Ok, you could make the case that I’m just a little bit addicted to this whole soap making thing. In the past three weeks, I’ve made seven (yes, seven… what of it?) batches of handcrafted soap.
Let’s see… there’s Coconut Milk Soap, Castile Soap, Honey and Oat Soap, Lavender Goat’s Milk Soap, Shaving Soap, Java Jump Start, and, as of last night, Borax Soap. Just what is Borax Soap, you might ask?
Well, for one, it’s a pure white soap that contains borax (no surprise there) and beef tallow. Yes, you read that correctly… beef tallow. For those of you who might be scratching your heads wondering what beef tallow is, it’s just like lard (rendered… or melted… pork fat) except that it’s rendered beef fat. Just do a Google search for “beef tallow” and you’ll come up with all sorts of reasons it should be part of your life, whether ingesting it or putting it on your skin. It really is a healthy fat, especially if you’re getting grass fed beef fat.
Tallow soap is one of the hardest soaps you can make, not difficult… hard. It’s a beautiful snowy white and, apparently, lasts and lasts. I know it sure set up quickly. Trinity and I put the soap together after dinner last night and at about 1:30 a.m. (why, yes, I WAS still awake!), I took it out of the mold. When I got up this morning (at 6:30 a.m… that was a good night’s sleep…. not!), I cut it into bars and put it away to cure.
My first impression when I unmolded it was that it looked like a giant block of lard. At this point, I could have already cut it and it had only been in the mold for about 5 hours.
I can’t tell you how good it feels when I peek into my spare room and, now, into this cabinet and see all this lovely soap just waiting to be used and shared.
I’ve already started using (and sharing) some of the Coconut Milk Soap and I can report that I love it. It has a smooth creamy lather and feels really nice on the skin. Obviously, after only a couple of weeks, it’s still a bit soft and will benefit from sitting longer but I’m thrilled with it.
Part of the fun of making these soaps, too, is the learning process. In doing some reading, I’ve discovered that my Honey Oatmeal soap “gelled” too fast, almost “volcano-ing” (that’s when the saponification process goes too quickly, basically cooking the soap… from what I understand). That’s not a bad thing as it helps deplete the lye more quickly. I’ve already sampled a bit of this soap and can report that it’s very nice, too.
This morning John commented, “You’re making Christmas presents, right?” Um…. yes, I suppose so. I can’t just hand out bars of soap, though (can I?). So…. I decided that I should knit some face cloths. That would accomplish two things: one, I’ll have something to give with the bars of soap and two, I’ll be working down some of my cotton stash.
Stay tuned… I should have enough knitting done by tomorrow to have something to blog about.