Soaps for my aunt!!

Here are the cut pics of the two batches of soaps ordered by my aunt for her husband's 60th birthday. Thankfully I could make the soaps she ordered for in two batches instead of three. 

First batch of soap: Scented with Orange, Grapefruit and Rosemary

These soaps didn't gel, which was quite strange
considering the daytime temperatures here

Soaps from the first batch

Second batch of soap: Scented with Bergamot, Lemon, Peppermint and Rosemary

These soaps didn't gel completely,
but came out a little darker

A flower shaped from each batch

Soaps on top: Batch 2
Soaps below: Batch 1

I like the soaps which didn't gel, coz they have a creamier white color. They were a lot more crumblier while cutting though. The soaps from my first order are curing and will be ready in about 4-5 weeks from now. I hope the guests at the party like them!! 

It's an order!

I got an order!! I got an order!! My aunt placed an order for 40 soaps for my uncle's 60th birthday party. She is a wonderful person with a very kind heart and is extremely supportive. Her plan is to have a candle(made by her daughter) and a soap(made by me) packed nicely in a box as giveaways for the guests at the birthday party. In Andhra Pradesh (a south-Indian state, where I was born) a guy who reaches sixty marries his wife again in a traditional wedding ceremony. The whole event is so much fun, especially for the younger ones who missed the couple's first wedding ceremony, because they weren't born yet. :) My uncle and aunt won't be having the whole elaborate wedding, but they will have a party for family and friends.

All the soaps are going to be round and speckled with Calendula petals. The first batch of about 15 soaps were scented with Grapefruit, Orange and Rosemary EO's. The second batch which is resting in the Pringles can is scented with Bergamot, Lemon, Peppermint and Rosemary EOs. Both blends are really lovely! They smell fresh a little herby and beautifully camphorous. I still have to figure out what the third batch of soap has to scented with. I am out of Rosemary EO. I have a lot of camphor EO but have never used it in soap...don't know how much of it can be added as it could be harmful in large quantities. Have you used camphor in CP soaps? If yes can you please share how many grams of Camphor EO per kilo of oils.

Will post pictures of the soap soon!! Today we celebrate Diwali....the festival of lights. 
Here's wishing everyone a very Happy Diwali!!

Milk and roses

Finally I made the rose soap I had been planning to make for a while. Most of my soaps these days are made with the same amount of palm, coconut, olive and sesame oils. One thing most observed by all the people who tried my soaps was how soon they vanish. So I decided to try a higher percent of palm oil, which seems to be fine on my skin because of the high humidity factor. My normally extra dry skin (in European weather) is doing well without a moisturizer. However I wanted to make this soap a little special so I made it with buffalo's milk and superfatted it with shea butter.

Buffalo's milk is known for it's high fat content so the superfat is 2%. The sink was filled with ice cubes to keep the frozen milk from getting hot, but it did turn a bright yellow and then a pale orange with the lye. The hand blender was kept away because of the seize situation with the earlier batch of soap but somewhere after 10 minutes of hand stirring I gave in. In spite of stopping the blender way before the soap traced, the second the essential oils went it, I could sense a panic attack in the offing. The spirit of Speedy Gonzales kicked in and the essential oils got stirred in by hand at a pace even the hand blender couldn't beat. In a flash the entire soap was in the mold, decorated with petals waiting for the gel phase to arrive.

Small soap blocks ready to be sliced up
The scent blend was Rose, Geranium, Palmarosa, Peppermint, Clove and Black Pepper EO's. I like the blend, but wish it tones down a little during the curing period. It smells really rosy! Maybe more spicy and woody EO's next time.

The soaps are darkening as they cure

Just have to keep that blender out of my sight!!

Soap rescue!!

I have some good news to share! My broken heart got mended with the help of the microwave..YAY!! The yellow spots in my last batch of soap were indeed essential oils that seeped out due to the high speed trace and also a little seize situation. I tried to go to sleep thinking 's*** happens' but the next morning decided to go and lick my soaps again. :P Get this sting...only lots of essential oil fragrance that hung on in my mouth for quite long. I licked and re-licked and confirmed it wasn't undissolved lye (I poured it through a strainer when I made the soap, so it was kinda impossible to get so many yellow spots) and then took the knife to it. My mom and dad helped with the chopping and grating and we had about 2.5 kilos of finely chopped and grated soap noodles in no time.

