Making soap is creative from the get-go. You can take one of the hundreds of recipes found in books or online or you can create your own. I started out using recipes from a book but then developed my own using my knowledge of oil properties.
Each oil has properties that it contributes to the end result - creamy lather, moisturizing, bubbly light lather, hardness, etc. Some oils have a longer shelf than others so I prefer to choose them. I have a friend who has severe nut allergies so I now avoid using almond oil. I miss it but substitute avocado oil instead.
Other things I add to my soap to enrich it, give it texture / interest, etc. are flower petals, herbs, seeds, pureed vegetables and fruits, nuts, silk fiber, milks, oatmeal, etc. I love discovering and trying new things.
Then, there are the various colors and fragrances. I use both fragrance and essential oils. There are just too many fragrance oils available to stick only with essential oils for me. Plus, some of the essential oils can be cost prohibitive. For my colors, I use iron oxides, micas, ultramarines, and some herbs and spices. It's always an adventure!
Soapmaking creativity stretches into the artistic realm with all the different techniques for creating swirls, layers, gradated colors, and more. It's just SO MUCH FUN!
Soapmaking is pleasing to the senses in so many ways. It's tactile - the feel of the soap - creamy, slippery, bubbly, textured. The aromatherapy aspect - the fragrances are numerous - citrus, floral, spicy, etc. There's a scent for everyone's nose. It's visual - the colors and the patterns that are made.
Now, let me show you what has come out of the soappot recently.
Last weekend, I made three batches and they are shown in the picture above. Left to right: Rosemary Lemongrass, Lemon Poppyseed, and Bay Rumble. The Rosemary Lemongrass incorporates lemongrass from my garden last summer. The Bay Rumble has a bottle of Great Lake's Christmas Ale in it.
The picture of the cut bars are left to right: Lemon Poppyseed, Bay Rumble, and Rosemary Lemongrass. Oooooo, they sell wonderful!!!!
Yesterday, I made four batches. The two pictured to the right are Aloe Vera & Cucumber on the right and Sea Salt & Lotus Blossom on the left. Aloe Vera & Cucumber is made with aloe vera juice and pureed cucumbers in place of distilled water and has shea butter in it. This is a super soap for sensitive or weathered / dry skin. Sea Salt & Lotus Blossom soap has sea salt and cocoa butter in it.
The next two pictured are Jammin' Blackberry on the right and Cashmere & Silk on the left. Jammin' Blackberry is really more purple than blue and has activated charcoal in it. Cashmere & Silk will be cut into chunky bars and this recipe contains shea butter, goat's milk, and silk fiber. This is also a super duper soap for dry or sensitve skin.
There you have it! The latest from the soappot! I removed them all from the molds this morning and now they are drying - waiting to be cut into bars. I LOVE cutting them to see what each bar looks like. They can be similar or quite different. I'll be sure to post pictures.
We knit at Dorothy Lane in Springboro this past Saturday. Elizabeth modeled her beautiful and finished Vodka Gimlet sweater. She did a fabulous job!! A couple of others are working on this sweater, also - Jan and Marian. All are doing such great jobs. It's a great pattern and can be found here on Ravelry.
Christie joined us - we haven't seen her for a while due to work and school keeping her very busy. She's never too busy to knit socks, though. Here are two of her latest. The one on the right is from this free pattern on Ravelry - Kalajoki.
Mary was working on a beautiful shawl, Ashton, and she raved about the pattern. This pattern is free on Ravelry and is a 10-page pattern/tutorial for first time lace knitters or chart readers. Check it out - it's a lovely shawl.
Now, for a breath of Spring on this wintry day. I bring my pots of gerbera daisies in for the winter and they are blooming their heads off! Today, I watered them. On my second trip back into the sunroom, something strange caught my eye. ANTS! ANTS all over the side of one of the pots! And, when I say all over I mean ALL OVER! The whole side of the large terra cotta pot was crawling with ants! I put the pot outside and then ran for the spray. I hope I killed the little boogers because it's supposed to sleet tonight and I need to bring the pot back inside. It's way too cold for the daisies to be outside since they've been warm and cozy all winter. I guess that little bit of water and the sunshine streaming through the windows this morning gave the ants spring fever!