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the joy of moving your business in december

As if the holidays alone aren’t enough work!
Due to some unfortunate, (or perhaps fortunate, as it turns out) events,
I lost my lease right before the holidays. I had been working in the same
location for four and a half years, and the news came as a BIG shock.

So I did something that I thought I’d never do,
and brought my business home. Amazingly, it’s been a dream!

However, It’s been more work than I could ever possibly imagine,
and I’m only now starting to catch up with things.
I can tell you one thing I’ve learned from the experience: haste makes waste.
For sure.

I’d love to tell you that everything I make comes out perfect,
but as any soap-maker would tell you, that is impossible.
I’ve never found soap-making easy, but it’s enjoyable, and I’m persistent.
I would never sell anything that I wouldn’t use on myself or my own family.

Thanks to my gnawing desire to make time for creative endeavors
while trying to settle in, the first soap I made in my new and beautiful
home-studio was diagnosed with the most
dreaded-affliction-known-to-hand-made soap..lye-pockets.

What are lye-pockets, you ask? These crystal glazed, dangerous little pockets
in the finished soap, are filled with unsaponified lye water.
This can happen when the soap batter is not mixed well enough,
which is what happened in my case.
Mermaid Cold-ProcessIt’s not easy to see, but the little white areas are the culprits!
I threw the whole batch in a bowl, and sure enough, the next morning,
there was a small lye puddle at the bottom.

I added insult to injury by posting how I had just made my popular
‘Mermaid Soap’ on Facebook, and I had almost the
whole damn loaf sold within minutes.

It only took me a month, but a bad soap situation, even of this caliber,
can usually be safely cooking the hell out of it!

I shredded the whole loaf, and incorporated a small portion of the shreds into a
fresh batch of oils, which is then cooked until neutral in a crock-pot.
Unlike cold-process, after the ‘cook’, this type of soap is ready to use immediately.
Hot-Process Mermaid Soap
I still have plenty of the original loaf left over to re-cook; not a bad thing.

The new hot-processed soap is more rustic looking than cold-process,
but still beautiful, mild, and bubbly! It’s in my shower now, and I’m loving it.

I’m happy with the new soap, and my new surroundings. Lesson learned.
I love happy endings..and new beginnings, too!

Hello, my name is Val, and I’m addicted to soap-making.

Welcome to my first post ever. I like to write, and although my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, I’m a very visual-  I love pictures,
(especially soapy pictures) so please bear with me as I try to figure out all of this blogging jazz. I’m hoping this may help spare my FB friends from my daily photo assault on them, but who knew there were so many features to figure out?

I was in bed the other night, watching a massage technique video on my ipod when my husband rolled over and asked, “What are you watching?” I told him what it was and he replied, “A massage video? Don’t you have that stuff down by now?”

This gave me a chuckle.  I’ve been a massage therapist for a grand total of six years already, for goodness sakes.
No, there is no way I will ever learn everything about what I do for a living. There are so many different modalities, and I think continuing to learn and grow is essential to a persons fulfillment and happiness.

This is something I appreciate about my big, fat soaping hobby, too. I call it big and fat because it is taking up a huge amount of space in my house. Who needs living space anyway?

I learned how to make soap a short year and a half ago, and who’d a thought there were so many different ways in which it can be made? It is truly a wonderful mix of chemistry and art. I’ve always been creative by nature, and will admit that I am one who enjoys the ‘art’ part more than the math.  That being said, I have to give kudos to anything that get’s me excited to do math!

True soap is made when an alkali (lye) combines with a fat (my beautiful oils) to produce a salt, which is soap. The heat-producing chemical change that occurs when these substances are combined is called saponification.  The final soap has no active lye in it, although it does retain a percentage of free floating oils (this is a good thing and is called superfat, hey! what’d you call me?) and a wonderful by-product of that chemical change, which is glycerin.
Glycerin is humectant in nature, meaning it attracts water from the atmosphere to the skin. This makes the soap feel mild and conditioning.  In commercial soap making, glycerin is skimmed from the soap and sold to produce other products.  Not only would I not have a clue as to how to skim the glycerin from my soap, but I would never want to do that!  Herein lies the difference between commercial and hand-made soaps.

As my crafty forum-friends will attest to, there is nothing like waking in the morning to a fresh batch of soap ready to come out of the mold!
This is an Activated Charcoal swirled, 100% Coconut Oil/Coconut Milk Sea Salt soap, scented with Lime, Citrus-Basil and Eucalyptus.  I find Sea Salt soaps especially refreshing in the summertime.
It smells really fresh, I’m going to call it “Cool Citrus Herbal” or something..and now the long wait for cure begins.
In my beautiful Brambleberry mold

I like to cure my salt soap for three months, so this one won’t be ready until October!

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