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Soap Challenge - May - Soap Dough

Cal Petrusma

So...apparently you can make a soap that can be moulded & used just like clay or fondant... :-D

In a former life I was a cake decorator, mainly wedding cakes, specialising in realistic sugar flowers. Below are the flowers for the cake for my son's wedding, all sugar, even the Baby's Breath.

I really do miss making flowers, so when I saw that there was a recipe for a soap that could be moulded like dough, my little eyes lit up & my little heart began beating a little faster. What if I could make flowers from soap???

The challenge was for a bar of soap, decorated with soap dough, not necessarily practical. Challenge accepted!

One big issue with soap dough is the time it needs to cure before it can be used. We were given four recipes for the dough. The first two could be ready within a week or two but contained Tallow (rendered beef fat), which I never use. The next two were vegetarian, but our lovely instructor had left them curing for several months before use, & there wasn't time for that. It would still be usable after a couple of weeks but maybe not the best texture. Oh well. Experiment time.

So first up - make the soap. All the recipes are made with Goat's Milk in place of water. When you add Sodium Hydroxide (Lye) to a liquid the reaction makes lots of heat - I once measured a solution at 85˚C straight after mixing. This temperature would definitely burn the milk, so the milk is frozen before mixing....

...then placed in an ice bath & the lye is added & mixed in gradually so the milk does not heat up too much. And then the soap can be made as usual. This batch is scented with Rose Quartz fragrance oil from Bramble Berry. It was put in a mould, left overnight to saponify, unmoulded the next day, cut into pieces & then I left it to cure for ten days.

I decided to make a 'garden' rose as I have literally made hundreds of these in both sugar & cold porcelain (which is an air-drying polymer clay used to make longer lasting flowers for display). The soap was planed into thin slices and then smooshed to get an even texture. The outside of the soap was harder so I used those bits to make a rose cone, which is what a.garden rose is built on. I made two roses & coloured one 'batch' with red mica to get a nice pink. The other batch I left white. Then I began slowly rolling it out to get it as thin as possible.

The texture was not perfect for this, it may improve with age but I persisted until I had enough for the first three layers of petals. After the petals are cut out the edges are thinned a little more with a ball tool. Then each petal is textured with a 'veiner' to imitate the texture & veins of a real flower. These are made by taking an impression from a real petal then replicated in silicone.

Then each petal is wrapped around the cone to build up the layers of the rose. After the first layers the dough is rolled out again & more petals are cut out in a slightly bigger size & textured. For the middle & outer layers some 'movement' is added to the petals to give extra realism. This process is continued until you have a rose the size you like/want.

I dusted the white rose with some pink & red mica, & the pink one with red to give depth of colour. And then 'glued' them to the top of some plain round goat milk soap. Its certainly not a practical soap, although it may be possible to peel off one petal at a time for hand washing. I'm very pleased with how they turned out. I'll leave the rest of the dough to cure & will make a rose once a month for the next few months to see if the texture improves.

Many thanks to Amy & Tatsiana for this challenge. :-D

Soap Challenge April 2017 - Rustic Soap

Cal Petrusma

I've been quiet for a while now.... Let me explain before we get to this month's challenge.

While on holiday way back in November I had a little accident where I thought I'd pulled a muscle in my right shoulder. Nope. After a few months of "I'm sure it'll be fine...I'll just give it time..." I saw a surgeon in early February & was told I'd torn the muscle off the bone & was booked into surgery a week later. Just let me say... I would like to strongly recommend never to tear muscles in your shoulder - it is the most painful surgery I've ever had (including a total knee replacement), & I'm going seriously nuts 'cause I'm very right-handed & I can't do anything!! Can't drive, can't do my own hair, couldn't shower myself for ages, & I couldn't make soap.

As I mentioned before, I'm VERY right-handed! I tried cutting carrots with my left hand one day & I nearly lost a few fingers. Most of what I do to keep myself occupied requires two hands, mostly my right hand. I tried to make a simple soap a few weeks ago & that really hurt. My physiotherapist called me an idiot (well, I called myself an idiot & he agreed), so I've tried to be good & let the last few months soap challenges pass me by :-(

But I've reached a stage where I can sort-of use my right hand (as long as I don't move my shoulder too much), & my left hand is becoming more adept at doing stuff, so I thought I'd try this month's challenge - a rustic soap.

