Monday, October 29, 2012

Pure Joy - Homemade Perfume

I have used this perfume since I was very young.  Not exclusively, but this has always been one of my favorites to wear for very fancy occasions.  I'm sure it's to do with the advertising: The costliest perfume in the world, they used to say.  Who can resist that?  Well I certainly couldn't at twentysomething when I finally saw it in a store and was able to smell it.  I had wondered for years what the famous perfume smelled like.

Joy was created in 1929 by Henri Alméras for Jean Patou. It was right around the time of the Great Depression and the fashion house had to produce something other than the wildly expensive clothes to be able to survive. It reputedly takes 28 dozen roses and 10.600 jasmine flowers to make just 30 ml of perfume along with a medley of other flowers including ylang-ylang, tuberose and iris with base notes of sandalwood and civet.  The result turned out to be the second all time best seller, the first place of course is Chanel 5.  Joy isn't for everyone taste, the fragrance of the perfume and the eau de toilette isn't exactly the same, but the scent is quite strong and is best applied in moderation.

I found this recipe somewhere on the internet and as usual I didn't write down the source.  I hate it when I do that!  But I found it again at Organic Gardening and Homesteading website.  Apparently the recipe comes from an out of print book entitled Cosmetics From The Kitchen.
I don't really know if it smells exactly like Joy, probably not so much, but it's undoubtedly a lovely scent judging from the lovely oils that are used.  I haven't been able to find ambergris essential oil, nor musk oil, but the others were easy to find.  So I used 15 drops of Sandalwood instead and just skipped the musk because I'm not sure that one can find a natural musk oil.  I'm sure it does change the scent somewhat.  But I didn't want to make an exact copy anyway.  I still have my glass of the real Joy and even if it may at some time have been expensive it isn't the most expensive perfume on the market anymore.  But this adapted blend does go very well with my Special Blend White soap.

The orginal recipe calles for Heliotrope essential oil, but the author of the blog substituted Vanilla oil instead.  It's interesting to change recipes.  I'm sure there are many ways to tweak this one to make a few great fragrance blends.  I have preferred  to used all essential oils, but the original recipe calls for perfumed oil or frangrance oils in some instances.

Pure Joy

1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla essential oil (the original recipe used Heliotrope essential oil)
1 1/2 teaspoon Rose essential oil
1/2 teaspoon of Bergamot essential oil
(4 drops Musk oil) - I skipped this
15 drops of Sandalwood essential oil (the recipe called for ambergris essential oil)
15 drops Jasmine essential oil
4 drops Neroli essential oil
8 drops Angelica essential oil
8 drops Vetiver essential oil
Jojoba oil - 100 grams / 3 ounces

Blend all the ingredients and let sit for a while to merge and mellow.
Store in a dark glass.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blue Facial Soap

My all time favorite soap that I made myself, is the facial soap that I made over two years ago.  I used Almond oil in it, an oil that I don't normally use because it is difficult to find here and it's expensive.  I also used all sorts of other oils that I normally reserve for making facial creams like Avocado and Rose hip oil.  I think I have some of that soap left, but my soaps are stored haphazardly all over the house, and I haven't stumbled across them recently.

I had quite a bit of indigo blue left in the mortar from making my blue tooth soap and my frugal self decided that I couldn't simply wash it away.  So came up with a blue facial soap, again using my pastry molds that I love and lining them with cling film, because they are aluminum which would otherwise react with the alkaline soap.  I also decided to gather all my yummiest ingredient for this soap, although I did forget a few.  Like shea butter, and scent.  So it's unscented.  Which is really better for facial soap.  The blue colour is so light that it is almost a jade green.  The colour depends on the light, but I love it.  It's delicate and feminine.

I only made a very small batch, probably the smallest batch one can get away with easily, (7oz) 200g of soap.

Almond Oil - 10%     - 0.7oz /  20g
Peach Kernel Oil - 10%     - 0.7oz / 20g
Coconut Oil -  28%      2 oz / 56g
Castor Oil - 5%     0.35oz / 10g
Avocado Oil - 15%     1oz - 30g
Argan Oil - 10%     0.7oz / 20g
Jojoba Oil - 10%     0.7oz / 20g
Cocoa Butter - 10%     0.7oz / 20g
Borage Oil - 2%     0.14 / 4g

Water - 2.3oz / 66g
Lye - 0.9oz / 25g which makes it 10% super fatted, but always check a lye calculator (I use Soapcalc myself).

