I've been a bit frazzled these last few days..my mind is on other things....I came close to having a real disaster in the kitchen yesterday, while I was making soap...I could have been burnt so badly....
So I write this to give warning to others of the things that may happen while making soap....
I was supposed to make the soap in the morning, but plans got put on hold, and other plans were bought forward...which I really wasn't happy about, but couldn't change......I always like to prepare the things that take the longest first...Like getting fat onto the stove to render....or cutting up onions to salt for a few hours...You know, the things that take more time than just say, doing the dishes, or hanging clothes on the line. Actually, I like to get the clothes on the line early too, so they have time to dry.....
When making my soap....................................
First; I add the caustic soda to the required amount of water...(I have a 'caustic bucket' for this)..and set this aside to cool...not too cold, but maybe a bit warmer than body temperature.
Second; I barely melt and warm the rendered fat and add other oils to warm them slightly...and set aside.....
Third; I prepare my moulds. I spray them with either Cooking Spray or Olive Oil Spray (Cheap Brands) and have them ready....Set up my work area, because once I start blending the two...I can't leave it until it is done.
Fourth; slowly pour the caustic mix into the oils, while gently stirring, remember to wear your protective gear the whole time..before you open the caustic soda, you should have your gloves on...Stir until you reach trace, which I have explained before....
Then pour into your prepared moulds, and set aside to set overnight, before cutting.
WHAT WENT WRONG YOUR WONDERING....???
This recipe only had rendered beef fat...In the past I have always added other oil to the mix, and I guess this cools the oil mix down considerably....Now because I was so frazzled and the afternoon was soon slipping into meal prep time....I was in a hurry to get the soap finished....MAJOR PROBLEM THERE!!!
When the mix starts a rolling boil right in the plastic bucket...You know you have done something wrong.....Next it started foaming...everything from here went so quickly I barely had time to react....But fortunately I had recently read about something similar happening...with a milk soap mix heating too much and scolding the milk...I recall the notes saying to immerse the whole bucket into a sink of cold water......
So while this caustic mix is literally boiling in my hands...well in the bucket, but rising quickly.....I run to the laundry with this volatile caustic monster....Is it going to stop? Will I get it under control? Am I going to get seriously burnt.....????
Luckily I had a huge tub in the laundry half filled with water, ready to do some major school clothes soaking....(pale blues and whites).....No I hadn't had time to soak the school clothes...and I have no idea what I would have done if I had..(the bath was probably the next place to run, but sure; I can think of that now!).....but I put the bucket in the tub of water..and was splashing water onto the sides of the bucket...The rising froth of errr soap slowed down to a crawl, but still overflowed into the water....
Well it finally cooled enough to say it needed to be poured...Yep it still went into the mould.....and I would wait until the following morning (today) to see what I had produced.
Amazingly, it is a big block of soap...I still have a huge tub of caustic mess to clean up....but I'll take care of that on the weekend...I have put it up, that no-one or the pets can get to it....and warned the family to stay clear. Yuck.
Today I scraped the messy top edge of the soap....keeping the shavings for laundry soap...(but they still have to wait and be cured like the rest of the soap)........
A disaster diverted....and here is the soap...100% animal fat, 100% learning curve!!!
SO BE CAREFULL WHEN MAKING YOUR SOAP.......I DON'T WANT TO PUT ANYONE OFF MAKING SOAP....I ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE....BUT ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE WORKING WITH CAUSTIC CHEMICALS THAT CAN BURN YOU.....
|The new No-Dig garden bed is started....need newspapers now.|
I got the concrete blocks free. They are super heavy.
After the recent heavy rain we have had...I have lost many plants to mildew, rain etc....because I use my herbs all the time....I don't mind starting again with some cheap plants..I will also sew seeds, but this will help for more immediate use. (soon) $1 each.
|Early trip to Bunnings for Borax...found cheap plants too...|
|I love the smell of Beeswax.|
|*********************************** Checking on my |
home-made flower press.
Anyone can make a flower press.....I have always stuck to the idea of, If I can't use it, don't grow it......So I have never planted flowers...Mum lives with us, and believes colour should be in the garden, and lots of it. So a compromise took place...I planted from seed, some little pansies....and was quite surprised at the detail in the tiny flowers.. ...
Wanting to capture the flowers at their brightest, I decided to make a flower-press. I am thinking of making bookmarks with the flowers for xmas gifts.
Remember; I didn't make this press today, I was checking how the flowers were going.
Find the butterfly wing nuts and bolts...That way you don't need a shifter when you want to open it.
I needed 6 bolts because it is a rectangle....If you decide on a square you will most likely only need 4.
After marking and drilling the holes...I also glued the bolts to the base of the press...it is so much easier with them glued into place....I remember having a little flower press when I was a child...and when closing the press, the bolts always wanted to fall out....So I glued the little suckers down this time.
So for each layer you need 1 cardboard buffer and two paper sheets....all cut to shape to go around the bolts.
|Purple Basil, and Lemon-grass leaves.|
|Yes, even flowers can be pressed in a flower-press...lol|
Just look at the detail in that flower.
|See the carrot leaves, and garlic chive flowers, |
also lettuce and rocket flowers.
|I even tried some parsley, |
some baby beet leaves, and marjoram flowers.
|*********************************** Another soap, 2kg Animal Fat, 1kg of Rice Bran Oil|