Finally! An EASY Muffin Recipe for ME!

We sometimes find ourselves staring down a banana past its prime. No longer pretty or desirable they get tossed, some put them on the freezer added to the mental note of baking them into something…someday.

This week two bananas have taunted me. Every time I passed the fruit bowl they silently mocked and seem to liquify before my eyes while throwing shade and over ripe banana scent to intimidate me.

I binge watch YouTube. Vlogs,documentaries and crafty videos are my jam. A while back I fell down the YouTube rabbit hole and landed on a channel called Bigger Bolder Baking. Gemma Stafford, the host intrigued me with her videos that showed how easy it is to bake with clever tips, hints and tricks. Some of her recipes have one base batter or dough that allow additives for several different tastes from one batch. That is soooo bueno!

I’ve studied Gemma’s “One Dough, Endless Possibilities” muffin video and this morning I put it to the test.

I started with the ingredients list on her Bigger Bolder Baking website. You can sign up to receive free email updates on her latest recipes.

Here I have the dry and wet ingredients ready to have a fine howdy doo meeting.

I was pleased to find how easy the batter came together and looked like the batter from her video. Yay!

Even though I used the same amount of ingredients per the recipe, I think using 3 ripe (2 of them overly ripe)bananas and 2/3 cup of walnuts & pepitas May have increased the amount of batter.

With the first batch cooling, claiming success, I lined the tin with baking paper to avoid having to wash the tin, before spooning in the remaining batter. I decided to go bolderūüėÄ with the leftover batter adding raisins and peanut butter to some of the cups.

I am happy with the end result and look forward to playing with this recipe in the future. Wilty bananas beware!

Thanks again to Gemma Stafford of www.BiggerBolderBaking.com for making cooking FUN!

Katsy

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Mini Drop Swirl Soap Challenge Sept 2018

September brings fall in all its glory and the soap challenge has returned. This month the technique we’re going for is the mini drop swirl or the advanced mini suspended drops swirl.

To allow for play time with the required squeeze bottles I knew I had to change up my recipe with larger amount of soft oils. The batter needed to stay fluid longer to lay the strips of soap just beneath the surface and gently on top of the soap batter.

Here in photos shows my try at the advanced mini drop swirl technique.

My recipe was 37.50% olive, 31.25% sunflower, 18.75% coconut and 12.50% Shea butter. I use the full amount of water suggested for this batch and scented with burbon geranium and rosemary essential oils.

This soap took 2 days to saponify and slid out of the mold like a greased egg!

Here are some of he cut bars.

The colors remind me of fire balls raining from dark skies. So I’ve named this soap Fiery Night Skies.

This was my first try at the mini drop swirl. My 2nd try was a mini drop fail but a nice swirly soap nonetheless.

The second batch turned to soap stone practically, right before my eyes. I did the best I could using a spoon and chopstick to move and mix the thick colorful soap batter around in the mold.

Here is the end result.

This batch over heated as is evident. Notice the bars with cracks in the top. The recipe was different allowing for larger percentage of hard oils, plus I added sodium lactate to help the batter stay loose longer. I think the culprit might have been the kaolin clay I added to the lye water in effort to achieve a lighter color soap base. This batch is scented with bourbon geranium, basil and grapefruit essential oils.

Good soap crafting time was well spent!

Let me know what you think and Thank you for reading my blog.

The Qrafty Qomic

I Can Dance If I Want To

And…boy howdy if I didn’t find myself doing some fancy footwork in effort to keep up during¬†this challenge. There is no shuffle off to buffalo time when trying to get this soap in the mold using squeeze bottles. ¬†It was more stick and move, stick and move, shake shake shake, HURRRRRRYYYYYY!

