thanks to all my customers for the warm messages and inquiries - I'm still here and working on getting your smelly stuff made. :)
And don't miss this one - my Glacier soap: if you need to wake up and get your act together in the morning, here's a bar that will do the trick. A pure peppermint soap, not too strong but minty enough to be refreshing and energizing. On those summer mornings when you can feel the heat building before the day even starts, peppermint soap is the perfect way to keep your cool!
thanks goes to Kristin for a great feature, hope everyone enjoys it.
MeanBean's interview with me
They are fun to make but more time-consuming than making a regular batch. I'm trying to decide whether to list it at my shop and make more... I'd have to list it at a higher price point than my regular bars. What do you think?
Sock Monkey presents to you his favorite soap -
This bar is scented in pure almond, yum!
How Soap is Made.
So what was that word, saponify? That is what happens when you mix a fat or oil with an alkali or 'base'.(lye is an alkali). As explained at Wikipedia: "The fats and the bases are hydrolyzed by water; the free glycerol heads bond with the free hydroxyl groups to form glycerin and the free sodium molecules bond with the fatty acid tails to form soap".
Huh? All that means is the chemical reaction breaks up all the molecules of the lye and oils, and they go back together in different formations. The newly formed substances are glycerin and soap. No soap can be made without an alkali like lye, and no lye is left in properly made soap - it has all been used up creating the soap and glycerin molecules.
So no, there is no lye in my soap. :)
In 1996 I was a single mom living in the center of a small town. My way of relaxing was to research "lost arts", and learn them. This satisfied my creative needs as well as provided useful and pretty things that I couldn't afford to buy myself. One day I was browsing inside a local bookstore/boutique just to look at all the wonderful treasures for inspiration, and I came across Anne Bramson's book Soap. I was immediately fascinated with the idea of being able to make something so completely necessary and useful, and not being a fan of commercial bar soaps that stripped my sensitive skin, I was excited about making a soap I could actually use.
I walked over to the local grocery store. At that time, grocery chains still cut some of their own meat and the store had a tallow bin. I confused a couple of employees with my request for tallow, but eventually they got me to a butcher who knew what I meant and he reached into the freezer bin and pulled out a wrapped lump the size of a ten pound bag of sugar, and equally heavy. I lugged that thing home, and spent the next couple of days rendering it. Not the most pleasant task, to be sure, but the satisfaction of seeing the pot yield a clean, white disk of tallow was all the encouragement I needed to keep going.
Next chance I got, I set up my soap making assembly line and mixed the ingredients with my fingers crossed. I had no stick blender at the time, the book I had referred only to hand stirring, and the internet was not a common household name then; I was on my own. So I stirred, and stirred... eventually the mix came together into a creamy thick consistency and I added some cedar essential oil and a decoction of rosemary (It amazes me that even with my first batch, I jumped right in to scenting and adding botanicals!)then I poured it into a shoebox lined with plastic.
Little did I realize when I started this batch that I would end up with about 12lbs of soap!! But I still remember turning out that gorgeous, white block of soap... what a beauty it was, even with all its wrinkles and bumps... I was hooked.
I have been enjoying my shea butter Body Scrub Bars so much, I got to thinking about why for the past three years I have kept some unrefined shea butter on hand at all times.
I started out with shea by purchasing some refined shea butter to soap with. It was pure white, smooth, odorless and, well, an awful lot like shortening. I couldn't see what the fuss was all about. So for my next purchase, I chose the unrefined version. Then the light bulb came on - this was totally different.
The unrefined shea tells you that it is a product derived from nature. Pale greenish tan in appearance, it has an earthy look in contrast to the factory-uniform refined shea. The nutty, almost smoky scent gives you a hint of the manufacturing being close to the land.
Using the unrefined shea was a different experience as well. When applied to a rashy area, the redness and itchiness diminishes significantly within a few minutes. The creamy butter softens any scaliness and helps stop peeling. It is so soothing, there are clearly active constituents within the butter of which I know little - what I do know is that they work!
I normally like to use shea straight as a balm because I feel that it is most effective when it is not diluted with other ingredients, but I'm glad I decided to use it in my Body Scrub Bars. Besides being just plain fun and decadent to use, it's an easy way to moisturize with Shea Butter. I like not having to get my hands all lotioned up after I step out of the shower. I think a few tweaks of the recipe to help increase the longevity of the bars, and these might make it into the permanent recipe file.
I hope to cross paths with Joanna again soon as I will send a few soaps for review once they are cured.
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- Choose your scraps - select compatible colors and shades.
- Weigh it all out so that you will be overfilling your mold by about a quarter inch.
- Have your mold lined and ready.
- If your scraps are not all mixed, you have the choice of selecting which will become part of the background blend, and which will be more prominent. Separate the color/s you want to be more distinct, and save them to add at a later step. If the soap scraps are older or very dry, you may want to mist them with water til they are just damp. Newer, softer soap doesn't normally need any water to start.
- Begin melting the soap. Some use a double boiler, but I prefer to microwave the soap. Keep a spray bottle of water at hand and mist the soap after stirring every few minutes.
- Continue melting and misting and stirring til the soap slumps off your spatula like thick oatmeal.
- Now you are ready to add any colored shreds that you left out earlier. This is also the time to add fragrance oil if you need to. When you mix in your shreds, they will cool and thicken the soap so it will need to be heated and stirred again.
- As soon as the last shreds are well mixed and any fragrance oil is fully blended, drop by spoonfuls into the lined mold. Push it into the corners with your gloved hands. If the soap seems dry when you glop it into the mold, you can mist it a little with water before the next scoop and that will help prevent the individual scoops from creating a seam that separates later. It may help to bump the entire mold on the counter a few times to get the soap settled. Smooth the top as best you can with your hands. It will look very rough.
- Allow the soap to cool overnight.
- Unmold and cut the rough top off the loaf, then cut into bars.
Lemongrass & Ground Apricot Seed
Please enjoy this gallery of previous batches. Find my current offerings at http://savonara.etsy.com
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