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 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.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

No Slime Castile Soap

At the beginning of my 2019 market season, I decided that I should stock some very basic soap, something that would be gentle, pure, vegan friendly. I came up with two such soaps. The first of those two was the Charcoal and Lavender Castile soap, made with sea water (from the West Coast), olive oil, and a bit of coconut oil and castor oil, coloured with charcoal and scented with lavender essential oil. The second is the pure Castile bar.

This one is the same base recipe as the Charcoal and Lavender Castile but with no colours and no fragrance. One of the downsides of a true Castile soap is the slimy lather. With the addition of salt water, coconut oil and castor oil, that sliminess is minimized. This is a very gentle soap, perfect for all skin types.

And there's just something about a plain white bar of soap, don't you think?

Castile soap made with olive oil and sea water from Canada's West Coast
Salt Water Castile Soap
I've been trying to come up with ideas for some new soaps and, in chats with other people, I've come up with some interesting ideas. One idea is to make a line of Okanagan-themed soaps.

wine soap made with Okanagan wines

To that end, the jars above are filled with something everyone in the Okanagan knows about. On the left is white wine and the jar on the right is red wine. For each, I've reduced a bottle of wine to almost two cups of liquid. At some point in the near future (when some new colorants arrive), I'll be making soap with each of those. There is nothing more Okanagan than wine and I've made soap with beer in the past so why not wine?

I'm still trying to come up with a few more inspirations for this line. Any ideas?

Sunday, March 8, 2020


So, now that I have these lovely new tools, I should be making soap so I can use them, right? Last weekend, I got on that. I decided that the first soap I made should be a marble soap, a soap that is first cut horizontally to show the marbling, then cut vertically into bars.

This recipe uses shea butter and I like to buy the raw shea, not the processed. It's quite yellow and it does colour the soap somewhat; I know that and I don't mind at all. I chose to try a new to me method of making the soap batter, the heat transfer method. That's when you measure out the solid oils, then mix the lye solution and add it to the hard oils. The heat created by mixing the lye and liquid is usually enough to melt the solid oils. Then the liquid oils are added and you proceed as you normally would. In theory, I liked the idea of this; it is a little faster as you're not waiting for the lye solution and the oils to cool to the same temperature, which can take up to an hour. In this case, though, the recipe is mainly hard oils and the lye solution was unable to completely melt the oils so I had to add some heat until all was melted; then I added the liquid oils and fragrance (Black Tie from Candora). Pouring is done in blobs and layers, with mica sprinkled on between pourings.

Normally, this recipe can be unmolded and cut within 18-24 hours; this time, it took a full 48 hours before I was unable to take it out of the mold to cut. It was very difficult waiting as I really wanted to try the new loaf cutter. Oh my! I am so happy; it was a joy cutting this batch. I've had to tweak the height a little (2 popsicle sticks worth) so I don't end up with too large a left over slab but it's so nice to have even bars of soap. And the bar cutter? Why did I wait so long?? No more wonky, different sized bars!

Using the planer gives the bars a lovely finished look that I'm really liking and it's so easy to use!

Black Tie Marble Soap, scented with Black Tie from Candora (Sophisticated notes of black peppercorn and leather are carefully crafted with warm woods, patchouli, musk and citrus.) Made Feb. 29, 2020
Black Tie Marble - the left overs, swirled with silver mica
This weekend, I restocked a soap that sold better than I had anticipated. I've noticed that my customers usually look for nice smelling and fairly colourful bars of soap. This one is neither. It is unscented and uncoloured, as pure a soap as I can make. It's the No Slime Castile soap, made with a recipe shared by one of the Soapmaking Forum members. Her recipe calls for faux sea water, made with salt and baking soda. However, I asked my daughter's SO to bring me some sea water from the coast and he brought me about a gallon of it.

With the addition of the sea water and a bit of coconut oil and castor oil, this is a lovely mild soap, one of the purest soaps I make. Castile soap, a true 100% olive oil soap, can have somewhat slimy later; this one doesn't. It really is a lovely soap and there's just something about plain white soap that is pleasing, don't you think?

Castile Soap, made March 7, 2020

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Right Tools for the Job

As a maker, I'm of the firm belief that you should splurge on the best tools you can afford for the job you're doing. In soap making, you can improvise easily. Molds can be made out of cardboard boxes, Pringles containers, plastic tubs, silicon muffin cups, almost anything really; cutters can be as simple as a sharp knife or a small wire cheese cutter.

However, if you're doing any kind of production and you want consistency in bar size and shape, you do need to invest in some equipment. The past two weeks have been all about that -- investing in my little business.