Normally the challenge calls for 'cold process' soap, but this month is also about 'hot process', which is cooking the soap to make it saponify faster, & 're-batching' which is grating previously made soap & turning it into new soap. Both those methods usually produce rustic looking soaps. But when I looked at them...hmmm.. hot process involves a lot more stirring than normal, & re-batching involves a lot of grating. Neither of which my shoulder will tolerate. So I'm sticking to cold process & using natural products to make it look as rustic as possible.

I started with an idea based on a soap from Ben Aaron's new e-book (found at www.lovinsoap.com), but changed the soap recipe & added layers.

The essential oil blend for this is called Sweet Earth & includes Orange, Juniper Berry, Clove Bud, Patchouli, Geranium, & Ylang Ylang. I crushed some Juniper Berries (the brown stuff in the bowl) & added this to the lye water. And I wanted four layers of soap so included some clays & ground Wattle Seeds for exfoliation.

This 'lovely' looking stuff is the lye water with the crushed juniper in it. Darker than I thought it would be so I swapped in White Kaolin clay for the Caramel Clay.

Additives ready to go. There was a warning with this essential oil blend - it would move fast. And it did! Just as well I wanted a nice thick trace for the layers!

The soap batter before I added anything to it. Then I separated it out into 4 & started adding things & layering...

The bottom layer was plain with a bit of white kaolin clay, then a mica line. The next layer to go on was the chocolate clay layer (seen in the pot above the mould).....

...another mica line, then the third layer with the wattle seeds...

....then another mica line.. then the final layer was 'coloured' with Washed Blue Clay. It didn't seem to change the colour much at all. We'll have the wait for the magic of saponification to see if there are any changes. I textured the top & added a thin line of wattle seeds.

Here is the finished soap. Smells divine :-) The washed blue clay did make a slight difference to the top layer, its just not blue.

Normally, this would be it for the competition but this month there's one more thing to do...add some rustic packaging. My normal packaging is shrink wrap & a simple label to keep costs down. So this would be packaging for a gift soap. Way too labour intensive to make for everyday sale, but it was great fun to do!

The words are "We do not own the Earth. Walk gently upon it so that future generations may do the same."

The words are "We do not own the Earth. Walk gently upon it so that future generations may do the same."

Think I'll call this "Gaia"

And if you're wondering, yes, doing this did hurt my shoulder. I've recently seen my surgeon & he has told me that if I continue to try to use my arm at this point I'll need further surgery in a couple of months, so I need to stop being impatient & stop making soap for little longer. :-(

Soap Challenge - Tiger Stripe

Cal Petrusma

It's been a few months since I entered a soap into the challenge. I've made the soap for the challenges of the last couple of months, but haven't liked them enough to enter. My little perfection monster rearing its ugly little head. But I had to enter this one - tigers being my favourite animal & all :-D

The basic rules for this challenge were to create a pattern with thin batter & thin stripes, but also to have fun with colour & technique. I started with my usual slow-tracing recipe & four colours, Orange, Pink, White & Black...

....and the batter thickened up really, really quickly & I got a nice soap with thick stripes <deep sigh> I also got a lot of glycerine rivers in that soap, which sometimes happens with Titanium Dioxide. Nothing wrong with that except visually. And this competition is mainly judged on appearance!!

Next try I thought I go with more colours....

...Plus I used a different slow-tracing recipe that's worked well for me in the past. It did move a bit more slowly so I was able to get a few photos of the process.

Soap coloured & ready to pour

Soap coloured & ready to pour

The colours were poured in stripes on top of each other down the middle of the mould

The colours were poured in stripes on top of each other down the middle of the mould

Finished the top with my favourite soap-top pattern!

Finished the top with my favourite soap-top pattern!

Tiger Stripe scented with "Energy" Fragrance Oil

Tiger Stripe scented with "Energy" Fragrance Oil

As this technique takes a bit of time the batter gradually thickened up as I was pouring it. This creates different textures within the pattern. And you can clearly see the points at which I tapped the mould on the bench to remove air bubbles as I was pouring.

