Pumpkin Patch 3 Oil Soap Recipe

Pumpkin Patch Soap

Pumpkin Patch Soap

I love this recipe because it only requires three oils, and the three oils are ones you can find in the grocery store – making it an easy recipe to satisfy a quick soap making fix!


How to make:

  1. Prepare the lye solution.  Note that you should wear goggles and rubber gloves while working with the lye as it is very harmful to the skin and the water/lye solution gets very hot!  To prepare it, measure out the water first, I like to use a Pyrex measuring cup for the lye solution, and set it aside.  Then measure out the lye precisely on a digital scale.  Slowly pour the lye into the water, mixing it with a spoon.  Be careful not to stand directly over the solution so you don’t breathe it in.
  2. Measure out the vegetable shortening and coconut oil and then melt them in the microwave (just until it’s melted – don’t overdo it).
  3. Pour the melted vegetable shortening and coconut oil into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the olive oil to the other oils.
  5. Slowly pour the lye solution into the oil mixture (wearing safety goggles and rubber gloves), mixing it with a spoon.
  6. Once the lye solution is mixed in with a spoon, use an egg beater to beat the mixture on low, with intermittent spurts on high, until you have a nice trace (meaning it is well mixed, but does not have much of a whipped texture).
  7. Pour it into your soap mold.
  8. Let stand for about 20 hours.
  9. If it looks like it has hardened, then take it out of the mold and cut it.  If it still looks oily, keep an eye on it and cut it when it looks like it has hardened, however you don’t want to wait too long or it may become hard to cut.

This mixture makes a nice, creamy soap.  I did not color mine, but you can add a bit of yellow and red food coloring to make them more orange if you like.  Also, I thought it would be nice to wrap some in washi paper to give away as fall gifts.


Misadventures in Soap Making: Crumbly Soap

Sad, crumbly soap

Sad, crumbly soap

Autumn has arrived in my little corner of the world and I was so excited that I flung open the windows, cleaned the house, and started to make my first batch of autumn soap!

In my excitement, that day I had ordered some new fall fragrance oils, but then I just couldn’t wait the two days for them to arrive in the mail, so I bought some extracts from the grocery store and began my new soap endeavor.  This one was going to be a warm yet zesty blend of vanilla and lemon for a lemon soufflé soap.

In my autumn-eyed haze, somehow I managed to make one dire mistake in my soap making adventure: I added one ounce too much lye.  And if there’s one soap mishap that cannot (or at least SHOULD NOT) be rebatched, it’s lye heavy soap.

My lemon soufflé soap bars became a sad, crumbly mess, and one that I would not repair.

Some use lye heavy soap as laundry detergent, however I would not recommend this because lye heavy soap can not only damage your skin, but can break down the fibers in your clothes.

I didn’t realize what I had done until I placed my soap loaf into my wonderful Bramble Berry soap cutter, pulled down, and the soap was a bit crumbly on the exterior but incredibly hard to cut once past the crumbles.

I certainly didn’t want to break any of the strings on my beloved cutter, so I removed it and used my manual soap cutter to pierce through it.  And yep, it was hard, it was crumbly, it was lye heavy.

My super amazing Bramble Berry wire soap cutter that I cherish like I cherish my musical instruments, and whose strings I did not wish to break, mainly because I'm really bad at repairing stuff like that.

My super amazing Bramble Berry wire soap cutter that I cherish like I cherish my musical instruments, and whose strings I did not wish to break, mainly because I’m really bad at repairing stuff like that.

As much as I hated doing so, I had to toss the whole thing out.  One may not think that an ounce in a whole loaf would make much of a difference, but oh my, it does.  Oh well, my new scents should arrive tomorrow and I can get a fresh start…

Crafty Recipes: Non-Cook Playdough

Child's hand pounding colourful doughThis is a recipe that I created when I was working in preschool.  There isn’t too many opportunities when you want to make playdough with the children, especially since our kitchen was upstairs and didn’t have enough room to sit and make it with 16 children.  This meant that teachers in my center often made non-cook playdough recipes.  My revised playdough was so popular that teachers in other centers started using it. What you need:

  • 3 cups of Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of Salt (the more salt you add, the different the texture will be so if you want a course textured playdough, use more salt.)
  • 2 tablespoons of Cooking Oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Cream of Tartar (this is optional and I have made it with and without the cream of tartar, it really just depends on whether I have it in stock or not)
  • 2 tablespoons of Liquid Dish Soap
  • 3 or 4 tablespoons of Liquid Tempura Paint (you can find this at dollar, craft or school supply stores.)

