Archive for the ‘home made soap’ Category

Let’s Do Some Shopping

Monday, November 10th, 2008

I have finally finished setting up the Penny Lane Bath Shop and we’re open for business! I still don’t have all the pictures up, but I’ll be adding them over time. I’ve listed soaps, lotions, perfumes, room fresheners, soap dishes, and face scrubs. I’ll be adding more in the future.

From now until November 30, you can get 10% off of your first order – including shipping! Just enter “basicliving” (without the quotes) in the coupon box on the check out page. There is a limitation in PayPal that will not accept discounts, so I am forced to simply send the total through to PayPal. As a result, your invoice will not contain your purchase details – it will only contain one line with the total amount due and that amount will reflect the 10% off.

After you order, send me an email with your feedback about your shopping experience at Penny Lane Bath and I’ll send you another coupon code for 10% off your next order in appreciation.

So let’s do some shopping! Just click here to get started.

Bee Free,

The Chickens That Almost Were

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

We seem to be stuck in a weather pattern around here – rainy one day, windy and cold the next. This has been going on for a couple of weeks and, according to the long term weather forecast, will continue for the foreseeable future. Bernie pretty much decided to ignore the rain and worked on clearing out a spot for his new work shop. We found a small company that will construct a barn shed for him for less than he could build it himself. They’re also going to build a small garden shed for me. Yay!

Bernie and Eddie took down a couple of locust trees last week that were starting to die. One of them had a hollow spot in the middle and was full of carpenter ants. When he cut and stacked that wood, word quickly spread throughout the feathered friends network, and we had flocks of birds hanging around the woodpile and eating ants for a few days. We saw several baby woodpeckers enjoying the hassle free meal too. Too cute.

I was two seconds away from ordering 25 one day old chicks this week. I had filled out the on-line order form, entered a credit card number, and had my finger poised above the “Order Now” button, when I decided I really better check with Bernie first. Naturally, he had to go and apply a little logic to the situation (such as mentioning the small fact that we don’t have the fence up yet, let alone the chicken coop). In my defense, the chicks have to stay inside in a brood box for at least three weeks, and I figured that was plenty of time to get everything ready for them before they head outside. Bernie didn’t quite see it that way, and in the end I decided not to hit the “Order Now” button on the website. I swear, he can be such a buzz kill sometimes.

I was in a soaping mood and made several new soaps this week. Here’s a picture of three of them:


Left – Lemongrass and Rosemary essential oil blend
Middle – Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Safflower Oil unscented soap for Bernie
Right – Asian Garden, which is a Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, and Safflower Oil soap with a heavenly, exotic floral scent

Oh, and for those of you who have asked, the Honeycomb soap is up for sale on the website now.

I also made a new soap for girls I named Fairy Dust Soap. It’s a glycerin soap with hot pink body glitter in it and is lightly scented with Dreamcicle fragrance. I made this one especially for my niece to give as Easter gifts to a few of the kids’ friends. She really seemed to like it. I’ll post a couple of pictures below, but they don’t show off the sparkle very well. If you want larger, more sparkly pictures, you can see them on my Etsy shop page:


I also took a picture of a couple of them packaged up:


And yes, I did indeed write another poem to include with this soap. Just when you were certain my creative genius could not get any more awesome, I bring you this jewel:

Fairy Dust Soap

Wash with me and sparkle,
With all your hopes and dreams.
I am made of magic,
Sprinkled with Fairy Wings.

As you bathe and lather,
Dream of dancing on the stars.
You can rise above the heavens,
You will certainly go far.

This Fairy Dust will clean you,
And bring you lots of smiles.
So bathe with me each evening,
We’ll share the magic for a while.

Yes, yes, I know. I should really stick to just making soap. But I am forever hopeful that a young child will appreciate my poetic talent or, at the very least, be so excited about sparkly soap that she doesn’t laugh at my lack of it.

This week promises to be much the same as last, with regard to weather. Bernie is determined to continue working on the fence, even if it does rain a bit. I think he realizes he can only put me off for so long from getting my chickens. I made up a little chicken song and have been singing it to him all day. Poor Bernie. He probably wants me to get chickens soon in the hopes that I’ll aggravate them instead of him. I’m pretty sure I have enough aggravation in me to go around though.

