Blender Approved Hot Process Soap – I made soap, now what? Prt 3 of a 4prt series

Hot Process Soap with Blender Instructions

Pouring lye/liquid solution into the fats/oils pot

Pouring lye/liquid solution into the fats/oils pot

You have poured your lye mixture into your fats/oils pot and started stirring. You can continue stirring for and hour to 2 days sometimes if you want to go the cold process way, but if you want to speed things up a bit, break out your handy dandy stick blender.

You can use a regular blender. I did, but I also melted the rubber sealing ring inside. A regular blender doesn’t really cut if for big batches anyway.

I also got my stick blender from, yet again, the thrift store. You can get a pretty pink one  at  http://www.brambleberry.com/Perfect-Pink-Stick-Blender-P5245.aspx  along  with other handy soap making products.

If you look up how to make soap with a blender you will see almost all the instructions say you don’t have to worry about the lye/liquid mixture or the fat/oils mixture temperature when using a blender to reach trace. I finally read one that said “just make sure the lye has cooled down. Wow!

I do NOT trust that method and I am NOT recommending it either! Do your job. Get both the mixtures to the temperature it calls for pouring in the recipe. No need to be lazy and possibly cause separation.

BLENDER SOAP INSTRUCTIONS

So, you’ve poured the lye/liquid into the fat/oils pot.

  • Stir for about 5 min to mix well.

Now you will either pour the contents of your soap pot into your blender, or have that wonderful stick blender ready. You are trying to get your soap to trace. Trace is when the soap has thickened up enough to see a ‘trace’ pattern of something swirled or tapped onto the surface of the mixture.

  • Submerge your stick blender into the mixture and swirl away. DO NOT let the stick blender come out of the mixture or you will spray caustic soap all over you and the surrounding area. This is NOT good!
Blending to trace

Blending to trace

  • If using a regular blender, blend for a minute or two then check the consistency, never going over a minute at a time before checking to get to trace. REMEMBER the lid!!!

It is almost impossible to get to trace hand stirring. I’ve stirred for up to three hours before and hardly got anything. I’ve heard that some recipes could take up to two days to trace. I do not have that kind of time, and doubt you do as well. That is why I was so excited when I discovered blender soap!

It took MAYBE three minutes total to get this particular recipe to trace. THAT’S IT! I couldn’t believe my eyes the first time I did this! I had never really seen trace before. Well, there it is.

That ring you see near the center is what trace looks like. A slight puckering of the mixture when tapped with the stick blender.

That ring you see near the center is what trace looks like. A slight puckering of the mixture when tapped with the stick blender.

The more you make, the more you will become familiar with the texture you are after. I like to stop at a thin trace. The hot processing will thicken your soap up even more and will be harder to mold so just be careful.

You can ‘over blend’ as well, whipping in more air bubbles, and voila, floating soap!

Some things to remember when blending your soap

  • It is still CAUSTIC and will burn you
  • Make sure your stick blender is completely submerged or you will get flying caustic soap everywhere
  • Wear you protective eyewear!!!
  • Make sure the lid is on the blender or you will, again, get a caustic explosion
  • Make sure the lye is at a cooled temperature (as per recipe) before pouring into the fats
  • SUBMERGE your stick blender completely! (I know I’ve said this already, it just bears repeating)!
  • Learn the stages of trace and incorporate them into your own particular style of soap making.

When you hit TRACE, move on to the next step Hot Processing!

http://www.brambleberry.com/Perfect-Pink-Stick-Blender-P5245.aspx

HOT PROCESS SOAP METHODS

Hot processing soap is basically ‘cooking’ your soap mixture to remove the caustic nature of the lye. It is the way to go in my opinion. I don’t really have the time, nor want to wait 4-6 weeks to use my soap! With Hot Processing you can use it as soon as it hardens up.

There are several methods of Hot Processing your soap.

