The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Soap making part 1.


I basically had a fortnight making different kinds of soap. Firstly I made Wool Wash and this gave me a big supply for my laundry as well as gifts. I love this!

The recipe was on this  Feather your Nest Friday post. I packaged the gift giving ones nicely so they looked suitable for my gift cupboard.


Next I made laundry liquid. When we had show and tell Rachel had posted this picture and how she had made this liquid...


I loved the sound of this and also this photo! So I asked Rachel for the recipe which follows (thank you very much Rachel!) :


The recipe I use comes from "Molly Dye's Homemade Lotions & Potions", purchased from a newsagent, & printed by Griffin Paperbacks, Adelaide (published by Nationwide News, Canberra). Its name here is "Washing Machine Liquid" (page 64).

I will write the original version, with my own variation in brackets for you, as follows:

"You will need 3 x 9-litre buckets (I use a plastic 30 plus litre laundry tub that can hold boiling water) and a number of clean bottles with corks or caps to store your detergent.

                       125g pure soap (I use a 100g cake of IGA basic white soap, less fragrance than                                 Coles, & I prefer white soap for laundry)
                        1 cup washing soda (I use a little under a cup of Lectric Washing Soda - the non hydrated kind)


Grate soap, put in an old saucepan, cover with 1.5 litres (6 cups) water and bring to the boil. Break up any lumps with a potato masher (Once hot, a quick whisk works fine). In a bucket (or boiling water-resistant tub), dissolve 1 cup of washing soda in 1 litre of boiling water. Stir, add soap solution, stir (or whisk!) until well mixed. Divide this solution into 3 buckets (or tub); then slowly add cold water to fill the buckets, stirring with a wooden spoon (or whisk) to keep the mixture smooth. Bottle in plastic containers with caps and label (Leave plenty of room for shaking the liquid, particularly for cooler weather; a funnel helps!). Use 2 to 3 cups per load of washing (I use this flexibly, & even use it for soaking work clothes. It works well for us.)

I set about making this. As I had Lux flakes already I used those in place of grating the soap.
I also tried making it two ways, as a solid like the wool mix is and as a liquid. If you do not have room for so much liquid reduce it down and don't use the buckets of water. Then its a solid that sets in a jar. I would use a small scoop and dissolve it in hot water then put in your wash. However blending it to smooth could be an issue so maybe the liquid is easier to manage overall. But I had to try both! I also added Eucalyptus Oil as I did in the Wool Wash. If you like no scent leave it out, if you like a scent this is good.


I ended up with a gel and a liquid. I think I have a years supply and I also packaged up some as gifts. I am thinking laundry themed gift baskets and of painting pegs pale pink and pale blue to add into this!

I also tried three methods of making hard soap. They included melt and pour glycerine soap which I tinted pink.



Then cold pressed soap which is the caustic soda and oils method. (These are the speckle ones!)



 And then a rematched soap made of lux flakes and milk. In Australia Lux Flakes are in supermarkets but overseas this won't be so easy... Lux flakes are pure soap flakes and they are fine like little flakes. They are white. Hopefully something like that is available and also that it would work the same.



Counting in results, method, cost etc of the methods I tried I liked the Lux flakes soap the best. I will make a pink batch next! Firstly it was very easy. Secondly there was no weighing or fumes or anything. And thirdly the result was so good.


I must mention that I doubled the recipe. This got me 14 soaps.
This is going to be a personal preference. Overall I would say try some different methods and enjoy it as when you try one you will want to try others!
The main thing is if you have ever wanted to try soap making do it! It is so much fun and you end up with soaps for gifts and for home. Soon I will do a post on packaging but I am waiting for my soap to harden more first.

The Lux recipe is here on Cath's Blog Simple Soap. I followed this and used Goats Milk milk powder. I melted it very gradually and on low temperature. When it was a liquid I used my stick blender to get it perfectly smooth. Also I would suggest using a spatular/cake mix scraper to get it all into the smooth mix and be patient with this. Perfectly smooth is what you want.

At first it looked like this....



Later it looked like this...


If you had too high a heat it would catch on the bottom. So slow and steady!

With all the soaps I think having moulds you love is a key thing. I have found Ebay to be a source of really cheap moulds as in $1 to $4 price range. Also cake moulds in the cheap shops. I was given some as lovely gifts and now I am adding some to my collection including hand soap sized...


