Saturday, March 26, 2011


The embroidery is a baby's duvet cover that my mother
made when she was expecting.  She says her mother made
her do it.  I'm glad because it is pretty.  The little bowl was
a gift from the artist and the tiny pearls are my sister in laws.
She makes very pretty necklaces and bracelets.
When I was little my mom always made vanilla ice cream for Christmas.  She made it in the ice cube tray without the inserts.  The tray was bog standard and not pretty at all,but she always used real vanilla corns.  That ice cream, naturally, had the holy taste of Christmas.  Just absolutely heavenly.  Homemade vanilla ice cream just can not be topped.  I have always hated to throw the used pods.  I just knew there was a use for them even if I hadn't thought of it.  Of course there is lots that can be done with it.  In powdered sugar it becomes vanilla sugar that is used in cake recipes and in alcohol it turns into vanilla essence.  I am now furiously trying to find excuses to buy vanilla so I can make something nice from them.  I also have this wonderful oil that I put cut up used vanilla pods into and now it is a lovely smelling oil that I rub on as a body oil.

I love the sweet and warm scent so I have been wanting to make Vanilla soap for ages and finally went ahead.  I wasn't quite the succcess I hoped, but it does smell lovely.  I had this vanilla in glycerin and it was dark brown.  I figured it would make a very dark soap so I thought I'd try to see how my white soap gratings would turn out in a dark brown base.  I also wanted to experiment with a cocoa line which I think Tiggy at FuturePrimitive  was the first one, at least she does it expertly. So the plan was to have a darker bottom with a cocoa line and then above that a white line!  How cool.  And on top  of the I would have a lighter layer of soap with the white soap shavings and I would have a bit of white soap for decoration.  I wanted to see what finely grated soap shavings would look like in a soap.  I wasn't thrilled that my Confetti soap resembled Spam just a tad too much.

I love the way those dollops almost look like flowers.
Well, that was the plan.  I thought that by using powdered sugar I could get an white line!  I should have known better, of course the sugar just melts.  Why I didn't try TD I don't' know.  But anyway the result was a soap that falls apart.  But I wiped away the sugary mess and pressed the two halves together and they managed to stick together, at least long enough to be photographed.  But all was not lost.  I just used the bottoms to make scrolls and squirls to use as decoration later.  I have to say that I'm still disappointed (and always will be) that it's not possible to make a pure white Vanilla soap.  I guess it's the memory of the creamy white Christmas ice cream with the tiny little dots that tasted so good.  But the top on this soap is pretty, with the white blobs looking a bit like roses (I stirred them with a toothpick).  So I think I'm liking this one, even if it fell apart.

I am just about to try it out properly in the bath.  I did try the off cuts when it was fresh and it was promising.  But here is the recipe.

40% Olive oil
25% Coconut oil
15% Lard
15% Cocoa butter
5% Rape seed oil

Water 33%
5% superfat

I used Vanilla with just a touch of Palmarose, Rosewood and Ylang Ylang to take away the cloying sweetness that pure vanilla can have.  I also used both sugar and silk in the lye solution and that should make for a good and silky lather.

So I'm off to have a nice long soap in tub.  The weather is miserable, rainy and feels even colder than when it snows.  So the warm and comforting scent of the vanilla is going to be lovely and I'll finish with a my precious vanilla oil and dream of spring.  At least the snow is melting.


  1. Your batch of vanilla soap looks absolutely perfect. And your writing makes me hungry for vanilla--I can smell it from here!

  2. Hola Ambra, si puedes hacer jabon de vainilla blanco, con macerado en aceite este permanece casi del mismo color, te quedo muy lindo el jabon.

  3. Ambra, Looks rusticly wonderful. Did you use Vanilla EO or CO2? Or Vanilla Extract? Does the Vanilla scent come through in the soap? xo Jen

  4. your vanilla soap looks amazing,i love the way you describe feelings, items,colours, atmosphere,ingredients, makes reading your blog so much more real!

  5. Thank guy, for you comments.
    Jen, I used a Vanilla in glycerin that I got from the Soap Kitchen. The scent comes through the soap as a lovely mild and warm scent. It doesn't scream like rosemary and peppermint :) I've never tried CO2, but I've thought about buying some. I guess those are more concentrated.

  6. I loved your vanilla soap.
    Congratulations on the result.
    Kisses from Brazil,

  7. I'd like to try out a natural vanilla in soap as well. I just got Dreaming Tree's Voluptas soap in the mail yesterday and it's finally warming up and throwing the most wonderful vanilla scent. Mmmm. I think yours looks fantastic, and I'm sure the next batch will be positively perfect.

  8. Hi Ambra, Boy the top of that soap makes me think of shredded coconut on German Chocolate icing....yummmmm. I've used (ridiculously expensive) vanilla absolute in HP soap with some success, but have been looking for a natural option for CP soap. Does it seem to come through well? I've seen "vanilla infusions" that claim to not hold up in the CP, but I'm excited about the vanilla glycerin. Thanks for sharing, my dear!

  9. Ambra, I looked for the Vanilla Infused the Soap Kitchen you're referring to in the UK? I've googled and still can't find anyone here in the states offering it. :(

  10. Thank you Amy. I hope :)
    Becky, I'm sending you info.

  11. Oh I'm dying over your mom's homemade ice cream. It sounds heavenly. I like the photo of your Vanilla soap and the blend sounds great.


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