Lupine soap - looking for lime green, but no such luck!

It isn't often that I'm lost for words.  Some members of my family would say that is impossible.  I talk a lot.  I just seem to deal with things verbally.  But now I feel stunned.  I just don't know what to say.  I probably shouldn't even mention it.  I mean I'm sure to offend someone if I admit to wanting to take a baseball bat and give my husband a good whack on the head.  Don't get me wrong, I love him dearly.  But what is it with men that makes them live life in a way that can only be described as:  Suicide by lifestyle?  So there!  Now I've said it.  I feel better all ready.  (And he is slowly regaining his health and way to frail to be able to take a whack on the head.  So I just give him a kiss every now and again.  It measurably improves his oxygen saturation.)

I did make a soap while he was in the hospital.  I woke up in the middle of the night and got this strong urge to visit him.  Which I did.  I have learned always to listen to such urges.  When I got back home I was still wide awake and decided to make a soap using the leftover Lupine decoction I had from dyeing earlier.

Lupine is an alien in Icelandic nature.  It was originally imported as a soil improving plant, because it has the ability to bind nitrogen in the soil.  Unfortunately it is a thug, colonizing large areas of land and in the process it eradicates the more delicate native species.  Instead of 20 species cohabiting, we now have this one.  Very showy, but a poor substitute for the local Flora.  But since it gives a very lovely lime green when used as a dye plant I've sort of semi-forgiven it.  And at least by picking the flowers, I can prevent it from setting seed and spreading even further.  So that is a satisfying, if quiet, revenge.

Lupine flowers make the most wonderful dye.  One would think that they would produce a blue or a purple, but they give the most wonderful lime green colours to both protein (wool, silk) and cellulose (cotton) fibers.  Naturally, I wondered if I could get the ever elusive green colour in soap by using Lupine decoction.  It would have been so much fun.  But it didn't work.  Instead I got this quite soft yellow.  Not bad, but not green.  I fully intend to try it again and use lower temperatures next time to see if that makes any difference.  Since I made this soap in the middle of the night and was quite tired, I didn't bother to wait for anything to cool down much, so I soaped this one at unusually high temperature (130F instead of the more usual 90F) and that may have had an effect on the colour.  I'm also pretty sure that the temperature is the reason it seized on me, but I did get it into the mold alright, in spite of that.

Lupine soap

Olive oil 40% 200g / 7oz
Coconut oil 30% 150g / 5.3oz
Grapeseed oil 10% 50g / 1.8oz
Rapeseed oil 10% 50g / 1.8oz
Cocoa butter 10% 50g / 1.8oz

Water 33% 165g / 5.8oz (this was water that I had simmered Lupine flowers in for an hour)
Lye 70g / 2.5 oz

I added some lavender and Cubea Litsea EO for scent and that smells lovely.  Lupine doesn't have any scent itself.

I was thinking as I made this soap, tired at five o'clock in the morning how amazingly relaxing it is to make soap.  I realized that I now relax by making something, creating something rather than trying to relax by laying down on a couch like I used to.  And what a wonderful way to relax.  And have fun at the same time.  Naturally.


  1. I sooooo appreciate that you post your soap recipes. For us newbies (8 months now) who are still in the learning curve it really helps. Many Many thanks

  2. When I was a child I liked to pick huge bundles of the often very high grown lupines. Thank god, in Germany they fit rather well in the ecological system.
    The yellow colour they give to the soap is really very decent. I wonder how the colour looks with wool.
    I hope Your husband is well again and don't hit him too hard ;-)

  3. Donna - I post my recipes because I too was a beginner not so long ago and feel so grateful to all the women who shared theirs with me :)

    Petra - The yarn in the photo is dyed with Lupine. The strong yellow colour on the rope roving is from the leaves and the lime green (both rope roving and the spun fine yarn) is from the flowers. I also dyes some white cut-offs and got a nice green colour.

  4. What a great post, Ambra. No offense taken here! ;) Hope Hubby is doing better each day. Sorry the Lupine didn't color the way you hoped -I'm sure the soap is fabulous anyway. Have you noticed any difference/benefit from it's addition otherwise?

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  6. What a strong girl you are Ambra!! I was tempted to give that baseball bat whack last year and also understand how hard it is to see loved ones in the hospital. I wish your husband a speedy recovery and send positive thoughts your way.
    I learnt something from you today (well I learn something from every post of yours) relax by making something! :)

  7. I hope hubby is better soon!

    I just wanted to let you know that you have been nominated for "The Versatile Blogger Award" by me~

  8. Very cool recipe and blog post (you didn't whach him on the head just yet I hope).

    In my area lupins often grow all over the place as well, and although I don't think it is an ugly flower per se many people don't like them. However, if it's a choice between them and dandelions... ;-)

  9. The scent of lupines is heavenly!


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