Friday, January 31, 2020

Goop

 No. Not Gwenyth Paltrow's Goop. My with-a-little-g goop. When I'm not out wrangling trees I'm in the soap room making goop.


 I've been making lip goop. When I am out in that cold and wind I need lip goop. I can't wear commercial lip goop because I'm allergic to all that SPF stuff so I make my own. This time it's Key Lime. It smells so good.



 I'm also making body butter goop. Store bought lotion makes me itch. This concoction is heavenly. It smells like Creamsicles.



 I keep little pots of all my goop stuffed in my pockets. I slather this stuff all over me and then follow it up with a slick of lotion bar.


Lotion bars are not goop because they have wax in them. They really seal the deal especially on my poor feet. So far, nothing on me is chapped or dried out from all that outside work. Yesterday was a real back breaker. We cleared our blocked path from several fallen trees-none of which were small or light. Ouf.



 I love making soap goop. It's taken a lot of trial and error to learn to work with goat's milk. The secret is turning it into goop with some oil first. I had been using water like the can said and it was very clumpy no matter how much I stirred or strained.



 I've also learned that you need to keep all that soap goop cool or the sugar in the milk browns and makes speckles in the finished soap. It doesn't hurt the soap but I'd rather not have it. Some bars have it some don't. You live and learn.



 Look at that glorious goop. I love a freshly poured loaf of soap. This is before I play with the top. I let it sit for a while to firm up before I take a spoon to it to make some wonky swirls.



Ahhhhh.......this is the last of it. I made 12 loaves unscented, scented, fancy, plain. I had a ball. This one is a remake of my ill fated Windsong Pine that split for the winter giveaway. I love the smell of pine. I have no idea what it's going to look like when I cut it but no matter what- at least I know it's going to smell good.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Out and About


We were back out in the gnarly woods again yesterday. 



 We broke out the chain saws and had at it with a couple of smaller trees that had died last winter.



The Mister cut and I hauled and stacked as usual. I didn't even use a cart today.  If the neighbors had looked out and saw me slinging those big logs around they probably thought I was Wonder Woman or something. Truth be told, logs from dead trees don't weigh much at all. It was easy work. I was very proud of my pile.



 It was another beautiful day. The sky was so blue. The giant trees are already budding at the top.



 Pup comes out with us but I keep her bundled up in her stroller. 40 degrees is fine when you're working but it's chilly when you are just sitting still. I am also nervous about our big birds of prey. She might make a tasty meal to one of those ginourmous eagles I see from time to time out back. I'm not taking any chances.



 Well, hello.......look who's in bloom already. My camellia is covered in buds.



 The crocus are also up. I was really surprised at this until......



 .....I saw the daffodils. What on earth?


 Holy cow, even the bulbs in my pots are peeking out.



 Dad's potted Black-eyed Susan has been slowly coming back to life for weeks now. I guess someone is saying winter is a lost cause. I hope not. I'm still hoping for some snow.



After the cutting and hauling we took off to the beach to let Pup stretch her legs. There were barefoot girls eating pizza on the sand which seemed like a very good idea at the time. This winter is just crazy.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Window Frames

 Yarn wasn't the only thing waiting for me when I got home. I had two other boxes to open. I bought the February Simon Says Stamp card kit because I am a sucker for Valentines.




 This kit is called Window Frames because you get a die to cut squares into the stamped frames where you can then insert different sentiments.



 The kit comes with lots of little doo dads to glue on also but I have to say after playing with it I was underwhelmed. My creative mojo just wasn't happening.




I also bought, of all things.....an electric eraser. What on earth? I know it sounds crazy but card makers swear by them.


 I can't tell you how many cards I ruin with ink smudges. This thing is supposed to be able to take care of all that. I couldn't try it out because it takes batteries and I didn't have any in that size. It just wasn't my night in the card room.



Oh well, I had my new little Aqua Brique set of weird watercolors to play with and my new coloring book.  This I could do.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Decisions, Decisions....

 Look what was waiting for me when I got home. It's my order of Palette for my Mosi sweater. Maybe.


 Is there enough contrast here? I dunno.


 I also ordered this dark green for it but now that I see them together and in person I don't think it works.


 Or does it? I dunno.......maybe I'll just stick to three colors. The pattern calls for just three. I'm sure I can find something else to do with the dark green.


 Look what else showed up. It's my Plotulopi all the way from Iceland. It's for my Altheda pullover.



 It's an unplied yarn that most people find scary to knit with. Being a spinner you'd think I wouldn't be one of these fraidy cats but I have to say after looking at it-it's pretty scary stuff. This should be quite the adventure.


Lofoten is now just miles and miles of plain ole knitting so I need a challenge. I'm just not sure what to start first. Mosi or Altheda? Or how about both?

