Monday, July 11, 2011

You Can Help Me Make More Soap!

Wow.  The first time I tried to make soap was back in September of 2009!  I can't believe it's been that long!  My first couple of attempts at soap making were, shall we say, not quite that successful.  But they certainly were learning experiences!!

I started with a recipe from my copy of Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond.  By the way, this book rocks!  My first forays into green cleaning, among other things, came from the recipes in this book.  I highly recommend it.  Anyway, the soap.  I didn't really know much about what I was doing, but I figured if I could just follow the instructions I'd be all right.  Right?  Wrong.  There were little things (and some not so little things) that I missed that made a HUGE difference.  I didn't realize that I should be stirring the lye water to dissolve the lye crystals.  I didn't realize that I should be weighing my oils/ingredients instead of measuring them.  And let me tell you the difference a stick blender makes over trying to mix it by hand!  It's a good recipe.  I've since used it to much success.  In fact, it's one of my favorite recipes for conditioning and lather.  My inexperience was really the only problem.

After those first couple of unsuccessful tries, I was still determined to figure out how to do this right and started wondering if there was a class in my area.  Call it coincidence, call it synchronicity, call it divine intervention, call it what you will but at my next Herb Society meeting, I found out that a friend was teaching soap making classes.  I signed up!  All those little/huge things I mentioned getting wrong... I found out about during Rebecca's class.  I gained the knowledge and confidence to give it another try.  This time I used the recipe that she demonstrated and I got it!  I was so excited!  I made soap!!

Needless to say, I didn't stop there.  I made her recipe numerous times with different scents, I made the original recipe that I played with (successfully, this time), I started experimenting with different additives (like ground oatmeal and apricot seeds)...  All of the soap that I make is all natural.  I will NOT ever use any chemical fragrances or dyes and all oils are sustainable.  I handed out samples to EVERYONE and was absolutely thrilled with all of the positive responses that I received.  It got to the point where people were asking me daily when I was going to get it listed in the shop.

Back in May, I finally announced the addition of the Apothecary to the shop as I started listing some soap.  At the moment, I have four scents listed: Lavender Oatmeal, Creamy Castile, Tangerine Lavender, and Cinnamon Clove Spice.  These are scents and recipes that I've been testing out for about a year.  I love all of them, but my favorites are probably the Cinnamon Clove Spice & Creamy Castile.  They may seem to be slightly odd sizes at the moment but that will change.  I hadn't been making full size bars for my testers and I stuck with what I had been doing for starting them off in the shop.  Once I get through this batch, you will start to see a more standard 4-6oz size uniform throughout the shop.

I have so many ideas of different scents and additives that I want to play with, there are different recipes that I want to try, I have plans for gift combos, there are ways of making plant dyes to color bars that I can't wait to try...  But there's a catch and this is where you come in.

Supplies for soap making can be very expensive.  Since I left my full time job back in January, money has been tight and I've run out of the luscious oils I use to make soap.  If you thought about trying out my soap, if you've never tried handmade soap before (there is a HUGE difference, but I'll save that for another post), if you're a friend and want to help support me and my shop, if you need a gift, or maybe you just need a shower...  check out the Apothecary section of my shop and make a soap purchase.  All proceeds of Apothecary items will go towards the purchase of soap supplies so I can offer you a wider array of goods.

What's in it for you?  All Apothecary purchases will come with a sample of my new Foot Soak, you'll smell pretty, and you'll feel good knowing that you helped support a handmade business.

You can visit the Apothecary in my Artfire Studio or Etsy Shop.

Happy Shopping!!


Janet said...

I'd love to try soap but it's so daunting that I don't think I'm up for the challenge. Thank goodness for talented artists like you!

Memories for Life said...

Isn't it fun trying new crafts! This ones sure seems to be a succesful one for you too!

Kristin Aquariann said...

Your soap sounds lovely, Janine! I'm not a fan of using bars, though - do you think you'll try making liquid or lotion in the future?

Melissa at said...

I LOVE handmade soap! Can't wait to check it out!


Athena's Armoury said...

Janet & Scrapbooks: Soap making is A LOT of fun. Especially once you get over the whole working with lye bit. =)

aquariann: I haven't played that much with liquid soap yet but I have been working with making lotion. I'll keep you posted.

Melissa: Thanks for checking it out! Hope you find something you like.