Bee Free,

The Soapinator

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

I mentioned to my wonderful husband that I would like him to make me a soap mold that would hold about twice as many as my current mold holds. On one particularly cold and windy day, he went outside to work for a while, and came in a short while later with this:


I’m sure you can tell, but I tilted it on it’s side so you can get an idea of what the inside looks like. Bernie dubbed it “The Soapinator”. I couldn’t wait to put it to the test.

I whipped up a batch scented with a Lavender L’Occitane type fragrance last night. The Soapinator easily held the 8.75 pound batch of soap I poured into it! Here’s a picture of it, filled with soap and topped with the lid he made for it:


I could hardly wait to unmold the soap today and cut the bars. The Soapinator did great – and I ended up with 27 bars! It would have been 28, but I cut a little off each end to use as tester bars. My soap didn’t turn out as I had envisioned. It was supposed to be white soap with lavender swirls, topped with white soap shavings and a thin layer of the lavender on top to just barely coat the shavings. Well, the white turned rather beige, the lavender turned rather plum, and the lavender over the shavings is too thick. I still think it turned out OK – just not quite what I had in mind. I’m going to name it Lavender Breeze. Here’s a picture of the whole batch:


As a bonus – you can also see the yellow walls of the kitchen in most of these pictures! To be fair, the colors are a little off. I used my camera with no flash. The soap is more purple than the picture shows – and the walls are a brighter yellow, if that’s at all possible.

Bernie stood by to watch as I sliced each bars. He made some interesting observations about the swirls. For example, he commented that these two look a bit like ape faces:


He also found faces in all of these:


Unfortunately none look like the Virgin Mary or Elvis. We won’t be getting rich off EBay with this batch. Darnit.

I wonder what, if anything, you see in these? It’s sort of like an ink blot test. Only whatever you see will be interpretted as meaning you are insane. But wait…. that’s exactly how the ink blot test works. So I guess it really is an ink blot test and you really are insane.

Bernie has close to 3/4 of the fence posts in now. He’s also taken down several trees that were dead and threatening to fall in the path of the fence. Once he takes down a tree, he also saws it up for firewood and stacks it, and then shreds the small left over brances. All of this takes a fair amount of time. I’m sure he will be happier than I am when that fence is finally finished!

On another note, we just finished our 6th month living on the homestead. Can you believe it’s been that long? I can’t. Bernie is getting as bad as I am about leaving this place. In the last two weeks he has only left this place twice. And he wasn’t happy about either of them. I’m fairly certain the neighbors will begin to think of us as those crazy people that live in the middle of the woods that no one ever sees. But I’m not so sure that’s such a bad thing.

Bee Free,

Mud and Honey Comb

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

The weather has kept us from getting a lot accomplished outside on the homestead, but it sure has allowed us to make some headway in getting the inside of the house painted. By “we”, I mean Bernie. But I’m sure you knew that already. Today Bernie worked on our little sitting room. He removed the strips between the drywall last week, and he’s been working on getting those areas taped and mudded. Today he sanded it all down and attempted to mud over it again, but the mud was at the end of the bucket and getting rather gritty with old dried mud that kept falling in from the sides of the bucket. That makes mudding darn near impossible. He was not in a good mood when I checked on him around noon. I walked into the room to find it, and him, completely covered in drywall dust from all the sanding. He was totally white from being covered in dry wall dust, holding a mud knife full of gritty mud, cursing under his breath, and looking somewhere between a rabid dog and a crazed serial killer. I knew better than to say anything. I gave him a big hug and as I patted his back a huge plume of drywall dust erupted from his shirt. I wanted to laugh. But I knew better. I just said “Maybe you can quit for the day and wait until you buy more mud.” He mumbled something as I left the room, but I didn’t ask him to repeat it.

