My First Quilt (finished)

It’s finally  done… I finished this little puppy in July 2016. I was stitching for days, I tell you… days. So how long did this take me, from start to finish? I think I started this in the summer of 2012 – 4 years from beginning to end. Yikes. And the only reason it got finished was because we were relocating abroad, and I couldn’t bear to leave this unfinished in the States.

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It was so much work to finish this thing, I need to recover a little before I even think about starting a new one.

Final dimensions: 67 x 89 inches, about right for a twin sized bed. It was going to be a queen sized quilt, but I was worried it wouldn’t fit in my luggage.

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Eucalyptus, Cedar and Grapefruit Soap

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Making soap in the winter is so nice. The home is warm and cozy, and then you crank open a nearly frozen shut window to release the noxious lye fumes. No, really… it’s nice. The chilly air helps the lye cool faster!

I bought a bunch of cocoa butter on sale recently, and I’m using a ton of it in this recipe. I also tried my new flower silicon soap mold. It worked perfectly.

The below recipe makes about 5.5 lbs of soap. I used my long wooden mold, one circular  silicon soap mold (six 4 oz bars) and one flower silicon soap mold (six 3 oz bars).

Ingredients:

*All measurements are weight measurements, not liquid measurements.

  • 54 oz Olive Oil
  • 18 oz Coconut Oil
  • 18 oz Cocoa Butter
  • 28 oz water
  • 12.2 oz lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
  • 1 oz Cedar EO
  • 1 oz Grapefruit EO
  • 1 oz Eucalyptus EO
  • 1 tbsp Kaolin Clay
  • Purple mica powder (color)

Base Oil Composition:

  • 60% Olive Oil
  • 20% Coconut Oil
  • 20% Cocoa Butter

Directions:

More detailed directions here.

  1. In a heat-safe container, add lye to your water, stir, set aside to cool to about 100-110F.
  2. In a separate container, melt and combine the base oils. I like to break up the hard cocoa butter into small chunks so that it melts more evenly. It will melt around 130-140F.
  3. When the lye water is about 100-110F (within 10F of the oils), pour the lye water into your base oils and blend with a stick blender.
  4. After a few pulses with the stick blender, add the mica powder and the clay.
  5. Just before the soap traces, stir in the essential oils by hand. If you use the stick blender, do so with caution! You may accelerate trace.
  6. Pour in your mold, and allow to sit for 1 day.
  7. Unmold, cut, and cure for 6-8 weeks.

Sandalwood & Patchouli Castile Soap

I’ve decided to give Castile soap another go. This is similar to the first Castile soap I made, but I’ve readjusted a few of the ratios. Last time, the soap reached trace extremely slowly, which is typical of pure olive oil soaps. This time, I thought I’d try using the last of my Honey & Patchouli fragrance oil, which seemed to accelerate trace the last time I used it. My soap riced right away, but other than this cosmetic defect, I think it will be fine for using (based on this resource).

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Whoops. I was going to swirl this soap, but that was going to be too tough to do once it had riced. Essential oils are so much better behaved than fragrance oils.

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And afterwards, I was looking up soap mishaps, and it turns out my soap could have been much, much worse. For instance, it could look like this.

Next time, I think the better way to make soap using this Honey & Patchouli FO is by stick blending the olive oil + lye solution to trace, then pouring the FO into the base, and stir by hand slowly. As soon as it looks like it is about to rice, pour it in the mold.

This recipe is for five pounds of soap.

Ingredients:

*All measurements are weight measurements, not liquid measurements.

  • 56 oz Olive Oil
  • 17 oz water
  • 7.1 oz lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
  • 1 oz Honey and Patchouli FO
  • 0.5 oz Sandalwood EO
  • 0.5 oz Chamomile EO
  • 1 oz Lemon Peel Powder + 4 oz warm water

Base Oil Composition:

  • 100% Olive Oil

Directions:

Make sure you follow all the general safety precautions for making soap before you start.

  1. In a heat-safe container, add lye to your water, stir, set aside to cool. Be very careful not to spill, as this is a highly concentrated solution of lye. Keep some white vinegar nearby for an emergency neutralization.
  2. Mix the lemon peel powder with the warm water. Stir well and set aside. Make sure this container is about half as large as the main mixing bowl. We will mix half of the soap base with the lemon peel powder.
  3. When the lye solution is close to 110F, set up a double boiler. Gently heat the olive oil to about 100F.
  4. Combine the scented oils and olive oil. Carefully pour the lye water into the oils. Gently stir with a heat safe rod.
  5. Pulse the stick blender in the mixture a few times, and then gently blend until just before you reach trace.
  6. Mix the lemon peel powder with the soap base.
  7. Pour in the mold, and wait 1-2 days before cutting.
  8. Cure for 6-8 months.

Orange & Anise Swirled Soap

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I tried my first batch of swirled soap this weekend, using this video as a resource.

My recipe is a bit different than theirs, since I like to focus on natural pigments and essential oils. This soap is a blend of olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil. I added some bentonite clay, which colors the soap green and retains moisture in the final product for a more moisturizing bar, and tumeric, for its exfoliating and beneficial effects on skin (prevents acne by reducing oil secretion, encourages scars to heal). It also makes a nice orange-brown color in soap. Again, since this is mostly olive oil, we have to cure for 4-6 months.

This recipe is for 5 pounds of soap.

Ingredients:

*All measurements are weight measurements, not liquid measurements.