The main thing is you use non metal moulds. You can use a milk carton then slice them into bars, many things make good moulds. Actually you start looking at everything as potential soap moulds!

This has been so much fun and given my present supply a big boost! Also soaps go well with the wash cloths I crochet and I could do a soap themed gift basket with Wool Mix, Laundry Liquid, soap and wash cloths!

Next week I will cover the Glycerine Soap and the Cold Pressed Soaps.

The big thing I notice is that by making gifts all year by December you have the hugest variety. Making soap now also means it will be really hard by Christmas. It feels hard now but the longer they are kept the harder they get and the longer they will last in use.

I hope your week is going well! This afternoon I am making the Lux soap in pink... then doing some painting! xxx


37 comments:

  1. Annabel, I have everything on hand to make Cath's simple soap. Instead of Lux flakes I will grate up Castile pure soap and use that in it's place. Your tips are helpful! I like your idea of a soap themed basket. Another great and helpful post! Good job!!!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Dear Patsy, Let me know how it goes so I can tell everyone as Lux isn't sold there as far as I can see. I hope other soap flakes work just the same. I think they should. Good luck! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Thank you, Patsy, for mentioning what you intend to use in place of Lux. I already make laundry soap with Fels-Naptha but that's obviously not something I'd want to use for hand or bath soap.

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    3. I tried Cath's recipe with grated up bars of Ivory Original soap and it worked. The bars were light and soft but my husband liked them. I suspect the Castile soap would produce a harder, heavier bar but I haven't tried it. Have you tried it yet, Patsy?

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  2. Dear Annabel,

    I am excited to try the soap flake recipe. I purchased some silicon molds from Amazon for the soap.

    The closest I could find to the Lux flakes was Dri-Pak flakes on Amazon. Amazon Prime has the flakes for $14.49 for 1 lb (4 cups). I tried to find it in bulk, via the web, but was unable to do that. Walmart did list it online, but it was $4 more from them than from Amazon.

    The Dri-Pak flakes (made in the UK) are great for asthma sufferers like myself as they have no perfumes, scents, chemical additives, etc. I am looking forward to trying them to see how they work.

    Calculating the cost for the soap flakes, milk, and milk powder, the bars will be somewhere between $2.50 and $3 a piece to make. I hope to be able to find a less expensive source for these flakes or an equivalent product.

    Thank you for the links to the recipes.

    Love and hugs,
    Glenda

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    1. Dear Glend, I have seen the Dri-Pak and that they were from England. They LOOK exactly the same I noticed i.e. in the white flakes. So I hope they work just the same. Let me know how it goes. It is good fun and rather addictive! With love Annabel.xxx

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  3. Ohhh Annabel those soaps look wonderful!I might just have a go at the Lux Flakes soap.Love Maria xxx

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    1. Dear Maria, I hope you can get Lux flakes? Probably... It is really easy and today I make this in pink... ohh its nice! This lot also turned out smoother as I used the stick blender for longer and it became glossy like pearls! I will show that next week... new discovery! With love Annabel.xxx

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  4. Hi Annabel, Your soaps are so pretty and I know the speckled is a mistake but it does looks good. I have made some wool wash and will make some liquid soap too. I will also make some of Caths simple soap as it is so easy compared to cold pressed soap and I like your idea with goats milk and it is good for your skin. A soap themed hamper is a great idea. Loving all the ideas for Christmas. Love Debbie xx

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    1. Dear Debbie, We are going ok for so early in the year I think! I am accumulating some variety now. This is truly good soap and so easy. Next Wed I will show what I made today, this in palest pink... I love it!
      I probably have an addiction and need to stop soap making lol
      Hope you are having a good week! With love Annabel.xxx

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  5. Hi Annabel a.k.a soap queen lol. They look amazing! You must be really pleased.A gift basket sounds lovely, which reminds me of something i saw at the pharmacy the other day - lavender linen spray. It had literally 2 ingredients, lavender oil and distilled water. And was selling for $20 for 125mls! I thought it would be so easy to make and add to your laundry products. I'm not sure where you get the mister bottles but no doubt a google search would find the answer!

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    1. Dear Jen,
      Good on you for reading the ingredients! Yes anyone could add lavender oil to distilled water. You just need a stray bottle! AND what a good addition to laundry gift baskets! Love it! Thanks Jen. With love Annabelxxx

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  6. I have simply got to make soap this year - it just looks like so much fun! Thanks for new recipes and tips!