However, I discovered that I'm not a big fan of soap this colourful - it looks 'too busy' to me. So I had to try a 3rd soap. Back to 4 colours for the stripe, but, because of the previous glycerine river problem, I left the background soap plain.

Soap coloured with Titanium Dioxide, Activated Charcoal, Mango Tango Mica, & Celadon Green Mica (both from 'Nurture Soap')

Soap coloured with Titanium Dioxide, Activated Charcoal, Mango Tango Mica, & Celadon Green Mica (both from 'Nurture Soap')

I poured my layers into the mould at 3 angles, first with the mould propped up on the right, then a little on the left, then a little with the mould flat. Then patterned the top like the soap above (I really like that pattern!!) Then I got my marvelously talented photographer daughter to take a photo of the finished soap for me....Sooooooo much better than my phone pics!!

JungleRoar01.jpg

I love the 'line' created when I changed the position of the mould, it adds a little bit of extra interest. I also love that each soap has a slightly different pattern created by the different thickness of the lines as they were poured. I scented this soap with a Essential Oil Blend of Grapefruit, Lime, Rosewood, & Black Pepper, and called it "Jungle Roar". It smells divine, and I can't wait to try it out!

Soap Challenge - "Dancing Funnel"

Cal Petrusma

This month's soap challenge was split into two categories - 'all natural' & 'synthetic'. So, since it's two categories I'll just have to make two soaps & see which one turns out the best! This design needs a batter that stays thin and pour-able throughout the process, as the batter is put in squeezy bottles (think plastic sauce bottles). If it thickens too much it won't squirt out. Also, as only a small amount of soap is squirted at a time its very labour intensive, so I made a very small slab mould from foam core board. Love foam core! :-)

First soap - the 'Synthetic' one. The instructions say its better not to use a stick blender for this, but rather hand whisk for 20 mins or so......but I'm w-a-y too impatient for that. So, of course, I over-blended & the batter got too thick so I had to move fast & didn't have time to take any photos of the process. Scented with a scent from Big Tree Supplies called Tayberry & Teakwood, which is really lovely! Coloured with Celadon Green & Pink Vibrance Mica from Nurture Soap.

Next attempt.....

This is the "All Natural", scented with a blend of Bergamot & Lavender Essential Oils (my two very favourite ones, wonderful by themselves, gorgeous blended together!), & coloured with a mix of Chlorella Powder & Activated Charcoal for the green, & White Kaolin Clay for the white. I used a tried & true recipe for this, and, yes I did stickblend it as well, but only for 10 seconds. And despite the clay, which will often thicken the batter, this blend stayed much thinner.

You start with small dots of one colour...

...then you add four times as much of the contrast colour in the middle....

...then more green in the gaps... and so on....

...until you run out of batter, or you have enough soap, whichever comes first! Then, its popped into a low oven for a little while to force a gel, which makes the colours brighter. But neither of the soaps gelled. I'm thinking that because it is so cold in my house at the moment than even the oven can't keep the soap warm enough!

The Synthetic soap

The Synthetic soap

The All-Natural soap

The All-Natural soap

I'm not sure that I've quite got the technique exactly right, but I might as well enter the competition. I enter the challenges not to win but to learn more about soap making, so in that way I'm really winning as I'm learning quite a lot :-)

I entered the All Natural Soap for this challenge and need to include a full recipe, so here it is:

10% Avocado Oil
25% Coconut Oil
35% Olive Oil
30% Sustainable Palm Oil
Sodium Hydroxide (with 6% Superfat)
Distilled Water
White Kaolin Clay (for the white portion)
Organic Chlorella Powder & Activated Charcoal (for the green portion)
50/50 Blend of Lavender Essential Oil & Bergamot Essential Oil

:-)
 

Making "Monkey Farts" Soap

Cal Petrusma

Ever since I discovered there was a scent called 'Monkey Farts' I've been dying to make some soap with it!! Yes, I have a little kid still living inside me. Plus I know my grand-daughter would just love it. :-)

At first I only found the scent made for candles, which sometimes works in soap, but not always. Then I found a soap company that makes it. Yay! Time to plan a design. (They also sell a fragrance called 'Reindeer Poo', the scent description sounds like Christmas, so I'll also be making a second soap called Reindeer Farts, as even I think that 'poo' is going a bit far for soap!).

