In efforts to pump up my stash before the Artisan Fair in a few weeks, I batched some soap last night and this morning. Both were quite experimental as my ingredient (particularly essential oils) stash is running low.
Over a month ago, I started infusing my mother’s homegrown chamomile into oil, hoping to use it as a colorant. No cigar. However, I chose to let the infusion continue so that I would have medicinal oil to use in my soap. Chamomile contains anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant properties and is great for sensitive or damaged skin. I also infused part of my oil with chamomile powder, again as a colorant. I don’t think it did much. Oh well. I used lemon essential oil with a touch a patchouli for the fragrance. Wouldn’t you know that the two essential oils plus the light scent from the chamomile produced a soap that smells just like delicious lemon cream pie! My husband has been stealing sniffs all day. Moreover, I finally managed to get my soap to the perfect “cutting” stage. I’ve had difficultly with slicing my bars because they have been so sticky. After great experimentation with soaping temps and the cooling process, I finally got a bar that was firm enough to cut just 12 hours after batching and one that wasn’t sticky! Score!
This morning, I attempted the most tricky process yet. I tried to use several infusions to create a multi-colored bar. It was quite involved but I think it worked out okay! I originally attempted to use three different colors. I had low expectations for one infusion–dill which, after a month of sitting, has only produced a slightly green oil. I used the alkanet infusion that I had used in an earlier batch. I also tried a new infusion of annatto seed. My annatto infusion was a beautiful orange prior to soaping, but once I added it to the other oils, the color seemed to disappear. I’m not quite sure what went wrong because I’ve seen the success of other soapmakers who regularly use annatto. I’ll have to try it in a single-color bar at a higher percentage, perhaps. The top of the soap looks quite lovely, I believe. I’m eager to cut into it tomorrow to see how the overall product turned out!