3/28/16

The Ghost Spin Swirl



I’ve been haunted by Clara Lindberg’s Ghost Swirl since the first time I read her post—and especially since my own failed attempt.

I’ve also been obsessed with Spin Swirls, so I thought I’d combine the two and see what happened.

I think my first attempt at the Ghost Swirl failed because I used frozen beer as my lye water and couldn’t let the soap gel. This time no beer, no scent. Just a naked batch at very cool temps to keep everything liquid.

I split the batch into two equal parts before adding the lye solution—one with a water reduction. In hindsight, I should’ve done three parts and had more interest, but I wanted to keep things simple.

I then poured soap from one batch in three different spot of my slab mold for a count of two, then poured three more spots from the second batch and poured a second layer with second batch on the first set of spots. Like a faux funnel.

I did this for a few rounds and gave my mold a little spin clockwise, stopped abruptly, another longer spin clockwise, stop, counter clockwise stop and so on.

It was hard to see the difference in the two batches at that point. The magical color change hadn’t happened, but I popped it the oven (pre-heated to 170, then turned off) and when I peeked an hour later, sure enough—the ghost was emerging.

It has a sort of punk rock elegance to itperhaps I conjured the ghost of Joey Ramone. Does that at least make me a Soap Witch in Training?


3/6/16

Free and Easy Newspaper Seedling Pots



I didn’t hoard toilet paper rolls this winter, so I decided to make newspaper pots for my seedlings instead. They’re super easy—although a bit tedious. I recommend listening to an audiobook like Agatha Christie’s Sparkling Cyanide while you make them.

All you need is newspaper, a pair of scissors and a short-necked bottle the size of the pots you want to make. I used an essential oil bottle.

Here's how to do it:


First, cut your newspaper into strips about an inch
or so wider than your desired pot height.
Use double wide sheets.

Next, take a strip and fold one side up
about half an inch and crease it.
Then unfold it.

Now place your bottle on the strip, 
leaving about an inch of newspaper from 
the bottom of the bottle and the neck 
just past the crease you made. 

Roll the bottle all the way to the end.

With the neck of the bottle on a hard surface, 
fold in sides to make the bottom of the pot.

Remove the bottle and fold over the end 
along the crease to form a rim.

Turn the pot upside down and 
tuck one of the flaps into the pot. 
This will make the pot stand 
up better and be more stable.

Fill your pots with soil and plant your seeds. 


I upcycled my used wooden coffee stirrers as markers making my total cost of the project: $0. Leaving me more money for seeds.

When your seedlings are ready to be planted, just dig a hole and put the whole pot into the ground. The newspaper will break down quite quickly.

2/21/16

Linear Spin Swirl



I’ve been fascinated  by Spin Swirls since I saw R.O.C. Taiwan’s video on YouTube—which I believe was the first Spin Swirl ever. 

But I wanted to try something other than pouring the soap batter into the corners. And I wanted to use natural colorants. And I wanted it to be simple for my first time.

This—my Linear Spin Swirl—fits all of the above criteria.

I made a one pound batch, stick blended it to a very light trace and added a slurry of olive oil infused with powdered lemongrass and nettle to half.
  
Next I drew out lines in the bottom of my 6” Silicone Slab Mold from Bramble Berry. Please forgive the bad photo.



It was a very thin layer, but I figured a thinner layer would allow more movement. I spun it around a bit on a lazy Susan, poured a few more lines into areas that had spread out too much, spun it some more, tapped out the air bubbles and tucked it in the oven to force gel. And again, sorry about the bad photo with the camera strap.



I had a bunch of soap batter left, so I did the same thing with my 4" Loaf Mold, but treated it as a slab mold and got two cute dizzy-up-the-girl bars.



The bars from the slab mold are almost too thin to use—but I might embed them into another batch. I like the kinda zebra/wood grain patterns I got.

I’m going to try some other Spin Swirl variations now that I have this one under my belt. I just love the idea of movement.


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