The first Craftster member to be a Bath and Body Featured Member is ~ mullerslanefarm! She has been a member of Craftster since November of 2007, and is a frequent poster on the Bath & Beauty Boards. She is especially helpful on the Discussions and Questions Board, always willing to share her knowledge gained from years of soapmaking with new members and veterans alike. She is also very active on the Fiber Spinning boards!
A little intro by mullerslanefarm:
It is a great honor to me to be a Featured Member on this forum. I find myself more on the Fiber Forum but check in here sporadically to see if I can get inspiration or perhaps answer some questions.
A little about me. My name is Cyndi and I'm in my late 40's, married to my best friend, Paul. We have 4 children between us, boy, girl, boy, boy.
Only the youngest is still at home. We have always had an interest in American history and the way folks lived their lives in the early days of our country.
We make our home on an 11 acre, old fashion homestead. We farm with our Belgian draft horses (time & weather permitting), raise 100% of our meat including beef, pork, poultry (chicken, duck, turkey, guinea), Have a Jersey milk cow for milk, butter, cheeses, yogurt, ice cream, et al. Have honeybee hives for honey and beeswax. Large vegetable, herb & berry gardens, fruit orchard and grape vines. We produce & can about 80% of our vegetables and fruits. We heat primarily with an old cast iron wood stove in the winter. For a while I had a wood cook stove set up, but it doesn't produce the heat to warm the house. It's back in storage until we can build a primitive kitchen.
We have a website that has a lot of pictorials that we call "Lessons in Homesteading". It includes things like making butter, making soap, making lotions & salves. Also putting up the hay with horses, canning, brain tanning, among other things.
Our goal is pass along to others what we know about 'lost arts' to help folks become more self sufficient.
Again, I want to thank MareMare for this honor. It means so much to me. Q: Why (and when) did you begin making Bath and Body items?
A: I began making Cold Process soaps in 1999. It was another out reach of historical portrayal and I had an infant nephew who could not use any type of store bought soap. I started with a simple 100% Olive Oil soap, and then explored other oils. I noticed early that the selection of oils used in soap formulas would produce different types of soaps. I went back to basics and created a lot of one-oil soaps, then started combining 2 oils in different percentages, then adding a 3rd, 4th oil and so on.
I not only kept a lot of notes, I created my own lye calculator written in Excel that detailed the fatty acid percentages of soap formulas. This elementary lye calculator became the basis for www.soapcalc.com
. The only request I had for the creator of soapcalc was that the calculator be free of charge.
I also had some wonderful soap gurus to bounce ideas. They were always free with their advice and only asked that, in the future to 'Pay it forward.' Never refuse advice to someone and encourage them to always give advice to new soapers. Q: What is your B&B philosophy (as far as all-natural, animal products, etc)?
A: I am a huge fan of Lard for soapmaking. Not only is it historically correct, using it as part of your soap formula contributes so much for a nice bar of soap. Most of the Lard and Tallow I use is rendered from our own animals here on the homestead.
I personally prefer using Essential Oils, but do have a Fragrance Oil line in my products. Q: Besides soap, what other B&B items do you make?
A: Lotions, bath salts and balms (salves).Q: How did your first soap making project go for you?
A: Complete Disaster!! I was not using a digital scale and did not want to 'waste' ingredients, so I made a small batch (just one pound). The whole batch was ruined, being very lye heavy. Ended up wasting it after all. I recommend that new CP soapers start with a digital scale and make a formula using a minimum of 3 pounds of oil.Q: You’ve mentioned “Master Batching” before, can you explain what that is and how/why you do it?
A: Master Batching (which was not my original idea) is a wonderful way to save time when you are soaping and you consistently use the same recipe for your soaps.
Let's say your soap formula is 30% Olive Oil, 30% Lard, 30% Palm Kernel Oil and 10% Shea Butter. Regardless if you are making a one lb or 30 lb batch of soap, your percentages will always be the same.
For discussion purposes, you make soap batches using 5 lb of oils and you usually make 3 batches at a time. Instead of having to weigh out 24 oz each of Olive Oil, Lard & Palm Kernel and 8 oz of Shea Butter for each of your 3 batches (a total of weighing oils 12 times), Why not weigh up 72 oz each of Olive Oil, Lard & Palm Kernel and 24 oz of Shea Butter. Stir the oils well, then weigh out 80 oz of your combined oils for each of the batches.
Instead of weighing 12 times, you'll only have to weigh the oils a total of 7 times. Or, since you have the oils out anyway, weigh up 30# of oil (144 oz each of Olive Oil, Lard & Palm Kernel and 48 oz of Shea Butter). Use half of that Master Batch to make your 3-5# batches today, and store the rest of the Master Batch until the next time you make soap.Q: Do you have any other favorite techniques?
A: I'm a milk soaper that is fortunate to have a dairy animal and am able to use fresh, frozen, whole milk. I place the milk in gallon zipper bags, lay the bags on their sides and freeze on a cookie sheet. When I am ready to soap, I chunk the frozen milk into approximately 1". You can also freeze the milk in ice cube trays, pop the frozen cubes out of the trays and store in freezer bags. Q: What is your favorite B&B project on Craftster that you posted?
A: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=236020.0Q: What is your favorite B&B project on Craftster that someone else has posted?
I just love looking at all those soaps at once! My other favorite is Addicted To Soap's post with how she took a round soap made in a Pringles can that she didn't like and turned it into something most beautiful!!http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=288631.0Q: What is your favorite non-B&B project on Craftster that you have posted?
A: It would have to be any one of the Fiber Friday's that I have posted on. I really don't have a 'favorite' yarn that I've spun. It is always the latest yarn because each are so different!Q: What is your favorite non-B&B project on Craftster that someone else has posted?
A: Again, it would have to be any one of the Fiber Friday's threads. The talent on the Fiber Forums is out of this world! Each Friday I am inspired more and more.
Ok, so that is our first Featured Member! Please pm me if you are interested in being featured, or have a recommendation about someone you would like to see featured. Also let me know if you think of any questions I should add into the interview portion!