I have only used the double boiler method. I had the extra equipment already (canning pot) so I thought, why not?

There is a high possibility of getting water into your soap, basically ruining it, so you have to be EXTRA careful when transferring the soap pot into the double boiler pot.

*A word of caution: the pot, when half way submerged into the water of the double boiler will sort of float out while you are taking the pot out. When it leaves the water it will ‘all of a sudden’ get kind of heavy. Be expecting the weight shift. DONT DROP IT BACK INTO THE WATER! Water will splash everywhere, getting into your soap and scalding you in the process.*

I don’t recommend the microwave method but the other methods seem worth a try. You can read more about the process of each on the links provided below. These sites offer a lot for the look. They are some of my favorite for soap making and reading pleasure.

Crock Pot Hot Processing – CPHP –   http://littlehouseinthesuburbs.com/2008/09/making-hot-process-soap-in-crock-pot.html

Oven Method Hot Processing – OMHP – http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/cold-process-soap/hot-process-series-oven-process-layers/

Double Boiler Hot Processing – DBHP – http://sumpena.wordpress.com/2007/03/14/double-boiler-hot-process-soap-making-method-dbhp-and-oven-hot-process-soap-making-method-ohp/

Microwave Method Hot Processing – MMHP –  http://www.greatcakessoapworks.com/handmade-soap-blog/index.php/how-to-make-hot-process-soap-in-the-microwave/

DBHP

Make sure you have only enough water in the canning pot to come half way up the soap pot when you have it placed in the double boiler. If you’re doing this for the first time and are not sure how much you will need, you should fill up the canner pot with water before making soap and place the empty soap pot in it, on the canner basket or lids, like you would if you were double boiling soap already, and measure the amount of water you will need in the canner pot. It shouldnt not come any higher than half way up the soap pot.

  • Have the canning pot water at a low boil with the lid on
  • Make sure you have something on the bottom of the pot to keep the soap pot off the bottom of the double boiler (canning lids or the canning basket that came with the water bath canner will work wonderfully.
  • When soap is at trace put a tightly fitted lid on your soap pot.
  • Uncover the boiling water,
  • Using hot pad or gloves, carefully lower the soap pot into the boiling water. DONT DROP IT or water will splash into your soap pot. Not good! If this happens, grab a dry towel to soak up the water off the closed soap pot lid before it seeps into your soap.
  • Re-cover the canner with its lid. – You now have your lidded soap pot inside the canner with its lid on.

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Soap pot inside double boiler

Soap pot inside double boiler

That’s it. Keep the canner pot at a low boil with the lid on for 1 hour.

Don’t Peek!!! I know its hard, but there is seriously nothing to see. If you must, wait at least 30 minutes and do it quickly!

  • After an hour you can turn off the heat and remove your soap pot CAREFULLY from the double boiler.

MOLDING YOUR SOAP

  • Remember to lay a blanket or newspaper under your molds when pouring to avoid a mess!
  • Grease your molds. Use vegetable shortening to coat your molds for easier unmolding.
Grease your mold with vegetable shortening or olive oil

Grease your mold with vegetable shortening or olive oil

  • Before you remove your soap pot from the double boiler have all your additives and molds ready.
Pre-melt all solid additives and mix in any liquid additives together

Pre-melt all solid additives and mix in any liquid additives together

  • Mix in whatever herbs, exfoliants, moisturizers, or scents you are using quickly before the soap cools too much and becomes impossible to mold
  • The soap will most likely be the consistency of thick applesauce and you will probably have to glop the mixture into the mold.

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Remember the tap tap method for removing air bubbles.

  • Tap the mold on the floor or counter top several times during pouring to remove air bubbles and settle the soap.
  • Let dry one to two days.

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UNMOLDING YOUR SOAP

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Since all molds are different I can only tell you the problems I have encountered and how to best go about preparing your molds and general things about unmolding.

– Always Always grease your molds!

