Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cream Soaps

I've been interested in making cream soaps for a while now, after all, I AM a soaper. Most people know that in order to make soap, oils and lye need to saponify together. To make a hard, solid bar of soap, sodium hydroxide is used. To make a liquid soap, potassium hydroxide is used. Cream soap is a sort of hybrid of the two, quite literally. In order to make a creamy, whipped concoction of soap, both potassium hydroxide and sodium hydroxide is used.

The lye, water, and oils are cooked with applied heat to speed up the saponification process. Once this process is complete (this takes a few hours), supercreaming can begin. Supercreaming is another word for superfatting, so there is extra stearic acid to give the soap its whipped cream texture. At this point, the soap does not look like cream, or a fluffy whip, or anything dreamy. It's a big, sticky glob that you can't even mix. Now here's the hard part, the soapmaker and the soap must relax for 24 hours. Once everyone has cooled off, small amounts of water can be whipped in until a creamy texture is formed. And here's the REALLY hard part, seal the soap in a bucket with a tight lid and let it "rot". I know it sounds gross, but something special happens when you leave it alone for a few months: a sheen appears, and the soap is even creamier.

Now the fun part is adding fragrance and color, and of course, bathing! I have to admit, I've been taking 2 showers a day just so I could "experiment". At least that's what I've been telling my husband, but I don't think he believes me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sugar Plums

As many of you know, I am a part of a soaper's team on Etsy called Safeteam. We promote the art of soaping and safe manufacturing process of bath and beauty products. The Safeteam is really big on soaping challenges, and I've decided to enter this year's Mother Day Challenge. We were encouraged to go all out in showing all mothers how wonderful we think they are....uh, but here's the catch: the colors *MUST* have purple and red (the colors of the Red Hat Society). Why? Because Anhoki said so! So I created Sugar Plums.

Whenever I think of Mom and comfort, I think of baked goods. My Mother is an awesome cook, and loves to try new things. For her, family is everything, and there isn't anything she wouldn't do for family. So here's the next best thing to a cake with a sugar plum's a soap cake that smells of yummy sugared plums with bright yellow calendula flowers to grace it's red hat. This soap is lightly scented, because my mom has unbelievably bad allergies, and I want her to enjoy this soap as well. I love you Mommy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Return of Gourmet

It's been forever since I've blogged or had my soap shop open. Well, what seems like forever has only been a few short months. If you have been to my little Etsy shop, then you know that my family and I have had some troubles, health & personal. Everything has evened out quite a bit.

Between me & you (don't tell my husband), my husband has had kidney stone issues about 2 months ago. He's never had any problems with them before, but he's 38, works construction in the hot blazing Alabama sun, and has a diet comparable to the Neanderthals. If it could be bludgeoned, he ate it. Really though, don't tell him I said that. The man thought he was dying, at least that's what I could make out on our drive to the emergency room. When we found out definitively that it was a kidney stone, I watched him pray to God (out loud, of course) that he would not eat so much red meat, that sodas were out, and "dear God, salads will be my main staple...from now on." I joke now, but he was in serious pain. Even though he's passed one, he still has several more in his kidneys that are just waiting to make their way down his ureter. He's ok for now :)

During the last 3-4 months, my oldest son has had problems coughing. He just coughed all the time, and sometimes he would have a coughing fit for 10-30 minutes straight. He didn't appear to have breathing problems, he just couldn't stop coughing. We thought it was a cold at first, and waited the required 2 weeks, but he still coughed. We took him to his doctor, and was given a round of antibiotics; but after 10 days, he still coughed. We went back to the doctor at was given something stronger for 14 days, but he still coughed. We were told to give him allergy meds, but after 3 weeks, he still coughed. The coughing fits started to become more frequent, so we headed back to the doctor. Johnny was then given a pulmocort breathing treatment, and we were told to come back in a month....and it worked like a charm. He finally has relief. He does cough once in a while, when the pollen count is high, but he's so much better.

So now that we are all getting back to normal, I've been cleaning like a crazy lady. The soap room is completely disinfected, and I've been making soap like crazy. I think I will only have a few soaps for sale for a while, so that I can get back into the swing of things. I would like the thank everyone who has been wonderful in showing their support. I am deeply blessed to have known so many wonderful people.