Sunday, September 28, 2008

The soap also sets

The soap is finally in submission. I used that long handled spoon to keep stirring it for what felt like days. It shrank back down and cooled off, and though it didn't lose the foamy quality, it's now thick like jello and solid so I have to use a scoop to cut some out of the bucket.
It also regained it's lovely pink color instead of nearly-white foam. Last night I used it to wash a load of towels. I gave it a nice hefty workout for it's first use - 8 full sized towels that had been used in various ways. Remember, I have a husband (what guy actually leaves a towel smelling nice?) and a potty training boy ~ use your imagination.
It dissolved fast into the wash water and the smell went from strong to mild and pleasant. The towels are brighter than when they went in and smell fresh from the line clean. All in all, I'm pretty happy with this stuff. Here is a picture of The Blob currently -
see the empty space in the middle? That's where I scooped out some for the towels - 13 hours ago. Holds it's shape nicely, don't it?
Since it worked so well I think the next Herculean task before it will be sheets. I'm excited, I might not have to buy store made detergent anymore!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Sister from another mother

She is just the best person ever. I miss her tons since she moved away. She sent me a lovely email today (not usually so sentimental, she as odd and smart-assed as I be normally) and I loved it so much I had to share.

There comes a point in your life when you realize

who matters,

who never did,

who won't anymore...

and who always will.

So, don't worry about people from your past,

there's a reason why they didn't make it to your future.

AWWWWWWWW. I got tears in my eyes. Not that it's hard to do, a good pinch or making fun of my feet will do that, too. But it was accompanied by a soft squishy feeling in the middle somewhere. So here's to you, K. You are one of my Always Will. By the way, Mom says hi.

It's still growing!!!

I love to make things myself. I love the joy of creation and the stinginess of saving extra money. I have a child in cloth diapers and one just now out of them (accidents and messes galore) so I thought I'd make one of the simple laundry recipes I found online.
I couldn't find washing soda ANYWHERE IRL and paying $3 for the soda and $6 for the shipping negates the saving money aspect of making my own detergent. So I made it up as I went. Dumb-da-dumb-dumb-DUMB.
Here's what I started with

And good old H2O. Agua. Boiling hot.
I decided to double the batch. It was supposed to make 2 gallons. I used a 5 gallon bucket for the whole process thinking that it was ok to have too much space instead of not enough.

This was the one thing I did right.

As I stirred absentmindedly, I was thinking of a soft bed to sleep in and the kids being quiet. Lovely dreams, never gonna happen, but at least I was making soap - I had spent my night sick as a dog and then my morning rebagging trash that had been stored in the bed of a truck over the winter-spring-summer because we had no garbage service. We had started the service this spring when the snow was only waist high again, but there is only so much extra you can pack into a can and it was slow going.
It was stinky, slimy and utterly revolting. I was happy to make pink, lemony scented soap. Til it started growing.
I felt the bubbles on my fingertips and it didn't sink in that it was supposed to be 4-5 inches away, halfway up the spoon. NOT touching me. I was brought back to reality when it rose to mid-palm. I stopped stirring and watched it for a moment as it steadily grew and foamed higher. I had to recruit my DH to get me an 18 gallon Rubbermaid tub to pour it into, and as fast as I was it still started to overflow the bucket right as I tipped it.
I check on it later and it was about 2 inches higher, the top had mounded up and was smooth and shiny.
What had I created? Thoughts of The Blob started flitting through my head and I was getting suspicious of this stuff. I stirred it up and it's thick like soft whipped cream. I think I felt liquid about 4 inches down, but all I could see was bubbles. Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles.

We'll see how it goes, it seems to be in retreat now that I have caged it and started beating it regularly with a long handled kitchen spoon, but I'll keep you updated. My hands, on the upside, are SQUEAKY clean.
My DH has only one thing to say.
What's with you and soap? I've screwed up badly before. It wasn't a good time for me. So of course I do it again. And again. He's getting used to it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some things I have made recently

Why? Because I can. The pink bag-thing
is actually an Apple Cozy by Kirsten TenDyke. You know, to protect the fruit. It comes in pear and banana as well, but we didn't need that as much so I just made the apple pattern. So fast and easy!
See? Apples go in it.

This (below) is a little scrubby I made for my kitchen. I was pondering the unused Red Heart yarn just lying around because I found it too rough to use for much, when it hit me. Scrubby! Soft enough to not abrade my hands like the sponges with a scrubbing side, I could throw it in the washer and dryer if it started to smell (I abhor dirty sponge stink on my skin)So I made up two disks and attached them all around and through the center. Simple as falling down. Here is the cutey:

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It really worked, I loved it. It even withstood the washer and dryer... a little fuzzier and softer coming out than going in, but still a tough worker. I have more yarn just begging to be used. "Use me, use me! it cries. It's needy.

