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Friday, February 24, 2017

A Few Things

I've just got a few things to share this week starting with my STRONG desire to see the end of this winter! REALLY tired of the cold and wet. *sigh* Ok, enough complaining.

We're spending this weekend putting up crown molding in the kitchen as the painters will hopefully be starting next week.

I decided on the Pumice color (middle color) from Miller Paint for the walls.

The trim will be Patti's Pearl (top row second from the left) also from Miller Paint.

Last weekend we made our annual winter trip to Astoria, Oregon for the Festival of the Dark Arts. As usual, it did not disappoint.

There were plenty of people in costume, some really good ones too!

There was also some nice art including this ice sculpture.


The beer, of course, was awesome if you didn't mind being served by ghouls! Next year, we plan on going after 6 pm however, as the crowds seem to really thin out. It's really crowded right when they open at 2.

On our trip home we saw this herd of elk by the roadway. We scared them off when we stopped to take photos though.

Monday is 'Pizza Day' around here and we usually (just about always) make a pepperoni and mushroom pizza. This week for a change we really mixed it up and made this goat cheese, pear, and caramelized onion pizza. I used my homemade pizza dough recipe and added a little arugula as well. It was a big hit and will definitely get some more playing time!

I finally broke down and bought a Pressure Cooker this week. I've had it on my Amazon Wish List for years but never pulled the plug on it. Now, I'm really excited to try this recipe as well as cook dried beans in 45 minutes! CRAZY!

I've been using my new Honey Hopped Soap lately and am loving it! I'm so happy with the scent, the cassia essential oil really held through the soap making process and smells wonderful. Pick up a few bars while they last!


Friday, February 17, 2017

Kitchen Change Of Mind

It's been over three months since I shared my thoughts on doing a small kitchen overhaul. I haven't forgot about it, I've just been stewing over it and I'm glad I did!

I began my kitchen overhaul over a year ago in my head. I thought I'd redo my counter tops, put in a tile back splash and repaint. However, when I verbalized my ideas Jeff pointed out the obvious, that my counter tops were perfectly fine and I just put in a kitchen floor that matched them. I then decided I'd repaint and add some wallpaper to one wall. I'm usually not a fan of wallpaper but there are some real interesting ones now that don't even look like wallpaper.

That's where I left it back in October, I was working up the energy to tackle wallpapering and painting. Then I started looking at Pinterest again...and, well, I've changed my mind a little.

I'm not going to wallpaper and I'm not going to paint. Maybe I should say, I'm not going to wallpaper and someone else is going to paint because that's really what I mean.

Painting the kitchen at my house isn't a big deal but you can't just paint the kitchen. There's a curved wall from the kitchen to the hallway so you need to paint the hallway too and there are SEVEN doors in the hallway! That's why I needed to work up the energy for three months!

When I've painted in there before I've been lazy and just painted all the woodwork and walls and ceiling the same color to avoid cutting in. I didn't want to do that this time; I wanted it to look a little more...professional.

So Tuesday I had two painters come over to work up bids to paint the kitchen and hallway.

Because of my travels through Pinterest I decided I'm going to add some crown molding above and on the kitchen soffit so it's not such an eyesore, similar to this. We're going to do that work ourself as Jeff has a table saw and I have my dad's nail gun and power tools are better than paint brushes!

I've also changed my mind on the colors. I'm going to paint the walls a light greige (Thank you Pinterest! I never even knew that was a color let alone a word before!) and the ceiling and woodwork white. Similar to this.

This color will bring out the gray in my cabinets without washing them out and still be neutral enough to not fight the yellow floor and the brick red counter tops. Well, that's the hope at least.

Here's what the final color scheme will be (roughly, the greige will be a little more grey than beige).

Ironically and completely unplanned, it's almost the same colors as Ed and Olive! DOH!
So, that's where I'm leaving it for now, we've got to install some molding and schedule the painters. Suddenly, this feels a lot more doable in my mind.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Closet, Organized!

