Saturday, January 24, 2009

Complaint Box

I hadn't made soap in over a month, mostly because we were out of town for three weeks and because, after the rush to finish all of my holiday gifts, I was a little soaped out. But today I decided to haul out the ol' bucket and scale and make a "just for me" batch. Good thing the intention was always just for personal use because this went terribly!

I was running low on pretty much everything. I decided to do a mostly olive oil recipe and use up what I had left of coconut oil and palm kernel flakes with just a little bit of sweet almond oil to round it out.

I wrote up my recipe, ran it through a lye calculator and got to work. Right away I could see that things weren't going to go well. I ran short on palm kernel flakes and WAY short on coconut oil. After converting grams to ounces to percentages, I ran a new recipe through my lye calculator and added sunflower oil and a little castor oil to make up for the missing amounts.

I melted my palm kernel flakes and added it to the rest of the liquid oils. Then I realized that I had forgotten to line my molds. Then, while I was lining my molds, I cut the paper wrong and had to improvise, taping on pieces to cover bare corners. When I was finished, I turned back to my oils. The palm kernel flakes had started to solidify, making my oils look rather like egg drop soup. Dammit!

I put my pot of oils on the stove to warm the whole thing and remelt the PKF. Yay, ok, remelted, add lye water, begin to stick blend, OH NO WAIT!!! I forgot to prepare my fragrance and color. I was using a small bit of gold mica leftover from another project so I didn't really need to do that and I added 2 ounces of French Vanilla and Oak fragrance so that and stirred it together. Meanwhile, my raw soap is sitting and waiting, already at a very light trace.

I added the fragrance and color and began to mix but suddenly my very lightly traced batch was well beyond trace and into lumpy, curdled territory. WTF?! Oh, right, French Vanilla and Oak fragrance has VANILLA in it which accelerates trace to about a second and a half. Crap!

Quick, pour everything into the molds!!!

My soap is now in the molds on top of the dryer with a towel over them to keep them warm while they sap. My hands smell strongly of French Vanilla and Oak and will for the rest of the day, and I've got a small but stinging raw soap burn on my wrist. Hopefully, the soap will be at least usable when it's finished curing. We'll know in a month!


margie said...

Oh My !!!!
Making soap sounds complicated.
Everything you made for Christmas has been wonderful though!

kane said...

It's actually not too bad when everything goes according to plan! I'm glad all the stuff I gave for presents is good. Wait 'til you hear about what I made today!