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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Tasha's Kitchen - Molds, Bottles And A Love Story

A lot happened over the weekend on Tasha's kitchen - I am super excited about all of the progress being made! But it was so much, in fact, that I think it's too much for one post. I broke it down into three topics, two of which aren't quite completed. I will present one of them here for you today: Molds.

Tasha and her fiancé Brent like to entertain. They are both hard working professionals, but when the weekend comes, they are a fun loving and jovial couple to be around. For this reason, I knew any dream kitchen for Tasha would have to include a wet bar. For a wet bar, I would need a lot of different types of bottles - wine, liquor and mixers. I had several of these types of bottles in my supplies and decided to make molds of them.

When you mold an item with a flat back it is pretty simple: Just place the item in a similarly sized container and pour the mold material over the top. But when your item has a more complicated shape, like a skinny neck and a wide bottom, you have to think creatively. The clay method for the wine bottles seemed like a good solution.

This clay is a non hardening clay - it is made specifically for mold making. For this type of mold, press a level layer of the clay into the bottom of the mold container, press the items in only deep enough for the clay to hold them steady, then pour the mold material over the top.


When you de-mold, you remove the clay from the top of the mold and store it away for the next use. You can keep using it until it has become too gross to want to work with any longer. 


Sometimes you have to destroy the container to get the
mold out. Use disposable condiment containers whenever possible.
This is a good excuse to eat more takeout!

Now you'll pull the items you've molded out of the new mold. They are hard to get out sometimes - I use my teeth!



Once the molds are ready, the exciting part begins - making the bottles with resin! You'll need some two part resin, disposable medicine cups (1 oz size works great), disposable stir sticks and pigments.

For the resin, I recommend something that has a working time of about 30 to 40 minutes. This gives you enough time to mix the resin, let it gas off a bit to reduce the bubbles and still gives you time to get it into the molds. I like Ice Resin, but it is about twice as expensive as other comparable brands. If you are going to color your resin, you really don't need to pay a whole lot more for "non yellowing" resin. If you are going to sell your items for a bunch of money, then you have to be more cautious. I have bottles in my Starbucks project from 2013 using Amazing Clear Casting Resin and they still look great.

The Amazing brand comes in clear and white so be sure to get the one you intended. Amazing Casting Resin White only has a working time of 10 minutes, so it is only good for small, quick, NON CLEAR pieces. It can be pigmented, though. Amazing Clear Cast, though clear, takes 24 hours to harden.

I discovered that both brands of my on hand resin was solidifying. The manufacturer recommends that you use them within 6 months but mine are much older than that. I made a valiant effort to stir them, and then gave them a try in spite of the warning signs. Surprisingly, it still produced usable bottles - it just took overnight to harden! Waste not, want not I always say!

Meanwhile, because I wanted to get a replacement supply ~F~A~S~T~ I tried an inexpensive brand that had same day Amazon delivery. It is called FanAut and gets high reviews. It seems to have worked fine, though it took overnight to harden, too. It says it has a 40 minute working time, but I suspect that adding in the Epoxy Pigment can extend that time. As long as I end up with usable bottles, overnight is fine with me!

For my previous post on using the Mold Star 15 rubber molding product, See This Post.

For more on working with resin and pigments, See This Post.

As far as how the bottles came out - some were better than others. I seemed to have had trouble getting the resin all of the way down into the neck of the bottles in the molds. It happened first with the red wine bottles, which told me that I needed to make a specific effort to be sure the resin was not stopped by an air pocket when I poured the white wine bottles. In spite of my effort - taking a toothpick, plunging it in and pushing the resin into the hole, I still did not end up with great necks on my bottles. In the interest of not wasting my efforts, I tried to find a fix for these bottles.

Though the extent of each bottle's misfortune varied, I was missing an average of 3/16" on each of the necks. I decided to try gluing dowels or toothpicks to the ends to see what I could salvage. I cut the dowels to size, put a bit of Tacky Glue on the bottle, a small amount of cyanoacrylate glue (super glue) on the dowel, then held them gently together.


Once the extensions were dry and set, I sanded and shaped as carefully as I could (probably should have shaped them first!), painted them black to simulate the cork labels, then coated in Mod Podge.

