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Hmm... [Sep. 11th, 2008|09:34 am]
SCA Soapers

akshuman
I cut the Creamy Lavender. The color is spotty as if it were a poorly mixed powder. Strange for a liquid but good to know for future use. The scent is still fairly strong and the drying/utility closet is beginning to exude scent. It's nice.
Next, labels.
And of course more soap.
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Book Alert! [Sep. 10th, 2008|01:47 pm]
SCA Soapers

akshuman
I forgot to mention, I found a new (to me) book on soap at my local library. It's Essentially Soap by Dr. Robert S. McDonald ISBN 0873418328
The section on melt and pour is fairly small as is the section on hot process. That leaves the rest of the book for cold process information. There is a section on the history of soap making and I'm interested to see how our information on 'the history of' has changed over the years. I appreciate the rather straight forward discussion of the different fatty acids that appear in soap and the properties that they bring as well as step by step instructions for leaching your own lye. I would like to point out that there is no mention that - if you are going to do this - you will need an egg that has never seen a 'fridge and that the resulting lye is best used for hot process.
The book has several basic, good starter recipes and is peppered throughout with small windows of quick facts. It has a small section on scenting that has a quick fact bubble containing some simple standard scent blends for those who are beginning to branch out into scent mixing.
All in all I'm beginning to reach the point where the number of notes I'm taking suggests that I just go buy this book.
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Today's soap. [Sep. 10th, 2008|11:18 am]
SCA Soapers

akshuman
Today is the Creamy Lavender. It's a lard heavy recipe that calls for 1/2 & 1/2 at trace. I went with a heavy whipping cream so that I could make butter out of the left over.
Anyway, being lard heavy it took forever to trace. Well, my definition of forever which is actually only about 5 minutes. I've read a lot of books and articles that talk about Castilles taking hours, even days to trace. I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. My primarily olive oil (and even ONLY olive oil) recipes take about ten minutes. All hail the stick blender. Never make soap without it. When you're mixing ingredients what you're doing is emulsifying. Think in terms of making mayonnaise. As you hit trace you've gotten to the mayo stage and the more you mix the stiffer your mayo.
So, back to the creamy lavender. The recipe has an INS at about 150 - which is a little low - but I've always had good luck with this one and I'm interested to see how this turns out. It's the perfect opportunity to try out the new lavender 40/40 EO and purple color I picked up. I poured out 1/2 ounce of the lavender by volume and added 1/2 ounce of a lavender FO that smells more like lavender incense than straight lavender and tends to smell like neither after contact with the lye and dry time. It still smells nice just not what I wanted and I have a lot of it. I've been trying to mix it with other scents to see if I can find a balance that works well.
The color is new all the way around. It's a transparent purple so I suspect I shouldn't have been quite so tentative with it. There's enough coconut oil in the recipe that the cleaned lard should go light/white by the time it's set I'm just hoping that ten drops of purple in a 24 ounce recipe will be enough to give it a hue at least.
I'm not betting on it.
The tube mold is on the counter. I took a little more time to get a towel around it than I wanted. Particularly since I weighted till both the oils and lye where only a little warmer than body temperature to mix. It's cool in the house today and I'd rather not finish it in the oven.
I'll let you know the color turned out tomorrow.
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Today's soap [Sep. 7th, 2008|11:21 am]
SCA Soapers

akshuman
Is a 1 pound, 5 oil batch. The largest single oil is olive and the next is palm. In a 1 pound recipe it calls for 1 ounce of Castor oil. I really find working with Castor annoying. Even that small amount will cause a batch to trace in nothing flat and while it doesn't actually reach gel it does thicken so much that it's nearly impossible to pour into a 3 inch round mold.
Even adding scent from the Perfumed Dragon didn't loosen it up enough to pour easily. Fortunately I own a wide mouthed funnel.
Anyway, the good news is that it will probably be cut-able before tomorrow. I'm going to wait though just to be safe.
I promised a basket of spa/bath stuff for a non-profit auction. So far I have a small bath mitt, a small wooden brush, an 8 ounce jar of salt scrub, a bath melt, 4 balls of honey, oatmeal, milk, calendula bath and I'm shooting for 2, maybe 3 bars of soap. I'm also trying to decide about making a batch of bath salts but I don't know that it will get done. The basket needs to be delivered early Tuesday morning and my Monday is already pretty full.
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More soap news [Sep. 6th, 2008|08:17 am]
SCA Soapers

