Friday, July 29, 2011

Commentary and Art Together in a Music Video


I love this song.  Yoav is so original. 

This video is a bit visually challenging. 

Would love to hear your comments. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What does an eagle sound like?

If I may engage in a bit of anthropomorphism, by their visage eagles seem serious, angry, and harsh.

To be blunt, they look really pissed off.  To look at them, I imagine they are plotting some revenge...out flying around with a score to out!

We have bald eagles all over here on the island and I usually see them every day.  Before I moved to Alaska, I imagined that these majestic large predatory birds must have a screech that signals impending death...a sound like we might imagine comes from an ancient teradactyl.  Or at least like a hawk:

But no.  I was totally wrong.  Eagles do not sound majestic nor dangerous nor even masculine.  Eagles surprisingly sound like girly birds chattering at some coffee klatch:

They woke me up the other morning with all their incessant squeaking and chattering.  I thought to myself that many people probably aren't aware of the silly sound they make, so decided to share. 

 Did you know?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Voices as Ethereal Instruments (aka Ear Candy)

Take a listen to this!  Oh my!  So amazing....especially towards the middle where the mix of voices grow.

This lends itself to being listened to loudly on headphones.
I would say if you like Enya and that type of music, you are in for a treat!  Take a listen to Alice by the Cocteau Twins.

Haunting and lovely. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Blonde in Shadows

This is by my friend, Myrna Rooker who lives here in Ketchikan.  Myrna worked for me in a construction office years ago.  She was such a fun, original person...I truly enjoyed her company.  However, it was sometime after she had left that job that I ran across this sketch and was blown away!  I had no idea that Myrna was hiding such talent!  I love the look in this woman's eyes.  

Thanks for allowing me to post, Myrna!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Backyard

My backyard looked so lovely this weekend, I just had to share.  My husband wants to get the weedeater out and mow all the grass down, but I love the wild meadow feel of it.  We own that little patch of forest that the path leads to...but unfortunately we will be cutting most of it down to build a small one bedroom cottage.  Sorry beautiful fairy forest.  :(

However, I really am not so sad about it as having both the house and the cottage to rent out will help fund our sailing!   Woot Woot!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Soapmaking Part 3

Step 5:
Make Ye the Soap

Once your temperatures are correct (or close), return the pot of fat to the stove, but do not turn on.  Slowly pour the lye mixture into the fat stirring gently until fully mixed.  The soap mixture should turn opaque. 

Now it is time to stir!  You can stir briskly by hand for about 20 to 30 minutes, or use a stick blender for about 15 minutes.  When using the stick blender, just turn it on occasionally and run for about 30 seconds.  Then use the stick blender in the off position as a spoon to stir the rest of the time.  

The tricky part is knowing when the soap is done.  You look for the consistency.  You want to add the essential oil when the mixture "traces".  Tracing means that when you pull the spoon across the mixture, it leaves a trace on the top for a moment.  My mixture this time actually was a bit over-stirred.  Usually you are going for a consistency kind of like honey.  Here is mine that is more like pudding: 

However, it still turns into soap.  Just add your essential oils and stir until blended.  I used spearmint, bergamot, and tea tree in this batch.  Then pour into your mold. 

Cover immediately and wrap with towels or blankets to keep warm for 48 to a week. 

After 48 hours, remove blankets and cover and let air out for about another week or two.  When you first remove the lid, it will be smelly.  The smell of the fats dissipates over time.

After 2 - 3 weeks, the soap is ready to cut.  I don't like to wait any longer as it continues to harden and becomes harder to cut.  Pop it out of the mold and slice with a sharp knife.  If you want precision cuts, you can use a miter box.

Set the bars of soap in a container to dry for at least a month.  I like my soap best when it has seasoned for three or more months.  It loses the last trace of fatty scent and becomes harder and dryer so that it doesn't disappear so fast in the shower.

Here is a wonderful website where I got my recipe and much information. 

 I know this whole process sounds very involved but, now that I know what I am doing, it only takes about 2 hours and provides enough soap for my husband and I for about 3 months.  Well worth  it knowing that we are not only saving a little cash but we are no longer bathing ourselves in unknown chemicals. 

I hope someone out there catches the soapmaking fever from this!  Happy Soaping!

Soapmaking Part 2

Step 3:
Mix the Lye

Now we come to the somewhat hazardous part of the process: working with the lye.  Lye is an element derived from wood ash.  It will burn you and you do not want to inhale it.

