Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Soaping and Sewing

Lately, I've missed having handmade soap so I decided to get the kettle out and make up a batch. I kept going until I ran out of olive and coconut oils. I stopped over at The Sage and bought some avocado oil, avocado butter and some new scents Champagne Sugar, Cotton and Fresh Air. Yum, I love their fragrance oils. I bought a couple of coconuts too, just because. I drained the coconut water from the coconut into a glass to use later
then I grind the meat with several cups of hot water. Apparently that's coconut milk, just like making any nut milk, I let the cream rise to the top and separated that out. The first batch I used the coconut water, olive oil, macadamia oil, walnut oil, coconut oil and sunflower oil. I scented it with Green Tea cucumber fragrance and tossed in some green tea at trace. I couldn't find the right size box so I used a plastic lined cake pan. I cut it apart today and it looks pretty ok. I have to let it mellow a while before I can use them, I think they'll be ready to go in about a week. They smell sooo good! The next batch is made with the coconut milk, coconut cream, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil and Champagne Sugar fragrance with some coconut cream added at trace. Dos really likes a carrot oatmeal batch that I make and since she's moved back I can actually hand it to her.
Here are the oils in the pot, everything has been weighed and melted together, now it just has to sit and come down to temperature.

This is the lye that has already been weighed out. I used The Sages's Lye Calculator to determine how much I need. I went with 5% reserved fat. I then mixed the coconut water and some coconut milk to come up with the needed amount of liquid.

Here's my secret ingredient!! SNOW! I don't put it in the batch, I use it to set the pan of lye and liquid in so that it will cool quicker, that way the lye doesn't scorch the coconut milk. Luckily, all I have to do is step outside and scoop up a big bowl of it.

I always keep vinegar around and wear safety goggles and gloves for anything with lye. At this point it's just about stirring and stirring and stirring. Eventually when they are both the same temperature (I use 100*F) I mix them together with my soap dedicated stick blender that I got at the salvation army thrift store. If I were stirring it together by hand, it would take forever and anybody who knows me, knows I don't have that kind of patience. Once it gets to "trace"

I stir in the fragrance oil and some extra coconut cream for superfatting. It's ready to go into the mold and sit for 24 or 48 hours and then I cut it into bars and let it "cure". Here's what I came up with:

I can never wait long enough before trying it and I've already used the green tea one, it's quite nice and it smells divine (green tea and cucumber fragrance). There's my soap frenzy for January!

As far as sewing is concerned, I've been teaching a wonderful young woman how to sew, she's making a coat, but I think she can handle it. I'll post pictures as we go along. It's looking good so far, we've gotten to the first muslin now we have to make all the adjustments and recut. She's getting a little freaked out I think, but I keep reassuring her that I won't let her go off the rails.


Stef said...

Hey there, soap lady! Your soap sounds absolutely wonderful...I'm trying to think about what I can offer in trade for a bar or two. ;-)

How about a large ceramic focal button...or beads...or earrings?

Oh, and also we should get together at least once in 2010, don't you think? said...

Your post was very interesting! You did win a small box of goodies for your participation in the Perfumer's Kit Contest! I think you will enjoy it!