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Candice

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Hi fellow soapers,

I'm from Australia, and I just started making soaps at the end of last year, so for about five or six months. I've been a bit of a lurker to this forum from about three months ago, reading all the handy hints to help make soaps great.

I was extremely intimidated at first by lye, but wanted to try CP soap. A friend made it, so she took me through the process a few times, and since then I've read books, tried different methods, and been successful.

I've learned a lot along the way even though I've only been making soap for months instead of years. I keep a soaping diary, with dates listed, fragrances, and modifications and findings, so that I can go back after six weeks and add notes.

At the start, I bought a few soaping kits to help cement the process in my mind. I was still so intimidated! But I've always wanted to make my own soap. Those kits were the best thing I could have bought as they came with moulds and clear instructions, plus recipes that were more or less guaranteed to work.

Now, I have a small soaping area in my garage. I have a repurposed children's cupboard with the doors taken off and shelves. I have folding tables with stacks of soap, and people ask me what am I going to do with it all . . . I have no idea! lol Use it, give it away as Christmas gifts, smell great and clean all the time :) . . . I just keep making it and my husband has a favourite recipe that he uses as a shampoo bar because he says it makes his hair soft and clean. The soap he loves has calendula petals in it, and I asked him if he wanted me to take them out to make it more 'guyish', and he replied no. :)

I am still running into a few difficulties, especially with M & P, because I live in such a humid climate (Queensland Australia). Making CP soap feels like an addiction, it's so much fun. I used to bake a lot, and making cakes is a lot like making soap, but it's better for your waistline.

I've had fragrances rice on me, hot processed the mess, had burnt cucumber CP soap, rendered beef fat for tallow and tea tree soap, made CP embeds for a chocolate soap cake, dehydrated my own rose petals for decoration, made yogurt and mandarin soaps with freshly squeezed juice, used silk and pink Himalayan salt, cow's milk, goat's milk, almond milk, beer. . . but there's still so much I want to try.

I have a rainwater tank, so I wanted to try a basic shea soap with lavender essential oil and rainwater. I am now just trying sugar in the lye water for more bubbles -- but I've noticed the water pressure from a shower head contributes to this via my beer soaps. I have also just made my first lye pre-mix with information I got from this handy site. I run experiments and find it easier with my soap diary to nail down why things turned out differently. For example: where I live, gelling is the bomb. If I put soap in the fridge, it might stay pale, but it's too soft and takes ages to get hard. Also, hard fats vs soft fats in a recipe contribute to softness, which I've learnt from this site.

I love that so many people on this forum have been helpful toward others, and all their advice has told me to take notice of what fats I'm using and what they'll contribute toward a soap. I also read Soap Queen and use their recipes -- finding that those recipes work. It's great to just have a soap turn out perfectly.

I'd like to get more experience under my belt, and I've been making soap about twice a week. I'm running out of room, though! lol. I've been thinking about wrapping them up in plastic gift bags and storing them inside an air tight container after the six weeks curing time.

Anyway, hopefully, I'll be able to participate in conversations and learn so much here!
 

shunt2011

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Hello and welcome to the forum! We have a great group here.
 

IrishLass

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Hello and welcome, Candice! :wave:

How big are your batches? When I'm on overload but am in the mood to make more soaps, I make small, 590g batches, which gives me 4 good-sized soaps.


IrishLass :)
 

Candice

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Hi fuzz-juzz and thanks for the welcome!

IrishLass, I wrote out a long reply and, sadly, it got eaten :( . . . but my batch size depends on what I've planned. I figure out calculations, scents, sketches etc in my soap diary the night before. Normally, I make around 10 - 27 bars. I have a wooden 1.2 kg log mould which is about 42 oz. One of these wooden moulds makes 9 - 10 bars. I have three moulds and a corflute 1.2 kg. All up those three 1.2kg moulds make about 27 - 30 1 inch bars. I use clear plastic folders as liners.

Today I wanted to try a new fragrance and new recipe. Normally I only try one new thing . . . but the recipe was a Soap Queen one and they work great for me. It was the Lots of Lather recipe, but I downsized it for one 42 oz. mould. The real wildcard was the fragrance oil, French Vanilla Bourbon, but it didn't accelerate and took forever to trace. I used 30g of scent (I buy small amounts of fragrances to test them first) and it smells nice. I also used lye pre-mix and for the additional liquid I slowly stirred in frozen goat's milk.

I don't want to make the batch bigger than 3 1.2kg log moulds as for my skill level, I feel any more would lead to mistakes and not moving fast enough to make nice soap.
 

KoffeeKat

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Hi Candice - from the other side of the country - South West WA.
 

penelopejane

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Hi from Australia!

I wouldn't wrap your soap in plastic. It has to breathe to cure.
My dh thought I had made enough soap for our lifetime but they go pretty quickly when you give them to friends and family as presents.
 

Candice

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Hi from Australia!

I wouldn't wrap your soap in plastic. It has to breathe to cure.
Hi, penelopejane,

Don't worry :) I'd wrap the CP soap in plastic after the six weeks and then store it, as that will give me more room for other soaps to cure.
 

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