31 January 2009
The other night, one of our cats had gotten spooked by a loud noise and, being the very vocal calico that she is, spent the next few hours making us aware of her displeasure. (Yes, I'm going somewhere with this.) Hubby was quite impressed that she was able to hiss and eat at the same time. Finally I went outside and found some freeze-dried catnip in the pot on the porch. Ahhhhh... Stoned cats don't growl, hiss or scream, so quiet returned. Well, when one cat's in a crabby mood, the other picks up on it, so the other cat was also letting us know how upset she was that her sister was in a, well, catty mood. Unfortunately, that cat prefers expressing her displeasure by peeing on clothes, namely mine. The victims this time were a dress and my red satin, fleece-lined VS bathrobe.
Now my point... The red robe went in with the darks, and instead of using the All liquid that hubby had bought while we were waiting for soap to dry out, I dumped all the rest of the first batch of homemade laundry soap into the machine (barely eking out the 2 tablespoons needed). He says the true test of how good the stuff is is how well it gets his nastiest work uniforms clean (so far so good). I put it up against cat pee, and when I moved the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, there wasn't the least little hint of cat pee. It really, really worked!
Finally my shreds from the soap I'd made for laundry last week had dried out enough that I could grind them to powder. That soap will get a body clean, but it has no skin-conditioning properties at all. Anyway, I did my 2 parts soap to 1 part washing soda to 1 part Borax, and it's great. I had wanted to add a bit of essential oil, but all the ones I'd want to use I can't right now, so I just left it unscented. The mixture (using just 3 bars of soap) made 4 cups of laundry soap - very natural, very environmentally friendly laundry soap. The beautiful part is, I've still got 5 bars of that soap leftover, along with some excess powdered soap from today's batch. Each full load only uses 2 tablespoons of the mixture, so figure 2 tablespoons per ounce, and 4 cups is equal to approximately 32 ounces, so for maybe $2.00 or so, I've got soap to do 32 loads of laundry upstairs right now, ready to go. I'm so excited, because this is a little way I get to use my talent and savvy to save my family some beaucoups bucks over the course of a year, and do my part to help preserve our natural resources.
25 January 2009
I will continue to carry most of my existing "fancy" glycerin soaps - cats, flip flops, the funky sliced soaps and so forth. Those are delightfully creative endeavors for me, so I won't give them up. I've added a purely charming soap to my website, Be Joyful! Be Joyful! is a fun smiley face glycerin soap bearing the utterly uniquely feminine scent of the same name. Be Joyful! was the first Sara's Soaps 'n Such exclusive fragrance creation, and now, 7 years later, it continues to appeal to customers. You can just see yourself smiling back at it, can't you? You can't help it; it's that cheery. I gave a bar of this to a friend of mine one day last year, and she told me it still sits in the soap dish by her sink so it can give her a lift first thing in the morning. C'mon! Give it a try! Let it lift your spirits, too.
22 January 2009
Here it is, after 11, but I couldn't go to bed without installing the patch to fix it. It's repaired now and all ready for you. I'm sorry for the interruption in your browsing and shopping experience. If you ever notice a glitch on the site, please contact me through Blogger, because I don't always check the condition of my site.
16 January 2009
My goodies were 4 pounds of potash (potassium hydroxide) and phenolphthalein solution. Potash is a caustic that is used to make liquid soap. It forms long crystals, unlike sodium hydroxide which produces shorter ones. Of course, I just couldn't wait. Hey, once my base oils were inventoried and audited, they became fair game! I pulled out my soapmaking book and read the instructions yet again. I consulted with others who've made liquid soap. I created my formula in SoapMaker and stared at it, tweaked it a bit and made sure my finished product would be as lovely as I want it to be. Then I got started.
Making liquid soap is a hot process method, which is good and bad. Good, because once it's done, it's done and can be used almost immediately. Bad, because it takes a looooooong time to make. I spent 45 minutes waiting for my oils to melt in the crockpot (following the directions here, and it saves some dishes). I didn't think it'd EVER come to trace, so that was a bit of a wait (or maybe I was just being impatient, or my arm was getting tired). Now I'm about 2/3 of the way through the 3-hour cooking process. At some point in all this, too, there was an email to my mom, the retired chemist, who couldn't remember exactly what shade of pink phenolphthalein turns on a pH of 10 +/- 0.5. It was a long shot, but I thought I'd try. I'm sure I'll have the answer in a little over an hour.
So, now I'm waiting and am using my 30-minute intervals to get caught up on some stuff. So far I've gotten dishes done and bills paid, plus I encountered this delightfully friendly customer service rep at Stamps.com when I called about my account. I've talked with my hubby and thumbed through the mail. I may even be able to squeeze in time to write a letter to one of our nephews (from the cool aunt who helped teach him how to shoot pool). Not bad for a frigidly cold Friday.
