Thursday, May 21, 2015

DYI Beer Bottle Centerpieces (Vases and Candle Holders)

Just because you have a lot of beer bottles sitting around your house, doesn't mean you have a drinking problem, it means you appreciate good beer!  But I have to admit that when I take out the recycling, the neighbors know it's the Swihart family from the beautiful noise our beer bottles make when they hit the bin!  And, let me tell you, it's loud! So I thought it would be a great idea to highlight 2  ways to up-cycle beer bottles, so that we don't  disturb the neighbors!!!

1) Take that bouquet of flowers sweet hubby brought home and distribute it,in beer bottles.  Tie the beer bottles up in raffia, lace, or ribbon and voila, a center piece.  Most importantly you've saved yourself about a 6 pack worth of recycling worries.

2) Cut the bottom of a beer bottle off and use the tops as candle holders.  (Tutorial on cutting beer bottles coming soon!)  Again add the fluff and you're set!

Now you can tell your friends and family that you have multiple reasons for drinking as much beer as you do... it's not only for the appreciation of a great homebrew or craft beer, but it's a lifestyle.  You can now decorate with beer!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Adventures in Liquid Soap: My Clear Liquid Soap Clouded

I made some pretty rad liquid soap the other day!!!  It came out clear!  I loved the thickness of it.  Not to thick, and not to watery.  It was perfect (according to me!) But a couple days later I noticed clouding!  A ghost-like appearance formed (like a whisp...think of the Disney movie BRAVE, but white, not blue) and eventually the whole jar clouded.  NOOOOOOO! I have sequestered the soap (a recommendation not only from Fallor's Book, but I joined a liquid soapmakers group on Facebook and that was a recommendation as well. ) And as I waited, I continued to consult with the Facebook group. (By the way, it never cleared up... it stayed cloudy.) I learned 3 major reasons liquid soap clouds.
1) Cooking: You didn't cook your paste long enough.  I did the clarity test and it was fine.  I had also separated my soap into three jars and two of the three clouded.
2) Sanitation:  There is bacteria or something yucky growing in your soap.  Well, I sanitized my jars as well as boiled my distilled water before I added it to my paste.  So I didn't think it was that, since it clouded so quickly after I made the soap!
3) Fragrance / Essential Oil:  These oils are added at the cooling phase after you add the boiling distilled water, and as I learned from this group, all FO/EO act differently.  Some may cloud the soap instantly or days after.  Looking at my three jars of soap, all containing the same "clear" liquid soap, the only difference between them was, they all contain different fragrances!  So I think I found the culprit!  I added Brambleberry's Oatmeal Stout FO and all is good.  The second contains a Honey Ale FO and it clouded... As well as the Tobacco Bay FO.

So now what?  The soap is completely fine to use, but I REALLY want clear soap.  Two suggestions I've read are:  1) Mix your FO/EO with a 1:1 ratio with Polysorbate -20. or ethyl alcohol and then 2) add this concoctions while your soap is still hot, but cooling!!!

I'll try this and let you know!  And as always, I'm always open to suggestions!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mother's Day Brunch: Because She Loves Beer!

We got this great image from
Pink of Perfection
Mother's Day is quickly approaching, and it's time to plan the perfect brunch for that wonderful lady who's favorite thing is beer!  What more could she want than her favorite ice cold beer, but foods whose ingredients include just that, beer! And as a DIY'er yourself, what better way to tell your mom how much she means to you, than creating a brunch around her favorite theme!   But don't worry, it's not as hard as it looks...  I've found some great ideas and easy recipes to share with you!

This image came
from the Cooking Channel 
Decorations:  Beer bottles make beautiful table decorations and if you are a beer lover yourself, you probably have some sitting around!  Simply wrap raffia or lace around them, insert her favorite flowers and viola!  

Beverages: The first go to drink would be her favorite beer.  Or, why not try a beer infused drink such as a beer cocktail? For a light citrus taste using a wheat beer, try a Ginger Rum Shandy.  Or, for a more hardy drink, try a Ruddy Mary that uses a dark ale or stout! Both will be a winner.

A beautiful image
from Draft Magazine
Food:  There are many ways you can go with food.  For the egg lover, you may want to try a Sausage and Pale Ale Fritatta, or a Bacon, Egg and Greens Panini made with a wheat beer. Or go an entirely different route with  Beer Pancakes or Muffins made from her favorite fruit beer!!!

And finally, have fun celebrating your Mom.  She will love spending time together!  And if you want to give her a gift, may I suggest a bar of Handbrewed Soaps?  We have plenty of beer soaps to choose from!  (I had to make the plug... it was so appropriate!  LOL)  Have a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!!

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