Rustic spearmint and green tea soap balls.

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I didn’t intend to make these today, but I guess that’s what makes the holidays so delightful, particularly when the house is practically boyless.

Remember about three or four weeks ago when I made a batch of soap that I wasn’t particularly happy with? It came together too soon and was oily on the outside, but I decided to leave it cure and see what happened.

After all this time, it was looking a little better, but it still had a slightly oily texture and was fairly soft. I took a piece and washed my hands with it and it lathered up well, but afterwards I didn’t like the aroma left on my hands. Before this, it was earmarked as being for Family Use Only, but I just don’t like the smell of coconut very much! In the spirit of “waste not, want not”  I bent my mighty intellect into how I could save this batch of soap.

It occurred to me that maybe the lye and oil needed to be cooked a little more to combine better. I decided to experiment by rebatching (melting and recooking) some of it, and cutting some up into chunks and using it as decoration in other soap. My sister Kate said that I should make soap balls to sell, so I thought I’d give it a bash. All of the soap ball recipes on the internet were for cheaters’ soap. (Melt and pour, where you have commercially made soap that you grate, melt and pour into moulds and deceive yourself into thinking you made your own soap.) You can’t make soap balls from cold process soap, because when you pour it into the moulds the lye is still a bit ouchy and you could burn off some fingers while you were rolling the balls. However, once you rebatch cold process soap like I’m making, the lye is already neutralised so it can be manipulated. (Or so I hoped…. if my hands started to disappear half way through I would’ve been a bit disconcerted.)

So here goes!

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Last night I cut up the best bar of the soap to use in some lavender soap I want to make. I was happy with the texture of this one so I’m looking forward to using it in other bars of soap.

David2 was on the computer in the lounge room.

“Don’t eat what I’m cutting up!” I warned. “It isn’t cheese!”

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Today, when I was suddenly seized with the urge to experiment, I grated eight bars of the soap, leaving eight still to be played with.

David2 walked out of his room to get a drink of water.

“Don’t eat what I’m grating!” I warned. “It isn’t cheese.”

“Mum, I’m not eating anything in this house that looks like cheese,” he said.

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I put the grated soap into the crockpot, along with some green tea that I had left over from a batch of Lemongrass and Green tea soap I made this morning. (This was the Australian soap using macadamia oil from some recipes that Watershedd sent me. Thanks!) Waste not, want not. Then I waited for it to melt.

I wasn’t sure if it would melt or burn, so I kept a fairly close eye on it, stirring it frequently.

Excuse me while I go and shoo a chicken out of the kitchen. Back in a sec.

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It was Buffy. Stoopid chicken.

Anyway, for a long time nothing much seemed to happen and I wondered if I should put more water in. Then critical mass occurred, if that’s the right term. It turned into a beautifully gluggy liquid mix.

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I wanted to use one of the essential oils that Evan4 gave me for Christmas. I’ll be ringing Tony’s place tomorrow to speak to Ryan3 on his 16th birthday, so I wanted to say to Evan4 that his present was being used. Give him a thrill! When I’d bought my essential oils and inadvertently spoiled his Christmas surprise, I also bought three colours to play around with. I grabbed the green dye and the bottle of spearmint essential oil. It smells lovely; just like a big pot of toothpaste.

All I used was a teaspoon and the whole kitchen smelled like a dentist’s surgery. That doesn’t bother me because I don’t have any fillings.

I grabbed the stick beater and whipped it all up. Then the balancing act was to wait until it cooled down enough to manipulate, but not so long that it all seized up in the crock pot.

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I really like the textured look. I said to David2 that I’ll add more water to the mix next time and see if that makes a difference to the texture when the soap balls are being rolled. The ones on the internet are smooth, which either means that mine are totally unique and awesome or that I’ve done it wrong and all of the other soap makers are laughing at me. I’ll be interested to see if the texture of the soap changes now that it’s been cooked again. It already seems to be oil-free, so maybe the experiment worked? Two hours after making them their texture is smooth and oil free, so I’m very happy.

God I love the holidays! If this was term time I’d have been stuck in a classroom wasting my time educating the young…

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10 Responses to Rustic spearmint and green tea soap balls.

  1. Widget says:

    I love the rustic look……will be interested to know if they are rough on the skin to begin with…..a good way of exfoliating. If it is, then make sure you use the soap first so you can exfoliate your skin.

  2. The aroma will be wonderful as you use them – an ideal “wake up” scent for the morning shower.

  3. Annie Jones says:

    Looks like you had a great time experimenting. I really need to make a second batch of soap here; we’ll be out of the first before the second batch cures if we don’t get a move on. I’ll have to have hubby help me again. Not so much because he knows more about it, but because he knows where he hid all the pots and molds from me. 😉

  4. Watershedd says:

    So glad the notes are proving useful. Since I did that class with my friend, I’ve been bogged down in work – the sort that pays and the sort that eventually should pay (i.e. the book). Hopefully, in the next few months, things like exercise and hobbies will reappear in my weekly repertoire!

  5. Scott says:

    They look like little green brains.

  6. nicole says:

    This has nothing to do with soap, but I thought you might like it anyway: http://voodoonotes.blogspot.com/2010/12/i-cant-stand-it-any-more-small-grammar.html

  7. Joh says:

    I have soap envy! Please let me know if you sell your soaps. Each soapy post you write entertains the thought that I will make some one day… but in the meantime…. I would just like to use it:-).

    Hope 2011 is gorgeous and fun for you.

  8. Sharon says:

    ooooh, how fab! I’d love to try my hand at making soap but must confess that the lye scares me somewhat!

  9. Kasane says:

    Once it hit the gunky yellow stage was that when u added colour and used stick mixer or did you wait longer?

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