Pour everything except the water into a large bowl and begin to Knead.  Add the water slowly until you have a dough like texture.  Dust the table with flour and give a small piece to the children to knead.  Pull out all the playdough tools you have and enjoy. If you store this in a ziplock bag, it should last about 5 to 7 days, give or take a few days.  You can also take this recipe and cook it since it is very similar to cooked playdough and uses all the same ingredients except the tempura paint. *Note: The quantities of ingredients are approximates since I never measured out the ingredients when I made the playdough with my class.  Add or remove some ingredients to get the desired affect.*


Crafty Recipe: Cooked Playdough

playdoughAs many of you know, I am a big fan of playdough.  Usually, I prefer to make a non-cooked playdough since it takes less time and I can make it with my kids.  Sometimes, though; I like to make the cooked playdough since it usually lasts longer than the non-cooked.

What you need:

  • 1 1/2 cup of salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 6 tsp cream of tartar
  • Food Coloring


  1. In a large saucepan, mix together the dry ingredients.
  2. Add in the water and oil.
  3. Place on the stove and cook at a low-medium to a medium temperature.
  4. Stir continuously until the dough pulls away from the pot. (Another test is if it can be pinched without sticking to you fingers but be careful since it is hot.)
  5. Remove from the heat and place on a cutting board.
  6. Knead the dough until it has the proper consistancy.
  7. Break into 3 or 4 balls and set to the side.
  8. Add a few drops of food coloring to each ball and knead until the color is blended in.

*optional: if you are only making one color, you can add the food coloring to the water and cook the color in.*

Sirena Van Schaik

Crafty Recipes: Whipped Snow

SnowmanIt’s probably a little early to be dreaming about snow but with the muggy weather I had today, I’m almost ready for winter. Well, almost ready…okay, not really, but the thought of winter made me think that it would be an excellent time to share my recipe for Whipped Snow.

This is a fun little recipe to bring out on rainy days or as an outdoor activity on a warm sunny day.

What you need:

  • 2 cups of laundry soap (ivory flakes works really well but any type of powdered or flaked laundry soap is fine)
  • 4 cups of water
  • food coloring (this is completely optional but you can divide the whipped snow to make several different colors by adding a few drops of food coloring)


  1. Measure out the laundry soap into a large bowl.
  2. Slowly pour in the water as you mix the flakes with an electric mixer.
  3. Continue to mix on high until the soap becomes fluffy.
  4. Separate into several bowls and fold in a few drops of food coloring if you choose to color the whipped snow.
  5. Give to the kids and let them create their own whipped snow sculptures.

One thing about whipped snow is that it can be left out over night and it will dry in the shapes you created.

Sirena Van Schaik

Crafty Recipes: Milk Paint

Boy Painting wth Chalk PaintOkay, this is a very interesting paint since the end result provides a very shiny finish to the painting. It isn’t a paint that you will want to save but much like tongue painting, you can have a lot of fun with this paint.

It is very easy to make, it provides a different texture to work with and it has an interesting smell to it. The sensory experience will definitely be improved with this art recipe.

What you need:

  • one can of condensed milk
  • food coloring
  • resealable containers


  1. The amount of condensed milk that you use greatly depends on how much you will be painting and how many colors you are going to offer. Usually one can will give you enough paint for about 3 or 4 colors but you won’t have a lot of extras. A lot of people will use between 1/2 and 1 cup of condensed milk for each paint color. When you have decided what you are doing, pour in the desired amount into the small resealable container.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring and stir until the color is well blended.
  3. Take out a piece of construction paper and paintbrushes and get painting.

*Mix it up: Mix up the craft by having your child paint on an art easel. I find Milk Paint is a bit thinner than regular paint so the child has to learn through trial and error (or cause and effect) how to keep the paint from dripping down the paper.*

Sirena Van Schaik

Crafty Recipes: Face Paint

Butterfly FaceWith Halloween a little over a month away, I like to start planning out some things for Halloween. It is a great time of the year, one of my favorites and in a few short weeks, if you celebrate Halloween, you will be getting costumes ready and all the other little goodies that are involved.

Halloween can be a pretty expensive holiday, and face paint is just one of those things that can bring up the price of the holiday. That’s where this little craft recipe comes in handy but you can use the face paint year round.

What you need:

  • 1-1/2 tsp of water
  • 3 tsp of cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 tsp of cold cream
  • a few drops of food coloring


  1. In a small bowl, mix together the cold cream and the cornstarch until it is well blended.
  2. Stir in the water slowly.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring.
  4. Pour into an airtight container for storage.

