Thursday, December 6, 2012

Georgia Makes Advent Stockings

One year I got tired of buying the cardboard advent calendars available in department stores, and decided to see if I could come up with something nicer that I could re-use year after year.

I found the perfect mini-stocking template from Martha Stewart. Her instructions call for felt but since I already had quilting cotton in Christmas colors, I used that.

This was a really simple, fun project that has really brought a nice homemade touch to our holiday season. See how pretty they look in our living room!

The best part is we can put really yummy stuff like Lindt ornaments in the stockings. No more cheap waxy chocolates!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Georgia Makes Pumpkin Brew Soap

About a year ago, a good friend of mine taught me how to make cold process soap. It was something I had always wanted to learn, but the use of lye, a vary caustic chemical, had always scared me. Once I saw the process though, I realized that as long as things are handled appropriately, it's a safe process.

I'm not a patient person though, and I quickly got tired of having to wait 24 hours to take the soap out of the mold, and then yet another SIX WEEKS before the soap could be used. That's just not my style. Luckily for me, there's also hot process soap making, which cooks the soap after it's made, and you can use it the same day. But there is a trade-off: The soap isn't as smooth or glossy as it is if you stick with cold process.

The other day I was looking on youtube for ideas and I came across the CPOP (Cold Process Oven Process) method. This is done like cold process soap, but you put the molded soap into a 170 degree oven for two hours, then let it cool in the oven overnight. The soap finishes like a cold process, but is safe to use immediately and only needs to dry for two weeks. Could I really have my cp soap and use it too?

I was itching to make a test batch, so I made up a little two-pound mold. I had also been wanting to try a pumpkin soap using some of the pumpkin beer my husband brewed a few weeks ago. Another thing I was anxious to try-- making a color swirl with botanical ingredients. Yes, this is typical me. I am always anxious to try about three different new things at once. Luckily for me, I was able to get them all in one shot this time.

The soap looked and smelled great going into the mold, and it was hard to leave it alone. But the next morning I took it out and it was perfect! Beautiful color and it smelled like heaven! All from the pumpkin brew and pumpkin pie spice I used to color the swirl.

Soapers do something called a zap test to check if the soap is finished and the lye is completely reacted with the oils. It's just like it sounds- You touch your tongue to the soap and if it zaps like a battery it's not done. No zap from this, so it would seem that the claim of useable straight out of the mold holds true. It will still need some drying time though, or it will melt away too fast when used.

I would definitely call this a success. Now I just wish I had made a bigger batch!

Soap Making Resources:

Soap Queen TV has a great series of how-to videos on youtube.
Soap Nuts has directions for Hot Process Oven Method.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Georgia Makes Felted Soaps

Hand-felted soaps all ready for the holiday market.
Our local farmer's market is hosting a holiday craft fair this weekend and I've decided to sell some hand-felted soaps there. Since in my previous professional life I sold wool yarn and spinning fiber, and I am currently in love with making soap, I'm in a pretty good position to work with what I have on hand.

I melted down and re-molded some of my handmade cold-process soap into small squares to make these. It's a really simple process, and there's a great tutorial here.

These make neat teacher gifts too, and the kids can feel really proud presenting them before the holiday break.

Georgia Makes an Introduction

My name is Georgia, and I like to make things. What kinds of things I like to make depends on the season, my mood, and what I may have recently discovered and become obsessed with (I do that a lot). But usually I like to make pretty and/or useful things. I have owned a number of handmade businesses over the years, including jewelry, handbags, home goods, and, most recently, hand-dyed yarn.

Due to changes in my life, and more urgently, a very unhappy rotator cuff, I've had to give up my yarn business and take a "normal" job. Now I'm back to making things simply because it brings me joy, and that's really the best reason to make anything.

My husband and I are also in the process of renovating our little 1850's cape. From exposing the original sidelights around the front door, to installing wainscoting in the dining and bathrooms, we're doing everything we can to bring back its old time charm.

This blog is a place for me to share the simple joy of making.