Then in small batches I microwaved the soap with just a tad of water, mixed the whole soap thoroughly and poured it into the mold again to set up. The next morning rustic looking and lovely smelling soap!! Zap test....Hallelujah!! The soaps are still quite soft to the touch, due to the extra water, but a couple of extra weeks of curing should take care of that, I hope.

I tried the re-batch thing only once before and hated it (I used the freezer bag in boiling water method) so much I called my soap 'Scrap c***'. But with the microwave it was very easy and quick. I chopped up the soap into really tiny cubes, so that and the soap being pretty fresh might have helped with the quick melting. I feel pretty smug about the whole soap saving thing!! :)

I have another batch of soap in the mold and have my fingers crossed hoping it won't wipe the smugness right off my face! ;)

Heart broken!!

I made soap that ended up with undissolved lye crystals. I don't know how that happened because I poured the lye solution through a strainer. Scent combination was bergamot, lemon and ylang ylang and it smelled pretty good. The batch was pretty big(for me) about 2100 gms of oils, plus about 600 gms water and round about 295-298 gms lye.

I started off with a vessel too small to hold all the ingredients when mixed...mistake no. 1.
I couldn't find a big container so decided to split the oils into two steel vessels and add the lye solution accordingly...mistake no. 2.
Taking the help of a hand-blender...mistake no. 3.
Soaping in the afternoon heat....mistake no. 4.

The soap and lye solution in the bigger container came to trace quite fast, so I quickly dumped all the essential oils into the smaller container hoping to have enough time to pour the soap back and forth into the two containers to achieve a homogeneous soap mixture...HA!!
The soap in the smaller container seized the minute the essential oils were added. I hurriedly tried to mix the two soaps and hand stir them. It didn't work, so I decided to use the blender. All the while my mom was running around in the kitchen trying to help. She found a plastic container big enough to hold the whole messy mass and we quickly poured dumped and scooped the soap into it. Hand-blend, hand-blend, hand-blend. The soap was pretty(very very) thick by now. We rushed and again scooped the whole thing into the mold. I bashed and banged the mold on the counter and very optimistically went to bed last night. The only thing that got left behind were the soap balls I had planned to add to make this a polka dotted soap. Or so I thought.

Today morning I peeked and thought all was well, but noticed a small orange spot on the soap. I thought it must be some essential oil that seeped out. An hour back my heart broke. I took the soap out of the mold and  cut a few slices to see orange spots in quite a few places(almost every slice of soap). Zap test....OUCH!! I might just grate up the whole thing and give it to my mom to use as laundry soap. Would that be ok to use as laundry detergent? Any kind souls out there with any ideas?


Goat milk is not easily available though we have a lot of goats around here, where my parents live. I was asking the local people if anyone would be willing to sell some goat milk and my requests were met with utmost curiosity and uncontrollable giggles. Finally one generous local goatherd agreed to sell me some goat milk. What more, we even convinced him to bring his goat over and milk it at my parents home. :D

Here's the goatherd and his pretty goat:

Isn't she a pretty goat!! Also a little scared...poor thing!! 

The goat and goatherd at work, with a lil'
help from our cleaning lady. Three excited
spectators......grandma, mom and meeeeee

I froze the 200ml of milk that came and finally got to make some soap with it.

Showing the top face
Made on 09.10.2011
About turn!!
This soap was made with palm oil, coconut oil, olive oil, goat milk (2/3's goat milk and 1/3 distilled water) and superfatted with cocoa butter. The swirls were made with cocoa powder and scented with vanilla oil. I had to keep and eye on my mom to keep her from eating it!! She thought it looked and smelled like marbled cake. :)

Cut into an easy to handle size with a happy dad 
Since the vanilla oil was a real dark brown, I added it only to the soap base with cocoa powder. Luckily every bar of soap has enough cocoa swirls and the scent is coming through nicely. 

Easy and simple cocoa swirls
The soap didn't go through gel, and I am happy about that. Just hope the soaps don't darken over time though, coz I really like this cream and cocoa contrast.

Happy soaping everyone!!