Holiday Soaps

Kaitlynn Cooper, Eshed Ozeri, Emma Tilton

Throughout the course of this semester, we were tasked with creating a value-added product for our final project, Holiday Soaps, that we would then sell at our Final Showcase at The Museum of Northern Arizona University on December 6th. 
We had wanted to make holiday bar soap because Eshed is jewish and we wanted to include multiple holidays, rather than just the social norm of Christmas. So, we ordered a Christmas mold with a reindeer, Santa, reef, star, Christmas tree, and a snowman and then we also ordered a Hanukkah mold that consisted of dreidels. IMG_2089Our initial goal was to create all of our holiday soap by using a lye (sodium hydroxide), goats milk, and lavender mixture so it would be 100% natural and good for the skin. However, not everything had turned out as planned.IMG_2224In an attempt to create our holiday soaps, we had all gone to Rosemary's house on Friday, November 17th for our ALTs hours, where she was going to help us make our soap using the lye process. We used a simple recipe for the lye. However, we had made the mistake of measuring out our ingredients in the form of a volume, rather than weighing each ingredient in ounces, like we should have done. Therefore, this caused a reaction within the lye to heat up more than it was supposed to; in which it then started to solidify before we could pour it into our molds. As a result, our dreidel molds did not turn out, but we did create some great regularly shaped bar soap that we did end up selling as well!IMG_2093Recipe: 20 oz of coconut oil, 22.5 oz of olive oil, 5 oz of avocado oil, 6.5 oz of castor oil, 5 oz of shea butter, 5 oz of sweet almond oil, 9 oz of fresh goats milk, 4 tablespoons of oatmeal, 4 tablespoons of honey, 9 oz of sodium hydroxide, 9.5 oz of water
Note: We had completely forgotten to add our locally grown ingredient of lavender that was hand picked from the Colton Community Garden. IMG_2206Since this lye process did not work out as planned, we had to go to our plan B, which was to buy two things of goats milk-glycerine soap base to make the remainder of our holiday soap. This led us to the melt and pour method.
For our Christmas molds, we made 12 bar soaps which included; all had the goats milk-glycerine base and 30 drops of red dye, 4 had only 3 drops of peppermint essential oil, 4 had a pinch of peppermint leaves, and the remaining 4 had 1 drop of peppermint essential oil and a pinch of peppermint leaves, further letting them rest for 40 minutes before popping them out of the molds. Once again, we forgot the lavender leaves. IMG_2432For our dreidel molds, we made a total of 16 bar soaps, but because they were smaller than expected, we paired them up to sell a total of 8 baggies. This soap included; the goats milk-glycerine base, 30 drops of blue dye, 5 drops of jasmine essential oil (since Hanukkah doesn't have a certain scent associated with it), and a pinch of lavender leaves (because we finally remembered), further letting them rest for 40 minutes before popping them out of the molds.IMG_2505 Suddenly, it was December 6th and we were selling our homemade holiday soaps at our showcase! All of the lye bar soaps were a big hit and sold out completely! However, we did not sell all of our Christmas and Hanukkah soaps for some reason. Maybe the reason we did not sell all of our other soaps because they were not made through the lye process, like the bar soaps were? Either way, we are very proud of our creation of soaps for the very first time. We all had so much fun throughout the whole process and we wouldn't change it for anything!IMG_2504



Bath Bombs

Ashley Kritzstein, Daniel Herger, Sierra Gleason

Closing the Bath Bomb Mold

Throughout this last semester we have worked hard in the local Colton Community Garden, whether that be weeding, spreading mulch, or just cleaning up the garden beds. Meanwhile, in class, we have taken the time to learn more about holistic living and how to make mindful choices in everyday life. It only makes sense that our final project would join both of these pursuits.

