Monday, December 04, 2017

Gratuitous Kitteh Monday

Sorry for the radio silence. Life has been busy and we’re all now hurdling 1,000 miles an hour towards Christmas. ACK!

First, hubby and I took a well-needed 7-day trip back to our old stomping grounds in Orlando and then with family in St. Petersburg for Thanksgiving. It was a social tour for sure, but it was great to see all of our old friends and spent time with family over the holidays.

Hubby, me, Pete and Becky...miss my friends!
 Wish I had gotten more pics of everyone, but for some reason I forgot to whip out the camera. Guess that means we were having a good time!

Funny thing. I asked the hotel for a pic of Ryan Gosling placed in the room in the “special requests” section of our online reservation. This is always fun, because #1 I forget that I do this and I crack up when it actually happens, and #2 I like to see which companies actually do this and how they do it. FTR, Hampton Inn rules and Marriott drools.

Hey frame but enjoy the view!
Since we’ve been back. Chaz has been glued to my side. He’s such a needy kitteh.

Clingy kitteh missed me!
Decking the halls has been a priority, but it seems everything has had a roadblock: replace lights because the old ones burnt-out, repurchase garland because the lights-burnt out, can’t find things…grrr.

Choose your fonts wisely...LOL!
"The Great Cookie Bakeoff” will commence this coming weekend and I haven’t even made any cookie dough! This is the only exercise I feel like doing right now…

Workout routine for the holidays

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Soapy Friday: Reformulation

I know it's not Friday, but I won't be able to post this Friday, so I thought I'd do it now! I've been heads-down reformulating my cold process soap recipes lately to make them better, but first...

Bombalicious Body Butter!

I've have formulated an amazing body butter using cocoa butter, shea butter, Brazil nut butter, aloe vera butter, argan oil, apricot oil, and chamomile infused water (hydrosol). It's natural, amazingly decadent, not greasy, and leaves your skin feeling like silk.

This one is scented with pink grapefruit, tangerine, and lemon (litsea cubeba) essential oils. It smells good enough to EAT!

Pink Grapefruit, Tangerine, and Lemon...heaven it a tub!

On to soap, shall we?

I wanted to improve my "old faithful" soap recipe to make it more conditioning. I have several thoughts about how to go about doing this, but my first experiment had me add cocoa butter to my recipe and lower my coconut oil percentage.

This is called "Bonfire Bliss" and I am IN LOVE with how it smells and feels in the shower. I'm on to something with this soap.

"Bonfire Bliss" with cocoa butter
My next experiment had me include cocoa butter and shea butter while decreasing my coconut oil and palm oil. These two are still curing and I'm excited to see how they perform.

This fragrance oil, called "Swedish Dream Salt" riced my soap batter...whaa! But I'm more concerned on how this will feel & perform in the shower than how it looks at this point.

"Swedish Dream Salt" riced on me, but the soap should feel nice!
This fragrance, called "50 Shades of Grey," is definitely a masculine, cologne-type scent and smells AMAZING. Can't wait to see how this performs as well.

"50 Shades of Grey" with shea and cocoa butter
So that's about it in the soap making arena. I'm on a body butter kick right now, so this Christmas will be all about the butter!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Happy National Cat Day!

What are the chances that National Cat Day and Gratuitous Kitteh Monday BOTH fall on the same day?

Chaz doesn't seem to care...

And Miss Thang only cares if there is food involved...

IOW, cats will be cats and don't give a hot fart WHAT day it is. Pretty precise, if I must say so myself. :-)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Garden in October

Most everything is tidied up for the year in the yard and garden, although we still have one more "after mow" to do on the lawn.

Beautiful colors
The grass seed w/fertilizer and warm weather made the lawn completely take off. We are forced to give it one, last mow or else it will turn into an unmanageable jungle. Usually in the past, we actually get COLD weather in October, which keeps the grass from growing too much, but noooooo. This year and last year have been unseasonably warm.

