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1  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Re: Chigarden Handmade Soap (Step by Step; image heavy) on: March 03, 2006 11:54:37 AM
Sorry for my long hiatus, I'd lost my internet connection. Sad I apologize for bringing back this thread after a month, but I wanted to thank everyone for their compliments.

Thanks for the great tutorial. I am checking out the site posted now. I do have a question though. I have been researching soap making before my first attempt and am curious as I have read that you should use wooden spoons and glass thermometers. Is this just a suggestion or...?? Also, is your equipment used exclusively for soapmaking and off limits for futher kitchen use once it has been used for soap? Sorry for the questions. I am trying to learn as much as I can before I get started.

As someone has already answered, I wanted to state that everything that was said is 100% true. I personally use a wooden spoon out of recommendation from my first encounter from a longtime soaper who suggested it as the temperature of the mixture rises considerably and she had once used a plastic spoon which slightly melted. The thought kind of scared me, so I stick to a wooden spoon. I do -not- use the wooden spoon for anything except soaping as the wood absorbs anything it comes in contact with, so I'm concerned that it will  not be suitable for food. Though I have heard many soapers do use their utensils for soap and food interchangeably with no problems, I just rather keep the items seperate. I haven't had any problems yet with freezer paper, but I have heard that parchment paper is also suitable so this suggest is also a good one. A lot of soaping is about personal preference. Smiley

Awesome tutorial!  That really laid out everything that needed to be done.  I had always been a bit confused about the fats / oils that people used; I laughed when I saw you'd used vegetable shortening!  I've been wanting to try my hand at making soap, to give in gift baskets and just to try all the endless possibilities!  I'm definitely bookmarking this thread, and will check out that site.  Thanks!

I used vegetable shortening often in my earlier recipes as I didn't want to botch an expensive oil,and I often use it when trying something new for the same reason. In the soaps I plan to sell, I often do not use vegetable shortening as it has a tendency to discolor after a considerable amount of time (think months!) to an off-white manilla color from it's original white. I've also noticed that my soaps made with vegetable shortening often tinge to a different scent months after curing. It's nothing that's ever bothered me enough to prevent me from using shortening, or something that ruins the soap or it's scent, it just offsets it a bit or causes it to fade a little more than my normal recipe that doesn't include vegetable shortening. It's just a cheaper alternative that makes experimenting and early soap making easier on the wallet for me. Smiley
2  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: Calendar Photos on: March 03, 2006 11:30:47 AM
I incorporate them into handmade books and journals I make, either as pages, or as part of cutout covers, where the image looks framed in the cover. I love how they turn out that I absolutely love when the year comes to an end and the prior year's calendars are super cheap. Cheesy
3  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: I have over 5000 bottle caps!!! HELP!!! on: March 03, 2006 11:21:35 AM
I'm a huge collector of bottle caps and use them for all sorts of things! If you truly are willing to part with some, I'd love to have them.

Some things I've done:
  • Made a belt: by either drilling holes and wiring them together, or taking a plain belt and tacking them on
  • Decorated a bag: I've used vinyl to create a bag similar to those with pockets for photos, but much smaller pockets to place bottle caps in each pocket and sewn them shut, another way I've done it was to dangle the caps off the bag like fringe
  • Used them as buttons for durable fabric projects, like those that include denim or leather.
  • I'm also used them to decorate scrapbook/journal covers, embeded them in candles, used them to decorate vinyl record bowls

And the list can go on and on, they really are versatile and durable things so they are fun to play with and try new things. I hope I inspired something even though most of my ideas were rather feminine. Tongue
4  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / Re: Where the heck can I buy lye?!? or even dried soapwort? on: December 03, 2005 11:13:32 AM
There are a few soaping supply places that sell lye online. Here's a few:

5  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Re: Chigarden Handmade Soap (Step by Step; image heavy) on: December 03, 2005 05:52:23 AM
If you haven't seen it yet, I beyond recommend Kathy Miller's site before attempting soaping. She really gives you an idea of what you're getting into. And not in the bad way, just in the way that you have so!many possibilities before you. Ways the soap could end up, recipes to try, techniques. All kinds of stuff.

You can visit her site here: http://www.millersoap.com/

It's the first thing I always recommend to new soapers. Smiley And be forewarned, soaping = addictive. VERY addictive. Cheesy
6  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Discussion and Questions / Re: -oz. slide-top lip bam tin, where to find some??? on: December 03, 2005 05:36:25 AM
WSP carries them too.


