"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Monday, 11 April 2011

There is no comparison

I have been impatiently waiting for the curing period of my soap to be completed so that I could try out the soap.  Will it produce enough bubbles?  Will it leave my skin feeling fresh and clean?  Is the perfume strong enough / too weak?

Well, last Wednesday, exactly 3 weeks since the date of manufacture, the first bar was put to the test.

MKid was given the honour of being the first member of the family to try out his Nana's fist batch of soap :-)  There he was, standing in the middle of the shower cubicle, holding the bar of soap - the biggest grin on his face.  Slowly he put his hand under the stream of water, and then, oh, so gently, he rubbed his hands and soap together.  I swear to you - he never lost the grin.

Bless his cotton socks - he then proceeded to complete his shower - humming away contentedly.  His verdict - "perfect Nana".  Music to my ears.  Even the next morning he came to me and said, "I can still smell your soap on my arm, Nana - it's very nice"  :-)  Well, I am a very proud Nana!

Naturally, I couldn't  take a photo of him in the shower - so here's the next best - a photo of him washing his hands before lunch...

Damn!  I feel like I achieved the extraordinary - such a cool feeling!

I have sent him home with three bars - for him and NGirl.

The final result:

Yes, it does produce more than enough bubbles :-)
Yes, it does leave our skin feeling fresh and clean. And softer - much softer :-)  RSon says it is even perfect for his face - leaves it feeling beautifully moisturised.
And no, there was not enough perfume - I only added some fresh honey and a bit of ground cinnamon.  Next time I will add some essential oil.

I can't wait to make the next batch - I'm hooked!

All in all, everyone has given it the thumbs up - and I am thrilled that there is now one less chemical entering this house.


  1. Oh, what a great feeling! Congratulations on your success. I haven't made soap in years. You've got me thinking about it again!

  2. I know, that waiting for your first batch was hard. I waited 6 weeks and almost didn't make it. It is so easy, economical, and so much healthier. Congratulations on your success.

  3. Leigh - thank you. Glad I jolted the memory :-)

  4. Jane - thank you. I couldn't have waited 6 weeks LOL

  5. Good job! Sounds like they turned out just perfect. I can't wait until my wife and I take up making our own barred soaps...soon I hope.

  6. Mr H - thank you. They did turn out perfectly LOL Be warned though, with your fist successful batch, you'll be hooked.. :-)

  7. Is it not just the best feeling testing your first bar of soap.... it looks beautiful. Cute story.

  8. My Grandmother would cook up soap..she got lard/grease boiling and pour in lye. She used this to rub on stained clothing before washing. She never made and nice smelling soap!

  9. RC - words cannot describe the feeling - am blown away LOL

    Frann - LOL guess the lard would've had something to do with the smell of your grandmothers' soap. Thankfully now one generally uses oils - not lard. But next time I will use an essential oil for fragrance.

  10. nice and interesting post, i am gonna try it too during vacations.

  11. Manisha - thank you. It is the most amazing thing to try and egt right - can't wait for my next batch :-)

  12. Because different oils take different amounts of lye to work out with those perfect bars, you can use a soap calculator like the one from Snowdrift Farms to create your own favorite recipes. My chemistry students every year make soap and we use the little hexagonal plastic weigh-boats from the lab as molds.

  13. Just Me - welcome :-)

    Synchronicity - I was trying to find out how to change the oils quantity / type, and now you have given me a link - thank you :-)

  14. How wonderful. Glad you got a thumbs up from everyone. I have been making soap for over 2 year, I am no expert and still have a lot to learn, but I LOVE IT! The Soap calculator works great to get your oils and lye amounts right. would you mind sharing what kinds of oils you used? I use a mixture of olive oil, coconut oil & rice bran oil. another mixture is olive, palm, rice bran. I am trying to work out how to make it more moisturizing right now. What I make is so much better than the store bought stuff, just trying to improve on what I am making. Emily

  15. Emily - I find that my skin is not anywhere near as dry after using my homemade soap. I made just a basic recipe as my first one - coconut, olive and vegetable oil. Am investigating using other oils...

  16. You're right...soap making is very addictive! I love it, and am completely hooked. But, I find getting lye is quite difficult (right now, I have to get 50kg bags from a chemical supple company....I'd rather not store so much lye in my garage!). Do you have any suggestions of where it can be found, in or around Joburg?

  17. Caitlin - welcome :-)

    LOL - I'm totally hooked even if I have to spend over an hour stirring the ruddy pot LOL

    Lye is drain cleaner - perhaps you can find it in your local hardware store in smaller quantities?


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