Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Late Summer Soaps & Goats

It's sweltering something terrible in northeastern Ohio to the point of ridiculousness, so most of us (those fortunate enough to have air conditioning) are stuck inside as if there were 3 feet of snow on the ground, so along with making stuff for my table display at the Avant Garde Craft Show in October, I've been trying out new soaps, scents, and techniques. My Etsy soap, so far, is just but a tiny little fish among schools of bigger and brighter, more territorial and established fish. Again, like I tell my graduates just out of school with no experience lamenting that they can't get experience without someone giving them a chance, it's all down to networking and getting yourself out there. My soaps need to be smelled! I'm hoping that people who buy my soaps at the show will feed back into my Etsy store, but we'll see. While there doesn't seem to be a lot of soap makers in my area, they are sure plentiful on Etsy!

 Here's my last creation inspired by the husky-voiced Soaping 101 lady demonstrating what she called a "synergy" type soap because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
 Basically, it's four checker squares created with four different colors with an ITP swirl to boot! I used alternating squares of yellow and green for mine and ditched the ITP swirl as unnecessarily complex. The yellow color  is from Brambleberry's Brazilian yellow clay. The spirulina, as fish tank smelling as it is, makes an awesome deep leaf green. I used a rosemary, cypress, and litsea blend with just a touch of petitgrain.  This was a fun, albeit challenging technique since it requires about 6 hands. Here's how you do it: Bring soap to moderately thick trace. Rig up a divider down the middle of loaf-mold (lengthwise) or hold it if you don't have the mechanical abilities for rigging and pour the green down one side and the yellow down the other. I recruited my soap curious neighbor to hold the divider while my daughter and I did the pouring. Now, slowly lift the divider out of the soap allowing your thick soap to lay side by side, snug as a bug. Now, have someone hold the divider on top of the two layers and pour again, but this time, use the yellow and green on opposite sides.  I love how this turned out...not as nice as the Soaping 101 lady (what is her name anyway?) but still nice. Check her out on YouTube Soaping 101....she has dozen of different soaping tutorials.

Goat Soap

Who knew this stuff was so awesome! Here's my first batch..very basic, but man, oh, man, this stuff can help with whatever ails you. I've noticed it helps my menopausal acne flares. It helps my daughter's adolescent flares. I did some reading and no wonder this stuff is's most like the Ph of skin, loaded with vitamins and minerals, and contains alpha-hydroxy acids for overall skin rejuvenation.
It's unlikely to cause sensitivities making it a natural choice for those with dermatitis or eczema. I added no other scent because I wanted to experience the real smell of the she-goat wonder, and two, because I wanted this to be facial soap for all skin types. OK, get ready to gasp goat-milk soapers...I used cold-process oven process! Yep, crazy, but I did. I read a forum where goat soapers were debating to gel or not gel their soaps. There are pros and cons to each method. If you let it gel, it's going to be an off-white or beige color. If you cool it and don't allow a gel, you risk gelling anyway, cause it wants to heat up and you might get the unsightly blob of half-gelled half not look. If you avoid the gel, it could be crumbly. One lone poster, pipped in that she gels her goats soaps just fine, so I did. I'll tell you what, I won't do it again. It did work...the soap is amazing, but it was weird. When I CPOP a soap, my recipes go through a gel in half an hour to an hour in a warm 170 oven. This soap took over an hour before it showed signs of starting to gel, then all the sudden, it was super hot and soupy. I thought it was ruined, but after taking forever to cool down, it was honest to goodness gelled goat soap. It's my new favorite.

Since I had leftover goat milk, I tried it again, but upped the yumminess factor. I was taken with the sweet nut-like smell, so I did a chocolate, honey, almond soap--no other added scents. I slightly toasted a tablespoon of finely ground almonds before adding them to my batch. Wow. I love it. This is one soap I'd almost dare my mother to wash out my mouth with. Yeah, I know--I'm a little old for that stuff. My mother has long ago accepted my "slips of the tongue."

This time I did it the conventional way--cold process, but I did slightly insulate to force gel. This heated up pretty quickly due to the added honey, I guess. I haven't put this on Etsy as I'm tempted to hoard this batch. It looks a little grainy, I think, from the added toasted almond meal, but it sure is nice and provides a little scrub action. Who knew the power of the she goat??  Amazing.

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