– You can place your molds in the freezer for several hours and that will shrink your soap just enough to provide easier removal.

– Having a flat scraping device can really help separate stubborn soap from the mold.

– Scrape up all the leftover soap on the mold or from shaving the soap down and ball up to form another piece of soap. It isn’t pretty but its useful!

I’ve seen beautiful hand molded soaps. Mine just do not come out that pretty. Have you ever heard the saying “why that/he/she is uglier than a bar of home-made soap!” Well, that’s where it came from 😉

I hope someone gives this a try. If you do PLEASE let me know! I love to talk about soap (not really write about it though, lol). It’s hard to find another soap maker. Feel free to ask any questions as well. Like I said before, I think I am better at making soap than writing about it!

 

Hot Process Soap – Straight and Simple Prt 2 of a 4 prt series- The Making~

The Making

Sounds like a horror movie huh? I actually love that Tyler Durden made soap in the movie Fight Club. Fight-Club-Soap-soap-19341078-450-284

Interesting concept, using human fat. Disgusting, but as a soap maker, I’m truly left to wonder…

I make soap all the time but it seems to be like pulling teeth with me to get this out of my head and written into a workable format. I apparently love to make soap but it doesn’t seem as easy to write about. I knew I would eventually have to do a piece on soap making, so maybe, if I get it all out, I can move on to other things. Therefore, I will work hard to make it a good one. I hope you will walk away after reading this post with a full understanding of how to make ‘old-fashioned lye soap.’

Have all your equipment and ingredients out and ready. Parts of this process is of a timely manner, and you don’t want to be searching for something and let something go to long.

Distilled water not pictured

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You will have TWO process going on at the same time, your lye/liquid mix and the fats/oils mix.

You will work with the lye/liquid mix first

Another word about Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) before we get started:

When you mix the lye (sodium hydroxide) with liquid it gets VERY HOT! Over 200 degrees hot. Hence the precautions in the previous post. Make sure you have NO distractions when working with this solution. It will eat your skin as well as your countertops and floors, or any children/pets under-foot. Take precautions and move deliberately and slowly when handing.

Why is this caustic crap in your soap, (caustic: meaning it will BURN you, haha)? The chemical reaction when mixing the sodium hydroxide/liquid solution with the oils is called saponification. It creates soap! I never claimed to be a chemist so I don’t ask, I just do what it says.

It is in almost every soap, just check the ingredients label. All bar soap that is. Liquid soap is made using potassium hydroxide which lends it to have a syrup-like consistency. It is a whole different process than bar soap, so don’t try interchanging potassium hydroxide with sodium hydroxide because you will not get good results. Here is a good article explaining the difference and preferences in bar v/s liquid soap.

  • You can also see  information about how to make bar soap into liquid soap for super cute dispensers. Bar and liquid soap are made from two entirely different ingredients and melting down bar soap for liquid just doesn’t gel right. You can read more about that here on my website.

Making bar soap using the Cold Process method the caustic quality can remain in your soap for 4 to 6 weeks meaning you can’t use it. What a bummer!

BUT, we’re not using Cold Process! We are using the Hot Process method, which, in the end, removes the caustic, burning quality, adding only an hour to processing time! YAY! You can use your soap!

We are making bar soap, using SODIUM hydroxide just as a reminder!

*THE MAKING*

So, first things first – MIX #1 – Lye/Liquid solution – With Precaution!

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–  Measure your liquid you will be using to dissolve the lye and pour it into the plastic pitcher reserved for soap making only!

  Weigh your sodium hydroxide and slowly pour it into the liquid.

  • Always pour the dry sodium hydroxide into the liquid, not the other way around. It could cause a dangerous reaction the other way around

Sodium Hydroxide  ———————>  Liquid

–  Stir until desolved with the hard plastic spoonDo not hover too closely or breath the fumes it puts off at first.

–  Wait to cool.

