're here I can't wait to try them.  My little freebie samples this time are: coconut (brown, left), honeysuckle (yellow, center), evergreen (right).  The two big bars are: Cranberry Spice on the left, and Pink Sugary (some vanilla-mixed scent) on the right.  I was having hubby sniff them all and trying to identify them.  The coconut was the only one he got right.  Hehe.

Did I do a goat milk soap usage update last night?  I don't think so.  Well let's see, yesterday would have been Day 6 and I decided to not use it on my hair.  I didn't wash my hair at all, to see if giving it a break would do anything.  Skipping a day, it didn't even feel dirty or oily yet.  Huh, cool.  Today was Day 7 and I think things are settling down a bit now.  Those hints of dryness seem to be going away.  I used it on my hair today and it seemed to rinse a little better, the dullness seems a bit less, but the actual feel of the hair is still a bit off.  I will stick with it for my hair for another week or so because I've read it can take several weeks to adjust, but so far I'm not liking it (hair-wise) enough to give up commercial shampoo...unless some big change happens.  I will continue to use it on my face and body though.

Hubby and I have decided to go to a Minnesota Vikings game.  This will be our first NFL game ever.  I looked at the schedule, compared it to my work schedule, and we've decided the Nov. 29/Chicago Bears game is the one we're going to try for.  Hubby's already put in for vacation that Monday.  We're going to get a hotel room and spend Sunday night there instead of trying to get back home overnight.  I want the boys to go to cuz it would be fun for all of us, and I don't want to deny them oppertunities to do things we normally don't do.  Neither of them is interested though, so it looks like a weekend away for hubby and me.  I'm supposed to be checking on tickets and looking up area hotels right now...just had to blog first though.

Ok, so tomorrow is the day I will attempt to make my very first batch of soap.  I'm very excited and getting really nervous all the sudden?!  It's kinda like, now that I see how many people do this part of me is thinking that it must be fairly easy.  Then another part of me worries that even though it is apparently easy, what if *I* can't do it?  Wouldn't that just suck?  Wouldn't that just be typical?  I'm still kinda confused on a few things about it all, trying to get some last minute answers and advice from the group I joined.  I guess I'll just figure it out tomorrow, huh?  It will either work or it won't.  If it does, my next batch will be fancier.  If it doesn't, I try another plain batch.

One of the two co-workers who is also excited about the soap hobby was yelling at me today that I better be texting her tomorrow, keeping her updated on how the attempt goes.  She has to work or she would be here trying to make some too.  I didn't get a chance to talk to the other interested co-worker very much today but the little bit I did, she was still very excited about it all.  Tomorrow after work she is checking Hobby Lobby, which is in Oshkosh.  I almost never go to Oshkosh but if they have oils and stuff available in-store I might have to start going.  (I thought she was going to check last night, but that was a misunderstanding.)

Alrighty, I had a busy day at work today.  Actually had to work!  Go figure!  I don't think I'll get the Vikings trip planned or booked tonight.  I'm heading to bed instead.....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Oct. 6

I just ordered fragrance oils for my future soaps! Woohoo!

When I got that first order of goat milk soap last week I'd gotten three little sample pieces of other scents with it. I took those to work today and shared them with the two co-workers that are also interested in this. One even washed her hands right there at work just so she could try it. LOL They're both very excited about my whole 'Gonna Make Soap!' adventure and can't wait till Thursday just like me. Actually they'll have to wait till Friday or whenever I see them next to hear how it went. But yeah, they're both very into this too. They both want to come over and make soap with me, 'We'll figure it out together.'

Not much else to write about tonight. It's very windy outside this evening and my fattycatty does not like that. He's being very clingy and vocal tonight and is currently tucked away in a kitty bed that's kinda too small for him, taking a very light nap. I'm sure when I go to bed he'll be right there, demanding to get under the covers where it's safe.

The Vikings won last night. I didn't realize it was historic but apparently Brett Favre has become the only quarterback to beat every team. The Vikings site has a special t-shirt commemorating it. Yep, hubby ordered one. I also entered him in a contest last night to win this truck...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Oct. 5

Ah yes, the big Brett Favre game.  Hubby is the lone Vikings fan in his Packer loyal place of employment.  He adds Viking tidbits to his area any way he can.  I can't remember why but a few years ago his mom made and half-n-half jersey....Packers-n-Vikings.  Hubby wears it to work whenever the two teams meet.  Well now that Packer God Favre is a Viking, hubby created his own shirt (pic, above).  It's two t-shirts cut in half then sewn together, Favre's #4 down the center, some iron-on letters, and some felt stripes on the sleeves.  LOL  He wore it to work today, along with his horns/braids hat and who knows what else.  He says they all loved it.

A guy (Packer fan) at my work was lightly complaining the other day that this game is so hyped around here you'd think it's the Super Bowl.  I laughed at the time but today while I was shopping it was like 'Oh.My.God.'  It totally was like the Super Bowl!  Everyone everywhere had their Packer gear on.  Every store and shop window had Packers.  And I was walking around in my very purple, very Vikings shirt.  WOOT!  I did see one other Viking shirt though!