akshuman
Earlier this morning I unmolded, cut and shelved the cucumber mint. The color had shifted from a milky green to a more gell-like green but the mint leave and cucumber bits hadn't changed. So far so good. We'll see if that lasts through the cure. The color was not as consistent as I would prefer. Near the top of the insulation it had browned a little which leads me to believe that the better the insulation the better leaf and flower bits will react. I'm debating making something specifically designed as a high efficiency insulator for a tube of soap. Wrapping it in a towel is a good start but it could be better.
I can tell I'm going to have to rearrange the closet again. I ground everything that didn't sell at Pennsic along with every other bit of my soap still in the house. Rather than add it to the laundry soap (a great option since it cleans great and eliminates the need for fabric softener) I milled it. In the end I had about ten pounds of soap. I don't much care for milling, particularly with water (I was out of milk). I find it hard to get the soap to a pourable consistency without burning it (my crockpot wasn't large enough) or over adding water. It's going to be taking up a bit of room in my closet while it dries out and I neglected to save any for daily use.
Bugger.
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Gah! [Sep. 5th, 2008|12:01 pm]
SCA Soapers

akshuman
The last batch was full of fail with a side order of suck.
I tried for an all reclaimed lard* recipe with milk, honey and oatmeal. It seemed like a good idea when I started. I recalled that dealing with milk is always iffy and decided to start with about a 50/50 lye solution so that I could add lots of milk at trace.
I'm fairly certain that the major mistake was failing to recall that crystals (sugar, salt, honey, etc.) add heat and that lard, when melted, is really hot.
I didn't wait long enough for things to cool down.
The milk scorched and just kept turning darker and darker. I couldn't tell if the soap had traced or if it was lumpy because the oatmeal had cooked. I over added scent and am pretty sure I saw it swimming on the top in the mold. It may have just been fat that refused to saponify since the next day when I unmolded for cutting there was a large plug of fat at the top.
I threw the whole thing out. I didn't even bother to salvage the transparencies.
Wow, did that suck.

So, today, I tried a different recipe: Cucumber Mint.
Yes, with real cucumber. And this time, real mint!
It turned out beautiful!
I can only hope that the color (and the mint) survive the lye although I don't expect them to despite insulating (or because).

Anyway, that's the soap update.
I'll be teaching at Red Dragon the same class I taught at Pennsic. We'll see how it goes this time around.











*My mother was on Atkins and saves pan drippings anyway so I have a lot of lard. It's fairly easy to clean and is superb for facial bars.
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A&S Project [Aug. 16th, 2008|08:56 am]
SCA Soapers

hungariangypsy
Hello!

My son is wanting to make soap for his A&S project in October. Would really appreciate it if there are good suggestions for places for research. He has been having a hard time finding anything relating to the time period online, but maybe we have just been looking in the wrong places. Thank you.
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Liquid Soap [Aug. 25th, 2007|04:31 pm]
SCA Soapers

medievalbooks
I would like to make soap or liquid soap without lye. Preferably with vanilla beans and/or herbs. Does anyone know of any recipes or where I can look for ideas?
Thanks!
Gwyneth
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Things to remember before making soap again... [Mar. 12th, 2007|03:14 pm]
SCA Soapers

welshwmn3
1) Check ALL supplies, including chocolate, white chocolate, and cocoa powder before making Chocolate Soap

2) Definately get more apple cider

3) If it's been a winter since making soap, check the oils and make sure they aren't hard as a rock

4) Check equipment to make sure none of it disappeared (like a spoon, who'd take a spoon that was dedicated to soap and lotion making?)



And one thing to remember. When melting oil and dark baking chocolate together, do NOT 'test' the mixture with your finger to see if it's hot! OWWWWWIE
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Does anyone have any experience with Goats milk soaps? [Sep. 28th, 2006|03:17 pm]
SCA Soapers

akshuman
I'm working on a recipe that includes honey and thanks to that, and of course the heat of the lye, I'm having trouble keeping the goats milk from scorching. I've tried all kinds of things but I'm not having much luck.
What works for you?
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