Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day

I have a LOT of brown paper grocery bags. Each time we go to Trader Joes or Aldi, we come home with more brown paper grocery bags. We do have those tote bags that we're supposed to bring with us on our grocery trips but somehow I always forget to put them back in the car after we're done.

So today I decided to turn those brown paper grocery bags into mailing envelopes.

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Monday, April 06, 2009

SoapMaking anyone?

I do not remember when I got addicted to handmade soaps. But I have been a big fan of a few talented handmade soap sellers and spending too much money on those delicious soaps. But hey, atleast it gets used to the very last sliver, and no more SLS!

On Saturday, I attended a SoapMaking party hosted by Tracey and April of the ACE (Amazing Carolina Etsians) team.
We started off making soap balls and scented a batch with lime and coconut and another batch with lemon zest. First, we grated Pure Castile Soap, added some distilled water and rolled them with our hands.
Next we made some body scrub using sea salt, some walnut oil and sunflower oil and essential oils of your choice. No more buying expensive store bought body scrubs with unknown ingredients anymore!

And the moment I have been waiting for was next - making soap from scratch!
After measuring all the ingredients, our gurus don on their safety goggles and rubber gloves and proceeded to add Lye to water. (very important not to do it the other way around or you will cause a volcanic reaction) . Then let the Lye sit in a plastic pitcher in a ventilated area until it drops down to 110F. (it took awhile).

In the meantime, get your fats and oils ready. We used lots of Olive Oil and Coconut butter and some Castor Oil, and melted them in a Stainless Steel stock pot.

When the Lye has reached the right temperature, slowly add the lye-water mixture to the soap pot and blend the Lye and Oils together using a stick blender until "trace" has been reached.

Next, slowly pour the soap mixture into a mold. Wrap the mold in a towel and let it sit in a warm and safe place. The soap mixture will begin to get hot as the saponification process starts.

It will take about 24 hours for the soap to harden enough to take it out of the mold and slice it.
After slicing, set the soap aside to cure. The soap needs to cure for atleast 4 weeks before it is safe enough to use.

Thanks Tracey and April for being such wonderful soap gurus! And to Tracey for letting us invade your kitchen!

And here's some members of the Ace team