Tag Archive: handmade soap


Beer Soap and Hercules

We went to see Hercules today at the cinema. It was a really entertaining film, full of battles and heart and people doing heroic things, as you may expect. I’d see it again. Maybe not tomorrow but sometime in the future…

The truth is, that having been busy at work all week, all I really wanted to do this weekend was hug my Β family and make soap. Or research soap, or look at soap making forums. Or read the history of soapmaking. Obsessed? Yes, a little but it’s incredibly relaxing.

I read about the conditioning effects of beer on hair and skin and immediately wanted to have a go at it. I mean, come on….beer soap! How could I not? People make all sorts of beer soap, ranging from the palest ales to the darkest stouts. Some people add beer fragrances or citrus oils, or honey. Since I’m not using anything lab made, apart from the lye necessary to the soapmaking process, there’d be no beer fragrances but after looking endlessly at recipes, I thought I knew what I wanted to put in it. The basic recipe is a combination of three recipes, tweaked for conditioning properties, hardness of bar, lather etc and put through a lye calculator to make sure it would work well. (and be safe!)

When that was done, I gathered my ingredients, pulled

on my trusty latex gloves, set out oils, my beer/lye solution and got to work.

Into my oils, I poured the beer/lye mixture, then added my warmed honey, activated charcoal, grated orange zest. Then in went my essential oils (Orange and patchouli). I was humming along happily, mixing, smelling the strong stout and the essential oils, when I suddenly realised I’d forgotten to melt the beeswax! I rushed around like a loon, slicing wax off my big block and melting it in the microwave, adding, mixing, trying to get it done before the soap set…..and then sighed with relief when I managed to get it into the mould before it thickened too much.

All this before the movie, such excitement! πŸ™‚

Then I made a second loaf because, well, there was beer left…

Beer Soap. The orange zest makes it look like it has bubbles, which is an unexpected bonus.

Beer Soap. The orange zest makes it look like it has bubbles, which is an unexpected bonus.

Stamped with the only stamp I have so far. I might have to make one that says 'Beer Soap' :-)

Stamped with the only stamp I have so far. I might have to make one that says ‘Beer Soap’ πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s been a big week. A good week, filled with satisfying work, family, research and making soaps. So this morning was my ‘sleep until you wake’ morning. A morning where I could laze to my heart’s content, coming to the surface of consciousness and then sinking again, without regret, into the sweetness of well-earned sleep. With Andy and Sam leaving early to go to a football game, the penultimate one of the season, that left me and Zac at home to sleep to our heart’s content. Because Zacky is like a dormouse in the morning; soft and snuffly and snuggly and disinclined to leave his duvet. Perfect.

Yet, when they said goodbye at seven o’clock this morning, I didn’t pull the covers back up and nestle back into my warm bed. I got up and went to unmould my beautiful soaps. It feels like Christmas morning, to see what wonders the hours have wrought on them. I have to look at them, smell them, run fingertips along edges, and admire them. If I like them enough, and I do, I take photos.

Last night, I made two 1kg loaves, one using Calendula infused grapeseed oil and essential oils of Cedarwood and Orange, and the other, a gentle Lavender, with a whisper of Marjoram. They smell beautiful, their scents are natural and grounding and lovely, yet delicate and gentle. I totally love them both.

 

 

Lavender and Calendula Loaves

Lavender and Calendula Loaves

Calendula with Cedarwood and Orange

Calendula with Cedarwood and Orange

Lavender

Lavender

 

Happy Saturday everyone πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I forgot to post photos of our paper-making day, so here they are πŸ™‚ We used white shredded paper for this because it was an experiment with dried flowers but next time, we’ll use recycled paper and plant material from our garden.

 

Our Boys in their PJ's because crafting's fun in PJ's

Our Boys in their PJ’s because crafting’s fun in PJ’s

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Pouring didn't work so well, it just made the flowers float. After this, we opted to spoon the paper water on instead.

Pouring didn’t work so well, it just made the flowers float. After this, we opted to spoon the paper water on instead.

We used flowers I had in my soap making stash. Oh yes, I have a soap making stash now :-)

We used flowers I had in my soap making stash. Oh yes, I have a soap making stash now πŸ™‚

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Finished with that now. Where's the football? :)

Finished with that now. Where’s the football? πŸ™‚

Left to dry on the grass.

Left to dry on the grass.

 

Back to work tomorrow and a full week. The kids are back to school this week too, I love school holidays and having them home but routine can be good too and there’ll be more holidays to come. Tonight Sam was playing a game on the ipad, called Device 6 and called me in to help solve some of the puzzles. It’s a strange game but it really made us think and work together, which I really, really liked.

Then, just before bed, I made a beeswax, macadamia oil, cocoa soap and although I didn’t add any essential oils, it still smells lovely. Mild but warm and wholesome. It’s setting in the mold now, so I’ll wake up to the fun of unmolding πŸ™‚

 

 

 

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Today I made a relish from a recipe that was given to me in May, by a member of my extended family that I’d only just met. We were standing in a hall, at a reunion, when I tasted it and immediately wanted to know how to make it.

So last night I prepared the tomatoes (cherry tomatoes from our garden, they’re still coming) and onions, sprinkled salt over them and left them overnight in the fridge.

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Today, I added the vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, cayenne and curry powder and let it simmer Β until it was thick and tasted amazing.

When it was done, I poured it into jars I’d saved and sterilised. It’s the first relish I’ve made and it’s hugely satisfying for such a small thing πŸ™‚

Tomato Relish

Then later, I made more soap. Oh yes, more soap! Because it’s fun and creative and great! This time a salt soap, made with coconut oil, rice bran oil, avocado oil, eucalyptus essential oil, activated charcoal and kaolin clay.

I read a lot about salt soaps before I chose the oils and how the salt affects the lathering properties and then I put my choices through a lye calculator, to make sure it would work well and be safe to use. When I finally had a recipe I was happy with, I made it and I’m really happy with the way it turned out. Of course, the proof will be in its use, which won’t come for another six weeks or so.

This is freshly cut, I couldn't wait. You can see the condensation on it, which I later wiped away.

This is freshly cut, I couldn’t wait. You can see the condensation on it, which I later wiped away. The black on top is Cyprus black salt. I ground it on at the end.

 

There was also a hearty ham and green split pea soup, cooked in the slow cooker but no photos of that. We ate it and were warm.

I found and bought an exercise bike in a second hand shop the other day. It was fifteen dollars and in really good condition, with a working digital display and everything. So in it went, to join the rest of the stuff in the home gym. This afternoon, after a lazy, chilled out day, Zac and I went downstairs to spend some time there. We weren’t there a long time but it was fun and he’s so determined on those machines. It’s inspiring.

 

One of each of the other soaps I've made.

One of each of the other soaps I’ve made.

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