Saturday, 27 August 2016

Make Your Own Simple Soap (No Thermometer Method)

Luxurious homemade soap using
four simple ingredients.

The very first soap I made was Rhonda Hetzel's recipe HERE.  I have come full circle back to this list of ingredients and it is the staple soap I make for the family now.  This soap is luxurious, frugal, mild on sensitive skin, great as a shampoo (cured my lifetime battle with dandruff ), has quality ingredients, traces so easily and is so easy to make.

Although the ingredients is exactly as Rhonda has listed, I use a slightly different method.

To make good quality basic personal bathroom soap, you do not need fancy molds, you do not need a thermometer, you do not need any fancy of special equipment.  The only thing you must have is an accurate set of kitchen scales, but the rest is all normal kitchenware.

Always wear eye protection and gloves, keep a window open, be near running water, keep pets and children well away, have old towels ready for any accidental spills, be 100% organised with everything you need before you start, work confidently and smoothly.


173 grams of caustic soda
450 grams of water
250 gram block of Copha (Hydrogenated coconut oil)
1000 grams of olive oil

Please weigh these using your kitchen scales.  Do not guess as the amounts must be accurate.


  1. Break up the Copha into a non metallic bowl
  2. Add caustic soda to water slowly stirring all the while (not the other way around). You now have lye.
WARNING never add the water to the caustic soda or it will explode. Make sure you have an open window nearby as the caustic soda will emit fumes while it is reacting with the water. The water will nearly reach boiling point as you add the caustic soda so BE CAREFUL but not nervous.
  3. Add lye carefully to the Copha
  4. Stir until Copha is fully dissolved
  5. Add olive oil
  6. Alternately stir and blend with a kitchen stick blender. (You can use a set of beaters but be very careful of splatter...or you could just stir with a non metallic spoon - but this will take much longer)
  7. Bring mixture to TRACE.  You know you are at trace when the mixture looks and feels like custard and leaves a very noticeable trace or wake in the mixture.
  8. Pour into a plastic container. Use a spatula to get every last drop of soap mixture into the container.
  9. Pop a lid on the container or wrap with cling-wrap and set aside totally undisturbed for at least 24 hours.
  10. After 24 hours, carefully pop the set soap mold out of the plastic container onto a cutting board.
  11. Slice up into bars using the sharpest knife you have.
  12. Place bars of soap onto a cake cooler and set aside for six weeks to harden.

Here It Is In Pictures

Break up the Copha into a non-
metallic bowl.

Weigh the caustic soda excatly

Weigh the water excatly

Add the caustic soda slowly to the water stirring continually

Stir the caustic soda and Copha carefully
so as not to splash it 

Stir manually till Copha fully dissolved.

Weigh the olive oil

Add olive oil to the already dissolved
Copha and lye

Use stick blender - do not splash.

This is what trace looks like.
Think custard.

Pour into plastic container.
Plastic is great because it is so
much easier to remove the soap
once set.

Pop the lid on and leave undisturbed
for 24 hours.

Carefully twist the plastic container
until the soap mold pops out in
one piece.

Use a very sharp knife to cut up into bars

Place bars onto a cake cooling
rack to harden.  This will take
six weeks minimum.

If you have never made soap before, lean in and give this a shot.  It is as easy as falling off a log and so, so, so satisfying to make.

Take care folks and stay nice.


Friday, 26 August 2016

Discovering Which Emotion Causes Debt

Home laid organic eggs from our hens - a true delight.

I read all over the interwebs ways to pay off  debt....5 steps, 7 steps, 1 easy way, 10 months to be debt-free....and so on and so forth.  I think many of these (as excellent as they are) are often too simplistic and do not deal with the real cause of the consumer debt.

The fundamental reason folk go into consumer debt is for emotional reasons.

I'm going to have to start giving
away SCOBY's. Too many!

One of the most powerful activities that we can do is to sit down with a pencil and the back of an envelope and scribble down what we were FEELING when we took out consumer debt. Scribble, scribble on the envelope...."Took out loan on red car because I thought I deserved a brand new car to match my new executive job.  I wanted to feel proud and that I had in some way succeeded".......scribble, scribble on the envelope...."Took out the platinum Visa card because all the execs at work talk about their credit cards and I am behind in bills so this will get us up to date on bills and with my new job I can pay this back in a month easily.  This new credit card made me feel successful and also got rid of the embarrassing fear of being behind in  my bills"....and so on and so forth. Go back over what you have scribble down and underline the 'feeling' or 'emotion' words and trigger phrases.