I decided that the soap needed 'fart bubbles'. The best way to do this was to make them ahead of time with Clear Melt & Pour Soap. These are called 'embeds'.

Making Melt & Pour Embeds

Making Melt & Pour Embeds

I used Micas to colour the melt & pour - green, orange, gold & sparkly white - making balls for the top of the soap, & using thin PVC pipe for the embeds that will go inside. While I was at it I also made some more melt & pour berries for the top of one of my most popular soaps, "Berry Bliss", & some fish for an upcoming soap. I purchased the moulds for the balls & fish, but made the berry moulds from silicone myself.

Additives ready to go.

Additives ready to go.

PVC pipe is excellent for making cylindrical embeds. I covered one end with plastic food wrap, poured the soap in, stood the pipe up for about 30 mins, put it in the freezer for another 30 mins, tapped it firmly on the bench, & they pushed out of the pipe very easily.

I mixed the cold process soap batter to a medium thick trace so the embeds would be held by the batter & not just fall straight to the bottom, added a bit of yellow, then layered the batter & the embeds in the mould, & finally added the soap balls/fart bubbles on top! And then....the waiting....& more waiting....until I could unmould & cut it to see what it looked like....that is the absolute worst part of making soap....the waiting!!

And here it is. Funny thing is the photo does not show that this soap is yellow, just as yellow as the previous pictures - (note to self...learn how to take better pictures!). This smells like banana lollies so will be really fun to use. Just another 6 weeks of waiting until its cured!! :-)

Third Soap Challenge - 'Pipe Divider'

Cal Petrusma

I'm really enjoying these soap challenges, so I signed up for the next three! Its fun learning new techniques & pushing myself a little to get just the right look. This month's technique uses a slab mould (which I don't own), plumbing pipes, and swirls to create the pattern. I made a quick slab mould from foam core board & packaging tape - a very handy way to test the shape & size of a potential mould before going to the expense of buying or building one.

First mould

First mould

The idea is to pour two colours inside the pipes & two other colours outside the pipes, then remove the pipes & swirl the four colours around. I decided to go with 2 purples & 2 greens. I tried Maths to work out exactly how much batter I'd need for the inside versus the outside. Can't believe I used to be good at maths in school 'cause the result was way off. Next time I'll just go with my gut cause I did way too much purple!!

Colours & batter ready to go. I also made up some black & white in case I needed to lighten or darken a colour, the rules for this challenge say four colours in total.

It's a pretty messy business, this soap making, so once again I got batter all over my (gloved) hands & didn't want to contaminate my phone in order to get pictures of the process. I'll try with the next one (cause you know I can't make just one!)

Perception is an interesting thing as I was sure the purple circles would be a lot bigger than they turned out! But the great thing about a slab mould is that I don't need to wait to find out what the soap will look like! I like this slab mould idea :-)

But I was glad I'd made a temporary mould before I made one in wood cause the dimensions of this one are wrong (me & maths again!). So, I made a smaller mould, lined it this time (the first batch was very difficult to remove!), & tried again. :-)

I wanted a little more contrast so I changed the colours. Ready to go again....

Second mould & batch of colours

Second mould & batch of colours

This time I used 'Raspberry' and 'Orange Vibrance' Micas inside the circles, and Titanium Dioxide & a mix of 'Celadon Green' & 'Alpine Green' Micas for the outside. For the scent I chose an Essential Oil blend I've been wanting to try - a mix of Grapefruit, Lime, Ho Wood & Black Pepper, it smells divine!! (Unfortunately my brain turned off somewhere during the process & I only used half as much scent as I should have, so it won't smell as good as it could have - will just have to make some more soap I guess!!)

So after blending & dividing & colouring I started pouring.

With the pipes still in

With the pipes still in

Pipes removed but before swirling

Pipes removed but before swirling

After pouring the colours the pipes were removed very carefully & then the batter was randomly swirled with a wooden skewer. One of the trickiest things about this design is knowing when to stop swirling - its a lot of fun.

Completed design

Completed design

Although my favourite colour is purple I really prefer this colour-way as the colours really "pop", so I'll use this second one for the competition. And as it kinda reminds me of autumn leaves, I think I'll name it "Leaves of Autumn".

