Monday, January 27, 2020

Blocks 7 through 10, done! (Red & White Star Sampler)

Oh my gosh, I've been on a roll since the beginning of the year. I finished piecing and writing instructions for five more blocks, four of which are posted here with downloadable instructions when you click on the picture. With lots of fanfare and such, here they are:

Block 7, Federal Square

Block 8, Golden Samovar

Block 9, Gold Rush

Block 10, Corner Star

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Block 6, Eight Hands Around (Red & White Star Sampler)

Eight Hands Around is a nice block to get in some practice for flying geese. The instructions given are for the no-waste flying geese method, which I love. But this method only works if you need four flying geese for the block, otherwise you will have some extra.

As always, click on the image above for a PDF of the cutting and piecing instructions. The rest of the blocks can be found here, or under the tab above for Red & White Star Sampler.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Block 6 Sneak Peak: Eight Hands Around

Next up is Eight Hands Around. I have the first draft of the instructions done but need to piece the block.

In the meantime, I was also playing around with some settings for a baby quilt (my nephew and his wife are due May 18th!). I still have some time to plan and execute, so more to come!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Block 5, Christmas Star (Red & White Star Sampler)

It's a few days past Christmas, but let's consider this a head start for 2020! Details are on the instruction sheet, which you can download here: Christmas Star.

You can get the rest of the blocks on this series by clicking here, Red & White Star Sampler, or on the tab above. Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Block 4, Minnesota Maze Variation (Red & White Star Sampler)

I completed this block quite a while ago but only just got around to writing up the instructions. I wanted to get this block posted before moving to the next, and hopefully this will inspire me to return to the cutting table and sewing machine.

As with the previous three blocks in this series, the unfinished block is 12.5 inches, and piecing instructions can be downloaded by clicking on the image below.  All the blocks can be found by clicking on the Red & White Star Sampler tab above. Enjoy!

Block 4, Minnesota Maze Variation

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Basic Lavender Peppermint Soap

This was my first effort at cold-process from back in July. But it's been curing for almost six weeks now, and I spent a little time cutting off spots to make it pretty enough for pictures.

This batch almost immediately formed quite a bit of ash. These are two palm-sized bars cut from a larger bar, and stamped. Appearance aside, I actually really like how it feels and smells. It is a hard soap that produces a nice lather. I scented with peppermint and lavender essential oils, and these scents come through fairly well after drying.

Here is the recipe for a 1-pound (weight of oils) batch:

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Lavender Oatmeal Honey Hot Process Soap

Despite the mixed success of my first batch of hot process soap, I made a second batch yesterday. This batch was also inspired by The Nerdy Farm Wife, from the article How to Make Oatmeal Honey Soap In A Crock Pot.

I changed the recipe up just a little. At the end of the cooking process, instead of superfatting with tamanu oil (of which I have just enough left to make a batch of charcoal facial soap), I replaced it with jojoba oil. I also added more lavender essential oil than the recipe called for. Here are the ingredients:

17 oz (482 g) olive oil (62%)
8 oz (227 g) coconut oil (29%)
1.5 oz (43 g) sweet almond or sunflower (5%) - I used sunflower oil
1 oz (28 g) castor oil (4%)

10 oz (283 g) water
3.9 oz (111 g) lye

After cooking for 1.25 hours on the low setting of my crockpot, I added:

.5 oz (14 g) tamanu oil - I used jojoba oil
1 tbsp powdered oatmeal - I ground up regular oatmeal in a Ninja blender
1 tbsp honey mixed with 1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp lavender essential oil - I used 1 tsp

The recipe yielded 2 lbs, 10 oz. For the molds, I used a Pringles can plus two cavities of a rectangular mod that held approximately 3.5 oz per cavity. The Pringles log ended up about 9 inches long, so I sub-cut into eight rounds. Each round of soap ended up being between 3.75 to 4 oz. Consistent with hot process soap, the texture is rustic.

UPDATE (8/31/19) 
We are using the second round of soap now. I love it! We began using it immediately, and it produced a nice, thick lather with lots of bubbles. After a few weeks, it has cured into a nice, firm bar. The lavender scent has faded somewhat, but still pleasant. After drying, my skin feels pretty moisturized. The oatmeal is a bit scrubby, however, so next time I will try to process it into a finer powder.