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Monday, May 21, 2012

Citrus Soap...


Hello! this is a continuation of yesterdays post. I had shown this citrus soap batch in the log mold after I poured it. I just got done cutting this batch, I am in love with it!! I just had to share it too.  Doing soap is like unwrapping a present, you don't know what your going to get until you cut it. I love how this batch came out with it's lovely mix of yellow and orange. I wish there were smella screen on our computers because this soap smells AMAZING. I mixed my favortie citrus scent with an out of this world lemon and trust me it makes you want to pucker up. I honestly can say it is hard to resist licking or biting this soap it smells so wonderful. Now to try and resist using it until the cure time is over, this stuff takes patience, but it is very well worth it. I love these four websites for my scents: www.sweetcakes.com , www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com , www.brambleberry.com , and www.symphonyscents.com

Have a happy citrusy sunshiny day!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cold Process Soap Making!


Hello and happy Sunday! I am pretty sure that most of you do not know I also love to make soap from scratch. I have been making and using my own soap for close to 15 years now. It is another one of my creative loves and oh so addicting. In the earlier years I was more focused on selling my soaps and other handmade bath and body products. Now I am more relaxed about when and how many batches I make. My mold makes 17 plus bars, so I have plenty to use, share, sell, and give as gifts. I took the winter off from soaping, but am running out, so I whipped out the equipment and got started again. I am going to start offering extra's for sell online when I get them done.

The picture you see is the batch I made yesterday and cut this morning. The scent is blueberry, it smells soooooo good! For those of you interested in the process, I took a few pictures for a quick over view.

First I want to say that for anyone wanting to learn Cold Process Soap Making, there is no better learning site than http://www.millersoap.com/ This site is the most informative, accurate and helpful I have ever found. She covers everything about the process. I will also give out some of my other recources as I post.

To start off, we need to talk about LYE.... THE BOTTOM LINE IS..... NO LYE..... NO SOAP!!! There is no such thing as soap that has not first been made with Sodium Hydroxide. Melt And Pour does not require you to work with lye because that part has already been done. Lye is the catalyst that turns fats and oils into soap, this is called Saponification. Here is what Kathy Miller says about LYE

You generally cannot make bar soap at home without lye. Lye is not your enemy... it's a fallacy to think you can make soap without it (or some other caustic base substance to turn the fat molecules into soap compounds). Correctly made and cured homemade soap is milder than anything you can buy... even those fancy clear glycerin bars. Don't let the lye thing put you off. I think some of the marketers our there who claim their soap has no lye have confused the public. They are being misleading when stating that. It just means they didn't use lye in their portion of the manufacture... but in the beginning, it was used to saponify the fats. Notice on the soap labels that word, "saponify" ... or "sodium tallowate"... "sodium cocoate", etc.? That means tallow or coconut oil that have been made into soap with the use of sodium hydroxide (lye)... that's the sodium part.

I hope you give another look to make soap at home. It's wonderful stuff!

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, I want to add that once the Lye has done it's job, exhausted itself out and the curing process done... there is no lye left in the soap bars. What we have is wonderful, mild  soap and not a speck of lye left. NOTE: Keep Lye away from pets and children. I have the benefit of doing my soap in our little cabin on our property, so I can focus. Locking pets up and keeping children in the other room is a good idea when working with LYE. Never inhale lye fumes.

Here is a sampling of some of the soaping ingredients I use. My recipe has wondeful ingredients like Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, Cocoa Butter, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Kernel, Lard, Tussah Silk and cosmetic grade fragrance oils and essential oils. This is more of a luxury bar, but for learning there are many nice recipes that are fewer and simpler ingredients. I use the lye calculator found here: http://www.thesage.com/calcs/lyecalc2.php this is the place to punch in your ingredients, it then tells you the proper amount of water, lye and other information for the size batch you are making. Just print your recipe out and you are good to go.
 I have many resources, but one of the main ones I use for ingredients is http://www.soaperschoice.com/cgi-soaperschoice/Web_store/web_store.cgi?query_price_low_range=0&cart_id= A good bar of soap depends on what percentage of these oils that are used. A little research on what makes a good recipe is a good idea. For instance.... too much coconut is drying to the skin, so I do not use more that 20% in my recipes. Here is a wonderful resource that tells you what each oil is good for and it's properties, it is very helpful to know this information. http://www.naturesgardencandles.com/mas_assets/pdf/soapoils.pdf


The first thing I do is get out my scale, it is important to have a very accurate scale that measures fractions of an ounce. The lye needs to be weighed out in one container and the water to mix it in in another. When buying LYE, make sure that it says 100% lye on the bottle and not a mix of some sort.

