My arms are shaking

I made butter today.  Yes, I made butter, as in butter for toast.  I saw this video on YouTube and had to try it for myself. 

I totally forgot to leave the cream out to let it sour so mine came out of the fridge, so it was cold.  I was shaking and shaking and shaking for 20 minutes before it finally started to separate the butter from the buttermilk.  My arms are now shaky and tired.  But I did make butter!  Since I didn't let it sour the butter is pretty plain tasting so I did add a little salt and it's a really nice homemade butter!!  It's a light cream color and not the yellow that you see in store bought butters.  Most of the yellow color in those butters are added coloring.  There are some variations in butter colors depending on what the animal eats, but usually natural butter isn't super yellow. 

Anyway, I think next time I'll let the cream sour.  Having the cream at room temperature will make the process go much faster and the sour tang will give the butter and buttermilk some more flavor.  I have to let my forearm muscles recover before I try this again. 

Recovering from yesterdays Excel blunder!

So yes, I was able to reconstruct my data base, sort of.  I lost all of my comments, but I don't think I had too many.  What I really want is the list of recipes and fragrances that were used with each batch and the date that the batches were made.  I am so glad that I had this blog to reference!  It is my soap diary; my journal!  I don't care if no one reads it.  It can be for me and me alone.  It has already served a very useful purpose!!  If it helps anyone else – YAY!! 

Take home message – MAKE BACK-UPS of your files. DO NOT ASSUME you will remember to hit SAVE AS instead of SAVE.  So if you're going to do any kind of huge modification to a document make a copy of it and use the copy to screw around.   HOLY SMIHOLY did my eyes become huge saucers when I realized too late what button I had clicked. 

Anyway,  I feel better today.  All was not lost.

So, assuming I was able to reconstruct all or at least most of my database, I have made 106 pounds of soap!!  Wow, that's a lot of soap!  And I have had and am still having lots of fun doing it! 


One wrong click of a button and data goes bye bye!! 

So, I have a database on my computer on Excel which lists what soap formula I used, what fragrance I used, the date that the soap was made, and any notes or comments.  Well, I decided to start a similar one for Lotion making.  So I took my soap one deleted all the info except for the heading and column titles.  I started to fill in my two entries for my lotions.  And then I hit SAVE, not SAVE AS, but SAVE.  Yup, that's right I just wiped out all my data since November 2009!  O H  M Y  G O D !!!!  This list is really important to me because it's my soap making history.

So, I have, for the past 4 hours tried to extrapolate my list.  I have some printed recipes, I have some soap labels with ingredients and fragrances listed.  I have an old list of half of 2010 productions.  And I have my blog.  Tediously, I was able to re-create my database.  I have lost all of the comments that I made regarding each batch.  Bugger!!  At least I was able to get the recipes down and the dates of creation.  Whew!  At least not ALL was lost.

Molto bene!

I made my second batch of lotion.  This time I used citric acid in stead of cider vinegar.  Oh so much better!  I left it unfragranced.  So it smells of honey at first which fades nicely.  It's a very creamy recipe that is not greasy.  Ooooo…  I think this is another bath and body product that I could get into!

What's up next for experimentation?

I've experimented with different soap recipes and additives.  Animal fats, different vegetable fats, and different liquids – coffee, beer, animal milks.  I don't think I'm a big fan of animal milk soaps at least for unfragranced.  They have a faint 'barn yardy' smell.  A kind of grass, hay, earthy smell when I use it in the shower.  Animal fats make a nice soap, but I think I'm going to try to stick to vegetable fats.  Not that I'm vegan or even vegetarian, but I don't see a super need to use animal fats.   It's always there as an option if I want to use it in the future. 

So what's up next?  I would like to try coconut milk for the liquid.  I can't imagine it would have that same 'barn yardy' smell as animal milks.  Or actually any non-animal milks (almond, rice, soy, etc) would be worth a try.  I'd like to also try pureed carrots or cucumber.  Those might be interesting additives.

I took a look at the Key Lime Pie Soaps.  The tops are continuing to turn more brown while everywhere else seems to be keeping it's color.  It's been 2 weeks.  I think it's really interesting that only the tops are turning brown like the tops have a fine dusting of cocoa powder.  Will the vanilla color stabilizer continue to work with the rest of the soap?   Hmm…. stay tuned. 