I decided to go the natural route as I drew my outline for this soap challenge picking  oils and colorants. My base oils I went with Sunflower, Grapeseed, Sweet Almond oil, Coconut oil and some lemon butter as a super fat. I knew I was using lemongrass essential oil as my major scent for this challenge and the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea of doing my soapy impression of a busy bee.  Here is what I imagined as sketched and colored in my idea book.

dancing funnel recipe etc

My notebook played a part in deciding how to go about brining this funnel pour technique to life.

saffron

My Saffon trial. On the right saffron in olive oil for over a week. Did not pull color. On the right saffron in water for 10 minutes…

colorants natural

colorants used tumeric, kaolin and activated charcoal

 

dancing funnel eo's

scent used lemongrass, 5X orange essential oil, ylang ylang essential oil and tumeric essential oil.

My base oils percentage wise were about 25% hard oils to 75% soft oils. I factored this equation to allow as much funnel pour time as possible.

sun heated base oils

I decided to harness sun power to heat my base oils while waiting for my lye water to cool.

dancing funnel

Squeeze bottles filled and ready to rock n roll.

The middle squeeze bottle contains soap batter colored with tumeric essential oil as well as saffron and ground tumeric. The dark bottle is colored with activated charcoal. The white, kaolin clay.

dancing funnel poured soap

Busy Bee Funnel Pour ready for a sun sapononap!

This the end result after all the squeezing was done. Well actually I ran out of black just in the nic of time.I had lots of orange and a bit of white batter left over which was poured into a small log mold.

I sat the slab out in the sun covered with saran wrap and was pleasantly surprised to see that the sun had done what a 170 degree oven would do…for FREE! Yeah baby!!! I have sun cpopped before but forgot how fun it can be. The soap was cooled and solid by nightfall. Both slab and log released easily from the molds. Of course the ole school soaper that I am had to tongue test for zap, just because and was rewarded with the no zap but the lovely taste of lemongrass, yeck! The ole soaper in me also decided to lather test and was rewarded with amazing lather. The bars will be shelved for the appropriate cure time but it super nice to know I GOTS SUDS!

I sliced the slab into four healthy sized bars that smell incredible. I am hoping with fingers crossed that the kaolin clay does it’s job in anchoring all the citrus EO’s I used in this batch.

Here is how my batch turned out. My friend and soap pal extraordinaire Durty Gurl Flare just whipped up her own rendition of a soap beveler planer. I plan to sneak over and spiffy these bars with said planer. It’s good to have talented friends in crafty places! Thanks for reading my try at eco friendly Sun Cpopped Dancing Funnel Busy Bee Soap!

dancing funnel soap bars

It’s All About the Pipe, Baby!

This month’s Amy Warden soap challenge involved the word pipe which caught my attention pretty darned fast. I couldn’t imagine how a lead pipe might be involved in soap crafting. Since 1999 when after much research at the library(didn’t have the convenience of google or internet much back then) I attempted my first batch of soap which ended with success…but I digress.

So one of the things about soaping is you, me and whomever it be, cannot make “real soap” without ¬†the addition of lye aka sodium hydroxide if’n you wanna get all persnickety, smile. Lye is corrosive and does not play fair with most metals except for stainless steel. So I soap in safe thick plastic buckets or my ceramic lined crockpot that is dedicated to my soap crafting hot process batches.

See why the word pipe  had me sitting in the lap of wonder with a big ole tiara decked with dancing question marks circling my head? Hardy Ha Ha and HA!

I signed up for the challenge because this one spoke to me like a …well, like a lead pipe!

A gander at the links provided shed light like dawn on a fresh new day. I thought to myself as I watched the fun “Oh yeah, this ones for me”. Sometime later, off I skipped, ahem okay I drove but in my head I was skipping, to the hardware store to buy little round doohickey thingies from the plumbing section. They are made of strong plastic and are indeed pipe shaped. My pan which is from BB&B was a lined textured drawer bin. It cost under $5.00 and was an impulse purchase after getting my mitts on the pipes!

pipe swirl mold set up july 2016

With my basic recipe I am ready to pipe play.

