I’m Back! Soap Update

Hey there, folks!  I’ve been on hiatus for far too long.  My husband took two weeks of vacation (FINALLY!) so I committed myself to full-fledged family time.  Now that he’s back at work, I’ll start posting regularly again!  Stay tuned later this week for a post about our amazing beach vacation, but, for now, here’s a quick update on my soaping adventure!

Before heading to the beach and once we returned, I took full advantage of having my husband home and became a soaping machine.  Because I work with lye, I don’t want to risk soaping when it’s just me and Buggy.  Even if he’s napping, I’m not guaranteed enough time to soap and clean up before he awakes.  Therefore, I typically only soap once or twice a week (hubby works long hours).  But with Jess home to babysit, I’ve got a lot more batches made.

I’ve yet to take pictures of the newest bars, so you’ll have to wait for those.  However, I did have my first true “complication” in soap making.  I think one of the essential oils I used caused my soap to seize and accelerated trace to the point that my soap was unable to be poured.  It is possible that a liquid discount (or a combination of the two) caused the seizing as well.  I’ve altered my recipe, reducing the amount of milk used in hopes of producing a harder bar faster and a longer lasting bar.  So far, with the exception of the seized batch, I’ve liked the outcome.  I can unmold and cut within 12-24 hours and, for the first time, my soap isn’t sticky when cutting!

seized soap

seized soap

But back to the original story…  Typically, I have to blend my soap for a minimum of five minutes until a medium trace (like pancake batter) is reached and I can pour it into the mold.  This batch took five SECONDS to reach thick trace.  Unfortunately, I was trying my hand at a multi-colored swirling technique, which required me to separate the soap into two equal parts and add additional oil to each part.  Having to do so slowed down my ability to pour right away (if I didn’t add more oil, the soap would be too caustic to use) and the soap continued to thicken.  I had to scoop it into the mold.  I attempted to press the soap down into the mold and then slammed the mold to get rid of air bubbles.  I wasn’t 100% successful.  The outcome is kind of neat looking and I do like to market my soap as “having character.”     

And a quick shout out to my friend Anna, who has been working diligently to make amazing labels and business cards for me!  I’ll be at the Scottsville Artisan Fair this Sunday, September 29th so come check out my soap and Anna’s awesome work!  Also, I’ll be sharing a booth with an amazing basket weaver–you need to check out her beautiful wares as well!




unmolded; see the air pockets?



finished product, still neat looking



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