New Soap After Long Hiatus

After nearly 10 months of inactivity, we finally went on a soapmaking binge, almost having to relearn how we used to do things. We went crazy, making five kinds of soaps, one of which was a rebatch from some rose-shaped shape that had more bubbles than she found acceptable.

The photo shows lavender-scented bars on the left and double-mint bars on the right, which are scented with peppermint and spearmint essential oils.

Lavender and Double Mint Drying.

It feels good to be making soap again and we’re not done yet. Thanks to some very talented soapmakers on You Tube, we’ve discovered a wonderful company that makes amazing colorants. They’re called Mad Micas and they make the most amazing, vibrant colors. For instance, the colors in the picture are Grape Ape Mica on the left and Voodoo Red on the right.

Finally Made Some Soap

Well, we had one of those times where we just made soap for a couple days. We made a Charcoal Thieves soap, which is solid black and scented with the historic Thieves essential oils. Then we also made a beautiful Doublemint soap, which is half peppermint and half spearmint.

Then I made my Hot Process three-color swirl with a new scent: Cucumber Melon, which I just love.

After that, we finally made a batch of Windsor Soap, which although the scent-to-soap ratio is way lower than the way we heavily scent our soaps, the sweet essential oil blend still comes through.

Pictures to follow.

Wrapping Soap

Wrapping Soap

Tonight (March 7, 2017), we got busy and shrink-wrapped all of our soap. We have 88 bars in our inventory, which doesn’t count what we have at the senior center. All that’s left to do is print the labels and wrap each bar.

We’re talking about whether or not we should put an exact weight on each bar, which adds a bit of labor to our endeavor. That means weighing each bar, marking the weight on the bar in an inconspicuous place, then creating a label that states the specific weight for each bar.

It would be easier to calculate an average weight for each kind of soap, then just put “Avg weight x.xx” on the label, so maybe that’s what we’ll start doing with this new batch of labels.

We also discontinued free shipping. I think I finally figured out how to set up a reasonable and appropriate shipping fee, so if anyone places an order, we’ll see if it works.

Windsor Soap

The next soap we want to make is called Windsor Soap. Here’s the description from “The Art of Soap Making” by Merilyn Mohr, copyright 1979. (A Harrowsmith Contemporary Primer)

Windsor soap was a stock item of almost every soaper in the nineteenth century. At the Great Exhibition of 1851, in London, England, where there were 727 exhibitors in the soap and perfumery section, Yardley and Statham won an award for a cake of Brown Windsor soap.

This same bar was again exhibited a hundred years later, still in prime condition, at the Victoria & Albert Centenary Exhibition. This spicy brown soap has many recipe variations, but the primary component is always oil of caraway.

Since this scent is somewhat fleeting, it is usually blended with the more stable oils of sassafras, cloves and bergamot.

Quiet On The Soap Front

It’s been quiet around the soap works the past week or so. We took an intensive CERT Train-The-Trainer class that went 8 hours a day Friday through Sunday, so no time left for much else, but very productive.

Received a Brambleberry package today containing another silicone soap mold, a large bottle of Cucumber-Lemon fragrance oil, a free sample of Key Lime Tart fragrance oil, and a new mini-mixer. Just like Christmas!

We’re loving the silicone mold, although it would be nice if it were just a bit larger. Two inches longer and another inch wider would be perfect, but don’t think there’s such an animal out there.

The next soap we want to make is called Windsor. She found the recipe in an older soap-making book. It’s been around for many years and has tallow in the recipe. She first started thinking about making soap 10 years ago or more, so naturally thought of making it the old-fashioned way. She went to the local meat-packing plant, bought some tallow, and processed it.

It’s been sitting in the freezer all these years. She wanted to start from scratch, so last week we visited the same plant and came home with 13 lbs of suet. Mostly a pretty clean white with only a few discolored spots. Instead of rendering it on the stove, she put it into two crock pots and it produced a beautiful clear oil that she strained into canning jars. By putting a flat and ring on the jars, most of them self-sealed. Once cooled, the tallow hardens into a beautiful pure white solid.

Etsy Shop

New Logo

After nearly three years, I finally got our Etsy shop up and running. Check it out:

I also made a logo for our Etsy shop, comprising the elements from our soap labels.

I also decided to discontinue our policy of offering a free bar if someone ordered three. No one ever mentioned it, took advantage of it and few ordered that many bars.

Making Smaller Bars

Soap Width

Soap Length

Soap Height

We’ve decided to make smaller bars of soap. Traditionally, we’ve been making bars about 1 inch thick, by 3 3/4 inches wide and 2 inches tall, depending how high we “stack” it. If we stacked it high, like on the Green Goat, bar weights go well over 6 ounces, and the price rises accordingly.