 

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Traced soap split into 4 cups colored and ready to begin pour

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I liked the pipe pouring play. It takes focus and careful speed.

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Pulling of the pipes was interesting. I was crossed my fingers hoping I didn’t accidentally drop a pipe back onto the soap.

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I found the skewer action quite fun!

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Super busy with upcoming holiday activities this soap was in the mold for several days. The log was poured from leftover soap batter in the cups.

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A few days after releasing from the mold the bars were cut and trimmed. They smell incredible. I made a blend of essential oils using lavender 40/42, lemongrass, 10 fold orange and a pass of the pot with eucalyptus.

When all was said done and done this batch is one I’m happy with. Though still curing I have had non-soapcrafter folks sniff and ooh la la this soap. The blend in this batch makes the bars smell like ¬†sweet summertime. ¬†Perhaps that is what I’ll name it. Thanks for reading along. I welcome your comments.

Pipe swirl soap trimming

I’m functional that way.

Those who know me know how fond I am of functional art. ¬†I enjoy creating and gifting functional art in textiles. Paper art is cool but I LOVES me some textiles. ¬†When I get to craft I have my eye set on creating a piece where I can see the definite end on the horizon. I borrow the term SWF which I learned when I first began booking commercials and television roles back in the day, thanks Humana, Dallas and Knots Landing! ¬†SWF on a daily production call sheet stands for start, work, finish. In the entertainment industry this is where the union day player actor enters…stage right! ¬†Commercials for the most part were usually day player roles. ¬†You get in, hit your mark, say your lines it’s a wrap. Go home and wait for the residuals cha-ching!

So yes, I borrow the term SWF and keep it in mind as sort of a mantra ¬†as I plan my next crafting session. My goal being to finish what I start as soon as possible to keep it from becoming an addition to the dreaded sack of UFO’s (Unfinished objects)

Now, when I book a gig, acting, stand up etc., I am pleased as punch, realizing I not only get to work doing what I love but also get to finish the deal with m y own kind of personalized thank you. I remember an episode of Seinfeld where the gang spent a nice chunk of time debating when it was proper to pitch a greeting card in the trash.  That episode comes to mind when I craft and it is why I prefer textiles as my medium.

I recently did a corporate event where I entertained dinner guests before their awards presentation. It was a great evening. Back home I thought about what to send for a thank you card and as usual I wanted it to be cool, quirky, fun, personalized, functional made from textiles and snail mail-able.

I started looking in my stash and that lead me to finally check out my QuiltCon goodie bag I received a few months ago. Looking through it I stumbled upon a charm pack called PAPER OBSESSED by fiber artist Heather Givans for Windham Fabrics. I cracked the cigar band and started giggling as I took a look at all the fun “paper” themed 5 inch charm squares. ¬†There were notebooks, paper airplanes and yellow legal paper and envelopes. All sorts of paper related motifs. The gig I did was for a school so I thought this charm pack would definitely fit the bill.

So I set to work. Oohing and ahhing, picking and choosing from the charm pack.

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These charms made the cut. I placed the top/showy side facing together/back side facing out, lined them up and ironed them. Then fold them over to form a triangle and ironed to make a crease. A light pencil/chalk line or score line down the center point to point would work as well. Because some of the charms are light I decided to iron in the crease.

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I sewed a scant(really scant quarter inch seam on both sides of the crease the cut the charm square on the crease line.

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After setting the seams by ironing them the triangles were then ironed open.

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If I were making a block this is where I would sew the half triangle squares together but these are destined for a postcard so the journey continues with light at the end of the tunnel.

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Now it was time to embellish and for that I let the embroidery dial on my sewing machine have some creative play time. A word to the wise and a tip I keep at handy. Measure twice, cut once…Norm Abrams, This Ole House. Typing each name into the sewing machines embroidery brain takes time and patience and I’ve learned to always run a test beforehand. Happy I got all names correctly spelled. Whew! Here’s a hack tip. A piece of paper towel works great in a pinch as a stabilizer when using the embroidery function.

