Soap-on-a-rope is more tents_2470 than just a catchy rhyme. It?s a decorative way to display soap that also keeps it from getting soft or sitting in a little soap puddle in your shower or bath. These rosemary lemon soap-on-a-rope stars come straight from the garden into the holiday gift-giving season. This project is extra special because it creates two types of soap in one: stars and bars!
Stars and bars? Yes! Two kinds of soap come out of this one project. First, you will cut out soap stars and when that process is finished you?ll add another soap to fill in the holes and create decorative soap bars. Let?s get to it, shall we?
Rosemary Lemon Soap-on-a-Rope Stars and Bars
Watch this video for the quick overview for how easy this project is, then follow the step-by-step in the rest of this post so you can make these at home.
Now on to the recipe!
- 3 lbs (buy 2 x 2lb boxes and use 1 and a half of them)
- 2 lbs
- 2 tablespoons rosemary leaves
- zest from one lemon
- 1 teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon
- Spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol
- Cotton twine
Cut up the shea butter soap base into 1-inch cubes and add it to the Pyrex measuring cup.
Melt the soap base in a microwave or in a double boiler so that it is just melted. You want the soap base to melt but not cook. Remove the soap base from the microwave or off the double boiler before it starts to steam. There may be a few chunks left, but that is just fine. Those will melt if you keep stirring the soap base for a few minutes after removing it from the heat.
When the soap base has melted, add in half of your herbs, lemon zest, and essential oils to the soap mix. Reserve the other ingredients.
Pour the soap base into the cookie sheet and move the cookie sheet around quickly so that it fills up the entire space. It should be approximately 1 inch thick. Sprinkle the remaining herbs and lemon zest to the top of the soap. Leave it to set on a level surface. Spray the surface with isopropyl alcohol. Note: work quickly as the soap will dry fast.
When the soap is dry?in only about a half hour?use the cookie cutter to cut out star shapes.
Make the stars into the soap-on-a-rope by using a screw to create a hole and then tying a piece of cotton twine through the hole. The soap-on-a-rope can now be given as a gift or hung in the shower.
Now, I?ll show you how to make the bars! Melt the glycerin soap base in the microwave or double boiler as you did with the previous batch. Add the remaining essential oils and stir well.
Spray the surface of the star cutout soap with isopropyl alcohol to encourage the layers to stick. Pour the melted soap slowly and evenly over the star cut-out soap in the cookie sheet. The glycerin soap will fill in the stars and add another layer of thickness to the soap. Spray the surface with isopropyl alcohol again.
When the cookie sheet of soap has dried you can use a knife to gently lift the corner of the soap and pull the sheet up. Place the soap on a cutting board and cut out rectangles or squares of soap to create soap bars. These can be used as is, or you can punch a hole in them and hang them from rope just as you did with the stars.
I like the idea of wrapping them up and giving them as stocking stuffers or even tying them to the outside of a present. No matter how you decide to give them, this is a fun project to make any time of year.
If you are looking for more gift ideas, be sure to check out my melt and pour soap book,
is filled with super simple techniques for crafting artisan soaps at home. You?ll learn how to use botanicals, essential oils, and even wild animals to spice up your soap, giving you finished projects that don?t look nearly as easy to make as they are.
Many people believe that aromatherapy has the power to heal our bodies and calm our minds. Whether you believe in the purported healing benefits of aromatherapy or not, smelling your favorite fragrances can make you feel relaxed, revitalized, and comforted. This can be especially nice during the holiday season if you scent your home with festive, cozy fragrances that make you want to curl up and relax. Use natural essential oils to fill your home with the warmth of the holidays by making this pinecone aromatherapy diffuser! Scented pinecones are easy to make at home, as long as you follow a few important steps.
- Decorative bowl or dish
- of your choice
- Whole spices such as , , , and
If you don?t already have a supply of pinecones that you?ve collected for crafting, take a walk around a park, wooded area, or tree-lined street and collect a number of pinecones in varying sizes. Choose recently fallen cones that are intact and have a nice shape.
Fill a sink with warm, soapy water and gently wash the pinecones. Once they are clean, take them out of the sink, shake off excess water, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
For this project, it is best to use pinecones that are completely dry and as open as possible, and the best way to ensure this is to ?bake? them in the oven at a low temperature to dry out thoroughly. Put the pinecones in the oven at around 200 degrees F (or whatever the lowest heat setting of your oven is) until they look open and feel very dry, about 30 minutes to an hour. Take them out of the oven and let cool completely before working with them.
Next comes the fun bit: pick the combination of scents you want to use! I prefer to use only all-natural, pure essential oils as they smell better than synthetic fragrances and they don?t contain harmful chemicals.
You can choose any scents that you like, but here are some of my favorite essential oils for fall and winter:
To blend your signature essential oil fragrance, add the desired amount of each of your chosen essential oils into the empty glass bottle using the dropper. Screw the lid on and shake the bottle well, mixing the essential oils together to create a new scent combination.
