Dove Knits

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dove Makes Soap

You know how marijuana is a "gateway" drug? It, relatively innocuous on its own, leads you to bad, scary drugs, like heroin and cocaine.

Well, it all started with beading, for me. Pretty, shiny, harmless-looking beads. What could possibly go wrong? Well, I battled my beading addiction for three years, and finally won...because I got addicted to knitting. Y'all can see how well that's been going.

Now, I found a concurrent addiction. To making soap. Rather than cocaine, give me cocoa butter. Forget heroin -- I want hemp oil.

Sunday night somehow became soap-making nights. The Husband is off grocery shopping (did I tell you he's the one that grocery shops in our house?), or working on his stuff for the coming week. I'm running laundry, thinking about lunches, and making up soap.

Y'all remember the successful batch of soap a few weeks back. The following week, I made this nice peppermint and tea-tree oil soap. It had coconut and palm oil, in addition to the olive, and has flecks of dried, crushed mint and poppyseeds.
It hasn't fully cured yet (as was evidenced by the lye burn I got on my tongue when I tried to test for unreacted lye -- yep, still unreacted), so I don't know how it lathers. I've been using my other soap (the creamy bars at the right of the picture), and it works beautifully. Nice, hard, lathery bars. Yum.

Things were not quite so good for trying to rebatch soap. First, I blew up a Pyrex cup by adding cold water to it while it was heating on the stove. For a scientist, I sure pull dumb stunts sometimes. So that batch of soap, rebatched from the creamy first batch I'm singing praises for, has shards of glass -- wonderfully exfoliant.

The second batch went better in that it didn't explode, but it's been a week and the soap has not hardened. I can still poke it. Although it's getting harder by the day, so I have hope. It's so nicely scented -- rosemary, with real cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, as well as cornmeal for extra scrubby-ness.

Last night, though, I felt like doing something different. Lye soap isn't difficult, but clean-up and worrying about lye in the house gets old. a miserable failure thus far! So instead, I decided to play with the shea butter I ordered from Whole Sale Supplies. So I made whipped shea butter, which is alot of fun! (I used this recipe.) Besides the shea, I used coconut butter (giving it a rich chocolate smell), soybean oil, and grape seed oil. I put in a pinch of citric acid as a preservative, and added a few drops of sweet orange and clove essential oils, so it smells like delicious eggnog. It's very rich and greasy, and great for chapped winter hands (although I'd never use it as an all-over body lotion).

I also made lip balm! And it turned out PERFECT. I followed this recipe, using soybean oil as my "other" oil. I grated in a bit of baker's chocolate, to give it that nice color and extra chocolatey scent, and a drop of honey for sweetness. It's perfect, I tell you. Light and non-sticky, but very mild and effective. My lips haven't felt this good since...probably never! I can't usually use store-bought lip balms, because they're either too drying or too irritating, but this stuff...yes. It's great. Although since it's in a pot and not a tube, I can do with less wax next time.

I made four pots of the balm (one for myself), and 2.5 of the shea butter. The two tubs of shea are going to my two expecting momma friends, and they're getting some lip balm, too. I'll probably make more balm for gifts.

Speaking of, I finished the turtle for J's baby. Now all I need to finish for her family is the baby's sweater! The turtle is from Fiona McTague's Knitted Toys. My friend L's babe is getting a fish from the same book.

And on an unrelated note: on Saturday, The Husband and I had a lovely outing to the aquarium and the planetarium. We haven't had a day to ourselves in forever, and it was wonderful. And I have to say...I love my city (and, of course, my husband!).



At 6:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 1:47 PM, Blogger reluctantMANGO said...

That soap looks SCRUMPTIOUS! Poppy seeds make a nice exfoliant, good call! I myself cower in fear of taking up a second craft/hobby... I hardly have enough time to knit as it is :)

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

I LOoooVE homemade soap, altho I don't want to make it any more than I want to cook any more. Use to love cooking. Don' Just knit! heheh ... But I buy the soap when there's a craft fair here ... the soap lady makes wonderfuly scented soaps & I like to give them as gifts too.

Your soap looks good enough to eat!


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