Saturday, October 17, 2015

Great Cakes Alternative Liquid Challenge

As usual, I'm trying to beat the deadline, and I'm running out of time as I'm writing!  This month it took three tries to get something worthy of the challenge.

My alternative liquid is coconut water.  I'd been wanting to try it, but hadn't gotten around to it, so now was the time!  I wasn't able to find much out other than it is hydrating and contains lots of potassium when you drink it, so I'm hoping it can do the same for our skin!

For my first soap, I decided to also try calendula petals in the lye water, as it imparts a slight fragrance and is skin loving.  The other colorings are madder powder and spirulina powder and I decided to use Bergamot Essential Oil for the fragrance.  It soaped like a dream, maybe a bit too liquid, and I tried a swirl.  Although it did come out way better than I thought it would, it didn't have the contrast and bold coloring I was looking for.

Second try:  Same oils and coconut water, but this time I decided to use Karma Essential Oil blend from Bramble Berry, even though it  discolors the finished soap to brown.  Since I knew that, I decided to color it with darker colorant, alkanet powder, in a large enough amount to hopefully be dark purple.  For a lighter contrast color, I used a combiation of Kaolin clay and annatto seed powder.  Since I wanted to use my column mold again and had seen others make a yinyang with plastic, I thought I'd try that, putting alkanet on one side and the other would be kaolin colored and annatto colored in a faux funnel pour.  With so much planned, I forgot the essential oil, so this one is unscented, but I like the design!

Third time's the charm!  I repeated the same recipe, including the Karma Essential Oil for fragrance this time, although I didn't have another cylinder mold, so used a loaf mold and did a swirl like I did the first time.  The difference was that this time the soap batter was a bit thicker from the fragrance (and a little more stick blending) and the top was sprinkled with cranberry seeds and strawberry seeds for a little additional color.  This is my favorite!  I never thought I would be able to get such a beautiful soap with all natural ingredients!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pink Applesauce and more!

Yep, my applesauce really did come out pink!  It's a blend of pink fleshed and white fleshed apples from our trees, and we ended up with 18 jars!!!.

Now we don't just have apple trees, we have a variety of different fruits, but they're really just baby trees that are starting to produce more than we can eat fresh, so I have to find more ways to use and preserve them. Before making the applesauce above,  The pears were getting way too ripe, so I made spiced pear butter and spiced pear sauce, and before that it was the pickles, so the cupboard is getting filled up!

Today was the day to make something with Asian pears, so I tried the recipe - Asian Pears in Honey Syrup from The Joy of Jams, Jellies and other Sweet Preserves.  A couple ginger slices are at the bottom of each jar and the syrup has not just honey in it, but also lemon, so it's not too sweet and there's plenty of lemon flavor in there.  We'll let these sit a little while to soak up some of the ginger flavor and then they'll be ready (of course, they're ready now, but time will blend the flavors better).  After two batches, there are now eight quart jars cooling on the counter!

Have a bit of cast-on-itis, since this month is Plucktober, celebrating Plucky yarns in their Ravelry group.  Of course I had already picked out about four projects to work on, but then some people started making cute sheep hats and I had to make one too!  It's called the Baa-ble Hat.