Sunday Tex, Charlotte, and Bobo came out to visit for the day. It was one of the warmest days we have had in a while. So the men decided to go outside and grunt and do manly things, while Charlotte, Bobo, and I decided to whip up a batch of soap. I’ve been wanting to try my hand at a batch of honeycomb soap I’ve seen pictures of, and since Charlotte and Bobo seemed game, I decided it was time. Charlotte and I lined my soap mold with bubble wrap, whipped up the soap, and poured it into the mold. I cut it this morning and I’m pretty pleased. It’s made with honey, and scented with Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey:


Elvis had me up at 4:30 this morning. Although he’s rarely awake, he can not stand to have me sleeping when his eyes are actually opened. He yowled and yowled until I finally gave up and joined him. I logged into work at 5:00AM, and Elvis curled up on the desk next to my mouse and fell asleep. I wanted to scream “YOWL” and wake him up, but I didn’t have the heart.

By the way, Bernie is in a much better mood tonight after his mudding experience. He sanded a bit more, and everything looks really nice. He’ll get some new mud tomorrow and get this finished up. It’s very rare for him to be in a bad mood lately. And when it does happen, it doesn’t last very long. After 20+ years of marriage, I’ve learned to keep my mouth mostly shut when it does though. I am, after all, a pretty darn good wife.

Bee Free,

Adding a Little Color to the Homestead

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

This past week has been a mess with regard to weather. Snow and ice – and then it warms up just enough during the day to all start melting and leave us with a muddy mess. Bernie has spent a great deal of time inside this week. And as a result, he’s finished painting almost half the inside of the house. Yay!

You may not know this about the love of my life, but he is color blind. Thank the heavens. Because the dining room is a very dark green, and the kitchen is a very bright yellow. Bernie thinks they are black and bright, respectively. I assured him they look beautiful. And being the wonderful husband that he is, he simply said “As long as you like them.” Although, when we were putting the kitchen back together after he painted, he picked up the French’s Yellow Mustard bottle, held it up to the kitchen wall, and asked “Is that wall the same color as this?” I was amazed that he could notice the similarity, but I just chuckled and said “You are so funny”. Don’t tell him.

We learned we are getting money back on our income taxes for last year. That’s a big deal to me, as we usually end up paying. It’s not a big deal to Bernie because he feels they never should have taken it in the first place. I’m just thrilled not to have to write the IRS a check right now. We both feel that paying taxes to the Federal Government is robbery. Look up the definition of robbery. It’s something to the effect of taking something from you that you do not willingly give. As in requiring it by law. But that’s a subject for a different blog. I’m here to tell you about living on our homestead, not to remind you you’re being robbed by the Federal Government.

So we learned we are getting money back on our income taxes for last year. And I left the homestead for the first time this week and went into town to pick up the paperwork from our accountant so we can go ahead and file. We stopped by to see Tex and Charlotte. Tex greeted us by looking at Bernie and saying “How in the world did you get HER off the homestead?” Is it that obvious? Maybe I should get out more.

I made some Sea Salt Spa Bars this weekend. These are kind of tough to make as they require cutting before they have cured overnight. I usually cut them within three hours, while they are still hot and VERY soft. It’s not very easy to cut them while they are soft. I took a couple of pictures, but keep in mind, they are still soft and I haven’t cleaned them up yet.

Here’s one I made with Rosemary Essential Oil and a touch of Peppermint Essential Oil. I am really in love with this scent. Very nice:


And here’s one I made with Raspberry Lilac fragrance oil. I had just cut this one when I took the picture, so forgive the washing machine background:


We did have quite a bit of wind this week that not only blew over 2 trees into the driveway, but blew the tin roof about 1/3 the way off the cabin roof. I don’t think I need to tell you how much fun it was to tack the roof back down during all those high winds. Although Bernie did that actual task, I held the ladder for him and crawled up on the shed roof next to the cabin to do that for him. The wind kept blowing the tin roof OVER TOP of him. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Not only am I afraid of heights, I am terrified of losing my husband and being stuck to care for this place all by myself. I told him I was going to kill him if he died. And I seriously meant it.

