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Keeping soaping records.....what's your method?

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Deedles

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With only 4-5 batches under my belt I'm not very far into all this BUT I already realize I need to keep better records! Part of the problem is I just get so excited I forget to write everything down! The friend that got me started soaping gave me her Excel spreadsheet with a soap calc formulation at the top. Since she's a chemical engineer I trust her calculations. So far I'm using the same GM soap recipe and the numbers all match SoapCalc...which I'm slowly learning to use.
While there's plenty of room for any info I want to add, I'm wondering if there's better/easier ways. I'm just a basic Excel user. Plus I'm not sure at this point just exactly what I need to record for future reference.

I'm sorry to admit that my memory ain't what she used to be and I'm finally having to depend on notes and records!

So assuming I don't know anything...which isn't far from the truth!....What records do you keep and in what format? Spreadsheets? Document? Lists?

TIA
 

Lee242

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I Print the recipe out on Soap Calk. Start making the soap wright everything on the print out and when I'm done I copy it to Word Pad. But I leave the original with the soap. I put my soap on a rack and clothes pin it to the rack. (Name Your soap)
 

Muskette

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My nurse's training has carried over to soaping in several ways, but one of the most important is meticulous record keeping. I probably keep far more records than I need to, but hey, you never know what information you might need to refer back to. I have spreadsheets and lists for everything I make. For soap, I have a "master list" that has every soap I've made, in alphabetical order. The column headers are Batch #, Date, Name of Soap, and there is a blank space for anything I want to record there, such as whether I used a different amount of water or whatever. This sheet is for quick reference, and the batch # goes on the back of each soap. Then I have a notebook where I write a note for every batch I make. In the dated note I record any deviation from my printed recipe, anything unusual that happened during the process (I hot process), the weight at beginning and end of cure, fragrance used, and anything else that might be important to know. This method of record keeping has served me well. Say for example I have a 6-month old bar of lavender soap that starts developing DOS. All I have to do is look at my master list under Lavender, find the batch #, and see the date I made it. Then I go to that date in my notebook and can see all the details of making that batch. Also, I prefer handwriting for most things, as I find that more reliable than computers.
 

IrishLass

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I'm 'old-school'. I hand-write a blow-by-blow account of very single one of my soapy sessions in note-books (I'm partial to the Black & Red hardback spiral bound, lined notebooks). And I also keep a SoapCalc print-out sheet for every batch I make in a separate 3-ring binder. Everything is dated, too.

The things I like to keep track of for each batch (besides all the ingredients and their amounts), are:

1) My soaping temps
2) How the batter behaved
3) Whether I stick-blended or hand-stirred
4) How fast my batter came to trace (i.e., did the batter accelerate or seize, etc..)
5) Whether I achieved full or partial gel
6) Whether the scent remained strong or if it faded or morphed over the following months (same for colorants & whether or not the colorants caused colored suds)
7) Whether the scent caused any discoloring of my soap over time
8 ) Whether or not my soap came down with DOS over time
9) Whether or not my soap came down with stearic spots or glycerin rivers or any other weird/unusual happenings
10) If using a new recipe: how the finished soap improved over time in regards to lather and mildness, etc.. and how it behaved in the shower and how long-lasting it was, etc..


When I first started soaping, I wasn't as thorough as above, but after kicking myself in the pants enough times when problems arose that I couldn't solve because I hadn't written anything down except for the recipe, I started becoming more detailed. If ever I feel like getting lazy about it, I firmly tell myself that the IrishLass of tomorrow will profusely thank the IrishLass of today for not slacking off. lol


IrishLass :)
 

Deedles

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IrishLass ....

This may sound stupid but I don't know how else to ask....how do you keep up with your soap batches in order to keep up with the future info other than by date? For instance, right now I have the blue soap, the plain soap, the pink spoon swirl, etc. but it won't be long before I may have 2 blue soaps. Do you label each bar before storing it, with a reference number and a bar code? :mrgreen:

I like the idea of a binder. I'm old school enough to like a 'book' to look through but also would prefer to print pages. My handwriting gets worse as I age! So I had thought about taking a photo of each batch, in the mold and after it was cut, to add to that batch page.

Muskette....I'm a Pharmacy Tech by trade so I totally understand the too many notes theory! Thanks for explaining your process.
http://www.soapmakingforum.com//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/extension/
 
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snappyllama

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I keep mine in Evernote since it has a handy chrome extension to port in my recipes from SoapCalc. I like that I can set reminders to alert me to cure dates, and everything is searchable. I have the Evernote app on my PC, tablet and phone so everything is synced up. Each batch gets a photo next to it. You can sort note by creation date, modify date, alpha, etc.

