Keeping Busy

I should be writing or illustrating, but instead, I’m making things.  I wasn’t being productive at all.  My daughter wants to write a children’s book with me, but she is finishing her last semester of school and she’s very busy.  So, we are having trouble making much progress.  I’ve been drawing, but its here story and I feel stuck until we discuss the story further.

Cat cartoon xmastree


This is my drawing comparing the lemon in my water at a restaurant to the christmas tree in the water my cats are drinking.

So, as I said, feeling stalled.  I’m working on my drawing, but I needed more, so I was finishing some projects and I made some more soap.  It also helped distract me from losing Tucker (separate post).  Four batches in about 10 days. And this is what I learned: I’m impatient.

So, scientific method says you change one thing in an recipe at a time to seem what effect the change has.  Instead, at least twice, I took the ingredients and changed the mold type and method of manipulating the soap.

LOL soap

The first batch was simple, Lots of Lather recipe from Soap Queen.  I split the batch into mini batches and added different labcolors and fragrance.  It set pretty fast.  I was mushing the soap into silicone molds like frosting and trying to smooth it out.  The soap was ready to un-mold in less than 12 hours.

I figured I had basic soap under my belt and I wanted to do something more advanced.  I picked a spin technique mentioned on Soap Queen (search spin) and Aaron’s Hazelnut soap from the book Smart Soapmaking by Anne Watson.

Hazelnut soap crop

The picture shows the bottom of the soap.  The spin technique requires soap thats thin enough to move when the mold is moved.  This soap was too thick to move almost the minute I mixed the oils and the lye water together.  I picked great colors, but at the end, I wash (again) spreading soap like frosting.  I swirled the colors a little with a spatula about half to 3/4 of the way through.  But, apparently the bottom is still nearly all white (and the top is nearly all black).

I read some more and realized that if I wanted to spin my soap it needed to be thinner than other thin recipes.  So, I picked the recipe that Soap Queen uses for the Psychedelic Spin Swirl.   BUT, I wanted to use my 5 pound loaf mold.  The one from Bramble Berry with the removable bottom and then I would manipulate the colors a little with each other.  So, I made the lye water the night before and mixed together the oils ahead of time and I mixed it very, very lightly–all in the name of keeping the soap from getting too thick too fast.  Halfway through, I think maybe its not mixed enough, so I blend each color extra.  But, if I really didn’t mix it well, the oil to lye ratio might be wrong and I might end up with unusable soap (not to mention that each color might be a different composition).  The biggest problem, though, was that the soap leaked out of the mold.  Oops!  Bad recipe and mold combination!  I put extras soap in my silicone cube mold as (mostly) individual colors.

sludge soap6

There are some cracks in the loaf.  Plus, although I’ve started to un-mold, I had to stop because its too mushy.  You can see below that my cubes are mushy as well.



We will have to wait a few weeks to see how these turn out.


See my next post for more soap making.


2 thoughts on “Keeping Busy

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