Whew....what a difference a week makes! Whereas last week I had the blah's and did nothing.......this week was a completely different story. Those guilty "mommy" genes kicked in. It has been an eventful and fun week, so I will break it down into catagories :-).
I do want to take a moment and thank everyone who emailed wishing good thoughts for Belinda. By midweek, I started to become suspicious that perhaps she wasn't very happy with a feed change I had made, the previous week. What made me suspicious, was the way that she was attacking the carrots that I was feeding her with such gusto, but was refusing to eat her feed and drink her water. I went to the feed store and found that they had finally received my regular feed back in stock, so I bought some and the first night Belinda ate 1/2 of it and by Saturday, she was back to eating all of her feed and drinking her water. I am so relieved that she is ok. Belinda is the daughter of a very dear rabbit that I bred, who is no longer with us and I would so hate to lose Belinda as well. I am hoping to breed her to a yummy redbased fawn this spring, with hopes of getting some red babies. Belinda and her mother both have the delightful personalities that I breed for, so I want to continue with this line of buns.
First in the mail was this great gift I participated in Vicki's contest of trying to figure out when she graduated from high school and what was the year of her birth, by naming the singers of different songs that she had listed. It was soooo much fun as I knew almost immediately that Vicki must have graduated the same year as me and was 2 mos younger than I am. It was such a fun walk down memory lane and for that walk, I received the Pocket Sized Knit and Crochet Companion, a lovely bar of soap and a cute Christmas Note Pad. Thanks Vicki!!
Next in the mail was a package from my Secret Pal, Erica . Erica has been the best Secret Pal! In this box was a bar of that yummy German Chocolate that I am so fond of.....a box of orange tea and some interesting honeys. Also in the box were 2 skeins of really pretty brown,sage and beige tweed sock yarn and 3 balls of tan merino, both made by Lana Grossa. Erica has been wonderful. Not only is she the wife of a deployed soldier, she is also waiting on the birth of her second baby.....momentarily. Thank you Erica!! I have a little surprise for you too :-)
Lastly in the mail this week, was my order from Black Abbey Yarns for the Irish Cardigan Vest in Folk Vests. The wool is definitly on the "crunchy" side.......we will see how it finishes up. The fact that it is completely made in Ireland adds a bit to the authinticity of this vest for me.......being that red headed Irish girl...LOL.
One of the things that I make on a regular basis at the Woolen Rabbit is soap. A few local shops carry my soaps and I sell them at fiber events throughout the year. Given that my kitchen has been in complete disarray with this remodeling job, I am really behind in my soapmaking duties. I find it very hard to work, if I can't put my hands on the tools that I need without having to search all over the house for them, so I just didn't make any soap this summer Now that my kitchen is coming together and Christmas is nearing, I thought that I should get my butt in gear and get into the soap production mode again.
Making Soap is not only expensive, precise and labor intensive.........it is fun!! I just love playing with all of the different essential oils, and coming up with unique scents. All of my soaps are completely natural and are made in small batches in my kitchen. If my name is on the label, you can bet that I want to make sure that they are of the highest quality :-). Here is how I make soap here.......
First I start mixing Lye with water and let that set until it reaches the proper temperature. The mixing of lye and water causes a reaction that makes the temperature of the water to quickly rise, so it needs to cool down to the correct temperature before using.
I then heat those oils up until they are almost melted and just let the remaining pieces of Shea Butter melt in the heated oils, so that the oils do not burn.
While those oils are melting, I pour the liquid oils that I use, based on which recipe I am making. This time I am using mostly Olive Oil, with a little Castor oil. These will get poured into the melted fats. I am also going to superfat this recipe with Shea Oil, so I measure that as well, but that will not go in until just before the mixture has reached a trace.
Now that the lye and the melted fats have cooled down to the correct temperature, it is time to mix them together. This process is going to cause a chemical reaction called Saponification. Just before complete saponification has occured, I will add any essential oils, herbs and superfats. This will then get poured into lined wooden boxes. After pouring and covering the soap with lids, the boxes get put to sleep under cover for 18-24 hours. This is called "Cold Processed Soap"
I want to thank everyone who emailed me with tips for making markers. A special thank you to Susan for sending me these 2 really neat patriotic markers and to Alison , who was extra kind in sending me a step by step pictorial of how she makes markers. Between Susan's markers, Alison's tips and what I was able to find in my ever compulsive web searching, this is what I came up with on my own this week.
After many, many tries, I finally got the hang of wrapping wire, so that I could make wired beads to be hung off of split rings for larger needles. Here is a close up of that wrapped wire....I apologize for the shadows.
All in all, it has been fun and I am looking forward to making many more of these.......it is almost addictive. Now I just need to find out where to find unusual beads :-)
This has been a busy knitting week. I am trying to finish up the Cavalier Hats that were ordered. A few more and then I will be finished until after the holidays. As mentioned before 10% of the proceeds from these sales will be going to the American Cancer Socieity.
I guess I must have been feeling a bit guilty from my lack of fiber workings the week before that I just dove into knitting with gusto this week. On the needles is the vest from Interweave knits with the Black Abbey Yarn. The consensus on this yarn is still out....I will have to wait to see how the final project washes up. The yarn is very "crunchy", which gives fabulous definition to the pattern....but I am a bit concerned that it might be a bit too scratchy. Washing it will let me know and then I will let you all know. I just love the colors that this yarn come in, so I am hoping that it is going to finish up nicely
I also started this scarf. It is similar to the one that Anne gifted to me earlier this fall. It is going to be a present for one lucky girl....LOL.....but she doesn't know this yet :-). I have never beaded onto yarn, so I may be crying to Anne for some help with the time comes. This fiesta yarn is a combination of kid mohair and rayon boucle and is a treat to work with.
I have also been plugging along on the black camisole from Morehouse Merino. Have I said how much I love this yarn.....yup....alot..LOL. I will say however, I am really concerned at some of the highs and lows of the color as you can see in the picture. I am really really hoping that when this is washed, it is all going to even out. It seems as though the fading comes when the yarn has been sitting for a spell and when I restart, I can see the difference in the color. Hopefully as I said that will all even out when it is washed and blocked. All in all though........this is yummy stuff and well worth the extra price :-)
and finally..............this. My secret pal 3, Erica has been such a fabulous pal, after the disappointment of my first Secret Pal2, that I wanted to gift her with something nice as well. I figured out early on, who she was and knew that the birth of a little boy has been looming near in her future:-). I just love this litte Jester hat from Knit Baby Head and Toes. I had hoped to have this finished by this posting, but life just gets in the way sometimes as you all know. Hopefully this little package will make it's journey to Germany early this week.
and as I leave you this week...........have you notice that the backdrop for my pictures has changed? Yup........that is my new counter-top......yippeeeeeeeeee. We are almost there. Although my husband thought that he would have it all finished for Thanksgiving, it appears that it will not be. Even though I am disappointed as I will have a houseful of people, I am still extremely thankful for all of the hard and careful work that my DH has put into this project.......is is coming along fabulously!.
Have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!