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Personal blatherings, living simply, gardening, cooking, canning, dehydrating, knitting, spinning and more.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My cup (will) runneth over...


We got back from 2 weeks down at the kid's place. My sinuses are still recovering from the dry air there. It is well worth it, of course. We had a lovely visit., that included visits with my two best friends. Way cool.

Himself turned off the heat when we left. Oh yes, I will be very busy dyeing wool, carding it and getting some rugs made. It takes a lot longer to warm a freezing house when the carpets are removed. When we get the wood stove and chimney installed, it will not take as long to warm our little house. This winter will be a busy one for me. I finished my oldest grandson's pullover hoodie when I got home. I am now working on the littlest one's "monster" pants. Below are photos of the items I finished and gave to the boys, including some soaps.

I made a goats milk soap using goats milk powder for this batch. It also had raw honey and ground oats added at trace. though I did not use fresh milk, it still left one's skin feeling nice after bathing.

The second batch was a shampoo bar, using hemp seed oil instead of jojoba and cocoa butter. I also added 1 tsp. of citric acid per pound of oil (ppo), to see if it really negated the need for a vinegar pre-rinse. I had some old commercial shampoo, which I brought along with my bar soap. It made my hair gummy. Ick. I took one of the shampoo bars I made for the kids and tried it out. Man, they have softer water. The soap made my hair soft and all that good stuff. We have hard water, my search for the perfect bar for our water continues. The citric acid seems to help with our water, yet it is not as great as when one has a slightly softer water than we have. Testing is part of the fun, yes?

Before we left, I made Sally's food. Instead of freezing it in small batches, making travel a bit of a hassle, I canned it! I canned a few small jars that held two servings. It was perfect for the night and morning feedings before we hit the road. I canned it in the pressure cooker for the time called for the meats, which had the longest timing requirements. Luckily, I got that done before the gasket died on my old canner. I read reviews that the replacement gaskets are now thinner, making them pretty much useless. They also cost a good third of a replacement canner. One of my best friends passed on a giant canner, big enough for huge loads. You could bathe a baby in it! It has a dial gauge. Those have to be babysat, unlike the rocker version. I may get a smaller one for small batches with the rocker gauge. The instructions has one using 1 tbsp. of cream of tartar per 1 quart of water, brought to the highest pressure then turned off to remove the discoloring that can occur in canners. It worked! The canner looked almost new on the outside. It now looks new inside. The large canner can double as a water-bath canner, making it do double-duty. I love that.

I made the boys hats. I do not have a photo of the devil earflap hat, which fit the youngest boy in more ways than the circumference of his head. (heehee). He also got a Vandals hat (helmet with wings) and the oldest got an Angry Red Bird hat. All are somewhere on the Ravelry site. I also made the youngest a hooded sweater with matching mittens on a string. That pattern is from Lions Yarn.

Let me see... What else? I am working on an I-cord bedside rug for my granddaughter using all the eye-bleeding colors she likes I had used in hats I made her the last few years. It is a win-win thing. I no longer open my yarn drawers and gasp, she gets a washable rug next to her bed she likes. I practiced with an old rag rug I took apart. I boo-booed by not cutting the thicker strands in half lengthwise, making the cord have thick lumps. The mat, used under my Dutch-oven to protect the floor, is whomper-jawed-funny, but it fits underneath. No biggie. An I-cord rug is like making a braided rug. You make the cord, then sew it as you wrap it around.

We were cleaning up the gardens and the property. Himself was using the weed-whacker on a slope when he "found" a underground yellow-jacket nest! Ugh!!! He sprayed it, then started to dig it out. they were still alive, as were the zillions of eggs. Eek! I suggested vinegar, which he dumped almost a whole gallon on and then waited. That did them in. He finished digging out the nest. If the photos, one with his huge paw next to it to give a size to it do not give one nightmares, I do not know what will. We probably solved next year's yellow-jacket problem. Now if only the hornet's nest was on our property we could get that problem solved. Hornets are vile things and very aggressive.

I think I spewed on for too long. there will be photos of the hoodie pullover and the Monster pants coming, along with the rugs as I make them. We first have to drag the tubs filled with wool from under the house crawl-space so I can start dyeing the fiber. Not fun, but not everything can be fun, right?

I think I will make calazone for our return home next time we go down to see the kids. I will only have to get them out of the freezer and popped into the oven. Much easier. I will still have to stop for milk before coming home. that is quicker than grabbing veggies for the pizza crusts I make before we leave. We will also start bringing our own dinner in a small ice chest for the overnight stops. Himself got sick at the diner we grabbed a bite at on our way down. I spoiled him with good food. The stuff in the majority of restaurants are not digestible to us any longer. That is a good thing, but a pain in the rear when traveling.

My little netbook has been acting up. the screen goes black, but the computer is functioning otherwise. I updated the drivers and such, and it seems to be working okay so far. I used my birthday money to get myself a little Hisense Sero 7 Pro tablet. The thing is addicting. It can be my substitute computer if this one goes tits-up and I have not replaced it yet. Netbooks are now called "mini laptops". They will be phased out in the next few years. Most have touch-screens. I am waiting for decent sales. They are still high-priced though they are nothing more than tablets with keyboards. They do not have DVD/CD players. You have to use a portable unit. I am looking to see if I can plug my tablet into my printer. Until it dies and we can get a wireless one, which it will work with, I need the convenience of my netbook, especially if I am blathering so much. Touching-writing is slower for me than typing. I need to fix the auto-spell thing. It keeps fixing my verbiage or misspelling names. Some are humorous.


  1. Hi Debbi!
    I'm relatively new to your blog, but I like it!
    Have you tried adding sea salt to your shampoo bars? Salt softens water, so it may help.
    I'll be following your soapy efforts, closely, as I'm just learning the skill, myself. (I'll keep the baby stuff in mind, & maybe soon, I'll be able to use your ideas for grandbabies!)

  2. I read about adding salt on the same forum conversation suggesting the citric acid. I have a coconut oil and milk bar recipe on the counter... Waiting for me to use it. Thanks!