Archive for the ‘Soapmaking’ Category

Lavender Goat's Milk Soap

Today I made my first full-sized batch of soap since I had shoulder surgery a while back.  I’ve made some batches of soap that were 2-3 lbs of oils but today I bit the bullet and made a BIG batch.  Yay me!  Woohoo!

This batch started out with 12 pounds of oils and butters and then I added in the essential oil, goat’s milk, clay, and caustic solution.  It’s now a bit over 17 lbs of soap batter and will lose a bit of weight during the curing process.  The curing time is mainly for water to evaporate out of the soap.  Right now the bars would weigh 6.4 ounces each but they won’t weigh that much in a few weeks.  The color will change a smidgen, too.

Truth be told, I was rather timid about doing a 12 lb batch and had horrid visions of being too weak to do it and having a huge caustic mess on my hands.  Luckily that didn’t happen and I managed just fine.  I’m expecting some soreness tomorrow but that will go away – I did it and soon there will be 42 big-ass bars of Lavender Goat’s Milk soap on the curing rack.  Now, what kind of soap should I make tomorrow?

With the dividers, I don't have to cut the soap after it's firmed up.


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If I had unlimited funds or even close to enough funds to do it, I’d start a school.  When I think about the field to the north, I envision heading down a road in that direction where there are trees, gardens of herbs and vegetables, fruit bushes, and of course various animals.   Chickens, goats, cows, guinea fowl, cats, dogs, and whatever else comes our way would be present.

Beyond the plantings and animals, I see various buildings – barns of course, but also large cabins with flower boxes at the windows and rocking chairs on the porches, buildings that would house classrooms, workshops, offices, and a small shop where we can sell some of the products that we would make here year around.

What would we teach here at the school?  The traditional arts that are so rare to find these days.  I would bring in artisans and craftsmen to teach the lost skills of chair caning, blacksmithing, quilting, candlemaking, soapmaking, herbalism, distilling and brewing, weaving, furniture making,  how to bake breads and make cheeses, and much, much more.  All of those skills that used to be part of the lives of our ancestors would come to life again at the hands of masters and students.   I would love to go to “camp” at a place like this and surely there are others.  I know.  I know if I build it they will come.

It sounds like a huge undertaking but I’ve had this dream in my heart and my brain for so long now that I see it clearly.  And the truth of the matter is, I already know the people who could teach most of the classes and those people know other people.   I would set up a schedule of classes and bring in people to teach those I, or members of my family, can’t teach.  Our students would come to stay for varying periods of time – 2-3 days or perhaps even a couple of weeks.  Those who wanted a reduced rate on their stay could work in the gardens or help with some sort of maintenance to help pay for their tuition.

Who are those students?  Ahh, they are a varied bunch:  business people who want to have a few days at a slower pace, families who want to get a taste of some of the skills needed for homesteading, retirees who are looking for a new hobby or talent to keep busy, and people like me who just love to learn and learn about the traditional skills.

I have heard of a place such as this and I would love to attend some time but what I really want is to have it all here.  Where I can look out and know I’m part of a revival and that I’m making a difference in the way people live their lives, if only for a day.  Here.  Where I could look out over Swisher Hill School of Traditional Arts  and smile.

Oh yes, I have this dream…

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I firmly believe that we all need a truly lazy day now and then.  Okay, I know I do, so I think everyone else needs them too.  Makes me feel much less guilty that way.   Since it is a rainy sort of day today I’m feeling very lazy.

Yes, I’m sitting (okay mostly lying here) thinking about making soap and I’m firmly decided on which soaps it is I’m putting off making.  Definitely Goatmilk Lavender and something different… Omm which is oatmeal, milk, and maple.  It’s a twist on the old favorite oatmeal, milk, and honey.  But I really wanted to use some of my maple syrup from Funk’s Grove in soap and this simple wholesome soap seems like the perfect match.   And because today is my cousin Amy’s birthday, I’ll be thinking of her while I make soap and she’ll get a bar when it’s cured out and ready to be used.   She’s very sweet and wholesome so the Omm seems like a perfect fit for her.

I really want to get some violet jelly and some dandelion jelly made.  I need to get at the violet before the blooms are all gone.  But, as I said, I am lazy today.  I think I might watch a movie and then I’ll weigh out my oils.  I’m having some arm pain today so I may not get two large batches done today but I will get at least one done.

I must admit that I don’t mind the rainy day because it’s helping my garden grow.  Heh, I really must post a photo of my garden – it’s uhm, amazing.  Yes, that’s the word I’ll use: amazing.  It must be seen to be believed.   Hope you are having a fabulous day where you are and remember to take time out for the simple pleasures.

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I’m looking forward to making soap this weekend but I have so many different soaps to make that I don’t know which one I want to make first!  Because this will be my first time making a large batch with the bionic bicep I need to make only one or two batches.  So, what will they be?  Decisions, decisions…

Lavender goatsmilk soap is a classic and definitely one of our best sellers so I think the first batch will be LGM.   If I make a second batch it might be something different I have been meaning to make – a new twist on an old classic…  I think maybe I’ll keep that a surprise.  But next week I hope to have something on the curing rack and some photos up.

Thanks for stopping by!

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