Posts Tagged With: peppermint

Ugly Soap = Learning Experience

One of the things I’ve learned in my foray into soap making is that you WILL make ugly soaps – not intentionally, mind you, but you will make them. I have one soap that I wouldn’t even consider sharing with anyone, ever.

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This is a peppermint/rosemary soap I made at the end of August. That batch was cursed from the beginning. The recipe called for way too much of the peppermint leaves, it never got hard and there’s so much peppermint oil in it I could use it as a substitute for Vick’s VapoRub. Seriously, a fail all around.

I went to the Soap Making Forum and started reading about rebatching and confetti soaps and anything else I could find about turning ugly soaps into a usable and, possibly, even pretty soap. Or, at the very least, better looking. Here’s the result of my reading… and learning.

The new, and very much improved, Peppermint Soap.

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I grated up three bars of the ugly peppermint soap, made a batch of coconut milk soap, poured about half the batter into the soap shavings, mixed it well and poured that mixture into the mold. Then, carefully, I poured the rest of the soap batter over the base and made the top pretty. It gelled completely within a couple of hours and, by this morning, was hard enough to unmold and cut.

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That is a much prettier soap than the original soap, wouldn’t you agree? Just for the sake of comparison, here’s a picture with both bars.

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I’m looking forward to trying it in about a month. It still smells very minty but not as strong as the original. I think this will be a great “wake me up in the morning” kind of soap. I just need to practice some patience.

Speaking of patience, I also need to learn patience when it comes to unmolding my soaps from the silicone molds. They do take a little longer to firm up, I find. I’m not sure why, really.

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These are the soaps from the daisy mold. I love them but I did damage two of them by trying to take them out too soon. I should have waited the full 24 hours or longer. Ah well… a couple of uses and you won’t see the flower anyway. And it’s not as if they’re for sale. They sure are pretty, though, and I think the recipe is a good one. We’ll see how it hardens within the next couple of days.

Today, I’ll be trying a new (to me) technique, a feather swirl. John’s out right now, trying to make a tool for that purpose. It uses a hanger (yes, a wire coat hanger) or something a little thicker. I found something that will, hopefully, work but it needs shaping; John’s taken it to his work shop to bend it in the vise they have there. The technique creates a feather inside the soap using 3-4 colours. It’s the October challenge over on the Soap Making Forum and I’ve decided to enter; I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.

Ok, time to stop procrastinating; there are dishes to be done, slippers to felt (yes, I’ve finished the knitting; I just need to stitch them up and felt them), soap to design, a letter to write. Today’s going to be a full day!

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Categories: Contest, Just stuff, Slippers, Soap | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Branching Out, Back To My Roots

For anyone who’s been following my blog since the beginning (are you still out there…. anyone??), you may remember that I used to make all my own creams and lotions. Since we first moved into an apartment that didn’t have a dishwasher, I haven’t made any, partially because of the fact that a dishwasher is great for cleaning up oily dishes and the fact that we just don’t have the room.

However, I’m getting tired of being disappointed with commercial creams and hand lotions. So, I’m going back to what I used to do.

I still have some of my supplies from way back then (we’re talking ten years here, people!), things that don’t go bad… like beeswax. Oils are readily available so I’ve used a combination of rice bran oil, avocado oil, and sweet almond oil to make Rosemary Gladstar’s Perfect Cream (an excellent article, by the way). For a light scent, I added 7 drops each of ylang ylang and lemongrass.

 

This cream is a little greasy when it first goes on but does absorb fairly quickly. Truly, for my face, this is more than enough.

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As for my adventures in soapmaking this weekend, the Peppermint Soap…. well, I’m not calling it a failure and I’m not calling it a success. It was a definite learning experience. Botanicals (plant matter) in soaps are not really a great idea.

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This soap is taking forever to firm up. There’s still one mold that’s too soft to unmold but I think it’s because the mold is hard plastic; it just doesn’t breathe. I may need to pop it into the freezer for a while.

I cut the loaf of soap after we got home from the fair last night but it really should have sat for another day or so; it was a bit mushy. Today, however, it has firmed up somewhat so I think that, in time, it will be alright.

Now, time to relax and do some knitting and continue listening to an audiobook – right now, it’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

 

Categories: Blogging, Just stuff, Making Soap, No Knitting | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One More….

Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re getting bored with all this soapy stuff, right? I apologize but I made another one last night. John was watching a movie that I wasn’t terribly interested in so I made soap. It isn’t ready to cut yet but I did take it out of the mold; now it can cure until tonight or tomorrow, when it should be ready to cut.

First though, Sandie asked whether or not soap can go bad. The short answer is maybe. Here’s a link that can explain it way better than I can. As you see, it depends on several things – the amount of lye (have all the oils been saponified?), the oils, the additives, and even the conditions in which the soap is stored.

A soap like Castile soap (made with 100% olive oil) can last for years and years if stored in a dry place. It becomes harder with age and the harder it gets, the longer it lasts. Soaps that are scented or coloured may lose their scent and/or colour in time but, unless it smells off, the soap is still safe to use.

Hopefully, it isn’t something I’ll have to worry too much about. I have a feeling my soaps will be well used. I’ve already been using some; each morning, I’ve been washing with my Coconut Milk soap. Oh my, do I love that one! It lathers beautifully, a nice creamy lather that washes away and leaves my face feeling clean but not stripped.

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There’s a sample piece of the Java Jumpstart soap at my kitchen sink and it, too, lathers beautifully with just the right amount of “scrubbiness” from the coffee grounds. The scent lingers on the hands after washing, a nice light, fresh scent.

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Yesterday, I sampled one of the shaving soap “cakes” and I can report that it, too is great. I’m just waiting for John to try it; I really want a man’s perspective on that one. It’s unscented on purpose because I know that some scents can be drying and/or irritating to sensitive skin and John does have sensitive skin.

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Today’s soap is all about the colour and the mint. Rosemary Peppermint Soap through Pinterest that I thought might be a fun one to try. I don’t do a lot with colour because I don’t have a lot of colorant available. This recipe uses spirulina (which I had to buy) and peppermint leaves and is scented with peppermint, rosemary, and basil essential oil. Right now, my whole house smells of mint! (It’s no wonder I had a hard time falling asleep last night!)

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As I said earlier, it’s not quite ready for cutting yet and the soaps in the silicone mold will definitely need more time to harden up. I tried to take one out but it’s still very mushy. There’s only one thing that disappointed me a little. The soap did start to gel in the center and discoloured some of the mint leaves. I haven’t decided yet whether I like the small brown streaks or whether I hate them. I’ll decide once I cut the soap. (It does look a little bit cool, don’t you think?)

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A thought just occurred to me… how would a contest go over right about now? With fall looming on the horizon, I have a harvest of soaps; what if we have a draw for a soap sampler…. say, six different sample bars? Samples are approximately 1-2 ounces each.

Let’s see…. I’m not going to just give them away. I need something from you, too…. but what? I know! To be entered into the draw, tell me your favourite thing about fall. I’ll hold the draw in about one month, Saturday, October 10.

What’s your favourite thing about fall? Leave your response in the comments (on the blog, not on Facebook) and you’ll be automatically entered (unless you tell me you don’t want to be entered.).

 

Categories: Blogging, Just stuff, Making Soap, No Knitting | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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