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                        Easter 2008 -  Embracing Easter with Author Deborah Dolen!


How to Make Lotion     Food Color Chart    About Castile Soap Sculpting

Letter from the Editor:       Easter Thoughts and Mother's Day Planning by Deborah Dolen

Making chocolate Easter bunnies and such is the one thing my kids really expect of me Easter of each year.  As most readers know, I am very anti-Paraffin (petrol, mineral oil) and so on.  That wax is used to harden a lot of commercial chocolate.  Then they have to nerve to make it "hallow."   Believe it or not, the best commercial chocolate is the Nestle chips.  Coming in white, dark and milk--this is the best chocolate for your dollar.  Melt in the microwave in 1/2 speed as not to scorch. The best way to handle chocolate is to use small crock pots.  The "warm" setting is enough."  Stir fairly regularly and dip away!

If you can find a good old fashioned rabbit mold, that will be a family heirloom used over the years.   You can even dip peeps in chocolate!  Have a "Peeps" chocolate dipping party.  Use a crock pot at "warm setting."  Dip in white chocolate, dark chocolate and our milk chocolate.  Food color can decorate the white chocolate for cute designs in bright colors.  Since chocolate is oil based, you can also use any of our flavor oils.  Suggested flavor oils?  Raspberry, tangerine, lemon drops, lime, and marshmallow.   This is true for lip balm also, we love mixing tangerine with marshmallow.  It is so good, we end up eating the balm.

Ready to roast "peeps" over your gas stove flame?  We already did!  We use metal skewers meant for the grill or bamboo sticks.  So beyond lots of eggs, buy some rock salt to make bath salts (salt is salt is salt,) because you are going to want some relaxation for the "after math."  Bath salts and lotion are so inexpensive to make, I am making some to "match" the Easter theme over here and give to friends.  I am also making bath fizzy seltzers. Make some mint green bath salts and lotion to hand out for St. Patrick's Day too!  Mine colors will be lavender and mint green for the most part.  Speaking of "Lavender" click my photo at the top of this newsletter for a surprise!  Happy Easter everybody!

Deborah Dolen, Editor in Chief   Mabel White DIY

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Easter Cup Cakes &  Egg Decorating Ideas

Here we bought ready made cup cakes and lots of green frosting to make grass.  The grass does take some time!  While the grass was "drying" we decorated other candies, such as Jordan almonds with more cake decorative icing-in colors such as orange, fuchsia, turquoise and yellow.  Then we topped the grass with a few of our "gems" as well as a few already made decorations we bought from a cake store.  (Some of the icing decorations went over to the bath fizzy making department.)

Mixing vibrant colors is the first most important thing.  A teaspoon of vinegar in each color helps it "take."  Below is a color making chart I designed a few years ago to make color with food dyes handy to most households. 

For design you can tie rubber bands around them and dip.  Little kids can use stickers. Advanced kids can roll away in colored sugar. (You can make your colored sugar too!  Toss sugar with color in zip locks and allow to dry on a tray.)  Those who want to "play it safe" can make polka dots.    We did beautiful colors and then rolled in plain sugar for a "morning dew" look.

Then get ready to eat a lot of funny colored egg salad!

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Color Made Easy: Using Water Based Food Color by D.R. Dolen

This article really covers many spectrums that kids can appreciate as well as adults. With Easter on its way this is even more interesting.  This started out as a vanilla cookie color wheel project developed by a teacher five years ago.  We added an answer key and the actual drops of food color necessary to achieve colors.  This chart was based on the use of 8 ounces of clear or opaque liquid.  It can be used for the cookie color wheel project or hung in your craft area to color shampoos, conditioners, bath bombs, bath salts and body wash to name a few.  Unfortunately, these food color dyes cannot be used in any oil based products such as balm.  Please click here to save the full chart and answer key on your hard drive.  Click the thumbnail of the photo to get a better look.  The same coloration system can be used for bath salts, and bath bombs.

Shabby Chick Easter Eggs: To the left we bought candy coated Jordan almonds and then dyed our eggs to match those. 

