Weird things are normal with CP

As all soap makers know, you just never know what’s going to happen when you’re dealing with a finicky beast like cold-processed soap.  It can be nice and well-behaved one time and be Vesuvius the next.  The recipe can be one you’ve made a hundred times before but with cp, it’s all fair game for the gremlins.

The recent batch, a favorite of mine for its gloriously spot-on beachy scent of windswept waves, ozone & aquatic notes plus a hint of a light floral, is an example.  I’ve made this recipe numerous times, always using the same ingredients.  No alteration or deviation from the standard formulation developed years ago.  Yet for some inexplicable reason, the oils turned a weird greenish hue when the lye was added and stick-blended in.  Lye and oils

The light is a bit odd here with the window to my left but the actual color I saw was more towards that left-hand side. The more I blended, the greener it became, so of course, I stopped.  I added some Mad Mica’s Snow White to it to get it closer to a more neutral shade before splitting it into portions for individual colors, which seemed to help a bit but I was gobsmacked over this oddball occurrence.

This is a prime example of what a CP soap can throw at you when you think you’ve got this. Those gremlins will humble you in ways you couldn’t even conjure up in your wildest dreams.

The base color was to be a pale, powdery blue, but there was no way that would happen with a base of that drab olive green. The Snow White helped though and I was able to get a blue-ish hue. It just took more of the mica than I’d originally planned on using but still within safe levels.Base color, resized

It still looks a bit greenish there but some of that is the lighting.  The day was a bit cloudier than good photography would allow.  Once the other colors went into their portions, all looked well again. The blue is, in fact, blue and the white is a lovely bright white, as intended.Key West & Snow White, resized

That change in color was totally out of left field with this one.  I had not added anything other than the lye & water solution.  The coconut water and coconut milk parts went in much later, as did the FO.  So what caused this change, I may never know.  Put it down to one of soaping life’s little mysteries.

The fragrance called Mischief is from Fragrance Laboratory, a favorite supplier of mine for many years now.  The notes contained in this fragrance are listed on their site as being ozone, lime, salt sea air, dune lily, lychee fruit, sea moss, woods, and musk.  No doubt that’s a light musk in this one! I love the classic beach scent it brings to all the soaps, lotions etc I sell at my site.  They have another one, and yes, it too is gorgeous. A rich, heady beach scent but more defined as being one that reminds one of an indoor spa-like atmosphere with the windows open and the soft sea breezes blowing through. Its name is Mineral Salt Spa.

Ultimately the soap was finished up without any further issues and by comparison, this one was minor.  It did not accelerate the soap (make it too firm to stir, swirl or pour into the mold), did not rice at all, it never morphs into some hideous shade, but leaves the colors true to their intended hue, does not discolor at all as some can with odd ingredients that can turn some soaps yellow or brown. Best of all, it sticks!  Over time, it will fade as all fragrances do, but this one holds up like a champ in every batch for the long haul.  This fragrance is a fan fave and this maker’s fave as well!Boardwalk Cover labeled


The challenges of crafting cold process soap with alcoholic beverages, Pt 2.

As mentioned in part 1 of this ‘conversation’ the batch in the spotlight was a bar made with moonshine, which is fairly high in alcohol and if you’ve ever watched an episode of Moonshiners,  you know what I mean.  Their batches are running around 160 before they’re proofed!

All experienced soapers know of the problems associated with making a soap, hot or cold processed, with an alcoholic beverage of any type. It can go off like Krakatoa if you aren’t careful and don’t watch it all the time.  The volatility of this type recipe is notorious!  But there are ways around this and that’s what I’m sharing today.

Full Steam’s Rocket Science Pale Ale about to be cooked down.

My favorite workaround is to cook out as much of the alcohol in the beverage as possible prior to use using a low & slow approach.  Usually, it’s cooked down one day, going at a low temp, say 2, if the settings on your burners run from 1-10.  If it gets too low in the pot, turn it down to warm or 1.  This is for an electric range or stove so those of you with gas ranges may need to adjust your settings.

Heating it in this way is safer given the high alcohol content of many types of beverages while managing the level of liquid in the pot more easily.  Once it’s down to half the volume of the pre-cooked level, add distilled water up to the amount of liquid your recipe requires.

This has two purposes:

  1. it restores the liquid volume to its original level giving you plenty of liquid to work with for your recipe and
  2.  it gives you the option of creating a slurry of the booze + water to keep soaping temps cool thus avoiding that volcanic reaction.

The latter part is the most important because if it does volcano there’s a big caustic mess to be cleaned up, which can put you at risk for some pretty nasty burns unless you’re heavily protected and it’s damaging to your work surfaces.  Protect everything!  Keep out pets. Keep children out of the room.  Cover your clothing with a lab coat or a long apron.  Wear closed-toe shoes and the thicker the shoe the better.  Wear gloves!  Wear goggles!  Wear a mask when mixing the lye solution because the fumes are abundant and caustic.  It can damage your lungs. Work in a well-ventilated room or even outside, weather and pollen count permitting.

All of these precautions are not meant to scare you away but rather to prepare you and prevent accidents that can happen.  This is meant to be a creative and fun outlet with a usable, wonderfully scented treat at the end of all your hard work, so play it safe and you’ll enjoy the results!

Tainted Apple with Angry Orchard Hard Apple Cider

Patients, know your choices.

When you’re finding yourself in need of serious hospitalization for a major health condition, you place your trust, faith and well-being in the caregivers’ hands.  Those caregivers are surgeons, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, therapists and aids.  They are all required to know your case, discover your needs during recovery and follow up with the best course of action after the surgery is done.  All of this is taken down in your chart and the instructions are laid out in a manner that best fits your circumstances.  But what if you did everything right – you followed their orders to the letter and yet your health was compromised in a serious way?  A way that set you back further than you were before you went into the hospital initially?  And it was all due to a medication?pexels-photo-356054.jpegSuch was the situation we’ve had and it all came down to one medication that caused a serious life-threatening situation for my husband.  It was not through any fault of ours or any of the staff providing his care during the first hospitalization. Rather it lies fully at the medication’s doorstep.

Everyone has a list of meds they know they cannot take without serious side effects.  We keep those names burned in our minds and on our medical charts to safeguard ourselves when it comes time to approach a health issue that might require that med again.  When it’s listed, we all then know not to use that particular one but try something new, or in my husband’s case, something old.  The doctor or nurse asks why you don’t take med X and what was your reaction to it to have it black-listed.  Based on that they choose if the risks outweigh the benefits.  Ultimately the choice is yours to make.  You have the right to refuse a medication if you have any doubts or concerns about it based on the pros and cons you experienced.

While I will not tell you to not take life-saving medications, I do want others to know of our experience and our choice to make the decision we made based on his response to that medication.  The benefits were far outweighed by its negative impact.  It set him further back than where he’d started so we will proceed with caution with a simpler, older, well-documented med that we know will not compromise his health or cause serious side effects.

Know your rights as as a patient, make wise decisions based on prior knowledge and experience.  If in doubt anywhere along the way, research the meds and their side effects, know your body’s response habits, research your doctors and surgeons.  There are sites just for that very thing.  I’ll list some below to get you started.

Choose your state, then narrow the search by doctor’s name

Medications – side effects, benefits, contraindications, used for….

Medications Side Effects