Friday, July 30, 2010

Shaving soap

I made shaving sope for the first time quite some time ago.  I was really excited by shaving soaps when I first read about them.   The way I understood it, shaving soap is basically soap with the addition of some clay.  The clay improves the slip.  Slip, apparently, has to do with the way the blade glides over the skin.  So I made shaving soap and started to use it.  It was nice enough, but I have to admit that I use all my soaps as shaving soaps and I don't really notice much of a difference between them.  Even the salt soap works really well!  So I've been thinking that I should reformulate my shaving soap and see if I can come up with something fantastic.

One of the reasons is that I went into a barber's shop just before last Christmas to buy an old fashioned razor for my son in law.  The barber specializes in quality shaves and sells all the paraphernalia.  He showed me his collection of old shaving things and we chatted quite a bit and I told him that I had made shaving soap.  After I had made my purchase, left the store and was about to step into the car, the barber came out of the shop and said that he would be interested in trying my shaving soap.  He warned me that he would be ruthlessly honest in telling me if it was any good.   And I told him that I would love that and he said he was interested in selling locally made shaving soap, provided it gave a good shave.  Since I'm no expert I was really happy about that and told him that I would get some shaving soap to him.  But I never got round to it.

The shaving soap that I made was pretty basic and there are many ways to make it more special.  I guess that is one of the reasons that I haven't seen my barber friend again.  I always intended to do another batch and add more clay and even some extra special oils.  So I think now is the right time to make some new shaving soaps.  Some time ago I did order more types of clay, admittedly in small quantities, but it doesn't take much.

I have been thinking that I could use some Jojoba or Castor oil and some infused oils like Calendula and even Shepherds purse, Capsella bursa-pastoralis.  It is one of the much overlooked weeds that have amazing qualities.  It is an astringent and antiseptic plant that is well known to treat urinary tract infections and stop bleeding, internally and externally.  It is the styptic qualities that I find interesting in a shaving soap.  I think it is best used as a tea for the water phase.  I might also include some yellow dock for it's skin benefits.

I had intended to post my original shaving soap recipe here, but I have looked everywhere for it and I just can't find it.  Another recipe that I thought I would remember for sure!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Honeysuckle honey - For sore throats

Honeysuckle  has the most wonderful fragrance and it's such a shame that there is no way to make an essential oil from it.  I have 3 different varieties of it growing in my garden, Lonicera periclymenum Serotina, a yellow early flowering one, L. periclymenum Belgica, a pink and later flowering and Lonicaera caprifolium a yellow that flowers in between the others.  But I absolutely love all their scent and I frequently cut off branches with flowers to put into bouquets to bring the scent into the house.

Honeysuckle had been used as a medicinal plants, both in Europe and China for centuries as a remedy for fever, inflammation and infection.  The Chinese variety L. japonica is more likely to be used medicinally than the European varieties which are not as potent and apparently Honeysuckle isn't much used in modern Western herbalism.  But all the plants contains salicylic acid which is basically what is in aspirin so it can be used for pain and it has some benefits for irritated skin.

Different parts of the plant have a different effect.   The dried branches have been described as a remedy for arthritis, the bark is diuretic, the leaves are astringent and can be used as a gargle for sore throat and canker sores.  The flowers are antispasmodic and have been used to treat both cough and asthma.

Wonderful!  So I picked a jarful of honeysuckle flowers and poured honey over it to cover.  It is important to cover the flowers completely or they may go moldy.  This needs to be stirred every day especially at the beginning when the flowers will rise to the top because of air among them.  Or much simpler, the jar can simply be turned over every day.  After a few times the honey will have replaced the air.  If needed, add some more honey to cover.  The honey is infused for about 4 weeks and then the flowers are strained from the honey.  It may be better to warm the honey a bit to do that.  But when that is done the honey is a wonderful soothing remedy for sore throats this winter.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pink shampoo bar - Yellow dock for itchy and flaky scalp

I really like the colour that Yellow Dock - Rumex crispus gives to soaps and I liked the dark raspberry colour of the soap that I recently made.  However I knew that I would want to use a bit less in another soap to see what type of light pink I would get.  I don't really use Yellow Dock, it doesn't grow here, but rather a local plant that is closely related to it, commonly called Njóli here,  but Northern Dock in English.

