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Category: Soapmaking

Lotion giveaway

Lotion giveaway

I made lotion this morning–a lovely whipped souffle type thing. It’s stuffed with rosewood, katafray, and patchouli essential oils, all of which are supposed to make you look 10 years younger. If you’re in Seattle or environs and want to swing by, I have a few extra jars.*

*Offer extended only to people I know. One would think this is a given, but apparently not.

Oink of Olay

Oink of Olay

A 100 percent lard facial bar. Made with rose clay, oat powder, ground rose petals, and scented with palmarosa and elemi.

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This morning

This morning

If you can believe it, I actually got up this morning when Steve did–at 4:30. He does it because he has to (though apparently he “slept in” a little); I did it because I fell asleep last night at 8. Which is completely weird. Also weird were the dreams I had, in which all the soap in my drawer of soaply delights melted into a gooey, unsalvageable mess while I went from door to door trying to peddle the stuff. Considering all the oddness, it felt completely natural to wake up to an unseasonal snowfall.

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Tallow Soap

Tallow Soap

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Well, here we have it, the soap I made from the tallow I rendered. Scented with may chang and palmarosa, colored with red oxide.

Easy-peasy.

The first adventure in tallow-making was successful–but not as successful as it could have been. Out of two pounds of beef fat, I only got 10 oz or so of tallow. There was a lot of unrendered fat, even after 4 hours of simmering on the stove. So of course, I’ve got another batch going right now. Only this time, I’m doing it in the crockpot, and I’m probably going to re-render after the first pour. Also, in the interest of full disclosure, it’s a combo of pig and beef fat. I went to a different Safeway this time, and the butcher threw all the scraps into a single bag. The SAP values are not the same, but they’re close enough that I’m not going to worry about it. Plus, I use a high enough lye discount that the recipes should be fairly forgiving.

I was expecting rendering to be smelly and gross, but it smells like you’re cooking beef stew.

The Drawer of Soapish Delight

The Drawer of Soapish Delight

In my abandonment of all things blog, I stopped posting new soaps quite a while ago. The obession, however, continues. Particularly as I have more virgin coconut oil than I know what to do with.

The backstory is this: About a year ago, I came across a Craig’s List post for really cheap VCO, contacted the seller … and then never did anything about it. About a month ago, she contacted me and said she was giving it to me. She’s up in Lynnwood; it was as good an excuse as any to hit the Korean Spa. Plus, if the oil turned out to be rancid or something, I wouldn’t be bitter about the drive. To be completely and totally honest, I can’t quite tell whether it’s rancid or not. It could be on the edge … or it could be just very strong smelling … or it could be on the edge … You get the point.

However, it soaps just dandily.

And I have been soaping just dandily too. Behold! A drawer of beauty!

Among other, older soaps that I can’t remember what’s in them, we’ve got:
Coffee Rose (rose fragrance & coffee butter)
Rosemary, ylang ylang & basil
Ahoy Matey fragrance (this is a dupe of Acqua di Sale that smells exactly like the original–I love it)
Ylang & vetiver
Patchouli, ylang, pepper, palmarose & pine
Citrus & anise
Melted dragon’s blood resin with palmarose, copaiba balsam & amrys
Carnation blend (ylang, clove & black pepper)
Rose and oakmoss

And that’s not all … oh no … that’s just what is CURED.

Here’s what’s curing now:

May chang & laurel
Springerle (butter CO2, anise, benzoin resin & clove)


A weird canteloupe fragrance that I got in a fit of reminiscencing about some body wash I used to love; alas, it’s retch-worthy.
Cocoa absolute & peppermint
Something … I can’t remember
Clary sage, ylang, vetiver & violet leaf absolute

So.

I know there are a couple people to whom I promised to send soap and never did. Mea culpa! I promise this time. Remind me. Or if you just want some. And I know you. That would seem obvious, but apparently not.

Adventures in Tallow-Making

Adventures in Tallow-Making

Yes, you read that right. Tallow. As in rendered beef fat.