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Time to add the batting or in this case peltex which is a stiff interfacing which lends stability to the fabric postcard making it sturdy enough to send without an envelope aka “nekkid” through the postal system. Be mindful that extra postage may be required. Usually instead of postcard stamps I use one first class stamp or forever stamp when mailing anywhere in the United States. International rates for a fabric postcards at this time start at $1.15 and could be more depending on the size and thickness of the postcard. For these cards I used double sided iron on peltex which I buy at craft and fabric stores.

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Here is where I embroidered the names and the pic shows a portion of the paper towel I used as a stabilizer.

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This is the backs of the fabric postcards. I used some rubber stamps and wrote Postcard in the area I deemed to be the top. Check USPS regulations for directions on how a postcard should be labeled.

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The finished postcards. Paper Obsessed fabric, rubber stamps, embroidery, personalized fun!

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The postcards are sent through the postal system aka “snail mail” to brighten the mailbox with happy mail for the receiver. ¬†Fabric postcards are not only fun artwork but also great as a rug for your mug or glass or scone, cookie, biscuit or sandwich. Personalized with a nice sentiment it becomes a thoughtful gift and heirloom.

Have fun making these awesome treasures!

 

p.s. You know how that peddle can sometimes slip away from you when you are at the most crucial part of your sewing project? Well this is how I stop the skids. Place a piece of textured drawer liner under the foot peddle and you will be good to go!

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When Suds Lye…

Wasted days and wasted nights!

Those words from Freddy Fenders song rang over and over in my head as I finally got off the soapbox and scooted it out of my way for some soaping therapy play.

Perusing the web I stumbled upon the teardrop video of Sergio Masala a few months ago and talk about eye candy, jumpin’ jehosaphat the soap he created was one masterful artistic cake.

Quel Surpris when Amy Warden announced the May ¬†2016 Monthly Soap challenge would be the teardrop swirl. ¬†Signing up for the challenge I read all the information I could find on this technique and was again surprised to learn the technique had actually been introduced by a soap craft artist known as Sweetly Sweetly Sweetly. Between Amy’s teardrop swirl demo, Sergio’s and Sweetly3 I spent some good time checking out this method. I also found Kevin Devine’s teardrop swirl video on youtube to be helpful.

Following Amy’s advice on the challenge page I wanted to design a recipe that utilized a lesser percentage of hard oils and leave out butters and clays that could possibly excellerate trace.

For my slow moving recipe I designed a 25/75 oils ratio. 25% hard oils to 75% soft oils.  I went with Avocado, Grapeseed, Coconut, Olive and Sunflower oils. My temps for oils and lye water were under 100 degrees.  I used a 33.333% lye concentration with 2 to 1 water to lye ratio.

 

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Let’s get this party started! Oils, Lye water, micas and scent blend ready to rock, roll and soap!

For this session I used  all Mad Oils micas. Wicked, Silverfinblue, 3 Olive martini, Twilight,Phyllis Diller and Tangering. For my scent blend I used 80/15 Lavender 40/42 to Lemongrass essential oil with 5% a mere whiff of the awesomely scented Black Raspberry Vanilla from Brambleberry.

 

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Oils temperature

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33.333% lye concentration. 2 to 1 water to Lye/Sodium Hydroxide ratio. 

I cut up a half a cotton ball size of tussah silk in the lye water and added 1 tsp ppo, to lye water as well.

The hardest part of this method is keeping a steady hand. My first few runs were wobbly. It takes a moment to figure out which direction to start the cups pour. A slow steady hand helps.

 

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After filling the mold I finished by scraping cups onto of soap in horizontal lines then running a chopstick side to side vertically.

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After 24 hour saponanap!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phyllis Diller’s Delight!

How I made this soap