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Castile Soap:  Slice it, Stamp it, Shred it, Sculpt it! by Deborah Dolen

Let's start with soap.  Everyone knows I adore the liquid castile and it is used in every area of the home. I will touch back upon that next. Hard form still has its purpose and there are so many things that can be done with it! 

"Unscented hard form castile soap is a material you can never waste, tire of or not use.  You will always use it!  And like a fine wine, it gets better with age.

You can stamp it, shape it, sculpt it, shred it and gain a lot of therapy too!"  You can even make your own laundry detergent with it.

It is a project that can be done with kids, adults or a personal journey.   

The soap is delivered cured, but still semi soft. It cuts like butter.  Within the first few weeks of receipt, you would want to cut it into cute shapes, whether rectangles or cute cubes.  I love the "cube" look-it reminds me of alphabet blocks when we were kids.   They look VERY classy and "different" in the bathroom area. 

    You will then rest your "masterpieces" on top of cabinets or places it will dry out of sight yet still have ventilation.   Trying to stamp them when they are too soft is not a good idea.  However you can shred, mold or sculpt at this point.  You can make snow men and just a ton of neat shapes.  To make snowmen just shred and pack as hard as you can.  I heat my shreds up a tad in the microwave and pack them as hard as I can.  Warm soap will allow for some hard packing not possible with just cold shreds. 
I prefer to stamp though, or to make a mixture of squares and soap balls.  Stamping looks rustic and "real."   Sometimes I stamp the balls too!  Stamping is best when they are 1/2 hard, usually 2 weeks in the air.  This also gives you valuable time to save up for a few soap stamps or embossing pieces. They usually run under $10 each.   Soap stamps are something you can keep for life in a little box.  I like Fleur de Lyses, and a Royal Shell pattern.  The "Bee" is always a classic stamp too.  I dip the stamps into a plate of corn starch so it does not stick to the soap, and the cornstarch gives it an added rustic look bringing out the emboss you choice.  Some people dip in micas.  The more color the better your image will stand out.  You can even dip into gold mica, that makes for a beautiful emboss.  Here are the first balls and blocks I did...click photo to see enlarged detail.

Retailers can offer the basic castile soap for sale and allow customers to "slice their own."  Most importantly, I got the price down on it also.  The Mabel White Company is now the biggest purchaser of bulk soap from Crafters and Farmers across the county.  They are made per our specs, shipped in and milled at our refinery to be uniform.  The program is specifically designed to create jobs and avoid automation while also keeping costs down.  So, a pound of fresh castile soap is $9 not including shipping.  That is $2.25 for an average four ounce bar and retail on that is about $1.50-$2.00 a ounce these days-about $8 retail each.  That is a high quality soap that is vegetable based and has a significant amount of olive oil in the formula.

The soap balls were made with just soap I had laying around, I grouped into complimentary colors, shredded, added a touch water and packed hard. They were mushy and took a good month to dry. But they are so pretty I never use them.  I named these "Calico balls."  I had been slow to post these because I am ever weary of mass commercial grabbing my ideas.  Most sites do not even bother with content because I create markets for what they sell.   Since they did not invest much time, it is easy for them to be "cheaper."  This is the reason I am doing much more in retail and far less in teaching.  Click here to purchase Castile Hard form soap.

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Spring Planting by Deborah Dolen

I am starting Spring early and creating  a whole new herb garden.   Last years herbs tasted "funny" although protected on my lanai. It did not dawn on me until Ringo attended my last day of clipping and lifted his leg.  I totally had to block out how many meals I had with my great "herbs."   