In the photos, the traditionally sized bars are in the rear of the first photo and on the right in the next two photos. As you can see, they are taller and thicker.

The newer, thinner bars are in the front of the first photo and on the left in the next two photos.

(Bars are, from left: Cotton Candy, Poppyseed Plum, Apple Sage 2nd Gen, Apple Sage 1st Gen, Magenta Lavender, Blue Marble, Sutter’s Gold, and Green Goat.)

The Poppyseed Plum bars taper from 3 1/4 inches wide at the bottom, to 3 1/2 inches at the top, are just under 3/4 inches thick and 2 3/16 inches thick.

The Cotton Candy bars are 3 1/2 inches wide, 11/16 inches thick and about 2 inches tall.

Both of these bars weigh just under 3 ounces, so the prices have been reduced accordingly.

The 1st Generation Apple Sage bars weigh an average 3.9 ounces and the 2nd Generation bars weigh 3.35 ounces

The Blue Marble and Magenta Lavender bars are cut along our traditional lines, so they weigh 4.55 and 4.65 ounces respectively.

The Green Goat weighs 5.45 ounces.

Prices are based on the weight of the bar and the complexity of the soap-making process.

We’re hoping that smaller bars and lower prices will appeal to a wider range of customers.

His Soap

Apple Sage 2nd Gen

Yesterday, a Saturday, while she and her dad visited relatives gathered at the Coast, I made another batch of hot-process swirl soap. This was my third batch and it turned out perfectly. Meaning. I carefully thought out and planned each step of the process and carried it out, asking for divine help before proceeding.

I used Apple-Sage fragrance oil and a similar color pattern, only Hydrated Chrome Green Pigment instead of Chrome Green Oxide, which made more of a turquoise color instead of mossy green. I also lightened up on the Tangerine Wow to make more of a pastel coral color instead of orange. Lastly, I halved the Titanium Dioxide from the previous recipe because it caused an immediate thickening before.

Apple Sage

This time, I mixed the TD last of the three colors, but it behaved just like they did, no thickening.

I did a hanger swirl, then used a chopstick and put the mold in the freezer for 1 1/2 hours. I cut a slice last night after she got home, but it was still a bit soft so waited to cut the rest of it until this morning. Got 13 very nice bars out of the 10-inch silicone mold. Love that mold! No more paper liners!

There are still a few, although not many, little voids scattered here and there despite the fact I banged the mold on the counter several times throughout the process. Not sure how to combat that.

Poppyseed Plum

On a different note, I decided to call the “no-name soap” “Poppyseed Plum” because we couldn’t come up with anything else. It’s the one with plum-colored bottom and white top with poppyseed.

We were watching a soap maker on You Tube making hot-process soap and she mentioned using tapioca starch in all her soaps. I forget the verb she used to describe how she believes it acts, but I think she said it “binds” with the fragrance, making the latter last longer. We’ll have to try that.

I see that tapioca starch/flour (same thing) is used extensively in makeup, such as creams, lotions and shampoos. It’s said to make the product thicker and more slippery. One person said it made their bath bombs more powdery.

No-Name (yet) Soap

We’ve been busy with the latest soap we’ve made and I keep refining the labels, making them ever smaller.

Cotton Candy

The pear soap that she rebatched turned out very nice and we’re calling it “Cotton Candy.” The fancy term for rebatching, as I may have stated before, is “French Milled.” Big whup!

I got a couple of the Cotton Candy bars labeled and down to the senior center, but not on the website yet.

She also rebatched the “leftovers” from my Magenta Lavender soap and we glopped it into the bottom of the silicone mold. Then we mixed up a small batch of soap where we substituted canola oil for olive oil in the hopes of getting a whiter white than usually is possible with olive oil and it worked! We got a really nice white.

No Name Yet

We added some lavender EO, but not enough to make a difference. In other words, we can’t smell it. We also added some poppyseed to the white top, but not quite enough.

So now we have this beautiful soap with a raspberry-colored base and white top and can’t figure out what to call it. We’ll have to put our thinking caps on.

We went to Goodwill and found a perfect little tray to replace the basket we’ve had at the senior center for several years. The basket we’ve had there was too small. The new tray is at least half again larger, so that’s nice because it allows us to display more soap.

Cut Apple Sage

Apple Sage HP

Finally got the correct wires for the larger cheese slicer and it works great. Used it to cut the Apple Sage hot-process loaf today and it looks fine. Not as pretty as Taiwan and other swirls, but amazing for hot process.

Smaller Lemongrass

I also cut the rest of the lemongrass swirl in half and I think the bars will be a much more manageable size.

Although I left the Apple Sage in the silicone mold longer than we usually do, it still feels a little tacky. If it’s anything like the Patriot Swirl, however, it should firm up rapidly due to the sodium lactate in the recipe.