Talk about good, clean fun!
So, after investigating soap-making options, I decided to throw myself right into it and give it a try. Today, I thought I'd start nice and easy and see how it goes. Nice and easy means using unscented white or glycerin soap and using that as your base. All soap is made of lye and fat, so whether you make it from scratch or cheat a little and use ready-made soap, it basically amounts to the same thing... from what I've read so far. If I attain any semblance of success with the 'rebatch' (look at me using all the lingo), then I can move to making lye from ash. We have lots of ash in our fireplace and lots of spring water, so it wouldn't be difficult once I get the hang of it. Anyway, for now, I took the shortcut. I melted two medium size white soaps in a double boiler. While it was in the process of melting, I prepared the aloe vera leaf that I cut just a few minutes earlier. I cut the prickly needles and then used my filleting knife for remove the hard green outside. I collected the gel and dropped it in the blender. Then I added about half of a medium size peeled cucumber, some oats and honey. I mixed all that together, ready to be combined with the soap goop. The soap melting process seemed to be taking a long time and I was a bit concerned about using up too much propane for this little experiment o' mine, so I decided to remove it before it was completely melted... there were still some chunks. But I'm the queen of 'oh well'. I poured the lot into a muffin tin as my mould. I loved the inconsistent, rustic look of these pieces of soap. I felt quite proud. As the batch was cooling, Kevin noticed all the white chunks and said (with great trepidations) that these chunks will just end up falling and going down the drain... so much of the soap will be wasted. Grrr. I hate it when he's right... which is, I admit, a lot of the time. At first I shrugged, thinking 'oh well, next time I'll do better'. But then it nagged me. So, I scooped the little pieces of circular soaps out of the tin and started over. I used my crock pot this time... letting it liquify slowly... and I didn't have to stand there and watch it. About an hour later, I checked on it and the chunks had dissolved this time. I refilled the muffin tin, but this time I only filled them half way. I figured it was better to have more smaller soaps then less bigger soaps. They still look lumpy, but it's the oats that is creating that effect, which is great for exfoliation. I think I'm going to love my mini homemade soaps. As I was cleaning my utensils, the bits of soap that were left behind lathered beautifully and made my hands incredibly soft! Next time, I'll try a lemon and rosemary combination. Or, maybe rose water infused soap? Y'know, I really am not a fan of rose bushes (thorns in my side, so to speak)... and we have more than I care for on the property, but if I could find some useful purpose for them, then we might become good friends.
Anyway, I had lots of fun creating these little gems and can't wait to do it again!
7/18/2013 01:12:19 am
Anne - those soaps look amazing!! Last year I had an urge to make soap and came across a wonderful 'recipe' that called for putting the liquified stuff into a pvc pipe (greased first with petroleum jelly or salve) and plastic cap at one end to avoid oozing out. Once hardened, the soap slides out easily and then you can slice and lay out to dry further. I think a lemon verbena variety would be amazing too.
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Dave and Krista are a couple from the Pacific Northwest that led overwhelmingly busy lives.
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