I'm happy to say that my second batch of cold process soap came out (and I mean really came out) much better than my first. My husband built this soap mould for me. It's not very big - 107.something cubic inches, which holds about 4 pounds or so of soap. At this point, however, that's all I want to make in a batch.
Beginning soapmakers are supposed to keep it simple - lye, easily obtained oils, water and maybe scent. We're not supposed to be jazzing up our combinations of oils, using liquids other than water or trying to achieve fancy patterns and effects. I got a little crazy with this batch. First, I opted for goat's milk in place of the water. I had it nice and slushy, and it still turned orange. Then I combined my oils, including shea butter and cocoa butter for super hardness and superior moisturizing. I got to trace in no time!
My new ultramarine violet powder colorant was burning a hole in the colorant shelf, so I had to use it somehow, someway. I pulled a little soap out, colored it, then went to work on the swirls. Fast forward a bit until we're at the next day. The soap has set up completely and is ready to come out of the mould. I cut it into bars, and the swirls impressed me deeply. The majority of the soap is still sort of orangish yellow from the lye/goat's milk mixture. The soap still will clean well, though.
The History Lesson
3 weeks ago