Saturday, September 15, 2007

31.4 pounds of Ugly Soap

For those of you who wanted to know how I was going to chop that huge batch of soap up, the answer is:

A very large knife.

My brother got me what I fondly refer to as the 'Samarai Sword' several years ago when I asked for a chef's knife and didn't think to specify length.

It has four known uses:

Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ham, 5 pound bars of chocolate

And 31.4 pound batches of soap

I don't think it's going to matter how muddy the kids get. I'm covered!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My photo technique is not keeping pace with my soap technique

But I'm sure I'll get better.

I think I'm going to have to work on this shade of yellow, but I like the ducklings.

And the rose actually came out in one piece! Too cool.

I know it's hard to tell, but that's a nickel

Kokopelli is only about 1/4" deep. What else was I going to do with the leftover soap? Turned out pretty good.

Catchall Batch, Large but Ugly

The Mighty Joe Young Handsoap

Forgive me, readers, for I have Soaped.

I have thrown disparate oils together and mingled them with water and lye.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of Saponification I shall not fear

For my mold and my wand-mixer they shall comfort me

And I shall dwell in the house of hand-crafted soap forever.


And yes, I did finally (finally!!) get through that batch of oils that has been sitting on my stove forever and three days. I don't know if it's going to be a useable batch but it most assuredly has been an entertaining batch. It has caused more fellow-soapers to laugh than anything else I've done.

Or maybe they're laughing at me. That's possible too.

I mean, everything went fairly quickly. It would have, since I wanted to get this out of the way I deliberately didn't think about what I was doing through most of it. There's basic safety, the goggles, the gloves, the Sunday Times newspaper for dotting over surfaces that you don't want destroyed if something goes wrong. I didn't skip that part. And honestly, I checked the ounces of lye, the cups of water (and good grief, was it an enormous amount of H20!), and the volume of my largest stainless steel stockpot. I thought it was enough. And it was...just barely. There was about 3/8 of an inch between the oil/lye mixture and the top edge of my pot. Of course there wasn't any time to panic, let's just get this critter thoroughly mixed as quickly as possible and get on to the pouring it into the mold bit! I managed to do that without spilling a drop.

Oh, it was a lovely pale green color, creamy and pastel and just gorgeous. I heaved a great sigh of relief and left it on the kitchen table so I could clean up my soaping equipment.

Uh huh. Never heave great sighs of relief until the batch is actually done with its chemical reactions. Because the Catchall Batch decided that things were entirely too peaceful. I looked up from my pot-scrubbing to find the CB trying to go AWOL; it was crawling out of the mold and spreading onto my table! Retrospect makes me wish I had time for pictures, but the reality is that I had just enough time to pick up my 18 inch soap spoon and attack in attempts to pacify the reckless beast. I was lucky; only about 2 pounds of soap escaped. Of course it managed to spread itself all over my MB's math test (MB, quite naturally, refused to take it again. Can't say as I blame him.) CB went from being smooth and pacific to quite wrinkly and attitudinal. Think teenager on a bad hair day. Multiplied.

Got everything scraped, scrubbed, soaked and cleaned. Now subdued but still highly gel-stated CB was exiled to the master bathroom where it could sulk in peace. Which it did for two days before I got antsy and decided I should probably get it out of the mold while I still had a chance. (Did I mention CB was hanging out upside down in the mold, in an effort to get it to drop out on its own accord? Would it do it? No-o-o-o-o. Ungrateful wretch.) I slid an unsticking devide around the sides of the mold and then whacked it as hard as I could on the bathroom floor. At the third whack CB fell out and has been placed in a safe area to dry out and get harder. I do have a picture but it's in my phone right now and I haven't figured that bit of technology out all of the way yet.

This is the largest bar of soap I have ever seen. There has to be 15 or 20 pounds in this block. I don' t know if it's useful yet, but if it is then my personal soap habit has been answered for a couple of years. Which is good, because the older soap gets, the harder and more long-lasting it becomes and the lather becomes so fantastic it defies description. I still have minute scraps from my very first soap batch several years ago, so I know whereof I speak.

Not content, however, I decided to soap again tonight. A simple olive oil with yellow those fancy 3-d silicone molds that drive me mad at least once a fortnight. I whisked thoroughly with my wand-mixer but I didn't even wait for trace. Somehow waiting for trace with a silicone mold is just a recipe for disaster with me. So I poured ducklings, a rose, and a thin sheet of Kokopellis in this brilliant shade of yellow. (Yes, I was warned about how intense this colorant could be. Next time I'll take them at their word.) Now I'm waiting anxiously for everything to set up properly so I can go to bed and actually get some sleep. I've got Banshees, what in the world am I doing up at this hour?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


I'm soaping tonight. I've been meaning to do this batch forever (okay, more like forever and three days) but tonight I'm going to do it. And bid a final farewell to that batch of oils that has been haunting me like a bad date.

Fortunately or Un, as the case might be, this is a strictly for-myself-and-my-family, unless there are some friends out there who would like to be treated like family. (btw, that really means you have to have attended a get-together or listened to my brother go nuclear over a 99-cent soda. No odd-batch soap unless and until you've had your baptism by fire and know darned well what you're in for.)

No Etsy forays for this one. But it will get the bugaboo off my back and I'll have no excuses for not making more designed-that-way-on-purpose soaps.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Under Construction

Blogs are like potato can never have just one.