Friday, December 16, 2016

Making Lavender Soap

We got between 15-18" of snow in that last storm and today is the third day of school closures.  I think the bench in front of our house says it better than my words.  Since we're snowed in I really have no excuse for not making soap and after 15 years of making and selling it, we are finally out.
I know a lot of people who love to make soap.  I'm not one of them.  I just happen to love the soap I make.  First I have to haul everything in from the garage.  And before I can even begin, I have to make an origami box of waxed butcher paper and set it inside my mold.
All the oils including essential oils have to be weighed by pounds and ounces and it's messy.  Oils in winter are in a solid form and have to be cut and placed in a measuring cup in chunks.
Any botanicals need to be milled.
Once the oils are in the pot and are melting on the stove, I clean out the measuring cups and weigh the olive oil.  I add this to the carrier oils after they're liquid and put the pot in ice water in the sink to quickly bring the temperature down.
Then it's time to weigh the lye which I do in grams.  
I weigh the water and put in the pot before adding the lye.  Always add lye to water.  I do this step in the garage because it makes a ghastly vapor that you do not want to breathe.  I hold my breath, add the lye, stir, go in the house and come back in a while to repeat.
I get the oils and lye water to the same temperature, usually 86-92 degrees, and then I carefully pour the lye into the oils and stir with an electric stick.  I like this lower temperature but if you're using fragrance oils, 110-120 would probably be more like it.  This soap is at "trace" which means it's ready to pour.  I added the milled lavender and poured into the lined mold.
Next comes the worst part - clean-up.  Everything is oily and I end up using several dish towels before I'm done.  It's a good thing I have a lot of them!
At this point I've put the soap to bed.  It's sitting on some quilted place mats to insure the heat stays in the mold.  It needs to sit for 24 hours all bundled up cozy like.
I have to admit that it's pretty rewarding to unmold the block the next day.  I don't love cutting this into bars anymore than I don't love making soap.
What I love is using it.  I think these should last us for another year.
My mother made some crocheted snowflakes many years ago. I found some directions online and chose the easiest pattern to make some of my own.  I found a recipe for spray starch online - 2 cups water and 1 1/2 tablespoon Argo cornstarch.  Mix together in a small pan and boil for one minute. They said to put in your spray bottle but I just dipped my snowflakes in the pan and it worked. Snowflakes for a snow day!!


Michelle said...

Wow, you were productive – and I LOVE the fruits of your labors!!!

weavinfool said...

Your new life seems magical from this distance. May your holidays be filled with love.