Now you are ready to scent your pinecones. Using the dropper, apply the essential oil to the gaps in the pinecones. Essential oils are quite strong so you don?t need a lot to scent your pinecones?just three or four drops per cone is plenty.
Lay the pinecones out in an attractive dish or bowl along with some whole spices for even more pleasant scent and an attractive holiday display. When the scent fades, simply add a few more drops of your custom essential oil blend to the pinecones.
Even More Pinecones!
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is THE garden to see when visiting Austin, Texas. Join me on a photo tour of the gardens, woodland, meadows, and grassland trails that make up this diverse and exciting education and conservation space.
I jumped at the opportunity to attend a business conference in Austin Texas this month as it?s a place that I have always wanted to visit. Austin is a city known for music, food, and art, but no matter where I get the chance to travel to, I always plan to visit the gardens. I was told by a number of locals that The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center was an absolutely must, so I made sure to arrive early and take my time touring so I could take it all in. I came home with a deeper understanding of the importance of native plants in Texas, a deeper appreciation for wildflowers, and my ankles burning from fire ants! Join me on my tour of the many gardens of The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is an oasis just 15 minutes from downtown Austin, and a world away from my Vancouver, BC, Canada garden. It spans an impressive 284 acres of conservation and education spaces. I started with a self-guided audio tour and learned that Lady Bird Johnson and Helen Hayes founded the Wildflower Center in 1982. It was then dubbed the National Wildflower Research Center. It was given its current name in 1997. Today, the center is a major botanical garden growing over 900 species of plants native to Texas. Beyond the beauty it produces, the garden?s mission is to conserve plants and resources while creating sustainable landscapes and designing ecological buildings.
About Lady Bird Johnson
In our past features on women who contributed to gardening and plant sciences ( and ), I had lots of folks leave Lady Bird Johnson?s name as someone who had deeply influenced them.
Where flowers bloom so does hope. ? Lady Bird Johnson
Lady Bird Johnson?s given name was Claudia Alta Taylor. She was given the nickname ?Lady Bird? when she was young and it stuck with her even as she became the First Lady to President Lydon B. Johnson. Always deeply involved in her husband?s political career, Lady Bird?s presence helped to ease a painful transition as she and then-Vice President moved into the White House after Kennedy?s Assassination. As First Lady, she created the Committee for a More Beautiful Capital and eventually expanded the program to include the whole nation.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Gardens
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center consists of several gardens, a Central Complex, and 70 acres of trails. With the goal of ?inspiring the conservation of native plants?, each area has something special to offer whether you?re visiting alone or with the family!
The Central Complex is the first thing visitors see when they arrive at the garden. The Central Complex was built with beauty, functionality, and sustainability in mind. It houses spaces for education and celebration, as well as a cafe, courtyard, and entrance garden.
The Central Gardens were the first to open when the Wildflower Center moved to this location in 1995. These gardens alone house 650 species of native plants. The designers of these gardens have created different styles to inspire homeowners. You will also find a pollinator habitat garden and insectary, as well as water features with aquatic plants and wildlife.
The Luci and Ian Family Garden, which opened in 2014, is highly interactive with the goal of connecting families and children to the natural world. Its 4.5 acres include a native shrub maze, large tree stumps to climb on, and a walk-through Fibonacci spiral.
I loved the giant birds? nests made of grapevines.
And the little treasures in hidden corners like this tic-tac-toe game.
Readers can crack open a book from the open-air lending library while tucking away under the shade.
And adventurous little ones will love the child-sized wildlife blind and creek with dinosaur footprints and water activities.
If your kiddos get tuckered out, enjoy a rest and a picnic on the soft lawn.
The Mollie Steves Zachry Texas Arboretum covers 16 acres. Take a walk on the meandering one-mile path to admire the Texas Oak Collection and meadows of wildflowers and native grasses. Make sure to stop at Elisabeth Maxine?s Cathedral of Oaks. This isn?t a one-size-fits-all engagement, as there?s a different sized swing for everyone! Age is just a number when it comes to pumping your knees on a swing under some old oak trees.
The Savanna Meadow is the perfect place to spot wildlife during any season. Take the 1/4 -mile trail around the meadow and keep an eye out for the Edwards Aquifer and Cecille?s Arch, which is a limestone gateway under giant living oaks.
Hill Country Trails
One mile of trails will take you through these sweeping meadows, which are filled with wildflowers and grasses. There?s plenty of wildlife here, and you might see a roadrunner, painted bunting, or coyote. This 70-acre area?s true purpose is for research in fire and land management, and visitors get a glimpse into these projects.
Native Plants of North America Database
One of the center?s greatest offerings is the Native Plants of North America Database. It is the most comprehensive database of native plants for North America. You can search for specific plants using either their common or scientific names. The database also provides relative lists of plants, like ?Bee-friendly Plants? and ?Plants in Your State?.
To use the database, click .
Each plant entry includes information about the plant?s characteristics, where it grows, and its best-growing conditions. The directory also shares suppliers where you can buy the plant and which gardens showcase which plants.
The next time you?re in Austin, don?t miss the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It has something for every garden lover providing endless hours of education and beauty.