October 31, 2010

Honey Almond Soap

The soap from my cold process tutorial.

I wish I had added a little more fragrance in this one. You can smell the honey almond but it's faint. I like the way the swirls turned out though.

I also made a loaf of Spicy Apple.
It will be cut with my crinkle cutter in a couple of days. It came out of the mold a little soft so it needs a couple more days to harden.

I doubled the fragrance in this one and you can smell it when you walk in the front door.
Anyone made soap yet?

October 30, 2010

A Beautiful Saturday

Took a ride to the Amish feed mill this morning to pickup chicken feed, shelled corn, chick grower, goat feed, a mineral block and birdseed.
I love this log home on the way there.

This side of the county is BEAUTIFUL!

Especially this time of year...

Did I mention BEAUTIFUL??

The Ohio River is out there somewhere. When the leaves all fall you can see the sun sparkle coming off the water.

I could spend all day just driving and looking.

but it's time to go home, feed the critters and work on the fence around the front pasture. It needs to be finished by spring so we have more room and more grass for the new babies!

I love beautiful Fall Saturdays like today!

The Honey and Almond soap has been unmolded and sliced!
Check in tomorrow for photos.

October 28, 2010

Cold Process Soap Tutorial

A couple of different people have asked me to make a tutorial for cold process soap. First, I think I'm terrible at writing tutorials and second, I haven't been at this soaping thing for very long but...

Here goes...
I have tried a few different soap recipes and I have settled with this one for most of my soap making. Why? It leaves my skin soft, it lathers well, it has a light color that's nice for adding swirls of color or just leaving plain.

This makes a batch that fills my homemade mold.

I'll weight this loaf when I take it out of the mold and see exactly how much it makes and update here.

Update: The soap has been unmolded and weighs in at 3.9999 pounds. So we'll just say this is a 4-pound soap recipe.

Materials: (make sure nothing is aluminum - aluminum and lye do not work well together)
Kitchen scales
Stick blender
1 large container
Container for mixing lye
Small disposable container for measuring lye
Any additives you want to use
Sodium hydroxide (Lye)
Vinegar (for neutralizing spilled lye)
Soap Mold
Wax paper to line your mold
Spatulas/wooden spoons

Ingredients I use in my soap:
Canola oil - 10.4 ounces
Coconut oil - 10.4 ounces
Lard - 14 ounces
Crisco - 10.4 ounces
Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) - 6.242 ounces
Distilled water - 14.916 ounces

The first thing I do is measure my water in the container that I will be mixing the lye/water solution in.

Then I put on my goggles and my gloves (please wear these!)

And take my lye mixing container (which contains my distilled water), lye, wooden spoon, scales and lye cup to the front porch. I do this because I have little ones and if I don't open the lye bottle inside then there's no chance of getting it on the counter or utensils that they might be using or handling.

I pour my lye into a disposable cup for weighing.

Pour your LYE INTO THE WATER - never the other way around and throw away the disposable cup.
This mixture will heat up fast. You will feel the heat from this through your glove and in 40 degree weather this morning I even got a little smoke! Leave this on the porch to start cooling.

Measure out all your solids and oils.

Melt your solids in the microwave, about 30 seconds at a time until all melted. Pour you liquids in with your warm melted solids. Make sure they are in a big enough bowl to add your lye water and mix with your stick blender.

Check the temp on your lye solution.

You want it around 100 - 110 degrees. Mine's still way too warm. I am ready for this now so to speed things up, I took a large bowl and put ice and some water in it then sat the pitcher down into the ice. Make sure not to get the ice or water in the pitcher just use it as a ice bath to cool your lye from the outside. This took about 5 minutes to cool it down to 102.
You want your oils inside to be between 90 and 110. Mine were at 101 so here we go!

With your goggles and gloves still on, pour your lye solution into your oils.

This will start to turn an opaque color as soon as you start to blend. I pulse my blender on and off while blending. It may take a few minutes but your mixture will start to thicken like pudding. You are wanting to bring your soap to trace. Trace has been reached when you can lift the mixer (turned off) and drizzle some on top of the mixture and it stays for a few seconds. Add your color and fragrance, mix this in well and pour into your mold.

I was working with making a color blend which takes a couple more steps and when I added my fragrance (Honey Almond) it caused my soap to trace and thicken very quickly so I was working super fast at getting it mixed, swirled and poured into the mold before it got too hard so I don't have any pics from here until it is in the mold.

Bang the mold on your counter a few times to make sure all the bubbles are out and it's settled into the mold well.
Cover with cardboard

and wrap in towels.

The mixture will go through saponification over the next 18 - 24 hours. It will heat up and then return to room temperature.
When at room temperature, unmold and slice. Place on a rack for curing for about 4 weeks.
Here's a photo of my first swirl soap I made last week. This is lavender scented.

If I have learned anything about soap-making, it's that it gets easier and you will want to try new recipes/fragrances/colors and additives.
If you are looking for a vegan soap you can change any of the oils/fats above but make sure to run them through a lye calculator to get your exact measurements before mixing.
I use the lye calculator at Bramble Berry.