  • 56 oz Olive Oil
    • Extremely gentle and conditioning in soap.
  • 16 oz Coconut Oil
    • Provides cleansing ability to a bar of soap.
  • 4.6 oz Safflower Oil
    • It is mild and moisturizing. Can be prone to rancidity; proper storage is a must.
  • 3.4 oz Sunflower Oil
    • It provides stable lather, conditioning, and a silky feel to soap. Sunflower oil naturally resists rancidity due to its  high vitamin E content.
  • 25 oz water
  • 10.92 oz lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
  • 1 oz Anise EO
  • 2 oz Orange EO
  • 2 tbsp tumeric
  • 2 tbsp lemon peel powder in 2 oz warm water
  • 4 tbsp bentonite clay

Base Oil Composition:

  • 70% Olive Oil
  • 20% Coconut Oil
  • 5.75% Safflower Oil
  • 4.25% Sunflower Oil

Directions:

Make sure you follow all the general safety precautions for making soap before you start.

  1. In a heat-safe container, add lye to your water, stir, set aside to cool. Be very careful not to spill, as this is a highly concentrated solution of lye. Keep some white vinegar nearby for an emergency neutralization.
  2. When the lye solution is close to 110F, set up a double boiler. Gently heat the oil blend to about 100F.
  3. Combine the lemon peel powder and tumeric in a separate container, which is about 4 cups in volume. Pour about 1/3 of a cup of the warmed oil blend in the container. Mix well and set aside.
  4. Carefully pour the lye water into the oil blend. Do not pour any lye water into the container with tumeric and lemon peel. Gently stir with a heat safe rod.
  5. Pulse the stick blender in the mixture a few times, and then patiently blend until you are about halfway to trace.
  6. Add essential oils. Pulse the blender to mix a few times, stopping before you reach trace.
  7. Pour the mixture in the tumeric-lemon container until it is as full as it can be, while still being able to accommodate the stick blender (I filled it about 70-80% full).
  8. Pulse the stick blender in the tumeric-lemon container until you reach trace.
  9. Add the bentonite clay to the other container. Blend to mix well. Stop when you get trace.
  10. Pour all of the green bentonite mixture in the soap mold.
  11. Starting at a high height, pour 1/3 of the tumeric-lemon mix in the soap mold. This will reach the bottom of the mold.
  12. Do the same with the second 1/3 of the tumeric-lemon mix, but at medium height. This will reach the middle of the mold.
  13. Repeat one last time, with the final 1/3 of the mix, but at low height. This will reach the top of the mold.
  14. Use a rod (or the end of a spoon) to touch the bottom of the mold. Using even and fluid strokes, draw swirls in the soap.
  15. Wait 1-2 days before cutting.
  16. Cure for 4-6 months.

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Peppermint Lavender Lemon Soap

IMG_1396After experimenting with my first castile soap, I’ve decided that it’s better to use a coconut and olive oil blend soap. The castile soap I made had some odd consistency, although it was very moisturizing and gentle. This soap is a blend  of olive, coconut, and almond oil. It’s mostly olive oil, so I’m planning to cure it for a few months (as opposed to weeks).

This recipe is for 5.6 pounds of soap.

Ingredients:

*All measurements are weight measurements, not liquid measurements.

  • 63 oz Olive Oil
  • 20.7 oz Coconut Oil
  • 6.3 oz Almond Oil
  • 28 oz water
  • 12.42 oz lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
  • 1 oz Lemongrass EO
  • 2 oz Lavender EO
  • 0.5 oz Peppermint EO
  • 2 tbsp tumeric
  • 4 tbsp kaolin clay

Base Oil Composition:

  • 70% Olive Oil
  • 23% Coconut Oil
  • 7% Almond Oil

Directions:

Make sure you follow all the general safety precautions for making soap before you start.

  1. In a heat-safe container, add lye to your water, stir, set aside to cool. Be very careful not to spill, as this is a highly concentrated solution of lye. Keep some white vinegar nearby for an emergency neutralization.
  2. When the lye solution is close to 110F, set up a double boiler. Gently heat the olive oil to about 100F.
  3. Combine the clay with the warmed oils. Stir gently to mix thoroughly.
  4. Carefully pour the lye water into the oils. Gently stir with a heat safe rod.
  5. Pulse the stick blender in the mixture a few times, and then gently blend until you are about halfway to trace.
  6. Add the tumeric and essential oils. Pulse the blender to mix, stopping as you reach trace.
  7. Pour in the mold, and wait 1-2 days before cutting.
  8. Cure for 4-6 months.

Why Google and Facebook cannot be compared on CPC (Cost per click)

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The full article

I’ve learned the basics on valuing oil companies, the banks, and utilities, but technology companies leave me still scratching my head. It’s easy to categorize these two companies in the same bin because they get most of their revenue from advertising, but I found this article the other day on a site called CapitalCube.com that begs to differ. It’s  pretty long article, but the executive summary is to-the-point and short. I liked this table:

Google Facebook
  • Tries to match advertisers with what people are doing online
  • Tries to match advertisers to a person’s likes and dislikes
  • Dominant in the online space. Google’s reported numbers in 2Q 2014 indicate that the number of paid clicks jumped up 33% on its own sites (google.com, YouTube.com)
  • Dominant in the mobile app space. Facebook’s mobile ads represented 59% of its total ad revenue in Q1 2014, up from 30% YoY.

My First Quilt

I’m making a queen size quilt. It’s something I’ve been trying to finish for the last few years… I always get some good momentum and then it evaporates because I’ve made some silly mistake. This thing needs to get finished. I’m resolute about finishing the darned thing by the end of summer.

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This is the book I’m learning from: Quilts Made Modern. The authors also have this neat site that showcases more of their work: modernquiltstudio.