I don't know when the soap will be available for purchase. There's some debate on whether or not it needs a preservative. This fan of things all natural is hoping not, but my gut's telling me it will, just because of the extra water that gets added to the paste. To preserve or not to preserve, that is the question. If only Hamlet had put that blasted skull down and answered a question that'd actually HELP me in this! Not wanting to give up my all-natural product if I can help it, but also wanting to err on the side of caution if it does need a preservative, I'm going to do what any responsible soapmaker would do and have both formulas tested. Then once I get those results, I'll be able to proceed from there.
09 January 2009
Deep breath... Hold it... Click the "refresh" icon... Wait for it... Whew! There's my upper bar, the logo, the product pics... It loaded! Yea! Oh, wait. There it is. My newly redone side box sporting the white, green and peach logo of the Guild. Woohoo!!! That was my big accomplishment for yesterday.
Today's not-so-little thrill came when my daughter, who's in kindergarten, brought home her second term report card. Looking at the grades and marks is great enough, but then I saw the teacher's comments, telling her Dad and I that she "continues to excel in all academic areas." Woohoo! We'd been concerned because her primary teacher hasn't been there since before Thanksgiving and she'd lost a lot of her enthusiasm for going to school and doing homework. We're so glad to see she's excelling, despite the interruption in her classroom.
04 January 2009
This time when I soaped Oakmoss Sandalwood, I decided, instead of my usual in the pot (ITP) swirl, I'd give another shot at funnel swirling. Funnel swirling is enjoyable with cool, Art Deco-ish results, but it requires the soap behaving from beginning to end. It cannot thicken, accelerate or seize; it must stay at a lighter trace. Obviously, if I know this, then you can infer that I've had soap not behave when I've tried to funnel swirl it before. (One experience in this led to the birth of the "Murdered Mardi Gras Clown" soap, aka "Visions of Sugar Plums.")
I had the joy of slicing the Oakmoss Sandalwood soap this afternoon, and it's the prettiest funnel swirl I've done. I'm not bragging that this is *the* most gorgeous funnel swirl soap out there; I have a soap bud who's made some beautiful funnel swirls. I'm pleased with it. This first picture is a cross-section of the soap, and you can really see the swirls in the block.
These little gems will be ready by the end of the month, and the wait will be well worth it. Oakmoss Sandalwood is a sexy, masculine fragrance with an earthy, musky, fresh, green scent. It's become my favorite masculine fragrance, and my five-year-old daughter has pronounced it "Yuuuuuummmmyyyyyy!" You can go ahead and put an order in for yours today with the understanding it's back-ordered until it's cured.
Right now my goal is to restock those soaps I've sold out of. Generally, to be honest, making not-new stuff really isn't that exciting, but I've had time to play, so that's made it worthwhile. First, I soaped Ooh La La-vender, my goat's milk and lavender soap. I have to be careful with some of my fragrances currently, so hubby's been great about helping me out. One rule I maintain is, everyone who is in any way involved with making soap must wear the appropriate safety gear, including gloves and safety goggles. Peter, however, thinks my safety goggles look dorky, so I let him improvise.
Wouldn't ya know it, lavender is one of those scents I have to be wary of, so he was helping me with Ooh La La-vender on this particular day. I made up the base soap and set up the color (ultramarine violet), then he came in, added the scent, mixed the color into part of the soap and poured it into the mould. This was his first time attempting a swirl of any kind, and I could only instruct from afar, so he was almost on his own. Friday night we sliced the loaf, and we were both thrilled at how beautifully our joint endeavor turned out.
Aren't these awesome??? This is the third batch of this soap I've done, and the first time, my soap, the non-purple part, was orangish-brown from the goat's milk having burned a little in the saponification process. The second batch was a bit better; the non-purple part was light tan. This, though... When I saw how creamy the goat's milk part was, I was awed! I'm really excited to be offering these to you, and they'll be ready for purchase at the end of January after they've finished curing. Of course, they smell FaNtAsTiC! There's a lavender-scented aura around my curing rack that captures our noses every time we walk past it.
01 January 2009
First, there's Ocean, a bright, crisp unisex soap that's just as nourishing for your skin as it is stimulating for your senses. This soap features a white, blue and green funnel swirl and no two are exactly alike.
Then there's this gem of the desert - Desert Sands, a warm, earthy, exotic, sensual blend of essential and fragrance oils, exclusive to Sara's Soaps 'n Such. Top notes of vanilla and sandalwood give way to bottom notes of patchouli and ylang ylang - very much a delicious, masculine scent. Now for the soap itself... A luxurious blend of nourishing, moisturizing oils that will be a treat for even winter-dry skin.