I've had my eye on a couple of pieces of equipment for a while but really couldn't justify the expense... until now. We decided it was time to invest in Mission Meadows Soapery. One of the tools I ordered is a bar cutter. It's the same idea as a wire cheese cutter but on a larger scale.

This should eliminate the uneven bars I've been getting, even with an improvised stop on the cheese cutter. An entire loaf can sit on that tray; no more balancing the loaf on a six inch slab of marble while it wobbles while trying to cut it.

The second piece of equipment is a loaf splitter. I don't make many batches in a slab mold but there are some soaps I make that are best cut horizontally first, then into bars. Until now, I've had to use a knife for that and it's been awkward, to say the least. Enter the loaf splitter...

It's adjustable from 1/2" to 3.5" in height and should make quick work of cutting the loaves and it opens up a world of design ideas.

Until now, I've been using battery operated kitchen scales to measure my ingredients. I have two such scales and they've been okay. Lately, though, my "good" scale has been frustrating me no end and there have been times I'm not sure I have the right measurement of an ingredient. If it's something I'm making for myself, I'm not too concerned but if I'm making something that I'll be selling, I need my scale to be accurate. It was time to upgrade the scale.

This is the MyWeigh KD 8000; it can be powered by batteries (3 AAA) or it can be plugged in. That is just what I need! This scale has a 30 year warranty (it will outlive me, most likely!). There's a plastic cover over the front panel and I've been told by numerous soap makers to use the cover. It's there to protect the scale from spills and oopsies (yes, that's a word). It measures down to the gram (for anything smaller, I have a jeweller's scale) or .01 oz and up to 8000 grams (8 kilos). It's known to be a workhorse of a scale.

To round out my investment, I also decided to splurge on a small planer, used to bevel the edges of the soap bars. When the bars are cut, the edges can be "sharp" (if you can call soap sharp). Realistically, after a wash or two, there are no more harsh corners but beveled edges just give the soap a more polished appearance. This is a small hand plane from Kakuri, a Japanese company.

I have two loaves that have been curing in my soap room and are ready for wrapping. I decided to test out the planer on the two loaves, 18 bars. It took just minutes to bevel all eighteen bars and I like the finished look. Now, they just need wrapping. The trimmings are in a paper bag and will be used in a future batch of confetti soap.

I love all my new "toys". Now, I just need to make soap! Until now, I've been somewhat uninspired but ideas are starting to swirl around my brain. No soap making today, though. Today will be spent with friends and family. Tomorrow though......

Monday, February 17, 2020

To Market, To Market

Yesterday was the first of my market Sundays for this year's season. It was great to see all my market family again! A good crowd came out to our little market in the country and even the regular customers were happy the season has started back up.

I'm not totally thrilled with my setup this time; it's looking a little...... blah. The gift sets (on the boxes, top center) get lost against the white background and I'm really not liking the soap in the organza bags. They're great in that they can be picked up and easily smelled but the soap isn't as easy to see and people don't really notice them. 

Last week, I ordered a pattern for a shelf unit that John will be putting together for me. We'll see how that goes; he's really not the handyman type. If the new shelf works, though, I think it could be a good addition to my table. I also think, though, that if I'm going to be in a similar spot (against the wall and out of the sunshine that could affect some products), I'm going to have to go up with my display and I'll need more colour. Any opinions are welcome!

Speaking of the gift boxes, they finally came together and the general consensus is that they look amazing. I don't think this was the right time to introduce them (only two days after Valentine's Day) as only one sold but Mother's Day is coming in a few months and I think they will be a more popular item at that time.

Here's how the sets look (everything is labelled in the actual boxes): 

The Bath Lover's Gift Set
From left to right: Lots of Bubbles Bubble Bath (scented with Salt Water Mermaid fragrance oil, Raspberry Lip Scrub and Lip Serum, Salt Water Mermaid Bath Salt, Foaming Facial Mud Masque (top right), Cocoa Butter & Peppermint Lip Balm, and Vanilla Rose Face & Body Moisturizer
The Shower Lover's Gift Set
From left to right: Foaming Bubble Scrub Bars, Cocoa Butter & Peppermint Lip Balm, Foaming Facial Mud Masque, Raspberry Lip Scrub and Serum, and three Shower Steamers (Menthol Eucalyptus, Menthol Lemon, and Menthol Lime)
When I posted the picture of the Bath Lover's Gift Set in one of the Facebook groups I'm in, I had a number of people ask me for the recipe for the Lots of Bubbles Bubble Bath. After conferring with the owner of the group, I was asked not to share the recipe in the group. I also conferred with Voyageur Soap & Candle, where I had originally obtained the recipe. The recipe is no longer available through Voyageur but all of the ingredients are available through them. 

