Friday, February 09, 2007

My Etsy shop has borne fruit again. I had an enquiry from the US from someone who wants to buy a year's supply of my soap - twenty bars! We discussed the postage, and she has agreed.

I don't have that much soap left from my last batch, so I am soaping again this weekend. The kitchen scales I had were acting up, so we did the only mature thing and threw them out. We went to the Essential Ingredient yesterday and bought some more kitchen scales, and I also went to ebay and bought some more heavy-duty soap making scales. The latter haven't arrived yet, but I decided to proceed with the kitchen scales.

Soap making from absolute scratch is rather fun. First, I gather the oils into a big stainless steel stockpot. This batch has:

5 oz (yes I work in ounces) grapeseed oil
20 oz coconut oil
50 oz olive oil
80 oz emu oil

That makes 155 oz all together, or nearly ten pounds of soap.

Next I went to the Majestic Mountain Sage Lye Calculator. For those of you who aren't familiar with how soap is made, lye - yes, caustic soda - is essential. Without it you don't have soap, you just have a whole pile of oil. You need to have the right proportions of lye and liquid for your oils, and before these online calculators you had to do lots of your own calculations and guesswork to get it right. Each different oil has different saponification requirements. You can end up with soap that is too soft, or which separates, or curdles, or has pockets of un-saponified lye in it. Amazingly, I have never had a batch that failed in all my years of making it.

I like to use green tea as the liquid. Here you see the green tea infusing, along with the lye in the big glass bottle. The lye and liquid will be mixed tonight. It gets VERY VERY hot, so it has to cool overnight. You also see a little bottle of citrus seed extract, which can be a useful preservative and will be added at the very end.

Tomorrow I shall bring these things together, and soap will be made. I have lined the mould with plastic, and am ready with my stick blender. There will be another post of that process.

Majic Moments

Here are Majic and Michael having a moment of fun with Smiley, before the real work begins.

Today was Majic's first experience of an obedience class. We went to Glebe Bicentennial Park with a couple of chairs for the observers, some chopped chicken as treats, and the dog. He wasn't too bad, he does know how to sit. He also did a nice job of staying when told to, and coming when called. We'd worked on those at home. But he is really bad at walking on the lead. He has taken to pulling like mad. We had some lessons, we have a technique. And we have to change the lead we use to get more control. He was also completely hopeless at lying down. He is learning, though. He is also socialising well. Now we are home and he has had his dinner, and is exhausted.

Having a puppy is sooooo different from having an elder statesman. It is like stepping back in time, to when Jonty the Magnificent was a lad.

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