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Friday, February 21, 2014

Breaking the Law, Breaking the Law...100% Coconut Oil Soap

     I love coconut oil. For everything. I make my deodorant with it, I make lotion bars with it, I cook with it, I oil pull with it...if I could procreate with it, I probably would consider it. However, when it comes to soaping, the "rule" is that using too much coconut oil will make your bar too drying.

     One of my favorite recipes for soap comes from Sustain, Create, and Flow. I love Jerica's blog, and she's a rulebreaker, like myself. So, without further ado, here is how you make 100% coconut oil soap:

33 oz. coconut oil (76 degrees; I use LouAnn, which is non-GMO)
4.96 oz. lye
12.50 oz water
1/2 to 1 oz. essential oils or fragrance (optional)

(Always remember to double check your measurements with a reputable lye calculator.)

The secret to this recipe is superfatting.

Superfatting simply means that you're adding extra oil to the recipe that the lye can't convert. Each oil has what is called a "saponification value", or the amount of lye it takes to convert equal parts of oil to soap. This soap is superfatted at 18%, which means that you are going to end up with a bubbly, creamy coconutty (is that a word?) bar of pure awesomeness.

I made this recipe with the hot process (check out my tutorial here.)

If you make a batch, stop by and tell me how it turned out, and whether you love it or hate it.

Happy soaping!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Shameless Plug...Check out My Facebook Page

Oh, yeah...I do have a Facebook page, even though I'm rather lazy about updating it. My "business" is called Simple Liberty, and we (my husband and I) have also started a jewelry line called "Conspiracy Fringe". Here are the links, if you'd like to check them out:

Simple Liberty

Conspiracy Fringe

Have a fantastic day!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Melt and Pour Myths: Things That Make Me Go Grr!

     Sometimes I should really just stay off of the internet. Especially when I don't have medication. (Ahem) However, I had to hop on and post about some of these "tutorials" I am seeing out there in web-land that just drive me bonkers.

      Today, we're going to tackle some myths about melt and pour soap. Melt and pour is the process of taking an already made glycerin base, melting it down and adding fragrances/oils and colors, and getting creative....there are some awesome bars of M&P out there from some incredibly talented people.I'll throw in some photos of a couple of my creations, just for reference (and, well, they're pretty neat.)

     Here are some things that you'll find in tutorials that need to be debunked:

1. "Make your own soap at home with a bar of Ivory!"
     Sweetheart, that's not making your own soap. It's taking a bar of detergent from the store, grating it up, and calling it soap. It doesn't quite work that way. While you may feel some huge sense of accomplishment, all I see is something so simple that my five year old could do it...and he wouldn't call it "soap".

2. "Add fresh or dried botanicals for a beautiful herbal bar!"
     Go ahead. You can use all of the botanicals that you want and sure, they'll look gorgeous: UNTIL THEY TURN BROWN. And they will.

3. "You can use pretty much anything for a mold!"
    Once again, this is technically true. However, don't come crying when you're banging your "mold" against the counter because the soap will not come out. I have seen people say to spray vegetable oil on the mold; my experience has been that all it does is pit the soap, and it still won't come out.

4. "Stick your soap in the freezer for a half hour."
     No, no, no, no, no! Do you know what this does to glycerin soap? It makes it sweat...and get slimy, and nasty, and yes, you can stick it in front of a fan but it will never be the same. Glycerin has a very high water content...and what does water do when you put it in the freezer? Well, it freezes. What does it do when you take it out? It melts.

5. "Make soap without lye!"
     This is really a no-brainer. All soap has lye in it, or it wouldn't be soap.

6."Make 100% natural glycerin soap!"
     This one is laughable. Glycerin is plant-derived, so it would be a sticky substance without any cleansing or lathering ability whatsoever. Melt and pour base usually has about 20% glycerin, along with sugar, alcohol, propylene glycol, and sometimes sorbitol.

7. "Make a beautiful bar of (insert fruit or vegetable here) soap at home!"
     Sure, it will probably be beautiful. In a couple of months when it starts to grow mold? Not so much.

8. Here's one from the other side of the fence: "Melt and pour isn't really soapmaking."
     Not mentioned above, there are some pretty talented folks out there...even though it's not "from scratch", it is still soapmaking...or "soapcreating", if you will.

I would love to see what others have to add to my list. I love soapmaking, and melt and pour is where I started, so I have a little place in my heart for it. I hope this helps some new soapmakers weed out the rotten advice on the web from the good.

Happy Soaping!

This post shared for Wildcrafting Wednesday

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tomorrow is the Mommy's First Day of Vacation

Public school. Gah. As much as I hate it, we are still within the system, but I have to say that I have been looking forward to the first day of school for about, oh, two months now. The kiddos at home are five years old and eleven years old; both boys, and the oldest is bipolar. I have made it through the summer without the use of duct tape or sticking them together in the front yard with signs that say, "I love my brother," so we're doing good so far.

Trying to get ready for setting up at a motorcycle rally over Labor Day weekend, so my flightiness has been amplified; also went for an entire weekend without meds but am in the clear now. (Mr. Somewhat More Efficient Psychiatric Receptionist, the Universe thanks you.)

