Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WHAT is that SMELL !?!

I used to say that when Keith would come in at night after chores. Even though I usually knew what the smell was. Manure was manure, a no-brainer. Heavy wet metal smell was usually blood meaning he had helped with a birth, occasionally a pull is needed here and there. Then there is the really bad smell that comes from something that has died and was just found like a chicken or duck in the weeds.

Lucky Keith, he SAYS he can't really smell much so lucky me gets the olfactory "gifts". Over the past 10 months though our home is smelling sweeter. Thanks to the world of soap.

Now 9 months into my new hobby, I am grateful not to be pregnant and I am concentrating on coloring and experimenting with all things natural. Blog friend and soap master Cocobong sent me some clays all the way from Germany. The post was soooo tardy with these that by the time they arrived I had forgotten they were even making the trip. It was like Christmas morning as the generous one sent charcoal and three types of clay plus TWO bars of soap made with clay. I am telling you this: getting stuff in the mail from Cocobong was better than the time I played volleyball with you-know-who. Even better than stealing that beer bottle off stage from Three Dog Night in mid concert back in 1974. Yup, even better than that !

I immediately dropped the piglet I was castrating and told my husband Ba-bye, I got soap to make. So I whipped up a bar of pink using Red French clay. Oh la la, Je suis enthousiaste ! (6 years of French and that's all I got. Tres pathetique)

I used just 1/2 tsp to 1 pound of soap as I was told to do in a little bitty note from Miss C herself. I resisted the urge to add anything else like crushed pine cones or pulverized organic corn. Nope. I kept it simple and I was rewarded with something I can be proud of. Scented very lightly with geranium rose EO which I know...predictable; but sometimes predictable is comforting ya know ?

They stack well too even though they have uneven bottoms (who doesn't?) from my ultra cheap diaper wipe mold. Edges lightly beveled with the best carrot peeler I bought  from an Amish grocery store in Arthur Illinois.

The bar is thick without air pockets and all the clay mixed really well after I let it sit in a little oil before adding to my big batch of oils.

Then I got stupid. It happened so fast. Truly, I can go stupid in seconds if I am not closely supervised. Just ask Sister Mary Viola of the amazing second grade Violas. One second I am quietly watching the Cardinals (birds...I don't do sports) out the window of our second floor classroom at Our Lady of Lourdes and the next I am lifting UP the window and starting to climb OUT the window to get a better look. I'm the same way with soap. One minute I am sane soaper, the next minute I am moronic mama.

I couldn't be satisfied with one batch, noooo. So I made another batch because I wanted to play with blue powders Indigo and Woad. (That is correct, WOAD, look it up. I had to) I mixed different amounts in oils and then added to several containers of raw soap and then I obviously over mixed cause man, did that batter get thick fast.

I was only able to pour a tiny amount in the mold before I had to start globbing the rest in. Within seconds I had to use my husbands tractor bucket to push more wads of thick thick soap into my mold. I tried to be creative in the process. The good news: my EO combo was so great, Lemongrass with some Lavender and Blood Orange. Sweet with a little kick. The bad news:

Well, you got your holes, your cracks, your shininess which is not oil cause the top is dry, it just is...uh...shiny. The swirls were fun but still look someone was a bit heavy handed with her eye makeup. But wait ! What is that ? The bottom of the top seems OK folks. Yes the lower 2% of the soap bar is OK !

I do indeed like the shades of blue which made themselves known after unmolding and cutting. Next time I will not over mix and I will pour at light trace and and and I will SLAM SLAM that mold on the counter to get rid of all those holes. I might want to consider a real soap cutter instead of continuing my use of the weed wacker. Any other advice ? Hit me baby.

PS  My soaps are now available in two local shops. The Antique Shoppe in Fairbury Illinois and Copasetic Consignments in Champaign, Illinois. You can also order direct from me via email
$4 per bar plus shipping.


  1. I know absolutely nothing about soap making...nothing.....but I know what I like. Can you make that marbley blue stuff in egg shape with no scent? Do they make shaped soap molds? I would SO buy some unscented egg shaped soap from you.

  2. I think your mistake is BEAUTIFUL! Love the swirls!

    Do you share your source for purchasing essential oils???

  3. Growing up on a farm I can relate to all those smells! I love the look of your soups- very pretty and so fantastic that they're handmade. :)

  4. MBJ. I will look into egg molds. I can easily make unscented soap. Watch the blog and I will certainly post if I can make the egg shape happen

    Crazy, lots of companies sell essential oils but not all are as pure as others. I have had good luck with Botanie Soap and prices are very reasonable
    P.S. I HAVE been spending more time with the horses and it feels so good! Thanks for the encouragement

    Nessa, so sad and too bad you live across the pond or I would so be at your doorstep with a basket of soap to trade for some of your kitchen goodies! Now that weather is cooling off here I will be cooking more of your recipes.

  5. Looking at these two soaps I'm honestly glad the clays finally did make it to Chatsworth. Donna, cool! Really! The one that misbehaved like cement is really beautiful in pattern, like marble with jade. Wonder what caused the instant cement effect?...also, the indigo needs to be mixed into a bit of water as it does not disperse/mix with oil. I did that once and ended up with soap that bleeds blue

  6. Ooooo, soap! I don't care what you say, they are both wonderful! Love the feel of the clay soap, and Cocobong is right about the other one too - you got some lovely colors and patterns, even if they have a hole or two. What I've noticed - if a soap smells good, people will love it no matter what it looks like. Ok, maybe not if it looked like poop, but really if the scent is good it will sell the soap.

  7. Love them both. I am imagining the feel of the first one on my skin in the shower.... luxury! And the second is very unique. Lovin' your experiments! xo jen

  8. I never tried woad in soap. Your soap looks great, like marblestone, very nice.