Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Soap making 101

I have been buying handmade soap for a few years now and I love it...but at around $5 per bar it was getting a bit too expensive.  I read quite a bit about making soap online and this book had great reviews so I ordered it and some essential oils online and gathered up a giant keg of olive oil from Costco, some coconut oil from my local grocery store and some lye from the hardware store and got started.  I already had a digital scale that I use in the pottery studio for mixing glazes.

My kitchen sort of looked like a meth lab (can you tell I've been hooked on Breaking Bad?).

The soap recipe I used makes a small batch...a one liter milk carton makes a great mold.  After the soap set up for 24 hours I tore away the carton and sliced the soap into 9 bars per carton.

I only like the smell of the essential oils...NOT...fragrance oils so I ordered patchouli, fennel, peppermint and tea tree.  I added poppy seeds to the peppermint soap and ground coffee to the fennel soap so I could easily tell them apart, I left the patchouli soap plain.

I wanted to think of a clever name for each far only the patchouli has a name..."Dirty Hippy".  (I hope I am not offending any hippies out there).  I made a brown paper wrap and stamped the name on with rubber far I've given away most of the soap to friends and family....not sure if this is saving me any money or not...ha ha.  Let me know if you can think of any clever names for the peppermint/tea tree or fennel soap.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Tea Party/Baby Shower

I have always wanted to host an old-fashioned tea party, you know where you bust out your best china and everyone wears floppy hats and gloves?  My nephew's wife is having their first baby next month so I decided to have a family baby shower/tea party combination.  

I searched tea party foods online and I guess the menu had to include petit fours (which were rather a pain to make)

Tuxedo strawberries were on the menu too

The dessert table

I couldn't resist these old fashioned paper straws for the lemonade.  

Once the ladies arrived we had a great time comparing hats.  A friend of my mother's had her own late mother's huge hat collection and let us borrow whatever we wanted.  There were some very interesting ones.

My mother and sisters looked after the shower sandwiches, they were delicious.

We had a few different varieties of tea and instead of baby shower games we read our tea leaves.

Natacha-the guest of honor- received lots of lovely baby gifts for their little boy who will arrive in 4 weeks.

Needless to say the men in my house cleaned up the leftovers as soon as the party ended.  

Monday, 16 July 2012

Big brush painting

I'm spending my summer painting (doesn't that sound romantic?).  Actually it's not standing in front of an easel with a scarf wrapped jauntily around my neck and a beret on my's up a ladder, wearing a paint-spattered t-shirt kind of painting....or what I refer to as "big brush painting", not nearly as glamorous as being an artist. 

When we renovated our old farmhouse 14 years ago we knew we would put cedar clapboards on the outside because we really hate vinyl siding...but now it's time to pay the piper....the entire house needs to be stained again.  Here are some before pictures:

This side of the house faces east so it gets a lot of morning sun which has caused the wood to turn a bit grey where the stain has weathered.

The south side of the house is not as bad as there are a lot trees which block the sun from fading the stain. We are re-coating with a similar but not identical color....kind of a beigish-greeny-grey.  The trim is painted ivory and I would like to paint the steel doors a bright teal colour and the screen doors a dark butter yellow.  I can't wait to post the "after" pictures but it is a slow process that will probably take us most of the summer to finish.

It is also strawberry, raspberry and cherry season...which can only mean one thing...... PIES!

Of course the weather has been super hot and sunny for two weeks we've managed to squeeze in a bit of this too............

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

10 on 10 July 2012

Today has been such a busy day with lots of work to do in the garden and pottery studio.

I'm joining with Rebecca for 10 on 10.  Here is my set for this month:

#1 Moss basket

#2 A bit of work to do in the garden this morning

# 3 Almost ripe

# 4 Shingle love

# 5 A bit of work in the  pottery studio...teapot bodies and lids today...spouts and handles will be added tomorrow

#6 Calvin napping

# 7 Tzatziki sauce to go with Greek pitas for supper

#8 We're painting our house this month...groan

# 9 Homemade soap drying...ready in 2 weeks

#10 Back to the studio to unload a kiln full of mugs........

Thursday, 5 July 2012


My mother and I left early yesterday morning for the strawberry u-pick.  

By the time we got had everyone else...

We passed this beautiful field of mustard..and there was an old barn...I made my mother stop the car so I could take a picture..she thinks I'm crazy.

Continuing on the garden theme we have lots of swiss chard and garlic scapes in our garden.  I made pesto with the garlic scapes, it is quite strong but yummy.

I don't know what I like better delphiniums or hydrangea

When I got home I realized just how many strawberries I had...a lot.

Enough for a few chocolate dipped strawberries

12 bottles of jam later...and I still have 2 giant bowls of strawberries in the fridge.  I'm thinking strawberry/rhubarb pies...and perhaps a daiquiri...or two?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Longest covered bridge in the world

Did you notice this was the google homepage image today?  It is the Hartland covered bridge which is not too far away from where I live.  Remember I told you about it here?

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Canada Day 2012

We had our annual Canada Day party at the lake this weekend;

My contribution to the potluck supper; mango salsa and tortilla chips for appetizers and strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Canada Day t-shirts on the line getting ready for the big day

My nephew's wife wanted some baby belly pics so we did a little photo shoot in the lake

Love this floating belly shot....can't wait to meet this little one in 4 weeks...

A sudden thunderstorm brought us all inside the trailer so we decided to have a little music

The little ones playing the spoons

Of course we had to light a few paper lanterns

Tonight we are headed into a nearby city for an outdoor concert and more fireworks....I love long weekends.