Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Tablescape

 Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Before Christmas decorating begins, I wanted to share with our Thanksgiving tablescape with you.
Mr. DIY brought me a colorful Fall bouquet and I used those colors to inspire my table.






Thursday, November 20, 2014

Take Time Now- A Lesson From the Season of Fall



I grew up in Southern California and lived there for  most of my adult life and never really experienced Fall. We barely had any change in the seasons. With the exception of some cooler days in Winter and a few rainy days a year, most days it were sunny and warm. You could pretty much go hiking or go for a bike ride or go to the beach most days of the year. 

That's not the case in North Carolina since we have four distinct seasons. It's COLD in the Winter and some years we might even get snow. Summer, on the other hand, is really hot and humid. 

seize the day, fall colors, mountain road


After living with four seasons a couple of years, Fall taught me a very important lesson. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Making Lavender Soap

For many years, Mr. DIY  said he wanted to make soap.  I'm not sure why, but he did.

A while back, he finally made some.


After watching a lot of Youtube videos and finding a recipe on Pinterest, Mr. DIY ordered some supplies that he needed and gathered some out of our pantry.






If you make soap according to how he made his, do so at your own risk as some parts of the soap making process can be dangerous.


Here's are the instructions for how he made the soap:
Mr. DIY's Awesome Soap
         16 oz. Coconut Oil
         16 oz. Palm Oil
         13.5 oz. Olive Oil
        16 oz. Distilled Water
         6.5 oz Lye

         1 oz. Lavender Essential Oil - optional

    1) I measured all of the ingredients by WEIGHT, not volume. 


I then mixed the Palm, Coconut and Olive oils together after measuring, in a stainless steel pot and heated it to about 100-110 degrees then set aside. 


2) Only distilled water should be used. City water often contains chlorine which can chemically alter the way  soap saponifies and it may not set up.
I put the water in another stainless pot (do not use aluminum as the lye will eat through it fast) and while stirring with a wire wisk, I poured in the dry lye, and mixed until it dissolved. Wear gloves and safety glasses. A caustic solution splashed in your eyes can blind you. When lye is added to the water, it will immediately get to 180 degrees in a second, and the fumes are hard to breathe, so I do that part outside. It takes maybe 20-30 minutes to cool down to 100-110. DO NOT ADD WATER TO THE LYE. It will react violently.




3) Once both oils and lye solution are at 100-110, I added them together. I used a stick blender to mix them and blended them until they got to the “trace” point, which is when it thickens. Once it was like pudding, I added  lavender essential oil. If  the lavender is added  before trace, it can do weird things and not set up properly. 









I lined my wooden mold with waxed paper.



4) I poured the soap mixture into the mold, then let it sit overnight to harden. 


The next day I took it out of the mold and sliced it into bars. 

Soap with lye in it must sit/cure for several weeks to allow the pH to drop and the saponification process to complete. The soap will continue to harden as time goes by and a couple more weeks will make the soap lather a lot more. 




Aren't they pretty? They smell so good too!


Mr. DIY has now made 3 batches of soap and has plans to make more. I highly doubt I will ever have to buy soap again. His next batches will be coconut mint and a rose soap. Can't wait!
Is there anything you've always wanted to make, but you just never get around to it?
Would love to hear about it.


Pam




Monday, November 3, 2014

A Simple Mountain Cottage Bedroom




The downstairs bedroom at the Mountain Cottage has come a long way. It's not 100% finished yet, but it's starting to come together nicely. 
mountain cottage bedroom






The room was really dark with the country blue wallpapered walls and frilly ruffled curtains covering most of the windows. If you'd like to see what steps we went through to get that wallpaper off the wall, you can see it HERE.  



The vintage ladder holds Mr. DIY's sarape. 


After taking several weekends to paint the closet doors,  they were finally installed in the opening. It's amazing how much bigger the room feels now. Before, the doors were stained a dark brown. 


We moved the little vintage cabinet into the corner. A little lamp was initially put on top, but it didn't look quite right. We plan to put a small flat screen inside the cabinet. 
mountain cottage bedroom


I found two of these night stands on Wayfair.com. They were a great price and two of them will fit on either side of a queen size bed on this small wall, but it will be tight. I'm thinking of painting them a slate gray.
The rug is a new addition and I love how it makes the room feel a little more cozy. I ordered the rug from Rugs USA.com

Even though this bedroom is small, it will eventually get a queen size bed. We aren't quite ready for guests yet, since most of the Mountain Cottage is still a construction zone, so for now, a twin will do. 



The lamp with the blue lamp shade looks better on the vintage cabinet.  In my last post, I showed you how we fixed the inside of the cabinet and replaced a missing piece. You can see it HERE.


Mr. DIY couldn't resist changing up the vintage ladder vignette and making it his own. 
lol. Looks more like the wild, wild west with the sarape and rifle. 
Slowly things are getting checked off the list. Still need to make a trip to Ikea for some curtains and I think I have the perfect artwork for above the bed.  
Hope your week is off to a good start!



PS: I found the little cabinet and ladder at Kiki's Kottage in Pineville, NC
Pam

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