Tag Archives: handcrafted

Hooked On Curlicues and More Hats

I started crocheting curlicues and I think I am hooked. (pun intended)


I made pony tail holders. These make me miss having little girls and putting fancy ponytails in their hair.

I made bookworms,



and this octopus that was a gift for my Grandson, Jackson.

These things work up very quickly and I love using the variegated color yarn for this.

I also found another hat pattern that I like. It was a free pattern that you can find at the following link.


I have made a two so far.


I have been using some of my yarn stash to make these, so finding complimentary colors that work is a challenge.

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This is my precious granddaughter Addy modeling the hat I made for her,


and my beautiful, great-niece, Kenzie wearing the hat (with curlicues) that I made for her. You can see more of this style hat in this post.

While crocheting all this has been lots of fun, I have to admit that I am really anxious for the nice weather to get here, when I will trade in my crochet hook for garden tools. Bring on spring!


Lye is the key ingredient in turning fat and oils into soap.

Lye is actually a common name for two different chemicals, sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and potassium hydroxide (KOH). Both of these forms of lye can be used in making soap, however they are not the same chemical, and are not interchangeable in soap recipes. This means they are required in different amounts in a recipe and will produce a different type of soap. While sodium hydroxide will produce a hard bar-type soap, potassium hydroxide is more often used in making a liquid or soft soap. Sodium hydroxide has a PH of 14 while potassium hydroxide is reported to have a PH between 12 and 14.

Sodium hydroxide was once readily available in grocery stores and hardware stores, most commonly packaged as Red Devil Lye, it was used mostly as a drain cleaner. Because of it’s illegal use in the production of methamphetamines, it has become harder to find. While I’ve read that it is illegal to sell in retail stores in the U.S., I have been able to purchase it in a few stores. The easiest way to purchase it is online through soap making suppliers.

Potassium hydroxide is made from wood ash and water. I have not yet made soap using potassium hydroxide, but this is on my to-do list.

Because of it’s high PH lye is a dangerous chemical and must be use with caution. If it comes in contact with bare skin it can cause severe burns. It will erode some metals, but it is safe to use in glass, plastic or stainless steal containers. If mixed improperly or with certain substances it can create dangerous gases.

Once lye has been properly mixed with the liquid and oils and the chemical changes occur lye becomes safe to use on the skin. Soap should have a PH between 7 and 10.

You don’t see lye, sodium hydroxide, or potassium hydroxide listed as ingredients on commercial soap products. Instead you will see thing like sodium cocoate, which would be the combination of coconut oil and sodium hydroxide after the chemical change, known as soaponification, has occurred. Other examples would be or sodium palmate or potassium tallowate.  I, like many handcrafters, list the ingredients as the raw materials put into the soap even though the chemical change does occur before the product is finished.

Why Buy Handcrafted

Handcrafted items are items or products that have been made by hand rather than being mass produced by machines. In my opinion there are many advantages to purchasing handcrafted items.

When buying handcrafted items you are usually buying something that is made by person who specializes in his/her craft. They have studied and practiced the art and  have become at least proficient if not a master of the craft. The crafter usually has chosen their craft because they enjoy it and find satisfaction in producing a high quality product made with tender loving care.

When you buy a handcrafted item you can and should get to know the person who made the  product. This allows you to ask questions about what goes into the product (materials or ingredients, time, processes) and you can determine whether or not you are getting you money’s worth. People usually love to talk about what they do and what they know. So ask questions.

It is easier to find exactly what you are looking for rather to make do with what is available. If you are looking for something made in a specific size, pattern, or to meet a specific need you are better off finding a handcrafter who will make what you want, than to spend your hard earned money on something that is not what you want.

When you buy from a handcrafter you know where your money is going. If you buy locally you are supporting your local economy.

An advantage to buying/using handcrafted soap is that the glycerin that is naturally formed during the soap making process is retained in the soap. Generally soap manufactures remove the glycerin from the soap and use it for other things.  So when comparing the cost of a bar of handcrafted soap, to whatever you may be using now, be sure to account for the added value of the glycerin.

There are a couple of potential disadvantages to purchasing handcrafted items. Many times the handcrafted items will be more expensive than the mass produced item. This is understandable considering that the handcrafter is not purchasing materials in high volume, also it  takes him or her much more time and effort to produce the product than if it were done by machines. But often the quality of the handcrafted product far out weighs the added expense.

The other potential disadvantage to purchasing handcrafted items is that you won’t find them in you big box stores. You will probably have to go to a specialty shop, a craft sale or seek out the handcrafter through other means.

Overall I believe there are great advantages to purchasing handcrafted items.