Before I show you how they came out, let me tell you a love story... Some of you know that Tasha has always been a really smart kid. She always tested highest in her classes in school, was in the Spectrum and Running Start programs where she attended college classes while she was in High School, and has always worked super hard to do her best at everything she tries. I know I am her mom and am supposed to say nice things about her, but truly, she is an extraordinary person.

She and Brent met on OkCupid in 2009. If I told you that I was horrified that she had met someone online (this was back when it was not as common and horror stories pervaded Dateline NBC), and that the same day they met he took her 60 miles away from home to hike in the woods, I would be underselling my panic. Of course, I did not know these facts until after she had safely arrived home. After they were already on the hiking trail, she finally had some misgivings about the situation, too. In her realization of the potential danger she had put herself in, she decided the best way to discourage her murder was to steer the conversation to forensic science. She told Brent that with modern forensic science methods, her DNA would be all over his truck and probably on him too. He just thought she was weird. Luckily, Brent turned out not to be a serial killer, and instead is the most amazing, smart, kind, loving, and perfect partner that we could have ever hoped for, for Tasha.

They are truly poured from the same mold.ūüíó

They knew they would always be together, but wanted to be finished with school and in good jobs before they got married. They got engaged in 2019 and Brent graduated with his electrical engineering degree last year. They had already waited for so long and were finally planning the wedding, then Covid happened.

Brent popped the question while hiking the trail of their first date.
He designed the ring, too. Blue topaz is his birthstone and teal
is Tasha's favorite color.

So a long love story just to say that during Covid, to keep them busy and focused on their future plans, they began making wine for the reception - banana and watermelon. Tasha graduated Magna Cum Laude in Science, is a total chemistry nerd, and making wine is all about chemistry. Her labels look like elements on the Periodic Table - of course they do! And I knew I had to make replicas of the wine bottles to be included in her wet bar.


My bottles came out pretty well, considering I had to add the tops. But I wanted another try. More on that in a minute...

The other bottle blanks I had just needed labels. I looked online to find actual brands in the colors and shapes of the bottles. I saved the pictures and then resized them to fit on the bottles. 


Once they were printed, I applied a piece of packaging tape over them, cut them out with a ruler and an Xacto knife, and applied them to the bottles with Mod Podge. I like it better than glue because the excess is easily removed with a toothpick and leaves no residue.



I wanted to give the wine bottle mold another try. I knew what the problem was - trapped air. Now I just needed to find a solution to get the air out.

Using my pilot hole punch tool, I pushed it through the mold until it came out of the bottom of the mold. Then, using that hole, I pushed a toothpick up into the mold from the bottom.

Look closely and you'll see the toothpicks in the holes.

Toothpicks pushed up into the bottom of the mold.

When I filled the mold with resin, about three quarters of the way full, I gently twisted and pulled the toothpicks back out the bottom. The theory was that by doing so I would pull any air pockets out while also pulling the resin into the bottle necks in the bottom of the mold. It seemed to work, as the resin level dropped as I pulled. Was this just displacement from the toothpick, or was it going to work? I'd have to wait overnight to know for sure. 

While I was at it, I decided to cast a few more things.


When I woke up the next morning, I raced to the dining room to check the results. Success!!! The resin didn't even leak at all from the hole in the bottom of the mold. The rubber just sealed right back up!

Much better bottles and no toothpick tops for this batch!

And I even made the watermelon wine in green bottles like Tasha did. A little black paint and Mod Podge for the cork paper, more labels and viola! These are going to work great!

Now I am repeating my experiment with a batch of red wine bottles. I'll have to race down again in the morning to see if my luck scientific reasoning is verified! And, if this weekend is as productive as last weekend, I might even be able to finish the wet bar!

Hope all your mini experimenting and love stories have happy endings, too!

xo xo,

Jodi

P.S.

Speaking of happy endings... Birgit, the creative genius and inspiring artist behind the hugely popular BiWuB√§ren blogis known for her incredible generosity and thoughtful Christmas Care Packages. She is also very diligent, and so mailed all her packages from Germany in early November. A couple of us U.S. residents just received them within the past week! Poor Postal Service! Those guys have a lot of challenges to overcome in these Covid times! But whether late or not, the kindness is no less joyously received! And as usual, the package was a trove of treasures!

