Sunday, June 3, 2012

Saponification Sunday plus Farm Sale Updates

So, one more soap challenge of Amy Warden's and I must say a very familiar one for me. She asked us to use natural ingredients in our soap making which is how I make mine routinely. In the mood for a scented soap with a jolt I picked Eucalyptus for my essential oil. Yup, that's it, nothing else.

Last week was complicated enough without trying to blend  EO's.

I colored my bars with alkanet root powder, a fairly inexpensive coloring botanical that is easy to find. Ranging from $1 -$3 per ounce it will come in a fine to course powder.

Alkanet Root Powder.

Soapers can leave some in olive oil to "infuse"  (the amount depending on the degree of darkness you want) then drain the root pieces from the oil using  the remaining oil to color your soap (be sure to add the oil amount to your total oil calculations) or you can do like yours fooly, and just toss a few teaspoons in your oil mix prior to adding the lye solution. I prefer the medium fine powder from Organic Creations

Alkanet powder infused in oil.

If you do it my creative (aka lazy) way you will get a color that ranges from light grey to navy blue with various shades of purple in between, depending on the type of oils, the temp of your oils, the temp of your lye mix and whether or not your lye water is made with another liquid like milk or Aloe Vera juice. I also will get some blue, brown or grey spots in my soap from the Alkanet powder but they are not scratchy and just add more character. Just what the world needs, another character.

For this batch  above, I made my basic soap recipe with Coconut, Olive, Castor and Sweet almond Oils, adding some titanium dioxide for whiteness, split it into two and then added alkanet root powder to one half of the soap stick blending it well. I then did and in- the- pot swirl but when pouring it in the mold, I swirled the pot itself in small circles as the soap ran into the mold. Yes, I did indeed get some soap splattered on my kitchen floor which is why I wear plastic gloves on my feet as well as my hands. I let it sit in the mold for 48 hours and then unmolded and cut it 2 more days after that.

Why? No reason. I think I was busy planting pumpkins or was it peppers? Petunias?

If you prefer your soaps to look exactly the same every time a good rule of thumb is to record every stinking step you take in the making of that soap.

Me? I have a beautiful notebook with pre-printed recipe forms I created myself, for each bar of soap I make. I have even been known to actually use this notebook a few times. Primarily though I write down what oils I am using and the lye amount I need on the nearest piece of anything...a post-it, a bread wrapper, my leg.

I do not however screw around with , experiment with lye calculations. Too much lye can ruin your soap and harm a consumer if it is not well dissolved, too little and you get an oily, mushy bar, but I do have fun with everything else. The downside of this; folks will love a soap I've made but because my record keeping was less than stellar, "did I color that bar with Turmeric or Tomato Sauce?" I cannot always recreate the exact bar. In fact I have a very patient lady waiting eons for me to find my notes for my "Hippie Hemp" bar I made last summer.

I know I made it with hemp oil and lye, and as for the rest of it? I got nothing. I of course blame the hemp for my memory issues.


Oh how I wish I could say we have sold the farm and our organic meat business and are well on our way to our next much simpler, homesteading life but alas and Afflack, I cannot. In the last month we had two very interested couples but for very different reasons neither was able to buy the farm. Yes, we were disappointed but at the same time...we got to meet some special people and I get to enjoy my rapidly evolving secret garden that much longer.

In addition, yesterday was BOOMING  at the farmers market we participate in every Saturday in nearby Fairbury, Illinois,  I nearly sold out of soap and the farm store was crazy busy as well. We had over 20  customers in one day with a line at the milk house a couple of times. Folks bought so much raw milk there was barely 5 gallons left in the milk tank when Keith cleaned it last night. We are grateful. So very very grateful.

In the meantime, if you know someone who would love to own and manage a rapidly growing, certified organic farm in Central Illinois please refer them to our sale website   or directly to us at 815-635-3414.or

Many thanks blog friends.


  1. Your soap turned out great! I love a black(-ish)& white swirled soap :).

  2. The right people will come along...hang in there.

  3. What do you mean you don't take notes??? LOL! Even if I write it down, doesn't mean it translates...

    Great job on the soap, Donna!! And congratulations on all your wonderful soap & milk sales this week - that's tremendous!!

  4. Such a complicated procedure, but wow! what a product! I am so loving your soaps.

    After my shower, I have noticed that my skin is not dried out and it feels soft. No, this is not a commercial. But I really love your soaps.

    God will bring the buyer for your farm. When? No answer there.

  5. OK, I'll keep my fingers crossed, but they're already becoming deformed.

  6. Donna, keep your chin up the right buyer will come at the right time (usually when you least expect it). Happy to hear your milk sales are doing so well - that is just wonderful!

  7. Your soap looks great, Donna! I like eucalyptus EO, and the alkanet swirls look so pretty. Congrats on your success at the farmer's market, and best of luck to you selling the farm.

  8. sorry the 'big' sale hasn't happened yet, but glad the smaller ones are doing gangbuster business! you have a good attitude. :)