August 25th

Saturday, August 25th, 2018

Hazy Saturdays are for creating.

When my grandma was here last weekend, we were brainstorming other fun items I could start making. She suggested lotions, liquid soaps, and candles.

I did some research on candle making, and found that much of what I needed overlapped with soap making. Both ingredient-wise and supply-wise.

So I ordered some wicks, dug up some small jars, and got to work today.

August 11th

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

Soap-making is beginning to rock my world.

My house smells soooooo good right now! Peppermint Tingle soap earlier this afternoon, then Vanilla Sundae (pictured), and currently, Caffe Latte is cooling in the molds. So many delicious smells. Peppermint Tingle made me think of Christmas, while Vanilla Sundae made me think of a yummy bowl of ice cream. But warm. Not sure how that works, but trust me, it’s wonderful. I think Caffe Latte speaks for itself – coffee soap may just be perfection. We’ll find out when it comes out of the molds.

All three of these soaps are mixed soaps. This means I started with two different mixtures, poured them together in the molds, and lightly swirled them for color and texture. This also helps achieve layers in the soap, as seen in my picture of Vanilla Sundae. The dark color was actually achieved through cocoa powder!

Not only was I excited that the layers worked, but look at that awesome texture on the top of the bars! I have no idea how that happened, but I find it to be absolutely beautiful. Here’s a close-up:

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The challenge is that I’m loving making these, and I have so many recipes that I want to try, that I have way more soap than I need. And while I have been trying to give some away to people willing to test them out for me, I’d also like this hobby to be somewhat self sustaining so I can keep making them without draining my bank account.

I know this seems like a silly question, but does one sell handcrafted soaps? The obvious answer is yes, but my deeper question in that is how. Online is fine, yes, through social media, I get it, but soap is so much about smell and feel. Would you buy homemade soap without smelling/feeling it first? Can one ship soap? Would I have to find little soap boxes that are mail-able? And how the heck much do people pay for homemade soap? Is it weird to add soap to my photo booth for art fairs (haha). These are the questions I ask myself.

August 1st

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

I did a thing today, and I’m really proud.

I made soap!

I love photography as a creative outlet, but I’ve always missed the physical draw of ceramics. Elbow deep in clay, rolling out slabs or using your weight to throw a bowl on the wheel. Feeling the clay grow and change in your hands is so satisfying. Slow and steady with hand building, fast and furious with throwing. Then there’s the waiting process; watching it as it dries, making sure no cracks form. Once it’s dry (sometimes days later), bringing the piece back to the wheel to create a foot before firing.

Then there’s the firing. Pulling pieces out that look the same, but sound and feel so different. Personality lives in the marks of the clay, but still remains a blank canvas for glazing (if you hadn’t under glazed it).

Glazing, then a second firing.

Then you get to love on it. Use it. Be proud of it.

Sometimes it takes a week or even longer to enjoy your finished piece. Multiple stages that slow you down, and help you to savor the process.

Photography feeds into our need for instant gratification, and while I love it, it leaves me lacking sometimes. Shooting with film helps feed that need for me, but I just don’t do that as much as I’d like to.

So when I walked into Modern Roots in Stillwater a couple weekends ago, I could’ve been there for hours. The look, feel, and smell of all of their handmade soaps was enchanting. They have a location in Buffalo, and I had heard great things, but never had the chance to stop in. I think I picked up, handled, and smelled each kind of soap there. Textures, colors, composition of how they fit together – it was a physical form of photography for me.

I quickly discovered it’s a danger level ten store for me.

You all may think I’m completely crazy for falling in love with soaps, but the care and craft of these soaps where inspiring.

Obviously, because when I got home I checked out about 6 books about soap making from the library and went to Amazon and Etsy for materials.

And today, I made my first batch.

Today, it was a simple lavender soap. Just an addition of dried lavender, no added pigments or exfoliants. Next week, when the rest of my materials arrive, I’ll be trying out a peppermint one, vanilla one, and – wait for it – a coffee one!

YAY!

Also, on a photography note, I wanted to share the setup I used to shoot my soaps this evening. Super simple; I used one of my favorite dresses for the lace, and from there it was all window light in my living room.

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November 20th

Monday, November 20th, 2017

I’m attempting to be domestic this week. Anyone else?

Paul and I are hosting Friendsgiving tomorrow, and we’re making almost everything from scratch. Cheesecake, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and a first for me – Rosemary Dinner Rolls.

The recipe was one made for a stand mixer, but I’m modifying it for a bread machine so it will make the dough for me. The rosemary smells DELICIOUS. Crossing my fingers that they turn out!

May 30th

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Life is precious.

Homemade donuts were made this morning in honor of a beautiful friend and woman who passed away on Friday. CarolLee loved to bake and made beautiful cakes. In fact, most of my birthday cakes when I was a girl CarolLee made with craft and care, so baking this morning in remembrance of her seemed appropriate.

During retirement, CarolLee and her husband Kenny ran a daycare out of their home on their family farm. I learned today that Kenny was actually born in the farmhouse on the property, so to say that he lived his entire life there is no exaggeration. Myself and both my sisters attended “daycare” there, and it was one of my favorite places to be. Pigs, chickens, cows, horses, kittens, a large yard, beautiful barns… need I say more? Both CarolLee and Kenny loved that farm, and loved us. I remember feeding the kittens, following Kenny through the barns, countless hayrides, and hotdogs and hot chocolate. A second set of honorary grandparents, they loved and gave with all of their hearts, and it is a time of my life full of precious memories.

While I was very saddened to hear of her passing, at her visitation this morning, I knew she was where she wanted to be: With Kenny in heaven.

February 20th

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Homemade applesauce is all the buzz at our house right now.

Paul and I jumped on the pressure cooking bandwagon and bought an Instant Pot about a month ago, and we LOVE it! The recipe possibilities while cooking with our IP are endless. One of our favorites is an applesauce recipe. The best part? It’s obviously delicious, but it only takes three minutes, and the only added sugar is honey!

Tonight I peeled and cored a whole bunch of Braeburns so I could make   a giant batch tomorrow. Can’t wait!