"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

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Clean as a whistle

I made another batch of soap last weekend.

The previous batches I had made were good, but as we were running low, I decided that this time I would be more adventurous with the smelly stuff I added.

Cinnamon and honey were the first two batches, then I used lemon grass essential oil a couple of times, and this time I used pine essential oil.

I can hear some of you thinking, who would want to smell like a pine tree? LOL
My latest batch of soap - with an odour of
pine :)
Well, it all goes back to good memories.  Memories of relaxing in a deep, luxurious bath many, many, many years ago when I was uneducated and wasn't concerned about water usage.  My favourite "special occasion" bubble bath then was something called Badedas.  It is apparently made using "horse chestnut, cedar wood and light patchouli" but to me it smelled of pine trees. And it was wickedly expensive.  Funnily enough I haven't seen it available here for quite a few years, but, even if it was, I wouldn't buy it - we don't have a bath now, and as far as I know Badedas doesn't make a shower gel.  Anyway, who needs a shower gel with all the additives, when I can make our soap requirements? ;)
I can highly recommend silicon molds - the soap
slips out easily when it's time for the soap to
mature before use.  And, they're a breeze to clean!
I absolutely love my silicon soap molds even though I didn't buy enough to cope with the size of the soap batch that I make.  Ah well, the plain old block shape will work as adequately :)

I have to say that my skin is not nearly as dry as it used to be - and that is important as one gets older, as the skin is not as moist and elastic as it is when you're younger.  Using our home made soap is definitely more gentle on the skin than anything commercial on the market.

I wish you could walk into our spare bedroom, and smell the aroma which is pervading that space at the moment.  I can't wait to use the soap at the end of August when it has had time to mature...

Having been thoroughly confused by the recipe specifications on the internet (such and such a % of this, and a % of that) I want to once again send many, many thanks to Rae of African Bliss for providing me with the basic soap recipe which encouraged me to overcome my fear of caustic soda and into my first soap making foray.  Especially given that making soap is her business, and that through sharing her expertise with me, it has meant that I am not a customer of hers.

The generosity of people, especially those I have never met, is absolutely astounding!

16 comments:

kymber said...

Dani - it is so true about the generosity of others and providing help to strangers when they don't have to - i am always simply amazed by the people i have encountered around the net, offering their help and expertise - you included. i love the idea of pine-smelling soap...proper soap making is on my list of fall/winter new things to learn. congrats on all of your beautiful soap!

your friend,
kymber

Quinn said...

My immediate thought was, who would NOT want to smell like a pine tree? LOL!
I've been using plain olive oil soap for quite a while now, but I use small amounts of essential oils in cleaning sprays, etc. I especially like citrus oils for cleaning - makes me enjoy the process at least a little bit ;)

Harry Flashman said...

My mom buys home made soap from some farm out in California and sends it to me. It is rough and grainy, and doesn't really have much odor to it. But it does clean, it gets the grit right off of you. I should look into making soap. On Survival Blog people are always trading tips on how to make it so it must be a good skill to have.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Mmmmmm......I'm pretending to smell the pine soap! :) How very sweet of Rae to give you a soap recipe!

Dani said...

kymber - Once youo get passed the (mental) resistance to handling caustic soda it's a breeze :)

Yeah - the net has certainly shown me the better side of humanity - what I believe is the "real / genuine" side of people :)

Dani said...

Quinn - Lemon oil in soap is brilliant, and I have "soaked" lemon peels in vinegar and use that strained mixture to clean my home. Gorgeous :)

Dani said...

Go for it, Harry! You won't regret it :)

Dani said...

Staci - I have a forest in my spare room Yeah, big thanks to Rae :)

Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies said...

Watch out - soap making is addictive. Which is why I sell it now. Can't stop making it!!

If you ever want to, you can go to Brambleberry.com and input the amount of oils you want into their lye calculator (on the left hand side, towards the bottom there is a link), choose a superfat level (%5-8% is good for body soap) and it spits out a recipe replete with lye and h2o factored in.

It's awesome.

A good mix for hand/body soap is olive (%40), coconut(%30), rice bran (%25) and castor oils (%5)(go light on the castor - it's just to add bubbles). You could also use lard. You could also infuse the oils with calendula petals. You could also watch me completely dork out in your comment section.

Anyways. Just saying soaping is 9 kinds of badass. And I LOVE earthy smells like pine. They go well with sweet orange, lemon verbena, may chang and cinnamon, as well.


Robyn said...

Nice soap! I'll pass on the pine smell though as it makes my hayfever play up :).
Cheers, Robyn

Dani said...

Robyn - T'is only the smell, not the pollen LOL

Dani said...

Lindsey - Don't know what happened to the original reply I posted, but as I came to reply to Robyn I see it's not here...

LOL - I LOVE enthusiasm - reminds me of me - so never apologise OK? Thanks for the Brambleberry link - I'll check it out.

Lemon, lemon verbena, lemon grass - LOVE them :)

African Bliss said...

Dani.... it's SUCH a pleasure to pass on any help and tips on soap making as you've been SO generous with all your time and property info you've passed on to us! Really hope we get to meet soon. Unfortunately, the guy interested in our farm didn't get the job in the Langkloof :( Well, we keep on trying! xxx

Dani said...

Rae - always a great pleasure :)

Aw - that's a huge pity... I was sending you really positive thoughts :) All you need is one buyer, keep the faith...

Leigh said...

I've been reading through your posts to catch up and had to stop here and comment. I so need to get back to soap making. Interesting about the silicone molds. Thank you for mentioning that.

Dani said...

Leigh - You're very welcome :)