Saturday, January 2, 2021

2021

 


2020 behind us no; what a year it's been. When I look back though, I have to say that I am grateful. With everything that has transpired over this past year, I can honestly say that it has been a good year for me personally, and an amazing year for my little business. I am thankful for each person who has helped to make 2020 a good year in a time of upheaval.

As I look forward to 2021, I'm excited by the possibilities, both personal and professional. I hope you are, too! I'm looking forward to seeing you in 2021 - may it be a year full of excitement and possibility!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Salt Bars

 One of our best selling soaps these past couple of years has been our Salt Bars. They're a pure white bar with simple ingredients - coconut oil, olive oil, and castor oil - with the addition of sea salt and lavender, peppermint, and rosemary essential oils. Don't let the simple ingredients fool you, however. 

Normally, a soap that's high in coconut oil, as this one is, can be very drying on the skin which is something of a surprise to most people. Coconut oil has been used forever in skin and hair care; it's known as a moisturizing oil for both. When you add lye to it, though, it becomes what we call a very "cleansing" soap, which means it can be drying, stripping... cleansing. Soap made with 100% coconut oil is often used for laundry soap or dishwashing soap but never for body soap.

However, with the addition of 50% salt, the coconut soap is transformed into a gentle soap that I've been using as a facial soap for a number of years. Incidentally, the salt in the soap doesn't help with exfoliation; it's very fine sea salt and dissolves readily. It does help to create a smooth, almost creamy, lather that I've even used for shaving my legs. The bars are hard and long lasting as long as you don't leave them in your shower. 

An interesting tidbit that I haven't had a chance to try yet - apparently coconut soap is the only soap that will lather in salt water. I'll have to try it the next time we visit my daughter on Vancouver Island.

This batch, made this morning, won't be ready for sale for at least three months. This is one soap that benefits greatly with as long a cure as possible. I even recommend buying more than one bar and putting all but one away for a year... or more. Thankfully, I still have some left from last year's batches; some are six to nine months old by now. 

Salt Bars, just poured, now resting until they're firm enough to remove from the molds, some time tomorrow, making these the first soaps of 2021. 

A previous batch curing. Three to six months is the minimum cure time for these bars. The longer the better!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Sorely Neglected - Hopefully to be Remedied

 The blog has been very badly neglected over the past year. I'm hoping to remedy that; as new soaps and new items are being made, tested, and rolled out, I'm planning on updating the blog to keep you in the loop. 

In addition to making soaps like crazy this week, I've been experimenting with lotions and potions, as I've been doing for many years. I'm working on developing an indulgent, or possibly very simple, effective eye cream. I've been researching, making, and testing (using myself as the guinea pig, of course) all week. I'll update when I have something to report. 

The soap kitchen has been active this week - here are a few pictures from our Instagram feed so you can see what's coming up. 






All of these will be ready in time for our first market of the season, on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2021. 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

April Soap Challenge - Pour Through/Pull Through

One of the benefits of being out of work and being told to stay at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is that I have a lot of time for crafting and soap making (not that I'm making a lot of soap). Thankfully, each month, the Soapmaking Forum has a challenge; the challenge for April is the Pour Through or Pull Through technique.

This technique is borrowed from acrylic painting and can make some interesting patterns. The Pour Through technique involves pouring coloured soap batter through a strainer or colander, depending on the size of your mold. The Pull Through technique involves pouring your batter into a mold that has a shaped strainer at the bottom of it. Once the strainer (or whatever is being used) is pulled up through the soap batter, patterns are made. If it's made in a column mold, it usually ends up looking like a kaleidoscope. I've seen some beautiful examples of this technique but I've also seen some muddy looking examples. It's a technique I've been wanting to try for a while but really didn't have time for experimenting.

Well, now I do and this technique just happened to be the challenge for this month. I've already made a first attempt that I'm pretty happy with but I think I'd like to try another one, tweaking with what I learned in the first try.

Here's the tool I used for my attempt #1.



It's from a Pickle (Gherkin) jar, meant to pull the pickles up from the bottom of the jar. I tied two strings to it, one at the top of the handle and one at the opposite side, making it easier to pull out of the soap batter. My mold is made from the 3" core from a roll of blueprint paper (working at a print shop definitely has its perks).