When you use the face paint, apply it with a paint brush or purchase small rubber stamps from a craft store (the cheap foam ones) and dip it into the paint before pressing it on the face. This face paint washes off very easily with soap and water but make sure you do not use too much food coloring since it can dye the skin.

-Sirena Van Schaik

Kids play – get creative with baking soda

get creative with baking sodaTo unleash creativity and encourage scientific inquiry, it’s important to stimulate a child’s mind with exploration and play. Often, this is as simple as turning to your own kitchen cupboards.

Baking soda, for example, along with other household products, is a key ingredient for activities and projects. Rain or shine, for birthdays or class projects, the options are endless. You can make watercolours, play clay, magic beans and the well-known erupting volcano. With adult supervision, kids can be given creative license for fun all day.

To make simple watercolour paint with baking soda, follow these easy instructions:

What you need:

2 tablespoons Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

2 tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1 packet dry unsweetened drink mix (any flavour)

2 tablespoons water

How to make it:

1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Add water and stir until fizzing stops; different drink mix flavours will give you different colours.

3. For more intense watercolour, a few drops of food colouring can be added to the mix.

4. Paint with them right away, or pour into jar lids or a plastic tray and let harden for future use.

More ideas can be found at www.armandhammerbakingsoda.ca.


Make a Ghastly Garland

Halloween Trends Feature Colorful Charm and Whimsy (Project Included Below)

Ghastly Garland

Ghastly Garland

(ARA) – Halloween has become the second most-decorated holiday of the year. Decorations for house and yard to welcome trick-or-treaters are all the rage. This year an estimated $4.96 billion will be spent on holiday decor in addition to costumes, making it the sixth largest spending holiday of the year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation.

Keeping up with what’s in style this Halloween season will help you have the hippest, spookiest house on the block. “Creating festive Halloween decorations can be easy and fun for the whole family, whether you’re a beginner or advanced at crafting,” says Susan Atchison, trend expert for Jo-Ann Stores. “This season, creepy, scary monsters are out. Instead, a new cast of goofy ghouls takes their place with silly expressions, crazy colors and lots of whimsical, kid-friendly charm.”Slightly surprising colors are popping up this Halloween, bringing lots of animated personality to the color palette. Lime green, bright purple and electric blue combine with classic orange and black to create fun color combinations — not frightening. For a slightly more sinister Halloween atmosphere, use shades of gray and olive green paired with spicy orange, golden yellow and dusky blue. Or, the traditional colors of orange, black, brown and yellow appear in almost every possible shade and hue to recreate the simplicity and charm of a vintage Halloween.Whether you’re hosting a Halloween party or just decorating for trick-or-treaters, these easy ideas from Jo-Ann Stores will add a playful, creative touch to your not-so-scary venue:

* Give trick-or-treaters a warm welcome to your home with metal stand-up figurines in vivid colors and lively expressions.

* Dress up your table with a “Boo” table runner and candy dish, jack-o-lantern serving dishes and not-so-spooky trays and platters to add character and charm to your Halloween monster mash.

* Find partyware and décor in matching bright colors and themes to set the tone for Halloween parties at home or in the classroom.

* Display Halloween goodies with a Frankenstein and Skeleton treat bucket — a fun way to watch even the littlest monsters scream with delight at the treats displayed at their own height.

* Deck the walls and windows with a ghastly garland of spiders, bats, monsters and pumpkins for a playful fright (see instructions). Add a strand of colorful sparkling lights to create fun shadows inside and out.

* Create a personalized treat bag, use colorful fur, felt and yarn to create a cat, a scary or funny face — for a fun alternative to the typical plastic pumpkin treat bag.

For more ideas and a monstrous selection of the latest trends in indoor and outdoor Halloween decorating projects, visit your local Jo-Ann fabric and craft store.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Ghastly Garland

Supplies and Tools:

* String-along Poms, black
* Textured yarn: black, green multicolored, green ribbon — 1 skein each
* 1/8 yard purple tulle
* 15 black chenille stems
* Craft foam sheets: 1 orange, 1 green, 3 purple
* Sticky-back craft foam sheets: 2 black, 1 white
* Wiggle eyes
* Scissors and pinking shears
* Purple embroidery floss, 1 skein
* Alphabet template, optional
* Tacky glue
* Hole punch
* Push pins


1. Create ornaments:
a. Pumpkins: Cut two 5-inch orange craft foam circles. Decorate with wiggle eyes, black craft foam nose and mouth, and green craft foam stem and leaf.
b. Monsters: Cut two 5-inch flower pot shaped green craft foam pieces. Decorate with wiggle eyes, green craft foam nose, round orange craft foam cheeks, chenille stem smile and black craft foam hair. Gather 5- by 10-inch tulle, wrap short end with floss to form fan shape and glue to the back.
c. Bats: Cut seven 8-inch bat shaped purple craft foam pieces. Cut BEWARE! letters out of white craft foam then glue onto bats. Glue on wiggle eyes.
d. Spiders — Using pinking shears, cut six 3-inch circles of black craft foam. Place eight 6-inch chenille stem legs between two circles, then glue together to form one spider. Glue eyes on both sides of spiders.

