Friday, August 19, 2011

Rose Soap

I've made some shampoo bars recently. Because I'm impatient I'm already using it. My hair looks great, and has adjusted nicely. It tangles a little more overnight and as a result takes a bit longer to brush, but we're talking seconds here, and it's well and truly worth it. It stays in place better now, so that's a fair trade off.

Today I made rose scented soap (fragrance, not essential oil). I used my basic rice bran / tallow / coconut oil base. I added red oxides for colouring - half a teaspoon, and 10 ml of rose scent. I'm not too happy with the colour, but most bizarre of all - it started gelling before I'd finished putting it into the mould. I'm trying to decide if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I keep checking it every 10 minutes or so to see what's happening.

It's the weirdest thing though - the soap isn't insulated. Only thing I can think is I didn't wait until the oil returned to room temperature - and didn't cool the lye off. I'll just have to wait til tomorrow to unmould it and see how it went.

In other news, I've joined the Hexapuff craze that's taken over Ravelry. I'm not stuffing them, so I guess I'm making Hexaflats?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Victorian Prude Cat

RIP Victorian Prude Cat.

Back in May we were woken in the middle of the night by one of our three cats pulling herself up onto the bed - her hind quarters were paralysed. We took her to the vet, she was given a pain killer, put on cage rest and we took her back in the morning. She walked out of the cage, it seemed like a miracle.

Then on Thursday, 28 July 2011, Mr. Iddy called me at work - the same thing had happened. He took her to the vet, got her pain killers. Friday morning, she seemed to be on the mend. She was walking around, she didn't seem to be in much pain, and she was enjoying rare sunbeams.

On Saturday she was upside down on the spare bed and seemed to be raising her front paws with each breath. She then flipped over and seemed fine. Yesterday I was walking out to meet Mr. Iddy for a meeting, and checked on her as I stepped out the front door (she was laying in a sunbeam). I called Mr. Iddy, and he came home and checked her - we'd forgotten to give her pain killers at breakfast, so we gave her some, and went to the movie.

We got home and she still had laboured breathing, so we took her to the vet. Unfortunately it was heart failure, and she didn't come home with us. We miss you Victorian Prude Cat, and will always love you.

On the soap front, I made another batch - 650 grams this time, pre melted the oils - it went better this time. I recommend pre melting them and then letting them cool. It's really worth the extra effort. Meanwhile, I'm having mould issues - I can't seem to pour into the mould evenly, I'm wondering if I'm letting trace go on for too long. Maybe I'll just overfill the damn things and cut the tops off when I unmould. This batch I didn't bother gelling.

I've finished a new jumper for Mr. Iddy (first one I've finished for him), and have cast on a Citron shawl. It's a fun little knit, and just what I needed to get my mojo back!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Making Soap for Reals

I finally got the opportunity to make soap from scratch today.

I used:

250 grams Coconut Oil
500 grams animal oil (didn't specify what it was, I'm guessing beef or lamb, but it's just a guess)
500 grams rice bran oil (bought a 4 litre tin for $12.99!)
172 grams Caustic Soda (confirmed both by SoapCalc and the MMS calculator).

I used the room temperature process - I spent half an hour preparing the hard oils, although it left a lot to be desired. I had planned to grate them, but that was a pain in the neck, so I tried cutting them up small, and that was a pain in the neck. Next time I'll just pre-melt the damn things.

After that I mixed the lye. Then I got all paranoid that they weren't mixing at room temperature. Then when it turned out there was no suitable pot to use as a double boiler I toughed it out, and it was fine. Paranoid Iddy is paranoid. Then I blended in the rice bran oil, and it reached trace pretty much straight away. I decided that couldn't possibly be right and mixed it for longer, but nothing really changed. Then I added my fragrance, poured it into my mould (Devondale UHT milk carton - 2 litre), wrapped the mould in a towel, and put it away.

An hour and a half later Mr. Iddy observed that he could 'smell soap'. I informed him that he was insane, but looked at my soap anyway - because I'm the highly suggestible type like that, and yay! my soap had hit the gel stage, and my fragrance oil was evaporating! My colouring for M&P soaps didn't work (just like the interwebs warned me). So I expect to have a plain yellow, mostly unscented soap.

But soap, yay!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rosehip Soap

Today I worked with more melt and pour soap.

303grams white melt & pour, 3 drops red colouring, contents of 1 rosehip/hibiscus tea bag, 8 drops of coconut scent. The last lot of coconut scented soap didn't have much scent.

I bought some lye yesterday (2kg Caustic Soda from Bunnings, made sure it was suitable for making soap). I also picked up some PVC for a mould. Hope it works okay - I also finally got some isopropyl alcohol, so was able to use it on today's melt and pour soap. About the only thing I'm lacking now are the oils. Hubby was asking me while I was playing with the soap if I was playing with Lye, I assured him I was not. I think he was a bit worried about my total lack of lye appropriate caution!

I've put today's soap in the fridge, I think I'll play with some clear melt and pour before the day is out. Maybe use the lemon scent with it.

Edit to add - the Rosehip tea settled! FAIL. The soap's scratchy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Second Soap

Well my second attempt at soap seemed to go somewhat better.

300 grams white melt and pour base, 2 drops blue colour, 1 drop of red, 4 drops of coconut fragrance oil.

The colour turned out a kinda lilacy grey - the 2nd drop of blue was an accident - I think next time I aim for purple, I also add a second drop of red. See how it goes. I had intended to add more coconut oil but after last night I was all OMG paranoid about the soap going hard in the jug. We'll see how it goes. I'd prefer unscented soap to uber-scented soap, so there's that. Yesterdays seems a little strong, but of course - it's still very fresh.

I've decided I'm going with room temperature process soap for my first real attempt at making soap. I'm thinking 40% coconut oil, 60% rice bran oil, and using a PVC mould. I'm planning on going to Bunnings on the weekend to buy some PVC pipe, and check out the Caustic Soda. Probably won't get to work on it until the following weekend though.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I resurrected this blog to track my soap making endeavours. I'm starting with melt and pour because I'm lazy like that, but have grand plans of playing with Lye etc.

First effort - Melt & Pour - white, 255 grams. 3 drops of blue colouring, two short 'pours' of jasmine fragrance. Time in microwave = 45 seconds x 2, 25 seconds x1, plus a reheat of 30 seconds for the second bar.

Happy with the colour, will have to wait and see about the fragrance. There's bubbles in it - it came out of the microwave with bubbles - not sure what to do about that. I guess I could always by the rubbing alcohol recommended.

I took too long to put the colours and fragrance in and mess around with the moulds - so I had to reheat it to pour the second bar.

I faithfully measured out how much the moulds would hold, and weighed out that amount of base, but it only made 1 and 2/3rds bars. I'm blaming this on a couple of things - first of all I still don't actually believe that Soap Base & Water = The same weight for volume. I was skeptical from the start. Also, I forgot to put glad wrap over it the first two bursts in the microwave. I'm pretty sure that didn't do me any favours.

Overall I'm a little disappointed. If only there had of been some way to predict I would be the best soap enhancer eva at my first attempt!