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    1. Kathy you will love it. It is really fun and gives great results. Thank you! xxx

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  7. Annabel you did a beautiful job! The rebatched soap with the Lux flakes is the easiest, but who can resist 'cooking' soap with goats milk! Just gorgeous :) Love, Mimi xxx

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    1. Dear Mimi, Thank you. I was surprised but this. Totally. Although personal preferences and needs will play a big part I can't get over how good this soap is. My next batch has been even better. It becomes silky and glossy with further blending. Amazing! Also addictive! Too much fun! If there is such a thing!
      With love and thanks Annabel.xxx

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  8. Annabel,
    Your soaps are beautiful! I have made laundry soap forever it seems truly for about 15 years and my DIL just recently started making it. It does really well on Hunter's clothes he's all boy so slops, spills and generally gets everything grubby. Next I will get that girl hanging clothes on the line LOL!
    XOXO
    Vicky

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    Replies
    1. Dear Vicky, What is the laundry soap recipe that you use? It sounds like it must work well if it gets everything out. I love my clothes line and sunshine so I am converted there!
      Hope the week is going well! With love Annabel.xxx

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  9. Annabel, I am going to have a go at the Lux soap, if you decide to colour it, do you just use food colouring? Thank you I love your blog - I did look up your crochet edgings and have used them on two face washers. Best wishes Lyn

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    1. Dear Lyn,
      Food colouring is no good for cold pressed soap but it might be for this lux soap. Except would need to be pale as not to stain skin, wash cloths etc. But I have used a pigment today and made very pale pink and I love it. You can get power pigments from soap making suppliers. You use a tiny amount and dissolve it in a liquid first i.e. in this I dissolved the pigment in the second amount of milk that went it. It worked so well. I will show this next week. If you put the pigment in directly without dissolving it first you get speckle soap! Found that out the hard way! So I am not sure about food colouring , if you try it please let me know! With love Annabel.xxx

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  10. Annabel I thought I had a lot of soap on hand but you beat me hands down. I also make my own laundry liquid. My recipe comes from Rhonda at Down to Earth. It's 1/2 cup washing soda, 1/2 cup borax and 1 cup lux flakes. You melt the lux flakes, washing soda and borax with 1L water on the stove. I then pour this into a bucket with the cold water tap going slowly and the stick blender mixing away, until the bucket is full. I then blend in lavender oil till I achieve the fragrance I'm after. I use old 2L plastic vinegar bottles and leave enough head space to give it a good shake before use as it does seperate a little. Half a cup per load is used. I know it's close to what you've done but wanted to let you know about the borax. This is a whitening agent in this mix. I find I spend thirty minutes, start to finish, and I have around 10L of laundry liquid for around $1 for the lot. I use the liquid as a stain remover, by rubbing a little of the liquid directly onto the stain and leaving a little while before washing. Think of foundation makeup on white shirt collars. This removes the stains beautifully.
    I'm going to have a go at the lux milk soap as I've never made this. I priced my last lot of olive oil soap and worked out each bar, generally bigger than shop bought, were 25cents per bar. At the local markets the same recipe and plain soap is being sold for $6bar. That is one heck of a mark up. I've now added your wool wash to my soap making. We currently have enough soap, wool wash and laundry liquid for at least 6 months. It's a wonderful saving and we know exactly what is being placed on our skins.
    I've given soaps and crochet face cloths as gifts a few times. I'm going to challenge myself to try some new patterns for the face cloths.
    I've not added to my Christmas gifts this last week but have continued to work on the QS c2c blanket for my sons Birthday at the end of March. At this stage I'm on track to have it finished. Woohoo!

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    1. Dear Jane, I am glad you are on track with that blanket. That is a major gift so you are doing well!
      Thank you so much for the laundry liquid recipe. this is great as it gives different recipes to try and I will try it too when I have some empty bottles again. It sounds very good.
      The lux soap is a walk in the park if you also make cold pressed soap. I made more today in pink, also I blended it for longer and it was silky and satiny and amazing! Will mention this next week in next soap post.
      Your household and mine have lots of soaps on hand. At least we will be clean! I hope you like the Wool Wash but I am sure you will.
      Thanks for the stain remover tip as well. With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Hi Jane,
      The borax in the recipe could only improve the liquid, surely! The recipe I use is an economy model, & the little introduction I have had to borax makes me keen to learn more.
      Rachel Holt

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  11. I love your posts! So practical and helpful in so many ways! I hope your Dad is doing well. I still think of him and pray for him. God bless you!

