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Thanksgiving & Christmas Edition 2008                       

Since some of these gift making crafts should be made before Thanksgiving to "set" for Christmas, this edition will take you right up to Christmas.   It is going to be a long edition, and added too all week. I hope you enjoy it and happy Holidays!  Happy Gobble Gobble and Merry Christmas too!   Click here for famous My Turkey Brine Recipe and corn casserole recipes.  Maybe not you will be sentenced to make them the rest of your life!

For 2009 we are emphasizing the area of apothecary and making of perfume as well as fragrance in general. And EVERYTHING Autumn and winter!     


In this issue the primary goal is to make a gift baskets or "boxes" of quality hand made items for a loved one. Something that would "WOW" them and save you some serious loot. PLUS you can make enough for you too!  That is what I am talking 'bout!  The secondary focal of my "basket" would be hand made soaps.  Melt and Pour is great-but real soap with lye lasts MUCH longer and smells sexy and clean.  We can explore M&P letter in this edition.

2006 was such a good issue for Christmas, my no bake Fruit Cake recipe that you need to start now, my North Carolina Wassail recipe, gifts for elders as well as the exact method to construct your gift baskets you may want to follow for the projects below. I am so big on recycling I almost stand over people to get the wrapping paper & bows back when they are opening a gift!  And I hit my high end neighbors garbage's too!  Not really, but you get the idea.  SAVE EVERYTHING!  Christmas 2002 was one of my best "refurbish your Christmas vault" with glitter, glue, new ribbon and in some cases silk flowers!   You can change and entire theme with what you have. 

Good gifts to give a host for Thanksgiving would be like our Lemon Liquid Castile Soap, with maybe a lemon or cinnamon matching candle for the kitchen.  A Turkey Brine blend in a jar, or a fire starter kit you can make.  Click here for how to make fire starter kits.  First Edition, Second Edition, and Third EditionI guess I write about these every year as if it was the first time.  I just LOVE those projects because they are almost free.  Walking around and picking up pinecones and natural objects is fun, free, and great exercise too!

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Castile Soap Shaping, Stamping & Shredding

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.  Milky Way has soap stamps.

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.

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Liquid Castile Soap

Yep, that would be my kitchen!  All my friends loved the running water and the bubbles so I am posting this.  The bubbles did take quite a bit of soap.  We have really cool new sleeves for the soap so they fit right in as a holiday gift!  I would love getting a bottle of our lemon liquid castile for Thanksgiving! It is a special treat you cannot just get anywhere.  They are Buy One Get One Free so buy some and keep our money in America!

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The next time you feel like GOD can't use you, just remember...
 Noah was a drunk
 Abraham was too old
 Isaac was a daydreamer
 Jacob was a liar
 Leah was ugly
 Joseph was abused
 Moses had a stuttering problem
 Gideon was afraid
 Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer
 Rahab was a prostitute
 Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
 David had an affair and was a murderer
 Elijah was suicidal
 Isaiah preached naked
 Jonah ran from God
 Naomi was a widow
 Job went bankrupt
 John the Baptist ate bugs
 Peter denied Christ
 The Disciples fell asleep while praying
 Martha worried about everything
 The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
 Zaccheus was too small
 Paul was too religious
 Timothy had an ulcer...

 Lazarus was dead!





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.

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