Friday, December 3, 2010

Liquid vs Bar

I'm getting the feeling that there may be a few (or more) people who don't like to use a bar of soap.  I think many people feel that somehow the bar will become full of germs and bacteria because you are using it over and over.  There is a post here about germs left on the bar.  There is some controversy about this, I tend to lean more towards the thinking that the high ph of cold-process soap should somewhat inhibit the growth of bacteria.  Also if the bar is allowed to drain and dry between uses there should be no water to help with the growth of any nasties.  This is just my personal opinion and not based on any sort of scientific research.  
I do make Liquid soap and I like it very much but I think I still prefer a nice bubbly bar of soap.  Since I realize that not everyone feels the same way I do I've put my Liquid handmade soap in our guest bathroom.  Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ice Cubes & Soap

When mixing my lye into my water I have found that if at least half of my water is ice cubes I get little to no fumes when the lye and water react.  I like this since its not always practical for me to mix the lye/water outside and I hate walking around with a pitcher of lye, even if it's covered.  Normally I just use the ice cubes we make with water from our Brita.  But because I'm not all that great at remembering to change the filter and I have distilled water that I buy specifically for soap, I thought I would make ice cubes with the distilled water.  This is what I got..... 

Can you see the icicle growing UP out of the ice cube?!  My kids thought this was pretty neat, so of course we had to investigate why this happened.  I figured it had to have something to do with the distilled water, since I've never seen this with any other ice cubes.  After some 'Google-ing' we found this blog post that explains why this happens.  It has to do with the way the water freezes.  The water starts freezing all around the edges, top and bottom, as this happens it causes pressure on the water, tiny holes can form on the top and as the pressure increases little drops of water will squeeze out of the holes.  As more water is pushed out it adds to the little icicle and it will continue to grow.  There are other factors involved as well, such as the water used (I was right!!) and how quickly it freezes.  Well, now I have another thing to add to my 'What I've Learned From Making Soap' list!

Friday, October 1, 2010

I LOVE Eucalyptus!

I love the smell of Eucalyptus, it just seems so fresh and clean.  I use it in laundry soap, household cleaner, in a diffuser.  The only question is what took me so long to use it in soap?  Well I was waiting to get some French Green Clay to use as a colourant, but I think its mostly because I forgot..gasp!  I finally got around to making it (and posting about it).  Here's how it turned out...

Once I had all the oils and lye combined I scented the whole batch, then I pour 1/3 of it into another bowl.  I added the green clay to 2/3 of the batch, its a brighter green than what it looks like in the picture.  I poured the green part into my mold, then sprinkled some more clay on top to get that line.  I then poured the uncoloured 1/3 of the batch on top.
I really like how it turned out!  Next time I'll have to work a bit faster because it started to set up on me, especially the top part.  I had to 'glop' and 'smush', those are technical terms ;) it into the mold, so there are a few pockets where it didn't fill in all the way.   They still look and smell great.
I was a very good girl and I waited a whole FOUR weeks before I tried one.  Ooooo it's so nice, lots of bubbly lather a scent that I love.  I've heard that green clay can be drying and is good for oily skin, I haven't noticed it drying my skin.  I have an oily t-zone so maybe 'i should use this as a facial soap.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Salt Soap Bandwagon

I guess I've jumped on!  I got this Margarita Fragrant oil and I thought it would be great in Salt Soap.  Ever since I made it though it seems like everywhere I have looked, someone is making a Salt soap or talking about them.  Some love them, some don't.  I couldn't wait to try mine to see what all the fuss was about.  After some research I decided to make mine with 80% Coconut oil, 20% Castor oil, 75% Sea Salt and French Green Clay for colour.  I left it in a preheated oven for 4 hours before cutting.

