I made another batch of lye soap over the weekend, and it’s looking good. This is the same basic recipe as the last batch, with one added ingredient. I put citronella essential oils into the mix right before I poured it. This will give the soap a citronella fragrance that will make it useful in the late spring & summer for warding off biting insects.
I also did one other thing that I’m rather proud of – I used some small ice cube trays to make “sample size” bars of this batch of soap. I thought that if people could try it and liked it, I might have more regular customers.
Speaking of which, I found out that I do have 2 regular customers of the soap I’ve been selling through a local shop. One is a mother who’s son has a serious skin condition, and can’t use commercial “soap” at all. I was told that she raves about my base soap, and reports that his skin condition is actually improving since they started using the lye soap I make. Yes, that is a huge grin you’d see on my face if you were looking at me right now. The other customer is the proprietor of the store who is selling the soaps, who has serious allergies and can’t tolerate most commercial fragrances (that are based on chemicals, not essential oils).
Who’d have thought you could make a difference in the quality of other people’s lives by making lye soap?
I realized that I have a few incomplete notices I’ve tossed out and then left you hanging over, so I thought I’d close the ones I can.
1. The cheese slicer I ordered last Friday – arrived Monday morning. Since I payed only standard shipping, that has to be something close to a world record. Naturally, I left excellent feedback for the seller.
2. It took so long for the window company to install the window we ordered last October that we now have almost all the money we need in savings to cover the NEXT window we order. Hopefully it won’t take so long this time. We’re still scratching our heads over whether or not to wait until we can get 2 windows at the same time.
3. We’ve almost got everything we need to get our income tax filing taken care of. As usual, we anticipate a refund, hopefully enough to cover getting our porch tuckpoint work done, and the columns rebuilt. This will be the single biggest house project we’ve done all at one time, but since it is the porch, there doesn’t seem to be any alternative.
I ordered a new wire-guillotine cheese slicer yesterday, but it won’t be used for cheese. I am getting this one because it was big enough to handle cutting the soap when I make bar soap in our new molds. I’m expecting this to make the finished bars look more uniform in size and shape – a bit of a more professional product. Anyhow, I needed something that would handle making an 8 1/2″ cut across the soap, so I needed the largest cheese slicer I could find on eBay. It cost me $29 with free standard shipping, and should arrive by midweek next week.
Just an update on the recent batch of bar soap I made. The bars are now out of the molds – and turned out to be the best batch I’ve made yet. The new molds work wonderfully.
As I said before, this batch has no special fats or scents, it’s just old-fashioned lye-and-lard soap. The yield was 29 bars that are roughly equal size. I have to set some aside for our own use, but I can make 20 of them available for sale to anyone who is interested. I’ll sell them for $6 each and I’ll cover the postage. They will make excellent gifts – especially if you have someone close to you with dye or perfume allergies!
Leave a message in the comments if you want any, and I’ll work out the payment arrangements with you.
I made another batch of home-made lye soap yesterday. There were two reasons for this:
1. We were running low on soap for showers, and it takes a month for the soap to cure before it is ready to use.
2. We got some new soap molds and I wanted to see how well they work with my soap recipe, since I don’t do melt-and-pour soaps.
This was a rushed batch, so I didn’t take the time to measure out some of the “extras” that I usually use, like the coconut oil or other natural additives. Instead, this is straight lard-and-lye, the oldest and purest form of soap known to man. So far, it’s looking good, even with the new molds. I’ll know more in a week when it’s time to pop the bars out of the molds.
Update on my computer: No, it is most certainly not a cooling fan. My techie/guru gave me a couple of CD’s to run tests on the memory and the hard drives – it’s most likely one or the other of those. Oh, joy!
Believe it or not, this active political and spiritual commentator is also a DIY soap maker. I’ve made all of our bar soap for the last 2 1/2 years. A couple of days ago, I ventured into liquid hand soap. I would have blogged sooner, but I wanted to see how well it worked. The results are in – it’s effective, easy, and smells great! Here’s the recipe I used:
Liquid Dish/hand soap
- 8 oz. Castile Soap (unscented – you can buy larger quantities for bulk discount, and save it)
- 2 tsp. White Vinegar
- 2 tsp. Washing Soda
- 1/4 tsp scented essential oil (optional, your pick of scent if desired. For this test batch, I used Lavender, which smells dreamy!)
- 1 glass/ceramic bottle with pump or squirt handle
Combine 1 cup hot water with other ingredients in a mixing bowl, and whisk together until well blended. Allow ample time to cool, whisking occasionally to ensure the mixture stays combined. (Note: I used a light plastic mixing bowl, and let it set on the counter until the outside of the bowl was cool to the touch, stirring every 5 minutes. It took about 20 minutes to cool).
Using a funnel, slowly pour into pump bottle for use.
FYI – this batch actually made more soap than what the pump bottle I had could hold – so it was a good thing that the 8 oz. Castile Soap came in a glass pump-handle bottle, too. I put the extra soap in it, and moved it to the bathroom! BONUS!
UPDATE 7/26/2014: After careful consideration, I would not recommend using pump-handle soap bottles. A snap-top squeeze/pour type of bottle would be better, as pump handles seem to be poorly made and develop leaks quickly, which leads to additional mess on your counters and sinks.