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    1. Dear Cheryl, Thank you so much! I really appreciate your prayers for my Dad. Yes he is doing well and back working on the farm as he always did! It is quite amazing. Plus we had the loveliest Christmas. I am very grateful. Thank you so much! Love Annabel.xxx

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  12. Hi Annabel your soaps are truly beautiful, i cannot wait to make Caths lux soap recipe,as you already know i made the wool wash and washed all my winter jumpers, last weekend and they came up smelling devine thanks so much for doing this blog.
    melissa
    xox

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    1. Dear Mel,
      Today I made another batch of Caths lux soap and I added pink pigment. I will post pics next week but I used the stick blender and blended it for longer than the first lot. It became so silky like satin and gorgeous! Keep it warm while blending and pour straight away into your moulds it sets fast. It is like working with chocolate actually. Anyway it turned out so well!
      I love that you made the Wool Wash. Truly it smells so good and is so soft Im happy you found that! I am about to wash blankets etc while the weather is still warm is a good time to get them dry! Thanks Mel so much! Love Annabel.xxx

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  13. Hi Annabel, your soaps are so pretty! Can't wait to try making my own. Could please share where you found the measure scoop to tie on you jars, they are so cute!
    Sue

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    1. Dear Sue, These ones were from Spotlight in the kitchen section and sets of four different sizes and colours. Other times I have had pink heart shaped scoops from Woolworths but they don't have them now sadly! I hope you find some. Keep your eye out in cheap shops also. With love Annabel.xxx

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  14. Thanks, Annabel, for your instructions and recipes and lovely photos. The speckled soaps are my favorite for appearance but I think I'm going to try the simple soap first. I've done melt & pour before but making my own bars of white soap sounds fun.

    Blessings, Leigh

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    1. Dear Leigh,
      I am hoping on of the ladies tries and alternative soap flakes so I can list that as another successful way to make this. It should in theory work from pure white soap flakes! It is so good! Its tempting to keep making soap now just for the fun of it! I hope your week is going well! With love Annabel.xxx

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  15. Dear Annabel, I was really looking forward to this post and I am not disappointed! Thank you (and Cath and Rachel) for these soap recipes. I will be trying them as soon as I get a chance. My projects have been put on hold for the moment, as my husband and I have been praying about moving and have decided to begin a new chapter out at the family ranch to help take care of it and my husband's grandfather. Exciting times! So that will be my focus for now. But not to worry! My farmhouse windows and ceiling beams are coming with me lol! And maybe someday I will have milk from my very own goats to make soap with :) With lots of love, Kelsey

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    1. Dear Kelsey,
      Thank you! I am really excited for you! I can think there might be many advantages to living on the family ranch. And Im glad you can take your good finds with you! Now you will be busy with this move. I hope it goes well and I hear about your life on the ranch!
      Kelsey if you wouldn't mind could you email me? brinkzi21@hotmail.com I have something I want to send you! With love Annabel.xxx

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    2. Hi Kelsey,
      I, too, am excited for you about your move to the ranch! New challenges will bring opportunities for new projects & new solutions! Thrive on it!! I hope you inspire us!!
      When I moved out bush, as we say it, the laundry liquid was the answer for washing in rain tank water that had acidic soil dust from the drought. There may have also been rust in the water that came from another tank when it was replaced. I find the liquid gentle on the hands, gentle on the head (in terms of fragrance), gentle on the soil & washes up work clothes rather nicely.
      Regards,
      Rachel Holt

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  16. Hi Annabel!

    It's amazing how you keep the pages rolling; good job!

    I think I might have left out a secret ingredient of my laundry liquid - that's red dust! It contributes a little colour in the water!! I am told that you have hard water, so there will, naturally, be a variation in results.

    You'll likely have a very useful collection of soapy recipes by the end. Thank you for sharing your pink & white soapy discoveries!

    Regards,
    Rachel Holt

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  17. Dear Annabel, thank you so much for sharing the soap recipes! Plus, I'm learning from everyone's comments also! When I find the soap flakes, I will get started. I did look online, and thanks to those who suggested what they are using.

    Also, thank you Rachel for sharing how you make laundry soap. I've made both dry and liquid kinds but I like reading how others make it. :)

    Have a good week everyone! Love, Teri

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  18. what i can say about this post!! really amazing and i will try it soon

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I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for understanding.xxx

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