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Well, I’ve had to acquire a few new molds.

New Molds

And a few more scents.

New soap scents - 6-10-14

 

fall scents

And I’m buying my coconut oil in a slightly larger size (though I would love to find a little bit bigger container for a reasonable price).

Upgrading the coconut oil

And I just ordered 12 pounds of lye.  So I guess the answer is – pretty good!

Bahama Berry and Melon - Grapeseed - 6-16-14

Bahama Berry and Melon – Grapeseed Oil soap

Ocean Breeze - Grapeseed - 6-24-14

Ocean Breeze with a bar of Sun and Sand in the middle – Grapeseed oil soap

 

Ruby Red Grapefruit and Green Tea - Shea and Avocado - 6-26-14

Ruby Red Grapefruit (back) and Green Tea (front) – Shea and Avocado

sale batch 6-17-14a

(The soap in this pictue is pretty much all gone.  You have to move fast.)

Soap Rebatch

In the first batch of soap I made, I used lavender EO for half of it and sandalwood EO (14% dilution – you see where this is going) for the other half.  The lavender smelled wonderful.  The sandalwood – smelled vaguely like shortening.  Have you smelled shortening?  Not a lot to enjoy there.  And since I am all about the scent in this endeavor, this would not do.

Fortunately, there’s a way to fix some things that might go wrong with your soap, and not enough scent is a relatively easy thing to fix by rebatching.  I read a few different sources on rebatching, and more or less followed the instructions here.

First, you need to shred the soap in question.  I started off with about 36 oz.  That was a lot of shredding.  I only got a knuckle right at the end of the last bar.

Rebatching - shredded soap

Kind of looks like mozzarella, doesn’t it?

Rebatching

This was dumped into a five-quart crockpot, dedicated to soaping or dyeing yarn or some other such crafty thing I’m doing.  A rebatch needs liquid added to reconstitute the soap into a less solid form, and the experts say this is a great time to add goat’s milk.  Sounds like a great idea!

Rebatching - shredded soap with goat's milk

I used canned goat’s milk since I didn’t have access to fresh at the time.  I also added in more scent (oatmeal, milk, and honey FO) and a bit of water to get it all moistened.

I let it go for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring about every half-hour.  I did not get a picture of the resulting goo, but it was about the consistency of petroleum jelly.  We then mooshed it into the mold lined with parchment paper.  Schwan’s freezer boxes are awesome for this!  We already have them, might as well put them to good use.

Rebatching - goat's milk with oatmeal, honey, and milk scent

We left it in this for a couple of days, then unmolded and sliced it.

Rebatched bars - goat's milk oatmeal, milk, and honey

Because the soap had already cured and no additional lye was added, the soap is essentially ‘done’, but it does need to dry out.  The soap was rather spongy in texture immediately after slicing, but now that it has been a couple of weeks, it’s much more firm.  I’ll give it another two weeks to harden before using.

And most importantly, it now smells amazing.

In non-soaping news, the lemon soap we’ve made has given us serious lemon cravings.  I baked a lemon cake a few weeks ago, and tonight I made lemon bars.  The modifications I made were to add 1/4 tsp. of salt to the crust and used 2/3 c. of lemon juice for the filling.  Mmmm . . . lemon.

Lemon bars

Wow, so you say it’s May?  And almost the end of it at that?

The month has been rather fast-paced.  For the first third of the month, I was frantically grading assignments that I crazily opened up to any late submissions.  I was trying to help those on the bubble of passing.  Do you want to know which students took advantage of that?  The ones that were already guaranteed to pass and the ones already mathematically eliminated from passing.  Sigh.

The day after I posted grades, I went to a professional development session (screencasting – video screen capture for online learning) and met up with a friend for lunch.  The next day was another session (android tablets), lunch, and a massage.  Now that’s how you close out a semester.

On Thursday, it was finally time for the annual guild retreat.  I call it a spinning retreat, but really there is spinning, knitting, circular sock-machining, dyeing, weaving, crocheting, and all around good times.  It’s also a great time to clean out the yarn and fiber stash.  I also took some of my soap.

Ravenswood Hollow Soap Company

The best thing about selling soap?  It means I get to make more.

And it’s a good thing that I cleaned out a nice chunk of the stash because this happened at Greencastle.

Greencastle haul 2014

The brown and blue yarn in the right front are for a booth sample I’m knitting, but everything else – all mine.

