Wednesday, 30 January 2019

A Lard Soap Recipe

Hello! Today I thought I would share one of my cold process soap recipes. I am not including details of the soap-making method as there are many books and websites out there that go through all the steps, and obviously the all-important safety requirements when working with sodium hydroxide/lye. This is just the recipe and assumes competency in cold process soap making!
Lard makes a beautiful, firm, white soap and by adding castor oil you can boost the bubbly lather level. My recipe has 4% castor oil added (it's generally used at 8% or below to avoid tackiness). This isn't a soap that you would want to leave completely unscented, so adding your choice of essential oils is a good idea. For the soap above, I added a combination of Cedarwood, Basil and Bergamot essential oils.
I have found that this is a useful recipe for working with detailed moulds or making embeds. The picture above is a 'Double Happiness' mould - a Chinese symbol of marriage with kissing mandarin ducks!
Here is the soap after the cut, with another mould and some Christmas tree embeds!
The recipe makes 750g of soap, but I have also included percentages if you wish to resize your batch. If you do, please do ensure that you re-check your quantities using a lye calculator! Please note that this soap is superfatted at 5%.
Lard (pig tallow) 250g (33.33%)
Rice Bran oil 200g (26.67%)
Coconut oil 160g (21.33%)
Olive oil 110g (14.67%)
Castor oil 30g (4%)
285g water (distilled or spring)
104g sodium hydroxide
5g each of Cedarwood, Basil and Bergamot essential oils, added at trace (2%).
I hope that you enjoy this recipe! It is intended for personal use and gift-giving only, as it is not safety-assessed for sale. If you do make this soap, I would be delighted to hear your comments on it!

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Scavenger Photo Hunt - January

Hello! I thought I would do something very different for me (blog-wise) and take part in a photo scavenger hunt. I found a lovely one at here at I live, I love, I craft, I am me... and I felt inspired by the prompt words, so here goes!


This rather lovely and serene metallic lady hangs around on the back wall of our house. I particularly like her worn nose!
I took this photo at the Highland Folk Museum in Newtonmore. We visited last summer on a blazingly hot day. It's quite a no-nonsense kind of plate isn't it?
I made these soaps in January and they are happily curing away now. I was really pleased with how the tiger-stripe technique turned out and I love the contrast between the soda ash top and the inside of the soap. Some people steam off their soda ash, but I love it!
Another photo from the archives of last year's summer. This is Ruthven Barracks, built in 1719 after the 1715 Jacobite rising. An amazing place that is well worth visiting!
I love this photo! I took it outside a hotel in Abcoude, Amsterdam. I really like the juxtaposition of the old and the modern! It was a lucky snap, as the hoover was being used to clean rooms so it probably didn't hang around for long!
my own choice

Finally, my furry girl Tiger Lily roasting herself on the radiator and cuddling a fox cushion. The red hot temperatures that she can tolerate are amazing. She literally puts her face directly on the radiator. Such a heat leech!
I've really enjoyed thinking about this month's words in relation to my photos. I hope very much that you like them too!
April x


Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Egg Soap

A new direction for my blog! I will be writing about my cold process soap-making here. Mainly as a way of recording soapy stuff for myself, but hopefully people will find it interesting too! For the last six years my blog has been filled with card-making and papercraft, specifically as a demonstrator for Stampin' Up, but lots of design team stuff too. However, last year I started my own soap business and have made the decision to leave SU at the end of this month, as I feel it's time to move on to new things. I'll still be blogging about papercrafting too, but that will just be the random stuff that I make for fun. I did think about starting a new blog, but I actually quite like this one!
I have a range of safety-assessed soaps that I sell, but this soap was made for a Facebook group challenge where we were asked to make egg soaps. You could use the egg yolk, the white or the whole egg. If you didn't want to use an egg, you could make an egg-shaped soap! :-)
There is a long tradition of egg soaps. Generations of Swedish women used egg whites as facial masks for their astringent effect on the skin. The Swedish soap maker Victoria made their egg white soap, 'Lanolin-Agg-Tval' (sorry I can't put the correct accents there!) from the early 1900s. Their soap combined egg white with lanolin and rosewater. The Belgian version 'Eiwit Zeep' from Kala does not contain lanolin, but has chamomile flower oil added. There are currently a number of Korean soaps available that also contain egg white.
I was very keen to devise my own egg white soap! I decided to combine lard with olive pomace, castor, argan and coconut oils with shea butter. At a light trace, I added a mixture of rose water, red French clay and an egg white. You have to be careful with two things. First, I made sure that the lye water and oils had cooled sufficiently because you can scramble the egg (not nice!). Secondly, I carefully weighed the egg white so I could decrease the amount of water accordingly. An average large egg white is apparently 40g, but mine was weighing in at 35g!
I added Rose Geranium fragrance oil which caused quite a bit of acceleration, so it turned out as more of a 'plop & drop' than I would have liked. However, there was just enough time to create a cocoa powder pencil line and I was really delighted with the final result. Only a small 500g batch using my small loaf mould, as it's for personal use. It will be really interesting to see how it feels after curing!
Happy soaping! April x

Touch of Whimsy

Hello! I have had these cute bunny stamps for years and never used them! They are called 'Touch of Whimsy' from Penny Black. I paper-pieced the daisy and bunnies with snippets, so my card is off to Di, Dudley and Parsnip at Pixie's Snippets Playground.

I was inspired by this sketch over at Sunday Stamps

I really must get around to using all the stamps in this set. There is a great bunny with really long ears holding an umbrella that I've got my eye on! :-)

Happy crafting! April x

Monday, 7 January 2019

Happy Meow Year!

Happy New Year! As a cat addict, I couldn't resist the 'Nine Lives' stamp set in the new SU Spring catalogue. My colour scheme was inspired by this lovely combo over at Sunday Stamps. I love that cute bird!

I used SU's Grapefruit Grove, Balmy Blue, So Saffron and Basic Grey for my card. The cat certainly looks a lot happier than our two do when they find themselves near an empty food bowl!
Snippets were deployed, so I am sending my card to Di and Parsnip at Pixie's Snippets Playground and also saying a big congratulations to Di on an amazing 7th anniversary!
 Here's to a new year of crafting opportunities! April x