Feb 28, 2015

A Clean Start a.k.a Historic Charcoal Toothpaste

It has been far too long since I did a proper post, so let's have a clean start shall we.  But, let's do it with a twist, and maybe a nod to dear old great great great grandma.  

Do you know how she got a clean start?  

Charcoal toothpaste. 

Just Joking.  It's quite likely that great great great grandma didn't start her day by brushing her teeth.  In fact, that whole thing about brushing your teeth twice a day didn't really take off until soldiers returned from WWII and shared military hygiene practices with their families.

However, back in the day she might have used charcoal toothpaste from time to time, or one of the other forms of dentifrices that often contained things like:  baking soda, chalk, orris root, pumice, talc, cuttle fish bone, soap, myrrh, benzoin, sugar, flavorings, & colorants.

The toothpaste tutorial I'm sharing today is part of my "Victorian Vanities" presentation, (read about it here), and is made from an 1893 recipe taken from The Era Formulary 5000 Formulas for Druggist.    Back in the day, the book sold for $5.  Today, you can find a digital copy free on Google books.  In case you want to look it up it is formula 1312 on p. 125.

Charcoal Tooth Paste
powdered charcoal 16 ounces
powdered orris root 16 ounces
Precipitated chalk 32 ounces
glycerin to proper consistency

Since I only wanted a sample and not a vat of "historic" toothpaste, I reduced the recipe significantly.  I'm not sure I'll ever want to actually use this stuff, but if you do, it is dead easy to make. Just measure, mix and mix again.  I take no responsibility for the outcome, but I'd love to see pictures and hear about it.

 Doesn't that just look scruptious?

Feb 4, 2015

Introducing: Victorian Vanities

On Feb 21, 2015 I will share a 75 minute presentation which I have titled "Victorian Vanities" at the 2015 Southeast Regional ALHFAM Conference.   

I've done a couple of presentations in the area of cosmetics before, but they were either comparatively brief at 15 min. or lasted 90 minutes, but covered hairstyles and head coverings as well as cosmetics.  

While I really enjoyed researching and presenting this material, I found myself with notebooks full of fascinating information that I wasn't able to share because of constraints on time or topic.  

So now is my chance to focus in on a 50 year time period 1850-1900 in what I hope will be a very fun presentation for me and those in attendance.  

The research is done, the presentation almost ready, so now it's time to get my lab coat out and start recreating some cosmetics from period formulas.  I'll be sharing the results in the coming weeks, along with a tutorial or two so keep a look out.

FYI Here's the catalog write up:

Victorian Vanities – Being a painted lady might be scandalous, but that doesn't mean our ancestors were strangers to giving Mother Nature a helping hand when it came to looking their best. Join us as we explore the world of Victorian cosmetics from beauty aids to hygiene necessities. Discover what products were readily available for purchase or easily made at home, their ingredients, benefits and risks. Several examples recreated from period texts will be available to see, touch and smell. Tasting is not recommended.  

Feb 2, 2015

F.F.F. - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake edition

On Friday, I was working on a cake for a friends daughter, and promised to  post an update with pictures, and here they are.

From the first swipes of icing

to the piping of pretty borders 

and cutting out the fondant decorations on top

this was a really fun cake.

And although I was able to do most of the work at home,

those big chocolate lollipops had to be put on at the party venue.

The birthday girl is a huge Disney fan liked it so much that she wanted to take a bite from a lollipop right then and there, but mom put a stop to it.

Happy Birthday Lizzie!  

You are one very special
 little girl.