Here's the soap in the mold (I won't be showing the cut soap until the challenge is over or unless I like my next attempt better).



It looks kind of muddy, doesn't it? I was a little worried at first but, trust me, it doesn't look to bad at all. I purposely made a full batch (my usual 1000 grams) and had enough left over to fill my guest soap mold. One thing I must say, I'm really happy with the way the colours came out. The blues are coloured with Ultramarine Blue and a bit of Activated Charcoal and the green is coloured with Olive Mica. The soap is scented with Candora's Caribbean Escape (Sweet Melon, Raspberry Nectar, Italian Lemon, Creamy Coconut, and Raw Sugarcane), which reminds me of SUMMER!



The fragrance oil does have 3% Vanilla content so it may discolour a bit. I added Titanium Dioxide to keep the discolouration to a minimum but I expect it will still darken to a light beige.

It felt good to make soap again; it almost brings a bit of normalcy to my week. 

Stay safe and..... wash your hands. Need soap? We have soap!

Monday, April 6, 2020

A Message to My Local Friends

In this time of Covid-19, we're all being told to stay away from other people, to stay at home, to wash your hands. Like many of you, I'm now among the ranks of the unemployed because of this virus. Like you, we're trying very hard to stay away from people. That said, you still need groceries, right? You still need "the necessities of life". Right now, soap is one of those very important items. It's one of the ways we can stop this virus in its tracks.

So many events are being cancelled, including our local markets, understandably so. That said, if you need soap or bath products, we do have them available. Is there any better time to pamper yourself? We are more than happy to arrange for safe local delivery or pick up (the Kelowna area). All you need to do is get in touch, either by email or by phone.

We have plenty of stock available; I will begin posting available stock on the Available Now page, along with prices. This isn't an online store, however. You will have to get in touch by email or phone to order. Payment can be made by e-transfer and pick up or delivery will be arranged. Delivery will be free for orders over $20.00.

Email us at mission.meadows.soapery@gmail.com or call 250-317-4122 to order and arrange pick up or delivery.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Cream Soap Experiment

At the end of 2018, I did a little experimenting with making a cream soap. After making it, it was to "rot" (or cure) for about 6-8 weeks before using. I did play with it a little bit - I think I made a sugar scrub - but I eventually forgot all about it. Last weekend, while cleaning out the spare room, I thought about it again and dug it out or rather, brought it out into the open.

I love the pearly sheen of the cream soap. This was before I started "playing".

This morning, I decided to play with a bit of it. First, though, I went back to the Soapmaking Forum and did some more reading about cream soaps. I came across a post that mentioned blending it with a bit of thick cream/lotion and decided that was the route I would take.

I used 50 grams of the cream soap, blended it with 10 grams of the lotion base that had been melted into 15 grams of boiling water and mixed up really well. Then, I added 10 drops of fragrance oil. I used Candora's Stormy Nights, which combines floral notes of hyacinth and heather with leafy, green notes. (It's pretty strong on the hyacinth out of the bottle.)

It looks like buttercream frosting and has a very silky feel.

Once all that was done, I took my husband's shave brush and lathered up! I was fairly impressed, to be honest. Next time he shaves, I may get him to try it just to see what he thinks. I tried it on my legs and was pretty happy. That said, my legs were pretty dry to begin with and I really needed to moisturize quite a bit after shaving.

Right after lathering up. It came together beautifully; I probably could have gotten more of a head if I'd used a bowl with a little more texture but you get the idea.

This is an hour later. I left it for about two hours, by which time it was starting to dry out.
The next test will be trying it on my face, just to see how drying (or not) it is. I'll report back when I try it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Covid-19 and Soap Making

I am now officially unemployed. Today was the first day of my social distancing. I will admit that I'm relieved not to be going to work every day and it's giving me time to get some things done that have been waiting for quite some time.

The market opening is still an uncertainty; it's scheduled to start in May so everyone is in wait and see mode. Because I've been making soap all winter for the upcoming season, I'm well stocked and have decided not to make any more at this time.

For any of my local friends and customers, if you are in need of soap, please contact me. I'd be happy to arrange curbside delivery or pick up. In the interim, stay well, wash your hands often, and remember to practice social distancing.

See you on the other side of all this.