The benefits of the root of this plant has been known for centuries and it just seemed logical to me to make a soap that might carry some of the benefits.  As Yellow Dock (and Njóli) are known to be very good for skin troubles like eczema, psoriasis and itchy skin I thought it could make a great shampoo bar for people with dry scalp AND it would look pretty as a pink bar.  Since I wanted to get as many of the benefits of the herb as possible, I decided to use the infused oil at trace.  There is always some discussion going on about weather the benefits of the ingredients survive the lye and some say that the stuff that is added at trace is more likely to be the oils that are left over as superfat in the soap.  Well I can't say for sure, but I figured it was worth the try.

I made a shampoo recipe that has less castor oil than my previous shampoo bars.  I didn't have any olive oil so I used Sunflower oil which I like.  It's rather neutral in my mind.  To give the shampoo bar hardness I added some Cocoa Butter.  The resulting soap seems to have an acceptable hardness and still be quite moisturizing.

The recipe is for 500 g. of oils / 17.6 oz (the oz are approximate):

Sunflower oil    50% 250g / 8.8 oz
Coconut oil       25% 210g / 4.4 oz
Castor oil          13%  65g / 2.3 oz
Cocoa butter     10%  50g / 1.8 oz

Water 38% 190g / 6.7 oz
Lye 70g / 2.5 oz

5% SF.

Rumex infused olive oil     2%  10g / 0.4 oz.  Added at trace

I added the infused oil at trace and the soap turned a beige colour, although it really looked like it desperately wanted to be pink.  I was rather disappointed, but since I had used half the amount that I used before I kind of wasn't surprised.  But the next morning I looked at this lovely soft pink colour!  It resembles the other Rumex soap in that the center is a bit more yellow in colour so I might put them in the freezer next to stop gelling.  But I am very happy with the colour.  Now I just need to make a third soap with 15 g. of the infused oil and see what that looks like.

I can't wait to try this shampoo in a few weeks.  It should be good for hair that isn't particularly dry and hopefully the nice qualities of Rumex will sooth a dry, flaky and itchy scalp.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rose jelly - Pure pink summer perfection

Roses are wonderful plants.  There are so many varieties that everyone can find somthing to like.  My favorites are primarily roses that smell nice.  I somehow find it incredulous that people actually grow roses that have no scent!  If I had to choose a colour I would probably go for pink, but I also love very pale, white and beige.  I intensely dislike the long stemmed red roses that are supposed to be so romantic.  Overbred and sterile.  But that's me.

Rugosa roses grow very well here up north.  They are tough as old boots and produce an abundance of flowers and smell very nice.  Hansa rose is a hybrid Rugosa that produces large fucshia pink flowers that have a strong scent.  The hips are bright orange and I did gather quite many last fall to make rose hip jelly and sirup.  This plant is very common and grows in many public spaces.  I have a favorite spot where I go to gather roses in full bloom, before the petals start to fall down.

I have infused olive oil by letting petals sit for 24 hours or more, then squeezing out the oil (with my hands to get all the oil) and put in more petals and repeat the whole process.  I've done this 3 times with fresh petal in the same oil and I have bit of lovely golden, nice smelling oil.  This is like liquid gold.  I have used it on my face, just straight from the bottle.  I might make a face cream out of it, but probably not, it is lovely as a serum.

But the thing I'm even more excited about is the rose jelly.  I have read recipes for this in Danish magazines for years, but never had enough roses from my own garden to do this.  Now, with foraging in my secret place, I have an abundance of roses to use and here is this lovely recipe.  And let me add that I never take so much that anyone would notice.  And I only take the blooms that are fully open, but just before they start to wilt.  It is just like deadheading the roses.

Rose jelly.

1 liter (about 1 quart) (hard packed) rose petals - using strong pink and red gives a lovely colour
I also threw in a handful of honeysuckle flowers because they were in flower - they soothe sore throats.
1 liter (1 quart) water
800 grams (slightly less than 2 pounds) sugar
20 g pectin (I used a commercial product called Melatin - yellow)
1 - 2 tbs lemon juice

The white pointy bit of the rose petals need to be cut off.  A bit fiddly, but they have a bitter taste so it's better to remove them and get a pure rose taste.
The petals are then put in a saucepan with the water and a lid on and this is brought to a gentle boil.  Push the rose petal into the water and simmer very gently under a lid for about 5 minutes.  Leave to steep over night.

Siv out the spent petals and squeeze out all the liquid.  Use your (just washed) hands to get all the lovely liquid.
Measure the liquid and add water to increase to 1 liter / 1 quart if necessary.
Add the lemon juice.