You will need a container to weigh the lye in (glass or stainless steel...if you use any porous material such as plastic or wood, you will need to mark it as for soapmaking only so it doesn't find its way back into your food preparation items.  If you use glass of stainless steel, the lye will rinse off fully and you can again use these items in the kitchen.) 

I use a large beer mug. 

I usually do this part outdoors because of fumes.  Gather the following and head outside:

5 cups very cold water in a medium saucepan
Wooden soapmaking spoon
Container to measure lye
Long dishwashing gloves

First, put the beer mug (or whatever you are using) on the scale empty and either hit tare to zero the scale out or add the weight of your beer mug/container to the 13 oz of lye you need. 

Next, PUT ON YOUR GLOVES.  Some people also use safety glasses, but I think that is a bit overboard. 

Pour the lye into the beer mug/container until the scale reads 13 oz (or the mug weight plus 13 oz if you didn't tare the mug). 

Now slowly pour the lye into the cold water and stir gently.  Avoid inhaling the fumes...I always stand upwind of it as I add and stir.  The mixture will get slightly bubbly and cloudy for awhile.  Stir until fully dissolved.  The temperature of the mixture will shoot up and become quite hot.  After a few minutes, the mixture will turn clear and the fumes will stop.  Take everything back inside.

It is very important that you always add the lye to the water, not the water to the lye. 

Step 4:
Temperature Control

Now, you have your pan of melted fat and your pan of lye.  Here is where your handy thermometer comes into play!  You need to bring the temperatures down before combining them.   You will want the fat to be about 105 degrees F and the lye to be about 83 degrees F. 

To achieve this, you can either wait until they cool or put them in an ice bath for a bit.  The ice baths will bring the temps down fast, so keep an eye on them.

Soapmaking Part 1

Finally, I took the time to take pics of my soapmaking!  Following is the recipe and full instructions. 

Please bear in mind that I make utilitarian soap.  You certainly can take the basic recipe and add all kinds of bells and whistles and come up with a more "boutique" soap. 

However, I have constant comments on this basic recipe being a great soap for body and face.  It isn't as harsh as commercial soaps and so doesn't dry you out so much.  

First, before we get to the recipe, I wanted to show you that this IS A REAL SOAP.  When you look at the recipe, you might think "Ick!  That can't make a real soap.  It must be greasy!"  Not true at all.  It lathers and washes just like commercial soap.  Here is the tupperware I use as a soap mold when I was rinsing out the excess soap.  See?  Regular lather!     

Basic Soap Recipe & Instructions

First, here is the equipment you will need...or something similar:

Large stainless steel or ceramic coated stock pot (soap-making pot)
Other large stock pot
Medium saucepan
Large tupperware tub
Stick blender (or 1 strong arm for stirring)
Wooden spoon (mark it for soapmaking only)
Pair long dishwashing gloves
13 oz Lye
6 lbs fat
5 cups cold water
1/3 to 3/4 oz essential oils

Step 1:
Prepare your fat

 You will want to know the weight of your empty stock pot so that you can determine when you have enough fat in it.  Mine weighs 17 oz (1 lb 1 oz).

You will need 6 lbs of fat.  I usually just save my cooking fat (bacon grease, fat from frying meats, fat from boiling ribs to bbq).  I save it all in a coffee can in the frig until I am ready to make soap.  This time, I didn't have much saved up, so I supplemented with lard purchased from the store.  You can also get fat from the butcher and rend it yourself.  

So, to prepare your fat, put it in one of the stock pots and melt on the stove.  Then pour from one stock pot to another through the strainer, back and forth, to remove any food particles.  When you finish, the fat should all be in your soap-making pot.

Next, set your soapmaking pot on the scale.  If your pot is hot, you will probably need to put a potholder between the pot and scale.  If so, weigh the potholder first. 

Add lard or other fats (pure coconut oil, olive oil, etc.) to the pot until you reach the desired weight:

6 lbs fat
+ weight of stock pot (1 lb 1 oz)
+ weight of potholder (mine is 2 oz)
= 7 lbs 3 oz (yours will vary of course!)

Finally, melt your fat over low to medium heat until it is clear.

Step 2:
Prepare your container

I use this tupperware container because I can easily bend the sides to get the soap out later.  However, I also put a very light coating of fat on it to help it not stick. 

Natural Living Humor

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...