The Life and Projects of An Avid Hobbyist

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mission Possible: Fresh-Baked Bread

I am considering challenging myself to not buy store bought bread for (at least) the month...maybe after the summer.  But, before things really heated, I made some cinnamon rolls..Yummy. ~ksp



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Playing with Vodka

Late last year, I was scanning the blogosphere (as I am wont to do) and I came across Joy the Baker's blog post here about making your own vanilla extract.  I was intrigued.  I am a HUGE fan of vanilla and the vanilla bean and it never dawned on me that I could make my own extract.

So I began sourcing high quality extract grade beans.  I found Vanilla Products USA on ebay here where I purchased a couple of small bundles of extract grade vanilla.  I closely followed the tutorial here and found some lonely vodka on my bar.

It is not necessary to use high quality vodka like the Ketel One (above)...honest, I used what was on hand.  


After several months of submission, I found amber glass jars and bottle wax to seal the deal.


I put personal message on the waterproof labels scored at  I also put a small vanilla bean in the jar so vodka can be added to it for lifetime use.


One of the possible bu-products is vanilla sugar.  Never to waste a good product, I made some by covering the beans in sugar.


I've used some in peach cobbler and baking items...even on oatmeal and grits (an acquired taste). ~ksp

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mind Your Beeswax

Earlier in the year I was surveying blog land and I came across this post from 3191 Miles Apart for a home-made wood conditioner.  I have several beloved new and old wood kitchen products that are near and dear to me like my cutting board, my long-handled spoons and a few wood tools (e.g. the ice pick).

So, to protect them, I got out the double boiler and got to work.  I followed the recipe which is simply one part beeswax to one part mineral oil....and easy peasy...

1lb brick of unrefined beeswax
I bought some unrefined beeswax in bricks from a vendor on ebay.  I do not recommend bricks of this size.  First, if you need anything less than a full pound, it's a #@@! to cut into smaller pieces.  Also, it takes a while for it to melt completely due to its size.  My future purchases were made at GloryBee Foods in the unrefined, cosmetic grade beeswax.used a quart mason jars to simultaneously mix the hindsight, not the best choice.  They were very difficult to handle, once hot. 

I went to the Container Store and got some hermetic jars to hold my newest wood alixir.
Finished product in these jars

Wood Butter...ready to be gifted and pressed into service in the kitchen. ~ksp

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Little Things

I repotted my house plants that had long overgrown their pots...satisfaction. ~ksp

Snake plant on office window sill.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Test Your TV Knowledge-A Contest

I am not a fan of party games...but as the Hostess with the Most-est...the baby shower called for games and I had to deliver.  Of course, since I am so particular, I created my own games.

This game is to list the TV mother with their TV show.  For example:
Samantha Stephens/Bewitched
Just for it is for your participation.  We'll do this using the honor system, you cannot use the internet (e.g. google) or a partner to complete the list.  The entrant with the most correct answers win a prize from the fiber stash.

Using a numbered list, report the character's name followed by the name of the TV show. The contest will close at midnight EST on June 18, 2011.

Have fun. ~ksp

Friday, June 10, 2011

Butter Me Up!

I am a planner at when it comes to throwing a party, the planning comes naturally.

As I metioned earlier, my BFF and her husband are expecting as as part of my "Best Aunite in the World" duties, I hosted not one, but two baby showers.

The colors for the party were pink and yellow and the theme was "Walk in the Sunshine"**. We worked baby footprints (like the ones below)into some of the elements...although the ones we used are pink and carried the shower theme into favors.

I scoured several sources to get decent body butter/cream recipes. I had a few criteria.  I wanted to use all natural ingredients.  Natural to the point that you could eat it with no ill effects.  I also wanted products with citrus scents and I wanted something practical that would be used.

I started with some unrefined cosmetic grade beeswax and added equal proportions of shea butter mineral oil.  I also added citrus essential oil.

Melting solids in a double boiler.
The ingredients in a liquid state
Wand-mixing while the ingredients cooled

I wanted more of a whipped texture and so I whipped out the handy wand mixer.  It took forever, because it cooled very slowly.

Amber PET jars from here.
The finished result....
Body Butter

It was added to the bag (below) with other bath-related items including: a bath scrunchie, a duck-shaped pumice stone, some product samples and a made-by-me bath bomb.

Favor Bag

Everyone loved the party and the food and the favors and most of all the honoree...can't wait to become an auntie. ~ksp

** We call her "Sunshine" because of her constant bright and sunshiny disposition...NOT!