One of the other misadventures going on at our house is jewelry design. We have just started doing this within the last month, and honestly, I couldn't tell you why or how we started; it just kind of happened. My husband is a veteran and suffers from severe headaches; he kind of starting doing it to relax, I think, but it has evolved into a ritual. He has some awesome designs...Posting photos, but the layout of this blog won't cooperate and I'm a bit tipsy, so they're going to be random.

We've decided to open an etsy store; my broke ass can only list so many things at once, though. My soap line is called Simple Liberty, so that's the name of the store...we decided to call the jewelry line, "Conspiracy Fringe". You can check out some of the other stuff here.

I haven't been doing the necklace thing much myself; I lack the patience. However, I did do a steampunk one, and was pretty excited about how it turned out:

My crafting is very haphazard, so who knows if I can crank something out like that again. Time will tell.

Hope you're having a great evening, and thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Never Mind the Stench....

     Neem oil is amazing. It has been used for thousands of years for a wide variety of ailments, including skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, and healing wounds. It gives the Indian people their incredible teeth, and is highly effective as a fungicide, an antibacterial agent, an analgesic, and has even been said to be 100% effective as a contraceptive. (I can see why....)
     What else is so amazing about Neem? It STINKS. I mean, worse than a dog fart, open- up- the -windows- and -mouth- breathe kind of stink. (Trust me, I have some gassy dogs, and this is much, much worse.) My gag reflex kicks in as soon as I open the bottle. Not sure what else I could compare it to...last night I told my husband that I think it smells like rotten peanut butter mixed with garlic. Truly nasty.
      Oddly enough, when the smell wafted to the living room, my kids thought it smelled like chicken.

     Here is the recipe I tried last night; my stepson, who is 13, has acne and wanted me to make something that might help him out:

12 oz. Coconut oil (76 degrees)
12 oz. Olive oil
5 oz. Sunflower oil
4 oz. Castor oil (for shampoo quality lather)
1 oz. organic Neem oil
4.836 oz. lye (sodium hydroxide)
11.22 oz. distilled water

(Always remember to run your recipe through a lye calculator!)

     I used the hot process method, because I am lazy and I don't like to wait 6 weeks for a cure. That said, you should still give your bars a couple of weeks to cure after the cook; using a dehumidifier or a fan can help the process somewhat.

     In my quest to cover up the incredible funkiness of the Neem, I used a blend of Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemongrass, and Tea Tree oils. It kind of worked. I can still smell the Neem, but my son can't. We'll see how it goes when we can actually use the bar. Will time mellow the stench? I hope so. Let me know if you try it.
     P.S. I figured out how to add a Pin It! Button, so would love you to share on Pinterest. Follow me on Pinterest as well!

Happy soaping!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Shampoo Bars: The Lazy Way to Have Gorgeous Hair

     I love shampoo bars. What could be better than lathering your hair with a bar of soap? No extra bottles to cart around if you're camping, less clean up in the shower....and most of all, you're not washing your hair with detergent....which you are doing when you buy commercial shampoos.
     I have very fine fine, if you will. And it's dry...has been my whole life. Shampoo bars don't condition quite enough for me...I still have to use a conditioner, or an apple cider vinegar rinse, but my head has gotten used to the bar and I will never buy shampoo again.
     Here is a recipe that I used tonight; I prefer hemp seed oil as well, but I am out:

6 oz Castor Oil
6 oz Sunflower Oil
10 oz Olive Oil
16 oz Coconut Oil (76 degrees)
5.45 oz lye
12.54 oz distilled water
(superfat at 6%)

     Tonight's batch was Lavender, Cedarwood, and Sandalwood. (not the best photography, but you get the idea)
      While I won't claim that it has cosmetic properties, let's just say that shampoo bars tend to help my color stay it's more blonde than white. (which I wanted at 22; not so much at 38) I used to dye my hair every two months or so; now I am going about four months.
      Shampoo bars take some getting used first, your hair may feel really dry....but it's the fact that you're using natural oils, not detergents that strip the oils from your hair to make you dependent upon using will take a few days to adjust, but for me, personally, I much prefer the bar over the bottle.
      If you try the recipe, tell me how it works out for you!


Frugally Sustainable Blog Hop

Wildcrafting Wednesday Featured Blogger Award

Saturday, August 3, 2013

"But We Already Played 'Babble Like an Idiot" free weekend. My mom is very generous to my kids, and decided to take them school shopping...but that means that I have to go as well. I don't do well with people in general (read: I don't do well with stupid), and today, we went to an outlet mall. I think I have found out what hell will feel like.
     Top that off with the bipolar tween boy, and I think I lost my mind about eight hours no soaping for Mom tonight. I honestly would rather drink a beer than clean my kitchen right now, anyway.
     The silver lining in all of this madness is that my husband rocks, and once again, is attuned to my desires and found me a new (well, used but new to me) stick blender at a thrift store. Plugged that baby in, and man, does she sing, in ways only a soaper would understand.

     This was an important purchase, as someone in my household moved my former stick blender onto the hot oven...where it melted. It still works, but in an odd, lopsided sort of way.
     I have to share the giggle for the day: I have started making "naughty" melt and pour soaps for the motorcycle rally over Labor Day, and forgot to hide them when I went to bed. My five year old, Ian, saw them on the counter and said, "Cool! They look like bones!"
     Tomorrow is another day...decluttering and soaping are the only things on the agenda, so hopefully I'll have something new and pretty to share with you.  Hope everyone enjoys their weekend!


(post title quote courtesy of Spongebob Squarepants)