Friday, July 31, 2009
Tingly Mint Body Lotion Recipe
1/2-cup mint water (see note below)
1/8 tsp. borax
1/2 c. sunflower oil
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. beeswax
3-4 drops peppermint oil (optional)
Mix together the mint water and the borax, stirring until well mixed. Set aside.
Mix together the sunflower oil, coconut oil, and beeswax in a glass measuring cup.
Place the cup with the oils–beeswax mixture in a pan of water (about 1 to 2 inches of water), making a water bath. Heat over medium heat until the beeswax is melted (8 to 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
When the wax is melted, bring the mint solution almost to boiling (put the glass cup with the mint water/borax in the microwave on High for 1 minute, or use a water bath on the stove top).
Remove the oils-beeswax mixture from the water bath. Slowly add mint water/borax to the mixture in the blender and whip.
Allow the lotion to cool completely. The consistency may seem a bit thin, but it will thicken as it cools. The lotion will be pale green in color. You may add the peppermint oil now if you wish.
Pour the lotion into a clean container with a lid. To use, massage a small amount into your skin.
Note: Mint water is made by boiling fresh or dried mint leaves in water and then letting the mixture cool. Strain off the mint leaves. I use 1-cup fresh mint (1/4 cup dried mint leaves) to 1-cup water.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
So if you would like to create some fun soap shapes for your kids to use in the bath then check out this article that appears on ehow - How to Carve Soap Into Shapes. If your kids are old enough to help you out, then let them because they may want to take more baths.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
"Parabens are a group of chemical compounds which are widely used as preservatives, especially in cosmetics. In addition to being used in cosmetics, parabens are also utilized by the pharmaceutical industry, and they sometimes appear as food additives as well. Parabens have been a topic of some controversy, due to consumer concerns about their safety, which explains why you may find products voluntarily labeled as “paraben free,” using their ingredients as a selling point for concerned consumers.
These chemicals are esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid. Esters are defined as chemical compounds in which an acid molecule has bonded with an alcohol molecule, displacing a water molecule. Some parabens actually appear in nature, generated by plants as a way of defending themselves from fungal and bacterial invaders. The parabens used commercially are typically generated synthetically, ensuring that the products remain consistent, so that companies can be assured that they will work.
Typically, the concentration of parabens in cosmetics is very low, often less than 1%. A mixture of parabens may be used to create the best preservative effect, ensuring that molds, fungi, bacteria, and other unwanted visitors will not contaminate a product. It is also possible to use naturally derived preservatives, such as grape seed extract, but many of these substances have not been fully tested for efficacy, raising concerns about the safety and shelf life of products preserved with these substances.
Concentrations of parabens in other products, like foods and pharmaceuticals, are similarly quite low. As a general rule, companies use a minimal amount of preservatives, using laboratory testing to determine the best concentration.
Health concerns about parabens are primarily focused on their potential to act like estrogen compounds in the body. Substances which behave like estrogens are known as estrogenic compounds, and they do pose some health risks, especially when consumed in high volumes. Estrogens primarily impact the endocrine system, potentially creating an increased cancer risk. People who are concerned about parabens argue that their estrogenic traits make them too dangerous to use in food, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.
However, there have been a number of studies on this issue, both from inside the cosmetics industry and outside of it. These studies have found that while parabens certainly do have estrogenic qualities, they are probably safe in very small amounts. People and companies who adopt a “best practices” approach may choose to stay away from parabens, as future risks may be identified, or they may turn out to bioaccummulate in the body."
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Bath Jelly Recipe - by Amy Vollmer
1/2 cup melted transparent Melt & Pour base
2 cups water
1 envelope Knox unflavored gelatin
1/2 oz Germaben II
3 or 4 colorants
3 or 4 small containers
Pour envelope of gelatin into a bowl and set aside. Microwave 2 cups of water until boiling. Gently pour into the bowl of gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. In the meantime melt the M&P in the microwave. Add fragrance oil to the melted M&P. Slowly pour the soap into the gelatin and stir gently. When mixed thoroughly, pour into individual containers and color. Place uncovered containers in the refrigerator until firm.
Empty Playdoh containers work perfectly and bath jelly can be colored to match the lids! Kids have a blast with this jelly. They can scoop it out and toss into running water, paint the tub and themselves, glob onto a scrunchie or washcloth and even bathe with it! The possibilities are endless!
