Monday, August 29, 2011

Major Decision Made

Its been along time coming, about 8 months but now it is time. I've played around enough, experimented in areas I had no business (or experience) in exploring, frittered away time that should not have been frittered. Or is it Fritayed ?
Either way, I can no longer avoid the inevitable. I have finally go entirely natural.

No, you alarmists, I am not giving up clothing. I still need customers to come to our farm store for buying out loud. Once again I beg you to try to keep up.

I am talking about soap.

I call this "Dappled Lavender"
At first I tried a little bit of everything. I believe that is fairly common. How can you decide which treat you want  if you do not dip your hand into more than one cookie jar? I'm speaking literally here. If I had never tried a Double Stuffed Oreo I would still be eating dried out and over rated Fig Newtons. But I have once again slid off the tracks.

Whereas this one would be "Knobby Lavender" since it is sitting on a door knob.
I am talking about soap. (The sentence repetition is for my benefit, not yours so don't be getting all bent out of shape like you think that I think you can't stay focused.)

The customers we had on Saturday were unbelievable. One woman recently immigrated from Russia and was so happy to find raw milk ! She had called several dairy farmers near Chicago but none were willing to sell her the raw stuff. She was shocked it was so difficult to get he....What ?...oh Sorry.

Of course this would be "Garden Angel  Lavender" or just GAL
I am talking about soap. After trying lab colors, evil colors like those from crayons (oh cease with the frowning, if you don't try sub standard materials how can you lecture others?)  I monkeyed around with plant extracts and powders. Once again in my life using a mortar and a pestle but without having to crank in the little windows of my trailer with that stupid handle that was forever falling off into the sink, and then pulling shut the cafe curtains with pink and orange peace signs.

And this ? Well, I refer to it as "Lavender Flower" but its false advertising since
everyone knows lavender has very small purple flowers but the Hosta was blooming
This time all compounding was legal. Imagine my delight that paprika made lovely orange soap and a substance called Alkanet would make 30 shades of purple. And then I played around with the fragrances. They were fun but, I hate to admit this, they scared me. You pour them out of the bottle smelling like cakes and cookies and exotic flowers such as Sturgis Sweet Pea but then you look away and...and...your soap has turned into a clay brick, a concrete block, an entire stone fortress !

Another Lavender soap exactly like the last one except its hot process instead
of cold process, I used lots of Alkanet to color instead of hardly any, and I
left out any titanium dioxide for extra whiteness. Oh yeah, the peacocks liked
this one better.
I also explored the slippery world of fats. I never used bacon grease, Keith would've killed me. Imagine using perfectly good cooking fat for soap! But I did enter the wicked world of Crisco. I didn't want to, I knew it was wrong being it was so cheap, but sometimes cheap is just so attractive you know? The soap came out hard and very usable but I couldn't get myself to put "Crisco" on the label.

What it someone took a bite ? Well they might.

My last area of trial and errer was in the area of photography. Seems soap photos are a specialty all its own. My first photos stunk and then evolved into dull. I've tried the photo box with white foam board which wasn't really a box but just me holding up the board behind the soap and trying not to get my shadow in the way.

Pepples. What else?

How about "Pepple Soap shot in Reverse as an alternating
Black and White Theme Within the evening Sun's glow
on the Back Porch Bench" ?
My shadow is bigger than my soap, thus prompting me to  attempt some outdoor soap shooting. Seems my all natural soap looks best on all natural rocks and plants, well if not best it at least looks better than on the floor of my shower.

So my point is, my niche is, my imprint on the soaping world will be...all natural. Now how about this bunny ?