Keep some vinegar handy for neutralizing any lye spills and for wiping down your counters after making soap.
You can find lots of recipes on the web to make homemade soap using all different kinds of oil combinations.
My soap is saponifying on the counter as I type. I'll post tomorrow with pics of the unmolded loaf! If you have any questions or suggestions, please post them. Join us on Facebook at our Soap-making for Beginners page to find lots of links to great soap-making pages.

October 22, 2010

Sugar Scrub Cubes

OH NO!! Yet another addiction!
I have made Peppermint and put them in cute little Christmas tins and I have Apple Blossom scented ones that I need to find containers for.
They are so easy and cute! You just take one cube into the shower with you, wet it, sort of squish it in your hand and scrub away.

Here's what I used:
6 oz. melt and pour glycerin soap
6 oz. sweet almond oil (you can use other oils as well)
18 oz. white sugar
A few drops of vitamin E oil (poke a hole in the vitamin E gel capsules and squeeze out the oil).
Fragrance and color.
Melt your soap in microwave (about 30 seconds). Add oils and stir. Add sugar and stir. If it starts to get too thick, reheat again. Add you fragrance and color. I had to reheat a couple of times to be able to pour it into the molds. Don't overheat or the sugar will melt. If it still seems too dry after reheating you can add more melted glycerin or oil. Pour into molds let harden for about an hour. Pop out of molds and cut into small squares.I used the rectangular shaped soap bar molds. I cut each bar into 6 cubes. Store cubes in an air tight container in a dry place.

Apple Blossom Sugar Scrub Cubes
The first batch I made came out of the molds dry and crumbly. I just remelted it and added more glycerin soap the second time and they turned out great. I think the amount of soap can depend on what oil you use and you can adjust it to get the right pouring consistency. If it's too runny, add more sugar.

Have fun!!
Peppermint Sugar Scrub Cubes
I found these tins at the Dollar General store for $1, added clear cellophane and candy cane ribbons.

October 21, 2010

Old Man Winter

will be blowing down the necks of our coats and coveralls before we know it! What preparations do you make for winter? For power outages? Water outages?
We have started our winter ritual around here already. I know I mention it on a regular basis but we did go without power for 16 days last winter. We had it pretty good. We had heat, water and even better than that...hot water but by day 16 I was so ready to see my lights come on again. I can't imagine being stuck in a warming shelter with my children for over 2 weeks but many people living here in Kentucky were.

I have stocked up on candles, flashlights and batteries. We don't run the generator at night if the power is out so it's nice to be able to light a candle or grab a flashlight if the boys need something.

The gas company came and filled our 500 gallon propane tank up last week. It's used for back up heat, the kitchen stove and our water heater. We have the main fireplace and 3 wall heaters that use propane and heat the entire house. When we moved here the house only had propane heat. We later had central heat and air put in but kept all the propane heaters for backup heat. Plus it's nice and cozy to use the fireplace from time to time.

We have 2 generators, Big Bertha here and one half her size just for the well pump if we lose county water. We had everything hooked up after the ice storm to a transfer switch. All we have to do now is plug the big cord from the generator into an outlet on the back deck, flip some switches and waaa-laaa...we have electricity!

Plus we can switch over to the well if county water goes out...which it did last year. That's our little pump house.

My husband has started filling the gas tank. We fill it about half full in the Fall to keep through Winter for the generators and then use most of it over the Summer to fill up fresh again in the Fall.

We bought 3 large round bales of hay for the goats. I thought they would last through the winter but seeing how they have already been working on these bales, we'll probably have to buy at least 3 more. We have about 40 square bales in the barn loft for feeding if we have to keep them in their stalls (like this Spring when they have babies! - Dute Dute seems to be getting the job done if you know what I mean).

The pantry is pretty well stocked but I'll buy some more beans/rice/things that will keep for those quick large meals during power outages like chili, soup, etc. It could use some organizing. There are boxes of home canned food stacked under these shelves as well.

Potatoes, onions, herbs and peppers are stored or hanging to dry.

Then there's all my canning.

and more canning. We won't go hungry for jam or jelly! I can guarantee that thanks to my steam juicer addiction over the summer!

The freezers are pretty full. We will add more meat to them before Winter.

We had new tires put on the truck. Not a yearly thing but they needed it this year. Four-wheel drive doesn't do any good when the tires are slick and bald!

What do you think about it Bella?? We have a lot of your milk frozen...just in case! The sugar, flour and meal jars will be filled one more time before it gets cold.

How about you Lucy?? Are you ready for Winter?

Little Red Hen, do you have your cupboards full??

Pretty soon our beautiful Fall colors with be gone

and OLD MAN WINTER will be here for a long visit!
Are you ready??

October 15, 2010

Fall Break

A friend and I took 6 boys to a local campground/park on the Ohio river this morning to play for awhile.










Sometimes the best times don't cost you a dime!


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