And through every thing we’ve done this week, this is a picture of what Elvis was doing:


In all fairness, Elvis really doesn’t sleep ALL the time. Here’s a picture I took of him wide awake:


He’s just full of energy in that picture. You can tell because his eyes are open. Couldn’t you just kiss his fur right off of him?

Bee Free,

Open for Business!

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

It’s official. I’ve got my soap on a website for sale. I got several requests to have my soap available for sale by Valentine’s Day, so I decided to go ahead and list them on Etsy. I’m still adding stuff, but you can look and start ordering now, if you please.

Here’s a couple of tips you may appreciate:

– When you checkout, mention Back to Basic Living in the comments box and get a 10% discount
– I am forced to enter a flat rate for shipping each item. If you order more than 3 items, add a note in the comments box that you want me to calculate shipping for you and go ahead and place the order, but do not pay the bill when it arrives in your inbox. I’ll see if I can get a better shipping rate for you. Wait until I calculate your shipping for the least expensive rate and personally email you with the final bill.
– I have to pay a minimal fee for each item I list (that means a fee for every bar of soap) so I only listed two of each. If the item displays zero available, or not as many as you would like, just email me and I will list more if I have them.
– I am only accepting PayPal right now until I get my business account set up at the bank. You do not have to have a PayPal account to send a payment. Follow the instructions when you get your bill and you can send payment without an account. If, however, you would like to pay by check, put a note in the comments box and go ahead and check out. I’ll email you with some instructions.

OK, I think that’s it. Thanks for the nudge I needed to get the soap up for sale!

Bee Free – and Bee Clean 😉

People Make Me Sick

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Between the trip to Richmond last week and the trip to the dentist, somewhere, somehow, someone managed to infect me with a Death Cold. I’m feeling better now, but the last week has been misery. And today poor Bernie is sick as a dawg with it. People have germs and they are not afraid to share them. Watch your back out there.

We had an ice storm a couple of days ago. Naturally, when there is weather trees on our homestead start falling down. We had to spent some time clearing the driveway of fallen trees. Even though it can sure cause some damage, ice is really pretty to look at. I put some pictures I took up on the website if you’d like to take a look. While I was playing around with the camera, I got this shot:


I wish I had been paying better attention instead of focused on catching that little drop of water. I would have made sure Bernie’s blue tarped fire wood pile wasn’t the background for the picture. But I kind of like it anyway.

I decided to do a little project with glycerin soap and make something kids will enjoy. I poured the soap into cello bags, embedded little plastic toy gold fish, and then topped them off with more soap. Look at how cute this little fish in a bag is:


I made several bags and used all different colored fish. I even wrote a little fish poem and attached it to the bag. Just when you thought you had witnessed the extent of my talents, I offer this for your amazement:

I’m just a little fishy,
Won’t you set me free?
Make the bathtub swishy,
And lather up with me.

While we’re in the water,
We’ll have so much fun.
Splashing like an otter,
Our friendship has begun.

Wash and scrub all over,
Don’t forget behind your ears.
You’ll smell fresh as clover.
I will bring you lots of cheer.

So lather up like crazy,
While you play with me.
If you do this daily,
Soon I will be free.

Now what kid could resist a soap with a fish toy and an awesome little poem like that?

Tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday. Bernie has his menu planned – I just hope he’s feeling well enough to enjoy it.

People make me sick – and apparently I make Bernie sick.

Bee Free,

Soap Porn and Super Bowl Plans

Monday, January 28th, 2008

I’ve really gotten into this larger soap mold I got for Christmas that makes the over sized bars. I took some pictures of the last two batches I made and thought you might like to see some more of my soap porn.

Here’s the one that is scented with the Polo Sport Type for men fragrance that I named Tyler – it’s getting a little more gray as it cures, but it’s still looking rather beige. You can tell by the center though, it is getting a little grayer on the edges:


And here’s one of my Raspberry Lilac – the picture doesn’t show it very well, but the lilac portion is swirled with raspberry. The top portion is raspberry and it’s topped with a sparkly lilac mica powder:


We had a nice relaxing weekend on the homestead. We just kind of tinkered around here and I don’t even really remember that we did anything note worthy. It was just nice to be here.

