Friday, July 29, 2011

Not Just For The Body

Most commercial soaps are meant for only one thing. So you have to buy a bar (or liquid) for your hands, another for your face, another for your body, shampoo for your hair and shaving cream for your legs. While my soaps can be body-part-specific, they don't have to be. The peppermint infusion soap is great for tired feet. The rosewater soap makes a great facial soap. Why, this morning, I grabbed a bar of goat's milk lavender flower soap and literally washed myself head to toe with it. I used it as a shampoo, a facial scrub, a body wash, and even for shaving! Soft, smooth, no nicks or burn, tangles or dry skin!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Greener Soaps

I have been considering two ways to make my soaps more green, that is, better for the environment:

1. Instead of wrapping the soaps in plastic coated freezer paper, I'm considering using pages from discarded books. These books are often left in the landfills or just tossed in the recycle bin or simply burned. Instead, I can give them one last lease on life as unique wrappers for my soap! Then, my customer can either upcycle once more or simply toss the paper into the recycle bin. Reduce, Reuse and then Recycle!

2. Rain water! Why hadn't I thought of this before? I can collect rain water, which is generally more healthful and green to achieve than well water. Of course, I've begun collecting water from the sky, not off my roof. I missed today's thunderstorm, though.

I also found an excellent source for my organic, unrefined coconut oil. The entire production of this coconut oil is green! No pesticides, they even reuse the coconut husks to fuel the machinery that extracts the oil!

I also reuse boxes and envelopes for storage and shipping. Not only is it good for the environment, but it cuts costs, too, so I'm not upping soap prices. Shipping costs are crazy enough!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Waste Not

Last week a batch of my soap did not harden fully. It was a goat milk, rose water soap I was experimenting with. Instead of a nice, firm, cream-colored bar, I got a soft, moldable, yellow bar. I certainly can't sell it, but I didn't want to just throw it away. It's still good soap, just not firm! I broke the soap up (which is a slightly softer consistency than fudge) and put the pieces into a liquid handsoap dispenser. I added some water, stirred and shook. Now, I have a creamy, liquid handsoap for my bathroom!

Friday, July 22, 2011

More than one reason?


As we face the hot and humid weather of July, I've noticed something about soap making that has me wondering if there is another reason or two why our ancestors made soap in the autumn?
The main reason was it coincided with butchering time, since they would render the fat into lard or tallow, which was needed to make soap. Yet, while our ancestors were no ninnies who whined if the AC was set to 77 instead of 75, if they could avoid standing over a hot fire pouring potash into the pot on a humid, unsettled day, then they would! Granted, I cold process my soap so there's no stove required.

I noticed that in this heat and humidity, my soaps are having a harder time setting and often weep or the oils separate a bit. It's nothing major, so long as the soaps set over time. The oils drain or reabsorb and eventually the soaps harden. From what I'm reading, it's a common thing in such weather. There's where I wonder if soap making in the cooler, drier autumn air is better. Time will test my theory. In the meantime, my soaps get air conditioned treatments by curing in the bedroom in front of the AC.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Skunk Remover Recipe

So, I'm laying in bed in dreamland early this morning when in my dream I can smell it. I slowly wake up and it's not a dream. It is for real. Skunk. I hate skunk smell. So, I figured today I'd post a recipe for a very effective skunk smell remover.

7 or 8 years ago, my little brother was house sitting for my older brother. Hubby and I get a call after we've gone to bed that older brother's dog got skunked. I volunteered to drive to the house and see what I could do to help. On the way there, I picked up cans of tomatoes and my little sister. After a very messy and very ineffective bath of tomatoes, I set my sister to the internet looking for something else that might work. She found this recipe. I was doubtful as I ran to an all-night gas station to buy an overpriced bottle of hydrogen peroxide, but anything to get rid of the stink!

Sure enough, the skunk smell was removed, at least from the dog. Everything else still smelled skunky, including myself. When I returned home, I bathed myself in the skunk remover and no longer smelled skunky.

Skunk Remover

1 quart hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon liquid soap (I used dish soap)

Combine in an open container. Add some lukewarm water while bubbling. Work into fur, avoiding face and eyes. Let stand for 10 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Coconut Oil Quest

I have been looking for a source for my coconut oil. Right now, I use 16 ounce jars of organic, unrefined, pure extra virgin coconut oil. This way it contains all the beneficial minerals and other health aspects of the coconut. As you can imagine, with soap making a 16 ounce jar doesn't last very long. I'm looking to up the ante to a gallon pail!

So, in my quest, I started seeing really good prices on bulk coconut oil and sell-your-children-to-the-gypsies prices on bulk coconut oil. What's the difference? I found coconut oil in refined and unrefined? What's the difference? A little more research and I discovered that unrefined coconut oil is often made from copra and not fresh coconuts. To clean the copra, they refine and bleach the oil with natural clays and put it through high heat, thus removing nutrients. Does it make it harmful? Not really. Just altered to a lower grade oil mostly used for cosmetics, detergents and soaps, though it is still edible.

Is there a noticeable difference? For soap, I don't know as I have not made soap out of copra, but I do have refined copra coconut oil in the house. I just bought some from Walmart. I use it to grease my cookie sheets when I make anything oven fried. It works GREAT for that. It is odorless, pretty much tasteless and is an odd waxy color, like the color of paraffin used for canning. Organic, unrefined pure extra virgin coconut oil smells and tastes of coconut. It is white, not waxy. It retains the coconut's nutrients. It is not bleached or heated to high levels.