Blogger Note: I found this recipe that I wanted to share. I have a similiar recipe but mine calls for clear liquid soap instead of melted soap base. I do not know how this effects the overall appearance as in firmess of product. Also, this recipe calls for Germaben II (perservative), which I believe contains parabens, that mine does not include. Since I use another perservative for my lotions and creams I will consider adding it to my recipe.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
The instructions in this article are for somone who know how to use a sewing machine. So, if you are not a sewer, you may want to consider purchasing some colorful organza bags from the craft store
How to Make a Sachet
Thursday, July 23, 2009
1/4 cup apricot kernel oil
1 tsp. beeswax
1 tsp. shea butter
1 tsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup distilled water
1 tsp Aloe Vera Gel
1/2 tsp glycerin
5 drops jasmine fragrance oil
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Beeswax: This can be found at local health stores, craft stores, or candle-making supply stores. It is available either in its natural golden color, or it is also available in a bleached white color. It can be purchased either in blocks that can be grated with a cheese grater to get smaller pieces that are easier to work with, or it can also be purchased as small pellets. For this recipe you will need one tablespoon.
Cocoa butter: This can be found at many health stores, or any other store that sells soap or lotion making supplies. You will need about one-half tablespoon for this recipe.
Sweet almond oil: This can be found at many grocery stores and health stores. You will need 4 teaspoons for this recipe.
Honey (optional): This gives your lip gloss a sweeter taste and smell. You can use up to one teaspoon for this recipe.
Vitamin E (optional): This can be found either as capsules in most health and grocery stores, or it can also be found as a liquid in many drug stores. You will need either one capsule, or 3-4 drops of liquid for this recipe. Besides being an antioxidant, Vitamin E is also a natural preservative and will help your lip balm last longer.
(Blogger note: I only know Vitamin E as an antioxident, not as a preservative. And I know of there is no natural preservative at this time.)
Essential oils: These not only give your lip balm its own unique scent and flavor, they also add the benefits of the essential oil you use to your lip balm creation. Some favorite essential oils to use are peppermint (with or without honey), birch or wintergreen (with honey—add a drop of vanilla for a "rootbeer" flavor) or one of the citrus oils (such as orange, lime, lemon, or grapefruit) along with the honey (one caution about the citrus oils—they are photosensitizing and can increase the risk of sunburned lips if this lip balm is worn while out in the sun). Because lip balm is worn on the lips and might end up in the mouth, make sure the essential oils you use comes from a source that can be trusted to produce pure oils without any chemical additives. You will need about 5-10 drops of essential oil for this recipe.
Pack grated beeswax or beeswax pellets into a Tablespoon size measuring spoon until it is packed level with the top, then dump the beeswax into a heat-proof measuring cup (such as a Pyrex™ brand measuring cup).
Pack cocoa butter into a one-half-tablespoon size measuring spoon until it is packed level with the top, then dump cocoa butter into the measuring cup with the beeswax.
Add 4 teaspoons of sweet almond oil to the beeswax and cocoa butter. If a sweeter lip gloss is desired, add up to 1 teaspoon of honey.
Place the measuring cup in a large frying pan that is filled with 1" of hot water.
Place the frying pan and measuring cup on the stove and turn the burner on low.
Stir the mixture in the measuring cup with a popsicle stick or bamboo skewer every couple of minutes until the wax is completely melted (about 15-20 minutes).
Turn off stove and carefully remove the measuring cup from the frying pan and place the measuring cup on a towel on a counter-top or table.
If desired, stir in the contents of 1 capsule of vitamin E (or 3-4 drops liquid vitamin E). Stir in 5-10 drops of your desired essential oil or blend.
Pour the mixture into lip balm dispensers, lip gloss containers, or any other small jar or container. This recipe will fill 4 or 5 containers. You may find it easier (and cleaner) to either use a small dropper to transfer the mixture into the small containers, or to use a small funnel to help pour the mixture into the small containers without spilling on the side.
To make this lip balm into a softer, shinier lip gloss, try adding a teaspoon more sweet almond oil, and a teaspoon less beeswax (or experiment with your own proportions to find something you like).