Continue reading “Bath Bombs”

Rosemary’s Goats

It was an extremely windy day. Everybody met up outside of Rosemary’s house where she gave us a brief tour of her front yard. She pointed out different types of beds that we had discussed in class. This was a good example so we could have a visual to go along with the set ups we had learned about in the previous class. The wind really started to pick up so we went inside. Rosemary and her husband built their house with a Passive Solar design. The idea is that most of the windows are to the south of the house where the sun will shine in. This heats her house almost entirely in itself. Theres a wood burning stove in the living room that is the only other heat source in the house. For insulation the walls are built with apex block. This keeps most of the heat inside. The tile floors keep it cooler in the summer. After a tour of the house and everything they’d built into it, we went to the back yard to see the goats!IMG_8092Pickles and Petra are miniature goats that Rosemary had to get approved by the city. She tried for many years to get these goats approved to live in her yard. They’re now a part of the family. IMG_8095IMG_8094

We took the goats on a walk out to the field behind her house. We only got a little ways away when the goats stopped walking to feed on the brush. They feed for around 30 minutes and then continue to walk. It got very chilly so we headed inside. We had a brief meeting to discuss what we were going to do about advertising the holiday fair. From the window we saw tons of deer in the back. It was an awesome experience to see all the effort that Rosemary has put into her house to live a more sustainable life and reduce her carbon footprint.



By: Lira Bekiri and Mary Jenkins



Product Development

On October 16, 2017 the Monday ALTS group met up in the Boundaryless lab to brainstorm new ides.

Weather: 71 degrees Fahrenheit

4:00 to 6:00pm

By: Hannah Humphrey and Kylie Berger


We have been introduced to Boundaryless @ NAU which, is a safe place for creative thinking and producing. For our final we have to come up with a “Sustainably & Locally Made” product. My group which includes Kylie Berger, Robert Gray, and Ryan Sanchez came up with the idea of Planting Kits. Boundaryless helps us figure out our product development and how we can sell it and resources we can use to make our product. IMG_2777

In this picture, Kim, is telling us what he expects of us in today’s ALTS and how we can use the employees at Boundaryless to find out more information on our product. Once Kim is finished we all started getting busy with what we needed to do. Everyone grabbed their whiteboards, markers, paper and laptops to help them plan out this product. IMG_2774 Ryan Sanchez and Robert Gray looking up the best way to do a sales pitch and how to execute it. All the groups by this time are together and working on their product. Some groups are ahead of others while other groups are still deciding on a good local and sustainable product they could make. As I was working with my group I heard other groups talking about days they could all meet up to go out and look for locally made products they could use. Other groups were focusing more on their sales pitch and how they were going to present it to the class. Overall this ALTS day allowed us to meet as a group and start getting a head start on our projects. Even though the ALTS time is cut an hour early since the lab is only open to 5pm we still got a lot of the stuff done that needed to be.


Innovative Thinking and Designing

On October 6th, from 1:00-3:00, the Friday ALTs spent their time in  the Boundaryless @ NAU lab.
Weather: 69℉
By Kaitlynn Cooper and Emanuel Molina


fullsizeoutput_6b0Boundaryless is a place to help flourish your ideas, make connections outside and be aware of all your resources. A place of inspiration where ideas and brainstorming become opportunities. Where you work with what is the problem?

fullsizeoutput_6b1On October 6th, 2017 the Friday alts met to work on the “Sustainably and Locally Made” Product ideas. Here at boundaryless, we were put in an thinking friendly environment where different mediums were able to be used to express our ideas and go through the various variables involved with creating a product. We split up into our different groups and started nailing ideas to a board and writing down our research.

fullsizeoutput_6b5The different steps at boundaryless include ideation: “the formation of ideas or concepts”, feasibility: “the state or degree of being easily or conveniently done”, design phase: “a plan or drawing produced to show the look and function or workings of a building, garment, or other object before it is built or made, quality” assurance: “the degree of excellence of something”, and finding out who the customers are.

fullsizeoutput_6b7Here my group including me, Emanuel and my other two partners Addie and Claire were working with one of the workers of Boundaryless, Katheryn discussing our plan of action. What is our product? Teabags. What are our ingredients? To be determined. What is our design? A heart. What will we use for packaging? Coffee filters. What is the need? Everyone loves drinking tea. We researched how to make tea bags, prices for different materials for packaging and ideas for design.

fullsizeoutput_6baEmanuel- What is Boundaryless’s mission?

