SHAKE IT OFF. Are your kids obsessed with that Taylor Swift song? Is it playing for the nine millionth time at your house? We have the solution: put the youngsters to work shaking it for a good purpose. They can be in charge of the butter for this year's Thanksgiving feast. Making butter is a rewarding ten-minute DIY kitchen adventure that will make sweet, sweet love to the mouths of your Thanksgiving guests this Thursday evening. And anyone can do it. Go buckwild making flavored butter... herbs, honey, maple syrup. All you need is fresh whipping cream, a jar, and a strainer. Plus some music to jump around to, of course. Kids might vote for Taylor; we went with Sam Cooke.
Making soap from scratch is one of the most creative, satisfying, and effective projects you can do yourself. It doesn't take long or cost much, and homemade soap feels luxuriously awesome, works like a charm to clean and condition skin, plus makes a terrific gift. Watch my instructional video below, and get going!

All you need for my basic bar soap recipe is organic olive and coconut oils, lye, and water. You can add any essential oils you want to make it exotic, sensuous, and delicious smelling. 

Here's the basic recipe:

Organic olive oil: 1,680 grams
Organic coconut oil: 683 grams
Lye: 337 grams
Ice water: 787 grams

My formula is optimized to create a terrific cleansing lather (thanks to the coconut oil) and moisturize at the same time (that's the olive oil). There are no funky additives or preservatives. It smells divine and is completely organic, all-natural, and highly addictive.

Please take the safety precautions to heart. Finished soap is harmless and family-friendly once it's been mixed and cured, but the process of creating soap involves chemical saponification.  Soap making is easy, exciting, and fun, but potentially dangerous. Lye is a caustic alkali, and can burn, blind, and seriously harm people or pets. 

Children may want to start with melt-and-pour soaps instead of cold process soap making. If they plan to watch or help with your cold process soap-making in any way, they will certainly need to be schooled in the seriousness of safety measures. Soap-making MUST be controlled by a responsible grownup who pays close attention to the details. 

Stick to my EXACT lye/oil ratios, or use a reliable lye calculator to create your recipe. Lye is not a guesstimate-kinda ingredient. Trust me, you don't want a gnarly science project gone wrong at your house when there's a caustic substance involved.

But as long as you're careful and informed, soap making is an excellent project that will gratify you and your loved ones. Once you have a go at the basic recipe, you can add grains and seeds to exfoliate, herbs and flower petals for texture and richness, countless shades of mica for color. The creative possibilities are endless.  

Have a terrific time making soap-- use it and share it, especially in the upcoming holiday season! Luscious homemade soap makes a seriously wonderful gift.

Need supplies or support? We have everything you need to make your first soap batch; just visit us at the shop! 


Instructional video:
Now that the store is open, we're working our way through the shop and demonstrating how each and every project works. THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD! Eventually, we'll have instructional videos for each item in the store.

Every Tuesday, we'll present a featured project, starting with this aquaponic fountain. Roe shows you how to assemble it in under 15 minutes.
Tomorrow is the big day! We finally throw open the doors and get down to business. Please come check out the store! Saturday's the perfect day to do some holiday shopping since 10% of proceeds all day will benefit our local public schools. We'll be serving homemade granola bars, wine and cheese from 3-6 pm. Plus, we have countless fantastic gift ideas for even the toughest people on your list. Don't know what to get the guy who's seen it all? GIVE THAT PERSON A PROJECT! A mushroom farm! A sprout garden! A tabletop aquaponic system! An oat-roller! A soap-making kit! We have lots of options at every price point. For instance, check out this cute little aquaponic system for growing plants and fish together, for under $40: