United States of CAKE

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July Fourth is just around the corner. As you are making plans to celebrate the anniversary of our independence why not add this cake to your cookout menu?

This is just another spin on the multi colored Bundt cake I have made in the past. I didn’t get the swirl effect I was going for instead it looks more like a Pepsi logo. Haha!

I added too much batter to my blue layer. I will remedy that when I bake this for our family cook out. If it turns out the same way I will have a cooler of Pepsi’s on hand to make it look like the Pepsi logo was intentional.

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The day of the fourth we will begin by watching “The Patriot” because my husband is obsessed with that movie. We will have family and friends join us for a cookout. Last but not least we will gather in the town square to enjoy the fireworks display.

Have a great and SAFE Independence Day!

Red, White and Blue Cake

One white cake mix.

Follow directions on box.

Divide batter up between three bowls.

Using food coloring color gel mix your colors.

Layer colored batter in Bundt pan.

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Bake.

Cool.

Turn out onto cake stand.

Using a can of white frosting, divide it between three bowls.

With the first bowl of frosting. Melt in microwave. Usually 15 to 20 seconds.

Add color, mix well.

Drizzle over cake.

Do same with second bowl.

Finish with the third bowl.

Let the icing set up.

Dazzle people with your awesome cake design.

After admiring your work finish up by EATING CAKE!

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Strawberry Chia Seed Jam in the Crock-pot

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I have made strawberry jam in the crock-pot before. Using apple for the pectin to make it gel. For me that process it hit or miss, one time I used apples it set up fine the next time we ended up with strawberry syrup. Then I got some Chia seeds to use as egg substitute in baking. You mix 1 tablespoon Chia seeds in 3 tablespoon of water let it set for at least 15 minutes. The seeds absorb the water and you are left with this jello type mass to use in place of your egg.

That got my dark mind racing, ideas began to form. I think there may have been evil plotting music playing in the background. Or that might have been in my head. I asked myself, can it work? Will Chia seeds be the gel that holds my jam together?

I went to Pinterest (I go there now before heading to Google) to search this out. I discovered that yes, yes you can use Chia seeds. Once I discovered that golden gem of knowledge I began to form a recipe. I then tried that recipe out. Eureka! It worked!


 

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

Ingredients:

4 packets of Truvia (or 6 for a sweeter jam) You can also use granulated sugar. ½ cup.

2 pints strawberries, cut in half

¼ c. lemon juice (this will help the strawberries keep their red coloring)

2 tbsp. Chia seed

In the Crock-pot add berries, lemon and Truvia. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Stir and mash your mixture up some. Cover and cook 1 more hour. Stir. Cook uncovered for 2 hours or until the mixture thickens/reduces down some. Stir in Chia seeds. Let set about 15 minutes. Then pour into your jars. Refrigerate and/or freeze.

Strawberries, sweetener and lemon juice in crock pot

Strawberries, sweetener and lemon juice in crock pot

I wish I could tell you exactly how much this made but it seems the day I made it and before I could put all of it into jars the husband went on a PB&J kick. I did manage to fill two 4 oz. jars and one 8 oz container before he confiscated the rest. He ate a lot of PB&J over the following days. His only complaint… he would have liked it to be a little sweeter. Next time I make the jam I will use more sweetener.

Nice and cold. oh so yummy

Nice and cold. oh so yummy

That was a month ago. I froze the 8 oz container of the jam. Today I thawed it out to see how well it held up. It was still great.

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How to crack your marbles not lose them

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One pin from Pinterest I have been wanting to try is the cracked marbles. Turns out it’s very simple and FUN! I wanted one to go in my miniature garden to use as a gazing globe.

How to lose crack your marbles.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place marbles in a pan, one with high sides. Those marbles tend to roll around.

IMG_6497
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately place in a bowl of ice water.

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Here is the fun part: you can hear the water sizzle and the marbles pop. I also did the same to a few glass ‘rocks’ used for decorating. They cracked but not as much as I wanted, maybe they need higher heat or a longer bake time.

I hope to find some solid light colored marbles to try. I think they would make pretty pendants.

Cracked

Cracked

Not much cracking going on

Not much cracking going on

Garden gazing globe

Garden gazing globe

 

 

 

Open Sesame Chia Seed Candy

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I have been wanting to do this for awhile. I have went through tons and tons of Pins to find the perfect recipe. Is there a perfect recipe for this? I don’t know but I found the perfect recipe for me, it was more the measurement and technique I needed. I omitted and added a few things here and there.
What am I talking about?

Sesame Seed Candy!

Yes that little bitty pale unassuming seed that adorns out hamburger buns. You take that seed, work a little bit of magic, and BAM! You have a nice little candy that makes a great tasting, sorta close to healthy snack.

Here is the original Sesame Candy recipe. Below is my adapted recipe along with my account of the whole process.

Sesame Chia Seed Candy

Ingredients:

1 c. Sesame seeds
2 tbsp. Chia seeds
3-4 tbsp. honey
3 tbsp. coconut sugar

Dry roast your sesame seeds for 5-7 minutes. Pour into a bowl add the Chia seeds and mix well. Set aside. In a small pot add the sugar and honey. Bring to a boil, now simmer for 5 minutes. Stirring constantly. Add seeds. Stir. Pour onto a piece of wax paper or a silicone baking mat. Cover with another sheet of wax paper, roll candy with a rolling pin until about ½ inch thick. With a knife cut/score into 1 inch squares. Let cool. Break apart. Done!

I measured out my sesame seeds, put them in the pan to toast. I toasted mine the full 7 minutes because I wanted some of my seeds a dark brown color. After toasting I pit them and the Chia seeds in a dish. I happened to have my small pie dish close by so I used it.

Ready for toasting

Ready for toasting


Toasted Sesame seeds mixed with Chia seeds

Toasted Sesame seeds mixed with Chia seeds

The pot was on the stove to heating up while I mixed my seeds together. So the pot was hot when I started measuring out the honey. I poured my first tablespoon in and it went wild with the boiling. So I had to work fast to get all the honey and the coconut sugar in the pot, while trying to stir at the same time. FYI: have what you need in arms reach, closer if you can. I was like a crazy woman trying to do all that at once with everything I needed in different place around the kitchen.

Boiling, boiling, get that stuff a boiling.

Boiling, boiling, get that stuff a boiling.


5 minutes and a lot of stirring later I poured in my seeds and began mixing, this comes together quick. At first you think that is not going to be enough honey mixture to coat that much seed. It is plenty.
I did not have any wax paper so I used one of my new baking mats. I used another to lay over top. I also don’t have a rolling pin (mainly for the husbands safety) so I used this high tech gadget called a can of soup. Worked fine.
Ready to roll

Ready to roll


High tech rolling technique.

High tech rolling technique.


Okay as soon as I finished rolling I tried to remove the top baking mat. Nope not a good idea some of the candy mixture was coming up with it. I just stopped pulling the mat and mashed it back down over the candy. I popped the whole thing in the freezer for maybe 2 minutes. Took it out while it was still warm enough to cut. This time the top mat came up easily. Not wanting to damage the bottom mat I used a butter knife to ‘cut’ the candy into squares. I did not cut all the way through the candy.
You can see in the upper right where I tried to lift up the top mat

You can see in the upper right where I tried to lift up the top mat


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After letting the candy cool a few minutes I broke the pieces apart. Both mats had sticky stuff on them but I only had to run water over them for a few seconds and they were clean. I think I might be in love with silicone baking mats.

How did the Sesame Chia Seed candy taste? Great. Sweet with a toasted nutty taste. This is going to be my midday snack at work next week. Thanks for joining me on this Pinteresting adventure.
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Fiery Hot Lips: DIY Cinnamon Lip Balm

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Fire balm

I love me some cinnamon. I am still enjoying the cinnamon toothpicks I made. I was gathering supplies to make a small batch of lip balm and was thinking about those cinnamon toothpicks. Suddenly an idea hit me, thankfully not hard, but it did hit me. The idea? Cinnamon lip balm. I read several pins on making lip balm and from them I came up with the recipe down below.

Let me tell you something about cinnamon lip balm…it is not for the faint of heart.

Lip Balm of Fire:

Ingredients:
4 tsp. of beeswax pellets
1 ½ tsp. of Shea butter
2 tsp. sweet almond oil
1 tsp. Argan oil
3-6 drops cinnamon oil
A tiny chunk of lipstick if you want tinted balm
A tiny container for your balm

In a pot add a few inches of water, turn burner on low. Give the water a few minutes to heat up. Using either a glass jar or some other container that can take the heat, place the jar in the warm water. Into your jar add the beeswax, Shea butter, Sweet Almond oil and Argan Oil.
Let everything melt, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once melted add your lipstick chunk if you are tinting. If not remove from heat, add your cinnamon, stir then pour into your storage container.

Beeswax

Beeswax


Wax and oils melted together.

Wax and oils melted together.

This is my first time dealing with beeswax. What I learned from this first time is that the stuff wants to set up FAST. So have your storage container handy so you can pour quickly.

I should have added a bigger chunk of lipstick. I had a bronze color which using just a little made my balm look dirty. I meant to pour just three drops of cinnamon oil but a tad more came out of the bottle. I let my balm set, which didn’t take long. It smelled like cinnamon heaven. I put it on my lips and it burnt like hell. My lips were on FIRE. Grabbing a rag I wiped what I could of the balm off my lips. Still the fire was raging. I made a mad dash to my freezer, grabbed a cube of ice and tried to cool down my burning lips. It took a few minutes but my lips cooled down. On a positive note my lips were nice and soft. Was it from the oils in the balm or did the dry rough skin burn off? I don’t know and I’m not going to try it again. Hell who am I kidding? It’s cinnamon, of course I’m going to try it again.

This was a very Pinteresting and painful adventure. Do you have a favorite lip balm recipe? Please share.

Setting up

Setting up

Blast from the Past: Cinnamon Toothpicks

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I remember in my early teen years walking to this convenience store down the road just to get a pack of cinnamon toothpicks. I loved those things. Sometimes my lips and mouth felt like they were on fire but that was part of the fun. I thought I was the coolest thing walking down the road dressed all in black with my toothpick hanging from my lips. Haha.
On a whim I typed in cinnamon toothpicks on Pinterest and imagine my happiness when a how-to pin popped up. I had on hand what I needed to make these. So hell yeah I did! Recipe from Ehow

Cinnamon toothpicks:

Cinnamon oil or flavoring
Small glass jar with a lid
Toothpicks

Pour oil into jar till it’s about 1/8 to ¼ deep.
Stand toothpicks upright so only one end id in oil. Just grab up a bundle, no need to count.
Screw on lid
Let sit overnight or 24 hours
Spread toothpicks on baking sheets to dry. When no longer oily/wet to touch.
Could take up to 7 days.

what you need

I did not have a small jar, well I did but the toothpicks were to tall I would not have been able to screw on the lid. So I had to go with a bigger jar. The jar was way to big. I poured cinnamon oil flavoring into the jar I realized right away that was not going to work as is. I would not be able to stand the toothpicks upright and the flavoring was spread to thin on the bottom. I had to do a little improvising. I tilted the jar to get the oil to one place, gently placed the toothpicks in, screwed on the lid. Then sat the jar tilted into a small cake pan and placed another glass jar up against the toothpick jar so it wouldn’t fall out of the pan.
Lastly I gently backed away trying not to bump anything.

Making it work

Making it work

Drying out

Drying out

Twenty-four hours later the oil was completely absorbed. I laid the toothpicks out on my pizza pan to dry. It did not take long to dry, just a day and a half.

Yes they are just like from my younger years.

I Need a Little Cheese Ball part 2 of a Family Food Saga

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Today I am trying out my Aunt Anita Little’s cheese ball recipe. She has been making this for as long as I can remember. Every family gathering has to have this. No exceptions. She was happy to share her recipe with me.

This recipe makes one decent sized cheese ball:

Anita Little Cheese Ball Ingredients:

1 small box of Velveeta cheese block
1 8 oz block of cream cheese
1 tbsp garlic powder
Crushed pecans or crushed Ritz crackers (enough to roll ball in)

Cube your Velveeta cheese and place in bowl to soften. Lay out cream cheese to soften also. This will take a few hours.
Once softened. Put cream cheese in bowl with cheese. Take a fork and begin mashing the two ingredients together along with the garlic powder. Anita Little (because you can say Anita without the Little) informed me that I could try using a hand mixer but it won’t work to well, the beaters will just get seized up in cheese. She said work those arm muscles, work them long and work them hard. (okay she didn’t say that part, just something like it)
After working up a sweat and your ingredients are now one with each other. Shape your mixture into a ball. Anita Little suggests wearing a pair of non-powdered gloves for this step. Once the ball has taken shape roll it in the pecans or crackers until ball is coated well. Set in fridge to chill.

Serve with crackers.

Great for any gatherings or functions. Or after tasting this cheese ball you may want to just hoard it for yourself. Hoarding it is totally acceptable, I won’t judge.
cheeseball 5

Yes there are many different cheese ball recipes on Pinterest, I could try them but why? This to me is the perfect cheese ball.

Okay now that I have shared the recipe with you I will share my experience of making one.
cheese ball 1
I cubed my Velveeta which turned out to be pretty easy and painless.
cheeseball 2
cheeseball 3
Then the wait for the items to soften began. Tick tock, one hour, tick tock, two hours. FYI: this is not something you can throw together last minute.
With my trusty fork I began mashing everything together. It was a workout you might just want to throw in the towel but don’t after you work it several tough minutes mixing gets easier.
cheeseball 4
Once I had my cheese mixture done I put on a pair of plastic gloves and jumped right in. I saw immediately why Anita Little suggested gloves. Oh what a mess it could have been without them. There was a lot of cheese mixture, instead of 1 huge cheese ball I made 3 smaller ones. The first two I rolled in crushed pecans the third in crushed Ritz crackers. Into the fridge it went to chill out.
cheeseball 6
cheeseball 7

It was great. Too great. Now I’m sitting here typing this with some serious heartburn. It was worth it though. Oh so worth it.

Natural Deep Conditioner Treatment for Hair

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Ingredients
Remember me mentioning some beauty products I ordered at a deep discount? They arrived yesterday. So now I have my Sweet Almond Oil, Shea Butter, Argan Oil and Lavender essential oil. I also have the coconut oil I always keep on hand. I still need a few other things to arrive but I can begin with what I now have.
I’m so excited to try all my experiments!

Today I will share with you some natural deep conditioner treatments for your hair. I opened my package of products as soon as I got home from work. I had to try the Shea butter and Argan oil right away. I wanted to see how each product conditioned my hair on its own. So on one side of my head I slathered on the Shea butter the other side I applied Argan oil.

The Shea butter. Taking it straight from the jar and putting directly to the head is not an easy task. It is solid like coconut oil but as I discovered it doesn’t melt as quickly as coconut oil. You have to really do some rubbing of the hands to get it to melt. It will melt but you will have to work for it. It did take a good bit of the butter to just one side of my head. Once you get this stuff on don’t try to run your fingers through your hair, won’t work. The hair feels a little bit tangled. By the time I was done coating my hair my hands were really soft. My hair wasn’t feeling soft , yet.

The Argan oil. This stuff went on easy. It’s a liquid oil. I had my hair covered in just a few minutes. Bonus: it did not take much oil to coat my hair and scalp. My hair felt really good and I could run my hands through it easily.

So half an hour later I’m ready to hop in the shower to wash my hair. I’m gathering up my towel and other things I need when….the power goes out. Yes the power went out. We have well water so when the power is gone the pump doesn’t work. Three hours and some odd minutes later the power comes back on. By then the Shea butter side was a hot mess but the Argan oil side was pretty decent.

Shower time! Woohoo!

The result: my hair, both sides felt soft and amazing. Will I do this treatment again? Yes but not this way. After referring to Pinterest I found several recipes I thought were okay then adapted it to my very own hair treatment.

Natural Deep Conditioner Treatment for Hair
( I think this will make a good skin lotion to use right before bed also.)

Ingredients:
½ c. coconut oil
½ c. Shea butter
3 tbsp. sweet almond oil
3 tbsp. Argan oil
5-10 drops lavender oil
1 tbsp vitamin e oil (optional)
(1-2 tsp. olive oil if mix is to thick)

I didn’t want to make a full batch for the first time, just in case I didn’t like the finished product so I halved this recipe. It still made a good size batch.

Shea butter, Lavender oil, Sweet Almond oil, Argan oil, and coconut oil

Shea butter, Lavender oil, Sweet Almond oil, Argan oil, and coconut oil


In a medium to large size bowl combine the coconut oil and Shea butter. Microwave for 20 seconds or until just begin to melt. With your electric hand mixer beat a minute. Add your sweet almond and Argan oils. If it seems to thick, like a body butter add a tsp. of the olive oil. Beat a minute more. Add your vitamin E and Lavender oil. Beat 2 minutes. Refrigerate 5 minutes. Beat on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Don’t skimp on the last few minutes of beating the more your mix it the more it increases in volume and it will look more and more like conditioner. Pour into your storage container.
This is how the conditioner looks before the fridge and mixing a second time with hand mixer

This is how the conditioner looks before the fridge and mixing a second time with hand mixer

A LITTLE SOMETHING EXTRA: After pouring into my jar there was still a ‘film’ of the mixture in bowl. I scraped it out with my hand and massaged it into my hands and arms. It did a pretty good job as a skin lotion. It did take several minutes to absorb.

To use has a deep condition treatment for hair: Massage in beginning at scalp and work to the ends of hair. At this point your could cover your head with a shower cap or not. Leave on 30 minutes to an hour. Shampoo out.

The finished product

The finished product


Okay now do yourself a favor, go onto Pinterest and search “Argan oil for hair. You will see some many hair uses, for example: You can add a drop or two of oil to your hands, rub together then work that tad into your hair ends. Or to smooth those splits, or to control those fly away hairs and so much more.

I will be using this treatment to get my hair in shape for some abuse later this year. This fall is the time for Gotha to go all black. Yes there is nothing that enhances that pale deathly looking skin like black hair.

FYI: It’s has been almost five hours since I massaged the hair treatment mixture into my hands. I’ve done a sink full if dishes and some gardening. My hands are still soft.

The coconut oil I got at Wal-Mart (I usually get their organic brand but they were out of stock this past time)
Vitamin E at CVS
Sweet Almond Oil (gift from sister) she got at Amazon
Native Soul Shea butter I got at Amazon along with the Argan oil and Lavender oil.
Since I have Amazon Prime I paid nothing for shipping!

DIY Beauty Adventures

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I have a few things in the works. So my sister D gave me a huge bottle of sweet almond oil. So of course I had to hit up Pinterest to see what beauty tips/products I could try with the oil. I figured while I was looking that up I would look into a few other beauty secrets. There are a bunch of pins out there about DIY beauty products and tips. I have recently been able to get a few of the items the pins call for at a deep discount so I couldn’t resist.
Here is what I’m going to share with you:
1) A product you can make at home to help diminish the dark circles under your eyes.
2) A trick to get your feet sandal/flip flop ready. Also help rid you of that nasty nail fungus.
3) A new way to wash your face.
4) Some deep conditioner treatments for your hair.
5) New ways to moisturize your face and body.
Maybe several more DIY beauty tips once my other items arrive in the mail.
Most of these the results if any will take a while so eventually there will be a follow up to these next few posts.
Today lets talk about those dark circles we get under our eyes. Some people only have them after a few nights of low quality sleep, while others (me) tend to have those dark circles all the time.
There are many pins recommending the same treatments for dark circles. Seems it must be working for somebody so I’m going to give it a go. FYI: I will show photos of the products but no photos of my results because this Gotha don’t do no pictures. But I will give you honest results.
Sweet Almond Oil and honey. Some pins just use almond oil by itself others mixed with a little honey. I have both so that is what I’m going with.
Pour equal amounts of the honey and almond oil in a container with a lid. Mix. Now watch it separate. You will have to mix this right before you use and be quick it separates fast. Apply this to the skin under the eyes every night before bed. I’m sure you know but I must stress this, do not get this in your eyes!
I’ve done this three nights now. Have I noticed my dark circles diminishing? No, but the skin is soft and my under eyes doesn’t have that puffy look to it anymore. How long will this mixture stay good in your container? I do not know, I do know this when your oil (any oil) goes rancid you will notice it right away. It will have an ‘off’ and unpleasant smell to it. I will let you know hoe the peepers look in a few weeks.
Thanks for joining me at the beginning of another Pinteresting journey in my life.