It is important to wear rubber gloves and wear eye protection when working with lye. Wearing a long sleeve shirt is also a good idea. Having a healthy respect for working around lye is essential. I take my water and lye outside and slowly mix the lye crystals into the water and stir for quite awhile until I am certain the lye  is disolved. The lye will be super heating the water. I put my my mixed lye in the freezer to help bring it down to a cooler temp.

After rinsing out the container the lye was in, I am ready to weigh out my hard fats in my stainless steel pan. The hard fats are Cocoa Butter, Coconut, Palm Kernel and lard. I put the container on the burner to a med low temp until melted.

Tee Hee, look at that mini stove, cute huh? I am glad I do not have to cook on something this tiny  in my house!

While the hard fats are melting, I measure out all my other oils. I will add this to my melted oils. The nice thing this does is help to cool down the hot oils so it will be ready to soap fairly quickly.
I have my pot of oils and my lye all ready to go. The thermometer tells me when the temps hit 100 - 115, this is a good range to soap in. Once I have my temps, I put on my goggles, gloves and get ready to pour my lye into the pot of oils. I also have my scent all measured and ready to go as well as any colorants premixed. You can hand stir your batch, but I love using a stick blender. The blender works great and speeds up the soaping process.

Once the lye is in the pot time is of the essence, once this batch reaches trace it will be time to add my scent, colorant and get it into the mold before it sets up on me completely. As I stick blend, it emulsifies and  becomes thicker. To figure out if the soap is at a light trace, lift your blender out of the soap... if it doesn't sink right in and leaves a trail before sinking in, it is ready to go. I like mine to be at a very light trace so I can have time to add scent and colorant. I remove about 2 1/2 cups of soap to my container that has colorant and mix this up. My batch is about a 5 lb. batch so this is about right. I then pour the color back in the pot in 4 different spots, swirl a couple times with a spatula in the  pot. As I pour it swirls itself from the pouring action.

Here is my mold, it is wood with a silicone insert. Molds can be made out of many things however and can be lined with butcher paper if you do not have a silicone liner.

I used blue mica powder for my swirls. Here is the soap right after it is poured into my mold. This soap was scented in blueberry. After the soap is poured, I put my wood lid on top and insulate the mold with towels. Insulating your molds helps to get the gelling process going. The lye super heats the soap for hours after it is poured, this process makes the final bar nice and translucent. Like I said earlier, once the lye exhausts itself out, there will be no trace of it in the final bars.
Here is the insulated mold. I leave this without touching it for an entire day... this is hard as I have no patience!!

Like I said.... I have no patience. I unmolded this soap a bit before I should have, because it is soft on the ends it made the ends yucky. Oh well, the end pieces will be my soap.

Here you see my soap cutter. The wire that cuts it is a quitar wire that is tightened on the ends. I make the width what I want it to be and cut the bars out. Cutting your soap by hand is just fine too!


The final result came out marbled and so much fun! They smell good enough to eat.

My mold makes 17 fairly large bars of soap. Cold Process soap needs to sit out and cure for up to 6 weeks. During this time, the soap like fine wine will mellow out, become mild, harden up and  do it's thing. Once done the bars will shrink a little bit from the moisture going out. CP soap like to breathe so it is best to store your soap with some air. This is truly some of the best stuff you'll ever use! It is fun and anyone can learn to do it! You can wrap or decorate your soaps anyway you'd like, they make wonderful gifts too. I like to bevel the edges of my soap with a carrot peeler. The older soap gets the better it gets. The bars that you forget about having for a year or so are the best treat ever!


Here is a Citrus batch I did today, I will post the pictures of this batch tomorrow after I cut it. I hope I have inspired some of you to look into soap making!