Next weekend is Super Bowl Sunday and Bernie is very excited about the personal Super Bowl party I throw him each year. He’s getting his menu together and the schedule of when each of the little snacks gets served. I’ll spend all day cooking for him, but I don’t mind. He’s a pretty good husband. And I think it’s been well established that I’m a darn good wife.

Bee Free,

Soaping Fool on the Homestead

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Here’s the soap I made yesterday and cut today for my favorite nephew-in-law, Troy:



What do ya think? I made another batch a few minutes ago for my very favorite great-nephew. I used a Curves for Men type fragrance oil. It’s supposed to be gray, with black soap cubes throughout it. I used a new colorant, and right now it is looking very suspiciously beige. I’m not sure it’s going to turn out as I planned at all. I’ll know tomorrow when I cut it. I’m naming this one Tyler. The little snot better like it.

I worked today and Bernie headed out to our house in town to empty out the refrigerator and freezer. We probably should have thought to do that a few months ago. I know that thing was slap full, but he came home with just a small cooler full of food. I said “That’s all?” and he said “Don’t even ask.” Apparently he had several trash bags for the dump – and he wasn’t happy about it. Darnit.

Not sure what we’re doing on the homestead this weekend, but I do know it will involve us BEING on the homestead. Even Bernie has decided he’s not going anywhere. We’re staying put and working around here. Yay! I love it when I bring Bernie around to my way of thinking.

Bee Free,

Finless and Fancy Free

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

I had my fin removed yesterday. The only painful part was the 50,000 times he stuck me with a needle to deaden my mouth. There was no way pain was going to sneak through all the Novocaine he shot in there. My entire head was numb by the time he got started. I won’t give you all the gory details, but you can imagine just how pleasant it is to see items entering your mouth that look and sound like the tools your husband uses while working on a car engine. Finally, Dr. Specialist announced “There it is! I see your fin. I wish I could take a picture for you to put on your blog.” I had a moment of absolute horror as I wondered if he had actually read my blog, but then decided he was just a little techno-savvy and being chatty. Otherwise I am certain he would have commented on my wonderful drawing. He sewed in six stitches and I was on my merry way.

So the fin is gone and other than a few minutes of discomfort as the Novocaine wore off, I’m really feeling just fine. So fine, in fact, that I actually made another batch of soap today. My niece called to inform me that she loves my soap, but her husband doesn’t care for all the girly smells. So I decided to make a batch especially for him. I used my mold that makes over sized bars again – and this time I colored it black and stirred in white confetti soap. Then I used the blender to whip up a bit of the soap that I had removed before adding the black color and spread a layer of white topping on the black soap. I know how it’s supposed to look, but I have no idea how it will actually turn out. I scented it with a fragrance oil that smells like Polo Sport for Men. I’ll cut it tomorrow and if it turns out half way decent, I’ll post a picture here. Since “Polo Sport for Men” is taken, I’m calling this one Troy because, well, it was inspired by Troy. I am so darn creative.

Lobby Day at our Capitol went really well and we spoke to as many representatives as we could pin down. We’re writing the ones we missed and Bernie will be back down there a few more times this session. They may not vote the way we want them to, but certainly they won’t vote before knowing how we feel about it.

Between shuttling me to the dentist and trying to keep up with things around here, Bernie’s been chipping ice off the driveway. We have a fairly steep hill just before you get to the house that was covered in ice and getting a bit scary to maneuver. For my daily outing, I took the Trail Blazer down to check mail and was quite pleased with the job he did on the driveway. I don’t mind excitement, but that driveway was getting just a little more exciting than I like. It’s fine now and he finished it just in time for it to start snowing again. Hopefully it’s just a flurry. But I don’t trust Old Man Winter. You may remember we ended up with eight inches of snow after predicted flurries last year.

We’re still plugging along on the homestead. The ground is too frozen to put in fence posts right now. Bernie still has some trees to deal with that fell during various storms this winter. We’ll just add that to the never ending list of things that keep us busy and happy around here.

Bee Free,