Category Archives: Making Soap

January Soaps – Making A Good Thing Better

I am going to tell you about the two soap recipes I made in January but first I was wondering if you would be willing to tell me about your personal soap usage. As a soap maker  there are things I try to achieve when making and marketing my soap but I am curious if the things I view as important are important to others as well. My goal as a soap maker is not to get rich or to sell millions of bars of soap. At that point they would no longer be hand crafted. I do think that my products are for a specialized market(natural, fragrance free, no artificial colors).  Your input could perhaps help me gage that market. I compiled a list of questions below. Feel free to answer as many as you like or skip them all and read about January’s soap making farther down on this page. Thank you in advance.

Soap questions

Do you use bar soap or some other form of body wash?

On average how long does it take you to use up a bar of soap?

How do you apply soap to your skin (rub bar of soap directly on you body or apply to a wash cloth then use the wash cloth to wash your body)?

Do you use bar soap for hand washing?

Do different members of your household use different soaps for bathing?

Do you read the ingredients on the soap package?

Which factor(s) are most important in determining what soap product you purchase? Price? Advertising? Packaging? Ingredients? Other?

What qualities do you like in a soap?

Please feel free to include additional comments.

January Soaps – Making A Good Thing Better

I made two soap recipes in January. I have made both of these soaps in the past but after the holiday rush my stock had dwindled. After discovering the wonderful creaminess that yogurt added to my latest creation I decided to add yogurt to these two recipes as well.


The first was aloe soap. I have been making aloe soap for a couple years now. My aloe soap recipe uses olive oil and coconut oil combined with lye and water. After this combination comes to a trace (when the fats and liquids are blended and begin to thicken) I add aloe juice/gel that I have scraped out of several aloe leaves and blended in a small blender. While I can’t say whether or not the aloe retains any of the healing properties that it is known for, I can say that it adds a slipperiness to the lather and my soap testers (maybe I should call them my critics) have determined that it makes a great shaving soap.

This was already a great soap, but sometimes I can’t help but experiment, so I decided to see if I could make a great thing even better. To add yogurt to the recipe, I used the same procedure as I did in the previous recipe. Yogurt would count as a liquid in the recipe, but since I didn’t want to add lye directly to the yogurt and scorch it I would only use yogurt for part (1/3) of the liquid. I mixed my lye with only 2/3 of the water the recipe called for. I measured out the yogurt in the amount of 1/3 of the water and blended it with my aloe leaves and set it aside. Once the lye/water and oils had been mixed and come to a light trace I then added the yogurt and aloe mixture. I continued to mix this until the soap had come to a thick trace (the consistency of cake batter) before pouring it in the molds.

The yogurt soap seems to take longer to set up, so two days later I took it out of the mold and cut it into bars. It is now curing in my soap room and will be ready for testing in two weeks… if I can wait that long 🙂

The other soap that I made in January also seemed like it would benefit from having yogurt added. This is another soap I have been making for quite awhile. It has coconut oil and olive oil as the base oils and has oatmeal, honey and cinnamon added. I call it Breakfast Bar.

I used the same process – reducing the amount of water that was mixed with the lye by 1/3. Then measuring that amount of yogurt to add once the soap had come to a trace. I found it interesting that after adding the yogurt, honey, oatmeal, and cinnamon the soap seemed to take a long time to come back to a trace. When it did finally trace, I poured it into the mold, wrapped it in a towel, and left it overnight. Again I discovered that this soap, with yogurt added, was taking longer to set up, so I left it another day. The following day the soap was still soft and looked as though it had a thin later of oil on the surface. It didn’t look right so I went online searching for answers and thankfully I found this explanation. Adding sugar to soap causes the soap to heat up more than normal during the soaponification process, and apparently too much sugar can cause some of the oil to separate. It went on to say that in four or five days the oil usually is reabsorbed into the soap. This explanation made perfect sense. The sugar in the yogurt combined with the honey caused this reaction. Fortunately at the four day mark the oil had indeed absorbed back into the soap, and though it was still soft I was able to take it out of the mold and cut it into bars. I am so thankful for experienced soap makers who freely share their knowledge online. 🙂

This batch of soap is also curing in my soap room for about the next three weeks.

Once we (my critics and I) test these soaps I’ll let you know what we think.

Thanks for reading and an extra huge THANK YOU if you decided to answer any of the above questions.






Crunch Time

With only a few short days before Christmas I still have several projects in the works. Even though I don’t do Christmas shopping, I guess this year I am as bad as a last minute shopper. Call me a “last minute crafter”. Thus the next few days will be spent finishing those projects (that I will tell you about after the holidays), grocery shopping for our Christmas meal, and baking some Christmas treats.

I did want to take a minute to tell you how my latest soap turned out. I wrote about it in this post It is the one with cucumber, yogurt and Rosemary. I will start by saying my first impression was positive, but I always keep my thoughts to myself until I get some feedback from others. My husband was the next to try it. He showered with it in the morning then headed to the farm to get some work done. A while later he called me, “what was that soap I used this morning?” he asked. I told him and he went on to tell me his experience. “I always start my shower by lathering up my hair” he said.  (Yes we both use my homemade soaps to wash our hair as well as our bodies.) “I started rubbing that soap in my hair and the next thing I knew I had a big pile of lather on top of my head. It felt really good and rinsed off nice too. I like it.”