Now this next step depends on the type of gelling agent that is used.  I used a product called Melatin yellow which is made for low pectin fruit.  Pectin can also be used and then just follow the manufacturers instructions.  Generally one uses 2 tsp per pound of fruit.
My instructions for the Melatin were to stir the packet into the liquid and bring to boil.  Then stir in the sugar a little bit at a time.  And finally bring everything to a boil.  Let it boil for 1 minute counting from when everything starts to boil.  But follow the instructions from the manufacturer of the pectin product you use.  Now you can adjust the taste with some lemon juice if you like.  I didn't, I just used the recipe as it is.

This is poured into sterile jars (put them in the oven at 140C / 285 F for a few minutes and I boil the lids.) and let it cool.  There are special chemicals available to sterilize, but I never use them.  I find that heating them is sufficient and the sugar preserves.
Put the lids on when the jelly is cold.

That's it.  The result is a beautiful glowing pinky red jelly that tastes like the smell of roses.  I love it, but my husband commented that it tastes "weird".  I think this more for the girls than the guys.
It is perfect on a pieces of toasted baguette or other good bread, on waffles or even on ice cream.  It can also be used with lamb and veal dishes.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lilac drink - Syringa saft

I have been an avid gardener for many years.  Gardening in Iceland is a challenge and many plants that I read about in foreign gardening books have a hard time growing here.  I use Latin names a lot because I read mostly English and Scandinavian books about gardening and common names can be so different between countries.  Up here in the north we have a short summer and the result is that many plants that are known as spring flowering in other countries, flower during summer here.  I think Syringa is one of those.  It is in flower in my garden right now and I just love the scent of it.

As a gardener I love flowers and most of all flowers that have a scent. So when I got interested in vegetable I got really, really, really interested in edible flowers.  Isn't it wonderful that not only can you look at flowers and smell them,  you can eat a lot of them too.

So I have been surfing the internet and scouring bookshelves for information on edible flowers.  I eat a lot of my plants already,  Chives flowers have a mild onion taste and look pretty in a salad as do the peppery tasting flowers of Tropaeolum.  Violas are lovely in a salad also as well as roses - and Borage flowers are a classic in drinks in summer.

The other day I found something new that I've never even heard of before.  I found a recipe for a drink made of Lilac flowers. It is Swedish and doesn't seem to be well known any other place.  I tried to eat the flowers of my Lilac, but they didn't taste very good.  This recipe is very much like many other drink recipes using all sorts of fruit.  These drinks are called "saft" in most Nordic languages. They are drunk as is or diluted with water depending on taste. The original recipe is for double this amount, but that is too much for me. I managed to gather about 20 flowering clusters just before they were turning brown.

Lilac saft

20 flower clusters
1 liter (about a quart) water
1 kg (about 2 pounds) sugar
1 lemon
25 g (slightly less than 1 oz.) citric acid

It may be smart to let the flowers lie on a white tablecloth for a little bit to allow the creepy clawlies to get away. You can also wash them in cold water in a salad spinner. Pull the small flowers from the stalks, at least the large ones, you can leave the small clusters. Put the flowers into a jar or a pot.
Boil the water with the sugar and pour it over the flowers while hot.

Wash the lemons well and peel off some of the rind, cut the lemon in two and squeeze out the juice. Mix the lemon rind, lemon juice and citric acid into the flower solution.

Put a lid on the flower mixture and let it stand in a cool place in 2-4 days. Stir the solution twice a day. Pour it into clean bottles and store in the fridge. This freezes well, but put it into a plastic bottle first.

The saft looks very pretty.  My Lilac is pink, so the saft is quite red but as I understand it, the blue or lavender Lilacs produce a very cool colour.  The taste is dry and refreshing, reminiscent of rhubarb and maybe grapes. Very distinct and different.  I have poured about an inch so so into a glass and filled up with ice cold water.  It tastes very good that way.  I'm pretty sure that it would be good with carbonated water as well and even with a bit of vodka.

The photos: I was really happy to find these big jars in the Good S... I bought a number of them and they are all filled with dried herbs. The other photo: My shed is great. We built it at the side of the house and in there I can store all my gardening stuff. I also have a hanging chair that I hang in the doorway so I can read or, even better, sleep in the evening sun.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Raspberry pink soap - Yellow Dock

We had a weed clearing day at the allotment the other day.  The target was "Njóli" a tall perennial weed that was growing in the periphery of the area in great quantities.  As I was pulling out the weeds which another woman had dug up with a shovel, I said to her:  "I just know I'm going to find a great use for this stuff as soon as we've hauled it all to the dump".  Well, guess what!

