Tag Archives: soap

Wishin and Soapin’, Running and lovin’…

So I thought I’d put out an update of how things are progressing, and fortunately it is all good news (unless you ask my wife that is).

Starting with soaps, I’ve gotten the first batch out as you know.  The Orange spice has a great aroma kicking up in the bath every time we use it.  Sadly though, we’ve burned through it in about 2 weeks, and far faster than I expected.  Since then I’ve come up with both a second and third batch.  The second was my ode to the Woodshop, with scents of Pine, Fir and Cypruss with some self rendered tallow in the base, and a small kick of ground pepper.  That’s still curing until the end of July so no test washes just yet.

The latest batch (3rd) was a nicely scented Lemongrass.  Lots of Lemon, lemongrass, and bits of lemon rind to round it out.  Smells wonderful!  I tweaked my base formula to make the soaps a bit harder, so while it loses some of the Conditioning qualities, I think it needed hardness more to make ‘em last longer.  I think I’ll whip up a coffee based soap, or perhaps an Oatmilk Honey next :)

As for running, here come the good depending on your perspective.  In a nutshell, I’m still going strong.  Just ran tonight as a matter of fact.  But, the wife doesn’t like how my feet are getting very Caveman-like.  Toes are spreading, and they’re getting wider.  A little wierd, but my back issues have all but disappeared as a result.  I’m finding however I have a mild case of Plantar Fascitis.  As a result I’m going back & forth between shoes & barefoot sandals.  There was a Moonlight 5K in New Milford I managed to run, and despite the light on & off rain I managed to get a decent time.  Nothing spectacular to be sure, but I was happy to have run my first and finished it.  On to the next, here in wonderful Woodbury come Sunday.  If all goes well I’m shooting to run this one in the barefoot sandals too :)

Its funny when people see me walking around in them.  Lots of comments, and I think overall people are interested, but its hard to tell if they’re humoring me, or if they’re genuinely curious as to what it entails.  In either case I don’t mind spreading the word around.  What works for me isn’t for everyone, but I’ll chew your ear off about it if you’ll let me :)

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The First Rule of Making Soap Is…

DO NOT TALK ABOUT MAKING SOAP!!

Actually, there are tons of online articles – so here’s mine.

Perhaps I had my own project mayhem to uncover, or perhaps I liked the smell of bubbling Olive Oil, or perhaps I just wanted to give the wife a nice creamy bar for a reasonable price.  In any case, I started with looking at how it is made, then looked at the ingredients I already had.

I came across a few handy dandy articles, beginning with the Art of Manliness, which is what got me thinking about this in the first place.  In a nutshell, you take fats & oils, add diluted Sodium Hydroxide (Lye), and voila!  I’m not sure how, but the lye breaks down the oils in  a process called saponification, which in turn creates what we call soap.  Different oils yield different results.  Some moisturize better, some produce more bubbles, and others create a harder soap.  From that article I picked out a decent soap ratio from another site, plugged it into a soap calculator, and it was a matter of locating more stuff to mix it together.

Since we had some Orange essential oil, I thought to mix up a bar of my own version of Orange Clove.  Most of the ingredient oils we already had for cooking, but finding some Palm Oil was a bear.  Eventually a tub turned up at Whole Foods, labeled as vegetable shortening.

To save some bucks I picked up the pot and mixer at the local Goodwill.  Wooden spoons came from the dollar store, and in the end I have lots of leftovers for my next batch.

Once the oils hit 95 degrees on the stove and blended together, I slowly added the lye mix.  After about 30 minutes of mixing, it all thickened together, and I added in the orange, bergamot, and clove essential oils, and hard ingredients like orange peel and coriander powder.

I had prepped a wooden mold I built the week before, by lining it in parchment paper.  The pancake-like mixture was poured into this, covered, and left alone for 24 hours to cool and form.  

It is still semi soft at this stage, so this is when the block is cut up into bars.  I had measured out dimensions of 1.25″ thick X 3.5″ long X 2.5″ wide.

Once they were cut up, I laid them out to cure.  Because you use a chemical to create them, it can be pretty harsh on the skin otherwise until it finishes the reaction, which while mostly done, will complete over time.

Some people say you can use the soap after two weeks, but others say waiting a month is best.  As for me, I was too giddy (or maybe it was the fumes), but I gathered up some of the soap chips from the cutting and lathered up.

The proof is in the pudding they say, and it seems to lather up like a champ.  Of course, my skin dried up like a senior in the sun afterwards, and I needed lotion on my hands like when I was a teenager, but I was pretty impressed overall and can’t wait for the month to go by for the finished product.  The scent is what I was shooting for, and I’m looking forward to making other  blends.  I think a Woodshop one, an earthy Vetiver, and a Lemongrass are in order.  Woo-hoo!!

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