Saturday, August 31, 2019

Basic Lavender Peppermint Soap

This was my first effort at cold-process from back in July. But it's been curing for almost six weeks now, and I spent a little time cutting off spots to make it pretty enough for pictures.

This batch almost immediately formed quite a bit of ash. These are two palm-sized bars cut from a larger bar, and stamped. Appearance aside, I actually really like how it feels and smells. It is a hard soap that produces a nice lather. I scented with peppermint and lavender essential oils, and these scents come through fairly well after drying.

Here is the recipe for a 1-pound (weight of oils) batch:

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Lavender Oatmeal Honey Hot Process Soap

Despite the mixed success of my first batch of hot process soap, I made a second batch yesterday. This batch was also inspired by The Nerdy Farm Wife, from the article How to Make Oatmeal Honey Soap In A Crock Pot.

I changed the recipe up just a little. At the end of the cooking process, instead of superfatting with tamanu oil (of which I have just enough left to make a batch of charcoal facial soap), I replaced it with jojoba oil. I also added more lavender essential oil than the recipe called for. Here are the ingredients:

17 oz (482 g) olive oil (62%)
8 oz (227 g) coconut oil (29%)
1.5 oz (43 g) sweet almond or sunflower (5%) - I used sunflower oil
1 oz (28 g) castor oil (4%)

10 oz (283 g) water
3.9 oz (111 g) lye

After cooking for 1.25 hours on the low setting of my crockpot, I added:

.5 oz (14 g) tamanu oil - I used jojoba oil
1 tbsp powdered oatmeal - I ground up regular oatmeal in a Ninja blender
1 tbsp honey mixed with 1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp lavender essential oil - I used 1 tsp

The recipe yielded 2 lbs, 10 oz. For the molds, I used a Pringles can plus two cavities of a rectangular mod that held approximately 3.5 oz per cavity. The Pringles log ended up about 9 inches long, so I sub-cut into eight rounds. Each round of soap ended up being between 3.75 to 4 oz. Consistent with hot process soap, the texture is rustic.

UPDATE (8/31/19) 
We are using the second round of soap now. I love it! We began using it immediately, and it produced a nice, thick lather with lots of bubbles. After a few weeks, it has cured into a nice, firm bar. The lavender scent has faded somewhat, but still pleasant. After drying, my skin feels pretty moisturized. The oatmeal is a bit scrubby, however, so next time I will try to process it into a finer powder.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Lemon & Honey Tea Hot Process Soap

My first try at hot process soap was a mixed bag. Although it lathers up quite nicely and leaves my skin soft and moisturized, I am just meh about how it looks and smells.
Lemon & Honey Tea Hot Process Soap/Shampoo Bar

The inspiration for the soap was from The Nerdy Farm Wife's Chamomile Tea & Honey Shampoo Bar Recipe. I did not have quite enough castor oil as called for in the recipe, so at the last minute had to run the recipe through a lye calculator to adjust for the 1.5 oz shortage. Here are the ratios from

So here is where I deviated from the original recipe. Instead of chamomile tea, I used an English Breakfast because I wanted to see if I could get a deep, brown color. I also added 1 teaspoon of lemon essential oil.

As already alluded to, I probably would not make these modifications again. The color wasn't quite what I was looking for, especially when combined with the lumpy texture of hot process soap. The smell of the English Breakfast tea was also quite strong, even after the cooking process. After I added the lemon EO, it came out smelling like a lemon Snapple. Again, not quite the effect I was going for. Finally, the mold was not the best choice for a hot process soap. It was a wide, flat box, where the texture of hot process would do better (IMHO) in a loaf or column mold.

Nevertheless, it is still a lovely soap, chock full of wonderful oils. One last comment, the original recipe was for a shampoo bar. I haven't used it yet as a shampoo bar, but will report back if and when I do!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Another melt and pour: rose clay goat’s milk soap

This was yesterday’s project, another melt-and-pour project inspired by Brambleberry. Here are the details with modifications from the original project:

32 oz goat’s milk MP base
4 tsp rose clay
9 mL orange EO
9 mL rosemary EO
1 tbl 99% isopropyl alcohol (mix with clay to disburse)
99% isopropyl alcohol spray

In other news, I unmolded my cold process project from the other day. I was a little disappointed, because when I went to cut the 4-inch cube into bars, it was crumbly and I couldn’t get nice clean edges.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Activated Charcoal Facial Soap with Tea Tree EO

I’m dabbling in soap making again, mostly because it’s like cooking but without the eating and the calories. I have two batches of soap curing right now. Because these two batches need to cure for four weeks and won’t be ready until late August, I needed just a little bit of instant gratification.

This is a melt-and-pour project from Brambleberry, which is where I also bought all my supplies. I cut the recipe in half (about 16 oz), which is a little less than 3.8 oz per flower. This is intended to be a facial soap, as activated charcoal, tamanu oil, and tea tree EO are all said to have healthy skin and healing properties.

I adjusted the recipe as follows:

11 oz shea butter melt and pour
1.5 tsp tamanu oil
.5  tsp activated charcoal
2 mL tea tree EO
99% isopropyl alcohol spray

UPDATE: I will update once I actually use it!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Block 3, Eddystone Light, variation (Red & White Star Sampler)

Piecing instructions for the third block are now available! As always, you can go to the Red & White Star Sampler tab at the top for all the blocks in this series.

Block 3, Eddystone Light (Variation)

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Block 2, Wyoming Valley (Red & White Star Sampler)

This is another version of Wyoming Valley. You can probably see that I love this block, as I also used it for the center of my Medallion Quilt last summer. The piecing instructions for this one is a little bit different than the block in the Medallion Quilt. For this one, I used a center diamond-in-a-square unit surrounded by flying geese and half-square triangles. Click on the image or caption below for a PDF of the piecing instructions. You can find all blocks by clicking on the Red & White Star Sampler tab above.

Block 2, Wyoming Valley (Red & White Star Sampler)