Monday, October 31, 2011

Champagne Chicken Scraps

   This is a project I did to use up a few more  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...sure.... that's what happened.  Anyways, whatever the reason, I CAN show you step by step on how I made it.  I cut all my parts using a scroll saw and a band saw.  You could do it all with a scroll saw but its faster for me with the band saw.
Next step it 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.  I use glue and staples 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 mold, scraping the pot out with a silicone spatula.  This mold was designed to hold this size batch of soap.  A mold 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 mold with plastic though, or your soap will get stuck when cured and could also leak out the sides when you pour it into the mold. 
 Your mold must be leak proof!

When the mold 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 mold and cut into bars
 I use a cheese cutter that I modified with some sticks and epoxy so I could cut the soap in even bars.  (I see cheese cutters at the second hand stores all the time.)
 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,  the soap is sealed in shrink wrap to keep the essential oils from evaporating.  You can wrap it in fabric and tie with a bow, or in cardboard with a flower hot glued to the packaging, or just leave it in the air.  You will still maintain scent in your bar, but sealing it, keeps the smell stronger.

 I cheated!  I am showing you a bar of lavender soap (see the lavender buds). 
The blog batch is still curing.

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

Homemade Linen Spray

Linking up With

DIY Club Tuesday To Do Party
The Enchanting Rose

Friday, October 28, 2011

Trash to Treasure to Trash

OK. This is kinda of an obvious, maybe a somewhat silly post, but well I am just gonna do it anyways....I was cleaning out our cars yesterday to get them ready for the winter......yay snow......sorry all you snow haters......had to say it. PRAY FOR SNOW is my new favorite to HUMPTY WAS PUSHED. Anyways, while I was cleaning out the cars, I spied these plastic plant pots, that were this funky green color. They were from some awesome shrubs that I scored, CHEAP.
This is the TRASH part of my title. Usually they come in black, or terracotta. I took them in the house, scrubbed them up and threw a few bags in the bottom so when you take out the trash, there is a new bag waiting for you. Now they are pure TREASURE. 

OK, they are still trash, but I couldn't name the blog Trash Trash Trash, could I. I took another bag and fitted it inside and tied it so it would stay around the rim....and with the magic of words, its TRASH again.

Now instead of having to clean out the backseat floor of the car, perhaps I can just clean out the trash bucket. Better yet, we could move to the Star Trek Enterprise and have machines that replicate clean for us. 

Linking up With
Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special