Create fun labels for your lip balm creations using 2" x 4" labels. Set up your labels so that two labels fit side-by-side on each 2" x 4" label, then cut the label in half after printing so you have two labels that each measure 2" x 2". This size fits perfectly on our white lip balm dispensers.
For different natural lip gloss recipes, check out the book, Making Aromatherapy Creams and Lotions by Donna Maria!
Click here for more great recipe ideas!
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
From "Craft Lab"episode DCLB-107
Guest Heidi Reimer-Epp joins host Jennifer Perkins to show how various household objects are used in the process of adding texture to homemade paper.
Project designed by Heidi Reimer-Epp.
6 freshly-pulled sheets of cotton paper, 5" x 7"
5 pieces of colored yarn
2 dried roses
shadow box frame
9" x 12'" piece of netting
6" x 8" sheet of bubble wrap
medium gauge craft wire
pigmented pulp in pink, blue, violet and green
1/4 lb of abaca pulp
1/2 cup of dried larkspur petals.
Adding Texture to Homemade Paper
Laminating—Laminating is a versatile and interesting papermaking technique in which objects are layered between newly-pulled sheets of handmade paper. Because they are damp, the sheets bond together during pressing and drying to form a single, solid sheet of paper.
Using Feathers—On a newly-pulled sheet of paper, still on the couching pad, arrange a series of colorful feathers in a fan shape. Pull a second very thin sheet of paper and place on top. Press and dry the sheet. When dry, hang the paper in a sunlit window or in front of a lamp to reveal the feathers embedded within the sheet.
Using Yarn—Pull a sheet of handmade paper from the vat and couch it on the couching pad. Lay the colored yarn across the paper with the ends of the yarn hanging off the sides of the paper. Cover with a second sheet of newly-pulled paper. Press the sheet and dry by hanging on a clothesline or rack. When the paper is dry, use the ends of the yarn to connect several pieces to make a custom sized wall hanging.
Using Dried Roses—Pull a sheet of handmade paper and couch. Arrange two dried roses on the paper. Pull a second sheet and drape it over the roses, sealing them in between the two sheets. Carefully pull back some of the wet top sheet to reveal the roses, ensuring that some paper still overlaps the roses to hold them securely. Dry the sheet flat. You can direct a fan on the piece if it is slow to dry. When dry, frame the piece in a shadow box frame.
Tip: Be aware that dark red rose petals will bleed a bluish hue. This can be a very nice effect but may be a surprise if unexpected.
Embossing—One of the wonderful qualities of handmade paper is that it takes on the texture of the material upon which it is couched. The fibers are loosely bonded together, so either wet or dry embossing yields excellent results.
Here are several ideas for wet embossing.
Netting—A piece of netting makes a great textural pattern on which to couch a sheet of handmade paper. Place the netting on the kitchen cloths that we are using for couching. Couch the newly-pulled sheet of handmade paper directly on the netting. Press the piece, then hang it to dry. When the sheet is dry, carefully pull the netting off the paper, leaving a beautifully embossed sheet of paper.
Bubble Wrap—For an appealing circular pattern, emboss paper on a sheet of bubble wrap. Place the bubble wrap on the couching pad and couch a fresh sheet of paper directly on top. Press the wet paper into the bubble wrap for a more defined texture. Allow to air-dry flat. Peel the bubble wrap off when dry.
Wire—The possibilities are endless with custom-made embossed designs, created with craft wire. First, bend the wire into a design. Next, place the design on the couching pad and couch a fresh sheet of paper on top. Allow to air-dry flat or hang to dry, depending on the weight of the piece. When dry, peel the wire design from the back of the paper, to reveal a delicately embossed paper.
Layering—Layering combines pulp of contrasting colors to create unique collages and landscapes, all within a single sheet of paper. As with laminating, the damp layers of the newly formed sheets will become one as they bond during pressing and drying.
String Layering—Couch a sheet of color #1. Place two pieces of string on the sheet, and cover with a sheet of color #2. While the paper is still damp, pull back some of the string, revealing the first sheet of paper beneath. Alternatively, wait until the sheet is dry before pulling the threads. When damp, the pulp peels off in a wider band so try both methods for two different looks.
