Note taking

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Johnez

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Curious as to how you guys do notes. I'll share what I do but am curious if there's something I should add:

5 subject small notebook
Current tabs:
1 tab with detailed purchase history (date/vendor/product/amount/price)
1 tab for batch history
Future tabs:
1 tab for online vendor/recipe/article resources
1 tab for fats ingredient properties
1 tab for EO properties (max usage, safety, "combines with")

As for the batch history tab I'm listing the exact recipe and instructions. Post soaping notes include mistakes, things I should do next time, results and batch yield, total cost (per batch/bar/oz), anything that happened (like my crock overflowing), and notes regarding the recipe that I gather here or on my own (like CO being drying in high amounts), things that worked or didn't work. Considering noting times of steps too but not sure if that's too granular, may just note the total amount of time it took and time to trace or note if it was quick/slow for future reference on ingredients affecting that sort of thing.
 

Vicki C

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Curious as to how you guys do notes. I'll share what I do but am curious if there's something I should add:

5 subject small notebook
Current tabs:
1 tab with detailed purchase history (date/vendor/product/amount/price)
1 tab for batch history
Future tabs:
1 tab for online vendor/recipe/article resources
1 tab for fats ingredient properties
1 tab for EO properties (max usage, safety, "combines with")

As for the batch history tab I'm listing the exact recipe and instructions. Post soaping notes include mistakes, things I should do next time, results and batch yield, total cost (per batch/bar/oz), anything that happened (like my crock overflowing), and notes regarding the recipe that I gather here or on my own (like CO being drying in high amounts), things that worked or didn't work. Considering noting times of steps too but not sure if that's too granular, may just note the total amount of time it took and time to trace or note if it was quick/slow for future reference on ingredients affecting that sort of thing.
I’m impressed, you’re off to such a good start. If you use one of the online recipe formulators you could have a place to print and keep recipes that you come up with. I guess you have that under future tabs.
 

Eve1374

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Hi, for batch history I take notes like you, I copy the recipe (easier and simpler than printing in my case 🙃) and the soap properties. I have one page per formula, and I consider the oils only for the formula, ie if I make again the soap with beer instead of water, or with a different powder, I write my observation on the same page with the date of each batch. Observation may include time to trace and temperature of the solutions, color given by a certain ingredient, quantity of a powder, EO blend, beer used, time before unmolding,...
I have a separate tab for liquid soaps and other bath and body products. Also, I have one page with the weights of the containers I always use! That's very useful in case your scale runs out of battery or you forgot to use the tare button for example. You can also write or have sticker on the container but I have nothing that stays enough after washing. I don't have tabs concerning the supplies as I am not selling my soaps. Nor for EO and oils properties as I refer to the books I have for this, though it's useful to have it handy. Also I try to give each soap a name and use a glitter pencil to write it as a title for the pages haha!
Eve
 

Tara_H

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Sounds like you're doing pretty well! The only thing I wish I'd recorded better in my early batches was the ambient temperature and the batter temperate when I started pouring. Mostly because I then had temperature related issues and I wish I'd had that info for troubleshooting.

Just this week I've moved from printing out the recipes and keeping in a folder and I've started using SoapMaker 3, it does a great job of tracking costs and inventory, although to get all the features you need the paid version.
 

lsg

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I insert info in the "Notes" section of Soapmaker Pro.
 

Eve1374

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Thanks!
Wow, I didn't know about soapmaker tool! I wanted to code a tool myself when I'll have time (around year 2040 I guess...), but I'd better have a look to this one first 😁
 

jcandleattic

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My notebook is strictly for ideas of things I want to do/try - new scent blends, new swirl techniques, etc.,

I have SM3 Pro version also, along with a spreadsheet that keeps all of my business notes organized.
 

earlene

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I use Composition notebooks. I am on my third chronological 'Soapmaking Adventures' notebook. My method is to record everything chronologically, so by date. I add a sort of index to help me later find important stuff like masterbatching records & such like. And I add notes when repeating a formula as to the date of the previous time I made the same one & additonal notes for variations, changes, etc.

When I wrap & label soaps, I make a note on the inside front cover, listing made-on date & Soap name, which is also a useful reference if I want to look a particular soap up. Also, on the date I do wrapping & labeling, there is a chronological page for that, where I track how many bars per batch (with batch date & name of soap) that I complete on that date. I refer back to each soap's original page (made-on-date, as they are chronologically entered) & make a minimal notation of the name of the soap (if not already named - sometimes I name them immediately; sometimes I name them later).

This has worked well for me, but I have also considered getting SMPro, just never got around to it. The only thing missing from my notebooks are images, which would be a nice reference. I never got around to creating an interrelational data base for this purpose, although I have thought of that, then heard about SoapMaker software & planned to get it, but kept putting off the actual purchase.

Since Soapmaking Friend Recipe Builder came to SMF, I have been adding photos to my formulas there. I am still not completely happy with this because it is internet dependent. Internet access is never 100% guaranteed, especially when one travels and makes soap while traveling or lives somewhere with minimal, poor or no internet access, so still consider getting SoapMakerPro (or Lite, even) because it is a stand-alone program not internet dependant (if I understand it correctly - correct me if I am wrong, anyone who has it.)

But I am not in business, so what I do seems to have been perfectly adequate for the past few years. The only problem that can arise is if my notebooks disappear. They are my primary record from day one of my Soapmaking Adventure & hold all my recipes, notes & history. Some more recent formulas are saved on my computer, but none of the older ones are in my computer documents files. Some of my recipes are in Soapee.com. Some were in Soapcalc, but I think they are gone. Some are saved on my tablet (but not copied to computer.) Some were lost when my old computer hard drive failed. Some are in Soapmaking Friend Recipe Builder. But only my notebooks are complete, aside from images. My extensive photographic images are, however in my computer, as well as backed up in at least 2 locations, so there is that; I don't worry they will disappear. Some soap formulas are also backed up, but not the lost ones.

As for vendor resources, other resources, purchase history (for online orders) all that is in my computer, and fairly easy to find when needed, but not organized in any inventory-related way. I don't keep inventory records as I am not in business. I probably keep more records than a casual hobbyist, who plans to never turn this into a business, but that is primarily because of my background in a field where record keeping was an integral part of the work.

Although it sounds rather disorganized, I do like my notebooks. They are totally organized to my satisfaction sans photos. They do work very well for me. (Until they disappear, which I know could happen, but hopefully never will.)
 

Johnez

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Thanks!
Wow, I didn't know about soapmaker tool! I wanted to code a tool myself when I'll have time (around year 2040 I guess...), but I'd better have a look to this one first 😁
This. Dang I'll have to check it out. I'm a fan of convenience but sitting down with paper and pen let's me relax and collect my thoughts as well. I'll have to look into it tho.

The whole goal for me is to make each batch better than the last and keep track of what I've learned. Love all these tidbits and ideas. Thread blew up nicely, I have tons of reading material for when I get off work for sure.
 

TheGecko

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I use SoapMaker3 to track a lot of that, but I still print out my recipe for each batch to add extra notes. These go into a binder...newest on top.

I have a notebook that I jot things down in.
 

giulia

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I have one notebook where I keep track of recipes I have tried and I keep track of how long they cure and how they perform. I note how the FO/EO performed and how the colorants acted in the soap. I try to include a picture of the soap too but I have not been as consistant with this. If I have people try them then I keep their comments with that particular recipe and batch. I have a second notebook with my design and recipe ideas :D
 
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