  1. How fantastic Donna to make your own soup. They look amazing well done :)

  2. Off topic for a moment but that is THE cutest little statue I have seen in a while.
    The soap looks good too.

  3. Donna! You've found your niche! How excellent. I am still looking for mine(lol). Just when I think I have it....

    'Nobby Lavender' (hehehehe)
    'GAL' (bahahaha!)
    And omg - I DID frown and I swear you are lurking behind my computer screen peering at me ;)

    Your "Pepple Soap shot in Reverse as an alternating Black and White Theme Within the evening Sun's glow
    on the Back Porch Bench" is a seriously beautiful pic and looks exactly like a water-colour painting. You should enter it somewhere and win a competition with that :) x x

  4. Your soap looks yummy, creamy and very pretty, Donna!

  5. You make me scream in the wee hours of this gentle pastel morning, and NOT because Fig Newtons rule over Oreos BY FAR. I'm so with you on the learning curve. I started out au natural because I needed to figure out how to make soap, then got all caught up in that Toys-R-Us wonderland of acid trip colors and scents to drive me nuts. In the end, I knew that when it came to soap I was all patchoulibirkenstockgranola rather than juicyfruitcoolaidchantilly. Difference is, it took me a lot longer than you :) Cheers, dear!

  6. What to say about Your all natural lavender soap? It's beautiful. And the "Pepple"-Foto is brilliant.

  7. What about Red Waddle Lard? :(

  8. Thanks tonage for all the grand comments. I must give all the phot credit to the statues in my garden. Without them I would be nothing.

    Now about that Red Wattle Lard. I know it may seem contradictory to say I choose "all natural" but not be a vegan soaper, the two usually go hand in hand. But to me, the use of the lard is one more way to honorthe Red Wattle we love so much. We raise these fine animals (good mammas, large litters, calm nature) with the motto "In order to save them you must eat them" Odd but true as if folks don't try the meat, they won't demand the meat and the animls who are on the critically endangered list now, may disappear entirely. I believe it is important to utilize the WHOLE animal and making soap from the lard and selling it in my store is more respectful than having the locker plant toss it in their dumpster.

    I do make a few soaps without lard for those who prefer to enjoy our Red Wattle from a distance.

  9. That is a huge decision! And one I'm still having a difficult time making. Can't...quite...let...go... of the colors & fragrances. There I've said it. Oh, and don't worry, I was with you on the crayon colors. Been there, done that. Don't do it anymore. LOL!

  10. Amy, the color thing is funny. I love color and I love all fragrances, so my decision is by no means a "moral" one, tee-hee, but more of a simplyfying one. I have learned (somewhat) to limit myself or else I end up doing lots of things half assed instead of a few things WELL. I am still drawn to all the bright colored soaps on the web. They are...intoxicating.

  11. I have never dabbled like you into soap making staying just plain ole, plain ole, get you clean soap without all the fancy colors and such. I must say after seeing yours I'm tempted to branch out a little but I've not the time right now, maybe sometime this winter.

    Beyond Red Wattle soap have you made Castile soap with beef tallow and olive oil? It is my favorite but then I've never used anything else but sheep fat, beef fat, deer fat, pig fat, and olive oil in my soaps. It was always the next thing to do after we processed our own meat.

    I'm glad to find out that you found your way back home to natural.

  12. I too make my own soaps for family and friends. Although I find I must use some fragrance (I tend to like lemon or orange etc.) I bypass color completely. If it isn't the color produced by dill or turmeric or dried sunflowers or such as that, then it is just plain. But who cares? We are going to wash with it not put it on display somewhere.

  13. Holly, I have not yet tried tallow, no good reason I just have more pig fat lying around plus I like to promote the Red Wattles we raise. Next I plan to grate up leftover soap and add with some washing soda and borax and make my own laundry soap. When I started making soap I gave up dish soap and shampoo and chemical cleaners so laundry soap will be the last step. Wish me luck !

  14. Mountain Thyme

    I too make some soaps free of color and fragrance as I have a few folks who desire it. Most have had bad experiences with store bought soap, skin reactions etc...I also give them a small sample of a scented/colored soap. They usually try it and come back to buy a big bar. They are surprised to learn that natural colors and essential oils are much kinder to them then the FD &CZH # 49576284086094725557397477625378873ever was.

  15. So I have 50 lbs of Pig Lard sitting in the basement freezer...Hmmm.

    Your soap looks marvelous - the only thing is - to look at it always makes me hungry! Unfortunately, not for soap either! But something that will interfere with my " lose 50 lbs, path!

  16. I love the look of your soaps. I wish I could smell them.