Monday, May 30, 2011

Walnut Sugar Scrub

For this scrub, I started with one pound of my cream soap base. It is very, very stiff, so I added 1/2 ounce apricot kernel oil, one ounce aloe juice, and a few drops of coconut fragrance oil, and kind of squished it together. Then, I went at it with the hand mixer on medium. This part is kind of tricky, kind of like making frosting. If you add too little aloe, the soap won't be creamy enough to whip, but if you add too much, goop. So, I added one mL at a time with a pipet until it was like divinity, or whipped until stiff peaks form. I then took one cup of this whipped soap, and added two cups white sugar, and 1/2 ounce finely crushed walnut shell. I'm sure pumice would have worked as well. The addition of the sugar made it very creamy again, not stiff at all. And that was it! Just a little mixing with the hand mixer on low, just until it was well mixed. The result was a creamy honey consistency, and just dreamy on my hands! It feels a lot like an oil based sugar scrub, but rinses completely clean, moisturizing but not oily. Yea!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cream Soap Progress

I checked the cream soap this morning, and it is delightfully unchanged! That means it is fully emulsified, I won't have to worry about any liquid soap or other fluids separating out. Right now, it's like a firm putty - like fresh playdoh, but translucent. After I've had my coffee and breakfast I'll be taking one pound of the soap, and whip it with a hand mixer. I can let it sit for a couple of hours after the whip, to see if it stays whipped, and then mix in crushed walnut shell and sugar, perhaps a little apricot kernel oil or jojoba, and see what kind of scrub it makes. My feet are just dying for some scrub, I've taken to going barefoot or with sandals since the layoff, and they look pretty bad! It's too hot to put back on my hand knit socks, but they were doing a great job of keeping my feet nice and soft - but it won't be so bad using handmade scrub and foot cream instead!
And speaking of things that scrub, I have a couple of new soaps in my shop. I sent my oldest son to town to pick up, gasp, lard. My brother just bought a new house, and he prefers an old recipe of mine that is about 27% lard, and requested new soaps for the new bathrooms. The instruction I gave my son was "There are several different sizes of lard, I just need the one pound box, not the giant tub". What he heard was "Blah blah blah lard, blah blah blah blah giant tub." He brought home the EIGHT POUND TUB! Gah! Oh well. It is a great formula, with creamy lather and a long lasting rock hard bar, so I made enough for everyone, not just little brother. The Slab of Slate soap and the Lemon Poppy seed are made with this non-vegetarian recipe, I had forgotten just how luxurious those soaps are, and still full of great veggie oils (olive, macadamia, mango butter). Coffee is cold now, I'm off to whip me some soap!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shop Update, and Cream Soap

**This recipe is intended for soapers with some experience, and please don't forget your safety gear - goggles & gloves please!. If you're new to soap, you may want to see my earlier post "Beginner's Soap"**

I have whipped up a new batch of cream soap, new recipe! I had tried a low stearic recipe, and it wouldn't hold a whip, AND had a terrible lather. It felt like lotion on the skin though, and it was a small batch (1 pound of oils), so it is all mine. I created a new formula yesterday, with the goal of LATHER. Bubbles. Froth. I still want to keep the stearic to a minimum though, so here's the recipe:

14 oz. coconut oil
10 oz. olive oil
8 oz. stearic acid
6 oz. soy oil
4 oz. castor oil
3 oz. palm oil
1 oz. cocoa butter
1 oz. mango butter
8 oz. glycerin
24 oz aloe juice
28 oz distilled water, frozen
1.4 oz NaOH
7.6 oz KOH
supercream - .4 oz stearic + .6 oz glycerin
day one additive: .2 oz germall plus, .5 oz polysorbate 80, .5 oz aloe juice

I melted together all the oils and the glycerin on low heat in my big stainless pot. Then I mixed the aloe & ice in a heavy plastic pitcher, and added the lyes slowly while stirring. Then, slowly added lye mixture to oils while blending with the stick blender, this worked very well, no stearic separation! Then I put on the lid and popped it into a 225 degree oven. Checked and stirred every 20 minutes for two hours. I no longer do a phenophthalein test, mainly because the long curing time on this soap allows it to fully saponify long before you actually use it. Then, I melted the supercream ingredients in the microwave, and used a potato masher to incorporate them into the soap. It is really stiff at this point, and very hot. Then, I turned off the oven, and just stuck the pot with lid on into the oven to sit overnight. The second pic is what was there this morning. Some liquid had separated out. I mixed in the day one additives, and with a gloved hand, squished it thoroughly until it was all mixed well. My hand was tired! After the squishing, I took the pic on the left, and now the soap needs to rot (sounds gross, but that's what the curing process for cream soaps is called). I tested a bit on my hands, and it is very bubbly! Success! I was also pleasantly surprised, it is very mild, my hands felt very soft afterwards, which is unusual on a day one test - cream soap is usually somewhat harsh before it's had a chance to mellow. I can't wait, I will be using this soap as a base for foaming scrubs as well as scented cream soap, I wish I had a time machine to age it faster! This soap needs to cure for at least a month before using, and should really be cured for six months before whipping.