Scooping Away (Pulp Reduction)—Couch a sheet of paper in the first color. Scoop away some of the pulp. Place small pieces of pulp in a second color within the scooped area. Pull a sheet of paper in a third color and couch directly onto the base sheet. Press and dry. When the sheet is dry, the paper will show all three colors of pulp in an interesting pattern.
Adding Flowers—Flower petals add both color and texture to handmade paper. The possibilities are endless when working with flowers, since both fresh and dried petals work well. The basic technique for working with flowers in handmade paper is to soak and blend 1/4 pound of abaca pulp. Strain the pulp and place in a bucket. Pour 1/2 cup of dried flower petals onto the pulp and mix by hand using gentle, even strokes. Add a scoop of pulp to a vat filled with water. Pull a sheet of paper and couch on a prepared couching pad. Form a stack of sheets and press lightly for 5 minutes. Dry sheets using one of the methods described above.
Books by Heidi Reimer-Epp
300 Papermaking Recipesby Heidi Reimer-Epp and Mary Reimer
The Encyclopedia of Papermaking and Bookbindingby Heidi Reimer-Epp and Mary Reimer
Beginner's Guide to Papermakingby Heidi Reimer-Epp and Mary Reimer
Sterling Publishing Co.
Monday, July 20, 2009
If you are looking for something different to scent your room, then here is a project for you...Aroma Beads! Here is step by step instructions from Peak Candle Supplies. And make sure to check out Peak Candles other candle and soap making projects.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
6 Tablespoons Shea Butter
1 Tbsp. Grape Seed Oil
2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
2 Tbsp. Apricot Kernel Oil
1/2 Tsp. Any Soap Safe Fragrance or Essential Oil
Mix all ingredients in a small pot and melt on the stove. Take the mixture off of the heat once the oils have just about melted. The oils will continue to melt themselves with the heat of the pan. Add scent and Mix well. Pour into a 4 oz. cosmetic jar (Item # 90162). The butter will be ready to use in approx. 2 hours.
Friday, July 17, 2009
From Aroma Web
Botanical Name: Corylus avellana
Aroma: Light. Nutty and Sweet.
Absorption/Feel: Leaves a Slightly Oily Film on the Skin.
Color: Light Yellow.
Hazelnuts are sometimes mistakenly called Filberts. Although similar in appearance, Filberts are slightly longer in shape.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Clean Silver, Pewter, Copper, or Brass
1/2 cup aloe vera gel
Garbage Can Deodorizing
1 teaspoon tea tree oil
Daily Shower Cleaner
Cleaning your Coffee Maker with Vinegar
3 tablespoons liquid soap
Automatic Dishwasher Soap1/2 cup liquid Castile soap 1/2 cup water 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 3 drops tea tree extract (or oil) 1/4 cup white vinegar Store in squeeze bottle. Use 2 tablespoons per wash in a standard size dishwasher. Do not substitute conventional liquid soap for the Castile unless it is a 'low sudsing' soap. Regular soaps will produce too many suds and overflow the dishwasher. Dishwasher RiseUse 1 teaspoon corn starch in the rinse cycle. All comes out clean & crystal clear. Or just use white vinegar.
Ketchup, yeap plain old ketchup!
Place in a spray bottle and shake well. The glycerine emulsifies the E.O. so it doesn’t sit on top of the water. You can double this recipe for a 32 oz bottle. Vinegar is suppose to be excellent for smoke odors too.
I will also list some other recipes though.
2 gallons hot water, one bar soap grated (use Fals-Naptha, Ivory, Sunlight, Castile or Zote all bar soaps no heavy perfume bar soaps), 2 cups baking soda
Melt grated soap on saucepan with enough hot water to cover. Cook on medium low heat, stir frequently until soap is melted. Then add the baking soda, stir well. Use 1/2 cup per full load or 1 cup for very soiled load.
In a large 2 gallon stainless pan, mix soap and water. Simmer for 15 minutes, stir often. Add the rest of ingredients, cool and use 1 cup for each load. This also works well for general cleaning. Make sure to use the vinegar in the rinse with this one.