We haven't even had a freeze yet, and it doesn't look like we'll even get one in the next 15-day weather forecast (BTW, our average first frost is Oct 16th...even last year brought us a freeze by the end of October). I still have all of my bulbs to plant and hope to get to those next week, so I guess if there's a silver lining...

Green, red, orange, yellow...
In some exciting news, my pink, potted Angel's Trumpet bloomed this month! I bought this thing from a lady at the farmer's market this past summer and she swore it would do great up here in a pot. She said you just bring the pot in the garage and it goes dormant over the winter. Can you believe that?

When I bought it, it was only 8" tall. Next year, this thing will get bigger. I think it needs a name...

Pink Angel's Trumpet in a pot
We had a couple of Angle's Trumpets w/yellow flowers ("Charles Grimaldi") growing in our yard in Florida and the flowers smelled A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! They would make the whole yard smell like lemony magnolia flowers. Heady.

Anyway, the fall colors are "peaking" here in our area right now and one cannot help but be amazed at its beauty. Soon, they will be gone and the cycle will begin again.

Tranquil beauty

Monday, October 23, 2017

Gratuitous Kitteh Monday

I know; I know....where have I been?

I've been around mostly doing my fall yard clean-up and cooking good things, which for some reason I never am motivated enough to take pictures of and post. Or I do take pictures and I don't like how they look or I just don't post, or it tasted good, but just didn't LOOK good.

Anyway, kittehs are great. Miss Thang still continues to benefit from just a smidge of Prozac every morning. The weather is cooling off, so both felines are enjoying the annual arrival of the morning fire-place fire, which they both enjoy settling next to after their breakfasts.

Halloween is just around the corner, so this cartoon is perfect for the occasion. It's about right...yes? :-)

Friday, October 06, 2017

Soapy Friday - Anti-Itch Jewelweed Soap

Whew! Today is the day where we do our “last cut” of the lawn for the season and I could not be happier.

The past couple of weeks have been busy aerating, shoveling truckloads of fill dirt, topsoil, moving gravel, and purchasing grass seed, fertilizer, and lime. In the fall, we prep the lawn for overseeding in September, then we wait for that one window of opportunity for a good, steady rain (usually in the first 10 days of October) to put down seed.  

Rain is forecasted for after Saturday (thank god, we need it!) and tomorrow we seed! This all sounds very productive, but when you have a 2 acre LAWN, it’s a major undertaking every fall. We do it all ourselves, too. After we put seed down, we don't cut it until next spring.

Okay, on to soap, shall we?

First, necessity is the mother of invention. I ran out of my favorite body butter from Trader Joe’s and that means I need more. I’ve been wanting to make a real, body butter and have all the ingredients, so I guess this is now a priority.

Need to make body butter!
I made some amazing-smelling “Cinnamon Bun” soap a few weeks ago. It was originally something else, but I didn’t like how it turned out and cut the tops off. So, I just piped some white soap on top and renamed it!

"Cinnamon Bun" cold processed soap
Been making Halloween skull bath bombs w/blood-red embeds. These are so fun to make and are even more fun in the bathtub!

Every day I'm hustlin'
My pride-and-joy lately is my “Anti-Itch Jewelweed Soap” and salve. I finally got around to making a batch of jewelweed soap using jewelweed-infused olive oil and jewelweed tea. I scented one batch with tea tree and peppermint essential oil, and the other with lavender and lemon. This is not meant to be an "all over/body" soap. It's meant to be used on breakouts of poison ivy, psoriasis, eczema, etc.

Jewelweed Soap and Salve
That salve is worth its weight in gold because it works! I’ve been a life-long sufferer of the occasional flare-up of psoriasis or eczema and I put this salve on an itchy spot that I’ve had for a very long time. It’s been 2 weeks, and it’s almost completely healed and no itch! And this is after 2-3 years of dealing with this same spot with hydro-cortisone cream that didn't work. It’s made with jewelweed-infused olive oil, beeswax, tea tree essential oil and peppermint essential oil.

I can't wait for that soap to finish curing so I can share these amazing goodies with friends who also suffer from psoriasis and eczema.  I have a feeling I will be making A LOT more of this next summer!

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