We ate the marzipan before it made it into the photo! Yum!

Just look at this darling little house that Birgit made! There are real windowpanes and you can see into the house! Look at the tiny wooden porch posts! The teeny-weeny porch planters and that tin roof! 


Amazing! I love it, and most of all I love that Birgit sends her heart out across the world and makes it a much more special place! 

Thank you Dear Birgit! You are a treasure!

34 comments:

  1. Wooo Jodi , has sido muy ingeniosa de solucionar el problema del cuello en las botellas, te han quedado geniales y tu historia de amor muy bonita. Disfruta de los lindos regalos que te ha enviado Birgit, ¡menos mal que llegaron bien! Feliz fin de semana y que sea productivo como pienso. cu√≠date. Besos

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    1. ¡Gracias Rosa Maria! ¡Estoy tan feliz de haber encontrado una resoluci√≥n! ¡Ahora puedo pasar a las pr√≥ximas tareas divertidas!

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  2. An excellent lesson on creating molds and using resin. I've not yet found a need to do so, but I know where to go for guidance. Tasha will love her mini wines and I'm sure that her fiancé will, too. And we all need a sweet love story these days and hopefully they will be married soon.

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    1. Thanks Ann! It's a lot of fun when you peel away the mold and have a finished piece! All of us are really looking forward to the end of Covid, too, and to celebrating with Tasha and Brent! I may get to walk the dogs with my son this weekend if we get a break in the rain!!!

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  3. Jodi, me encanta la solución que le has dado al cuello de las botellas, a mi me pasaba exactamente lo mismo, ahora pondré en práctica tu técnica, muchas gracias por compartirla con nosotros, creo que no se me hubiera ocurrido!
    Las botellas son geniales, el color es muy bueno y el detalle de las etiquetas del mismo vino que hacen Tasha y Brent es un detalle muy especial y cari√Īoso, les encantar√°!!!
    Me ha enternecido la preciosa, curiosa y divertida historia de amor de tu hija, estamos tan necesitados de amor en estos días horribles, que es un soplo de aire fresco ver que la vida de estos jóvenes continua plena, ojalá pronto acabe la pandemia y su boda se pueda celebrar tal y como ellos desean.
    Cuidaros mucho.
    Besos.

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    1. ¡Gracias Pilar! Me alegra mucho saber que probar√° la soluci√≥n con los moldes para botellas. ¡Espero que le resulte tan maravilloso!
      S√≠, todos debemos tener la esperanza de que la vida y las cosas que la hacen feliz regresen. Estados Unidos finalmente tiene noticias un poco m√°s esperanzadoras con la tercera vacuna, ¡as√≠ que tal vez para el verano podamos comenzar a vivir de nuevo! ¡Espero que tambi√©n sea lo mismo para Espa√Īa!

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  4. You are a genius, Jodi, I've never worked with resin and molds, so I am warned now ;)! Your solution for this issue is a good one, the bottles looks great and I love the bottles you specially made for Tasha ad Brent, to go in their wet bar.
    Your beloved daughter Tasha is indeed a special, loving and beautiful woman, I loved reading their love story and I truly hope they can make their plans come true, despite Covid-19.
    Stay safe, take care for all your beloved ones and others.
    Have a nice weekend, dear Jodi.

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    1. Thank you, Ilona! But you are far too generous with your assessment of my mental abilities, lol! It just feels so good when you find a way to solve a problem, doesn't it? And I do have hope that 2021 will end with all of us being able to look forward again to the things that bring us the greatest joy: Being together with our beloved families! A wedding would be the perfect way to celebrate a renewed zest for life!

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  5. Me encanta el color que le has dado a las botellas, es muy realista como liquido.
    La solución del cuello genial.
    Los regalos de Birgit son tesoros maravillosos.
    Espero que a pesar de los malos tiempos que tenemos, tus hijos puedan llevar a cabo sus sue√Īos e ilusiones.
    Un saludo

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    1. ¡Gracias, Marian! Estoy tan feliz de haber podido hacer las botellas para poder mostrarle a Tasha que honro la forma en que ella domina los desaf√≠os de la vida y que sus logros me importan. Con esperanza y la gracia de Dios, volveremos a celebrar juntos este a√Īo, pero con una mejor comprensi√≥n de lo preciosa que es la vida y nuestra capacidad para compartirla unos con otros.

