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Distressing Makeover.

Last month when I was getting all change-happy and literally in the mood to transform everything, I set my sights on one particular area of my bedroom.

Which has long been in need of a makeover. But, yeah, I procrastinate a little too much sometimes. Just call me Miss Better Late Than Never.

That’s my name and I’m sticking to it. Now, let’s get back on topic.

So, my bedroom is just now making it back on my to-do list. Or, not my whole bedroom, just this one particular spot over by the window where I used to have an old big box store desk that was, honestly, only ever used as a catch-all. Got to go.

That led me to a little bit of thrift store shopping (the second best kind of shopping. . . the first best kind being, in yours truly’s opinion, when you have money in your pocket to burn and it’s Black Friday; oh yeah! But that’s a little off topic.)

Actually, what led me to hit the thrift stores was seeing this gorgeous distressed turquoise table with drawers that I absolutely had to have. Until I saw the price tag. $300. Yeah, 300 bucks for a very tiny table with a couple of drawers. No thanks. I can do my own for way less.

So, after hitting up a couple of thrift stores, I saw this 70s-esque table for about 20 bucks – Groovy, baby!

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And perfect for what I wanted to do. Of course, it doesn’t look like much in the above picture. I know, I know, I’m horrible at remembering to take Before pictures, and apparently not getting any better about it. Just be happy I remembered to snap the one I did.

But back to the Distressing Makeover. . . .

First, I sanded it down so the paint would have an even surface to adhere to. Next, I wiped it down really well to remove any dust and debris.

Then, it was time for the paint. Turquoise!

After it dried, I did a second coat. Then, after that dried, finally it was time to get down to the nitty gritty and start distressing the table with a fine grit sandpaper before wiping it down to remove all of the dust.

Then, ta da!

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(I just noticed that the top drawer isn’t pushed all the way in. Dang it! Well, not going to go retake the picture.)

 

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Did it cost $300? Nope, not even close. Under $30 to be a little more precise. And with a neat little chair (plus a couple other things like a shoeshine box and chevron material for a pillow) that caught my eye, under $50 in all.

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cat in distressed chair

I think this little guy totally approves!

(By the way, the little guy is Bella, the other of the two drop off kitties in this post.)

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Goat Milk Lotion

After making goat milk soap for a while and seeing first hand how nourishing it is, I started wondering what other wonderful things could be made with it. Enter goat milk lotion. Who would’ve thought you could make lotion with milk? But you can, and it’s actually very easy.

When I first started making it, I honestly thought it would be super complicated and involve a lot of chemistry and math (neither of which I’m at all good at), but it honestly doesn’t.  In fact, it’s less complicated to make than cold process soap.

4 oz bottles of lotion on display at the Festival on the Rivers.

Follow me on Vine, here.
Ingredients:
10 oz Distilled Water
8.5 oz Goat Milk (Pasteurized)
1.2 oz Shea Butter
1.7 oz Grapeseed Oil*
1 oz Avocado Oil*
1.2 oz Emulsifying Wax
1 oz Stearic Acid
.25 oz Preservative**
.1 oz Fragrance Oil (make sure it’s body safe)
*You can substitute these for other good skin-nourishing liquid oils, such as Olive, Jojoba, Macadamia Nut, Sweet Almond, etc. 
** I use Optiphen, a paraben and formaldehyde free preservative.

Bottles and lids (I like the 4 oz bullet bottles best, but I recently made a batch of lotion with the 8 oz teardrop and 1 oz bullet bottles)

1 ounce bottles of lotion. . . I’ll be listing these soon on our Etsy shop.


I know preservatives don’t exactly have a great reputation for being healthy, but because this lotion has water based ingredients in it (and those particular ingredients can/will contain bacteria and are of a decomposing nature) a preservative is very necessary if you’re going to sell or give away this lotion. Now, if you want to leave out the preservative, be sure to refrigerate your lotion and realize that it’s going to have a very short shelf life. If you don’t want to fool with keeping it in the refrigerator or using a preservative, a great skin nourishing alternative are solid lotion bars.

A 1 oz bottle of Optiphen preservative.

And if you want to try out our goat milk lotion, you can purchase it here (use code 10OFFMHF at checkout and receive 10% off your order)

Equipment that I use:
3 or 4 Microwave safe glass bowls
Glass Measuring Cup
2 Spoons
Ladle
Blender
Funnel
Microwave
Digital Scales
Note: All ingredients are measured by weight not volume.

How To:

Clean bottles drying. 

1) Sanitize your equipment (bowls, spoons, measuring cups, ladles, and blenders) and the bottles and lids by washing in a bleach solution (1 oz of bleach to every 1 gallon of water).

Measuring the oils and combining.

2) In a medium sized bowl, combine the avocado and grapeseed oils. Set them aside.

Measuring the stearic acid and emulsifying wax.

