If we could find a place that experienced fall year round--we would be there! Preparing the summer topics is no where near as fun as the fall and winter, therefore we have to keep pinching ourselves to focus on the right season and keep the secrets the next season reveals to ourselves. All of our books are now in stock, some with new covers, and three new ones are expected out in two weeks. Many people have been waiting for the new Bathroom Chemist, Melt and Pour Soaps and Apothecary. Any book orders will be shipped the same day when practical, via priority mail. We have been low all year for various reasons. The new books expected to be out soon are: Gift's in Jars Galore, Mabel White's Thanksgiving, and Mabel White's Christmas. Subscribers prior to August 1st 2003 will be getting our Kitchen Art's book with their first name on the front of it in about 30 days. My thanks for having great and patient subscribers. Since school is almost back, (YIPPIEE!) I would like to remind subscribers with kids to open "Lunch Box Recipes" for kids in year 2001, and written by Judea Bentley. They are very much worth a revisit.
Things To Do with Tins
They are countless but include making travel candles, holding balm preparations, and most recently tins have been our absolute favorite for just holding spices. We simply use a 2 ounce tins and label them. Spices are stored in a tiny zip lock in the tin. To keep spices organized we set them on their side all lined up in a drawer, alphabetically with the labels displayed. Making a set of 30 tins can be a very valuable gift for friends as well as economical to make some with pretty labels. Quality spices to go inside can be very affordable obtained and even grown and dried from your home!
Where did something so innocent, effective and versatile go? Popular in the 1920's forward, Ivory and LUX discontinued making soap flakes altogether in 2002. This has caused many crafters to search the web in pursuit of soap flakes. England presently is the only place to get them for some $14.95 a pound. I referred people in the past to a few sites in the states that claim to sell soap flakes and I was told soap noodles are NOT soap flakes. Period. This a deep inquiry was made into the soap flake phenomena.
Soap flakes were used in the kitchen, the laundry room for delicates, and the bathroom for that real clean soap smell. Sprinkled into many a bath tub and even made into soap balls this product was well loved. A great craft endeavor for kids, soap flakes could be molded into objects like snowmen for truly clean fun. The clever ads for soap flakes go down in the Duke University historical archives, Lever Brothers, more notably, linking the use of soap flakes to the Queen. Since they were the ONLY soap flakes at the time, that would be a true statement not even taking issue with the Queen.
The fact is George Dawes Senior invented soap flakes and patented the process in the United States in 1921. He had worked on this patent for then years, figuring out how to make a normal bar of castile soap crumble and flake. In 1929, mostly likely the result of the pressure of the on coming depression, he sold the patent to Proctor and Gamble for $500. He never forgave himself and desired to remain anonymous until at least after his death. Proctor and Gamble did develop Ivory Soap, and that was by accident. Formerly known as "White Soap" it was soap that was whipped too long by a P&G employee and seemed to float in water. Consumers loved it. It appears Proctor and Gambles used Dawes method on their Ivory Soap.
It was LUX who marketed the product so well after 1930 claiming to have brought soap flakes over from England at the turn of the century.
What LUX brought over was soap, but not soap flakes. The soap the Lever Brothers created for Lux in England prior to 1900 was not as good, a method that required soap simply be poured into thin sheets. Lux was known for an antibacterial soap in England that fought body odor. That became widely known as “Lifebuoy.” As with any invention during that time, it is plausible more than one gifted person was working on the same theory of soap flaking at the same time. Perhaps England did have their own method first. It is clear, however, Dawes independently mastered the theory of what we know and love in the states as “soap flakes.”
Yes, I did it! I came across a "Downy April Fresh" fragrance oil and made a light blue bar via the cold process method. It came out just great and "April Fresh." Getting it out of the PVP pipe was another matter and I will never forget to grease the molds well prior. They will be great novel presents. It came out a little marbleized because I had a cream soap in the mixing bowl just prior and did not feel like cleaning it out. The prior soap had no fragrance added. I am sure this fragrance oil, we now carry in our supply store, can also be used in melt and pour.
By no means do I recommend pouring actual Downy into soap.
Can't get them interested in soap? This may work but make sure they do not eat it! I simply poured moulds half way full with clear melt and pour soap base and drop the candy in as the first layer was rather cool. Immediately thereafter I filled up the rest of the mould with the remaining clear soap. It all anchored well. This idea was inspired by the new and fun "jewelry soap" where people are using plastic jewel items as embeds. Plastic toy cars are also very cool.
This project only takes about ten minutes total and kids love to help do the design. I secured some seven year olds down the street to make sure this project was done correctly. Their compensation? All the left over candy.
