Soap-istry. Cleanliness is next to craziness.

I’ve been itching to do new things for months! One thing I’ve decided to give a go to is making soap. Yep, soap. Not the lye soap Granny Clampett made out next to the cement pond. I want to make some quality artisnal soaps.

So far I have made three different soaps: Castile, Coconut and Olive Oil, and Goat Milk #1.

I’ve had many of the things I need to make soap for a long time. I’ve been inching my way to it. My fear, like many others, is using the lye. That’s some nasty stuff until the saponification process is complete.

After reading up on several methods, so far I’ve preferred the hot process of making soap. It’s faster and you don’t have to focus on temperature as much. And honestly, I get impatient in the beginning of new projects and if I can’t get some decent result early I won’t move on to something more difficult.

The Castile soap doesn’t lather. That’s just the nature of that particular soap. It is very mild, even good for children. I’m not sure I feel clean after I use it.

Freshly poured Castile.

Soaps with coconut oil will lather, so I split a recipe 50/50 olive and coconut. It does lather nicely, but it seems to dry my hands out. Maybe it isn’t the soap, since my arms don’t feel dry.

Half olive oil half coconut.

The goat milk soap. Well, it isn’t ready to test yet. It didn’t set up like the other soaps, so I am wondering if it will turn out at all. I adapted another recipe to make it and it is possible I can’t do that. When it’s ready I’ll let you know.

Everyday Upcycle Facebook book launch this Friday.

I am VERY excited to share that I am hosting an online book launch for my new book Everyday Upcycle: 15 projects using everyday items.

Do you have mounds of items you know could make great things? Are you scrapped for cash and looking for easy ways to make gifts? Does your desire for unique decorating ideas clash with available cash in your wallet? In Everyday Upcycle: 15 projects using everyday items you will learn to make fun and environmentally friendly decorations and gifts.

I share quick and easy crafting ideas using materials found in almost every home. I encourage readers to take advantage of what they have instead of buying new from big-box stores.

In this slim volume you will learn:

  • Turn children’s pants into flowerpot bottoms
  • Mark your plants with flatware
  • Salvage broken mini-blinds
  • Help a little seamstress

You know that jelly jar has more life in it. If you are looking for ways to reduce waste but need ideas and instruction, with 13 full color images this is the book for you.

There is no need to register for the online launch, but if you’d like you can using this link: Free Ticket. Registering for your Free Ticket will give you an opportunity to win a free copy of the book.

Get your questions ready! I will try a live stream through the event page.

So wish me well!

New book on-the-way: Everyday Upcycle

Everyday Upcycle

Most of you know I write a column on upcycling for Two-Lane Livin‘. I started in 2015, sharing many of the ideas I had, along with improvements on things I learned elsewhere. I cobbled together 15 of my projects into a small book titled Everyday Upcycle; 15 projects from everyday items. It will be available through Amazon and Kindle.  I hope to have it ready by October 1.

In the slim volume you will learn:

  • Turn children’s pants into flowerpot bottoms
  • Mark your plants with flatware
  • Salvage broken mini-blinds
  • Help a little seamstress

You know that jelly jar has more life in it. If you are looking for ways to reduce waste but need ideas and instruction, with 13 full color images this is the book for you.

 

If you are interested in reviewing the book, shoot me an email.

 

everyday upcycle book cover

Tea for Tweets – Upcycle Teacups and Saucers

With spring upon us, it is time to inspect the outdoor equipment. For me, that equipment revolves around gardening tools for flower beds, roses, a small garden spot, and this year bird feeders. I now have a beautiful crab-apple tree and two lovely dogwood trees. They deserve a little better than plastic feeders.

This may be one of the easiest upcycle projects yet. You need:

  • Teacup with nice handle,
  • Saucer (can match or not),
  • Old spoon, fork, or knife,
  • Adhesive,
  • Painter’s tape,
  • Length of chain, wire, or ribbon for hanging,
  • Strong wire cutters or bolt cutters, and
  • Drill with a small (1/4 inch or so) metal drilling bit.

With the saucer on a flat surface, balance the cup on its side, handle up, to determine the best placement. Notice the areas where the cup and saucer meet. This is where you will apply the adhesive. Tear four strips of painter’s tape. These strips are to hold the cup in place while the adhesive dries. Apply the adhesive where the cup touches the saucer then gently apply the tape to hold the cup in place.

Cut the spoon handle from the spoon. Use the drill to create a hole at the top of the handle. This hole will be the point where your chain, wire, or ribbon is placed to hang the feeder. Using the wire cutters or pliers, twist the handle so the decorative side faces the cup opening. After the adhesive is completely dry, usually 24 hours, thread the handle through the cup and pinch closed using the wire cutters or pliers.

Hang with your length of chain, wire, or ribbon and fill with your choice of bird seed.

This is another fun way to upcycle chipped, unmatched, cups and saucers. I have one hanging off my back porch. I put it there last spring and it is still hanging. I can’t wait to see how beautiful the trees are in full bloom with these darling feeders dangling from the limbs.

Mr. Holstein and I recently purchased a two-story home built in 1922. We are remodeling the kitchen and bathroom, but giving the rest of the house a flavor of its nearly 100 year old history. This gives me an opportunity to create new upcycle projects to share with you.

There are several original to the home door hardware with metal or glass doorknobs. Most are covered with paint, but I will be removing it. I hope to share some of the remodeling and refurbishing challenges.

IMG_6327

If there is a particular project you’d like help with, email me at robinholstein@gmail.com  Put “Everyday Upcycle” in the subject line so I don’t delete it by accident.

Robin’s Upcycle is located in Kanawha County, WV. Open by appointment. Phone 304-460-5NEW (5639). For info, visit facebook.com/robinsupcycle or email robinholstein@gmail.com