Mix the baking soda and the essential oil drop/s together. Be sure that it is very well mixed. Since you will only be using one to two drops of essential oil, the mixture does not get much damper than regular baking soda. Simply sprinkle the mixture on your rugs and carpets. Let set for a few minutes and vacuum up the mixture.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
From Miller’s Homemade Soaps
32 ounces soybean oil
32 ounces vegetable shortening (Crisco)
14 ounces olive oil
10 ounces coconut oil
1 ounce of stearic acid (optional)
28 ounces cold water12 ounces lye crystals
Temperatures were around 110 degrees.
Add at trace:
3/4 oz. Citronella EO
1/2 oz. Bergamot EO
1/4 oz. Rosewood EO
1 1/2 tsp. ground Ginger (dry spice)
2 T. freshly ground Coriander Seeds
1 cup Calendula Petals (pulverize a bit in the blender after measuring)
About an ounce of Vit. E. Oil (If you can get it to pour fast enough!)
Monday, July 13, 2009
Avocado Butter(Persea Gratissima)
Persea meaning avocado or alligator pear; Gratissima mean very pleasing or agreeable.
Avocados will not ripen while still attached to the tree! If picked full grown, the fruit will ripen within 1-2 weeks at room temperature. The avocado flesh contains tannin which will become bitter when cooked.
Avocado Butter, created through a unique hydrogenation process, is a butter that is creamy in texture and has excellent moisturizing properties.
Noted for its spreadability and is easily penetrated into the skin, Avocado Butter also contains some natural sunscreen properties along with Vitamins A, B, G and E making it an all around great ingredient for a wide variety of products. A soft butter this is a great ingredient for creams and balms.
Common Uses of Avocado Butter
* Hair pomades
* Massage creams
Benefits of Avocado Butter
* Good penetrating properties
* Excellent spreadability
* Some natural sunscreen ability
* Low comedogenicity
For full profile, please visit here.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
In this article, the author gives good tips diluting your essential oils with a carrier oil and more. Pay particular attention to the tips and warnings section on how much should be actually used because it can be confusing trying to figure out how much to use, particularly because they may be sold in ounces, millimeters or by the pound. It's difficult because different writers use different measurements when describing formulas for blending Essential Oils.
And it is also important to find out if certain essential oils should not be used for certain people. That would be best to consult an aromatherapist or a good aromatherapy book on essential oils.
Friday, July 10, 2009
These are great soaps to make, firstly because they can be made for cheap and novel gifts, and secondly, even the kids can get involved.
350 g Lux Soap Flakes
5 tablespoons water
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Place the soap flakes - such as Lux - into a large bowl, adding the water and the oil. Mix these ingredients with a spoon. Know knead the mixture with your hands until it resembles play dough. Divide the soap 'dough' into 16 portions by scooping out a rounded tablespoon of soap mixture for each portion, shaping each portion into a ball.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
As a runner, I have a tendency to fall and bump into things on a regular basis. Call me a klutz, but I maintain that things just get in my way! This balm paves the way for happier, bruise-free shins! The healing properties of arnica are well documented in helping to reduce inflammation and increasing blood flow to damaged tissue.
You will need:
4 oz Almond, Sweet Oil
4 oz Arnica Oil
1 oz Beeswax Pastilles - White, Unrefined
4 oz Witch Hazel Distillate
1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) Borax Powder
5 ml (1 tsp) Germaben IIE (Preservative)
5 ml (1 tsp) Lavender, Bulgarian Essential Oil
Phase 1: Combine the almond oil and beeswax in a double boiler and heat gently until the beeswax has completely melted. Set Aside.
Phase 2: In a separate container, carefully combine the water and borax powder and heat until very hot, but not boiling.
Phase 3: Add arnica oil to Phase 1 and pour the entire mixture into a deep glass container with high walls (alternately you could use a blender reserved for formulating) and begin stirring slowly with an immersion (stick) blender.
Phase 4: While still mixing the oil phase, slowly add the water solution and mix on high until a medium thickness cream has formed. Allow to cool slightly before adding preservative. If you are using fragrance, it can be added at this time.
Phase 5: Pour cooled lotion into a sterilized container and allow to cool completely before applying your closure.Note: I store this balm in the refrigerator, although the preservative allows you to store it wherever you like. When chilled, the cooling effect of the witch hazel is even more pronounced and soothing on bumps and bruises!
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Yields about 12 bars
2lbs of melt and pour goats milk soap base
5 drops of Monkey Farts essential oil
Yellow candy color gel.