On to a brighter note, what shall we grow?  Well, I use Basil a lot now, preparing pesto once a week. Basil grows like all get out, even in water.  Mints also do this--and can be a hydroponics thing in the kitchen.  Mints are great for fresh tea.  I aim to find a good chocolate mint.  If that don't work, I will "spray" my mint with chocolate extract.  You can bet I will!  I am not sure what that would do to the plant, but I will keep you posted!  Cilantro is my next favorite, it gets used a LOT in my Thai and Mexican dishes.  Chives are always useful and Rosemary and Oregano are runner ups--not used as much.  Mother's Day is coming up and making a big herb pot is always my highlight gift.  You can start now with small plants so the gift is really bushy when you give it.  Sink a big bow into it and hand over!  Make two--you will want to keep one. I may buy my starter herbs from the net because commercial plants get so picked over--and the net offers more variety.  I have not tried these companies, but here is an herb plant company in FL.  Park Seed are also very god customers of ours, so click here for Park Seed.  Speaking of planting, find a space for geraniums.  They seem to bloom year round and we will be doing projects this summer with them. 

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Making "Stuff" by Deborah Dolen

Marshmallow & Tangerine Lip Balm with Shea and Lanolin Oil

Our All Purpose Balm Base is very hard because it is easier to add oil to soften (such as flavor oil) then to add ingredients to harden, and because summer months formulas do require less oil.  Knowing that, I am able to add up to 20% in shea and lanolin oil (mixed) and marshmallow/tangerine flavor oil (mixed) to make an awesome healing and supple lip salve.  This particular formula also did OK in twist tubes also, just hard enough to "take" to the threads. (Photo Below.)

Essential Oils for the Bath

Right now I am using a blend of 75% Bulgarian Lavender to 25% Rosemary Essential Oil in the bain.  These two really help with relaxation and fending off head aches.  I had such head aches all week (just after noon,) I kept Rosemary essential oil right by my PC to smell in.  It did help tremendously.  When I use the Lavender blend in the bath, I put 4 pipette fulls in the bath with lots of salts, or mix this same amount into salts--if I want to color the salts.  For "flu" type feeling I switch to a blend of 75% Eucalyptus 15% camphor and 10% lime essential oils.  Because these are stronger, I use 2 pipette fulls and create a real steamy bath.  It works GREAT.    So, I keep old glass apothecary bottle by the tub with these blends in them.  I use clear glass, colored is more of an old wives tale when it come to EOs.

Functional oils, I just got a hold of some Lanolin oil and I am ecstatic.  I really like lanolin but the sticky goop is hard to clean off after making products, so an oil version is a lot easier to work with.  In case your are curious, Shea oil is also still my favorite carrier oil.  It has all the properties of shea, does make skin as soft as an infants, and  is stable not crystallizing in final products, such as lip balm.  I use it straight up as a bath oil too!

Making bath bombs these days we do use a little Wilton cake decorating color to achieve more vibrant colors when household food dyes are not vibrant enough.  Wilton products are available at most craft centers. 

Easter Bath Baskets  I save the "Easter" grass every year, as a way to "recycle" and my friends do not mind.  They know every event when I give a gift, I grab the wrapping back sooner than they can open it!  Make  a "cubby" zone of you do not already have one, to be a neat little hoarder and blame it on "going green."  Being "organized" does not make you "look" like a pack rat with an OCD.

Anyhoooow, it takes under an hour to make a bunch on neat looking bath bombs.  Fill up a basket with grass and arrange the bombs. Put a big bow on top...everyone loves bath fizzzies!

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Spa Day by Deborah Dolen

This is super easy and not as hard as hard as you may have thought.  GREAT as a Mother's Day activity.  Having some healthy tea and nourishment items may be the only area that needs pre-planning.  Buy some fresh flowers to lay around!  Drop rose petals all over the floor or one area room for the day.

I use to do this with my three daughters when they were little and it is a REAL family binder.  Twenty years later, I am about to do this with some friends and co-workers.  Alone?  Take the day off and do this yourself.  Make a little designated area in the house for your "Spa Day stash."  For me, it is my laboratory.  I often do not enjoy everything I have in there, and I am about to change that!  Hello "Spa Day."