And, oh yeah - the shop update! I'm having a sale in the soap shop, and also have opened a new shop for my hand knits, Knit Habit, on Etsy.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Proudest Moment of My Life

I just had to share a bit, about my son Jack. He's about 6"1", with brown hair, and one brown eye, one green eye, dimpled, and dashing. He has a silly grin, and I loved going to his parent teacher conferences - once, a teacher said he was "magical". He's full of sweetness, and bluntness. And he's on the autism spectrum, with Asperger's Syndrome. He's never been able to ride a bicycle (no sense of balance), and he can't remember most of the names of the kids he's been in school with for the last 13 years. He could tell you the names of every planet in our system, and how far from the sun they are when he was 5. And the names of their moons. Every year at school has been a struggle, and he has worked so hard. Today he graduated from high school, and will continue to college this fall - another challenge as he is terrified of driving. I sat in the crowd today, watching as he went in line across the track, to the chairs, and then after the speeches, up in line again to the stage.
Jack participated in Key Club, but he's very uncomfortable in social situations. He wasn't in band or sports, and he doesn't go to parties, although he likes to be invited. When he walked up the steps to the stage, and his name was called out, his entire class stood and applauded for him. As he took his diploma, I was crying, to hear how much support and love he has. He really is magical, and I'm so proud of him.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

In My Mailbox Today!

I guess it's no secret, I love handmade soap. I make it every day, but even so, I like to try other soaper's stuff, because we're all different. Today, I received my order from BuzzPlanet on Etsy. I met her on the Etsy forums, and she is just a wonderful, wonderful person, and like me, she's a mother of five, and a soaper with less than 5 years experience. And her soap is AWESOME!!! I received two bars, one of the Hula Bugs, and one of the Dirty Bugs. Both scents are wonderful, but my favorite is the Hula Bugs, very fresh and uplifting. And the soap itself was a delight! Bubbly, but with a nice creaminess to the lather, and it left my hands looking and feeling so nice! I have hands that need a little TLC, from all the years of sun exposure and riding on my Harley, and there was no drying whatsoever! I'm super greedy, for a communist, but I have to recommend her shop - you can never have enough perfect handmade soap.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Hand & Body Creams

I have removed the body butters from the shop, they are too heat sensitive to ship again until fall, but to make up for their temporary loss, I have a new line of hand & body creams! They are all vegan, and chock full of great ingredients! Organic aloe juice and witch hazel sooth irritated skin - I used the sweet papaya on my son's recent sunburn, he loved it! And the oils - macadamia, hemp, mango butter, pumpkin seed butter, cocoa butter, and more! The scents are all wonderful, but I especially have to brag on the Absinthe - blended by me, it's not too licorice-y, a nice herbal blend of essential oils that is sweet and mysterious.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th Good Luck Sale

Everything in my shop is marked down 20% through this weekend! I have several new soaps listed, and will be adding fragrances and more body gloss also, and some super awesome market bags! I have a love of yarn that is overwhelming at times, and I am loving these market bags. All of my friends and family use these bags as well - they last forever, and you can easily smush a few of them into your purse for shopping. And, our local grocery store gives you a 5 cent discount per bag when you use them instead of paper or plastic. Which is like, an extra fifty cents back when you have a big family like mine :).

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sponsoring a Giveaway!

I'm sponsoring a giveaway on an awesome blog, The Remodeled Life. Megan's blog is wonderful, with much advice and great remodeling projects that any budget can accommodate. I especially loved the new lighting project in her bathroom! Megan also has a wonderful shop on Etsy, Day Dream Designs where she has beautiful Victorian style jewelry.
The giveaway on Megan's blog is for a bar of my Lemon Rosemary Shampoo, and a jar of Pumpkin Spice Handmade Whipped Soap. Thank you for checking it out!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Soaps in the Shop

I'm working super hard to get the shop filled again, and I have a couple of things added - Goat's Milk and Honey, which is one of my old favorites back again, and Chocolate Covered Almond Soap. The Goat's Milk & Honey has no artifical ingredients, no added fragrance, but with the milk & honey & hot processing, it has a beautiful caramel color and scent. And the Chocolate Covered Almond is a new thing, what a PITA!! But well worth the effort, it is so smooth, and has such a great almond scent, it was my daughter's idea, thank you Esperanza! Oh, and I'm on twitter now, if you want to follow me, I'm @sweets_n_things. Not for under 18, I use bad words.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!!

I am having a great Mother's Day!! My oldest daughter is coming to visit me next weekend, I was gifted with a bunch of new knitting needles, a potted snapdragon, and a six pack of Smirnoff Ice Green Apple! My kids know me well, LOL! I hope your day is splendid, and if you're in the mood to treat yourself, you can use coupon code SUNDAY for 25% off your order today.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Treats For Mom

I know it's a bit late to shop for Mom online, but if you're the mom, and you'd like to get yourself something totally awesome, you should check out this shop, Pernilla's Something Swedish. She makes all kinds of handcrafted candies, many that I've never seen or heard of anywhere else. While I have to admit, I've never had a chocolate I didn't like, her's really is something special. I've never been less than euphoric over her treats - they are full of happiness, and you can taste the love she puts into each creation. My favorites so far are the "You Are My Sunshine" bars, full of fresh nuts and plump dried fruits, and the chocolate covered marshmallows, so light and perfect. And you'll never buy from a sweeter lady.