I used water with the leftover indigo and I had hoped that I could pour the soap quite runny.  It however thickened quite quickly, hence the scentlessness.  I simply didn't have enough time to grab some EOs.  But I did manage to get the soap into the molds and bang them down a little bit to get the soap to iron out the plastic film.  It was semi successful, some soaps have a very good impression from the mold, others more from the cling film.  But it's for me, not for gifts, and I never mind handmade irregularities.  I'm waiting for it to cure completely, its very, very soft as I remember the old facial soaps to be.  But those did haden very well and I'm expecting these to do the same.  Of course I have already tried it although I can still smell the lye.  It looks promising, nice lather.  But I keeep sniffing it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Headboard reupholstering

I have always loved the 80's.  No one can tell me that things were not hip and cool back then.  I loved the fashion, the make-up, the music.  And I completely fell in love with those carved rugs that I first saw in the US in the 80's.  They were magical.  I  had never seen anything like it.  I didn't easily confess to this liking, being a design student known to love the Bauhaus movement and modern Italian design.  Black leather and chrome were my thing, so the carved rugs were a bit of an anomaly.

When I saw the carved rug at the thrift store, I didn't hesitate one minute.  Green, pink, peach, yellow and cream!  My colours!  I threw my arms around it to claim ownership.  No one fought me for it.  The same happened with the headboard.  It was just sitting there, that relic of the 80's, priced at four dollars and I knew it was coming home with me.  Except the difference was that back in the 80's I would have made rude gagging noises at the sight of it.  I used to know middle aged women who actually paid good money for something like that.  And they usually chose that dusty rose colour.  So naturally I fell completely in love with it.  How can one not love something so unapologetically cute.  I must have been a little old lady in a former life.

The rug was relatively clean, but the headboard was fithy, so I planned to remove the fabric and replace it with something new.  The fabric that was on it was a type of velvet, but polyester.  Not my thing at all.

So I set about to remove the cover.  Removing staples at the back can be done with a special tool that upholsteres use, a staple remover. They can be bought at upholstery suppliers for about 25 $ and are easier to use.  I used a screwdriver, just pried it into the board under the staple and janked the staples out.

Once all the staples were removed I set about to remove the buttons.  These were actually with nails at the back.  In order to remove them, I had to straighten the nails out at the back first.  I used an old chisel and hammer to get under the nails and bend them up.  Do not sacrifice a good tool for this job.

The buttons were pretty tight, but I managed to use a hammer to get them out.  

Under the buttons I found at least two staples in each hole.  Those would have made it easier to hammer the buttons in originally.  By this time I was thoroughly sick of staples to I simply pulled the fabric and the staples popped out.  I wasn't particularly careful with the fabric since I intended to throw it away, but it held up so well that I decided to toss it in the washer and see if it would come clean.

It washed beautifully, although the creases of a few decades remained.  It looked so good after I washed it that I decided to use it again, provided I could reattach it.  Usually, when upholstering, one cuts the fabric quite a bit larger than needed and then trims it tight.  So I knew that I would have very little fabric to pull at the edges.

Starting from the middle, I began by stapling the fabric to the board where the buttons were to come, trying to fold the fabric fairly neatly.  It was easier to place the fabric correctly than I thought it would be, because I had the old creases still in the fabric to guide me.

Onve I had staples the fabric in every hole and arranged the fabric it folds I hammered the buttons in.  The nails at the back of them were not straight anymore, but it didn't seem to make much of a difference.  I managed to get all of them in and they didn't look noticeably crooked.

Then the challenge was to pull the fabric tight all the way around and arrange it carefully in the creases to make sure it didn't bunch.  I know that I didn't do this as tightly as the professional upholsterer did originally, but it looks good enough for me.

I managed to get the fabric staples all the way around.  I was quite surprised that the fabric didn't unravel more in the wash.

The finished product.  Not a tight as the original, but I just think it looks more friendly.

I know that this would have looked very sophisticated if I had used some of the stash of linen fabric that I have.   Although, now I'm glad I didn't because I'm hoping to have enough to cover the six dining room chairs that I bought and have started to make pretty.  The headboard looks very good with the carved rug and I'm quite glad that I kept the fabric.  I have two more headboard that I need to give an overhaul.  One really pretty with he most beautiful cotton velvet in a rusty orange.  That looks to date from the 40's and I hope the fabric washes nicely.  I would hate to have to replace that because that fabric is just gorgeous.  The orange headboard is for one of the daughters.  Then I got another one for my mom, but she can't seem to choose a fabric for it, so I may never finish that.  I somehow see hers with a blue fabric.  So I need to find a beautiful blue for her.  Blue is her colour.

Sombre colours

I bought this fantastic linen yarn on a cone. It was quite fine and I usually like chunky yarns to knit.  But I love linen and this was a...