It came in sneakily last night while we were sleeping. The fire was burning warmly, I had visited the loo before climbing under 4 big quilts and all the critters were quiet so I really didn’t feel a need to get up out of my bed and look for it. I thought…
Every year I think that it will be impossible for me to survive Christmas, even though I always seem to make it through unscathed. For me, Christmas hasn’t been much fun for a long time, although I do enjoy the festivities leading up to it. Every year…
2013 On The Way Out
This year has been both a really tough year, as well as a really great year for us here at Shantara…
In the art of soapmaking there is that point in which a soap maker starts to deviate wildly from tried and true recipes, much like a cook will eventually develop their own style and flavor using familiar recipes to begin with.
Sometimes the new soap recipe works out, sometimes it doesn’t, but in the end there is always a use for soap that just never becomes….soap….usually it becomes laundry detergent for use here at home.
Luckily, in the past few years more of my experimental recipe’s than not have turned out at least decently, and I’ve racked up more sucesses than failures, which my tight budget thanks me for!
The liquid soap I started several days ago has turned out beautifully, even better than the batch I did last March. It’s thicker too, and due to the longer cook time on this batch, it does not smell as strongly, which means that when I add scent to it after the cure time, it will not be over powered by the somewhat odd scent of the soap itself.
I also did a new bar soap this week that turned out fantastic. I had been having a little bit of trouble getting the soap to trace in my cold kitchen, but after adjusting the amount of coconut oil, (still keeping it just high enough for a good lather because too much coconut oil can be drying) the soap released easily from the mold and I did not have a problem with stickiness when hand-cutting.
This is a new scent combo that smells delicious. It’s a blend of honey and orange scents.
I’m in LOVE! And I think you might be too!
This soap will be available next week. Due to the changes I made in the recipe and the dry air in the curing room, it will not require a lengthy cure time. I will list it in my Etsy shop just as soon as it’s shippable. My Etsy Shop.
If you would like to reserve a bar or two, send me an email and I will hold them for you at Ladyrings@aol.com.
To go along with the Orange and Honey soap, I have another bar soap that was done at the same time and is a best-selling favorite. It’s a Eucalyptus and Peppermint bar with tiny basil flakes for color and texture. This one goes pretty fast all year long and is a staple in my soap lineup.
I’m pretty sure I enabled comments on this blog this morning, and would love to hear your stories of soap making or questions about the soaps I make or the goats that make the milk that goes into the soap. But, on the off chance that I did something wrong with the comments part, you can email me at Ladyrings@aol.com and I would be happy to talk about soapmaking with you.
My Etsy Shop
City gardening is often heralded as a modern solution adopted by crafty urban developers and foodies. But urban gardening during times of economic and political turmoil is as deep-rooted in the American tradition as apple pie. This time around, urban gardens aren’t just creating jobs—they’re inspiring them.
First off, let me tell you what NOT to do when the sun goes away and the air is fridgid…DON”T go outside IF you have a toothache! The cold freezing air only makes it worse!
But, once you drive 2 hours to the big city teaching hospital to get it fixed by an endodontist student, who accidentally removes a section of gum line that didn’t need to be removed…after having forcefully propped your mouth open for an hour and a half in a chair with teeth that gnawed the back of your head for the whole 4 hour visit….well, after that….once the headache has subsided, my suggestion is to WATCH YOUR POT BOIL!
Not just any pot, mind you. I’m talking about the pot of liquid soap I’m going to suggest you put on your woodstove to cook for the three days and three nights when it’s just so cold you can’t bear to go outside.
So, here are the ingredients: your choice of oils, both solid and liquid, at least part of which should be coconut for lather. potassium hydroxide (it’s lye, but not the same lye as used for hard bars of soap), milk or water (I use goats milk)…and that’s about it.
Once your batch is mixed up, it needs to cook for several days at a low temperature in a double boiler to get rid of all the free fatty acids. It will turn brown. It will smell bad, just like a hair perm. Don’t worry, just keep stirring a few times a day.
And it won’t be pretty, I can promise you that.
By the third day, you will be quite tired of stirring your blob on the stove, especially once you’ve put too much water in the bottom of whatever you are using for a double boiler and it boils over a few times onto your beautiful soap-stone stove that also has a fan sitting on it, into which the water goes to hide from the heat.
After the third day, when the sun then comes back out, you are not done with your pot of soap. Nope. No where near it. You must now neutralize your soap so that when someone uses it, it won’t eat the skin off of their hands…or keep on saponifying into non-existence.
Borax also thickens liquid soap, which is good because thin liquid soap will squirt out of the pumps wildly and create a brown mess all over your nice clean sink.
So, after neutralizing your soap and adding extra water to thin it down to whatever consistancy is to your liking, it’s time to cure the soap. The cure on liquid soap, to make it mild and gentle is a minimum of 6 months. I’ve got a batch now that I just started selling and it’s 10 months old and absolutely GREAT! A little thinner than I’d wished I had made it, but my plan was to put it in foamer bottles, which I have not done yet. They are on the order list.
I would advise putting your soap in dark-colored bottles because the brown soap in a white or light-colored bottle will look like a bottle of mud sitting next to your sink… But in a dark-colored or brown bottle, the soap looks delightfully “earthy”.
Liquid soap made with goats milk has a distinct odor that fades somewhat over it’s long cure time. It does not, however, disappear altogether. I have since decided I like the parculiar smell especially mixed with essential oils and fragrances. It becomes a unique product unlike any other, and your clean hands will smell wonderful instead of like the chemical smell you get from commercially-created synthetic soaps.
I’m sure you are going to love this new hobby of yours, especially when you can’t go outside because it’s just too darned cold. But, on the off chance that you find you don’t enjoy it, or would rather avoid the mess altogether, you can buy some from me. I don’t have a lot on hand due to only making one batch last winter, but I’ve got 5 or 6 bottles ready, and a bucket of cured liquid soap that is just waiting on the arrival of new bottles or foamers.
This winter I’m making more liquid soap so that hopefully it will last through the months when the wood stove is not fired up. I could use a crock pot, sure, but it just wouldn’t be the same.
Wow, another blogging platform. I read about it on Mashable.com and figured I would try it out. So far it’s awesome! It’s a buisiness blog, and
I’d love to have your comments and suggestions. Got articles pertaining to what I’m blogging about? (goats, goat milk, goat milk soaps, sustainable farming, organic farming, gardening, etc.) Send them to me and I will post them here with proper credit to you of course, and links back to your blog or website.
My wordpress blog had gotten so bogged down that it was taking me an hour just to write a small post. This site is speedy gonzales! Hope it stays that way!
Just for kicks, here is today’s to-do list:
*Work on business brochure (it’s done, just needs a little re-working)
*make a wholesale insert that will go in the brochures that will be given to potential wholesale clients.
*create and send out Jan. newsletter
*clean goat pens, trim bucks feet, trim the pony’s feet, add manure from goat pens to garden layers
*move trash from the bed of the pickup that is not working to the bed of the truck that is working….take to the dump
*Make one batch of soap, continue the three-day cook for the liquid soap on the wood stove
*make a big batch of laundry soap and put in sample bags for “out of the box sampler box”
*create and print label for laundry soap samples using a valentines theme
And that’s about it! So far today I’ve not done even one of the listed items!