A few day later I was surfing the Internet and saw a chat thread that talked about colouring soap with the root of Yellow Dock.  Oh, another exotic plant, I thought, but I Googled it anyway, clicked "images" and... saw: Njóli!  I had to laugh.  See, this is why I hate to throw things out!  You just always find uses for stuff when you've given up on it.

Anyway, I put on my Wellies and headed down to the allotment armed with a shovel to find the few remaining plants.  I found quite a few and dug them up.  I cut the roots off and headed home.  Once there, I washed the roots, grated them in the food processor and chopped up the bits that had stubbornly refused the treatment.  Then I put the yellowish mush into a jar and poured Olive oil over it, careful to cover the whole lot in oil.  This is then shaken or stirred every day to make sure that it all stays covered and doesn't develop mold.

After a short time the oil takes on a lime green tinge.  I looked at that thought: Huh! pink, eh!  I had to try, so the other night I went ahead.  The recipe is a fairly regular one.  It is small only half a kilo, about a pound.  The oz. are approximate, I use metric measurements, so always check in a Soapcalculator:

Rumex soap:

30%  Coconut oil  -  150 g / 5.3 oz
20%  Olive oil  - 100 g / 3.5 oz
20%  Lard  -  100 g / 3.5 oz
10%   Sunflower oil  -  50 g / 1.8 oz
10%  Soybean oil   -  50 g / 1.8 oz
10%  Cocoa butter  - 10 g / 0.35 oz

72 g / 2.5 oz of lye.

175 g / 6.2 oz water

I measured 20 g / 0.7 oz of the Njóli oil.

When I added the lye water it turned orange-y, muddy kind of red or pink.  Quite a strong colour.  I was a bit disappointed because I had wanted a Raspberry colour that someone had talked about.  However I thought this was too good to be without a scent so I hastily added Orange and Clary Sage EO to it.  Smells nice and I hope it lasts.

But the colour was to surprise me.  After sitting for a few days it had turned this blue-ish Raspberry red.  The cut surfaces are a warmer tone which I suspect will turn the same as the surface.  I really, really like the colour, but next time I think I'll use half the amount of coloured oil to get a lighter pink colour, just to experiment a bit.  But what remains to be seen is how the colour holds up while curing.  I have witnessed many pretty soap colours turn to nothing while curing.  So I'll make sure that I post additional info.  I'm also waiting to hear about The Soap Sister's trial with Yellow Dock root and Jenora's Alkanet experiments.

The funny thing is that as it turns out, Yellow Dock isn't Njóli.  They look the same in photos, but this is where Latin names come in handy.  Yellow Dock is Rumex crispus, while my Njóli is Rumex longifolious or Dooryard Dock/Northern Dock.  These plants are closely related and Njóli has been used here as a medicinal plant for ages as has Yellow Dock where it grows.  But the roots of both are yellow and both work as a soap colourant.  I read somewhere that there is more colour in the roots of the plant if it is growing in poor soil.  So pick it where it is growing in sand and gravel rather than a grassy meadow if you have a choose.

The photo: This is the best colour I have gotten with the Rumex oil. And it lasts well. One of the cake dishes I picked up for the wedding. This one a bit retro with a 60's flower pattern. 


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Labels - Recession style

I am extravagant in many ways.  There is some really very expensive stuff that I like a lot and sometime buy for myself and as gifts.  Generally I would not at all consider myself a cheapskate, but I still have a very thrifty side to me.  I think that comes from my German grandmother.  She was a beautiful woman and she loved pretty things which is why I put her photo in the most pretty frame I could find.  But my grandmother was known to be thrifty and although a generous woman, there were some things she didn't like to pay too much for.

I don't think that the recession is what has caused me to be even more thrify.  I rather have a feeling that it was the overwhelming abundance of the upswing.  It just got to be a little bit too much.  I, at least, noticed this trend towards homemade and homegrown everywhere around me (i.e. on the Internet) quite some time before the recession hit.