Pantry all tidy now - phew!

 Do this for each single consumer credit/loan - it gets the truth of the emotional feeling that initially drove each consumer debt purchase out of our subconscious and onto paper.  Once this activity is completed, you can throw the piece of paper away as the actual act of thinking it through and manifesting it in writing is enough to create emotional self-awareness about each will be clear in your mind now, so no need to keep the scribblings on the back of the envelope. You will not forget what you have written.

Next job - sorting out the plastics.
I hate plastics and am looking at
slowly replacing them with......... much nicer and it will last
a lifetime.

Now you can proceed with whatever debt reduction plan you choose. My favourite is the one I wrote about HERE which incorporates an old debt reduction method along with my own two extra inclusions of a starting leverage of $5 and MOST IMPORTANTLY the power of post-debt payment continuation which most debt reduction ideas never mention.

FRUGAL TIP: Use the sweet juice
from canned fruits as cordial.
Just add water - yummo.

We go into debt for emotional reasons and thus getting out of debt is not about battling the physical debt. Rather, it is about declaring war on the emotions that caused and perpetrated the debt in our lives.

The tomatoes flourishing in
their self watering box.

Take care folks - stay nice.


We have this tongue-in-cheek plaque up in our kitchen

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Now on Pinterest and FaceBook

Hi Folks

Due to plenty of requests, Mr Home Maker is now available on FACEBOOK or PINTEREST

Goodness me, I'm all over the interwebs now. Golly!

If there is any other social media platform you prefer using let me know and I will see what I can do.

Take care folks and stay nice.


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Core Values - My Story

We harvested our first three cauliflowers
yesterday. One has already been gifted.

FOR the best part of my life I lived by other's values, the values of institutions and values learned by friends and associates.  I never stopped to think if these values were my core values.  Admittedly, I had plenty of moments of blinding clarity but always promptly dismissed these moments as nonsense or heresy, dusted myself down and kept running hard up other people's mountains.

Unshrinking a wool jumper that 'somebody' accidentally put
into the dryer on a rainy day.  We are soaking in cool water with one
cup of hair conditioner. We will then rinse, stretch gently and
dry it in the shade.  Fingers crossed.

As life became incrementally more dissatisfying the more I found myself spending, eating, searching for answers, spending, eating, becoming depressed, eating, spending, trying new things, spending eating, becoming deeply anxious, spending eating ....did I mention spending and eating?  The net result was I became deeply sad (expertly covered by a cheery smile), deeply in consumer debt (covered up by a semblance of "livin' the dream") and obese (nothing could cover that one up!). Of course there was a myriad of other psychological, social and physical types of dis-ease that incrementally manifested over a life time of living a life utterly disconnected from my true core values.

Savoury mince on toast. The savoury
mince was in the freezer pre-prepared
so it was just a matter of reheating
and serving on toast.  Yum.

Quite a while back now (about 7 years) I stumbled over this article HERE.  It took a while, but eventually I  figured out what my core values were.  The result really surprised me.  After a life time of chasing the almighty dollar (unsuccessfully), chasing happiness, chasing religious knowledge, chasing friendships, chasing career (tried 4 different careers), chasing being influential, chasing lifestyles that others had and being utterly emotionally exhausted - this article turned a small light on for me.

Home made yoghurt.

I would have thought my core values would have included things like, power, influence, charisma, knowledge, leadership etc....all the things I used around a boardroom table or in an aspiring church leadership role.  However, the following are my 5 core very different from what I was chasing.

  1. Peacefulness
  2. Having Enough
  3. Kindness
  4. Home
  5. Creativity

These core values had sat ignored, even disdained, for decades while I chased the opposite type of life.  No wonder I was failing, sad, anxious and life was a sum of falsehoods fueled by smug consumerism and ego.

The $50 freezer that just goes and goes.
The blackboard door adds a little fun.

