The Week in Soap: 8th Jan ’17

Where did the week go?  The first week of January has come and gone, and it’s time for me to get back into the habit of weekly updates – it’s been a whole month since I last did one of these!

It’s been a fairly quiet week, but I have managed to make a start on restocking the shelves – last Monday saw me making the first two batches of the year, Oatmeal Milk & Honey (OMH) and Serenity:

Oatmeal Milk & Honey / Serenity

Oatmeal Milk & Honey / Serenity

I had this crazy idea that I’d try the Thermal Transfer method for the OMH, and as I could have predicted had I thought about it for longer than a couple of seconds, it didn’t go so well (keep an eye out for another post on that little adventure very soon).  These have now been cut but I’ve not got round to taking any photographs yet (and to be honest, I’m not sure I want to take photographs of the OMH – seriously, it’s a bit of a hot mess…) but there’ll be some up on my Instagram (@thesoapmine) account soon enough.

Tonight I made another three batches. The left hand one is a brand new (to me) Fragrance Oil called Flora, which I’ve done in white, yellow and green (thoughts of spring already…), then we have restocks of First Kiss and Clarity.

Soap in the mould

Soap in the mould

The soaping gremlins were well and truly out to play tonight. The only one to behave properly was First Kiss. Clarity really surprised me by thickening up super-quick. Not sure why – same recipe, same colours and same ratio of eo’s, although the lye water was possibly cooler than usual so it’s likely that was the cause. Anyway, I can usually get wispy drops in this one, but tonight it was a bit, hmmmm, ‘ploppy’.  And Flora…well, it’s a floral fragrance, notoriously bad for acceleration, so I wasn’t entirely unprepared. I used extra water with the lye, and tried not to over mix but it was still thicker than I would have liked, so my dropswirl was a bit, well, ploppy again.  Ho hum, these two won’t be perfect but they WILL smell flippin’ gorgeous!!! 😀

In other news I’ve confirmed a new customer with a sizeable order for my mini guest bars, and I’ve taken a booking to do one of my soap talks in a few months time, so all in all it’s been a productive week.

Hope you’ve all had a great week. Thanks for reading – back soon!


Soapmaking…. The Why – Blogtober Day 4

I posted last year about the first bar of soap I ever made and I’ve shared the ‘how’ post again below. But WHY did I make that first batch of soap? It’s a question I’ve been asked many times and the answer is quite simple. Curiosity. A friend came to visit, and proudly showed me some soap that she’d made. I was intrigued. How on earth did one make soap at home? Up until that point I’d assumed that it was some kind of highly technical laboratory process and I don’t think I’d even wondered whether it was possible to make it at home. It was just there. Soap. From the shop.

Had I ever suffered from sensitive skin, or had problems using soap I may have looked into it earlier. It’s more likely however that I would have gone and bought soap ‘for sensitive skin’ and left it at that. Nor did I try soapmaking because of ecological or environmental concerns *blush* (yep, I know a whole lot more about that side of things now!) No, it was pure curiosity. I did a bit of internet research, and became more and more excited. There was a whole big soapmaking world out that and it was fascinating.

My very first attempt was with a soapmaking kit. With hindsight I could easily have bought what I needed separately and just got on with it, but if I’m honest I wanted to MAKE SOAP NOW and the kit sped things up for me a little. I made soap, and I loved it. So what next?

I bought some books. Okay, I’ve bought a lot of books. One of my first was Smart Soapmaking by Anne Watson. A great book, though I did find that I had to tweak the recipes slightly when I ran them through Soapcalc. In those early days I also bought The Everything Soapmaking Book by Alicia Grasso, The Natural Soap Book by Susan Miller Cavitch and The Handmade Soap Book by Melinda Coss. Since then I’ve bought many more – I’ll have to gather them together and write a round up of soaping books I think.

I also did a lot of internet research. I don’t recall too many forums or Facebook groups back then, but there were an awful lot of Internet articles offering their soapmaking advice.

So having made that first batch of soap out of pure curiosity, and doing a LOT of reading on the subject, I was hooked, and I’ve never looked back. (Well, apart from when I was pregnant with my second child. The smell of all fragrance oils made me feel so violently sick that I had to have all my soapmaking stuff – including ALL handmade soap – put away where there was no chance I’d catch smell of it – for months… They were dark days :-D)

Post by @TheSoapMine.

Source: The first step