Because I didn't have permission to share with the Facebook group but did have permission from Voyageur Soap & Candle, I've decided to post the recipe here. It comes together quickly and really does make "Lots of Bubbles"!

Lots of Bubbles Bubble Bath
Yield: 1 kg
  • 50 grams BSB Surfactant
  • 200 Grams Amphosol CG Surfactant (aka Cocamidopropyl Beetaine)
  • 230 grams Bioterge AS40 surfactant
  • 500 grams distilled water
  • 10 grams Glycerin
  • 5 grams Aloe Vera Extract
  • 5 grams Germall Plus
Mix all ingredients together. Because all ingredients are liquid, there is no need to use hot water. Preservatives and fragrance can be added at the same time as the other ingredients. Colour as desired.

If you want it thicker, add salt in small amounts, stirring to fully incorporate until the desired thickness is achieved.

If desired, you can also use Crothix to thicken at approximately 2% in place of the equivalent amount of water. You would then add this at the beginning, to the surfactants, heating to melt. You would then have to wait until cool to add the preservative and fragrance.

Note: I don't thicken mine. I don't think it's necessary but you may like your bubble bath with a thicker consistency.


Saturday, February 8, 2020

Busy, Busy, Busy

It's a busy day here in the Mission Meadows Soapery kitchen/lab. Over the past two years, I've made some amazing products that aren't soap, per se. I've introduced them to my market customers but the products simply haven't moved at all so I've been trying to come up with a way to get customers to try them. I've decided to put together a few gift boxes, each with a variety of products that are not in my current line but are items I think people will love once they try them.

To that end, I found some boxes I think will work for a simple gift box. Items in this one are for sample purposes only. I've decided to make two kinds, one for those who love baths and one for those who prefer showers.

Today has been spent making some of the products I'll be including in one or both of the boxes. For the time being, I'll only be making three or four of each box and each will have five or six products.

First up is a product especially for those who love their showers... or who don't even have a bath tub in their homes (inconceivable to me... I love my baths!). These are Shower Bubble Scrub Bars. When you rub these over your wet skin, they begin to foam with a lush, fragrant foam. They're almost like a bath bomb for your shower!

They're made with coffee, almond flour, and sugar for scrubbiness and a combination of cocoa butter and mango butter for moisturizing. They smell like a cup of mocha with a shot of vanilla, the perfect thing to wake you up in the morning. Each bar is enough for 2-3 showers. I know they look edible but don't.... just don't.

The second product I made today is Vanilla Rose Moisturizing Cream. I made a similar cream, scented with a combination of rose, patchouli, and sandalwood and coloured a very pale pink, a couple of weeks ago (I don't think I blogged it). This is the same recipe but is uncoloured and scented with Vanilla and Rose fragrance oils. The vanilla fragrance may cause the cream to turn a light tan colour; that's what vanilla does in time. It's made with wonderful ingredients like Colloidal Oatmeal, Argan oil, and Aloe Vera Extract. Seriously, this stuff rivals some of the high end creams you can find at your local department store.

When John smelled it, he said it smells a bit like Pond's Cold Cream, a scent I've always liked. Seriously, this stuff smells really nice!

Next up, I made a batch of another of my favourite products. This is a Foaming Facial Mud Mask, made with Canadian Glacial Clay, bentonite clay, kaolin clay, and Activated Charcoal. It also contains Cocamidopropyl Betain, a very gentle coconut based surfactant. It can be used as a facial masque, allowed to dry on your skin, or as a facial cleanser. When you use water to remove the masque, it begins to lather and becomes a foaming cleanser. Seriously, this stuff is amazing. And you don't have to use it just on your face. It can be used as a Spa Bath Treatment; it isn't like a bubble bath but it does bubble and the minerals in the clays are so good for your body.

It can be used in the shower as well. A dollop in your bath puff can be used as a body wash. It can be used as a scalp treatment and shampoo; it can be used as a spa foot soak or a manicure soak. It can even be used as a foot and hand masque. Seriously amazing stuff!

I couldn't let even a little bit of this product go to waste so I scraped out the pot as well as I could and applied it to my face. There wasn't much left, not even enough to do my entire face.

Mud on my face... HA!

