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Quick Drawstring Bag Tutorial or How to Reuse Your SubEarthan Cottage Soap Wrapping

I wrap my soaps in fabric because it looks nice, it allows the soap to breathe (read here for why), and because it feels better than plastic. I often wonder what happens to the wrapping. I’m sure there are some that toss it. I know of one person who collects the fabric for quilts. For those of you who, like me, don’t want to throw away something that could be useful but don’t know what to do with it, I have a tutorial for a drawstring pouch, just for you.

This is done with the wrapping from one of my soaps, but you could make it in any size you like.

Materials
Cloth wrapper from soap (roughly 8×11 inches)
Jute string from soap (about 29 inches)
Thread

Tools
Needle or Sewing machine
Safety pin or Bodkin
Scissors
Iron

First, iron your fabric flat. Then, fold down a long edge about 3/4 of an inch to one inch and press. This is for the casing. It doesn’t have to be super precise.

Sew a straight seam along the bottom of the flap to form the casing. All the sewing can be done by hand or machine. I have no time or patience, so I choose machine. Fold your material in half with right sides together like a book.

The fold is at the bottom of this photo.

Next, starting just below the casing seam, sew down the side and across the bottom. I use anywhere from a 1/4 to 1/2 inch seam allowance for this. Again, it doesn’t have to be precise.

With scissors, clip the bottom corners, being careful not to cut your stitching. You could probably skip this step, but it helps the corners look square and crisp. Turn your bag right side out.

Now it’s time to thread the string. Tie one end of the string to a safety pin, large paper clip, or attach a small bodkin. This makes it easier to work it through the casing. Thread it through the casing, safety pin first.

Once you get the string to the other side, remove your safety pin or other tool and adjust the string so that the ends are even.

Knot the ends together once or twice to keep it from coming out.

Ta-da! It’s done! Perfect for organizing your purse, storing jewelry or other small items, or as a small gift bag.

Or holding your favorite bar of soap.

Tutorials are always a little complicated to write because it’s easy to overlook small steps in things you do frequently. If something is unclear, please ask. 🙂

If you have any other creative uses for a SubEarthan Cottage soap wrapper, I would love to hear it!

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Proper Care and Feeding of Your Bar Soap

One of my peeves is soggy, mushy bar soap. One, it’s gross. Two, it makes a mess. Three, it’s a waste of soap to let it melt away in a dish rather than being used. There are a few ways to prevent the mush and have a long-lasting bar of soap.

The biggest enemy of soap is moisture, so the key to a long lasting bar of soap is to keep it as dry as possible. All soap requires some liquid as an ingredient. The trick is to keep it to a minimum and allow it to cure properly. The longer a soap cures, the more moisture will evaporate and result in a harder bar. This is one reason I wrap my soaps in cloth: the cloth allows the soap to continue to harden even after it’s wrapped.

One thing you can do at home is to allow your soap to harden is to store it away from the humid bathroom and, if it is packaged in plastic or other non-breathable material, unwrap it. You can take advantage of fragrant soaps by storing them in someplace like a linen closet or dresser drawer. That way, you’ll scent your linens or clothes while hardening your soap.

Once you’re ready to use your soap, consider where you put it. The absolute worst place is in the shower where the water will hit it continuously. Observe where the water flows and use a soap dish out of the water’s path. If you don’t mind an extra step, take it out of the shower when not in use. Personally, I don’t do this or I would probably forget to grab it on my way in and have to step out dripping to get it.

Finally, the most important thing you can do to make your soap last is to let it dry out between uses. To accomplish this, you need a soap dish or surface that allows proper drainage. The best option is something that raises the soap up and allows water to drip away and air to circulate under the bar of soap. Something like this is good for a handmade option. If you already have a soap dish you like that doesn’t drain well, I’ve found spiky plastic soap savers similar to this in packs of two at the dollar store. You can use them with a soap dish or alone on the counter. Depending on the shape of your soap, you can also rest the soap up on it’s side rather than flat. This doesn’t allow the soap to dry as well on that edge, but it does limit the surface area that stays damp. I’ve used all of the above methods to allow my soap to dry and have had success with each. I’m sure there are others I haven’t tried.