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  6. Oh wow your wine bottles are fantastic Jodie. That’s a lovely story of Tasha and Brents’ first date, good thinking Tasha! And good that you didn’t know about it at the time! He looks a nice chap. I hope they can go ahead with their plans very soon. That tiny house is delightful.

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    1. Thanks Polly! So glad they came out better! And us too on the wedding plans! I might qualify for the vaccine in April - fingers crossed that the whole family won't be long behind!

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  7. Tasha seems not just smart, but charming and clever as well. Passing the Covid year by making wine for their wedding has given you the perfect details for Tasha’s Kitchen. Your second try at the bottles turned out really well. Thanks for giving us a tutorial. I do hope this year has a happy ending and that Tasha and Brent are able to serve their wine at their wedding.

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    1. Thanks Sherrill! She is all of those things and seems to make those around her better people, too! I hope this year has a happy ending for everyone whose lives have been put on hold - so much living to do for all of us!

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  8. Tasha and Brent are a wonderful couple.
    Your bottles are fantastic! You are a genius my dear friend.

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    1. Thanks Faby! It feels so great to solve an issue and end up with an improvement!

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  9. What a story... although I must confess that if something like this was shown for example in a movie I would ask myself what sort of chemicals the writer dude must have taken to invent something being this far away from any realistic behaviour of a modern girl/woman. *LOL* But on second thought... falling in love has something to do with losing one's mind... *grin* - so let's be glad that the love story of these two started a bit unusual and is still happily going on which is also unusual these days. Thanks for sharing this touching story and also introducing us to Tasha's wine, I love her bottle labels, as creative as personal...

    And it is so very special that you've created these special wine bottles in miniature, what a wonderful way of adding a personal touch. It was once more great to follow your well explained bottle-making-journey - the result is awesome. And it was very clever how you've saved the first attempts. I always use to say that we also need something for the background - but these bottles would even look gorgeous in the starring spot. Btw it made me smile that you've also made a bottle of Riesling wine - I really hope it's a German one! *broadgrin*

    Hugs
    Birgit (who is still so very happy that all her packages to the U.S. have finally reached their destinations - all of them being sent the same day and finally arriving in the same week... I suppose only life can write such stories! Or in other words... if this was subject in a movie I would ask myself what kind of chemicals the writer dude must have taken to invent unrealistic stuff like this... *LOL*)

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    1. You are so right Birgit! Life is stranger than fiction and Tasha and Brent's love story is about as odd and against all odds as mine and Russ' is! These are the kind of things that really help you to believe that there are much bigger forces at work than all of us know. I didn't even share how Brent was the youngest Special Forces Ranger ever at the time, and how after two deployments to Afghanistan, Tasha had to help to put him back together again. But love can prevail!

      It was my wonderful mother that gave me the idea to make the labels for Tasha's mini wine bottles - I really should have given her the credit for the idea! I picked the best ones to be in the room box, but since I do have extras now, I imagine they will make an appearance in future projects where more props are needed! Leave it to you to spot the German variety! As for this Riesling... it is one of my favorites, especially when paired with spicy Thai food! It comes from our own local winery, Chateau St. Michelle, and is a lovely one.

      I am so glad that all of your packages eventually made it to their destinations, and what a funny story we'll all have to tell about the year Covid changed our lives and caused packages to disappear for four months! The joy you send out can't even be stopped by a virus or a postal black hole!!! Hugs

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  10. We have a saying, here in Israel - "The apple hasn't fallen far away from the tree". This applies to you and Tasha. Like mother, like daughter, you are both clever, intelligent and generous. I am very happy for them and wish them a long and loving life together and that very soon they'll be able to celebrate a beautiful wedding in presence of all their beloved family members and friends.
    Thank you, Jodi for showing how you made the bottles. I love the results.
    Hugs, Drora

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    1. Awww Drora! Thank you! You're just the sweetest person to say all of that! I am so glad to know you like the wine bottles! ūüíó

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  11. Hi Jodi. The wine bottles all look great, even the ones with the short tops. And fun to reproduce Tasha’s own wine! She will love it. You could also try filling syringes with the non-sharp needles - they have a flat end - and poking the needle right into the neck in the mould and squirting the resin in.

