I took a short break from soap making whilst I ran about the West of Ireland seeking the perfect Aran sweater. I found it, came home and began making more soap. It's about the Aran sweater. The image above was one held in my head the last two weeks. I love the rocky edge of the West Coast of Ireland, especially the "yard" above, just outside our cottage we rented, and I wanted to create a soap to reflect that beauty. This bar
came close, but not close enough. Too much green, not enough grey but I'm working on it. In the meantime I played with several other recipes this week but the real joy was this little gem, a Christmas gift from Keith.
|First block of soap (geranium rose) cut with my first professional soap cutter. |
A big day for the Midlife Farmwife
My first professional soap bar cutter. How did he ever know it was exactly What I Wanted? Just luck I guess.
Strung only slightly tightly than Herself it cuts bars all exactly the same. No more bars that are 1 inch thick on one end and 1.5 inches thick on the other. The same way my mother used to cut the bulk Bologna wrapped in red plastic when we were kids, I might add.
I've had to play with the timing of the cut however. If I cut too late, the soap crumbles a bit at the bottom so instead of waiting my usual 24 hours I have started cutting them at 8-12 hours. The bars are very clean that way.
Having a new plaything has prompted to me to make more soap and I completed three batches this week. The first is an old standby called Blue Grass that I make for a very special guy named Bob. Why is he special? Because he likes my soap that's why.
I'm simple that way. You like my soap, I deem you special.
The Blue Grass sometimes turns out blue, sometimes green. I think it has to do with not following my own recipe for the amount of Indigo powder I use to color the blue parts, or the fact that instead of adding the orange EO to just the soap I want to be yellow or green I add it to the entire batch before separating into 4 pots and then the Orange EO turns all the other colors into a greenish tint.
The swirls are easy. I just line up my four parts of soap, blue, green, yellow and white and then using a very large spoon I just start laying them one after another. After about 1/3 of my mold is full, I gently bag the mold on my counter to push out air bubbles and then keep going. Layer, layer, slam, layer, layer, slam. Usually to the tune of Queen's We will Rock You or lately, Big Band sounds of the 50's.
Freddie Mercury is really the long lost son of Glenn Miller. Bet you didn't know that did you?
One part of the recipe I am true to, is the scent. I have the perfect combination of Orange , Lavender, Bergamot and Lemongrass Essential Oils. Normally I like to add a "grounding" EO to a mix so sweet, something like Cedarwood or Amyris but special Bob likes his soap smelling of a Rome, Italy citrus grove in late summer.
What special Bob wants, special Bob gets.