second batch success!

Picking myself up after a somewhat botched first batch, I made a second batch of soap Sunday morning. This time, I left out the beeswax and castor completely, opting for a different recipe - olive oil, soybean, coconut, palm. Wow, it turned out great!

I just turned it out of the mould yesterday, so it'll have to cure for a few weeks, but I think this will be great. I sampled a little sliver of it and it already suds up great and is nice and hard!

This time I used the stick-blender. Handstirring the first batch was a real pain and it took FOREVER to trace. But this time? Wow, what a difference!! I'm so glad I tried it, and will never go back to the old spoon! Using the handblender worked so much better, and the soap came out smoother, and it traced perfectly! Also, it gelled (I don't think my first batch gelled which was another problem with it).

For a mould, I went to the grocery store and bought a small plastic cat litter tray. It worked perfectly and was just the right size for my 4 lb. batch.

I colored it a bit with some paprika for a coral/peachy color, and scented it with the grapefruit essential oil -- smells sooooo a freshly halved ruby red! I texturized the top with a butterknife. I'm really pleased, and can't wait to use it!

Okay...NOW I'm hooked! :)

first batch blues

I made my very first batch of cold-process soap back on Aug. 23. It's just finished curing. Not exactly the shining example I was expecting, but hey, it's my first batch. My friend, April, kindly called it "rustic". I guess it is. :)

Here is the recipe:

Beeswax 56 g
Castor 226 g
Coconut 226 g
Olive 226 g
Palm 226 g
Shea Butter 56 g
water 386.08 g
lye 136.803 g

+ a handful of oatmeal as filler

It's not too bad. My only complaint is that it's not overly bubbly - due to too much beeswax - and it's a bit too soft for my liking (too much castor oil). Also, it appears to have been beaten with the ugly stick. Not exactly pretty to look at. heh! But hey, it's soap ...and it does the job. After all, it's only my first batch. I shouldn't expect too much.

the soapstress

Welcome to The Soap Chronicles. :)

My name is Bev (a.k.a. "bookyeti"). Besides my ardor for all things literary, I'm also a newbie soapstress, enjoying a newfound love of making handmade cold-process soap. I make all my soaps using oils such as olive, coconut, and palm, which saponify when combined with a solution of water and lye (sodium hydroxide).

Even as a little girl, I have always been fascinated by soap, and the endless different varieties that can be created. Up until recently, I was ignorant to the fact that soap is really not all that difficult to make, as long as you have the right ingredients and equipment (which is easy to find). I've always loved homemade soap the best, and so that is why I've decided to start making my own.

This blog will be a place for me to brainstorm new techniques, recipes, oil and scent combinations, as well as chronicling my successes and, inevitable, failures along the way. (Hopefully more of the former than the latter!)

If you are a veteran soaper or a newbie like myself - or if you're interested in giving it a try someday - feel free to join in on the discussions. Hints and recommendations are always welcome!