The Last Frontier

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Homemade Soap


Camouflage Soap
Homemade "Camouflage" Soap

I still have a few more orders to fill for homemade soap. Today I made Camouflage Soap. It never turns out the same way twice, so this one is always fun. You can see more of my soaps by clicking here. Once I finish the orders, I'll start playing with some I've been wanting to try. I have lots of spruce pitch infusing in oils, so that will be my next one. I just love the scent of spruce. It is such a relaxing fragrance. I still have some oils infused with Balm of Gilead buds, and I want to make another batch of that one. There are several more on my list.

soap 1
Cooking soap in a double boiler
on the woodburning cookdstove

Most soap today is made using the cold process method because it's faster, but I make soap using the hot process method. I cook it in a double boiler on top of my antique wood burning cookstove. The thing I like most about hot process soap is that it has more of a rustic look. I also like that the soap can be used right away, rather than having to wait weeks to be able to try it out. I still let my soaps cure for a few weeks to evaporate some of the water so the bars are hard and long-lasting, but they are safe to use the day I make them.



Soap "Volcano"
I turned my back for a second, and
it boiled over.
 
Today I had a minor disaster ---- a Soap Volcano! I've read that soap made with all vegetable oils don't volcano, and in all the years I've been making soap, it has never happened to me --- until today.

I was cooking the soap and had it in the double boiler. All was looking good, so I put on the lid and went outside to turn off the generator. It's a small one we put right outside the door, and I was gone less than 1 minute. What a surprise when I returned! The cabin was filled with smoke, had an awful smell, and there was soap bubbling all over my stove! I don't know why, but I just started laughing. I have no idea why I thought this was so funny. I think I sort of saw it as if I were watching a cartoon or something. Oh well. I



Block of soap in the mold ready to cut into bars.
Today I did not make a full batch.
learned my lesson.
The boys could smell the burning soap clear outside! Jedidiah looked in, shook his head, exclaimed, "BIG MESS!", and then left.

But, all was not lost. The soap turned out great. I just ended up with a smaller batch.

If you'd like to buy some of my soaps or birch bark baskets, see this post for more pictures, prices and details on how to purchase.

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