If you want to go all out, hire a masseuse in for a few hours and they can bring their own table.  Massage therapist are beautiful people and usually will give you added ideas when they see what your doing.  You can negotiate, like $25 a person--they will like the volume since they have to drive to one place anyway.  Try to get a referral from a friend.  You can put them in a bedroom area as not to be in the way.  Beyond a masseuse, you may want to hire a cleaning lady to come in and follow behind everyone.  This would take clean up totally off your shoulders.

To Start?  Have everyone bring their own robe and slippers, putting them on when they arrive.  Have what ingredients you need near each site--bathroom sink, kitchen sink, and so on.  Music! Pick something cool--maybe get a CD meant for massage. 

Exfoliate Entire Body - or Just Work on Facial Exfoliation

The first thing you want to do is exfoliate your skin.  You can make a scrub in the palm of your hand with ground coffee, sugar or even salt.  To make the paste we use vegetable glycerin, at 1/3 the amount of dry material, but you can also use any carrier oil--such as safflower, almond, grape seed.  Vegetable glycerin will make you skin smooth and soft.  An example is 1/3 cup of vegetable glycerin to 1 cup of dry exfoliating material.   Take turns scrubbing in an empty bath tub, relax a few minutes to let the good stuff absorb, and then rinse.  Have a scrubby handy so they can rinse the tub well for the next person, and perhaps 90% or higher rubbing alcohol to sanitize the tub down.  I keep mine in a pretty vinegar bottle--but I let everyone know what it is.  Relax in Bath


When you are done exfoliating, use a quality lotion to moisturize-your skin is ready to drink it in!  Even if you are going off to a massage, slather lotion all over your skin.


You can set up a real steamer at a table, or use the stove.  My stove is on an island-so I can have four facial steam baths, aka (pots) going!  Some people can bring their own steamers to set up--they may have some at their homes.  Steaming loosens up dirt and grime.  Oil helps impurities float to the stop of the skin.    Give your people their choice of oil to slather on, while they are steaming.  Clean the skin at a sink and steam again.   Spices and essential oils to put in the steamers?


After cleaning the skin hourly and exfoliating, now is the time to do a face mask.  Rinse very well.  Spray with a lovely toner and moisturize.  Cold sliced cucumbers for the eyes.

Hands and Feet Oh this gets dreamy.  You can take turns massage everyone's hands and feet or have a masseuse do it.  You can also warm stones in a crock pot, slather oil on each other and rub the stones around. 

To Do a "Soy DipTM" Warm the SoySpaBathTM in a crock pot on Warm.  It will take up to 2 hours to melt--a higher temp will speed it up--but never dip above 120 degrees or 49 Celsius. 

Paint Shea Oil or Bee Pollen oil on each hand/foot before dipping.  It will truly produce baby soft hands for days. If you dip without oil or lotion, that will cause dry hands--the wax will draw moisture from your hands. 

See Spa Party video with Lisa Kasanicky



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Stupid Snow Hope Hanging On The Troth
Making Lotion or Crème Made Easy:  Free Pouring: Updated January 28th, 2010 by Deborah Dolen
Lotion is the #1 used bath product and you will save gobs of money if you make your own.  With a dry and cold winter ahead, do use some vegetable glycerin [like at 5% of the total] and that will draw moisture in. 
As far as making lotion, I will say it again. For years I was intimidated by making lotion or crème.  Once I figured out it was simple, but the emulsifying wax could be messy--I created EmulSoy to divert the mess part.  When making lotion you are just making oil and water mix.  The emulsification wax is the magic and is heated up in the oil part.  What oil and water parts you decide to use is the fresh new palette and exciting part.  In this recipe and most of my formulas you can use any emulsification wax you want.  I like my emulsification system because it is soy based and makes a rich opaque lotion and crèmes not cheap transparent end results-and most importantly it accepts amendments [anything added later when no longer warm] wonderfully.  It even accepts more distilled water if I want to thin it and made too thick a product.  I do not need to heat anything back up to adjust my product-and again, it is easier to measure.  With EmulSoy basically, emulsification waxes no longer end up all over my work area.   Waxes were heck to get off even a tile floor anyway.  I made that step into a bar called EmulSoy.  To cut my bars, I use a stainless steel butter knife.  This allows me to put pressure above--and score them into four parts with ease.  The utensil to the right is made by Kitchen Art and the only model I like for this purpose. EmulSoy is more than a clean way to make lotion, it contains soy lipids than really embrace additives.  The soy lipids make it come out a rich opaque, like half and half, no matter how thin, and not a cheap transparent. 