1. Melt down the soap base in a double boiler
2. Remove from heat
3. Once cooled for about 5 minutes, add scent and candy color gel
4. Pour into molds
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
First is a brand by the name of Escali. They come in nine lovely colors including black and chrome or another color that may match your kitchen, office or craft room. They have an 11 lb. capacity as well and are great for the beginner or veteran soap maker. Find them on Southern Soapers for only $29.95.
The other professional brands are available ranging from $40 to $150.
So for those who have taken a class from me (or anyone else for that matter) and are looking for a scale, check out Southern Soapers scales page of their website (http://southernsoapers.com/cart/soap-scales-c-2.html?page=2&sort=20a)
One is the influence of aroma on the brain, especially the limbic system through the olfactory system. The other is the direct pharmacological effects. Nurses, doctors, massage therapists, osteopaths and trained aromatherapists are some of the people who practise aromatherapy.Essential oils, phytoncides and other natural VOCs work in different ways. At the scent level they activate the limbic system and emotional centers of the brain. The aromatherapy bath happens to be a very effective method for relaxing tired, stressed bodies. Bathing in essential oils is an all-natural way to unblock congested pores and ease the symptoms of fatigue and muscle tension. Aromatic herbal baths have been referred to as "body and soul therapy" since they positively affects one's mood and general well-being.
Aromatic herbal bath oils Juste Milleu contain one semi-synthetic ingredient -an emulsifier Tween 80 utilized to improve the stability and bioavailability of the formulation. It also enhances both intensity and duration of aromatherapy effect. Bathing in essential oils is an all-natural way to unblock congested pores and ease the symptoms of fatigue and muscle tension. Using essential oils in the bath is as simple as adding 10 drops just before you enter the tub. The Turkish Bath has always been a very important part of the everyday life of Turkish men and women for many centuries. The bath ritual as we know today has its roots in the washing traditions of the Turks that they brought from Central Asia. Baths for women were also beauty salons where facial.
About the Author
Juliet Cohen writes articles for http://www.cosmeticsdiary.com/aromatherapy.htm, aromatherapy and http://www.onlinebeautytips.org/beauty tips.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
If you are interested in making your soap by this method, here are instructions on How to Make Your Own Hand-Milled Soap by Civita Dyer. As the author states It all begins with plain white bars of soap from the grocery store. I have been to Trader Joe's where they sell unscented white soap. You will have to buy the palm oil chips online. The author mentions scenting your soap with botanical fragrance oil. Now I am not sure what she means by that. I am purely guessing that she means essential oils.
You are probably wondering how many bars you will get from this recipe. According to the author, it will depend on the size of your molds.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
If you are interested in ordering this e-class and would like more information visit, http://www.thenovastudio.com/description_lori_colorwithconfidence_eclass.html.
For a limited time, this e-course is 50% off the original price of $39.00. That makes it $19.50. What a great deal, I am going to order this. I can't pass this by. Don't miss this opportunity before the price goes up.
Order Now! This offer is only good for the first 50 people. Let The Nova Studio know that you saw the announcement here.
PS. Just to let you know that if you order this e course, you have a limited time to download the materials. Make sure you check your email account and download it immediately or you can lose your materials!
8/7/09 - The minimum of 50 has been reached # the $19.50 price, it has gone back up to its regular price of $39.00.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Carrier Oils “carry” or dilute essential oils (concentrated liquids derived from flowers and plants) so they can be applied to the skin. They are commonly made from vegetables or nuts and include peanut, olive, almond, coconut, sesame, and grapeseed oils. Carrier oils don’t contain a concentrated aroma like essential oils and they don’t evaporate like them either. They can go rancid however, so if you are making something with carrier oils, make sure that you store it in a cool, dark place and throw it away after six months.
People with nut allergies can use sunflower or grapeseed oils since they are extracted from seeds.
Here is a simple formula to create your own bath oil:
2 oz of your favorite carrier oil (sweet almond, olive, grapeseed, etc.)
15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil
Blend the oils together and store in a dark-colored ja.
To use, add 2 tablespoons to bath water. Soak and enjoy!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Cured Soaps waiting to be wrapped: If your going to have to store your soaps for any length of time and especially if you've used costly essential or fragrance oils, your going to want to keep them in a covered container to help them hold their scent. Shoeboxes and tupperware containers work just fine for this. If the soaps haven't cured all the way and you shut them up in an airtight container, chances are they'll bead up and sweat, so make sure they're completely cured before you do this.
