Thursday, 24 July 2008

Ambrosia Soap

I wanted to have a go at making a soap using fresh, organic milk straight from the girls. So I did as I had been instructed to do by a very talented soap maker called Liz and froze the milk first.

I then let it defrost only very slighty so it was slushy and very carefully added the lye to it bit by bit, fully mixing the lye before adding the next bit. So far so good. It didn't go orange or smell like it can sometimes. I then added my lye milk to the oils and brought it to trace. I added a small amount of honey and then poured it into the mould. The mould then went straight into the freezer. I needed to stop this soap from gelling, thus preserving its creamy white colour. Gelled milk soaps can go darker which is still OK as well but I was aiming for creamy white.

Anyway, it looked good and because it didn't gel it remained much softer for longer. I cut it too soon because I am impatient and it wasn't as smooth as it should have been. But I am pleased with it. This soap contains all sorts of goodies like shea butter, castor oil, olive oil etc.

Beautiful if not weird sunset.

Not last night but the night before we had the most strangest sunset. It was as if the clouds were layered and couldn't quite make up their mind how they wanted to look. I've posted a few pictures for ya all to look at.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Strutt Your Stuff

I live just outside of Belper in Derbyshire and apart from Belper being the former home of Thornton's chocolates, Belper is famous for its mill.

The following is a passage from the website.

'Jedediah Strutt began building mills in Belper from 1776. The original North Mill was completed in 1786 but was destroyed by fire in 1803. Its replacement, the present mill, was built in 1804 on the earlier mills foundations by Jedediah's eldest son William Strutt and is one of the oldest surviving example of an industrialised iron framed 'fire-proof' building and is now recognised as one of the most important industrial buildings in the World, and as such, is a central point in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.'

If you want to learn more about this area and its wonderful history then go to

Alport Heights

Just about a mile from where I live there is an area owned by the National Trust called Alport Heights: SK 304 515

This property consists of 9 acres of mainly gorse cover, including small pockets of western gorse. Good bird habitat; species include yellow hammer, linnet, and meadow pipit. Small areas of acidic grassland, dominated by wavy hair grass. Property contains old redundant gritstone quarry, two hardcore car parking areas, with excellent views especially to the south west, where on clear days the Wrekin in Shropshire can be seen.

It really is a stunning view and a photo doesn't really do it justice. Note the graffiti on the top of the stone.

Spirit Dancer

I have a very special friend called Dennis. I can't pronounce his given name so I won't even try. He is a Navajo Native American and a truely wonderful dancer. I met Dennis a few years ago when he was over in the UK doing a tour, we have remained friends since. Anyway, Dennis tours frequently with a group called Blackhawk and dances a dance for them called Spirit Dancer. This is an exceptionally sad song as it was written for a member of the band who died of melanoma. I only have to hear this song and I can see Dennis as plain as day dance to this. So very moving and yes, I cry everytime.

In early 1999 BlackHawk founding member Van Stephenson was diagnosed with melanoma, the most severe form of skin cancer. Before his passing in 2001 his dying wish to Henry and Dave was that the band continue on, saying "there's a lot more music left in BlackHawk."

Go to their website and click on Van's charity link to hear a snippet of this wonderful song.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Hot Rod or Raspberry Ripple

Yesterday I made a soap that was supposed to be a man's soap. The fragrance is masculine but I tried to do flame red swirls. Well it's turned out like a nice raspberry ripple. The problem is it smells like a man's soap - Bay Rum. So it was suggested to me that it is called Hot Rod as the red/pink swirls look a bit like the flames painted on Hot Rod cars. I'm not sure. I think I might send them down to my friend JJ and get her to sell them under the name of Hot Rod at the Gay Pride festival in Brighton.


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