My people

The day after I made my last post, my uncle died.

It was a sudden onset of something that was serious, but should have been survivable.

So, now my close blood relations are down to three bachelor uncles in their late 50s to mid 60s.  Go watch the movie Secondhand Lions and you’ll get a flavor of these guys.  I do adore them for all their quirkiness, and I hope it’s a very long time before I have to say goodbye to another one of them.  Two deaths in less than two years has left me rather broken.

But, cracked up and all, life goes on.  I’m trying to take a lesson from this and live life like there are no guarantees because that’s exactly how it is.  Ragged and I will be heading to a local fiber festival soon.  This year, it’s not so much about the yarn as it is about the experience.  I still haven’t bought any yarn in 2014.  I know that will change with this festival (I mean, c’mon, it’s Briar Rose.), but it is more about getting to spend time with my friend (our other partner in crime is unable to attend for very, very happy reasons), see people I only get to see once or maybe twice a year, and just be among people that get me.  I can’t describe being in a crowd of people that may not be exactly like you, but at least in one way, understand you perfectly.

In this area, that’s pretty rare.

Shampoo bars - lavender, vanilla, and patchouli

Shampoo bars – lavender, vanilla, and patchouli

Yes, even more soap.  These, as you can see in the caption, are shampoo bars.  They’re made with olive, avocado, castor, and sunflower oils.  Who would have ever thought that much oil would be good for your hair?  Of course, the saponification has a lot to do with that.  This recipe was superfatted (more oil than what is required to balance the lye) at 7-8%.  That ensures a good moisturizing shampoo.

Much like some of the popular ‘no poo’ products, they do warn that a detoxifying period is necessary that may mean a few bad hair days.  Just another of the perks of working from home – it doesn’t really matter.

Today, I tackled a portion of the yarn room.  I know that I do not have anywhere near my full stash listed on Ravelry, and I know if I don’t have it listed, I really don’t have an accurate idea of just exactly what I have (other than a vague idea that there’s a ton of sock yarn).  Something that may come as a surprise is that I have not bought any yarn in 2014.  It’s not that I’m making myself not buy it, but for the most part, I’ve realized what I have is crazy.  So, I’ll use what I have because after all I was in love with it enough to buy it at the time.

The irony of trying to not buy yarn and instead buying a loom and soapmaking supplies is not lost on me.  The Universe always seeks a balance.

Moar soap!

Lemongrass grapeseed bars

This is a batch of grapeseed and other oils scented with lemongrass essential oil.  It smells just like lemon bars.  I may have to bake some actual lemon bars to avoid gnawing on these, which sadly would taste nothing like lemon bars.

Lest you think I’ve forsaken knitting in favor of all things soap, fear not!

Frillibet in Malabrigo Sock "Light of Love"

Frillibet in Malabrigo Sock “Light of Love”

Breakwater in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in "Crystal Storm"

Breakwater in Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in “Crystal Storm”

I’ve also been watching my Craftsy class on floor loom weaving.  This week is spring break, and despite online classes not really needing to observe spring break, I’ve given us all a much deserved break.  My goal is a woven thing in the next two weeks.  Note that I didn’t give any parameters to what the woven thing might be.  The class walks through weaving pillow covers, but something tells me that won’t be my first project.  Not with all the tempting weaving drafts on Pinterest.

No, I have not been off learning cheese-making; although, how awesome would it be if I had?  Mmmm . . . cheese.

Nope – more soap!

First batch at home

 

Ramblin and I had gone in search of stuff since my order from New Directions Aromatics wasn’t scheduled to arrive until March 6.  I knew I couldn’t wait that long to make soap.   We had a very successful haul of soap-making equipment from second-hand shops in the area.  Then with a few basic ingredients, we made a batch of lavender and one of sandalwood.

Today, two days earlier than expected, I received my order.

New Directions Aromatics first order

Two soap molds, shea butter, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, vitamin E, and all kinds of good scents.  The minimum order is a bit pricey, but after comparing the price of products, it wasn’t worth it to me to place a smaller order elsewhere that would be so much cheaper as part of a bigger order from NDA.

As you can see, I’ve kind of dove into this new hobby with both feet.

Soap ingredient inventory

I can’t even explain it.  It’s almost as if I’m being carried along by an outside volition.

Carry on, Universe, carry on.

 

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