Saturday, December 30, 2017

Garden Dreaming and Soap Making

"As the old year retires and the new one is born, we commit into the hands of our Creator the happenings of the past year and ask for direction and guidance in the new one. May He grant us His grace, tranquility and His wisdom!"
Peggy Toney Horton

Here are some of my favorite pictures from past gardens. 










Here is what I've been doing:
I'm a novice soap maker but, I'm learning so much and having fun doing it.
The picture below is of oatmeal/honey soap made at the beginning of December. I've used some to the bits and shavings and it's wonderful. It lathers beautifully and is very creamy. The honey helps skin retain it's moisture and the combination of lard, olive oil and coconut oil are a real winner. However, the bars won't be cured for about 6 months so we wait.
Vanilla is one of my favorite scents but, the oil is amazingly expensive. The next best oil is benzoin which smells like the real thing but it's as sticky as pine pitch! I've learned the best way to handle it is to heat it up and add it to another essential oil before adding it to the batch of soap. I can hardly wait for it to cure!

 Below is a batch of Castile soap. It's 100% olive oil soap and sometimes called baby soap because it's very gentle. I left this soap unscented. Like the honey/oatmeal soap, it's soft and this type of soap takes a year to cure. 

I'm learning and having so much fun doing it! What are you doing to pass the winter months?

Here is a picture of our little Christmas tree. 

I hope all of you had a wonder Christmas, if you celebrate it and wishing you a happy new year!

Today, I'm grateful for God's healing power. He has, once again, brought a loved one out of a life-threatening situation!

Happy Garden Dreaming!
Sally

Friday, November 3, 2017

When the Flowers Fade, This is What I Do

Happiness is Handmade
Author Unknown

For many years, I wanted to try soap making. I was discouraged by naysayers who talked about how dangerous and hard it is......There was talk about the danger of using Sodium Hydroxide and how precise recipes have to be for it to turn out right. So, I set aside my desire to try.....until last year. After watching a couple of tutorials on UTube, I was ready to give it a try.
As a newbie, I had no idea I was making Castile soap....a very gentle, all olive oil soap that takes about a year to cure enough to use. The tutorial never mentioned that! I thought the soap was a flop because I started using it 6 weeks after it was made and it was mushy and had very little lather. 
Recently, I joined a soap making page on FaceBook and it has been one of the best things I've ever done. Like gardeners, soap makers are open and so helpful and encouraging.
Over the past week, I've made two different batches that will be ready for us by the middle of December.

Poppy seed soap is an exfoliating bar with a great lather and sweet scent with refreshing overtones of Orange and Peppermint.

After pouring soap into molds, it is wrapped in towels and a blanket for at least 24 hours so that it will cool down slowly during the saponification process where chemical reaction turns the mixture to soap.
  


Oatmeal soap is my brothers favorite so, I made it and am happy with the way it came out. Oatmeal is great for irritated  or itchy skin. The scent is a mixture of floral scents.

After the soap is cut into bars, I put it in containers that allow it to get the air and dry out. The scent fades at this point so, when I pack the soap in boxes for storage, I add more Essential Oil to a cotton ball and the soap will absorb the scent.


There you have it! While I'm garden dreaming, I'm making soap.....oh, and sugar scrubs and lip balm and lotions and creams but, I don't have any to take pictures of right now.
What are you doing with your spare time?

Happy Gardening to those who can still dig in the dirt......and happy garden dreaming to the rest of us!
Sally

Monday, October 16, 2017

In a Vase on Monday - Just Before the Frost

Autumn....the year's last, loveliest smile.
John Howard Bryant

Today's arrangement is in one of my favorite vases. It's a used store find and the color is a yellow/gold. When it has water and flowers in it, it loses it's "glow". 

I love my gold pumpkin. It lights up.
Some of the flowers came from last weeks arrangement. It was surprising that they lasted this long!


One of the Foxglove bloomed! 

Marigold and Aster.....I bought two Aster plants at a good price. The're a darker purple than the one plant I have.

Some Impatiens 

Lots of Mums.

Temperatures are dropping and the air is brisk.  It's windy and overcast. With frost in the forecast, it's truly the end of the garden for this year. 
 Don't forget to visit Cathy at 
https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com
to see arrangements from all over the world.

Happy Gardening, 
Sally


Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Day Trip to the Cape

The Beach.......a place where salt lowers your blood pressure.
Author Unknown
Road trip! Yesterday, the Saver and I decided to take a day trip to the Cape.
The foliage along the highway was very pretty. As we got closer to the water, there was less color because it's warmer than inland.




We're there!
The Bourne Bridge is the gateway to Cape Cod. 

Riding through the quaint town of Bourne.


An old railway bridge.

When we decided to take the trip, we winged it....no idea where we would end up.

Boats docked in Falmouth
Such beauty.....looking across the water at all the lovely homes.
The salt air causes the cedar shingles that are on most of the homes, to turn silver/gray. 


I love trees bent with the wind....there are lots of them near the water.

Deserted beach

.
Lovely view sand, sea and sky

Fences holding back erosion and creating a path to the water.

Surf-fishing


Beach Pea (lathyrus japonicus)


Ocean view

I spent way too much time trying to name this plant with no luck.

Another one I didn't identify.




Beach Rose (Rosa Rugosa)

There were a few blooms.

Here's Beach Wormwood (Artemesia Stelleriana)

I captured the exact color of the water. It was beautiful!


There is a lot of scrub Pine and Oak in ocean side towns.

 

Off the beaten path, we found a salt marsh that was enchanting.
Marsh grass but, I don't know what kind.....

Goldenrod is a pollinator magnet.

Bay. Can you see the berries? I love using them to decorate during Christmas.


Swans! Love birds.



Home again!
Back over the bridge.


We love this time of year on the Cape. Nice, cool days with sunshine and most of the tourists have gone home which means less traffic and no crowds. 
We had a great lunch at The Lobster Pot. Andy had steamed clams and I had fish and chips. They were yummy!
Today, I'm grateful to God for the beautiful ocean that literally fills all of my senses!

Happy Gardening, 
Sally