I started this blog as a soap blog, but I have many other interests. Lately I have not made as many soaps as I used to, but I have become more interested in natural dyeing and old handiwork. You may also see posts about gardening, baking, DIY and anything else that takes my fancy.
Orange for fall
Orange really isn't my colour at all. I look like death warmed over, if I attempt to wear it, while my daughter on the other hand, simply glows. But it is a beautiful vibrant colour that is both happy and energetic. And it is the undisputed colour of fall.
I didn't set out to make an orange soap. I have been wanting to do a yellow one since early this year. I was longing for spring and wanted the warm golden yellow that I got from Annatto once. So I infused Annatto seeds and expected them to turn the oil a golden yellow overnight. It didn't. I'm still waiting. Then I thought of the left over unrefined palm oil that is in my cupboards and decided to use that. I just had to try palm oil once so I bought it even if the environmental effects are questionable. Since I bought it I might as well use it up, there is no reason to waste it.
And then, as I was selecting my ingredients I looked at the infused rhubarb oil and decided to blend it in and see if I would get orange. So thus this orange soap. It was fall after all.
It is a rather small recipe, 500 g / 18 oz. 5% super fat, water 38% lye 70 g / 2.5 oz (but run through a calculator be be sure)
Coconut oil 26% 130 g / 4.6 oz
Rapeseed oil 20% 100 g / 3.5 oz
Lard 20% 100 g / 3.5 oz
Palm oil 14% 70 g / 2.5 oz - Unrefined yellow
Olive oil 10% 50 g / 1.8 oz
Cocoa butter 4% 20 g/ 0.7 oz
Castor oil 3% 15 g/ 0.5 oz
Sunflower oil 3% 15 g/ 0.5 oz - Rhubarb infused
The water was yellow from infusion with Weld, a well known dye plant. I added Sweet orange, Ylang ylang and Litsea cubea for scent. It traced really quickly and I had to jam it into the mold. It also heated up quite a bit so I threw it into the freezer after I decorated it with some dried plant material that was lying around in the kitchen.
It has cured now and it looks like a really nice hard soap. The lather is rich and creamy and soft. I have found that the soaps that I put lard in are my favorite soaps. I also like to put a bit of castor oil, so that I can use it for my hair if I want to. And that makes for a nice soft lather.
The soap has retained it's orange colour except on the top which has turned a bit pink. The Rhubarb will not be subdued :).
I have made four really unpresentable T shirts come alive using Eco dying. I love doing the process. It's really easy to do and it's fun. I learned a lot by reading India Flynt's book Eco Colour (which I of course bought in the end).
What is needed is a piece of fabric, some string, a collection of leaves and flowers and a small branch from a tree or a bush, ideally slightly smaller than you largest pot. Since this dyeing is not done with harmful materials it is ok to use your regular pots, but should you decide to start to dye it is generally recommended to have a separate pot for that.
Take an old T-shirt (or a brand new one if you want or any other piece of cloth for that matter, but not synthetic). I used a dropper to put some Iron water and Copper water spots on the fabric, but that is not necessary. And be aware that Copper water is poisonous so I do not suggest you use that. Making Iron water is easy though, just put some rusty object into a jar filled with …
I've been meaning to get some potassium hydroxide to make liquid soap. I would like to make my own dishwashing liquid and also a liquid handsoap. Both for me and my daughter who requested some. The problem is, I have to buy another 25 kg of the stuff and truthfully, I think that really is overkill. I just want to try the stuff, not set up a production line, for crying out loud! So I always read a bit wistfully about liquid soap, the ingredients are basically the same and method isn't complicated. It's just a question of getting my hands on a tiny amount of the other lye.
I've even thought about grating some soap and diluting it with water to see if that can be used in a soap pump, but never got around to doing it. So I was thrilled when I came accross a recipe for liquid soap that listed good old NaOH rather than KOH as an ingredient. I was a bit skeptical at first, thinking that it might just be a mistake. It actually turned out to have been one, but it was …
I've been intrigued by Sugar scrub cubes since I first saw them, but my distaste for Melt and Pour bases (at least the ones that are sold here) has precluded me from making them. Apparently they could only be made using that. Oh, the hardship of being a fanatic! But I had been thinking that since I melt soap to rebatch soap, surely regular handmade soap could be used for those. Not wanting to reinvent the wheel I started to search the Internet and found the answer on Mayren Abashed's blog: Mayren's Sugar Scrub Cubes using CP/HP Soap shreds the 1-2-3's Method.
She, somewhat ingeniously, had come up with a simple recipe that I had to try. Her sugar cubes are actually cubes, they look great and she makes them in wonderful colours and adds scent to them. Me, being the way I am (and not having a cube mold also), made ... well I decided to call them dollops rather than blobs, although that would describe them too. And I make them scent free also, since I just want…