And lastly, I made another batch of liquid bubble bath. I've tried many bubble bath products over the years and I have to say that this is my favourite bubble bath ever. Each bottle contains about 4.5 ounces and should be enough for 4-5 baths depending on how bubbly you like your baths. This is, again, scented with Salt Water Mermaid.

All that's left to do now is to make labels, package everything, and figure out my pricing.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

All Signs Point To...

Fun! I've been having fun.

Last weekend, I made another batch of soap, which I think is enough to get me through the first half of the market season. This time, I wanted to use some of the Green Apple fragrance oil that's been languishing in my stash. I do use it for shampoo and conditioner bars but I thought it would be really nice in a soap, too. I wasn't wrong.

It smells so fresh and so clean! My entire (albeit small) house smelled of green apples. I'm ambivalent about the mica on the top but it's too late now. If you've been checking out my gallery page, you will already have seen the cut of this soap. I'm very pleased with the result.

I probably could have coloured more aggressively but I'm pretty happy with this. The swirls are subtle and the fragrance is perfect. I have a feeling this one will be sold out quickly.

I HAVE been having fun this week. It's been a week of reflecting and planning for the upcoming market season. One of the things that has been a bit of a frustration is my table signage. I don't mean the main signage (I have a small banner which I love) but the product signage. I've been using small wooden blackboard signs that are handwritten as needed; I want to get away from handwritten signs and have been looking for ideas to that end.

Pinterest has been a source of inspiration many times and this time was no exception. I came across several pins with cement/concrete crafts and, suddenly, inspiration struck. What if I were to use concrete and paper clips? The concrete base would ensure stability; the signs wouldn't easily be knocked over (as I am wont to do) and the paper clips would hold my printed signs in place. I decided to give it a try.

Home Hardware carries Quickrete in buckets (rather than buying a 50 lb. bag) so, armed with that, a square silicone ice cube tray and some large paper clips, I got creative.

Each cube holds about 1/2 cup of the cement mix; I added more water than the 1:5 ratio recommended because I wanted to be able to pour it rather than "glop" it into the molds. John suggested bending the end of the paper clip that would be sitting in the mix to give it a little more stability - a good suggestion. Because of the added water, I put the tray in the oven, with the light on, for a couple of hours, then let it set overnight. By the next morning, I was able to unmold easily.

The one on the left looks a bit wonky but it's the concrete, not the clip. Apparently my oven isn't level.
I let them set up for a day then decided to paint and seal them. I love the look of the finished bases and I think they'll work well on my table, on which I use an olive green table cloth over a black table cover. I used a dark gold/bronze spray paint and sealed them with a clear coat. From what I've been reading, they'll probably lighten up somewhat after about a month, by which time they'll be fully cured.

I like them so much that I decided to go ahead and make the rest of my bases this morning. I figure I'll need about a dozen for all the signs I'll need, maybe a few more. This time, after more reading, I decided to add some water soluble titanium dioxide to the mixing water, to help lighten the colour of the natural cement. I'm hoping that will give more of a contrast between the gold and the concrete.

As well, this time, instead of using the plastic coated paper clips, I used the plain steel clips. I like them better than the plastic coated clips; they just feel stronger.

This has really been a lot of fun and far easier than I thought possible. There's just one "problem". I still have more than half a bucket of the mix left and nowhere to store it. That means I'll have to make something with it; I've seen a lot of amazing ideas. Now, I just need to decide.

Yup, all signs point to more fun on the horizon!

Saturday, January 25, 2020


One of the things I love about making soap is the anticipation of making that first cut into a fresh loaf of soap. You never know for sure if the soap turned out the way you'd envisioned it. In the case of the Salt & Pepper soap, it turned out exactly as I'd hoped it would, glycerin rivers and all.

Salt & Pepper Soap, January 2020
See the crackled appearance in the white part of the bar? That is what's known as glycerin rivers. I'm by no means an expert but here's one explanation from soapmaker extraordinaire, Auntie Clara, explaining glycerin rivers: "...when soap goes through gel phase, particles of colour pigment added to the soap seem to gravitate and stick to the greasy, water-repellent tails of the soap molecules while leaving the water-soluble heads of the molecules without pigment. This happens sometimes when soap coloured with titanium dioxide and other colour pigments goes through gel phase." 

Titanium dioxide is what I used in the white part to make it more white. I know that when I make this particular soap, I get glycerin rivers and I love the look in this case.