Handy things to have lying around cluttering up your already messy soap room:
* fabrics! such as calico or even burlap for a truly "rustic" look.
* washcloths! Keep your eyes peeled for "bargain" sales and stock up.
* Mugs! Great for pouring shaving soaps in or pop a bar in. Add a filler to the cup and place a bar of soap in the center and wrap with cellophane or tulle.
* Small brown paper bags
* Cello type bags in different styles
* Wood crates
* Soap dishes! Place one of your bars on top and wrap in clear plastic or shrink wrap.
* Fillers! Have on hand a variety such as raffia, mosses, styrofoam, anything you can think of.
* Baskets! You can never have too many baskets. Friends and co-workers are a good place to start building your collection, ; ).
* Paper! This depends entirely on what you want to use...some use rustic looking "old" paper, brown paper, marbled paper, tissue paper, any kind of paper you want. If you don't already have a program on your computer to add designs and logos, you can paint or draw on labels.
* Labels! Your going to want to have many different sizes and types: sticky labels, round labels, heavyweight card stock, tiny labels for lip balms, etc.
* Waxed paper
* Gift Wrap
* Muslin Bags: these are terrific! Not to mention you can use them to make some bath bags, etc.
* Embellishments: These add that special something to your packaging. Riobbons, yarns, cording, raffia, lace, etc.
* Containers: Baskets fall into this category too. Pick up interesting containers to use when giving special gifts. Need ideas? small wooden bowls, clay pots, tins, large sea shells, exotic glassware, you name it!
* Wrapping the soap. Wrapping your soap is something you'll learn how to do and what works best for you as you do it. Many people use a cigar type band that serves as a wrap and a label in one. To do this you would create a logo or border on your computer,fill it with your information, print it out onto paper you've selected to use, cut into long strips and wrap so that your info is face up on the soap. You can do the same thing with fabric. Some people use pinking shears to cut the fabric and tie it in an attractive bow around the soap and then use a sticky label with your information printed on it.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
1. Make a frame for preparing the paper. Stretch a fiberglass screen - for example, a window screen - over a wooden frame (an old picture frames work well for this, or you can build your own) and staple it or nail it to the frame. The screen should be pulled as tightly as possible. Make sure to construct the frame large enough to hold the size of paper you wish to make.
2. Find paper to be recycled. Newspaper may be the easiest source to start with, but you can also use old print-outs, notes, phone books - just about any unwaxed paper product. Keep in mind, however, that the color of the papers you use and the amount of dark ink on them will affect the "grayness" of your creation.
3. Remove plastic, staples and other contaminants. Especially if you're using junk mail, your paper scraps are likely to contain plastic from envelope windows. Try to remove such impurities as thoroughly as possible.
4. Soak the paper in water. You may be able to get away with skipping this step, particularly if you use a blender to pulverize the paper, but you'll probably have better luck if you presoak the paper for a day or two.
5. Blend the paper. Rip the paper into tiny bits, and place it all into a blender until it's about half full. Fill the blender with warm water. Run the blender on "slow" at first, then increase the speed until the pulp looks smooth and well-blended - approximately 30 to 40 seconds - just until there are no flakes of paper remaining. Alternately, you can grind up the paper in small batches using a mortar and pestle.
6. Fill your basin about halfway with water. The basin should be a little wider and longer than your frame and approximately the same shape.
7. Add paper paste (pulp) to water in basin and stir to make a homogeneous mixture. How much you add will depend on personal preference and the size of the paper you're making. The amount of pulp you add to the water will determine the thickness of the paper, and while you want a dense suspension of pulp to fully cover your screen in the next steps, you don't need to make the whole tub into sludge. Experiment a bit.
8. Remove any large clumps of paper. Try to pick out any clumps; the smoother and finer your mixture, the more uniform your end product will be.
9. Make your paper ink-ready (optional). If the paper is going to be used for stationery, stir 2 teaspoons of liquid starch into the pulp mix. The starch helps prevent ink from soaking into the paper fibers.