Well, the game is starting now so hubby will be screaming and yelling shortly.  *sigh*

When I posted last night I mentioned how excited I was about the idea of making soap.  I said I couldn't wait for morning so I could go shopping.  I went to sleep thinking about it, woke up a couple times in the night thinking about it, and woke up early thinking about and eager to go.  I had to putter around the house for a while early on because I knew I'd be going to Waldenbooks and that store doesn't open till 10am.  So I spent more time reading about soapmaking, looking for recipes, making shopping lists.  Eventually I decided screw it and headed to town anyway, decided to go to Walmart first and get what I could.

I was excited when I left but it went downhill from there.  I started at Walmart, picking up small items I would need and jotting down prices of the pricier items I wasn't sure (at this point) I'd really need.  My head started getting cluttered with facts and figures so I moved on to another area.  I'd already checked the books/magazines but found nothing about soapmaking.  Now I stopped in the craft section, but again found nothing.  So I finally hit the grocery aisles, anxious to see what there was for goat milk and oils and stuff.

Woohoo!  I found several things easily, then started coming across things on my list that I couldn't find in the store.  I was back and forth and all over that dang store.  Heh, I probably started to look suspicious after a while!  Eventually convincing myself that the Evil Empire just did not have some of the things I would need, I headed over to Waldenbooks to at least get a beginner book.  Nope, they don't have ANY about soapmaking.  Ok, thank you anyway, mental note to order from Amazon as soon as I get home.

A stop at Target also turned up nothing.  Joanne Fabrics was next door so I had a look there even though I knew it was a longshot.  Nothing.  Cranky, tired, and frustrated by this point, I next stopped at Menards to get the lye....and luckily it was there.  Then I headed home, all bummed out that I wouldn't be making soap yet.  Once home I did more research, trying to find where I could get some of the missing things.  In the back of my mind I was kicking around the idea of heading to Ripon and checking a couple more stores.  I was also thinking about going to Brandon and checking two small craft boutiques on the off chance they'd have some oils.  Spent a chunk of my afternoon getting crabbier and crankier because it looked like I'd have to do alot of supply shopping online...which is something I did not want to do.  Really though, I was just so bummed that I wouldn't be able to make my very first batch today.

Late in the afternoon, I couldn't stand it anymore and decided to go to Ripon.  It was too late by then to hit the shops in Brandon.  I needed to return a winter jacket anyway so it was off to Ripon I went.  My frustration grew when the smaller size of the jacket was just a tad more snug than I was comfortable with.  The first size I'd bought was quite a bit too big.  So what did I prefer....a 'just fit' or a 'plenty of room'?  In my crabby impatient mood I decided I didn't want to deal with it today, and didn't get any jacket at all.

Couldn't find any soap supplies at Kmart so I hopped over to Pick N Save where I did find one more oil but nothing else.  Came home even more bummed out and returned to my internet research.  Some of the people on the soapmaking forum were offering ideas on a simple starter recipe.  Turns out I did get enough stuff to make one of the recipes.  By the time we figured it out though I decided it was too late today to try making it.  As anxious as I am about this, I've reluctantly decided to wait till my next day off (Thursday) to make my batch.  I'd rather have plenty of time to be sure of what I'm doing instead of rushing it in evening hours and finding it's going to take a long time.

But this is what I bought today......
Well, a few of the things I already had but the oils and scale and utensils and stuff are all my new goodies.  I know, I know, you all think I'm a crazy dork.  That's ok.  I'll send you soap anyway.  Heheeeee!

Oh, forgot something!  While checking out at Walmart the cashier noticed the goat milk and commented that she's seen a few people buy it and asked me if it's good.  I said I didn't know, that I was going to try making soap.  She gave me a look and said "Ooohhhh-kay."  A moment later she said, "What ever gave you the idea to try that?"  I told her I'd bought a bar and liked it, started reading about it, decided to try it myself.

"Huh," she said, giving me The Look again.  Several more seconds go by and then she asks if the goat milk is supposed to be better for you or what, why would people do that?  I told her that yeah, according to what I'd read, the vitamins and stuff in the milk make it good for you.

"Huh...." she sounds unconvinced.  "Well it sounds interesting.  I've never heard of that."

As she was handing me my change she said the obligatory "Have a nice day," then added "And good luck with your soap," to which the lady in line behind me also smiled and nodded in a 'Yeah, good luck' way that told me she had been interested in the conversation too.  LOL!!!

Day 5 of using the goat milk soap.....used it on my hair again, and it's not any better but also not any worse.  I put a bit of lotion on my hands today, and I'm seeing slight signs of dry skin on my face.  What the heck?  I thought this was supposed to *stop* dryness?!?!  I really wish I knew if there was some adjustment period, or if it's immediate, either works or doesn't.  I can't find anything online though, just everyone raving about how wonderful it makes their skin feel.  How can I push this soap if I end up not being able to use it?  Oh dear oh dear oh dear.  And the stupid thing is, even if I quit using it myself I still want to make it.

Dork, I know.