Salty Margarita
Now the real test...... I tried it on my hands and liked the lather, it wasn't really big and fluffy, but it definitely had some.  We have soft water so that might help.  You think it would be a scratchy, exfoliating bar, but the salt just becomes smooth.
I think I like it! 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Soap Drama

Seeing as how my Sincerely Vienna (lavender) has been flying off the shelves, I've been making a lot of it lately.  So when I poured my latest batch into the mold something seemed different, it didn't fill up the mold like it usually does, but of course I didn't think too much about it.  Until.....I was un-molding and cutting into bars.  It was much whiter then usually and it had an almost crumbly texture to it.  Normally when I cut the soap is still a little moist (I'm impatient) this was almost opposite to what I normally get.
That's not mouse poo on top, it's Lavender buds!
I could snap the little end cuts in half!  Now I had a problem....I had NO IDEA what I had done wrong.  I knew it was lye heavy, my tongue is still tingling, completely forgot about those PH strips I have....Doh!!  I didn't want to have to throw it out, but I wasn't sure how I would go about rebatching it when I didn't know what I had left out.
So, after some hair-pulling and a little whining and crying on a soap forum....I figured out what I did wrong!  I had left out over 500 grams of olive oil!  How?  A little while ago my lovely husband made me a bigger mold and I in my infinite wisdom decided not to print out a new recipe but to just write the increased amounts beside my smaller recipe.  My recipes are printed with pounds, oz, and grams, but I only wrote down the oz.  But half-way through my recipe, while measuring the olive oil, I decided to switch from oz. to grams, because it is such a large amount.  I didn't even clue in that I was using less oil, grrrrrrr!
So, now I was a little bit frustrated but also happy because at least now I knew what had happened and I could rebatch with no problem.

There you have it, my little 'Soap Drama'.  Would you like to see the end result?.......not too bad after all.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Coffee, Please!

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE coffee.  Not just any coffee, it has to be a nice Bold Cupa Joe!  I love my french press and it makes me a perfect cup every morning.  So since I have this love (some say obsession) for coffee, of course I had to incorporate it into my soap.
I have added coffee grounds to soap before as an exfoliator, but this time I wanted the whole thing, brewed coffee and the grinds.   So I got out my French Roast coffee (freshly ground, of course!) and made a pot.  Now it was very tempting but I refrained from drinking any.  After cooling it in the fridge I added the lye.  Let me just say, "Ewwwww."  I know lye creates some interesting reactions but I wasn't expecting this.  As it was cooling it got a thin sludgy film on top and it had a very unpleasant smell.  My poor coffee!
After I got over my disgust everything else went smoothly.  The sludginess (is that a word?) went away after a little stir with the stick blender.  And I added some ground coffee and cornmeal at trace to boost up the exfoliation.  The revolting scent has gone away now that it has been curing for a few weeks.  It actually was pretty much gone after 24 hrs.  I haven't tested it yet, but it should make an excellent kitchen/gardeners soap. 

Friday, August 6, 2010


OOhhh, I love that word!  So because I love it so much (I'm sure you do too) I have a great offer on my website right now.  Buy 4 soaps and get 1 FREE!  That means you can try any of the bars on our site for FREE.  Maybe you've been thinking about trying a Shampoo Bar but are not really sure, now is your chance!
We also have a special on our Sincerely Ethan soap.  When you buy 1 you get a 2nd throw in for FREE!  There's that word again.  We have reformulated our Sincerely Ethan recipe, so we have a limited amount of the originals left.  They are also a bit smaller than our regular bars, so your getting better value for you're money. 

Sincerely Ethan (original)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Is It Possible To Make Soap Without Lye?