  • When first mixed the solution will shoot up to over 200 degrees. We need it to cool down to around 120 degrees before we can use it. Just to note: Every recipe is different with the ideal temperature for that particular recipe.
  • The lye solution cools very slowly! You don’t really need to check the temperature for at least 30 minutes or so.

–  Check temperature after 30 min with glass candy thermometer. Once you get a good reading remove the thermometer from the solution to cool back down for the next temp. check. * Rinse the thermometer after being in the lye/liquid mix and be aware of where you lay it.

–  Check back every 15 min. or so to monitor the decline in temperature. (You can check the temperature whenever you feel like it. These times are just a general guideline for you)

* In the Meantime*

MIX #2 – Fats/Oils mixture

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  • While the lye/liquid solution is cooling go ahead and weigh out your fats and oils called for in the recipe for basic soap. Those should be your ingredients like shortening, olive, and coconut oils.

–  Measure each fat/oil individually and place in your enamel/stainless steel pot on the stove. NO HEAT  YET – we are simply preparing the oils to melt right now.

*Something to think on while your lye/liquid mix is cooling*

ADDITIVES

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You can add things to your soap mixture as mentioned before in the optionall ingredients list of the recipe section of part 1 of this post. To go a little further explaining the process, again we deal with our method of soap making.

  • Cold Process Method means you will be adding the extra things at trace, then simply molding the mixture while still caustic. Additives are added at TRACE
  • Hot Process Method allows you to double boil the caustic nature out of the soap lending a gentler base for your additives. Additives are added after DOUBLE BOILING

Some people believe adding things like milk or herbs when soap is still caustic, as in the cold process method, can burn or harm the additives. It is really a matter of opinion, but the hot process method insures your additives will be safe.

Also remember if you add anything fresh, such as vegetable/fruit  juice or pulp you will also need to add a preservative. Here http://www.soap-making-essentials.com/preservatives-in-soap.html is a good article about preservatives in soap.

Here are some links to give you an idea of the countless ways to give your soap a boost and create your very own signature soap, custom designed by you, to suit your own personal senses and needs.

*BACK TO MAKING SOAP*

When your lye/liquid solution is about half way to the magic 120 degree pouring mark you will start to melt your fats/oils mix.

Turn on the burner under your fats/oils pot to a low to medium low temperature. The idea is to melt them slowly so no bubbling of hot oils. Stir with your wooden or hard plastic spoon.

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When it is all melted together turn off the burner

Let cool.

Check temperature with the other glass candy thermometer periodically as the oils cool. You are trying to get at that magic 120 degree mark, just like the lye/liquid mix.

NOW STARTS THE JUGGLE!

You need both your lye/liquid mixture and your fats/oils mixture to both be at 120 degrees before combining the two (as per THIS recipe). The oils cool more quickly than the lye, which is why you start the lye solution first.

It is better to try to juggle the fat/oils mixture on the stove than to juggle the dangerous and toxic lye/liquid solution.

  • You can always re-heat the fats/oils pot
  • Have a shallow cold-water bath with ice cubes in your sink to quickly cool the fats/oils pot if needed. (do not let the fats/oils pot float or take on water)

You don’t want to put the lye/liquid pitcher into the cold-water bath, but, I have put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes, and only when it is very near the 120 degree mark. I don’t know for sure but I don’t think cooling your lye solution to quickly would be a good idea for the whole time. But to juggle with the temps right around pour time is ok. Just don’t let anyone near the fridge while you are doing this!!!

You can’t really re-heat the lye though, except maybe in a hot-water bath, but that is not recommended. Do all the juggling with the fats/oils mixture while the lye/liquid solution temperature is dropping towards 120 degrees.

WHEN YOU REACH MAGIC 120 for both mixtures

Pour the lye/liquid mix SLOWLY from the pitcher into the fats/oils mix  pot on the stove, burner OFF.