My son has a lot of clothes. He swears he wears them all but I have my doubts. Regardless, he has a pretty small closet so I got the great idea to help him organize it! He was thrilled (not really)!

Here's what we started with.

At one point, in an effort to organize the closet, I picked up these metal racks for his shoes at Ikea.  When your shoes are a size 12 they probably aren't worth installing since only 5 pair fit on them.

This time we were going to do better! I ordered this closet organizer from Amazon.



It sat in the basement for a few weeks before we got the courage and time to tackle installing it. Last Saturday we finally blocked out a few hours and did it! *Worth it*

To begin with, we removed everything from the closet including the metal Ikea racks.

No, we didn't paint the closet and no we didn't even patch any screw holes. It's a closet and it will be packed with clothes so *not worth it*.

We then followed the instructions (yes, you read that right, we followed the instructions) and put the tower together first. Once together, we secured the tower to the wall with the L-brackets that came in the box.

Next we installed the rods. The kit comes with three rods so we put two to the right of the tower and one to the left.

Lastly, we put the clothes back in!

The new arrangement now holds all his clothing. Before, his jeans were thrown on the couch. If you scroll to the before pictures you'll notice there are no jeans in the picture.

Every now and then I peak into his room just to look at the beauty of an organized (although crammed) closet!

This little project took Alec and I about 3 hours start to finish and that included a break to call a plumber because the shower backed up (another story).

Moral of this story: If you've got a closet that needs some TLC, I'd recommend setting aside a few hours and installing this organizer!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Facebook Store Opened For Business!

For all those Facebook users out there, Lora's Beauty's Facebook store is now opened for business!

All the great products and prices you see on Lora's Beauty website are now available on Facebook including the new Honey Hopped Goats' Milk Soap.

While you're there (and logged in, this is Facebook), go ahead and give us a 'like'!

If you don't have a Facebook account, don't worry, continue to use the website. Facebook users will be directed to the website for checkout as well.

Lora's Beauty, an affordable luxury and now on Facebook!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Does Your Soap Have Lye In It?

I'm asked this question a lot; does your soap have lye in it? The answer is quite simple; no. Now if the question is, do you use lye to make your soap? Well the answer to that is yes.

By definition, soap is made with lye. If you're cleaning your body with something that didn't start out with lye, then your not using soap. Most likely, you're using detergent and it was probably made with petroleum ingredients.

The making of soap is a centuries old technique that involves combining a base (lye; aka sodium hydroxide) with an acid (the fatty acids in oils). The chemical term for the reaction of these chemicals is called saponification.

As is the case in chemical reactions, and how they differ from just mixing ingredients together (like in cooking), what you start with isn't what you end up with.

Through the process of saponification, our original base and acid yields soap and glycerin. That's right, glycerin, the ingredient that is added to most body detergents, forms naturally in soap.

Because the process of making soap literally is centuries old and well defined, the FDA doesn't require ingredient labels for soap (as of this writing). Most soap makers, however, are proud of the ingredients they use in their soaps and choose to list the ingredients.

The way in which ingredients are labelled, since not regulated, varies. Soap makers have choosen to label products by what they "put into the pot" or by what "comes out of the pot".

Most consumers who don't know the chemical process of saponification (and seriously, if you're not in high school chemistry class, why would you?) would be concerned if they saw the word 'lye' or 'sodium hydroxide' on an ingredient label for a handmade product.

For this reason a lot of soaps are labelled by "what comes out of the pot". The problem with this is you don't know what amount of glycerin, water, and unsaponified oils remain.

Therefore, going forward, Lora's Beauty has decided to provide both sets of ingredients on our website. You will now see "what goes in the pot" (starting ingredients) and the final product, after saponification, which is saponified oils of olive, coconut, soybean, cocoa butter, and shea butter, glycerin, water, healing herbs, and tantalizing essential oils.