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    1. Thanks Shannon! You always feel really confident in the careful work you do until you look through the 4x magnifiers and the close up photos. Then you know there is more work to do and more effort to be expended. Thanks for the tip about the needles! That sounds like a fun way to try, too!

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  12. I love your tenacity, Jodi. When facing an issue you find the determination to just keep moving ahead and figure out a solution. The bottles look great and I am sure Tasha and Brent will be thrilled with your attention to detail. Congratulations to the happy couple. And please, let your soo-to-be SIL know that if he ever decides to give up electrical engineering he would make a master jewellery designer. His design for Tasha's engagement ring is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen! - A piece of art in itself! Cheers - Marilyn D., New Brunswick, Canada

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    1. Thanks Marilyn! As I was telling Shannon above, I was pretty happy with the toothpick necks until I looked at them with my magnifiers and at the photos. Then I just had to find a way to make them better. After all, saving money by making your own bottles is only a good plan if they turn out as good!
      I will tell Brent that you love his design! It will make him so happy! He is such a talented guy in so many things. He has even expressed excitement about working on a mini project with me, one day. He wants to show me how to program circuit boards to make the lighting do neat things. He even sends me emails with links to things like neat flickering fireplace tutorials and stuff. How wonderful!

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  13. Wow! Those look great! Do you ever have a problem with pet hair getting into your molds or resin?

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    1. Thanks Sheila! Oh boy do I! And I always notice at the most inopportune moments! It reminds me that Murphy's Law still rules the world! I do my best to take measures, like starting with a freshly dusted and vacuumed craft area, and by having on clean pajamas and not having held the boys since I put them on. But it's definitely a struggle!

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  14. Hi Jodi! I am late again... (But not as late as the packages! :))
    That is such a sweet love story! You have an awesome daughter and clearly she gets some of her smarts from her Mom! You make the mold-making process look so easy! Even with the trials and tribulations... you got it! The "sprues" are an essential part of most mold making because the air needs to go somewhere! The bottles are fantastic, and what an amazing thing that they are making their own wines!!! Wow! Of course you have to make them in mini too!!! This is such a fun project I can't wait to see more!

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    1. Betsy you are never late! And thank you! What I lack in IQ I try to make up for in determination, lol! The mold process is pretty easy, and because it's fun, it makes you push through the learning curve. And the wine making is really neat - it's fun to see what real smart people like Tasha and Brent do for challenging fun! You should see how they customized their Subaru for camping. It's crazy!

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  15. Resolviste el problema de la boca del cuello de la botella de una manera muy ingeniosa. Realmente bonito el color de los vinos y un precioso recuerdo las etiquetas. La historia de amor de tu hija es estupenda. Espero que puedan tener una bonita celebración.
    Disfruta de esos regalos.

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    1. ¡Gracias Isabel! ¡Espero que la historia de √©xito ayude al lector de un blog a evitar el problema de las burbujas de aire!

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  16. Las botellas han quedado genial, en formas y colores.
    Me encantan las botellas personalizadas, es un bonito detalle.
    Espero que Tasha y Brent, puedan cumplir muy pronto sus sue√Īos. El anillo es precioso !!!!

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    1. ¡Gracias Eloisa! ¡Es dif√≠cil no querer seguir haci√©ndolos para mejorar un poco cada vez! ¡Pero s√© que Tasha los apreciar√° y de eso se trata!

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  17. Wow! What can I say? First, thank you for sharing your amazing daughter story, I wish a brilliant future for Tasha and Brent, true love does exist!!
    With regards your bottles, they are fantastic, thank you so much for sharing with us the trial and error, your thinking process, the materials, methods and all. I think that if there was such thing like miniature university, you would be a brilliant teacher there, your class would be a must and very popular!! Thank you Jodi, keep enjoying this fun project!

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    1. Awww! Thanks Alex! It is great to hear a good love story, right?!?
      Oh wouldn't a Mini University be amazing? We could all take turns sharing our knowledge and experience with one another in a setting with live demonstrations and give our students the opportunity practice and ask questions in real time! I'd have to attend every class until my mind exploded, lol!

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