Friday, May 29, 2009

How to make homemade soap

Don't spend a ton of money on the first few batches you make.
My first try making soap didn't turn out right.
I missed the process and had lye pockets in the soap, guess my temperature was off or I didn't stir enough.

After a couple of times you can tweak recipes and make different kinds of soap following the original recipes.
I've made oatmeal, milk & honey soap it smells wonderful and so good for the skin.

If you don't have molds you can use cleaned out Pringle's containers, or take a cardboard box and line it with a garbage bag before pouring soap in. You can use a baking dish also just line it first with saran wrap.

Making home made soap can be fun, and is way better in quality then the store bought stuff, but please use precaution when working with lye soap. Wear protective goggles, or even clear sunglasses work great, and a pair of thick rubber gloves while stirring this soap batch. Keep vinegar on hand in case you splatter the soap on your skin, it will stop the burn immediately. Cook this soap in a well ventilated area, do not breathe in the fumes.

I try to be thrifty, so for all my soap recipes I use the lard that I save up in cans and use that in place of buying the Crisco.

Here's a simple recipe to start with.
Easy Crisco Soap
3 Lbs. Crisco(1 can)
6 oz. lye
12 oz Water
INSTRUCTIONS:Melt/heat the Crisco in a enamel pot & place on stove to melt & heat. Place cold water in glass bowl & slowly add lye while stirring with a wooden spoon.Stir until water is clear if you can.When the Crisco and lye are warm to the touch, pour lye into Crisco while stirring. Keep stirring until you get trace.

** Trace is when it thickens to the point where you can drop some of the mix back in to itself and it leaves a trail.
At this point use any herbs, scent or coloring and stir and pour into mold.

This recipe fits nicely in an 8" x 8" container, but other containers, such as Pringles cans or specialty soap molds work just fine too.
Put molds in a warm, insulated place (I use a Styrofoam cooler), let set 24 hours and then cut. Place on rack and let cure 2-3 weeks.

Here's a tip, if you decide to use the Pringles potato chip cans use a can opener to open the bottom of the can, leave the bottom metal piece in place and push up on it to slide soap out through the top of can (like a push up Popsicle), if you have small hands you will be able to push the soap up and out by putting your hand in the can to help push it out.

I use a butter knife with a smooth edge to cut the bars, as that works the best and gives a smooth look to the sides of the bars.

If soap will not slide out of mold let it dry 1 more day. If soap sticks to the knife when cutting bars then it needs to dry more. Lay soap on a clean towel and allow to air dry for 1 more day, then cut into bars.

** Since home made soap shrinks over time and needs air, I just wrap my bars in brown butcher block paper, or waxed paper and store in a cool dry place.

Experiment with your soap recipes.

I like to experiment with my soap recipes, for example I do the following below.

In place of the water (we have hard water here), I use rain water when available, or bottled water, or milk, it makes a softer soap.

I also like to use my leftover coffee from the pot, then I scent the soap with coffee scented oil, I use to sell a lot of this type soap.

You can add oatmeal to the recipe, I use my coffee grinder to make it very fine or just put it through a blender.
Just make sure that you use the same amount of liquid as the original recipe calls for.
You can use sunflower oil, olive oil, canola oil etc. Be creative and have fun!

Friday, May 8, 2009

For the love of crafting

"Emily" Singer 66 Red Eye sewing machine circa 1916

I remember when I was 5 years old, watching my mother mend clothes on the sewing machine, I was in awe...I remember thinking what a neat machine even though it seemed kinda scary to me watching the big machine make the needle go up and down through the material. When I was around 10 years old my mom taught me the skills she knew, she taught me how to slip stitch, hem stitch and basics to sewing on the machine.

I use to make hand made gifts for my family, pillows and made Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls etc. When I entered high school that is when the fun began, I learned how to use patterns and sew clothes from scratch. Made myself several items during the time I took sewing in school pj sets, skirts, and even pants.

That love for sewing stills continues today, even though I have extended my crafting into other areas through the years such as candle making, soap making(lye) and crocheting, and making dream catchers too. I continue to expand my crafting skills and am always up and eager to learn something new.

I currently have 2 sewing machines that I use one is Kenmore which can be temper mental at times and then I have my beautiful "Emily" she is a Singer 66 Red Eye industrial sewing machine made in 1916 she can sew through anything even leather and doesn't give me any troubles. She was a gift from my son and will be a family heirloom to pass down.