In this issue we cover much territory. I have been waiting a very long time to produce a photo of our "Kitchen Deodorizer Bar" shown on the left. This is one of my hallmarks in Soap Making Recipes: Melt and Pour book. To make this soap I started with a farm house soap mold and then began with a layer of only white melt and pour with a little vanilla scent. I added dried coffee to the second half of the pour. The grounds naturally rise to the top, making the soap appear to have three layers. This is such a great soap to use in the kitchen when trying to get the smell of onions of garlic off your hands. The photo at the top is off pickled carrots. We will be discussing creative pickling in up coming issues along with making preserves in "The Power Canner," my newest book still in the works. Other items on the Mabel slate include spending several days re-organizing the Mabel White library. Many times I want to go print one item, like a unique chili recipe, or show a friend something--and I cannot recall where or when I wrote it! Typically I end up going ahead and guessing at what I wrote or learned. I could see I needed a printable Master Index in my Kitchen, if not just to spark ideas. I also felt if I could not find an article I wrote, how did I expect my subscribers too? The result is a beautiful printable Master Index Subscribers and myself can use to better locate all of the Mabel recipes, inventions and creations. Click here to print the index. In organizing the information, I found so much content, I also decided to break my work down into years that they were written. All subscribers, (people who pay via Pay Pal weekly) will continually get an updated Master Index every few weeks as I have more to add and define from the past and the future. Some people confuse being on our e-mail list with being a subscriber and this is not the case. To see more about what subscribers get please click here.
In review of 2002, I noticed we have many subscribers overseas in the military and I have been thinking about what to do for them. It seems obvious they want to be more close to home, so I determined to TRY to keep frequency of mailings and content as high as I can. I also intend to send sample kit items to subscribers, if I skip a week, so if I am not writing, I am inventing and mailing. Many more manufacturers are starting to send me large free samples of craft supplies, so I will try to build projects around them, and share them with my subscribers. As far as mailing over seas, Mabel will absorb the mail fees through the subscriber dues as not to charge the military more. So, if you live in the US, you are helping me get stuff to them and you do not even know it! Everyone likes getting packages, so this I keep in mind.
NOT MARTHA We have been so into making lip balm all month because it is the ultimate in immediate gratification! It is very economical, fast and wonderful to make. When we found making lip balm lends itself to making solid perfume, healing balms and salves as well as Lip Balm Stick, deodorant and lotion bars, well, we just have been beside ourselves. To make solid perfume you just replace flavor oil in the recipes with as much essential or fragrance oil you can stand. Solid perfume also lasts longer on the skin. Lotion and deodorant bars are melted down the same way Lip Balm Stick tubes are filled--and warm ingredients simply dropped the same way (with a dropper) into an appropriate twist tube to cool. When making Lip Balm Stick, lotion balm, and deodorant twist tubes we found you just need a little more solid counterparts. To us this means usually upping the SoyWax™ to half of the ingredients. This month we came upon an article by Megan Regan called "Not Martha" and we found it to be one of the most honest and detailed approaches to making great lip balm that we have seen on the web. She wrote this two years ago and did not have the benefit of knowing we now simply nuke our ingredients in the microwave for a few seconds to melt things. We also use SoyWax™ now as well as beeswax to create the base. You can read Megan's journey by clicking this link.
After searching around and not finding many sites that truly offer a wide variety of lip balm making supplies, ingredients and packaging we determined to load up our supply store on every kind of lip balm material, flavor oil and containers we can find. This includes tasteful and affordable lotion and deodorant tubes. We will also be adding more recipes regarding these items in "The Bathroom Chemist" and on our web site. The only aspect we are trying to be very careful of now is that we do not confuse our solid perfume creations with lip balm! Yuk. So we are aiming to keep the packaging distinctively different for both groups.
Since fragrance is everything, I devoted some time to teaching how to make our own extracts and essentials oils at the start of this year. I myself will be trying this out, and hopefully coming up with combinations that do make specific scents. This will be about a six month study from the time I start. I suspect I will find it is great for a few items, like Basil or Peppermint Essential Oil for soaps and shampoos, but not all. How to Make Extracts and Essential Oils is in the new 2003 Library that has already been supplied to subscribers. I will share updates on the subject.
I created a new "utilities" e-Book for Mabel Crafters, including an improved screen saver. Please click here to download. The utilities e-Book also contains a color wheel, newer recipes, and "expressions" for crafts who like to make whimsical wood or tile pieces.
As a side note on Chai, my last set of popular articles, I found you cannot miss a spice. I ran of ginger once, and nutmeg another time, and it certainly affected the over all "notes" in the Chai. I also made the mistake of using tea that was not really a "black" tea and that was another disaster. So, stick to the recipe and order the black tea in bulk from a health food store. I order a pound a week.
The main mission of Mabel White is to bring the essence of "home" back to "home." Many of us work so much, we forget what we are working for in the first place. In this issue I find baking bread as a central important role to the essence of home. Everyone likes baked bread and everyone has a bread machine, but may not know it. The oven.
A bread machine seems to offer an exciting edge that is not needed. To me it is just a bulky motivational prop. I did get a kick out of my first bread machine, but technology stepped in and you may compare mine with an old 486 model of a PC. My biggest concern about baking bread, as with most people is time. I like two types of bread the most, a Squaw Bread kind of like Outback Steak House serves, dark and sweet, laced with honey, and a Crusty Sour Dough made with the Amish Starter Yeast. I found the easiest way to enjoy these is the make up several batches of the two kinds--every four months, freeze the dough balls and just grab and rise as I need them through out the next four months. I call this system my "Quarterly Bread." If I know I am going to prepare a serious dinner any given night, I will pull out a loaf of the frozen bread before noon and allow it to rise right in the bread loaf pan. So I dedicate a half a day every four months to making bread. The recipes can be found in the 2003 Library.
Another area I will dare take on is to BBQ in the dead of winter! I came upon a fantastic dry meat rub, that can be packaged and offered as a gift as well as a spice sachet that can be given to those who love to cook. We call that spice cachet "Cachet of Spices." This issue we also offer a Jamaican Jerk Sauce that can be poured into IBC Soda or wine bottles and topped with a cork. I dip the cork and neck of the bottles into hot paraffin when I am done making these sauces and hand about ten out as novel gifts. Friends love to go to a Barbecue and leave with a bottle.
Although we love Harvest Jars, Kerr just came out with decorative fruit jelly jars we love so much we use them as drinking glasses. They are just so beautiful sitting around the kitchen and probably one of the first times we has a reason to break down and drink from a true mason type jar. We also find they are inexpensive, running around fifty cents each. Shown below is the 4 ounce, but they do sell a 8 ounce that we use for drinking. The Jelly Jars can usually be found at Wal-Mart.
Crystallized Ginger in a Mason Jar
I saw this simple but healthy gift in a natural food store packaged in a mason jar and tied with a piece of kraft colored raffia. I wondered what this kind of snack would be for. I found you have Crystallized or Candied Ginger. The two ingredients in this are Ginger and sugar. The medicinal properties of this herb are tremendous. Without detail I will just list them. Stimulates circulation and helps blood flow. Extremely effective for motion sickness, and stomach disorders of any kind, including some forms of food poisoning. Soothing for flues, colds, coughs, and other respiratory problems. Chinese Herbalists use ginger for fever, headaches, and sore muscles. In India it is used as a spiritual and physical cleanser. Ginger acts like a stimulant for all tissue in the body. Helps raise the metabolism level. Increases energy levels and combats fatigue and exhaustion.