Overwhelmed

Discussion in 'Beginners Soap Making Forum' started by LilianNoir, Jun 15, 2019.

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  1. Jun 15, 2019 #1

    LilianNoir

    LilianNoir

    LilianNoir

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    Help!
    As several of you already know, I'm a really new soaper. I've made a total of three batches, but I'm totally obsessed. I haven't made as much as I'd like partly because of time and energy(I have several chronic illnesses) and a tiny, often messy kitchen. But I have a ton of ideas and things I want to try. So many ideas that, when I do have the opportunity to make soap, I balk.
    Many of my ideas I'm not ready to make because I lack the ingredients(mostly fragrance oils as many ideas revolve around scent). But I also know the importance of taking things slow and learning different recipes and techniques. There's just so much to try though!
    I know I have a bad habit of deep diving too quickly so I'm trying to temper myself, which in turn results in this decision paralysis.

    I'm certain I'm not the only newbie to have this issue. I'd love to hear thoughts and advice on how to approach this.
    So far I've done:
    a swirled custom scented soap with the help and under the tutelage of a friend!
    unscented, uncolored shea (my favorite recipe so far)
    a hanger swirl, scented soap using the "quick swirl" oil mix from Brambleberry

    Playing with scent and color as well as formulation are what really get me excited, but what are some basics you recommend first?

    How did you start?
     
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  2. Jun 15, 2019 #2

    dibbles

    dibbles

    dibbles

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    I think the easiest and most forgiving swirl technique is an in-the-pot swirl. It turns out nicely no matter what you do. As far as basics, aside from formulating a few (or one) recipe you like, I think the most helpful thing is learning to control trace. It all just takes practice. And patience.
     
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  3. Jun 15, 2019 #3

    MGM

    MGM

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    I started making small batches of the same recipe, doing different FOs and colours and kind of different swirl techniques (but that was 3rd place in priority). See experiences here: https://www.soapmakingforum.com/threads/small-batches-idea.74844/#post-766393

    What I like about it is: what I'm going to do is very controlled/pre decided, so no analysis paralysis. I'm very comfortable with the recipe and the process, which means I can concentrate on other things (not forgetting FO, mixing micas, etc). And it makes small batches.
    Soon I will branch out, or at least change my recipe, but so far, I'm quite enjoying this.
     
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  4. Jun 15, 2019 #4

    jcandleattic

    jcandleattic

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    What helps me when I get overwhelmed with too many ideas and I get paralyzed with what to do because there are just so many ideas, is to write a list of things I want to do. Seems simple and like there's no point, but I can't tell you how this simple thing has calmed things down enough for me to focus and set my mind on one thing and then just execute it
     
  5. Jun 16, 2019 #5

    Zany_in_CO

    Zany_in_CO

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    Oh man, do I ever relate to that statement. So true. I like JC's reply above. Good advice. And to save time, money, and frustration, this is a good read for a soaper at your stage of experience:

    Q: What advice would you give to your beginning soaping self?

    http://www.soapmakingforum.com/showthread.php?t=62916
     
  6. Jun 16, 2019 #6

    plantiest

    plantiest

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    I'm a person who dives in DEEP every time. I do a lot of preloading of learning concepts, then I set out. When I taught myself knitting, I was knitting in the round, doing massive projects, cables, etc. within six months. Apparently that was not normal, but I had no one telling me that I couldn't do things (since I'm self-taught), so I just learn and go. When I got a circular sock machine, I made my first pair of socks the very next day. Apparently this is abnormal as well, as most people report it takes more on the order of months to get a successful pair off the machine. I think I'm just programmed to quickly learning new skills.

    With soaping (and I am still new), I am not afraid of experimenting with anything, but I do not use fragrance or essential oils because of a chronic medical condition. After you get the safety aspects down, the rest is experimentation. You have to be okay with batches not turning out correctly, but I rather love mistakes. I made a batch where I combined the oil and lye at too warm of temperatures. I ended up having to rebatch that particular batch, so I got practice there as well. I view every error as a chance to see what can go wrong. For me, mistakes are an important part of the learning process.

    I started with a 100% oo bar, plain. Then a 100% co SF 20% plain (this is the one I overheated). Then a co/salt bar. Then a goat's milk/oatmeal/honey bar. Then a coffee bar. Today's batch was charcoal. This has all been across two weeks.
    IMG_1232.JPG

    You sound like you may be a little programmed like me. If I had to recommend anything, one newbie to another, it would be to concentrate on your safety protocols and get them in place solid. Then I'd probably work on simple recipes so that you can see how certain oils behave. Tackle one new thing at a time. If something doesn't go well, it is easier to pinpoint what happened. Make a list of what things you want to conquer and then make a plan for them, only adding one new technique per batch. If it were me, this would be the most effective way to manage wanting to do everything at once.
     
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  7. Jun 16, 2019 #7

    Zany_in_CO

    Zany_in_CO

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  8. Jun 16, 2019 #8

    KiwiSoap

    KiwiSoap

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    Hallo LillianNoir, it's great you've made a few batches and know this is what you want to do, the next step is to do it! Have you got a physical list of your ideas and recipes? Having that can make it easier as when you find you have both the time and energy you can scan through the list and find the first list item that you have all the ingredients for and also sparks your interest, and then you can do it!

