Sunday, December 16, 2012

And Now for Something Completely Different

My favorite expression - maybe even my motto - is "How hard can it be?" The sound of that phrase usually means I am about to find out. This is sometimes a good thing (see: The Kiln Project) and other times less so.

I've always had a thing for handmade soap. It twangs the same string on my magic twanger that cupcakes and pretty stationery and highly decorated mugs twangs. (Everybody has a magic twanger, right? You're all with me on that?) I never considered making it, as I had the impression that it was seriously complicated and maybe even dangerous; and then I saw - thanks, Pinterest - a recipe for making soap in the crockpot. Somehow anything you can do in a crockpot doesn't sound intimidating anymore. How hard can it be?

So, down in the crockpot, fats are melting. I read a whole bunch of recipes, and then made some adjustments to one which had no absurdly inaccessible ingredients.(Ostrich oil? Really, people?) Because I wasn't using the recipe exactly as I found it (because I can never, never, never, ever just do things the easy way) I had to run all the fat and oil measurement through a lye calculator, because if you get the lye wrong, well, you won't like the soap very much, as it will burn your skin.

Yeah, I remember now why I thought this was dangerous. Anyway, too late now. The fats are a-meltin'.


Okay, fast forward an hour...the lye is ever-so-carefully weighed and added to the water (outside!) then that solution is added to the fats...and then I stirred for almost an hour before it thickened enough up to show a trail if you dragged a spoon through it. The recipe said 10 minutes; lucky thing I am a tenacious bastard. But, look:

Um, is it supposed to be black?!?
It looks perfectly awful, a stinky vat of death soap to go with my deathstar ornaments. Hmmm. Well, I did substitute strong coffee for the water - this will be Peppermint Mocha Soap, if it is soap at all. But damn, it didn't seem like it was that strong.


Anyway. Nothing to do now but let it cook another hour, and stir it every so often, then pour. I'll show you the results in the morning.
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