The Charcoal & Lavender Castile was, shall we say, educational. With the first cut, I realized it had gone through partial gel. The gel phase of soap making is the heating stage of saponification. Once you pour your soap into its mold it will start to heat up. Gel phase starts with the soap turning translucent in the middle and then spreads out to the edges. ... The biggest difference between gelled and un-gelled soap is the color of it. (From

You can recognize partial gel instantly. There will be a ring spreading from the center but not to the outer edges of the soap. That's what happened with this one; there was a pale grey ring in the bars. I didn't take a picture of it because I was, if I'm honest, a little disappointed. John, however, thought it was pretty cool and was disappointed when I planed each of the bars, which helped to diminish the very obvious ring.

Partial gel in no way affects the quality of the soap; like glycerin rivers, it's purely cosmetic. Both of these soaps will be amazing once they've cured, in about 4-6 weeks. Next time, however, I may force gel in the charcoal soap, for cosmetic reasons only.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Salt & Pepper

With work being a bit slow at this time of year, my boss suggested that my co-worker and I each work half days for the remainder of this week. I hate to say it but we both jumped at the chance. Since I do the daily cash out, I suggested he take the mornings and I'd take the afternoons. Today's the first day we're doing this and I've taken advantage of the opportunity to make another batch of soap.

This one is called Salt & Pepper; the white side has poppy seeds in it, to resemble pepper and the black side has coarse kosher salt in it to resemble..... well, salt. I've scented it with Salt Water Mermaid from Candora.

I've made this one a few times before and it's always been popular. I haven't had it in stock since early last year so it's about time I made it again. Inside, it has a side to side hanger swirl and the salt in the dark side will give the soap a somewhat mottled appearance. The recipe also includes lard, which makes a very nice skin loving soap. I've topped it with a little kosher salt and some poppy seeds.

Salt & Pepper Soap
Made Jan. 22, 2020
I should be able to cut this loaf some time tonight. Once it's cut, I'll take the "official" picture. Now though, it's time to get ready for work. 

Hmmm... what shall I make tomorrow?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Black is Beautiful

One of the soaps that sold out at last year's market was my Charcoal & Lavender Castile soap. It's a basic castile soap, with a little coconut and castor oil for bubble support. Then, I added a good dose of charcoal and some lavender essential oil. It's also made with sea water. Real sea water from Canada's West Coast. My daughter's partner brought it to me from Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island.

Charcoal and lavender have both been used throughout the centuries for skin care, especially for those with oily or break out prone skin. That said, soap is soap. In itself, it doesn't cure anything as it's a wash off product but it certainly won't damage your skin (unless you're allergic to any of the ingredients, obviously).

One of the things I've been working towards with my soap is to have several "lines". One of them is Basic Soap; this soap, along with unscented and uncoloured Castile soap are a part of that line. One other line this one qualifies as is Vegan Friendly. It's made with plant oils, Activated Charcoal (which is made from wood) and essential oil.

I think it's also one of my most dramatic soaps, dark and a beautiful!

Charcoal & Lavender Castile Soap
As a side note, two posts in one day after almost a one year absence... talk about jumping in with both feet, right?

I Haven't Disappeared.... yet

I'm almost embarrassed to be posting again after so long. It's been almost a year since my last post; soaps have been made and sold; possible new products are being made and tested. Life keeps going on.

I now have two market years behind me; it's been educational and a lot of fun. My fellow vendors, and the people who run the East Kelowna Sunday Artisan Market are wonderful people and I've made some lovely friends. I missed one market out of the entire season because we do take an occasional vacation.

At this point in the calendar year, I'm gearing up for this year's upcoming market season. Over the last few weekends, soaps have been made. This one was made for a Soapmaking Forum challenge or, rather, an unchallenge. It wasn't an "official" challenge as December is a very busy month for almost everyone. Instead, the challenge was to create a soap using a new-to-you technique, or something that you've wanted to try but never got around to trying.

In my case, it was mica marbling. I've seen a few soapmakers make soap using this technique and I love the look of it.

I coloured it with Silver Sparkle mica (which turned the soap a really nice pale green for some reason) and used Copper Moon mica for the swirls. It's scented with Lemongrass Verbena fragrance oil. To show the marbling effect best, the soap needs to be cut horizontally rather than the usual vertical cut. I love the look of the bars but I'm not sure how much the mica will "shed". The bars aren't quite ready to be used yet but once they are, I'll be picking the messiest (the one with the most mica showing) and giving it a good try. I'm concerned that the mica may rub off on a washcloth or skin. The small bars, with the heart embeds were made with the leftover batter and a couple of mini hearts I had left from last year's Valentine's soap.

If you're in the Kelowna area, the East Kelowna Sunday Artisan Market will have their first market of the season on Sunday, February 16, from 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. I'll be there; will you?