Not just a hobby, it's a way of Life

Posts tagged ‘soapmaking’

Latest Soapy Creation

Psychedelic Pswirl

I had been watching YouTube videos on soapmaking and saw yet another spin swirl.  I showed the pictures of the cuts to Ramblin, and he was itchin’ to try it.  So we did.  The above picture is our first effort, and it looks to be a success.  So much so that I went to Lowe’s today to pick up materials for Ramblin to make me three slab molds for more spin swirling.  And soap dishes.  And soap displays.  And soap drying racks.

Have I mentioned that I love this man?

Tune in for the soap cut pictures later this week.  We should really wait a couple of days, but I’m not sure we can take the suspense.

It’s snowing on the blog!

I always feel the need to announce that, like you can’t tell as soon as you open the page.

I haven’t knit any more socks since Socktoberfest, but I have been knitting other things. That’s not true since I started a pair of socks while this post has been marinating. (pictures were giving me fits, so I had to leave it for a few days)

First, I knitted a hat I thought was going to be for me, but then when I finished, I knew that it wasn’t.  I didn’t know who it was for, but the hat wasn’t saying, “Mine”.  Then when I learned my friend didn’t have a hat for winter, I realized she was who the hat belonged to.

Stark finished

Then, another Loopy Academy project, I knitted a cowl.

That Nice Stitch in Those Nice Colors done

And there’s been a sweater partially knitted as well, just needing the button bands and collar. Since I’m so close, I’ll just wait until it’s done for a picture.

And of course, there’s been soap.


Well, not just soap, but other products.  Things like lotion bars.

Festive lotion bars


And Meringue, a lovely whipped body butter.


And I’m already thinking about scents for Valentine’s Day.


The final pair from Socktoberfest

And may I present to you – the socks that started it all.

Ziggity Zag socks done

I am so glad I posted here about losing the sock mojo, as clearly that was the oomph I needed to get back on the sock train.

Now, if I could just get the rest of my motivation going.

But I have made just a little bit of soap.

Soap racks 10-27-14

So there is that.  I wish blogs came with smell-o-vision. (optional, of course, for the readers sensitive to smell – though I have made a batch of unscented as well)

It’s about to get rather bubbly around here

When I took the soap-making class, I never planned to start a soap business.  However, that seems to be unfolding nicely, and I’m going with the flow.

The day for Bras Across the Wabash started off gray and misty.  We arrived early that morning for Ramblin to help his coworkers set up other parts of the event.  About half an hour before it was scheduled to begin, the sky finally began to show traces of blue.  By the time it began, you needed sunglasses.

The crowds on our side of the bridge were small, but the people that were there loved the soap.  A bit of humidity is good for a soap booth, but too much can get messy.  Fortunately, there was just enough to get the scents activated and draw people in.  One woman who works with Ramblin mentioned a shop I should contact about carrying the soap, and I said that I would.

Three days later, before I even got a chance to call, Ramblin said that his colleague had contacted the shop, and I should call to set things up.  The next weekend, I was getting my first wholesale opportunity squared away.  From that meeting, I was invited to bring my wares to an open house for the gallery.  The next day I was reading a newspaper down at the farm, and there was a show a mere 10 miles from us looking for vendors for their fall craft show.  That got me to thinking about the craft show about three miles from us, and a phone call later gave me yet another opportunity.

So, in the next 10 weeks, I have four shows.

I’m loving it.

Just a tiny bit of soap

Soap for Bras Across the Wabash

This is the soap for tomorrow’s Bras Across the Wabash event where I will be vending.  There’s over 300 bars there.  They’re calling for rain tomorrow.  Please think dry thoughts.

Special Edition Soap - Pink Ribbons

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?


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

Retreat, recharge, renew

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.

I can’t be stopped

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.

Lo and behold, it’s soap!

block o' soap

Today was unmolding day.  Tomorrow will be slicing day.  Then 10 days later, it will be using day.

I wish the blog came with smell-o-vision because it smells awesome.