10. Immerse the frame in the mixture. Place your wooden frame into the pulp, screen-side down, then level it while it is submerged. Lightly move it side-to-side until the pulp on top of the screen lies fairly uniformly flat.
11. Remove frame from basin and resolve any thickness problems. Slowly lift the frame up until it is above the water. Drip-drain it over the basin. Wait until most of the water has drained from the pulp, and you'll see the beginnings of a new piece of paper. If the paper is very thick, remove some of the pulp from the top. If it is too thin, add some more pulp and stir the mixture again.
12. Give it the pull. After the mold stops dripping (or nearly so), gently place a piece of fabric (felt or flannel, preferably) or a piece of Formica (smooth-side down) in the frame on top of the "paper". Very gently press down to squeeze out excess water. Use a sponge to press out as much water as possible from the other side of the screen, and periodically wring out the sponge.
13. Remove the paper from the frame. Gently lift the fabric or Formica out of the frame. The wet sheet of paper should remain on the fabric. If it sticks to the screen, you may have pulled too fast or not pressed out enough water. You can gently press out any bubbles and loose edges at this point.
14. Set the paper out to dry. Take the pieces of fabric and Formica with the paper on them and arrange them to dry on a flat surface. Alternatively, you can speed up the drying process by using a hair dryer on the low setting.
15. Repeat the above steps to make additional sheets. Continue adding pulp and water to the basin as needed.
16. Peel the paper off the fabric or Formica. Wait until the sheets of paper are thoroughly dried; then gently peel.
For a more artistic flair, you can also incorporate plant materials into your paper, such as shreds of flower petals, leaves, or green grass. The resulting beautiful effects will motivate you to make more - no two pieces are ever the same.
You can add dryer lint to your slurry, but do not make your paper entirely from lint, as it will not have enough body on its own.
Have a craft-oriented friend help you, especially if you find yourself to be craft-challenged.
If you have trouble pulling the paper out of the frame, you may gently turn the frame upside down and try to pull it off the fabric or Formica.
When drying the paper, you may wish to try hanging the sheets (with fabric or Formica still attached) on a clothesline or standing them up vertically. It's best to let the sheets dry a little first; otherwise they may be too fragile.
You can press a drying sheet of paper by placing another piece of fabric or Formica on top of it and gently pressing. This will make the resulting paper smoother and thinner. Leave the second piece there as it dries.
If you don't add starch, the paper will be highly absorbent, and your ink will likely bleed quite easily. If this occurs, briefly soak the dried paper in a mix of water and gelatin and re-dry.
The resulting paper will most likely be opaque on one side and bright on the other. Depending on your intended use, either side may be suitable, but the bright side will probably be better for writing.
Nearly any fine screen or sieve with holes about 1 mm can be substituted for the window screen.You can use coffee cans, embroidery frames, or other objects to build frames. Try experimenting to get different sizes and shapes of paper.
You can make getting the paper off the screen faster and easier by making a deckle. It should be identical to the frame the screen is attached to. Just before step 10, place the deckle on top of the screen and dip it into the pulp deckle-side-up. After you lift it out of the pulp, lift the deckle, place your fabric over the paper, turn it over, and remove the screen. Since the paper may still be sodden, you'll need to be careful not to poke any holes or stretch it.
You can make your paper a little more dense by using an iron. While it's still very damp, place it between two pieces of cloth. Iron on low, no steam, pressing down and always moving. Check it frequently, since it can brown while still damp! Note the heat may cause things like flower petals to lose their pigment or turn brown.
If you want to make colored construction paper,use paper with the least amount of dark ink, use a lot of "pulp" and use liquid food coloring.
When you get good at making paper, try making plantable bookmarks. They're a great gift for anyone who loves to garden, or read about gardening. Mix in seeds with the pulp. Choose hardy plants that are fairly easy to sprout, and choose fairly small seeds. Then, make paper as outlined above. Air dry the finished paper quickly so the seeds don't sprout. Cut it into bookmark shapes. You can trace around cookie cutters to get decorative shapes, if you wish. When you're done reading, plant the whole bookmark and keep it moist until the seeds sprout. If the seeds are for flowers, you could mix in dried flowers or petals with the paper for decoration.
You can even use a wire hanger, forming it to any shape you like, and stretching an old pair of pantyhose over it to create the screen.