7  BATH AND BEAUTY / Bath and Beauty: Completed Projects / Chigarden Handmade Soap (Step by Step; image heavy) on: December 03, 2005 05:04:06 AM
all the ingredients gathered up; minus the water. which i have sitting in the sink as it's ice water.
it's important to note that measurements are down to the tenth of an ounce,
otherwise you'll have excess lye or oils! hence the lovely digital kitchen scale. Smiley

mixed together the lye and water and put it in an ice bath.

the lye + water solution heats up a considerable amount. for this soap, it hit 150 degrees farenheit.

the solid oils into the stainless steel pot first.

solid oils melting! melting!

when melted, add liquid oils and remove from heat.

lye solution has cooled to 100 degrees, as has the oils.

time to mix the two together. stirring until reaching a light trace.

stilllll stirring. love!for the stick blender. makes it go by so much faster than hand stirring.

a light trace, added the ground green tea and mixed in. then added some essential oils, how about eucalyptus and tea tree. Smiley

poured into the mold. yes, that is a kitty litter pan lined with freezer paper. Tongue

turn a carboard box upside down over mold, insulate with old towels. Smiley a detergent case from work fits perfectly over the kitty litter pan. Tongue

cut soap. (19 hours of time to saponify and begin curing.) finished cuts: 67! Smiley

a note on lye: lye -can- be very dangerous. many recommend wearing safety equipment when using lye in homemade soap-making, as the chemical reaction does create an IMMENSE amount of heat. others also suggest mixing the lye and water outside because the reaction also lets off fumes. i mix under my stove's ventilation fan and i do -not- wear safety gear because it makes me feel more likely to be a klutz. i do keep a bottle of vinegar on hand in case of lye burns for immediate care, if it came down to it.

terminology & information:
saponification: the chemical reaction that occurs when fats/oils interact with a strong alkali. the alkali in this case would be sodium hydroxide, or in other words, lye. and the fats and oils range from recipe to recipe. the fats/oils used in this recipe are grapeseed oil, canola oil, coconut oil, and vegetable shortening. through saponification, the lye and oils become soap and glycerin. water is mixed with the lye as a carrier, as lye is a powdered substance. there is no remaining lye in homemade soap! modern soap that is found in the grocery store is mass-produced in factories and does have a small amount of excess alkali to it. also, modern commercial soap also has most of it's naturally-occurring glycerin removed so it can be sold as a separate commodity (less bang for the buck.) The great thing about homemade soap using the traditional methods of cold-process soap making is that the glycerin remains in the soap, keeping the natural moisturizing properties.

gel phase: a phase during early saponification where the soap melts and gels from the center outward. it turns semi-translucent, sort of like Vaseline, and starts to produce heat. the heat is a byproduct of saponification, and it also helps speed it along, so generally, gel stage is good (unless you're making a milk soap or something where you're worried about the color). usually it gels from the inside out, and unless you have a lot of soap, it won't gel all the way to the edges (because the edges are cooler than the inside, so they won't heat up enough to gel even while they're saponifying). you can help your soap gel by insulating it, which for most people takes the form of wrapping a blanket or towel around the mold to help retain heat. soap batches that go through the gel phase are only different from those that don't by their end process texture. gel phase soap tends to be creamier and more even.

curing: the phase after saponification where soap is left in a dry, ventilated area to dry out. leftover water from the lye and water mixture is left behind in the soap. curing airs out this water and causes it to evaporate, creating a harder longer lasting bar of soap. without curing, a bar of soap is softer. i'd compare fresh cut/no cure soap to the softness of cheese. easy to cut, but no good for washing with unless you want the whole bar to wash away in one use!

trace: the phase during early saponification where a trace can be seen in the lye/fats mixture. the best way to define a trace is if you can move a spoon or stick blender through the surface of the soap and see a trace behind your movement in the soap, ta-da: trace. the thicker the soap, the heavier the trace. when soap traces, it's normally time to add your extras and get it poured out before it thickens too much!
8  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / My first attempt at handmaking journals... {New, too! &oh, image heavy!} on: November 16, 2005 05:16:39 AM
Both are recycled fabrics, mixed papers. The orange/yellow one has orange/yellow printed & blank pages, while the flowery one has pink, blue, green, & yellow mixed papers. I alternated pages that it goes printed, blank, printed, blank, etc. Smiley This was kind of a what the hay, give it a go project; I've never read a thing on bookbinding so I think they turned out pretty good in retrospect. XP




ahh; and these are some cards I made for the holiday season. Cheesy


By the way, hihi! I'm new to Craftster! Tongue
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