The lye/liquid solution is brown because I used coffee as my liquid

The lye/liquid solution is brown because I used coffee as my liquid

STIR STIR STIR. I suggest stirring for a good five minutes to ensure a thorough mix.

You are done! Just kidding! No you’re not! BUT, if you were making soap the cold process, old-fashioned way this would be the last step before hours of stirring .

Ain’t nobody got time for that! Well, I take that back, I have done this, and it is a really good experience, but only once or twice. That is a lot of stirring!

I’m taking you on a much quicker, more modern way to getting your soap out of the mold and onto your skin, which is the hot process method. The next steps we will be taking are

  • Blending
  • Preparing your molds and additives
  • Double Boiling (hot processing)

I regret to inform you though, I feel that two of these steps deserve their own separate posts. I will tell you about preparing your molds and adding your additives in the Double Boiling/Hot Processing post.

To continue making your soap please see the future Blender Soap posts and Double Boiling/Hot Processing Soap posts that I will link to this page when they are published.

If you want to continue to make your soap without using the Blender Soap method or the Hot Processing method you can!

Continue to stir for an hour or more until you get to trace. That is the indention on the mixture when tapped with an object. I have never achieved a good trace hand stirring, but when I just plain got tired of stirring (after two hours) I went ahead and mixed in my additives and poured the soap into its mold. It turned out just fine.

– If you do this, please remember the mixture is still caustic and will burn you even after you un-mold it. It will take 4-6 weeks curing time to lose the caustic quality.

Please let me know if you have any questions so far. I am excited to talk with anyone about making soap. Please remember to share this article with your friends and family. Until next time…

Hot Process Hand Milled Soap – Straight and Simple prt 1 of a 4 prt series – Getting It Together

Getting It Together

So ya wanna make soap?

soapsoap

Ok, I’m going to try to break it down for you.  It really is too much for one post so, I give you part I now. Take the time in between to gather your supplies. I will publish part II as my next week’s post. It is an involved and lengthy process so I hope you have the time and the patience. It is well worth it in the end, I promise you that.

 

 

  • A Little History: Making soap goes back to the cave men days when they would wash their clothes near volcanic ash, and I guess, on days the water was extra hot, and there was animal fat in the ‘clothes’ (skins) they would get bubbles and noticeably cleaner clothes.

Voila, soap!

See, ash can become lye, a major ingredient in soap formally known as Sodium Hydroxide.

A word about Lye:

You used to be able to buy pure Sodium Hydroxide in the grocery store aisle by the name of Red Devil Lye. It was used as a very effective drain opener. I’m pretty sure thanks to bomb making and meth making it can no longer be sold over the counter. Now you have to order it. The website I use is WONDERFUL! They sell any and everything soap making. Check out aaa-chemicals.com . Just know, it is highly corrosive!!! When working with lye it is a good idea to: use rubber gloves, maybe goggles or glasses, and newspaper to protect your counter tops. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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Soapmaking is a time-honored tradition and necessity. The pioneers of America did it. England has its fine triple-milled soaps, but either way, the cave man did it first! It is a skill worth learning, and if you’re like me, you will fall in love with it.

I’m going to try to break the steps down for you and simply as I can. Just follow along with me and by the end of this, you should have your own, custom made hand-milled soap!

How do you make soap? A quick explaination:

There are two ways to make soap besides the melt and pour glycerin soap you can buy at your craft store.

  • Cold Process: Making the soap all the way to trace, mixing additives, then molding, still caustic.

(The advantages of Cold Process are, they are easier to work with when re-milling (to make double and triple milled soaps) and they are usually a harder bar. The draw backs? It takes about 6 weeks to cure (release all causticness of the lye). I’m impatient. 6 weeks is a long time)!

  • Hot process: Making the soap all the way to trace, then double boiling it for 1hr, then mix additives, then mold, caustic-free.