3) Measure out the correct amount of stearic acid and emulsifying wax, then add them to the avocado and grapeseed oils.

4) Microwave for about two minutes or until they’re completely melted.

Shea butter melting.

5) Add the shea butter to the oil mixture, stirring to help it melt faster.

Measuring and combining the milk and distilled water.

6)  Add the distilled water to the milk and microwave for about 1-2 minutes until warm.

Pouring the warmed oil mixture into the water/milk mixture.
It’s already starting to thicken up.

7) Slowly pour the oils into the milk/water mixture, stirring the entire time. The mixture should begin to thicken right away. Don’t worry if it sort of resembles curdled milk, that’s completely normal.

8) Using the ladle, pour the mixture into the blender. Pulse (very important that you pulse it only as it thickens very quickly) a few times until it gets creamy and a little thicker. . . . I usually pulse the mixture between 5-10 times and no more than that. Pour the thickened mixture into a different clean bowl.

Pouring the second batch of blended lotion into a bowl. 

I usually blend the mixture in two different batches or more I’ve doubled, tripled, or quadrupled the recipe. In this case, I was making 6 times my normal recipe.

9) Your lotion mixture may now have a lot of bubbles on top, but as you stir the mixture the bubbles will dissipate.

Just before stirring in the fragrance oil

10) Measure out the preservative and fragrance and pour them into the lotion, stirring to combine. Make sure they’re both completely stirred in really well.

11) Using a funnel, fill your bottles up. If your lotion has thickened too much and is filling the bottles slowly, simply place it back in the microwave and heat for about 10-30 seconds or until it’s thinner.

And the finished bottles. 6 x the recipe above produced over 30 bottles of lotion of varying sizes and scents.

The recipe above makes about 5 four ounce bottles of lotion with a little leftover that I usually pour into a bottle for us to use. It will also yield 1 eight ounce bottle + 1 one ounce bottle + 3 four ounce bottles all together, with a little leftover, of course, for me to keep. The batch of lotion pictured above and in the Vine video was six times the recipe listed in this post. It produced. . . . well, I honestly can’t remember exactly how many bottles (over 30 for sure), but it was a lot (and I was very happy to be through with lotion making that day).

Have fun and enjoy your lotion!

P.S.

If you’re planning on selling this lotion, be sure to label it accordingly. In the US and since lotion is considered to be a cosmetic by the FDA, that means it must have the ingredients listed in INCI format (Internation Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients). Some of the ingredients listed above are linked to a supplier – most of those will have the INCI name listed somewhere on the page you’ll be redirected to. For the INCI names of other ingredients, visit here or here

Example: For the above recipe, the ingredients list might look something like this:

Ingredients: Water, Goat Milk, Grapeseed Oil (Vitis Vinifera), Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii Fruit) Avocado Oil (Persea Gratissima), Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, and Fragrance.

Also required on the label is the name of the product, the amount of lotion each bottle contains (such as 4 ounces, 8 ounces, etc) and the physical address where it was made.  

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Peppermint Ornaments

So, after being inspired by an episode of Home and Family the other day where they made peppermint plates, I decided to try making these adorable candy ornaments. Let me tell you, I’m not a particularly crafty-gifted type of person, but these are so easy that even mine turned out fantastic.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Hard peppermint candy (or any other hard candy)
Parchment paper*
Cookie sheet
Drinking Straw (cut into pieces)
Cookie cutters
Cooking spray
Oven
Ribbon
*You could also use a silpat or silicone pan instead.

Peppermints just waiting to be make their ornament debut!

1) Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.

2) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the peppermint candies in the manner you’d like. Make sure to use your cookie cutter as a guide to show how many candies you’ll need.

3) Place in oven and allow to bake for about 6-8 minutes (it took almost exactly 6 minutes for mine each time) or until the candies are completely melted.

4) Remove from oven and allow the melted candies to cool for 1-2 minutes. In the meantime, coat the cookie cutters and straw pieces with cooking spray.

5) Being very careful (because they are still extremely hot and you don’t want to end up with any fingers in it, like I did. . . ouch), firmly press the cookie cutters into the melted candy. Then, quickly press the straw pieces in the candies, too.

6) Allow it to sit for about 4-5 minutes. At this time, the candy should be cooled enough that you can touch it. However, it’ll still be quite warm, so be careful. Pressing firmly down on the cookie cutter, break off the excess candy on the outsides of it.

7) After they’re completely cooled, string ribbon through each hole and voila!

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Cute Reindeer Packaging 2013 Update!

So, last year I saw these cute little reindeer on Pinterest and was completely inspired to make them for our Reindeer Poo soap (and in case you’re wondering, despite its name the soap actually smells fantastic and not at all like it’s namesake.). It’s a year later, and I thought I would do an update and a slightly improved tutorial on how to make these.