So, while refined coconut (copra) oil is fine for cosmetic use and greasing a cookie sheet to make homemade sweet potato chips, I would rather have the full benefit of unrefined pure coconut oil in my soaps. We might as well get all the nutritional benefits inside AND outside! If I ever do make soap out of refined coconut oil, I would fully disclose it.

If I find any more research, I'll be sure to post it.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Crockpot Yogurt Recipe

Making yogurt in the crockpot is easy, cost effective and yummy! You may need to tweak it a little to see what setting works best for you, but I had no problems the first time I tried this recipe several years ago.

Pour 8 cups of milk (I use whole milk) into your crockpot. Cover and set on medium heat (I set it on 8 hours) for 2 1/2 hours. After 2 1/2 hours, turn the crockpot off and let it sit for 3 hours. After 3 hours, stir in with a wooden or plastic spoon 1/4 cup of organic, plain whole milk yogurt (like Stonyfield). Cover the crockpot and wrap it in a towel. Let it sit for 8 hours. Voila!

Notes:

1. This yogurt turns out a bit runnier than store bought yogurt. You can drain some of the whey by pouring the yogurt into a muslin-lined collander. The whey is good for soaking grains, adding to unsweetened lemonade for a protein kick, or even dumping it into your toilet or compost pile for added beneficial bacterias.

2. You can use this yogurt to make additional batches of yogurt, but up the mix-in to 1/2 a cup of homemade yogurt. The yogurt culture will eventually weaken this way, so I recommend only up to 3 times before buying another container of Stonyfield and starting fresh again.

3. If you're not used to plain yogurt, try adding a bit of honey or some fresh fruit. It doesn't take long to develop a taste for the yogurt. If you're used to Yoplait or other highly sweetened and artificial yogurts, it may take longer.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Do Your Soaps Lather Well?

You don't need crazy chemicals to work up a lather! Nature does the job for you!

My soaps lather up very well without all the additives. See for yourself!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Your Soaps Sound Good Enough To Eat!

Indeed, up until I add the lye to create the saponification process (the processes of turning fats into go ol' fashioned soap), my soaps are quite edible! Natural foods are good inside and out!

Many herbs are great for the skin, yet edible in teas or used medicinally internally.

Coconut oil is a beauty oil of the islands.
Sweet Almond Oil was Jackie O's moisturizer of choice for her famed complexion.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is slathered on women of the Middle East and Mediterranean for their glowing skin.

All of these oils are edible, too, and good for you!

Buttermilk can even be used dabbed on a cotton ball as a make-up remover!

Goat's Milk can be poured in a bath for a soothing milk bath.

Oatmeal is a known soother of dry skin conditions.

Even the lye I use is food-grade lye, which is used for turning dried corn into hominy and grits. (CAUTION: Do NOT eat my soap!)

There is a great campaign out there to encourage and educate people to stop putting chemically-laden food into their bodies, but I challenge you to not put chemically-laden beauty products ONTO your body as well!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Disclaimers

1. Though I may claim that some of my soaps my improve and/or help skin conditions, I am in no way a doctor or medical professional. They are simply claims based on customer feedback, personal experience, or researched benefits of certain herbs and/or ingredients.

2. I will not be help liable for any reaction a customer may have to the soaps. I divulge all my ingredients. Nothing's secret. If, by any chance, you do have a reaction, please discontinue use of the soap.

3. Soap sales are final, though you may return unused, unopened soap.

4. Soaps are not edible. Call poison control if soap is eaten.

5. Rinse eyes with cold water according to poison control's directions should soap get into the eyes.

6. Unless otherwise noted, I use sodium hydroxide (lye) to create the soaps. I buy food grade lye to ensure it is high quality and as safe as possible.

7. Checks that bounce are subject to a $30.00 fee.

8. I cannot claim my soaps to be 100% organic, but they are as natural and pesticide/chemical free as I can possibly get without making the organic claim.

9. My non-milk soaps are vegetarian. I do not use animal fats in my soaps. However, my non-milk soaps do share moulds and utensils with my milk soaps. They are washed between every batch, but I know that may be a sticking point for some stricter vegetarians or vegans.

10. I am a busy, homeschooling mom of 3. While I'll make every effort to get your order to you as quickly as possible, there are sometimes days I may not make it to the post office. Children get sick and wintertime can bog us down with feet of snow at a time. I also live in a rural area far from the post office. I appreciate your patience.

Edited to add:
11. All weights are approximate since I am currently using a non-digital scale.

12. My soap is measured by weight, not volume.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Welcome To Seasons Soapworks

Welcome to Seasons Soapworks!

What started as a whim has turned into a business at my beloved husband's urging. After just my first successful batch of goat's milk soap, he suggested I start selling my product. I wanted to make sure my soap making wasn't just a fluke, so I made another batch before deciding that I could indeed do this!

My recipes are my own. They are simple and involve no crazy chemicals or questionable oils. I make this soap for my family, so you can be sure I'm not going to lather them up in something dangerous.

I use quality ingredients, including organic coconut, sweet almond, and olive oils. My milks, whether goat's or cow's are from local farms, no hormones used. The lye (I'll do a post later on why you don't have to fear the lye....lye is needed to make soap. No lye, no soap...lye-less soap isn't soap, it's detergent) is food-grade. The herbs are mostly from my own pesticide/chemical-free garden or otherwise obtained from natural or organic/reputable sources.

So, as soon as I can get my etsy shop up and running, please head on over there and browse through.

Here is a sneek-peek at my soaps so far:

Goat's milk oatmeal (lightly baby powder scented)
Buttermilk oatmeal (lightly baby powder scented)
Buttermilk Heavy on the Oatmeal (lightly baby powder scented)
Plantain Infusion
Rose Water
Peppermint Infusion
Lemon Verbena Infusion