(The advantages of Hot Process are, the double boiling removes all caustic-ness from the soap, allowing you to use it as soon as it dries.  The draw backs are it takes more equipment (the canning pot), and it adds about an 1 1/2 hours to the process time. Still, I like to use my soaps immediately).

We will be using the Hot Process method.

So!

Gather your equipment . You will need:

  • A Plastic Pitcher: for mixing the lye and liquid. Get one that holds at least 3-4 cups of liquid. I like the hard plastic of tupperware.
  • Scales: digital are best, but I still use my dial scales. They were the first set I bought not knowing if I would love soap or not. They have not failed me yet!
  • A Large Enamel/Stainless Steal Pot: for melting the fats/oils. Make sure it is big enough to hold the fats plus the lye mixture comfortably and also small enough to fit down into a water bath canner. I just use an old stew pot.  will still fit inside a cold-water bath canner pot. I like enamel mixing with lye more than I like metal. DO NOT USE ALUMINUM!
  • Two Glass Candy Thermometers: get solid glass, not the kind with the cap on the top. Water can get into these when cleaning.
  • Two Long Plastic or Wooden Spoons: I like plastic
  • Extra Large Water Bath Canning Pot: preferably with the basket, or use some canning rings to hold the lg enamel/stainless steel pot off the bottom.
  • Some kind of Mold. It can be hard plastic, pvc pipe, wood, etc. Anything but aluminum or something hard to release the soap from the mold. They sell special molds for soap making. I got the hub to build the one you see here out of wood and a couple of long screws. The sides release from the mold, allowing for easy removal of the soap. I have two and that is enough for me and my family.

optional

  • Blender or Stick Blender: unless you have an extra hour or three.
  • Rubber Gloves, Goggles, and Newspaper: unless you’re hard-headed like me and forgo the precautions! Just be really careful when dealing with the lye!

I got all of my equipment from the thrift store up the road and  Wal-Mart, except for the canner pot. That was my moms that I lovingly inherited.

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Now for the most anticipated recipe and list of ingredients to gather:

Basic Soap Recipe

  • 6 oz Coconut Oil
  • 6 oz Olive Oil (the non-virgin kind)
  • 5 oz of Vegetable Shortening (try to get the kind that is made from only one oil, although mine is cottonseed oil and soy bean oil)  this only matters if you’re being creative and using the lye to fat ratio online calculator.
  • 2.6 oz Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
  • 1 cup Distilled Water
Distilled water not pictured

Distilled water not pictured

optional additives

  • scented oils (essential or made for soap)
  • colorants
  • extra moisture
  • exfoliants or herbs

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Ok, so that’s the end of part 1. Please let me know if I have maybe left something out. I’ve been doing this for about six years and I may intend to say something, but actually only say it in my head and not on the instructions. Don’t judge me! 🙂 I will have the rest for you next week, I promise! So go check out your local thrift stores and order some Sodium Hydroxide and I will see you all next week!

Pallets Pallets Pallets

The lowly pallet is born to do a simple but strenuous job, support freight. Its wood is strong to hold up to the task. It was not meant for much more than this. But, in the right hands, and with a little imagination, the pallet can become practically anything you may want or need! It is truly amazing the transformations in which a pallet can assume. Pinterest has helped spread the word and has made refurbishing pallets into everyone’s favorite way to recycle.

One can do just about anything with these ever adaptable, and quite serviceable hunks of wood. From wine racks to lounge chairs, the list seems to never end. It is fun to see all the new ways people reinvent the pallet. There are hundreds of sites out there for inspiration or come up with something of your very own.

Although all pallets are basically the same, they do have subtle differences in their structure. If you want to use your pallet for any type of flooring or seating purposes, a good suggestion is to choose ones with the slats nailed very close together. palletnewOther factors to consider are the color (new wood or aged wood), or if any slats are missing or broken. The pallet can also be dis-assembled and salvaged for large blocks of wood or individual slats for making signs.

