On ‘tidying up’

So, I’m curious, how many of you have read the book yet? the life changing magic of tidying up is the one I mean.  I’m getting through but still cannot bring myself to throw everything I have hanging in my closet into the middle of the floor.  I’m sorry but that in itself will not bring me joy.

Clutter and I go way back.  Childhood.  I’m a clean-sweeper.  One who loves to go through a particular section and clear everything – and I do mean everything – out. Into a dumper somewhere.  Recycle it, shred it, toss it, leave it on the curb for someone else to covet.  Just not in here. Not anymore.

Unfortunately, I’ve married a hoarder of sorts.  I swore to myself before remarrying that I’d never remarry, then amended that to I’ll never marry a hoarder again.  One who’s mantra is “You never know when you might need ______________(insert useless item’s name here).  Sadly it’s been my undoing that I’m now married to another hoarder. I save all the serious, deep diving cleaning for when he’s out of town,  while the lighter tasks are accomplished during his  errand runs, gone to work, etc.  So far this has worked well.

The things I toss or leave out for others to enjoy are those that we never use.  Uncomfortable chairs, for example, of which there are several that need removal.  Paperwork is something I truly loathe as it’s necessary to keep the tatty stuff around for about 3-7 years.  Blerg.  But, keep it I do.  Grudgingly.  Though out of sight.

Another thing that is harder to release are those that came from family members that are no longer with us.  This is a problem.  They do give me joy and therefor I cannot let them go.  Yet.  Perhaps when the timing is right I’ll ask if any family members are interested in rehoming them.  Meantime, I’ll hoard them to myself.

Clothing is simple.  I’ve used the 2 year rule for many years and so far it worked out very well and painlessly, too I might add.  If I have not worn said item in the past two years, chances are better than average that it won’t be worn in the next two either, so off it goes to Goodwill if it’s in good condition or into the trash if not.  I rarely use my clothes for rags.  T-shirts are great for that and hubby’s are the best candidate, but most of my clothes are not T-shirts.

Lest you think I’m a total failure at this magical cleaning thing or quite the opposite, bear in mind it’s harder to let go of so many things, even when you know with every fibre of your being that it will never be seen again/worn again once you’ll stuck it in that drawer or closet. But maybe someone gave it to you and they’re still a strong feature of your life now.  Maybe it has sentimental significance to you, to a special someone.  That makes it very tricky.  Hang onto it as long as it gives you joy.  But when the things begin to accumulate, and you know they will, it’s time to revisit those things you coveted a bit longer.

One controversial chapter is entitled “Storage Experts are hoarders”.  Now I’m sure there are storage experts out there outraged by the stereotyping or judgemental tone of that statement.  You have to think of storage in a new light.  It’s where you store your necessary, day-to-day things you must have to get though your day.  It isn’t where you keep all those things you had back in high school, wore to the prom, loved that crazy colour lipstick, tried adding hot pink to your hair and kept the tools to do it again.  Text books that only serve as dust catchers.

That said, I’ll admit, I still have my college textbooks, though they’re in use elevating my computer monitor to a comfortable, easy to view height and raised a lamp up enough to prevent the on/off switch from being a contortionists move. So I don’t really consider them clutter.  Other clutter is leaving the home now and I’m honestly feeling better already.

Even if you don’t intend to deeply clean out the clutter in your life, the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo will help you see your home, your life, your stuff in a different light.  You’ll find that less is better than more because the space regained makes life easier to breathe through.

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Alchemist @ Work

Earlier in the afternoon a thought hit me that I wanted to try something.  Now my kids can tell you this can bode well….or not but in this particular instance, I’m hoping for the former rather than the latter.

At the HSCG conference, which I could not attend this time, Kevin Dunn, author of Caveman Chemistry and Scientific Soapmaking spoke on the topic of variations in water within portions of one batch of soap and how it can produce unique effects in your CP soap.  This intrigued me enough to try this with a soap that discolours -deeply discolours. For this I went straight to the one I own that will give me that – Coconut Fusion from Fragrance Laboratory.   Their website offers test batches of several of their fragrance oils so I knew in advance of what to expect with regard to discolouration so this was the ideal opportunity to work with it instead of against it.

I began by calculating the size of the portions by halves, dividing one of those halves into halves yet again.  From this I calculated the amount of fragrance needed for each of those two smaller portions, then cut that fragrance amount by half again.  The largest amount of FO would go into the main (largest) part of the batch.  The rest would be split 2:1 between the two smaller portions.  The amount of soap in these two smaller portions were equal in size, however, their FO amount was not nor was their additional mica.

Fragrance Oil Divided into descending-sized portions

Next I add the coconut milk to the oils, stick blending to a smooth mixture.  Then the lye goes in.  I used silk and coconut milk in this batch simply because I always do.  The gold mica in oil is for the top only. Just because.  Bling is good. Coconut Milk & Mica in Oil These four oils are ones I often use.  I have several soap formulations and a four oil is just one of them.  I don’t have issues with these in soaps – ricing, tendency to separate, misleading false trace, etc., so I went with this one. 4 oils ListingWater, Silk & Lye SolutionI also like to use silk in soaps so that went unchanged as well.  I decided not to go totally crazy with the coconut theme and stuck with regular water, not coconut water.  Maybe later on I’ll try that twist to see what results I get but for this initial trial, it’s plain filtered water, chilled.  (Got a bit of coconut oil on the handle there. Hmf! Messy!)

Once the various parts were blended with a stick blender to emulsion phase,  I stopped and noticed it looked a bit grainy and thicker than I’d expect for so little mixing.  A stir told me it was trying to separate, becoming a bit grainy and going towards a false trace, something of a surprise.  So more blending and it loosened up again, going smoother and surprisingly dark for so early on in the making.  It was a warm beige by the time I was done mixing!  The two smaller portions together were half of the batch but the amount of colour added varied as did the amount of FO.  I added Pearl Basics to one portion and a small amount of Titanium Dioxide in water to this part, stick blended to get it absolutely smooth.  The other small portion had Extra Bright added along with a bit more Titanium Dioxide than the other portion had. The largest portion of the soap had no mica added and no titanium dioxide added.

Given the three levels of water in each part of this in addition to the three different levels of fragrance added, this should give me three different shades of brown due to the discolouration from the FO and a textured look and feel to the surface thanks to the addition of water with the TD.  Time will tell so now we wait until it’s firm enough to come out of the mold and be cut.  Once it’s cut, hopefully the textures will begin to appear.  As the soap dries out at different rates the raised appearance of each colour segment should become apparent.  That’s my hope anyway.  I’ll update with pictures when it’s cut and had a chance to dry out a bit.