Paper labels due to space, will show "what comes out of the pot"; what touches your skin.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Honey Hopped Soap

What with the long weekend, a week of snow days, and a couple days of freezing rain, I was able to find the time to make a new soap I've been wanting to make for a while now.

Honey Hopped Soap is made with dried Cascade hops brewed as a tea then used in place of goats' milk in my soap recipe.

Cascade hops are the most widely used hops by craft brewers.  They have a flowery, spicy, citrus-like scent and are rich in alpha acids. Alpha acids are commonly used in skincare products for skin rejuvenation.

Used as a shampoo, brewed hops are wonderful for your hair, fighting dandruff and adding extra shine.

I added honey to this soap to provide additional moisturizing benefits. The soap is then scented with lemongrass and cassia essential oils. This is the first soap I've used cassia essential oil in and I really hope it holds the scent! It's a beautiful, warm, citrus scent and when added with the lemongrass, the soap smells like a citrus beer on a warm summer day. I also believe it's the cassia essential oil that created the lovely orange-pink color of the soap.

For appearances I added a dried hop to each bar. You'll want to remove it when you shower as it's just decoration.

A couple bars of Honey Hopped Soap and you'll have your soap and shampoo covered!

Look for it in the online store in a few weeks.

Speaking of the online store, the Lavender Meringue Goats' Milk Soap has been restocked and is now available.




Friday, January 13, 2017

The Making of a Nightlight

So apparently cockatiels have night frights. We found this out early one morning about 2 am when we heard the flapping of wings and the pitter patter of bird feet frantically emerging from Ed and Olive's birdcage. It took about 30 minutes to calm them down and as we didn't want to deal with that again, we did a little research to find ways to alleviate the problem.

One of the ways was quite simple; just like toddlers, cockatiels don't like the pitch dark and many people recommended putting a nightlight by the bird cage.

Oddly enough (well maybe not that odd. Ok, yes, probably odd) I went through this nightlight making period about 5 or 7 years ago. To make a long story short, it all started with these cool lampshades I saw in a store close to my house. As is usually the case, when I said I really liked them, Jeff commented about how easy they would be to make. I believed him, but knowing my limitations as an artist, I figured I'd start small and try the technique with nightlights.

I made a couple nightlights at the time. This one, I made for my sister and was my favorite. Remember, I said I wasn't an artist. Let's just call it 'folk-art' and I mean no offense to real folk-art.

Anyway, these are relatively easy to make and inexpensive. Even better, someone a little more arty than me could make a really nice one.

So, because Ed and Olive need a night light, and I still have some supplies left from my nightlight making phase, I'll detail how to make one and maybe someone out there will take the idea and run!

You will need the following supplies:

To begin with, if you're starting with a cheap nightlight like this, remove the plastic cover and throw it away.


Now, use your aluminum wire and wrap it around the base of the light. The wire will be used to create the form of your nightlight, in my case I'm making a bird, of course.

Using the wire, create your form.

Next, glue the tissue paper to the wire using small drops of glue. You don't need a lot of glue as the dope will be a little adhesive.

I used clothes pins to help hold the tissue paper in place while the glue dries.

Unlike the picture, it's best to pull the tissue paper as tight as possible this will give your nightlight fewer wrinkles.

Now, using a spray bottle, gently spray the tissue paper with water. This makes the tissue paper shrink and tighten even more.

After the paper is completely dry, use the dope and paint brush and gently brush it all over the tissue paper, front and back. You'll want at least two coats of dope on the tissue paper.

After the first coat of dope and while it's still wet, I use more tissue paper to create the design on my night light. In this case, the bird needs a face and beak. The dope will hold the new tissue paper in place and there's no need to use anymore glue.

After the first coat of dope is dry, I apply a second coat. Once dry, the dope makes the tissue paper stiff.

It only takes about 15 minutes for the dope to dry. Also, you'll want to make sure you use it in a well ventilated area as it has a powerful smell.

Once dry, your nightlight is finished!

Here's hoping this helps ward off the night frights for Ed and Olive!