    I started with a list of recipes I wanted to try, got started, and while I didn't follow my list strictly it gave ideas and opportunities. My soaps are not the prettiest and most colourful but I enjoy making each batch, learning more each time. And it's totally Ok to take your time between projects, I can relate to your situation, and reducing the energy required to decide what to do and then start is important, you can better use that energy making the soap!

    I hope you find something that works for you! Kindest regards :)
     
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  9. Jun 16, 2019 #9

    DWinMadison

    DWinMadison

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    Technically, this was yesterday, but I redeemed about 30 bars of soap from the past year or so that I had considered “less-than’s” using my plane and bevel. I got some beautiful bars out of it. I know I’ve posted a couple of times about this lately, but it truly is a great piece of equipment. I’ll post some examples later.

    Went back to the farmer’s market this week and checked out the first annual Mississippi Pickle Fest at our state Ag Museum. I can’t sell, at the market yet, because the committee hasn’t met to jury my soaps. Met one gentleman who mills and sells local bentonite clay and another who was selling EOs but decided to leave the business and has offered to sell me his stock at a discount. (More to come on that as it develops). The clay looks great....very finely milled, and I can’t wait to try it.

    I also master-batched 4 lbs of 50/50 lye solution and 200 oz of oils — 4 of my standard size batches.

    Finally, I devised a new curved mold divider that I’m hoping to try later today.

    I realize I’m one of the few dads who participates on here. It’s a tough job, but it’s a blessing and my third most important title after “Jesus follower” and “Husband.” Love the dads in your lives today!
     
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  10. Jun 16, 2019 #10

    Susie

    Susie

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    @LillianNoir I am going to have to second recording all the wonderful ideas you have. I drew pictures, mixed scents, recorded recipes, the whole thing. Coloring pencils and crayons are your friends if you don't have that function on your computer. I saved pics of soap, videos of how to do this swirl or that, etc. Then, when I was ready to make a batch, I had my scent, my swirl, my recipe, and I was good to go. Print out your recipe and make notes on that sheet as to what went right and what went wrong. Be sure to save all of that, as you will be referring to it in the future. If you get a recipe you think is "almost perfect", play around with it by changing it a little at the time. That way you can dial into exactly what YOU like.

    Learn to masterbatch your lye. That saves a lot of time you would otherwise be spending waiting for it to cool down when you are ready to mix soap. Once you get a recipe you love, masterbatch that also. That way you can be soaping in a few minutes when you get time.


    Oh, DW, the wonderful meals I have eaten at that museum! Good luck on buying the EO's, but test them in soap before you buy them! And Happy Father's Day!
     
  11. Jun 17, 2019 #11

    Zany_in_CO

    Zany_in_CO

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    I hope, hope, hope his "business" wasn't selling Do Terra or Young Living EOs? You might be paying a premium even at a discount.
    It really was a "lovely" day. I think I got them all except you! Happy Father's Day and lotsa love to you as well, Daryl!
     
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  12. Jun 17, 2019 #12

    DWinMadison

    DWinMadison

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    Aw, thank you Cee. It was a great day for me too. Janice had to work, so I piddled around the house until she got home, then we Skyped with the kids, drank some great wine and caught up with them in Memphis and NYC.

    66F3F6FC-F726-4851-8CDC-FEB9ACE37D33.jpeg
    Oh, and I smoked a huge chunk of meat that would have made the Flintstones queasy.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2019
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  13. Jun 17, 2019 #13

    artemis

    artemis

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    To me, one of the most important things for someone experimenting and trying new soapy things is to make small batches, so you are not also overwhelmed by tons of soap.
     
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  14. Jun 21, 2019 #14

    newlee

    newlee

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    I agree. That's what I have done as well. Small batches ~ 12 oz (4 bars of soap). I think the quality of the soap is more important in the beginning. And I started with ingredients in my kitchen ~ olive oil, canola & Crisco--yes, crisco. I don't want to spend money on FO and stuff if the soap is crappy.
     
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  15. Jun 22, 2019 #15

    MGM

    MGM

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    I mostly agree with you @newlee but here's the thing...maybe I'm a less picky soap-user than average, but of all the batches I've made (maybe a 15-18 so far, at least half of which are the same, small-batch recipe), there's only one batch that I will not use (and in fact, have thrown out), and that's mainly because of the fragrance (its sister batch, which has all of its terrible qualities but is a fragrance I like, is one of my faves.
    My objectively worst soap is actually one I like quite a bit, due to its hardness, long-lastingness, and creamy lather. It totally lost the fragrance I put in the CP soap, but the patchouli and neroli from the small MP embeds are enough to scent the soap. And I see pros and cons in my other recipes as well, but nothing that leaps out as far superior than another. The only reason I'm using the same recipe for my small batches is to a) masterbatch oils, and b) because it's a stable, consistent recipe. And it seems fine. Could it be better? Maybe? Sure? Apparently I'm easy to please though, so it's good enough for my needs.
    So although I kind of agree with you, my rationale is completely the opposite: I'm making small batches in order to try out FOs and colouring techniques, irrespective of recipe qualities.
     
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  16. Jun 22, 2019 #16

    newlee

    newlee

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    Sounds good. Thankfully, you found a good formula to use but I haven't yet. I'm getting close. Once I settle on something I will continue to make small batches to test EO & FO and tweak or reformulate soaps.
     

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