Nobody likes to see money washed down the drain. Whether you buy your soap at a supermarket or handmade from a soap maker like me, I hope these tips help you to get the most out of your soap.

Find SubEarthan Cottage Soaps here:  https://subearthancottage.com/product-category/soap-bath-beauty/soap

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Blog-keeping

Just a few notes today:

1. I’m working on my website, https://subearthancottage.com. You can find my about page, blog and shop all in one place. Currently the shop is still through Etsy, so you need an Etsy account to shop there. If you have problems or concerns with that, please contact me so I can help you out.

2. Please, subscribe to my newsletter. I hate clogged inboxes as much as everyone else, so I send emails very sparingly. When I do, there’s usually a sale or coupon for my shop involved. Sign ups are to the right on Blogger and bottom on my website.

3. Usually when people talk about no-poo, they’re referring to the baking soda and acv variety. I finally found someone who goes the natural bar soap route like I do. Here’s her method:
http://dontwastethecrumbs.com/2016/04/how-to-wash-your-hair-without-shampoo/. She has more awesome information for frugal, healthy living, so I encourage you to browse around.

4. In case you haven’t seen my take on soap as shampoo, here it is: https://subearthancottage.com/2012/11/shampoo-bar-101-revisited.html. I totally forgot about taking a break from it after B was born. Apparently that’s normal for me, because I’ve done it again since Thadd was born and now I’m paying the price. At least I know the transition period doesn’t last forever and I’ll be able to ditch the pony tail soon. Not that I’m going to want to. Summers are HOT!

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Back.

After successfully posting something every day in November, I gave myself a long weekend, lol. December tends to be busy, so I’m being a little less ambitious with a 2-3 times a week goal.

Random news: Beckett is fine. The weirdness in the first blood test was totally gone in the second one other than the slight anemia. So yay! I’m on the fence again about giving an iron supplement because he’s in the range where it depends on who you ask whether he really needs it. Plus the only infant supplement I can find is the Poly-Vi-Sol smells like vomit made by Enfamil crap. Even Mr. Everything Goes in My Mouth seals his lips the second I open the bottle because it’s that bad. His doctor did suggest that I see if I can get some of the flavoring stuff from a pharmacy to mask it. Really, though, it seems like there should be a better way to go about it.

Beckett claps now, and will clap for almost anything, except when I have the video camera running. He also started doing the Itsy Bitsy Spider last night.

Finnian is supposed to be reading at a level 8 by Christmas and a level 18 by the end of the year in order to be promoted to second grade. The teacher sent out reading progress reports with their second six weeks report card. Finnian is already reading at a level 18. 🙂

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Fun with Shiner: Shiner Bock Beer Soap

I finally made a batch of Shiner Bock Beer Soap last night. I love making beer soap. It goes together beautifully. It’s uncomplicated. It traces quickly, but not too quickly. It cooks up exactly the way soap is supposed to cook. If I were going to teach a soap making class, it’s the soap recipe I would use.

Beer Soap Cooking
Beer Soap Cooking
Pretty soap waves.

My hot process soap takes about a week to cure. Look for more Beer Soap at SubEarthan Cottage at the end of next week. It makes a great gift, especially for men. It is my most popular soap, so expect it to go fast.

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Jasmine Incense Handmade Soap

I love using handmade soap as shampoo. If you’ve never tried or even considered it, you might be interested in reading my Shampoo Bar 101. I’m running low on my preferred Shiner Bock Beer soap, so I decided to try my new Jasmine Incense soap instead. It left my hair just as soft and fluffy as the beer soap. I did use some conditioner on the ends because my hair is about to the middle of my back and I’m hoping to let it grow even longer.

For more information on my Jasmine Incense soap, visit https://www.etsy.com/listing/76387907/jasmine-incense-scented-handmade-soap

Jasmine Incense Soap