Yikes!  I cannot believe how much misinformation is out there about this topic.  I'm writing an article about this and in my research (google) I found so many articles, blog posts, etc. about this that are completly false.  Some seem to think that if you buy a premade base, ie. melt and pour or rebatch, the end product is soap made without lye.  This is not true.  These bases were all manufactured using lye at some point, its all there in the ingredient list.  When you see words such as "saponified oils of..." or "sodium cocoate", etc. These words mean oils that have been mixed with lye (sodium hydroxide) and gone through the saponification (chemical reaction) process to create soap.  Now, once this process is complete there is NO lye left in the finished product.  But, that does not mean none was used, as we already discussed.
I think what needs to be clarified is if you use a premade base YOU do not need to add the lye, since it has already been done.  It all goes back to not fully understanding what soap IS. 
From Wikipedia:  Soap consists of sodium or potassium salts of fatty acids and is obtained by reacting common oils or fats with a strong alkaline solution (the base, popularly referred to as lye) in a process known as saponification. The fats are hydrolyzed by the base, yielding alkali salts of fatty acids (crude soap) and glycerol.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Wow!  Has it really been that long since I last posted.  I guess, like everyone else, I have been busy.  I HAVE been busy, but not too busy to try out some new soap recipes.  I've been trying to perfect my Goat Milk recipe, I'm not totally satisfied with the way its been turning out.  I tried Oatmeal, Milk & Honey and just Milk & Honey.  I can't smell the honey as much as I would like but I want to keep them as natural as possible so I don't really want to add a Honey Fragrant Oil.  Maybe I should just make a Oatmeal & Milk one and call it 'GoatMeal' ;) Oops I think that name is already taken!  How about 'Gooney' for Goat Milk and Honey?  Hmmmm apparently it is some type of bird.  Oh well, I'm sure I'll figure something out.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cold Process Vs. Hot Process

In all my research on cold process soap making, I came across a few articles about the Hot Process method, but didn't really pay much attention until...... DISASTER!  Maybe not that bad, but it seemed like it at the time.  I was testing a recipe for a shampoo bar when it seemed to go through all of the things you DON'T want your batch to go through.  Acceleration, seizing AND ricing!  (I don't think it actually did all three it just seemed like it did.)  Anyways, as I was bemoaning all the oils/money that I would have to throw away, I remembered, sometimes you can save your bad batch by Hot processing it.  It was worth a shot.  I whipped out my crock pot turned it on and dumped in my ugly batch.  I ran to the computer and read as much as I could about hot processing.
The hot process is similar to cold process except after your batch has reached 'trace' you continue heating and stirring, lots of stirring, until saponification is completed.  Your heat can be double boiler, oven, or like me a crock pot.  So I cooked and stirred (don't forget the stirring) my soap until it had a nice mashed potatoes look to it, then I glopped it into a mold.  I was able to take it out of the mold about 3 hours later, but I left it overnight and cut it in the morning.
After all that I think I'll stick to cold process soap making, I like to pour my soap into my mold.  It was fun to try something different and I might do it again one day, hopefully NOT because I'm having a disaster.

Monday, May 3, 2010

What's in a name?

So you make this wonderfully delish smelling soap, but you can't just call it 'Bubblegum', that's so boring.  What do you do?  Ah ha!  I'm making these beautiful soaps mainly because of my children, so lets give them each their own.  Sorry Cole I know yours is pink, but you do love bubblegum any gum for that matter, and besides I'm working on a blue one.  Ethan, how do you describe Ethan?  He can be a little rough at the beginning but underneath he's a softy, just like a great exfoliating bar of Oatmeal & Honey.  And the 'Baby Doll', Vienna, this cutie has sensitive skin and needs the mildness of a 'Castile' soap, with a little soothing Lavender thrown in.  Now the only problem is I've run out of children, but not soap. 
There are so many different combinations and so many that I want to try.  It has become a bit of an obsession.  My children now know what Lye is and they walk around that plastic pitcher like its going to jump up and bite them.  My oldest son tells everyone to make sure they keep their soap in a dish that drains so it will last longer.  Vienna, who's two, wants to smell, or as she says 'mell', everything.  Ethan, of course, doesn't seem to care and just says 'oh, your making soap again'.   The dog is the only one that doesn't seem affected, maybe that's because she doesn't have her own soap?  hmmmm.....Sincerely Sadie?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Makings of a Soapmaker

I researched all the ingredients, looked at all the websites, read ALOT of information and finally took the plunge. I have now entered the world of cold process soap making! Of course my family and friends are ecstatic because they get to 'test' it all.

But why make your own soap? Well, I have this thing (maybe an obsession) about knowing exactly what's in everything I use/eat. I also have 3 beautiful children who deserve only the best.

And after reading many ingredient lists for so called "Natural" products that still have synthetic ingredients, I started my journey to handmade soap making. And what a journey its been! We are always fine tuning, but we're now ready to share the fruit of our labors.