Sunday, March 29, 2015

Kids' Corner: Homemade Lipsticks

Today, our pre-teen guest blogger will share how she made some homemade lipsticks this weekend. It's like a blockbuster Kids' Corner-Meets-Herbal Apothecary post--if crayons were made of herbs.

How to Make Custom Lipstick Colors with Crayons!
by Tiegan Trach

I just recently bought a lot of lipstick, and I realized that it dried out my lips and there weren't many colors to chose from. So I searched for a way to make my own lipstick. I came across a way to make lipstick out of crayons, and if there's anything I don't have to go and buy, it's crayons.

You need:
  • coconut oil
  • crayons
  • ruler
  • knife
  • measuring spoons
  • pot
  • glass bowl
  • water
  • containers to put your crayon/coconut oil mixture into (I used bottle caps)

First, you need to cut your crayons into 1 inch lengths and peel off the paper. I found that if you score a line in the crayon you can easily break it along that line. 

Next, set up a double-boiler by filling the pot with water and then putting the bowl in the pot. I was able to set the rim of the bowl on the rim of the pot, but if you have to put your bowl on the bottom of the pot that's okay. Then I put the double boiler over medium heat. 

If you want a sheer look to your lipstick, you will add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil per inch of crayon. If you want an opaque look, you will add 1/4 teaspoon of coconut oil per inch of crayon. Add the coconut oil and the crayon to the pot.

Then when the coconut oil and the crayon have melted, stir them together and pour into a container. When I used bottle caps, the milk and Dasani caps would hold 2 inches of crayon and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil for a sheer look, and Crystal Geyser and Poland Spring caps held 1 inch of crayon and 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil for a sheer look. When I made black and white I used 1/4 inch for an opaque look in Poland Spring caps, and I was able to use 2 inches of crayon and 1/2 inch coconut oil to fill the cap.

Top row: Mauvelous, Burnt Orange, Peach
Second row: Red Orange, Razzmatazz, Metallic Red 
Third row: Tickle Me Pink, Tumbleweed, Shocking Pink
Fourth row: Gold, Goldenrod, Purple Pizzazz
Bottom row: Scarlet, White, Black

In the photo below I am wearing Scarlet.

It's a little difficult to get the lighter pinks to pigment your lips, but it's still worth all the sticky coconut oil and the waiting and maybe burning your fingers. Because there's coconut oil in it, it doesn't dry out your lips, but you still get the color you would get from store bought lipsticks. It's also great for costumes that you might need an odd color of lipstick for. I would definitely make these again in other colors or larger amounts of the same colors.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

At Least We're Still Eating

Though there's still between six and 12 inches of snow on the ground in most spots and we're nowhere near ready to plant any spring crops outdoors, we still have plenty of last year's harvest stores to enjoy for dinner. To wit:

Along with filet or perch we had garlic green beans and sweet corn fritters. Despite not having a great green bean harvest last summer, we still had enough frozen beans to last through this long winter. We also still have a good deal of garlic, though some of it is beginning to sprout, which gives it kind of a greenish flavor. 

The corn fritters were made possible by some frozen corn from our bumper crop of sweet corn this summer. These are basically pancakes with corn in them, but fried in a half inch of oil. Kirk made them from a recipe in The Good Housekeeping All-American Cookbook, but there's a very similar recipe here. Just use regular salt and skip the sugar if you use fresh or frozen sweet corn from a farm--that's plenty sweet enough. 

We also found three pears that (full disclosure) we totally forgot about in the crisper drawer of the fridge. You have to chill pears for a few weeks and then let them ripen at room temperature. We got the chilling part down, but then forgot to get them out to ripen.

That meant that the pears weren't exactly prize specimens any more. Two were quite hard; the other was pretty soft (though still intact). Kirk decided to bake them.

There weren't enough for a full galette, so Kirk decided to bake them into a custard tart. He stresses that this was one big experiment, but I thought it was pretty good. The pear flavor was nice and bright, and their texture was fine. Here's how he made it (adjusted to include a few things learned in said experiment).

Start with an ordinary, homemade pie crust in a shallow tart pan. Blind bake it for 15-20 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 eggs, 1 cup of milk, 1 tsp. cornstarch, 1/4 tsp. vanilla and 1/8 tsp. almond extract. Mix well, until eggs are well beaten, and set aside.

Peel, core, and thinly slice pears. Spread evenly on bottom of the pre-baked pastry shell and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Pour the custard over the pears.

Bake at 400 degree for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 15 minutes or until custard is set. Cool thoroughly before serving; refrigerate any leftovers.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

So Many Seedlings

It occurs to me that my last post was a little depressing, what with all the broken glass and hail. Things really aren't all that bad. Despite the way this winter insists on hanging around, we have a lot of new growth on our seed-starting shelf:

Four whole trays of onions and leeks are getting bigger each day. They have their secondary leaves now and have been fertilized once already with some nutrient-rich aquarium water.

These are brand new salad seedlings, which include arugula, spinach, lettuce and beets for greens. These germinated quickly, but will need to ride out several more weeks indoors until the cold frame soil warms up. The weather the past few days has not been helpful in this department as lows have been in the teens. We also need to replace some glass on the cold frames to trap the heat they'll need to survive, so we're not expecting fresh salads any time soon.

Our cabbage and broccoli seedlings are looking really good this year. This weekend they should be ready to start hardening off, provided we have afternoon temperatures above freezing. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

If You Don't Like The Weather...

…just wait a minute. 

Or so the saying goes about the fickle New England weather.

Trouble is, I was enjoying the weather this afternoon, and didn't need a change, thank you very much. Tiegan and I took a walk after school and had a lovely time: balmy breezes, warm(ish) sunshine, pleasant conversation. About a block from home, though, it started to sprinkle.

By the time we got home, it was lightly raining. No big deal. 

I went to check the sap buckets, and they were overflowing thanks to the warm afternoon. I was getting a little wet while I transferred the sap to the big buckets, and since we had so much, I had to get another one to of the basement, wash it out, and dig some more holes in our snowbank/refrigeration system:

Just as I was sliding that last bucket into place, an icy gust of wind nearly knocked me over.

And then I was pelted in the face with a barrage of hail.


The temperature dropped like a stone: 20 degrees in just a couple hours, and it's still falling. The arctic blast also caught our cold frame:

So now we're out another window covering, since this one is all smashed. 

This all feels like a big step backwards, despite spring being just a couple days away. Harumph.