Suffice to say that today I am certainly no paragon of virtue....ha! - the scars (even open wounds), remaining responsibilities and edifices of my former life are still being deconstructed, healed, new thoughts are being born, new actions are slowly replacing old ones and although the transformation is certain, some days I get to thinking if I have not just wasted a goodly portion of my life ?!  But I guess a final 30 years of incrementally building a new life is not to be sneezed at.

I guess this is why I write here at Mr Home Maker.  If even one person is encouraged to examine their life and make incremental, sustainable and (even better) regenerative changes - then my imperfect ramblings have been worthwhile.

Take care folks and stay nice.


Sunday, 21 August 2016

The Masks We Wear

Organising the pantry

As lovely as our recent little holiday to the Blue Mountains was, we did see hoards of tourists pouring in on the weekend - this reminded me of the far-reaching arms or consumerism.

A cheap and easy meal.
Throw in all your mismatched pasta,
a little left over bacon, a spring onion,
a tomato, a little cream maybe.

Whilst sitting in a quiet little un-trendy coffee shop sipping my very first dandelion latte (who knew they were so tasty?!) I was reading an article about the different masks we wear.  It got me thinking about consumerism and the masks we wear due to it.  We put the happy, engaged, productive worker mask on so we can keep our job so we can meet our self-inflicted expenses and repayments. We don the cheery spouse mask to ensure our marriages and relationships stay together whilst in reality consumer-driven money worries can be white-anting the relationship. We tie on  the mask of the in-control parent ensuring that our offspring are bought all the necessary things required for children in the modern world  - $400K worth by the time they are 18 I hear. We have several masks or faces for all the unimportant people in our lives and we even have masks we wear so we do not have to face ourselves sometimes. One of the most obvious masks is the party mask...mixing with folk that we really do not give a toss about, pretending to be interested in their lives, the bad BBQ and the nasty alchohol being swigged by the gallon.

Capsicum and eggplant on their way now.
They sulked for a week after transplanting but have perked up now.

One of the most insidious masks we put on is the 'success' mask. Success it seems can only be proven by having the latest model XYZ300 in the driveway, living in Stuffedshirtia Heights, sending all the children to Grymbles Ladies College, shopping at 'The Village', eating out regularly at the Ritz, taking holidays "abroad" and having several gold and platinum plastics in the wallet. At some point we awake from the sirens voice of consumerism as we incrementally realise that success is not of these things, nor are the purchases thereof a way to measure success. It is then that we bravely decide to remove the mask of success. We reach behind our heads to find the strings of the mask  only to realise they are missing.....never mind, instead we use a finger to find the edge of the mask so we can lift it off our face and to our horror realise that the mask has stuck to our face.  We search frantically around the edge of the mask furtively trying to find a place to lift it off from. We panic as we realise that the mask has fused itself to our faces in full and the skin had grown across the edges. In sheer desperation we tear at our faces and scratch through the skin till we find an edge of the mask and we pull....hard.  We scream in pain and fear as the mask rips off our face tearing away the fusions and lesions that have insidiously made this consumerist mask of success become who we are.  We bleed. We know we are disfigured. We also know of a surety that we are free.

Vinegar 'Mother'

Be careful of masks folks - they can destroy our lives and rot away our core values without us even noticing.

Take care and stay nice folks.


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Holiday Pics # 3 (That's A Wrap Folks)

I have a weakness for pioneer buildings - especially the real-deal ones like this.

Here are the last of the holiday photos folks - enjoy.

I will return in the summer when this corridor of wisteria is in bloom


....and more

Mountain views

See the rainbow across the valley?

Sleet and fine hail despite the blue skies

The local CWA doing a roaring trade.

Beautiful cliffs and clouds

Snowdrops blooming everywhere

Citrus trees loaded with fruit everywhere

Jonquils  - love em.....but not the smell

Tthe back of the cottage taken from the terraced gardens

Daffodils in bloom everywhere.
(Do you love the 1990's sprinkler?)

The little dining nook in the cottage.

The front of the cottage

Big old trees everywhere in the mountains

That's it for holiday photos folks.  Back home tomorrow - yay!  (I do love home)

Take care and stay nice folks.


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