I’ve never used tallow in soap, though I have used lard. Lard makes WONDERFUL soap. (And before anyone gets skeeved out, if you’ve ever used Dove or Ivory, you’ve used animal fats in soap.)

I got tired of buying lard in the plastic tubs; it’s not all that cheap and it’s got BHT and all sorts of other stuff in there to preserve it. So the next logical step was to render my own. Problem: It’s a little hard to find pig fat to render. Bob’s Quality Meats–a fabulous butcher in Columbia City–offered to order me a 60-lb. drum. I think that might be a little extreme.

However! Safeway butchers will just give you beef fat if you ask for it. They look at you funny (as do the cashiers when they see this big bag of fat), but it costs nothing. And these days, with the economy as it is, I’m all about soaping on the cheap. Plus, how best to recycle? They would just throw it out. So right now, I have a pot full of beef fat, water, and salt simmering on the stove. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Fabulous, Perfect, Organic (Crisco) Soap

Fabulous, Perfect, Organic (Crisco) Soap

So, you want to start making soap? Well, here’s how NOT to do it. These poor, sweet guys are completely clueless, and I don’t know whether to just laugh my way through these or be scared by the fact that they lack basic safety precautions. Oh, what the heck, let’s just laugh … especially since they never actually get their soap to trace and all the effort was for naught.

Pleased as punch

Pleased as punch

The rabid (read: foaming at the mouth) soapmaking continues, and I have more soap than I know what to do with. I was thinking about selling the stuff, but have ultimately decided not to. Frankly, I can barely keep up with my accounting as it is; forget something where I have to track inventory and sales tax, too.

So what to do with all the soap?

Trade, that’s what.

I posted an ad on Craig’s List and got a bottle of homemade Kahlua.

Also, during the Georgetown Art Walk, I saw some lovely felted soaps made by Spiderfelt, and promptly contacted her to see if she wanted to do a trade: soap for felting for felted stuff. She needs more consistency than I can provide, but wanted to do a straight trade. Done. I loaded her up with soap today, and got this in return:

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Funnily enough, I had fallen in love with it on her site, and she still had one. I’m so pleased.

Also, Becky, I haven’t forgotten to send you soap. I just haven’t gotten to the post office yet.

A Surfeit of Soap

A Surfeit of Soap

So I’ve been making soap like there’s no tomorrow. I’m up to ears in it. Steve is threatening divorce. Well, that’s probably because a. I set the kitchen on fire the other day; and b. apparently the source of the kitchen drain clog was unsaponified soap from when I used to clean out all the pots as soon as I made the stuff. Anyway, does anyone want some? Let me know what flavors you like, and I’ll send you a little soapy care package.

[your name here] + needs =

[your name here] + needs =

I stumbled across this somewhere, and if you need to waste two minutes, here it is … five minutes if you blog it. Google “[your name] needs” and see what you come up with.

Apparently, I am touchy feely:
“Zia needs support.”
“Zia needs to reach the heart.”
“Zia needs to reach out honestly.”

And apparently, I need to drink more:
“Zia needs 30-40 shooters.”

But then I need to drink less:
“Zia needs to be put back in the bottle.”

Okay, five minutes wasted. Back to major soapmaking marathon. I’ve gotten bad about posting soaps, but in the past week I’ve made:

— Lavandin / spruce / orange / litsea / amrys / rose FO
— Another complicated blend that I forgot to write down, and can’t remember everything that’s in there
— Lavender / orange / peppermint
— Another batch of modified castile with beeswax and honey
— Another batch of the all-new the No Stinkum Steve.

Actually, let me waste another five minutes.

The all new NSS is the final NSS. It’s awesome. It’s made with anise, lavender, tea tree, and peppermint and colored with activated charcoal so it’s BLACK. I just cut it this morning:

Carrot Karma

Carrot Karma

I was sooooo looking forward to getting Brambleberry’s Karma type essential oil blend (based on the Lush perfume). I even devised a special recipe. But when it came in the mail — and I had stupidly thrown caution to the wind, buying the 4 oz size — it didn’t do a thing for me. It didn’t smell like my perfume bottle at all. It wasn’t a sprightly. But I was committed; the oils were all measured and just needed to be warmed up. So I forged ahead:

6 oz coil
4 oz oo
4 oz sunflower
6 oz palm oil
8 oz crisco
4 oz cocoa butter

123 g lye
8 oz fresh carrot juice (instead of water; adds a lovely orange color)

3 TB Karma type EO blend
2 TB grapefruit FO (trying to recapture some zing)

I made it yesterday morning and cut it in the evening. I think I hate it–but of course, there’s no telling until it’s actually used.