Here's a video showing someone setting it up and using the chrome extension.

[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtnlmitrNeA[/ame]
 

PinkCupcake

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I print out the SoapCalc page for each recipe, and make notes on that. My notes are very detailed, but I'm kind of sloppy about filing the pages. I tend to make stacks and piles of them, before finally stuffing them into a binder. Interestingly enough, I have a degree in Office Administration, with a specialty in Records Management. I guess I should do some restructuring of my process.
 

Seawolfe

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I save all my soap calc sheets as PDF's into a folder in dropbox, along with spreadsheets used for calculations and pictures. If I change or note anything down on the sheet, I add it to the pdf after the soap is made. I try to name things in a way that lets me find them later (usually size, descriptor / scent, number). BUT my date tracking is mostly done by a sheet of paper on the curing rack, and some by the date stamp on the files in dropbox. Not nearly as thorough as Irish Lass (I dont take temps usually!), but at least I have a sheet and date for every batch made.

I keep one bar of every new recipe of soap Ive made, and if it doesn't age well I change the recipe or just don't make that again.
 

cmzaha

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I used to keep all my printouts but I make so many batches I became inundated with paper. Now I print my soapcalc page directly to Microsoft One Note. I have tabs for each month and notebooks for each year. All my notes go on my soapcalc printout, and I will admit I am not as good as Irishlass at recording every nuance. My bad :p. I also keep some records in Soapmaker 3, but I suck even more at recording info in databases. After all I am "Retired". I do a hard printout that stays with the soap until I have them wrapped and labeled. My labels have the pour date on them so I can easily look back
Web pages and everything can be printed to Microsoft Office One Note, love that program
 

IrishLass

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IrishLass ....

This may sound stupid but I don't know how else to ask....how do you keep up with your soap batches in order to keep up with the future info other than by date? For instance, right now I have the blue soap, the plain soap, the pink spoon swirl, etc. but it won't be long before I may have 2 blue soaps. Do you label each bar before storing it, with a reference number and a bar code? :mrgreen:
Not a stupid question at all. :) Besides month/day/year, I also use scent and particular formula-type as reference markers. It also helps that I never make more than 2 batches of soap on any given day (each batch a different scent). Once cured, I store each batch in their own separate storage boxes with the date they were made, the formula-type, and scent marked clearly on them. With all the above reference markers in place, it's then very easy for me to cross-reference them with my notes by date & scent and keep track of each batch.


IrishLass :)
 

aprice522

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I Print the recipe out on Soap Calk. Start making the soap wright everything on the print out and when I'm done I copy it to Word Pad. But I leave the original with the soap. I put my soap on a rack and clothes pin it to the rack. (Name Your soap)
That is what I do too! except I describe the color/swirls/scent and just file it....but I am a small hobbiest.
 

JuneP

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I have evernote on my iPad but never use it. I'll have to see if I can do this. Great idea!


I keep mine in Evernote since it has a handy chrome extension to port in my recipes from SoapCalc. I like that I can set reminders to alert me to cure dates, and everything is searchable. I have the Evernote app on my PC, tablet and phone so everything is synced up. Each batch gets a photo next to it. You can sort note by creation date, modify date, alpha, etc.

Here's a video showing someone setting it up and using the chrome extension.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtnlmitrNeA
 

JuneP

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I love how thorough Irish Lass's notes are!

I print out from jpegs I've save from Soap Calc, or revise it on Soap calc and then print it out. Then I use a small yellow note pad to note the ingredients and amts and order in which I want to use them; and I check off each ingredient as it's weighed. I date that worksheet and save it.

From my 40 years of making pottery glazes I learned to always have a record or my latest recipes, amts, etc. so if there's a problem I can go back and check my math, etc.

I even devised a form for my glaze batch test having space for marking down the weather during the firing, water used, etc. etc. I might just do that one of these days for soaping. I love Irish Lass's very detailed cataloging of her soap making and would probably use that as a guide if making a form.
 

Susie

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I print my recipes and put them in a binder. I am transferring all of them into the cloud. I do name each batch that has anything different about it. I have started repeating a couple of recipes over and over, so those I don't print. Each cut batch goes into a plastic basket. Each basket has the name and date of the batch on it. That label stays with that soap until the soap is gone.
 

Deedles

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Lots of great ideas, thanks Everyone!

Snappy....I've had Evernote for a couple of years but have only used it to make a few lists. Thanks for the video!
 
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