Also, I was able to use my new soap planer & beveller... really love it!! Was able to plane the slightly lumpy tops of the bars to give them a nice clean finish.

The finished bars from the first batch

The finished bars from the first batch

All of the bars from the second batch

All of the bars from the second batch

The image I'll be using for the competition

The image I'll be using for the competition

Thanks once again to Amy Warden for organising the challenge :-)

2nd Soap Challenge - Sculptured Layers

Cal Petrusma

Another month, another soap challenge :-) This month's challenge is to create a soap using templates. The idea is to create a design in layers, make templates, then drag these along the various layers of soap to create an image. Hmmm...sounds complicated...& tricky!

I spent a lot of time looking for possible images. I love landscapes, so that was the first thing I looked for, but there might be a lot of landscapes (as this technique is perfect for them), & I wanted to do something a little different. But I also didn't have a lot of time as I was flat out getting ready for my first market during most of the competition time. Unlike last month I would have 2 days at most to make my soap. Then my son suggested doing the ocean floor! So I started Googling 'ocean' & 'clipart ocean'. And while I found quite a few of the ocean floor, it was the sunset over the ocean pictures that really got my attention. Also, one with a killer whale breaching. So I decided to combine several images into one.

So this was my basic idea. It had to be fairly simple as soap is not the easiest medium to sculpt with! Also I needed to build the soap from the top down - its easier to make a trench in the soap than a mound, although this design has both. The templates are cut from cake card.

Plenty of colours & my 'map' ready to go

Plenty of colours & my 'map' ready to go

I made up my main batter & then coloured & scented each different layer as I went. The main batter needed to stay fluid, but the coloured part needed to set up quite quickly as each layer needs to be able to firm enough to hold its shape.

The black getting away from me a little 0_0

The black getting away from me a little 0_0

Its a very messy business!! I also didn't have a lot of opportunity to take photos as I was covered in soap batter & didn't want to get it all over my phone!

When I first cut this soap the sun was orange, not yellow! It was supposed to be yellow - I'd used yellow mica!! So I decided to make another one, learning from the first try & making the sun into the moon instead - white I can do! I also changed the whale into a mountain & island as that was the other option I had at the beginning.

Similar, yet different. Notice there are 11 templates here!! So much for simple. Adding the moon's reflection added an extra layer, but I wanted to see if it were possible. This time I was a little more patient while waiting for the batter to set up a little bit & read a few pages of a book to keep myself from impatience while waiting!

This one was a bit neater because due to being patient - it actually took me two and a half hours to complete the soap! As well as at least another couple of hours cutting out the templates.

The first soap - "Whale Breaching at Sunset", scented with Green Tea Fragrance Oil (which may not match the theme but its a gorgeous scent!) And the sun eventually turned yellow!!

The second - "Tropical Moonrise" scented with Passionfruit & Papaya Fragrance Oil - a little more fitting perhaps, also a gorgeous scent

Ok - so I kinda like this - the moon's reflection worked better that I'd thought but I'm not too happy with the islands. If I had time I might have made another soap, with the whale & sun but adding the sun's reflection....

So, I decided to go with the first one (particularly as killers whales are one of my favourite animals!). I added some birds using Activated Charcoal paste as paint as I'm fairly sure that would have been nigh on impossible with soap!

Voilá!

Voilá!

My First Ever Soap Challenge - Teardrop Soap

Cal Petrusma

I seriously don't know why I entered this challenge! One of the reasons I don't do wedding cakes anymore is that I have a little monster inside of me that insists that I do everything perfectly, especially if its for someone else or for a competition. Drives me nuts! However, I loved the look of this pattern & couldn't wait to try it, so off I went & entered.

Following are a series of pictures of the process & some of the results. I ended up making 6 different soaps, two ended up looking like spaceships, one like a mountain, one like a strange sea creature, & 2 kinda like teardrops.

My first attempt shown above, & my first spaceship. Love the colours but the batter was the wrong consistency, so the bottom didn't curve around like it was supposed to. Try again...

I had run out of a critical ingredient but didn't want to wait for delivery so I tried again with different oils. The first one of those was the mountain - actually it's kinda cool, scented with Thai Lime & Mango, it looks like a volcanic island so I'll probably keep that as a regular soap. The batter for the third soap, also pictured below, was way too thin, so while I got a teardrop, I also got some interesting off-shoots. This is the one I think looks kinda like an odd sea creature.

