Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kitchen Chemistry and the Importance of Measuring Twice, Cutting Once

I had such high hopes for this past weekend.  Sadly, they were dashed by the trifecta of allergies, rain, and a friend still out of town.

Saturday morning found me huddled on the end of the couch, covered with a blankie, snoozing and sneezing and miserable.  As the day progressed, vertical positioning became possible and with the assistance of some heavy hitting chemical intervention, I managed to actually get dressed and sit upright...but still on the couch.  (with knitting in hand...simple no brainer knitting)  By evening, my hands and my brain reconnected enough to allow for some concocting in the kitchen.  Soap...

Saturday's experiment was with Honey Almond Oatmeal soap (milk based).  While Wes ran out to pick up some more coconut oil and lard for me, I prepped the other ingredients...put the milk in the freezer, measured out the lye, got the shortening and olive oil heating, honey measured, oats ground and fragrance measured.  My head was still in a bit of allergy fog, so after mixing the soap up and getting it to trace I remembered that I had forgotten to put the lard in.  Ooops, no clue what was going to happen, but since it did get to trace, I just kept cooking it and figured whatever happens happens.

Somehow, it worked...it has a fabulously creamy feel and a great lather, plus it smells like a granola bar!


On the heels of Saturday nights' accidental success, I awoke Sunday morning feeling a bit more alert and daring, so after convincing myself that going for a run would make me feel better, played around with a couple of other combos.  May I present:  Ghiradelli Chocolate and Mint Soap (yes, it really does have an ounce of Ghiradelli Chocolate drizzled in it!)


and Lavendar Basil Soap (played with some antique gelatin molds and muffin tins for molding this batch)


In the face of delayed yard work, I broke down and started a bunch of seeds indoors.


And, since the yard projects were delayed again, Wes worked some more on the floor.  Yay!  The wood floor throughout the entire house is now finished!  This has been no small task....we're talking around 3000sq ft of wood floors (the 5 kids rooms are carpeted and the bathrooms are tiled).  The wood used is reclaimed Douglas Fir from a 1940's Port of San Diego warehouse.  The planks are all 10" wide, have all the dings, nail holes and marks from their history.  Fastening was done with square topped face nails.  To say I love this floor would be a gross understatement.  Wes has personally brushed, sanded as needed, applied 3 coats of tung oil and custom cut every single board used.  We chose to not put a gloss coat on it...leaving it in all its glory yet still protected by the tung oil.  It slowly is taking on a lovely patina befitting its age.  It is smooth, yet still slightly rustic, and ridiculously easy to take care of.  The great thing about using reaaaalllly old dinged up wood floors is that you really don't have to worry about more dings or scratches...a little more tung oil fixes everything!  I am very proud of all the hard work he has put in this project.  Plus...when it was all said and done...he did some fancy/perfect measuring...there was only 1/2 of a 16ft board left.

 
Overall, a productive weekend...gotta roll with what the day brings you...

4 comments:

  1. Ok, I'm super jealous. Love the floors. So, so pretty! I've always wanted to make soap but have so many other crafty hobbies that I thought it seemed silly to start another, now I'm thinking it's not so silly after all. Chocolate soap!

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  2. Outstanding soaps! They look good enough to eat! :) I'm going to have to give it a shot someday when I've got the time.

    And the floors are just amazing! Well done!

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  3. ok Dina.. where can we find the recipes for this soap? You are inspiring me to be more green... and homey.... :) I love it!!!!

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  4. There are recipes all over the net.

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