The suspects: Almond oil and it's sidekick honey

The suspects: Almond oil and it’s sidekick honey


Their crime: they don't mix well. Yet they still like to hang out together.

Their crime: they don’t mix well. Yet they still like to hang out together.

The honey I picked up at my local grocery store. The almond oil was a gift from my sister. She ordered it from Amazon.

Working That Pinterest Voodoo

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It was dark as I made my way to the hidden cave, hidden to all but me. Every so often a strike of lightning would light up the night helping me find my way. Once in the cave I lit blood red candles and gathered up supplies for the magic I was about to work.

I could hear the storm raging outside as I threw the white powder into my magical bowl. The powder covered the precious silver pieces that lay at the bottom. I poured the magical brew from my cauldron into the bowl. The sizzling sound let me know that something was happening. I pulled out one of the precious metals and looked at it closely in the candlelight.

I had done it. I had worked magic! I held the silver high into the air and shouted out to the empty night, “I am Gotha the great and powerful!”

That’s what happened in my mind. In reality I was in my kitchen on a warm sunny day with the doors and windows open letting in a nice cooling breeze. I was getting ready to attempt to clean my tarnished silver jewelry.

I am not a fan of gold, as a matter of fact I own no gold jewelry at all. Mt husband says he is the luckiest man alive since I am not a fan of gold or diamonds. I do love me some silver. What I don’t love is how the pieces I do not wear everyday tarnish while chilling in my jewelry box. I did not want to go buy expensive jewelry cleaning products. So I did what I normally do. I searched Pinterest. Pinterest is my first stop on searching information. To me Pinterest is the new Google.

Search ‘cleaning tarnished silver’ on Pinterest and hundreds of pins appear. Most, by most I mean almost all describe the same process. So many similar pins. Must work right?

Well I was going to find out if it worked. Boy did it work. I will share how this ‘magic’ is worked.

Gather what you need to work your magic:

Tarnished silver jewelry

A bowl

Aluminum foil

Baking soda

Salt

A towel or soft cloth

water

Here is the ‘spell’:

Line your the bowl with aluminum foil.

Put small pot of water on the stove to boil. You want it heated to just ready to boil.

Take all your tarnished silver and put in the bowl.

Then cover the silver with baking soda and salt.

Pour the hot water into bowl.

Watch the magic happen.

Let the magic continue for a few moments.

Fish out your silver with something (I used a fork) so you don’t burn yourself.

Dry your silver with a towel, giving it a good rub as you do.

Stand back.

Admire your magical prowess.

Welcome to the world of magic or as my husband calls it, science. He tries to suck the fun out of all my adventures. He is worse than grumpy cat sometimes. Yet I love him anyway. J

How tarnished!

How tarnished!

 

 

 

 

 

Oh the shame.

Oh the shame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Line bowl with foil

Line bowl with foil

 

Add silver. Cover with baking soda and salt.

Add silver. Cover with baking soda and salt.

Pour in hot water. Bubble, bubble...

Pour in hot water. Bubble, bubble…

 

shiny

shiny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, pretty!

Oh, pretty!

 

 

shiny