Fourth try almost worked, I had the right oils & everything seems to be going well. It's not bad, but here's where the perfection monster raised its little head & told me I could do better.

Decided to try once more. All was going well, then <bam> the batter thickened suddenly & I got my next spaceship. *&$%@*

Last try... if this didn't work I was going to have to go with my fourth batch....deep breath...

I didn't take any pictures of the rest of the process as I was too busy trying to keep the batter from thickening too much. That involved frantic stirring whilst trying to pour thin, even, straight lines. I was sure this wasn't going to work either, so was with a heavy heart that I unmoulded & cut the soap this morning...

Drum Roll Please.....

Not perfect... there's that little tendril heading off in a sideways direction... but I'm quite happy with it. I've decided to call it "A Drop in the Ocean" 'cause its scented with one of my favourite Essential Oil blends - Lime & Lavender - which is supposed to smell like the ocean.

There are a lot of very talented soap makers who enter this competition, who will probably blitz it. However, I've learned a lot with this challenge, about the different blends of oils and about 'trace', & how the batter behaves. So it's been fun.. Thanks Amy for organising it :-)

Teardrop06.jpg

How is Palm Oil like an Egg...?

Cal Petrusma

Sounds like the start of a silly joke... but it's not. Let me explain.

Eggs are great. They can be used for sweet dishes & savoury ones; breakfast, lunch, & dinner. They can be eaten by most people, the very young & the very old. They're packed with protein, vitamins & minerals. Just think of all the foods that use eggs in the ingredient list...quiche, cake, pavlova, schnitzel... to name a few.

Palm Oil is also a great product. (We're just looking at the product at the moment, we'll get to how it's grown in a minute). It grows in areas that have few, if any other, cash crops so it provides essential income for some of the world's poorest countries; labour costs are low in these countries; it's solid at room temperature making it easy to transport; it's colourless when melted, it doesn't have a strong smell or taste; it can be used to make bio-fuel;  in soap it's used to make a gently cleansing, harder bar that will last longer in the shower. Also, the low cost of production means a lower cost of the final product. However, one of the best things about Palm trees is the amount of oil they produce. They use up to ten (10) times less space than other oil producing plants. You would need ten acres of Sunflowers to produce the same amount of oil from just one acre of Palm trees!

The problem with eggs is that to keep the costs down the chickens are often kept in horrible conditions, tightly packed in small cages unable to move, forced to lay as many eggs as possible in as short a time as possible.

The problem with Palm Oil is that the attributes that make it such as great product are the same attributes that make it prone to exploitation. To keep the costs down & to increase production to meet an ever-growing demand, unscrupulous people have been cutting down rain forests, injuring, killing, & making homeless the local wildlife - orang-utans specifically.

So when we starting hearing about the terrible treatment of the orang-utans many people called for a total ban on all Palm Oil.

When we started hearing about the terrible treatment of chickens many people called for a total ban on all eggs......Wait a minute...no we didn't!

What we did was to find a humane & ecological alternative to cage eggs...Free Range!

Wild & Free

Wild & Free

There is a humane & ecological alternative for Palm Oil as well - it's called Sustainable. Following the principles of the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil begun by the World Wildlife Federation, many producers are growing Palm Oil that does not harm the rain forest or the indigenous wildlife. Those who grow Sustainable Palm Oil are often small producers, farmers who have had their land for generations; they do not cut down any forests, nor encroach on the local wildlife; they treat their land with care & respect; and they pay their workers a liveable wage.

A huge problem with calling for a ban on all palm oil is that these producers will be the first to suffer, as their palm oil is more expensive than those who are causing the problem. If the farmers can't make a living by growing sustainable palm oil they will have to try something else to feed their families, possibly a different type of oil which will take up more space!

There are alternatives to Palm Oil that do the same job in soap - Tallow (fat from cows), or Lard (fat from pigs), but then the soaps wouldn't be Vegetarian & one of the biggest causes of deforestation around the globe comes from clearing more land for animal husbandry. The other option is Cocoa Butter. This is way more expensive than Sustainable Palm Oil, plus approximately 70-80% of the world's Cocoa crop is harvested using slaves, many of them children. (Yes, slavery still exists & there are more slaves in the world than ever before, but that is a subject for another time).