Bible Thumping Hippie Soap

Bible Thumping Hippie Soap

So named for the combination of frankincense, myrrh, and patchouli.

7.5 oz coil
2.5 oz olive butter
1.5 oz shea
10.5 oz oo

3.75 oz lye
8 oz water

1 TB frankincense powder melted with oils.

2 TB patchouli
1 TB clary sage
1 tsp carrot seed oil

Topped with frankincense and myrrh tears.

A Riff on Dave’s Soap

A Riff on Dave’s Soap

I despise patchouli. Or at least, I always thought I did. But when combined with other scents, it can actually be quite nice. So this is without the lime and spruce of Dave’s soap.

204g oo
218g coil
211g crisco
20g rosehip
27g cocoa butter

1 tb patchouli
1 tb bergamot
1 tb rosewood
2 tb lavender

It’s been a week since I made this, and while the scent seems to be fading, I think it’s going to be a very smooth-feeling soap.

Dave’s Soap

Dave’s Soap

All my essential oils are stored in an old file cabinet in the office, which doubles as a guest room. Dave was here when my new order came in. And every time we went out, Dave riffled through my supplies looking for something that smelled good. “Where’s the patchouli?” he’d ask. Or “Wow, rosewood smells good.” Then he’d dab himself behind the ears. When I said I was making soap, he thrust the spruce and lime at me. “These’ll smell good together.” And thus, a new soap was born.

280g oo
252g palm
252g coil

114g lye
197-295 water

I added some other stuff to the lime/spruce combo, so:

2 tb rosewood
1 tb lime
1 tb bergamot
1 tb spruce
2 tb lavender

It smells divine.

I’m ba-ack

I’m ba-ack

Or rather, soapmaking is back.

After making 20 batches in a 2-month period, I got tired of it. But my soap stock has been severely depleted. My mother wanted soap to give away — so I sent her about 60 bars. I’ve given about 40 more bars away since then. And Geoff came over the other night to lend me a rolling pin, and I loaded him up with more. “I just love your soap,” he gushed.

Well, what’s a girl to do in the face of that fulsome praise?

Go back up to Zenith Supplies, that’s what. Last night I made a new batch of 60’s Porn Star — this time with nothing other than melted amber resin and a lot of it too.* (And by the way you sick folks, you may think that you and your little Google searches are alone in a dark room with the curtains drawn but my stats know who you are. That would be you, Mr. 76.1.200.154.)

The best thing is that I’m feeling inspired again. Ix-nay on the fragrance oils, nothing but pure essentials from here on out. And here’s my challenge: to come up with five new soaps using no other scents than my depleted essential oil stock. This should be interesting. Tonight? Lemon fennel.

* 252g oo, 252g palm, 252g coil, 108g lye, 8 oz water, 56g light amber melted with the oils

I do not like fragrance oils

I do not like fragrance oils

Obviously, my soapmaking posts have gotten fewer and less frequent; I confess, my interest has waned. This is, in large part, due to the fact that my last three batches have used fragrance oils (sandalwood, some fresh linen thing, and honeysuckle). I don’t like them. At all. They smell cheap. I need to order more essential oils. And it’s probably a good thing, but no one surprised me with the still …

Conversation with Steve about buying a still

Conversation with Steve about buying a still

“Pull up the blog,” I said. “See the picture?”

“Oh, God.”

“I really want it.”

“Oh, God.”

“Does that mean you don’t love me enough to spend $400 on something I will use twice?”

Silence.

“Okay, I’m kind of thinking about just buying it for myself.”

“That’s just crazy.”

“You can make booze in it.”

“Buy it!”