This coat  rack is made using a structurally un-altered, open slat pallet. Although it is missing three slats and is chipped at the top, it was decided, fits the design and lended character to the piece. We polished it up with a little sanding, wood stain, and polyurethane, added some coat hooks, and a line from an old Irish blessing. A plank was added to the bottom to form a handy little cubby for gloves and such. It is waiting to be hung in our foyer.coat rack

Although this rough-hewn stair step is currently being used as a shoe rack, it was originally built to be covered with carpet and used by our little dog as help onto the bed. It is made of pieces of the same pallet, and the slats are closer together. Some pallets have hardly any space at all between the slats and make good deck floors or adirondike type chairs.

 

This plant stand is constructed of whole, open slat pallets, and pieces of other pallets. It turned out wonderfully. I have received a lot of compliments on it, and it was absolutely free except for the nails and paint.  What more could one ask for!Pallet

Here it is nicely accomidating all of my potted plants that normally live outside during the summer months. They are all neatly in one place so I may easily water and care for them, which unfortunately rarely happens!palletplant

WHERE TO GET YOUR PALLET:

Where might one obtain pallets? A quick search on Craigslist in the “free” catagory can get you started. Simply stopping and asking is another way to get your hands on some nice ones. Don’t bother asking the big chain stores. They usually turn them back in to their vendors or use them for their own shipping purposes. I found mine through a Craigslist search. They were at a construction site.  They had hundreds and were giving them away for free! I snagged a whole truck load!

An interesting observation: palletflagThis picture is pinned onto my Crafty Ideas board on Pinterest. It has garnered more re-pins than anything else on any of my boards.  I have pinned similar things just to see if it was the patriotic theme, but no other has received as much attention as this one, and significantly so! What is so special about it? I have no idea! It is a nice picture and it does link to a cornucopia of diy craft ideas. I personally have not made on yet, but I more than likely will. And, to have a little fun with research and sociology,  I will take a picture of it,  pin it onto Pinterest, and continue the study. I will most certainly update my findings.

What a fun way to add tons of functional pieces to your home! I hope I have inspired someone to go take on a pallet project. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Have fun and let me know what you come up with!

No more weeds! Seriously!

I can’t sing the praises enough of raised bed gardening. I began using this method two years ago. I had previously planted in-ground. I would break out the tiller, run extensive watering systems, and fight the weeds every year for about five years. I had had  enough.  Although, I will admit I am a lazy weed puller. My garden was taken over, year after year.

Planting in a raised bed allowed me to incorporate a little deterrent. I didn’t want to afford a couple rolls of plastic, so I researched and found the wet newspaper method. I couldn’t lose. It was free (I had some old ones already), and easy, (just put down before you add dirt), and less envasive to my back yard!

It workded! It worked like a charm! I had ‘practically’ no weeds return. And what did, I could definately keep up with.  Its better than plastic, as it will absorb back into the ground, leaving your garden pest free. It actually kills them I think. After a year I was pretty sure the newspaper had disintegrated back into the ground, yet hardly any weeds grew back! Truly, a miracle!
I turned my soil over a week ago, and as I did, I re-papered it. It worked so well last year I couldn’t resist seeing what another coat would do. But this time, I checked with my local newspaper for old copies, hopefully free. Although they did not have old copies, they did have end rolls of blank paper for $3 a roll. Free to schools I think! Check with yours! I did a bed and some container tires with one roll of it. I will be going back for more! This stuff would also be great for banners and posters too!With my little helper. The roll of newspaper is to the lower left corner            IMG_0300

With my little helper. The roll of newspaper is in the lower left

Gardening is so much more pleasant without the weeds. I highly recommend this method.  As my back yard used to be a cow pasture, I don’t have grass, I have weeds! I am looking forward to this planting season, with my new raised beds of tires (they have such a large planting area when you cut the sides out), and NO WEEDS!!! Can I get a whoooo hoooo! 🙂 Carry on!

Live well/Play hard