Next comes my coasters. I just got a coffee table. Admittedly, it's no source of pride, but I never had one living on my own and then I had three kids. After many tears and much blood, we came to the conclusion that coffee tables were not for us. Now, however, my youngest can walk and is in no immediate danger of putting an eye out so we jumped on getting a table for the big empty space in our living room. Then came smudges, hand prints, stuff getting shoved under it and worst of all... gasp... water rings. I know it's not crochet, my dear, but it involves yarn and I made it as a project, so it qualifies. 4 plastic canvas squares each with a different design. I love eggplants (who knows why, I'm weird that way) so that was #1. I loved it so much that I made an ear of corn on #2 as a tribute to the last time I had a table... in Nebraska. Get it? Now that I was back in Oregon, home sweet home, I made #3 a mountain range. It sucked. So I asked my oldest child for inspiration for #4, thinking that if I lost my muse, it might have been transferred to my firstborn son.
Nope. Take a look at that thing. WTH is it you ask. I think it's the sun and a cloud and a bird. He is a very type A child and he dictated every move of my needle. It's all his fault. Not mine. I rock.
Here is a completely out of order picture of the coaster on said smudgy coffee table.

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The Random Stripes blanket is coming along nicely. I think I'll love it for life. I'm naming it Rupert. Well, maybe not. But I love it enough to give it a name should I have kept it.

10 Random Facts About Me

Brandy, the talent behind the awesomeness that is Stitchblade, gave me this little assignment. Sadly, I do not have 10 people to send it to, but I'll answer the questions anyway. All right Brandy, here goes.

I either have to eat each food on my plate separately or I have to have a little tiny bit of it all in the same bite.

I sing every day. Not always well.

I secretly hate being responsible all the time.

I hate gore in scary movies but love it in CSI or Discovery Health.

Bad weather makes me as happy as good weather does.

I love cute shoes and I hate to wear them.

Spending money is difficult for me. I'm born stingy.

I wish my kids would grow up at half speed so I had more time with them.

I have only felt jealousy and hate once in my life.

I'm a sucker for romance, Jane Austin style.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Guess What I'm Making

So this is my first official blog entry here. I feel as though I should be saying something world changing, some bit of wisdom or experience that would rival Confucius for the ability to make people say "OHhhh" and nod their heads with sudden insight.
Oh well, most of them are faking it. Outwardly understanding deep wisdom, inwardly yelling "WHO talks like that?! No one really understands schtuff like that. Nevermind, nod and go with it, it'll make you look smart."
OK, so I think I tangented... if that's a word. Back to the main subject.... YARN. And what I do to it. Ah, bad... with it? I do yarny stuff. With hooky things. I'm a hooker. I'm going about this badly, I think. I'll move on and forget I said any of this. What?

Been hooking for 18 years. Wow, does that make a chic feel old. I love it so, yarn and crochet have occupied a good deal of my free time. When I have it. Dude, I have kids. A passel. Free time is a mini pink unicorn that grants wishes. It's drinking coffee while it's hot. It's a bubble bath with rose petals and soft music. Chocolate without calories, just because I'm a nice person.

I'm doing it again, aren't I?

Right now, I am making a couple of really nice throws, full size. They are so much fun! I have only made a few blankets in my time (eh? did you mention age again, Mabel?... Oh, fudge, I don't care if YOU get it. I do... my dad would. Just repeat this: "it is funny, I laugh. hahahaha" til it feels ok again.) The first blanket is a mystery. Why? I was asked to make two, the second blanket being a very lovely choice of blue, carmel, and chocolate. I say carmel and chocolate because they sound yummy and I'm fat. I mean I love sweets. Blue is still blue because, well, I can't think of a yummy blue dessert.
Ah, tangent, we meet for the last time again.
So, very pretty colors in a stripe. Stripes are somewhat boring when laid out evenly no matter how much I love equality and even numbers. Or odd numbers evenly. One of my favorite blogs, Sharing the Moment, is by a talented and amazingly efficient woman. I can't do half of what she does in a week. She impresses me. She was designing a Soft Waves Afghan and used a Stripe Generator to make the colors come out beautifully. I used it too, why not (zoidberg). I love it! I got about 5 inches of the ghan done and my DH says "you need to start another throw, that one should be a scarf for me." Well, I now know what to make for him as a gift and I know the ghan is a hit with at least two people. I'm the other one, me. Hi.

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The second afghan, as I said, was a mystery. Yeah, I bet you were wondering when I would come back to that! The colors were undecided and when I asked for a hint as to the look she wanted, I got "surprise me!" My darling husband suggested I say BOO, now what do you want? But I for one was intrigued with the idea of cart blanche on this project.
I found a lovely deep teal heather yarn that will go very well with the described decor, now I needed to find the right pattern to suit the yarn. This shows the color well, but also displays my mad skilz at ruining the beauty of photography. My apologies.

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nice huh? It'll look nice when I get it put together, at any rate. SOOO very many pretty patterns out there and so many hideous flower-strewn uggo 'ghans. Please don't hate me for that, I just have very specific tastes as far as patterns go. I judge no soul for their love of the ugly. I searched and compared and discarded ideas til I found the lovely Spring Breeze afghan square that looked perfect with my teal yarn. I got started right away since I can't STAND leaving yarn untouched. Which did I do first? Technically, I started on the teal, but I have been doing both in turns. Stop, it's not unhealthy in the least.
I have a really fun project coming up that will keep me busy for weeks, pictures to accompany. Not a bad time to start blogging, right?