But anyway, I have been experimenting with drying herbs and drying them and making oil infusions myself.  I have learned from the bitter past that labeling the jars is essential.  I always think I am going to remember exactly what that is in there, but... not so.  So I came up with a cheap way to quickly label my jars.  I bought a couple of rolls of old adding machine paper for 40 cents a piece.  These I tear up and use as labels.  They are rather narrow, so suit my purpose beautifully.  I store them in an ice cream container that I got while on vacation in Florida.  Nothing special, it just took my fancy.

The glue that I use is home made.  I love that!  How cool is that!  I found this wonderful book in a bookstore.  This is one of the reasons why the Internet will never be enough.  I would never have looked for this book, I hadn't known that something like this existed.  Just found it while browsing.
The Green Guide for artists, by Karen Michel (find out more about her at: is just a really cool book.  It contains a lot of recipes for artist materials, gesso, glue, paint and stuff and I made one of the glue recipes.  I would really like to make the milk paint!  I mean, who knew!  Milk paint!

But the recipe for the glue that I used is really simple recipe and easy to make:
The ingredients are:
Gum arabic
Glycerin (or honey)
Clove oil (or peppermint, lavender, rosemary, lemon or thyme essential oil - these have good preserving qualities)

1. Mix 1 part Gum arabic with hot water.
2. Combine 5 parts of that mix with one part glycerin (or honey)
3. Add 2 drops of essential oil - I used lavender.

Apply with a paintbrush.  This will last about a year.

I use my finger to wet the paper and stick it on the glass jars that I use.  This is not a very strong glue, but perfect for paper and I like it because it is easy to wash off.  I'm so tired of those labels and packaging that require an army and nuclear devices to get off!

The photos: My German grandmother, Ellý in the most ornate frame I found in Urban outfitters. she would have loved it. The pen and ink I bought in the Bronte museum in Haworth and I use it a lot to write notes.  The other photo: My kitchen is overflowing with jars full of herbs and flowers infusing in oils. It works really well to tie muslin over the top.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Local herbs - Chamomile substitute - Matricaria maritima, Sea Mayweed

I have a tendency to look towards warmer countries and bitch and moan about the abundance of plants that grow on other peoples doorsteps.  Just look at Lavender and Rosemary and Thyme.  They grow like weeds in some countries and I'm jealous.  These can all be grown here, but only in the summer and even then, they are not likely to thrive.  Too wet and too cold.  (I have to say I agree.)

I have been interested in gardening for a long time and have mostly liked flowering plants, for their scent and beauty.  Part of the thrill of gardening is the challenge of growing delicate and difficult plants.  When that goes well, success is sweet.  But when one is growing plants to use them, either to eat or to use them in creams or soaps, then everything changes.  The most important thing becomes not to find something exotic, but to find varieties that grow well in this climate.  I now have a small allotment garden and along with the vegetables I grow a few medically beneficial plants.  I inherited some Mint from a German neighbor who also donated a Comfrey plant and gave me some beens to sow.  I have sown Calendula and violas.  Both are good for the skin, so I'm macerating their flower petals to use later.

But what I have realized is that there are so many plants here that grow like weeds (and actually are weeds) that are medicinal and quite wonderful plants.  And I haven't been using them.  The grass is always greener on the other side, isn't it?  One of those underutilized plants is the Sea Mayweed - Baldursbrá.  It grows everywhere and I remember that we used to pick it when I was little and take off the white petals and chant: "He loves me, he loves me not, he loves...."  But I digress.  What I hadn't realized is that this humble plant, which is a close relation to the Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), shares most of the benefits even if it lacks the smell.

I have just picked a bunch of them and they are now drying in the oven on very, very low heat.  I could actually smell a whiff of the essential oils when I opened the oven door.  So I lowered the heat to next to nothing.  I'm so thrilled to have made this discovery and I can't wait to use the dried flowers.  I'm now planning some trips to collect more and dry a bunch for use this winter.  Now is the perfect time, they are at their peak.

As far as I can tell from my research Matricaria maritima has a number of benefits.  Among a host of other things it is anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, it is a mild muscle relaxant, anti-infective and what is most relevant for me: It is good for eczema and dry skin.  The only thing that is seems to lack, that the Chamomile has, is the well known calming and sedative properties.  So I won't try to use it as a late night tea, but I am going to use it instead of regular Chamomile in my Lemony shampoo bar for blondes and see if I notice a difference.  It might also make it's way into a face cream or even a body lotion, now that I have an abundant supply.

