Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I finally broke down and decided to make a batch of soap by myself.  I'd been hoping to hook up again with Matt's sister to walk me through it but schedules just weren't going to let that happen any time soon so I decided to be brave and do it by myself.  It was probably a good thing because I felt easier about trying a totally different method of making soap then she does.  I don't know why I was so worried about this project but it felt like I was jumping off the end of a high dive.  Now I'm addicted!!!  Here's my adventures in soap making so far:

My first batch was a recipe from the Mary Jane Farms magazine, Holiday Issue Dec-Jan 2011 issue.  It's a goat milk based recipe.  I was able to procure 10 gallons of frozen goat milk before Thanksgiving so I'm well stocked to start making milk based soaps.  I scented the soap with lavender essential oil and added some fresh rosemary from the garden.  It has a nice soothing scent.  This picture of the soap is while it was still in the mold and wrapped in plastic wrap. 

I will say that this is probably the best soap recipe for a  newbie to try.  It is so easy.  It uses a wand mixer (immersion blender) and does not fuss with thermometers and temps of oils and lye.  Wand mixers are absolutely the way to go in soap making.  It speeds the process of up so much.

The second batch was from Smart Soapmaking by Anne L Watson.  Matt's mom has been rather insistent about wanting someone to make her a batch of patchouli soap so he asked me if I'd make her a batch.  Since he can't stand the scent of patchouli I was somewhat surprised at the request.  Maybe it was his way of getting me to use up my patchouli oil.  This was not a milk based soap like my first one.  She recommends using thermometers but makes it so much easier then the older methods.  She also recommends putting the lye into an ice bath to quickly reduce the temperature and therefore the waiting time.

 I found the molds at Christmas Tree Shop for something like $1.50 per mold.  The recipe filled the two molds perfectly.  I absolutely love these molds and imagine I'll be using them quite a bit for next year's holiday presents.  The detail was perfect.  It's hard to see from the picture but they're well over an inch thick in depth.  The color is a beautiful creamy white.

I decided to do a bit more experimenting with the batch that I made yesterday.  I used the Mary Jane Farms goat milk recipe again but this time added cocoa powder and peppermint essential to it.  It smells divine!!!  Think peppermint patty scent here and you'll get the wonderful aroma.  I had hoped to have a layered affect with the chocolate scent on the bottom and the peppermint on top but that didn't work out.  I thought to swirl it through the soap and it sort of worked but I probably should have swirled it after it had thickened a bit more and probably use something thicker then a chopstick to swirl it with.  It's not the most pleasing to the eye but the smell makes up for it.