One of our wonderful subscribers, Deena Philips, inspired us to look at vacuum beads as well as the soap flakes phenomena. Another wonderful subscriber ordered some of the new novel vacuum beads and had them sent them to me. I really appreciate it and I was able to see what they were all about. Claiming to be plastic beads, I dropped a few in water and watched the press particle wood beads fall apart. I did not think plastic could hold scent. After making the determination they were pressed wood, or saw dust, I tried them in my vacuum cleaner. The package said twenty five beads, but I threw in fifty just for good measure. The theory is very cute, I must say, but the practice is not so great. Lavender, the scent I was given, may have offered a little fragrance high until the vacuuming ended. I did come to the conclusion that a heavy scent like Gardenia was sure stick around and so I made my own beads and found this to be more true. I feel other strong scents such as Balsam Pine would also do well. I also feel large bath salts would be just as good if you are determined to stick something in the vacuum. Another friend claims crushed orange peels are great after accidentally vacuuming them up one day. The best way yet, to incorporate fragrance into cleaning, I still find is to spritz borax or baking soda with any scent, dump that on the carpet and then suck up into the vacuum. Just do not have everything all wet. In doing so, both environments are positively affected.
It all started with a dehydrator I bought from Wal-Mart for $30.00. I had intended to dry out soap and therefore create soap flakes. I did not quite get what I wanted in that department, I did, however, end up with a multitude of really great uses for a dehydrator. Much of what I discovered I revel in this issue.
First of all if I still had young kids I would get a dehydrator. After the soap thing did not work out, I tried to dry simple tomato paste to see if the dehydrator was even working. I spread the paste evenly on a plastic insert meant for fruit roll ups. After five hours I got GREAT tomato leather and promptly ate half of the project not even seasoned! I could not help it. The rest I continued to dry until crisp and then powdered in my coffee grinder.
Making Tomato and Other Vegetable Powders for Soap Color
With this method I found I can make Carrot, Tomato and Spinach powders for my soaps. Because microorganisms love these things, I would be sure to use an inhibitor such as Germaben or something to limit their taste for my products. Carrot Powder is shown to the left. It bleeds into white melt and pour or cold process at trace very well!
As the dehydrator books pointed out, I could dry flower petals in it to make wreaths as well as just beautiful potpourris that is of such high quality, no store would sell such a finished product. I picked several color roses to go in. They dried so well I decided to powder them and find out if the color of each rose would stay true. I first tested in white melt and pour soap base. I found all solid colors stayed true, except dark red did produce a lavender color. So, I would use these petals for lavender soap. (Funny lavender petals seem to turn soap green.) I came up with Cream, Yellow, Peach, Oceania, Orange, Plumeria, Pink, Fuchsia, and the Red I just discussed. The rose petal powder color held much better when simply sprinkled on top of the wet soap.
I determined face masks would be the most outstanding use for rose petal powder and I would just blend them in with dry oatmeal. Bath bombs would be the second, since the dryer the product the better staying power of the rose powder color. I would not go so far as to use rose petal powder in cold process. I do not think much gets around the lye. The rose petal color also stayed true in lotion, and gave it interesting speckles. Knowing it was just ground rose petals was OK by me! If I wanted a more smooth color I could have tried harder to powder the petal. I used fuchsia petals for the lotion effort. In the future, when using to color lotion, I will coat the powder in glycerin first to help protect and suspect the color.
What Then Happened to the Tomato Powder? DIP!
I put the rest of the tomato powder into sour cream with a little beef bouillon which made a pretty tasty dried tomato looking dip. With the dehydrator I can also make many dried vegetables and vegetable powders for future soup use. This will come in very handy when I buy too much produce. Never again will I throw out an onion or pepper that was an over purchase! I will keep my "powders" in little zip lock bags with their proper name written across the bag. I cannot WAIT to do the "Sun Dried Tomato" thing. That item is so cost prohibitive in the stores.
Dried Fruits for Granola
With a dehydrator you can also make honey dipped dried pineapple with maraschino cherries in the middle and banana chips! Fruits such as strawberries and raspberries can be successfully preserved to mix into granola recipes or smoothies for more potent flavor.
To truly appreciate making snacks for kids you need to read the dehydrator story above this article. With a dehydrator you can make great beef jerky, fruit roll ups with simple pureed fruit, and our own "vegetable roll ups" made with tomato paste and even pepperoni if the pizza thing is what your kids will buy into. Having the kids help prepare the creation makes eating it all the more fun! For Lunch Box Recipes, written by Judea Bentley last year, Subscribers can refer to year 2001 in their library. The fruit roll up recipe can be found in any cookbook that comes with a dehydrator. The following recipes we created and are taken from our Jerky Recipe Cookbook that is back in print:
Jerky can be made from whole meat or from ground meat and spices as long as you have a utensil that looks like a cake decorating tool that presses the meat mixture out into long thin strips. The utensil we use is called “Jerky Works” and can be purchased from places such as Wal-Mart. Using a dehydrator, your final product will shrink to 1/3 the size. Typically three pounds of meat makes one pound of Jerky. With a dehydrator you can also make great snacks such as fruit and vegetable roll ups. The fun you have will be endless! Always choose low fat meats to avoid having your jerky go rancid in storage.
For making fisherman's soap it would be cute to find a mold of a fish such as a bass. This would also easily identify the purpose of the soap.
Makes four 4 ounce bars...
1 pound of white melt and pour soap base melted for just a few seconds in the microwave, with 1/2 ounce of ground pumice or sand for abrasion added to it. Scent with a few drops of anise (licorice oil) and color if desired. Pour into mold when not so hot