2. Attach the String-along Poms to the wall with push pins to make assembly easier.

Allow about a foot of Poms to hang down on each end.

3. Attach ornaments to Poms using chenille stems or yarn. Cut the black and green multicolored yarns together in various lengths and tie between each pom-pom. Cut green ribbon yarn and tie so the tails stick out above the garland. Do the same with scraps of purple tulle.

Approximate Crafting Time: 3 hours
Skill Level: No experience needed

Three Spooky Halloween Craft Projects

How to make your Halloween festivities extra spooky

Ghostly globes

Ghostly globes

(ARA) – Halloween is the second most decorated holiday, so it won’t be long until ghouls and goblins, witches and vampires, pumpkins and candy corn adornments begin appearing in advance of trick-or-treating and haunting celebrations.

This year, instead of buying your decorations, why not brew a little imagination? Just stir in a few items you already have around the house and a couple of cans of spray paint to create bewitching, inexpensive pieces for your home and yard. Here are three project ideas to inspire and help you easily put some extra spookiness in your Halloween trick-or-treating.

Ghoulish gravestones

Turn a couple of old boxes into a chilling graveyard to keep the goblins and vampires at bay.

What you’ll need: Black granite textured “stone” spray paint, such as Krylon’s Make It Stone; spray adhesive; glow-in-the-dark paint; boxes (note: old shipping boxes work well); foam or wood letters; various Halloween decorations; hot or super glue; packing tape; newspaper; large nails or ground stakes; and scissors.

How to do it: Set up a spray paint area in a well-ventilated area by covering a table with newspaper. Assemble a box and tape over folded seams leaving one end open, as that will serve as the bottom of your gravestone. Cut a name plaque to fit the box from the cardboard of another and affix with spray adhesive. Glue letters onto the plaque.

Embellish the top of your gravestone with glued-on Halloween decorations, like a bat or skull. Paint the entire gravestone with two to three coats of “stone” spray paint, letting it dry between coats. Once it’s dry, highlight areas with glow-in-the-dark paint. Place a stake in the ground, prop up your box and enjoy scaring the neighbors with your ghoulishly gorgeous graveyard.

Ghostly globes

Add a spooky twist to your outside walkway on All Hallow’s Eve – without having to carve several messy pumpkins – by creating glowing ghostly globes.

What you’ll need: Round glass votives; newspaper; one can each of white frosted glass, white and glow-in-the-dark spray paint, such as Krylon Glowz; and a black craft pen.

How to do it: Cover your workspace with newspaper.

Spray several light coats of white frosted glass paint on the lip of each votive and let dry. Next, add several light coats of white paint to the outside bottom of votives, blending the white seamlessly with the frosted glass. Let dry completely. Spray the entire exterior with glow-in-the dark paint, which will allow your votives to shine even when not lit. Finally, draw facial features with a black paint pen.

Spooky party servers

Embellish your Halloween party buffet by transforming ordinary terra cotta pots into spooky party servers.

What you’ll need: White primer; pumpkin orange, gloss white and gold glitter spray paint; black webbing spray from Krylon; brush-on black paint; repositionable adhesive; assorted terra cotta pots and saucers; metal or enamel bowl; glue; paper; pencil; scissors; and a small paint brush.

How to do it: Wash the pots and saucers. Allow to dry. Spray all the terra cotta with white primer. Let dry and spray with gloss white. Once dry, turn pots upside down and glue the bottom of a saucer to the bottom of each pot. Draw ghosts, tombstones and other scary characters on paper. Cut the shapes out and spray one side with repositionable adhesive.

Position the paper shapes randomly on the pots. Spray the outside of the bowl and terra cotta pieces with pumpkin orange paint. Once dry, spray all the pieces with black webbing spray, then lightly with gold glitter spray. When all the paint is dry, remove paper templates and add details, such as features on the ghosts and words on the tombstones, with black paint. Be sure to not to place unwrapped food on any painted surface.

For more Halloween decorating inspiration, there are a plethora of arts and crafts websites, such as yourholidaystyle.com, offering tips, tricks and inspiration to help you spook your family, guests and trick-or-treaters.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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