Sunday, December 12, 2010

A full ten inches

It snowed a bit yesterday. Just a bit. Ten inches in about ten hours.

Some folks say you should cut down the dead plants in your yard at the end of the growing season. I'd sure hate to miss out on the fantastic imagery it provides through the winter, though. It's fun to watch the birds pick at the remaining seed heads, although they weren't out much yesterday.

These photos were taken around noon, just a few hours after it started to snow. See the big round of wood? That's the piece we brought home in the back of our new car. Our intent, if you recall, was to make a table with it. It would be useful to have something next to the fire to hold drinks, plates, pokers, and such. We new the wood looked big in the forest, and in the shop after birthing it from the back of the car.

Well, here it is next to the fire-pit. As you can see, it's a bit large for the location and purpose. We're still working on plans for the big wheel of pine. Any ideas?

So, how do you spend a day in the house? I decided to re-batch my last soap attempt. The hemp oil soap I made was a gorgeous green to start, with a deep, nearly wheat-y scent. Well, the color lightened, and the grain smell became a fish smell.

On the pro side, this is the bubbliest soap, and the least slimy soap, I've made to date.

Rebatching essentially consists of slowly melting down a batch of soap, then adding fragrances, colors, or new oils to the batch. Some folks swear by it, and other folks will only rebatch as a matter of last resort. Results form a rebatch are not usually as pretty, nor as consistnet in texture throughout the bar. However, rebatching allows the use of fragrances and dyes that react badly to lye or high temperatures. Lavender buds, for instance, turn a slimy brown and lose their scent in the presence of lye. However, the buds can be added to a rebatch and will retain their lovely characteristics.

The first step in rebatching is grating the soap. I kept wanting to dip my fingers in--doesn't it look just like a great pile of Swiss cheese? This soap was my largest batch yet, weighing in at a hefty five pounds. That's a lot of grating...

I put the soap in the oven at 200F, along with about one cup of milk. I think I should have used more liquid. I couldn't find a precise measurement anywhere on the web, just the general directive to moisten the soap shreds lightly.

After about four hours (but this is only supposed to take about 2 hours?!), I needed the oven to cook dinner, so it sat on the counter for a about an hour.

I turned the oven up to 225F, and let it go for another two hours. I still didn't get the gel that should have occurred, but it was soft enough to scoop into molds. I added some tangerine and sweetgrass essential oils, plus some ground sage from the garden. The sage was supposed to add a bit of green, but instead it just made strange little green specks. At some point I might upgrade their description to artful specks, but for now they're just strange specks.

I'm tempted to rebatch the soap again, maybe using the boil in an oven bag method.

Not sure...

Here are the soaps from the silicon cupcake mold. The rest of the soap is still in the quart cream mold.

I think I'll go back to gazing at the snow. Much more restful!

PS If you use a food processor to grate your soap, clean the soap off the pieces before putting them into the dishwasher. Unless you like bubbles escaping and running across your kitchen floor?

1 comment:

  1. Wow that is some serious soap.

    Our "wheel of pine" (which is much smaller than yours) has casters on it, and we just use it on our deck as a side table or occasionally another place to perch. Yours looks like it could be a whole table!