Supplies:
Brown Bath cloths
Piper Cleaners
Pom Pom Balls
Wiggly Eyes
Rubber Bands
Ribbon, optional
Hot Glue Gun
Scissors
Reindeer Poo poem, optional
Cardstock, optional
Hole Puncher, optional

1) Spread a bath cloth out flat in front of you, positioned catty-cornered so that it looks like a diamond and place your bar of soap in the middle. Tip: if you’re using a large, rectangular shaped bar like mine, instead of placing the bar in the middle put it closer to the corner that is nearest to you (you’ll see why in a minute).

2) Bring the two corners in front of you together to form a triangle.

3) Very tightly roll those two corners towards the bar of soap.

4) Now, bring the other two ends together above the bar of soap and secure with a rubber band to form the reindeer ears.

5) Bend one pipe cleaner in half to form a V and insert it down in the middle of the rubber band. Cut two small pieces from another pipe cleaner. Bend and shape those two pieces around the first piper cleaner to form antlers. 

6) Glue on a pom pom for the nose and the wiggly eyes.

7) Tie a ribbon around the rubber band and attach the printed out Reindeer Poo poem (totally optional but the poem really is super cute).

Want one but don’t want to go to the trouble of making it yourself? You can purchase our Reindeer Poo soap packaged in the bath cloth reindeer here.

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Foot Salve

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. If you have a medical problem, please consult someone who actually is a doctor 😉

There’s nothing worse than dry, cracked feet. And it must run in our family – my granddad’s were always like that, the same with my mom’s, and well, mine aren’t that bad (much better since I no longer live in flip flops anymore 🙂 ), but they do need the occasional help. Which is why I was so excited to make this foot salve; Mom was even more excited, lol.

It’s easy, and perfect for feet. Rub a little on your feet before bedtime and cover them in cotton socks and it works like a dream. [Want to try our foot salve? You can purchase a 2 oz container of it from our Etsy shop, here.]

Ingredients:
114 grams Lanolin Oil
88 grams infused Olive Oil
84 grams Beeswax Pastilles
48 grams Shea Butter
24 grams Grapeseed Oil
22 grams Cocoa Butter
4 grams Vitamin E Oil
2 grams Peppermint Essential Oil
2 grams Tea Tree Essential Oil
2 grams Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Equipment I Used:
Heat Safe Large Glass Measuring Cup
Medium Sized Saucepan
Digital Scale
Spoon
Microwave
Disposable Pipettes (for the essential oils)
2 ounce Metal Tins

Before I even start, I make sure all of my equipment is clean, and I spray the inside of the metal tins with a little rubbing alcohol.

1) First off, infuse the olive oil with rosemary and chamomile. There are two ways you can do this: 1) By adding rosemary and chamomile to a jar of olive oil and allowing it to set for several weeks or 2) By gently heating the olive oil with the rosemary and chamomile in it on top of the stove on medium-low heat. Allow the oil to lightly simmer for five or so minutes, then remove it from the heat and set aside so it can cool completely.

No matter which method you chose, make sure to strain the olive oil well (I used cheesecloth folded in two, but a coffee filter would work, too).

2) Measure out and melt the lanolin oil, olive oil, beeswax, shea butter, grapeseed oil, and cocoa butter by using a double boiler on top of the stove.

3) Once all those ingredients are completely melted, remove from heat and add the vitamin E oil, peppermint, tea tree, and eucalyptus essential oils. Stir very well to make sure it’s all combined.

4) Now, pour the mixture into each of the metal tins, leaving the lids off until the mixture becomes solid.
This recipe yields almost seven full 2 ounce containers of salve. 

Why these ingredients? 
All of the ingredients in this foot salve are known for certain, special benefits that they impart. Here are a few of those benefits:

Rosemary: Known for having antiseptic and antioxidant properties, and for helping soothe arthritis pain, strains, and bruises, as well as, being great for skin.

Chamomile: Wonderful for relaxation and stress relief, plus it’s great for flaky skin.

Lanolin Oil: Lanolin is extremely moisturizing and is easily absorbed into skin where it both hydrates and provides a protective barrier. Also known for being an anti-fungal and antibacterial agent.

Olive Oil: Easily absorbed and wonderfully moisturizing, hence it’s one of the main oils we use in soap making. High in oleic acid and is a good skin cell regenerator.

Beeswax: Excellent emollient and provides protection for the skin. Also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Shea Butter: A quick absorbing, ultra moisturizing butter that is wonderful for dry skin and great for providing a protective barrier.

Grapeseed Oil: A light, easily absorbed oil that is known for having mild astringent properties.

Cocoa Butter: Wonderful at moisturizing and providing a protective barrier for skin.

Vitamin E: Helps to prevent oils from oxidizing, plus it’s great for skin.

Peppermint Essential Oil: Has antiseptic and astringent properties and produces a cooling effect. 

Tea Tree Oil: Known for its antiseptic properties.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Has antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-fungal properties. Beneficial for treating skin conditions and helping relax muscles.