Monday, June 19, 2017

soap on instagram

for those interested in more soap things, I can't say whether I'll post anything more here about what I make. I have a new instagram account @northangersoapworks and I intend to post my projects there.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Henrik Russell + birth story

Born 12/13/16.

For the 3 people who still read this blog and the 1 person who wants to know, I was induced at 41 weeks exactly (due to concerns regarding gestational diabetes), and had a natural birth without epidural. I did get a little something through my IV 5 minutes before he was born, which had no effect whatesover! So it wasn't 100% unmedicated, but I really only cared about avoiding epidural. I did not need stitches and recovered quickly. I can now independently confirm that pitocin transition labor hurts more than spontaneous transition labor. So. There you are.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Confetti Soap

It's been a year and a half since I made the botched red patchouli soap that bleeds red. I took one of the bars and grated it up with a cheese grater, some big and some small shreds. Once soap is made, it cannot be melted and unmade. So if you mess up you can't melt it down again. Hence comes this confetti soap.

I got the idea from the Soap Queen website, when reading about colorant issues. I have to wait a month for it to cure and test it, but I only grated up one bar of red and put it into a regular white batch with 1500 g oils. I used my basic hand soap recipe where I make the larger bars and cut them in half for our family use. (perfect size for toddler hands). I like to use rendered tallow for it since it comes from the quarter beef we bought last year. It takes a lot more work to render tallow than it does to just open a package of lard, so I suppose that makes me want to save it for our home use. I think also that because tallow has such a high melting point (higher than lard, and MUCH higher than coconut oil) it makes for harder bars which last a very long time. If you ever have an unlabeled jar of lard and another of beef tallow and you aren't sure which is which (as I have on several occasions), lard is soft like butter at room temperature while tallow is still rock hard. Even straight from the fridge, I can scoop lard a little, but tallow is now a cold rock. There is a lot of science behind soapmaking that is pretty interesting. Our library purchased Scientific Soapmaking at my request last year but I have not gotten a chance to read it yet.

I have been thinking of putting eucalyptus scent into soap but was hesitant since it is such a strong smell. Normally I wouldn't put scent into our basic soap but I wanted to experiment with eucalyptus, so I put 4 grams worth into this batch, and you can't smell it at all after saponification. So now I know to use my regular 15g for a 1200 g batch and it will probably be perfect.

I made this soap 10/9/2016, and cut it a day later. I think it turned out very pretty. Here's hoping I don't see any red lather this time around, especially since this is what I'm planning for us to use for the next year (with a scented bar here and there).

Monday, October 10, 2016

Clove and Lavender soaps

This was supposed to be clove with a hint of orange (I didn't have much orange left), but I made the mistake of putting the oils together in a tiny plastic bathroom cup while I made the soap. It would have been fine for a few minutes, but after 30 minutes the oils burned through the cup and the oil leaked out. I scraped up what I could with a spatula, but I couldn't get every drop. So, it is more just clove soap now since there was hardly any orange to begin with.

This is the same lavender recipe as before, but this time I put in both blue and purple. Again, I forgot to take a picture the day it was made so this picture is from today.

And that makes 14 batches of soap so far. When the 15th batch is cut I'll post that next.

Basic family soap and two christmas soaps


This batch I wanted to be the basic bathroom soap to use in our house. It is unscented, with only a streak of purple in it for fun. I used the wider 3.5 inch inserts that came with the soap mold, and cut them in half, thinking it would be just right for small hands (toddlers). And it was perfect. I still have 3 bars of it left, and we've used it all year. I didn't have a picture of it from when it was made, so I took a picture today of what I had left.

10/28/2015 & 11/25/2015

I only have a picture of the first batch of peppermint soap. Both were red, white, and green, and scented with peppermint. The second batch had much finer swirls. I think I forgot the put the scent in until after I put it in the mold, so had to stir it a lot while in the mold. So it made for a a very very swirly soap. The nice thing about these soap pigments is they don't bleed into each other. So even though I basically attempted to blend them all together, it won't blend. If you tried to do it with an immersion blender it probably would blend too much and look bad. I probably won't ever try it though:)
Anyway the first batch looked like this:

And the second batch should have looked similar, except for the stirring I had to do in mold changed the look. Two people wanted to buy a bunch of soap at christmas and I didn't have enough, hence the second batch of peppermint.

Auctioned Soap

I made two batches in a row for a church auction. I only auctioned 4 bars of each though.


This one was cinnamon again with yellow colorant.


And this one was orange scent. My favorite scent really, but I have to use 3x the amount I would of other oils (and I used a 5x concentrated orange oil in the first place). So it is more expensive. And it fades quickly, within a few months instead of a year. I used no colorant here, the orange oil turned it yellow/orange. (Not great planning on my part for the auction, two yellow soaps...). Still, everyone loved the orange scent.

Lavender and Vanilla Soaps


Another lard based soap, lavender scented with blue swirls. I had friends who were having baby boys at the same time, so I made these imagining it would make a nice mother gift at the baby shower. I have to make soap at 4 weeks ahead since it takes that long to cure. Kind of annoying, but that's cold process for you.


This soap was colored by mixing red and blue pigment. I had the notion it would be purple...but it came out this mauve color. It was supposed to smell like vanilla thanks to benzoin essential oil, but I discovered benzoin to be a strange character (and not at all oil like..its thicker than honey). Too mild, the scent was destroyed in saponification. I still have some of the oil that I keep meaning to use in chapstick or something. But I have yet to make chapstick. So. There it waits.

I posted a picture of this soap on facebook and one person said it looked like headcheese, or brains. Greeaaaat. thanks. best compliment ever.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.