First time

I LOVE the Woodfield molds!  My bastile soaps came out so easily from the silicone mold.  Smooth edges, a nice satin feel.  I used my Tank cutter.  Yay!  Cuts so easy! Every cut is even and straight.  Ahhhh…..  Interesting though the wire cut produces a pebbly surface.  A knife leaves a smooth cut surface, but the wire doesn't.  I think it drags through the soap more and leaves a slightly textured surface and light swoosh marks arc across the surface.  I don't think I mind that much though.  I think I would prefer a smooth surface, but to be able to cut even and consistently is more important to me.  I don't do huge production work, but I do love how quickly the Tank cuts!

The bastile soaps turned out great!  The pomace OO produces a slightly darker bar.  But they are plenty firm.  The lye calculator says it will be hardness of 15 and cleansing of 0, but don't believe that.  Castile and bastiles are plenty hard.  At 8 hours after making the soap my bastile soaps are not mushy or soft.  In fact, after a good cure they are bricks!  And yes, they do indeed cleanse.  They are, afterall, still soap.  They don't lather as much and are kind of “slimy” when wet, but they are a very mild soap. 

Yeah, I definitely think the pomace olive oil I had last time was adulterated with some other oil.  My current pomace bastile feels nothing like the soap I made last time.  I'll not purchase that pomace olive oil again.

Bastile Soap and Lotion and taking classes

I made some Bastile soap today (Bastardized Castile Soap) 90% Olive Oil and 10% Castor Oil.  I made one pound of bastile made from light olive oil and one pound made from pomace olive oil.  I wanted to see the difference.  In the past I used light olive oil and the soap turned out a nice white color, really nice.  I also made it using pomace olive oil before.  But I think the pomace olive oil I used was adulterated (mixed up with some other oil).  The soap never really hardened and is kinda weird. 

So, I made more of the light olive oil batch and trying out a different pomace olive oil.  I also used my new Woodfield double mold.  No color, no fragrance.  One of the mildest soaps one can make.  It's in the oven right now.  CPOP.  I warmed to 170F, but just turned it off once I put the molds into the oven.  Once the soap comes out the molds I will try out my new Tank cutter!  Exciting!!  Using my new goodies.

I have been using my OOH cider vinegar lotion. And… yeah… too much of a vinegar smell for me.  Next time I'll definitely use citric acid instead.  But I have this vinegar batch.  I have read that some people have used citrous fragrances with this lotion.  So I mixed some Sparkling Grapefruit and Orange Peel FOs and it's better.  Doesn't totally cover the vinegar smell, but it's much better.

I think I'm going to take some classes at Nova Studios in Richmond Point, CA.  They have a couple of classes in March that I find interesting: 3 Types of Body Butters and Healing Balms and Salves.  Sounds like fun!

My first lotion and coconut oil in the hair

So, I made lotion for the first time.  I used a super simple recipe from, which is a fabulous place to get information regarding soap making and other bath and body products. 

It was really cool and easy to do!  This particular recipe called for among other things olive oil and honey, so it's OOH Lotion!    The recipe also called for cider vinegar.  Well,  the finished product still smells of vinegar (which I was warned about) with a little honey.  The recipe had an alternative, using citric acid instead of the vinegar.  The vinegar smell doesn't last on the skin, but I think next time I'll use the citric acid instead.  That way I'm hoping I'll just smell honey.   The lotion came out really creamy and thick.  So cool that with the right ingredients, oil and water emulsify to make lotion!  I did put a preservative into the lotion to keep the germies away.  Neato!

I also tried coconut oil in my hair.  Interesting…
So I melted coconut oil and fingered into my hair.  I left it on for a few hours while I did other things.  I took a shower to wash the coconut oil out.  I wasn't sure how strenuously I should try to shampoo the oil out.  The oil also made the shower floor a bit slick.  I blow dried my hair.  Well, it seems a bit softer.  I think I'll have to try this again to really see how this works.  I also have heard avocado oil is good for the hair.  I may have to try that one as well. 

Eh, it's all about experimentation and having some fun.  I have all of this oil and butters that I use for soap making why not try out other uses for them.