The photo: I just love the birdcage that I found. It's obviously homemade from scrap building materials. The colander was a present from my mother. It probably comes from Sweden.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Rebatching again.

Grated soap. I use my stainless steel Eva trio pots for
absolutely everything. They can go in the oven, lid and all.
I'm rebatching my Sea Buckthorn soap.  It has been sitting on the curing rack for a while and it is still too soft.  It's a lovely yellow colour though!  So I want to keep that.  I also have these white soaps that I made to be whipped soaps from hard fats only.  I originally piped them into muffin forms and they were supposed to be very light and fluffy and float on water, but these would make pretty good dwarf bread (this is for Terry Pratchet fans only).  So I thought the two together would average out to a great soap.

I have grated 400 grams of the yellow soap and 200 grams of the white, mixed that in a pot and added about 4 tablespoons of yoghurt and the same of cream.  I stirred it a bit and put it in the oven with a lid on and turned the oven to 95C / 200F.  I stir it every now and again and it is looking good.  Still haven't decided if I'm going to whip it and make muffin soaps or just pour it into a mold.

Adding alkanet infused oil to the grated soap. I use my
kitchenalia, it's not just for show.
Now I have nothing to do but wait and I thought that this might be a good time to grate some more rock hard white soap and experiment with Alkanet.  I have tried that before and didn't have much success.  I was looking for lavender, but it turned a sickly shade of nothing.  Becky at The Soap Sister is doing an Alkanet experiment and I really look forward to reading about the results.  And Jen at Jenora Soaps has also been doing a series of experiments and is now on her third.  It's really interesting to try to crack this Alkanet mystery.

But, anyway, I went to look for a soap to rebatch and found some that looks quite boring, is a bit soft, but has a lot of nice things in it.  So here I go again grating.  This time I'm making a smaller batch and I think I'll grate it smaller.  That is supposed to give better results.  This is turning into a real test!

The alkanet colour in the rebatched soap. It was very grainy.
I have 235 grams of the nice, boring soap and 66 grams of the hard soap.   I have grated that finely and put it into the pot.  I decided to use yoghurt again (I'm out of milk), but no cream, and put about 1/2 cup into the pot and then I poured 4-5 tablespoons of infused Alkanet oil (sunflower) into the pot.  I have had Alkanet root sitting in Sunflower oil for some weeks now.  I just put a tablespoon of the root into a small bottle and filled up with oil.  I figured that if I had it handy I would be able to use it when I wanted, in full strength.

I tried to stir it but it was easier to just put my hands in there and squish it.  It looks and feels like wet rice.  Oh! Magic!  It's turned lavender already.  Maybe it's a little too dark?  Oh well, we'll see.  It's in the oven now on 85C / 185F.  I lowered the heat a bit, thinking that it might be too hot.  But the lid is a definite must.  It keeps the moisture in.  It takes over an hour, maybe two to get it to melt to the consistency I want.  I stir it a bit every now and again as I check it.  It doesn't froth at all.  I had read somewhere that that could be a problem.

The yellow one, on the other hand was very smooth.
The yellow has melted together pretty well and looks gelled so I have poured it into a log mold.  It's a bit lumpy like rebatch tends to be, but the colour is an even yellow, so I'm pretty happy with that.  I decided not to bother with a piping bag this time.  I've never done a rebatch without whipping it, so doing it this way is new to me.  I didn't add any scent to this as I can still smell the Sea Buckthorn and I like that scent.

I just found some lavender EO to put into the smaller batch and I picked out a silicone mould to use for it.  It's like half spheres.  I've never used it, but...  Now I just wait for the soap to melt...  I'm really tempted to whip the small batch...  I just don't want to bother with the mess of the piping bag, so maybe I should just put it into the molds as is...  Yep, finally it's done.  It looks a bit darker than I wanted.  I should have measured the amount that I used more carefully.  I add the EO by putting some in a bit of Sunflower oil and stir it into to the gelled soap when it has cooled a little bit.  And then I put it into the silicone mould.  The soap is gelled and a funny consistency.  Squishy.  The lavender somehow doesn't look as good a the yellow one.  Maybe rebatched soap looks better when it is a light colour.

As far as I can tell the yellow soap is lovely, but the lavender is too dark and b... ugly.  I'll have to rebatch them again and whip them into shape :)

Sombre colours

I bought this fantastic linen yarn on a cone. It was quite fine and I usually like chunky yarns to knit.  But I love linen and this was a...