NOTE: I also want to say that all equipment needs to be wiped out with paper towels before washing with hot soap and water. Getting all the goo out before hand is much better than washing it down your drain. If it sets up in your drain, you will have problems!!

I have also started my next pattern. It is going to be little faces peeking out of sunflowers!!

Thanks for stopping by...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Knots Prayer


This prayer really hit home for me. Isn't this the prayer most of us need to pray at one time or other in our lives? The voices that speak negativity into our souls are not from God, but we so readily believe them! There is a voice that will say; you aren't good enough, you are damaged goods and could never be worthy of the blessings others enjoy. We embrace these lies as though they are fact, I am completely guilty as charged myself. Our minds are truly a battlefield. For me I can also add to this list of "knots" fear and worry. These things can take root so deep that I feel my life is a wrecked mess. Lets ask God to replace the thoughts that literally can destoy us with his soothing words of acceptance and peace. There is plenty of grace to go around if we choose to grab it. This struggle is a daily one for me, but I am working on it! Blessings....

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May flowers, Goats, Web Sale and other news!

Happy May my friends....

My May so far is looking like a never ending rain season, ya know the kind that makes rain forests!.....SIGH  The sun will be here to stay soon "I hope". I have newly planted flowers whose delicate rain petals are beat up!

I figure that even if I don't have too many exciting things going on in the craft room at the moment, I can still share what I have been doing.

I want to let you know that on my website I have a 10% off sale to my blog readers and the ladies who receive my newsletter, this will last through May.  speaking of newsletter, I need to get another one out, it has been too long now come to think of it! Anyhoo..... the code to get 10% off is "mayflowers10". Just type that in the box provided during checkout. I also have free shipping on my made up dolls for sale, this again is website only. This free shipping will last for a limited time. See my web link on the right side-bar.

The other day I had the priveledge of being invited to one of my customers goat farms to take some photos. The drive was gorgeous and her property is out of this world. This really is beautiful country I live in!  Many of her mama goats had young ones lately, I was more than happy to take my camera out. Of all the many shots I took, a short ton of them did not turn out, there were a few however that turned out okay so I thought I would share them with you all. A bit of advice ~ Never take pictures with mid-day sun, and make sure you have on the proper lens to do the job! I should have used my wide angle and the sun was a bit high in the sky, therefore I had to toss so many :-( that is the way though with photography, a few gems and jewels amongst the so so's.

Doesn't she/he look like such a happy goat? There is a smile in this little goats heart, her face shows it! Even if I am wrong, I'd like to believe it... Oh and I have been playing with an online photo editing software called Pic Monkey www.picmonkey.com I usually don't use these type of programs, but this one really has some fun things to offer. I did my initial editing in my Nikon software like usual, but then popped the photog in pic monkey and added effects, frames and text. There are endless things you can do in this free program, check it out.

These little ones were born the night before this was taken. They are ready to go that fast!

Mama snuggles with her baby...cute huh?

 This older goat posed for me, I thought the expression here was a funny one! Is it my imagination.... or are goats  natural "SMILERS" LOL

Another little one....

A captivating profile...

 A little ways down the road I came upon this scene of sheep grazing, so peaceful don't you think?

I also stopped along the side of the road to take some pictures of these wildflowers that bloom here around this time every year. There is something about them I just love. These flowers are all over the place scattered about here and there. I am not sure what they are even called.


I stopped by my friend Christine's house and took this picture of her newly blooming tulips!

I also wanted to let you all in on some friendly to the environment cleaning products that smell sooooooo good! My friend Kim from Old Road Primitives sent me a surprise package with the three different products seen here. Thank you Kim for such a thoughtful and lovely gift!

 All these wonderful things are from a company called Farmhouse. Website: www.sweetgrassonline.com What I have here is Lemon Verbena, such a clean and simply scrumptious scent especially for the kitchen. I am sensitive to harsh scents and this one is very mild. On the far left is some hand soap, the middle shows the All Purpose Surface Cleaner and the far right is liquid dish soap. I have used them all now and am very impressed with these products. Check them out for yourself!

Have I been up to anything in the craft room? well..... no not at the moment. I will soon, but I guess I have been taking a small break. I need to get all those creative brain cells working again.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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