Making lotion or creme:  It is all the same you just use more Emulsification wax is all.  Meaning double the Emulsification wax for creme.  It is the wax that determines thickness, not really the oil or water.

Now, the term free pouring came from my bartenders days-some 24 years ago.  I found a neat way to "free pour" when making my own personal lotion.  Free Pouring Definition: This simply means I marked dedicated vessels for making lotion and I no longer have to measure anything.  When making my own personal stash, I do not really like to measure and weigh materials.  I like to focus on the good stuff I am putting in the formula and I have a hard enough time keeping careful notes for my cool successes.  I make something very cool and then forget what I did because I got on the phone.  I do know I like a 20% (or so) oil and 80% (or so) water based lotion.  (My early recipes too greasy...and better for winter)  These days I make a water heavy lotion in the summer and oil heavy in the winter.  In autumn and spring I do about 50/50.  I took my favorite nuking pitchers (never acrylic) and simply marked them with bright shrink tape where my 20% oil line was and my 80% water line--I measured that last time.  I use a similar pitcher, not marked to do my blending because I will wash the blending pitcher later.  These vessels work like a charm in a microwave, and with a stick blender.  And I know I am working with a 64 ounce pitcher or simply a 64 ounce total of oil and water - amounts of either do not really matter as long as the fluid total is 64 ounces.  Click thumbnail photo to get a better look at the marking system.

Using pre-established markers allows me to just throw what I want in the oil part, and what I want in the water part, anytime I want to make lotion or crème.  *I plop my EmulSoy in the oil part--after I have met my oil marker.  I know I need 2 ounces of wax to make lotion and 4 ounces of wax to make a thicker creme in the oil part.  (That usually means 1/2 an EmulSoy bar or one whole bar for a thick crème.)  And I do heat them together, and let them cool down together.  I do not get hung up on weights, or mess up other cups.  Also important, I no longer heat the oil part up very high.  I heat it just enough to melt the wax.  This is because I now use distilled water which saves me a ton of time in heating ingredients up so high it takes an hour just for them to cool down.  The main reason we ever heated water to over 168 was to kill any microbes.  Because the water had to get that high, so then does the oil. 

Recently I made a great lotion with:  Aloe Juice & Glycerin (10%) in the water part, with a teaspoon of borax,  and in the oil part: Shea Oil, Jojoba, Vitamin e, and Vanilla Flavor oil (at 5% of the oil part) and it all came out luscious.  After it is blended and cooled down to 120-110 degrees I add Germall. Germaben is OK too, but Germall is new and you need half a percent instead of a good percent to preserve yoru water based product. It takes about 20 minutes to cool down to that range.  Since I like to forget this step--I put the pre-measured Germaben right near the handle of the prepared lotion.  This way I cannot forget it.   Also, while warm, but not steaming hot, I can add really cool stuff such as carrot essential oil.  Anything precious, I do not want to evaporate.  Making crème is the same method, you are just using more Emulsoy.  And some crèmes you may wish to do a 50/50 oil/water ratio--although these have nothing to do with thickness--the EumlSoy sets the thickness.  For a very therapeutic crème, you may want to add menthol oil at 1% and peppermint oil at 5% and perhaps Emu in your oil side.  To buy EmulSoy click here.   Modified Formula, Click here.

Where I got the Aloe this time was funny.  A friend bought me an expensive "cold pressed" gallon to drink.  I think it tastes like Kat Scan film-even with "peppermint" and other good herbs.  And they come over and check my fridge to check if I drank any-leaving disappointed all month.  Well, the last time they checked it was 1/2 gone.  They thought I was doing marvelous and they were elated.  Little did they know it was all in the pitcher of lotion cooling. Yes, the Vanilla really came out well with the peppermint! Moral of this story? If someone gives you aloe to drink, make lotion!  Your skin does drink 60% of what is put on it. 

