Sunday, April 29, 2012

Great Cakes Soap Works, challenge #6.

Yes I am a bit slow off the mark, but, hey, it is better late than never. To really tell the truth, I have been putting off soaping, as I said in my last post. This last week I have been thinking how I really need to get back into it, so to get some inspiration I checked out some of my favourite soap blogs, and following some links to some other favourite ones that I had forgotten about and some new ones. As you do.... I felt like I wasted days, as you do.... Any way I re discovered Amy at Great cakes soap works and she has been running a weekly challenge. As you can tell I am 5 weeks behind but the beauty of this is that you can just jump in where you are.

So this weeks challenge is a Faux Funnel Pour. I do a similar pour for my Aussie Bush soap but for this I wanted to make it a bit different, I have been thinking about making a peppermint soap as I am totally out of peppermint, I wanted it to be green, naturally, so I went to the garden and picked some silverbeet to see how that would look, but one colour does not work with the fauz funnel pour, so I made two batches simultaneously, one with the silverbeet in the lye, and the other plain

The green colour started coming out instantly. This was very exciting for me.

And made the soap mix a really pretty grass green. I halved this pot and added charcoal to the other half.

I halved the plain batch and added alkanet root that had been infusing in oil for months to one half. To the other half I put in White Kaolin clay.

Here with the rest of the mess on my bench is the four pots with alkanet, kaolin clay, silverbeet and charcoal.

Sorry no photos of the actual pour but I am not very good at multi tasking. And the only person available to photograph was busy making our dinner, so that was a good enough excuse not to grab the camera, especially when I got to taste test the dinner before it went into the oven to bake for the afternoon. 

 The mix was a bit runnier than I was hoping for. But that meant that I had time to do a hanger swirl , again no photos. But it will be interesting to see when I cut it.

Now it is nicely tucked up beside our combustion stove, and as you can see,(or maybe not, the photo is worse than I thought it was)  that it is starting to gel. 

I ended up scenting it with 2 parts each of peppermint and lemon myrtle, and one part eucalyptus, or there abouts as my scales decided that weighing something that small was too hard. But the smell is great any way.
As you can see I have not got my most expensive mold for this batch, the reason for this is that most of my soap making stuff has been moved to the hut, but the hut is not quite ready for soap making to happen in yet,  so after giving it some thought I decided that this box would be just fine. I'll post photos of cut soap as soon as I get to cutting it.

Over all I am pretty happy with the end result, as I said earlier the mix was a bit runny so it swirled more than layered, but you can still see all four colours. The batch did get a bit too hot while it was gelling and there are a few small "volcano Pockets", but it looks pretty and smells great.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Where has the time gone...

I have been feeling really guilty about not updating this page, or my facebook page, and in the last couple of weeks I have had some questions about buying soap and some enquirys on the blog, so I thought that I had better get on here and update.

 We did go to the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo, somewhere there are some photos. In February just after the Seymour Expo we were invited to take part in the "Tallangatta Expo" which was a bringing together of all the Towong Shire's artisans, there was a huge array of handmade goods, from icecream to wooden chopping boards. We have had our regular farmers markets and for the first time there is talk of them going through winter.

But mostly I have been busy at home and on the farm, our vegetable garden produced a bumper crop of tomatoes, our apple and pear trees did not want to be out done by tomatoes, so we got heaps of apples and pears, not to mention the chillies, blackberries, basil, peas, beans and of course it all seemed to come at once. So I have been busy freezing, pickling, and bottling the produce.

We have dealt with floods again, thankfully we live in the hills and the floods come and go pretty quickly. My heart goes out to all those down stream who get inundated with the accumulated flood waters that hang around for weeks and months.

 We have also been busy fixing up our "hut" which is a cabin that we built about 10 years ago, it has been a spare room for guests, it was our temporary accommodation for a couple of months when we moved back here from the dairy farm, we always wanted to make it into a B&B. But lately our plans have taken a redirection, which they are often apt to do. As the soap making is out growing the laundry cupboard, kitchen and dining room we decided that we should make the hut the soap making centre. So the floors got sanded and sealed, the kitchen and laundry areas got tiled. Now we just need to put the sink and stove back, add a bench and a washing machine and the hut soap making centre is all ready to go. There will be a proper blog post about this soon as I will be starting to advertise it a bit more, we are hoping to have tea and coffee facilities and a few other items to make an interesting little shop.

 In the midst of all this I have made a batch of goats milk and honey castile soap, and learned to make liquid soap thanks to a very informative soap queen video and ebook. I just picked up another 10 litres of our beautiful snowy mountains olive oil. So I am hoping that this week I will be restocking heaps of soap.