The other day I noticed that we were running low of soap. I always make my own, it is enjoyable, creative and useful, too. I like to choose the properties of my soap, a hard bar with a soft creamy lather, or maybe a softer bare with fluffy lather, anything is possible.
I am a boring soap maker. I generally make my soaps plain, with a hint of fragrance (fragrance oils are expensive) and I stick to easily available fats, coconut oil and olive oil for example. I am happy to experiment though. I found some almond oil at the supermarket the other day and spontaneously bought two bottles to make soap with. This being a spontaneous purchase, I didn't research the use of almond oil for soap making beforehand. It is generally used as an additional oil, rather than a base and makes a soft bar. I discovered this when I was looking for recipes to use. A maximum of 15-20 % almond oil is recommended, using palm oil or coconut oil as a base. Fine, I thought, I have plenty of palm oil in my cupboards (as you do). Except that it was palm kernel oil instead, which makes a difference because the properties are quite different. I did some maths to work out if a combination of almond oil and palm kernel oil would make a good bar but couldn't quite get the proportions right. I got a bit side tracked at this point. When I got back to the task I decided to use olive oil as well and I got my calculator out again. I have a great little book that I use for my soap making to help me with working out proportions. Btw, I used cheap olive oil, not the golden green liquid I like on my salad. An hour and a couple of coffees later, I had it all sorted and I had also found a recipe for a hazelnut oil soap. I discovered a bottle of this, probably purchased on a whim in the distant past. It wasn't rancid but I figured I'd better use before it turned.
I got all my soap making equipment ready, gloved up and started weighing out the sodium hydroxide (lye). It generates a lot of heat when it is dissolved in water and takes ages to cool down. Alas, there wasn't enough for one batch of soap, let alone the two I had planned. Now sodium hydroxide is not something you get a the corner shop of course (not in ours in any case) and I may have uttered a swear word or two. Ok, lets make it three. But I am resourceful and called up Richard to get some from the lab. It is handy to be a scientist sometimes, and to be married to one. He found some in a dusty corner and I went to get it straightaway. It is cheap as chips and I don't feel too guilty for taking some from work. It is only ever used in tiny amounts to adjust the pH of solutions needed in the lab.
I made two batches in the end, one with almond oil, palm kernel oil and olive oil. The other one with hazelnut oil and palm kernel oil. I scented the first batch with white musk, the other one with fresia. I didn't use any colourants. Most soaps turn a creamy white, which is rather nice. Soaps that contain a lot of olive oil are a bit more yellowish because olive oil is quite dark. You can see the difference in the photo collage above. As I was gazing at the two different bars of soap I started ponding colourful soaps and how nice it would be to make not only useful soap but also to make pretty soaps. It crossed my mind that it would be wonderful to make a lemon meringue pie soap.
I spent an evening watching YouTube videos on making colourful soaps with beautiful patterns. What did people do before YouTube? The possibilities are endless. Countless exiting colours, swirls, stripes, layers, swirled stripes, spinned swirls, anything. I did indeed find a soap recipe and tutorial on how to make lemon meringue pie soap. Not far of anyway:
|Find the recipe and photo here|
I found a buttercup yellow pigment, which I liked. For good measure I added burlesque pink and clementine orange to my shopping basket. I also ordered titanium dioxide for white, and a large amount of sodium hydroxide. I stopped short of adding lemon meringue pie fragrance. I don't like the smell of lemon curd it smells eggy and I don't like the idea of washing myself with an eggy soap. I ordered ordinary lemon fragrance oil instead. I was hoping to make soap this weekend but the fragrance hasn't arrived. For now, I shall continue to look for pretty soaps like those below.
|find the recipe and the photo here|
|Find the recipe and the photo here|
I'll be sure to share my lemon meringue soap soon, maybe next week. In the meantime, I hope your weekend is going well. I am enjoying a quiet Saturday afternoon. The chores are mostly out of the way, the weather is fine, the children happy and the dog is asleep after a long walk. Sam made me a coffee and I am happy. Wishing you a splendid weekend. xx