Brenda Eastman on EmulSoy "I love it, love it, love it."  And thank Brenda Eastman for these...a couple of dollars and we can toss the lid... $2 plastic pitchers......76 cent plastic pitchers 2 liter.  I use these plastic vessels for a lot more than making lotion.  I use designated ones to make candles and so on.  To clean I wipe down the inside with a paper towel while still hot.  They can usually withstand up to 240 degrees...but after that--they will melt.  I have opened the microwave door to find  a "plastic blob" on a few startling occasions-but I was pushing 260 degrees and did not realize it.  Cleaning a bunch of wax out of a microwave before it got cold--was the challenge.  Always keep an eye on them.

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About Author Deborah Dolen return to home page

Deborah Dolen is the Editor in Chief for Mabel White DIY and author of over 25 DIY books, 1,000 articles and several TV "how to" Films.  Deborah Dolen is also an environmental writer and has her own content syndication.  Deborah Dolen was widowed when she was on her 30's and went on to raise three great daughters in FL up against many obstacles.  This is the time period she generated her most fascinating DIY books.

Deborah Dolen was born in a Catholic Infant Home on Niagara Falls, the U.S. side.  It was known as Our Lady of Victory.  Deborah grew up in the Adirondack mountains in Upstate New York although moved around a lot and always in transition.  Her teenage years were more stable and thoroughbred race horses were her passion. She skipped school a lot in the 70's to walk and groom the likes of Man o' War and Secretariat.  When she was not grooming horses in Saratoga she was hitting the ski slopes of Killington in Vermont, Pikes Peak, or Gore Mountain to name a few.  To this day K-2's are her favorite skis and Head are her favorite bindings.

In her 20's  Deborah Dolen built some 520 legal clinics for the poor from the ground up and ran for 17 years.  People simply needed affordable legal access and that still has not changed much.  Having grown up poor and discriminated against-even disallowed to play with certain toys...Deborah had never been a quiet type and bucked many regimes as an adult.  In the 80's she felt almost all legal fees were oppressive to the majority for no reason and feels they still are.  Her organization helped well over 100,000 people.  Many of those were able to teach other people in turn.  As with health care, Canada does not charge its citizens for most common family law issues and Deborah feels family issues, including financial ones, should not be a feeding frenzy in the states as it still certainly is. No one should profit of the demise of another person.

Fast forward a few decades and Deborah Dolen is very much into flying and canine rescue as well as DIY projects she writes about and films from her Florida home.  Although her passions have always been with horse racing she is very into auto racing, focus and performance in Daytona and Charlotte, NC.  Deborah presently writes about environmental topics beyond DIY subjects that will always fascinate her.  Her dog Ringo, adopted from Katrina, is usually by her side.

You can join Deborah Dolen her on twitter facebook or check out her home page for RSS syndication.    See demos of her work on YouTube here and Amazon here.  Mabel White

Read about Ringo a dog flown in from Katrina.  Official Bio of his owner and short Bio RSS Syndicated Feeds on the environment.  How Twitter is best used.  Deborah Dolen Books on Amazon.   Review of her books on Open Library,  Paperback Swap, Good Reads and ReviewScout.  You can also read Google Profile.    Deborah Dolen on MySpace Facebook, and Flickr.  This is our favorite blogspot.   See Deborah Dolen on YouTube and her last book written London Apothecary and book.  For more environmental articles on water and oil.


Visit Deborah on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/deborah.dolen MySpace   http://www.myspace.com/deborah_dolen Twitter http://twitter.com/DeborahDolen or BlogSpot http://deborahdolen.blogspot.com/   Buy Natural Liquid Soap!  It is much safer than commercial brands.  Natural Liquid Soap for People or Natural Liquid Soap for pets.