Monday, January 27, 2020

Home Again-With Yarn!

 I hated to give up my little knitting corner in the hotel and head home. What's not to like about free breakfast and maid service?



Look at that shower. It's almost the size of my bathroom.



We roared into town Friday afternoon and had to go straight to the arena. Daughter had volunteered to work with the Anti-doping crew so she had to pick up her credentials and be trained. We didn't have time to see anything of the city. We were in the arena until after midnight while Daughter followed her designated skater around waiting for the medal ceremony and the press events to be done with but more importantly for nature to take its course. Ahem. She got a really cool jacket for her troubles.



On Saturday we got to play. The event we had tickets for wasn't until 9:30 that night. First we went to an outdoor rink. I have not had those skates on for 3 years. I was proud that I did not break anything important. I actually had a good time.



 The weather was warm. Too hot for skating. The rink was melting away under our feet so off we went to lunch. Greensboro is an interesting mix of the old and new. When was the last time you saw a Woolworth's?



It's a quirky place where unexpected alleys have waterfalls.


 It also has bathtubs full of yarn.



 Look what I found on the way to lunch. Squeee......I talked that poor shopkeepers ear off. It's been many, many years since I've been in a yarn shop.


 These came home with me. The yarn on the right is from a local spinner who processes and spins her own Tunis fleece. It's my souvenir yarn. I just want to pet it.



 Lunch was hilarious. The town is pretty much shutdown on the weekends since it's a business district. We wandered into a bistro type place that really wasn't set up to feed two tables full of skaters and their moms on a weekend. The poor waitress and cook did their best but it was a comedy of errors when most of the ingredients for the meals were in short supply or non existent. I was lucky, my simple salad was just fine.



 The lady who ran the knitting shop told us about this cheesecake place that was just a few doors down.



 It was amazing. I didn't eat this but I enjoyed looking at it. I had a really yummy orange and date biscotti that I ate so fast I forgot to take a picture of it. It was really, really good.


 If you are ever in Greensboro, run don't walk to Alex's Cheesecakes. You won't be sorry.



As soon as I finish unpacking I'll respond to your soap messages. Thank you to everyone who responded. In the meantime let me leave you with none other than Johnny Weir's re-posting of Daughter's Instagram photo of when they compared Hermes Kelly bags last night. If you don't know what a Kelly bag is-Google it. I promise you your jaw will drop. There's obviously good money in this figure skating thing. Both Johnny and Daughter have several.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Soap!!!!


As promised, today's the day to unload some soap!



I tried out some new things with these batches. Some things worked, some didn't. They are made with aloe juice instead of water. 



The batter was different than I am used to. It didn't behave like I expected it to but I've been using all these soaps for weeks now and I love them. They are nice a bubbly. Aloe was a win but pricey.  I think I'll do without now that this bottle is history.



Then there was the design. Six weeks ago I had lots going on with the kitchen mess so I thought I would keep it simple. I just would add a little white mica to the base color and separate it with a thin pencil line of metallic mica. 



Oh, dear. That was a fail. It looks pretty but you may end up with two little bars after use. Some split. Some did not. I'm not sure how your particular bar will react but it's still a nice soap even if it does split in half.



 Also, they are all labeled the same way as just Milk and Aloe Soap so the only way you will know what scent you have is to look at this post. I just couldn't find the time to individually print up all the labels with the different scents. It's such a pain.



Okay....now that we have all the issues out of the way meet Frosted Birch. It has a clean outdoorsy scent that's hard to describe but I like it. It's very mild.



 This is Black Salt and Cypress. It's another hard to describe scent. It's supposed to smell like sun bleached driftwood but I dunno. Driftwood can be pretty stinky and this certainly isn't. It's nice and fresh.


 Sugared Vanilla smells like anything but. I'm not usually a fan of vanilla but this is a nice one. It does not smell like a sugar cookie. I've got one of these in the tub now and I love it. It's a little bumpy. Some fragrances can do this and vanilla is one that will. It's not a problem and it smooths out and looks just fine after use. It's a nice creamy bar but be warned, the scent is very strong.



 Raspberry Vanilla smells just like its name. It's warm and fruity at the same time.



Finally, I have Mistletoe. It's a Yankee Candle knock off scent. It's kind of piney. It's a very light holiday scent that I would use all winter. I love it.



 There you have it. I've only got thirty of these big chunky bars to giveaway so this time go to Ravelry (I'm MJKDesign) or [email protected] and give me your mailing info and then tell me your THREE favorite scents and I'll see that you get ONE plus some ride along surprises....



......and a cute little snowman card.



AND if none of the winter soap scents are doing it for you, I'll have plenty of goat's milk soap ready in lots of different colors and fragrances (plus unscented) with and without aloe in about 6 weeks for an early spring giveaway sometime in March.
I just can't stop making soap.