Monday, October 31, 2011

Champagne Chicken Scraps

   Just using up some scraps that were left over from our recent building project.  It was a 10 part series on building Dormers for our (100 plus years) home.  If you would like to see it
  I called this blog champagne chicken scraps because I feel it is a touch
 fancier than my last project that you can
  I am not sure  how to make an enlarged pattern for you, but I am pretty sure you could enlarge this picture or freehand it.    My dimensions are at the widest points, 8 1/2 x 9  for the front and back... The sides are 7 x 5 1/2 and the base is 7 x 4 3/4.  The chicken head is approximately 8 1/2 x 4 3/4  and the tail is about 7 x 3 3/4.

Unfortunately, I can't show you the champagne cause, well, umm....It's gone.  The chickens drank it.....  They ran out of wine and just clucked there way in and drank the champagne.  But I CAN show you step by step on how I made it.  I cut all the parts using a bandsaw.
Next step is to sand all the parts.
Drill  holes in the sides for the handles.

If you have a Dremel like tool, you can carve out eggs and straw.  This is optional but it's kinda cute.

Attach the tail and head to the front and back. I  use screws and glue.
Place all pieces together to form the basket.   Glue and staples were used to attach the parts.

Cut a piece of heavy wire about 3 feet long.  Fold wire in half.  Put one end in a drill and clamp the other end tightly.  Turn your drill on and twist the wire.

  Bend the wire to form the handle. 
 I cut 2 pieces of copper tubing, about 2 1/2 inches long.  I use that to cover the sharp ends as shown below.

I left my OSB unfinished.  You may want to stain or paint your basket first.  Using acrylic craft paints, paint the chicken comb and wattle.  Paint on an eye and whatever else you feel like.  I painted a heart on the back.    

 Fill with your choice of gifts, but be forewarned, those chickens will drink the wine and champagne.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Making Castile Soap

People stink!  A quick remedy for this, a shower with soap! more stinky people!  If you happen to have stinky people with sensitive skin, you could make them a bar of Castile soap, which is a pure olive oil soap, free from sodium lauryl sulphate; a.k.a. SLS
   This soap is a gentle and mild cleanser.  People who have eczema  as well as  sensitivity to (SLS), prefer this soap.

  I must stress that soap making can cause serious burns and that proper equipment is a must.  My soap kit contains heavy rubber gloves, safety glasses, a thick apron and long sleeves.  For equipment, I use a large stainless steel pot, a glass quart wide mouth canning jar,  a wooden spoon,  small glass dish,  a scale,  a silicon spatula,  a hand held stick blender, a large stainless steel mixing bowl,  and a homemade soap mold.

I gather all my ingredients to start.


 Weigh 11 ounces of cold water into a quart sized wide mouth mason jar and place in a stainless steel bowl.  I put the bowl and jar in the  kitchen sink.  If any spills, it will clean your drains.
  SEPARATELY weigh out  4 ounces of sodium hydroxide into a small glass dish. 
 Pour the sodium hydroxide INTO the water, not the other way around.  Fill stainless steel bowl halfway with cold water as pictured below.  This will help cool the sodium hydroxide mix quickly. Stir this with a wooden skewer until dissolved.  Make sure you are wearing your protective gear.  This stuff is dangerous.  Don't breathe in the fumes cuz it will make you cough.  Let the solution cool to 110 degrees.

Meanwhile weigh and pour 32 ounces of  olive oil into a large stainless steel pot. (THIS IS ONE TIME YOU CAN CHEAP OUT .  JUST USE PLAIN OLIVE OIL.  YOU DON'T NEED TO BUY THE EXPENSIVE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.  VIRGIN OIL DOESN'T MAKE GOOD SOAP.)    Heat to 110 degrees. 

When both the sodium hydroxide solution and oil are at 110 degrees, pour the sodium hydroxide solution into the oil.   Stir this mixture for about 15 minutes with the wooden spoon.

Next step is to get out the stick mixer or you could be stirring for days.  Mix the soap until it reaches trace.  This means the mixture will change colors (a creamy off white) and will thicken.  It should be the consistency of vanilla pudding.  You can add your essential oil now (up to 2 ounces) and mix thoroughly with the stick mixer.  If I am making lavender soap, this is when I would add 1/4 cup of lavender seeds, stirring them in by hand.  You could add poppy seeds to lemon soap......etc. etc.

 Pour the mixture into the mould, scraping the pot out with a silicone spatula.  This mold was designed to hold this size batch of soap.  A mould can be made from a heavy cardboard box lined with plastic.  I would say a box about 10 inches long x 4 inches deep  x 3 inches wide.  You can build this from wood too.  This would be the better option if you are planning on making soap more than once.  Make sure you line your mould with plastic though, or your soap will get stuck when cured and could also leak out the sides when you pour it into the mould. 

When the mould is full, cover exposed soap with plastic.  I use saran wrap.  Wrap in a blanket and let sit for at least 3 days to harden. 
When the soap is hard, remove from mould and cut into bars
 I use a cheese cutter that I modified with some sticks and epoxy so I could cut the soap into even bars. 
 You can use a large sharp knife to cut your soap too.  Whatever you have!

The soap needs to cure for minimum 4 weeks.  I leave mine longer, usually 6 to 8 weeks as Castile soap needs a longer curing time.  I put it in a closet with wire racks so that air can circulate around the bars.

After it has cured, it is ready to use.

 I cheated! The blog batch is still curing. This is an older bar.  The stuff you see in the bar is lavender, which makes for an unattractive bar, but does add a bit of exfoliating qualities.


Thanks to the amazing Inspiration Cafe for featuring my blog.  

Perhaps you would like to visit a few of my other posts:

The building of a bathroom

Building some wine storage

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Homemade Chalk Paint

Wow, this new craze of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint has hit the
 blogger community like a ZOMBIE virus.
  My mom used to use milk and slaked lime  to paint the walls in the chicken coop.  I used to use water and slaked lime to do mine as I didn't have the excess goats milk we had as kids.  
It sure made the chicken coop all shiny and white. 
 So this is my version of chalk paint:

  Homemade Chalk Paint
 1 part Slaked Lime
3 parts Acrylic Latex Paint
1 part PVA White Glue
1 part Water
1 part Slaked Color (for a colored chalk paint)
I painted a piece of wood that was salvaged from a renovation of our 100 year old home. After removing the million and one nails, I vacuumed it off to clean it.

I let it dry overnight after applying two coats.

Sanded the board to add a distressed finish and added a vinyl decal .

 An acrylic sealer was applied to the top, and a place to display my new chalk paint creation!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets

To make these yummy nuggets, you will need the following ingredients:

2 Cups Split Chana Dal  (Available in most Indian grocery stores.)
1 Cup Leftover Mashed Potatoes
2 TBSP Maggi
1 tsp Black Pepper
Pinch of Thyme
Soak your dal for a few  hours, or overnight. Drain
In a food processor, grind your dal to the consistency of cornmeal. You may have to add some water, maybe up to 1/2 cup. You want to keep this mixture as stiff as you can. When ground up, place dal in a mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Follow instructions below.

Your  mixture should look something like the picture below and be quite stiff.

Form into nugget shaped pieces. You may have to wet your hands with water as this mixture may become very sticky; just keep rinsing your hands without drying them and form the nuggets.
Place nuggets in deep fryer or a frying pan and fry until golden brown.

They will be tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

Plate them up and serve with your choice of dipping sauce. This is a great way to  get your little ones to eat legumes. They won't even know.  An alternative way to serve them is to make a burger patty.   Fry them in a frying pan and serve them up as you would any burger.