Jacob- “To connect students from different majors to solve real-world problems in different ways, to instill innovative thinking than just creating innovations”

Monday ALTs – Everything’s Frozen!

Kalea Shephard & Sierra Gleason

September 25th, 2017

Monday the 25th was our first ALTs day after a significant frost hit the Flagstaff area. Most of our crops froze over the weekend, leaving us to pick up the pieces. That afternoon was much warmer than previous days, fluctuating between 58-64 degrees Fahrenheit and the change in temperature was reflected in the wildlife we stumbled upon which included a very large slug.



One of our first tasks was reworking the compost. Active compost was mixed and straw was added to balance out the green matter added to the compost as we removed dead or frozen plants. A team of students also worked to move the finished compost into the “finished” bin.

The compost bins at the Colton Community Gardens consist of 3 separate bins:

Active – The bin compost is actively being added to, this is where you place food scraps, garden trimmings, and other compostable items

Composting – This is the bin where the magic happens! This is where compost sits and develops, nothing new is added to this bin

Finished – This is the result of the two other bins, this is where the incredible nutritious soil is!


Compost Bins: Complete, Composting, Active




The theme of our tomato-related work was “out-with-the-old” in order to prepare for winter and eventually the “in-with-the-new” spring growing season. We worked to remove all of the tomato plants, disposing of them, not in the compost pile but instead in their own pile due to the fact that tomato plants can carry a higher risk of disease. The tomatoes that were ripe were harvested and those that were frozen were added into the “active” compost bin.


The “Active” Bin



To maintain the health of the garden, we also removed some wilted or eaten leaves from the cauliflower plants to ensure that the plant uses its energy to strengthen the more durable leaves as the days grow colder.




Green Beans:

We removed the frost cover from the green beans and pinto beans.We harvested bunches of green beans and left frozen/ dead ones where they were. It was pretty neat to see the actual frost on the green beans. We also harvested as many pinto beans as we could, which unfortunately was not a lot.



Corn Stalks



To our amazement, the chickadees survived the frost! From this discovery, we hope that these can be one of the few plants that can survive the cold weather. Just to play it safe, we covered the chickadees with a frost cover.




Removing frost covers:

Removing the frost covers was disheartening. Most, if not all, of the plants we removed the frost covers from were dead and couldn’t be salvaged.




Tobacco Plant Removal:

The tobacco plants were also victims to the harsh frost.  Most of their leaves were dead. Adaleigh, Hannah, Kylie, and I all worked on pulling the plants, along with their roots, out. It was pretty tough! After we pulled the tobacco plants out we placed them in pile with tomatoes. Why? because the leaves of both plants can carry pesticides and diseases, which means that they can’t go in our compost bins.


Stories of Our Selves

Hi all! Tonight we shared time around a fire pit in the Colton Community Garden, complete and resplendent with s’mores and stories galore. Each of us had spent the week previous thinking about and writing our stories of self — grand attempts to put all of who we are, how we got here, why we do what we do, into 3 pages of text. I’d been looking forward to this evening for a few days now, preparing my essay and the poem I would read to our group.

Because I wanted to give every sharer my full attention, and because a moment of vulnerability is just that — ephemeral, a sparkle in time — I didn’t take many pictures of tonight. So imagine the buzzing of small insects, the sun’s penetrating stare, white flakes of ash floating swiftly on clouds of smoke, two playful pups and twenty-seven present, youthful, astute people all easing into this thing called a Community. Co-mmun-i-ty. Community. I like it.

Tonight I learned that, if our group could compile all of our life lessons into one single tome, and a person could study and learn and master that tome in a lifetime (we could call it the LifeTome), said person would be well on their way to what Buddhists call Enlightenment. Or, at least, they would have the inner strength, security, and problem-solving skills to handle any hardship that the Universe dealt.

That’s MY take on tonight — a sort of fisheye view, all bending curiously around a central theme: community wisdom. This shared bank of life skills is a sort of subliminal benefit to urban placemaking, but it may prove just as valuable as the more tangible resources shared in a community (e.g. seasonal produce). Between that and the ooey-gooey s’mores, who WOULDN’T want a lil’ urban homesteading in their life?

– Shyla Cox