Yes, I do use Sustainable Palm Oil in some of my soaps. I have some soaps without Palm Oil because there are lots of lovely oils out there to play with! I donate money every month to the WWF specifically earmarked to help the Orang-utans of Borneo & Sumatran Tigers. I buy Fair Trade Cocoa Butter & Chocolate.

I also used to buy Free Range Eggs until I got my own super-spoilt chickens! :-D

More information can be found on these websites:

WWF: http://www.wwf.org.au/our_work/saving_the_natural_world/forests/palm_oil/what_wwf_is_doing/roundtable_on_sustainable_palm_oil/

Bramble Berry: http://www.soapqueen.com/business/on-palm-oil/

The Star News: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/environment/2014/09/08/addressing-palm-oil-concerns/

How Cold Process Soap is Made

Cal Petrusma

We only use the Cold Process method to make soap. So called because there is no external heat added to the process. (There's plenty of heat created tho' - this is an exothermic chemical reaction which means it produces its own heat!) Below are some progress shots of the making of the Spa Day Facial Soap. This soap contains only natural products.

The soapmaker & the photographer are the same person here, so no action shots as I couldn't figure out how to mix without dropping the camera into the soap!

First - we melt any solid oils

First - we melt any solid oils

Here are all the elements ready to go - the lye water, all the oils, & the additives. In this case an essential oil blend, sea clay & chlorella powder.

Here are all the elements ready to go - the lye water, all the oils, & the additives. In this case an essential oil blend, sea clay & chlorella powder.

The lye water & oils mixed together. They are mixed & blended until they emulsify, or thoroughly mix together with no chance of separation. This can take a few seconds to a minute or two depending on the blend & the weather conditions that day. (Side note: I also think it's dependent on how the soap gods feel, as it can seem pretty random sometimes!)

The lye water & oils mixed together. They are mixed & blended until they emulsify, or thoroughly mix together with no chance of separation. This can take a few seconds to a minute or two depending on the blend & the weather conditions that day. (Side note: I also think it's dependent on how the soap gods feel, as it can seem pretty random sometimes!)

The batter is nicely at 'trace' (Technical term that means the thickness of the soap batter, so it can be thin, medium or thick). The essential oil blend is already mixed in & the other additives about to be stirred in.

The batter is nicely at 'trace' (Technical term that means the thickness of the soap batter, so it can be thin, medium or thick). The essential oil blend is already mixed in & the other additives about to be stirred in.

All nicely blended in.

All nicely blended in.

In the mould, ready to be tucked up into bed, to turn into soap over the next 24 hours! The process the batter goes thru' is called saponification. This generates lots of heat so the soap gets pretty hot during this time and often the soap will 'gel' or turn gelatinous. This doesn't harm or help the soap in any way, except the colours will often brighten because of gel phase.

In the mould, ready to be tucked up into bed, to turn into soap over the next 24 hours! The process the batter goes thru' is called saponification. This generates lots of heat so the soap gets pretty hot during this time and often the soap will 'gel' or turn gelatinous. This doesn't harm or help the soap in any way, except the colours will often brighten because of gel phase.

Here are 2 soaps fresh out of the mould ready to be cut. (Not the soap I just made. I'm too impatient to wait for that one)

Here are 2 soaps fresh out of the mould ready to be cut. (Not the soap I just made. I'm too impatient to wait for that one)

Being cut. Then the bars sit around for about 6 weeks 'curing' until they are ready to be used. The curing time is important to get the soap as hard as possible so it lasts as long as possible. This soap is called Gentle Whispers & will be ready for purchase in a few weeks.

Being cut. Then the bars sit around for about 6 weeks 'curing' until they are ready to be used. The curing time is important to get the soap as hard as possible so it lasts as long as possible. This soap is called Gentle Whispers & will be ready for purchase in a few weeks.

So that is the basic process. Making soap the old fashioned way calls for lots of patience (which I don't have), waiting the first 24 hours until I can unmould it, and then having to wait another 4 weeks until I can try it! (I never can wait the full 6 weeks).

Hope you enjoyed this little look into the life of soap :-)

Cal