My niece stopped by a couple days later so I gave her one for her and one for my sister to try.  When I asked my sister about it she said something like this, “I usually don’t spend much time in the shower, I get in, wash up and get out. When I was using this soap I didn’t want to get out. It left my skin feeling so good, and I don’t know if I have ever felt so clean.” My niece also liked this soap, and I only wish I had written down her comments because I can’t remember them right now.

Besides the rich creamy lather and my skin feeling really soft after the shower, I noticed some things that no one else mentioned. First the bar had a bit of a gritty feeling like small grains of sand in the soap. I am not sure where this came from unless it was ground up cucumber seeds. It wasn’t offensive, in fact it gave the bar a little extra scrubbing power much like to coffee grounds in my coffee soap. The other thing I noticed was that I could smell the scent of Rosemary when I sniffed the bar. I am not surprised that no one else noticed this because I had to actually put the bar right up to my nose and sniff it in order to detect the fragrance. This soap recipe is definitely a keeper.

In my previous post I shared that my biggest dilemma was coming up with a name for this soap. A couple of readers offered cute suggestions, and while I very much appreciate their ideas I decided to stick with my “Don’t Eat It!” theme. This new soap is now called———————————————————————————————–







Yep! It’s Salad Bar Soap. Cucumbers are definitely salad food and yogurt and Rosemary could be ingredients in a salad dressing, so quirky as it may sound “Salad Bar” it is.

Now before I get back to all of the busyness of the next few days, Dom and I want to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas. God Bless.

Fall Activities

To start off this post I want to send a great big Thank You to anyone reading this. My readership is growing and in the past few months the number of people who are following my blog has doubled. It’s still not a big number but it is very encouraging. Having followers is kind of like making new friends. Followers can visit our farm through many of the pictures I post and can keep up with what we are up to just by reading along. It’s always exciting when somebody hits the “like” button or I get hits off Facebook indicating that somebody liked my writing well enough to share it with their friends. Best of all is when someone takes the time to leave a comment.  It’s almost as good as having friends stop by for coffee and a chat. So again thank you to all those who are reading.

This is a quick update on some of our fall activities before we begin planting garlic this week. If you are interested in what we will be doing with garlic planting you can check out this page .


My husband has been working on expanding our strawberry patch. He first weeded  them then cut and transplanted runners before mulching with straw. Since this picture was taken he has finished the center so there is now 7 full rows of strawberry plants. We are praying for a bountiful crop in 2018.

After finishing the strawberry patch he moved on to the asparagus bed. We added to the asparagus this spring so we now have around 100 plants. Over the past few days he has cut down the ferns that were dead leaving a few that were still green. With hands and knees in the dirt he weeded the areas directly around each plant. He then tilled in between the rows. Since I didn’t get a picture you’ll have to trust me when I say it looks beautiful. Straw will also be used to mulch the asparagus before winter sets in.

He has cleared out most of the garden since nearly everything is done producing. He cut corn stalks and gave some to friends and neighbors to use for fall decorations.

While he has been busy with all of the fall farming activities my time has been split more between the farm and the house. My activities at the farm were mostly preparing the prayer garden for winter.


I gave it a good weeding, then I trimmed dead foliage and blossoms from most of the plants. I left any blossoms that were still open, as they were being used by bees and butterflies in search of food. I also dug out some Irises because they were spreading beyond where I wanted to go. I gave the dug up Iris bulbs to a neighbor who was happy to receive them.

At home I cooked up and froze pumpkins from our one volunteer pumpkin plant that produced this year. It was not a pie pumpkin but it made a fabulous pumpkin pie.  You can find my pumpkin pie recipe here   I froze several packages of eggplant and I turned some of the strawberries, that I had froze in June, into jam. I also filtered the beeswax that had been tucked in the freezer after the our honey harvest.  Check out this post to see how I filter beeswax.

After several months of not making soap, I made two batches last week. The first one I made was Sweet Dandelion. Since it was such a big hit when I made it in the spring, I knew that I would want to make another batch so even though they were nearly done blossoming, in late June I walked the farm in search of dandelions. I was able to find enough to make a pot of dandelion tea and infused the rest in some sunflower oil. I froze the dandelion tea and I had both of my key ingredients ( tea and oil) last week when I was ready to make this soap.

The other soap I made was coffee soap. I am really looking forward to trying this soap because I used a new and (hopefully) improved method. I will post about it in the future, probably in six weeks or so when the soap is ready.

For now I must refocus on the task at hand – garlic planting, so until next time I wish you well.

Two New Soap Recipes- The Results Are In

In April I posted about the two new soap recipes that I had made. One was made with   dandelions infused in the water and oil. Honey was also added. The second was made with maple sap and maple sugar sand.

My husband and I have now sampled both of these soaps and we are extremely happy with the results.

The dandelion soap, which I am now calling Sweet Dandelion, has a deep golden color to it. I used this soap before my husband and fell in love with it. “Silky” was the term I thought of when I felt the lather on my skin and though it rinses off well it leaves my skin feeling soft. I did not share my thoughts with my husband before he used it. Once he had showered with it I asked what he though. “Good lather, smooth, and rinses off well, I like it!” were his comments. I then shared my thoughts and we agreed my description “silky” translated to his use of the word smooth.

A few days later one of my sisters (J.B.) stopped by so I gave her a sample bar. I told her what it was and asked for her opinion. She said she would try it the following morning. Around 9:00 a.m. the following morning J.B. called me. She loved this soap. She agreed with our descriptions of silky and smooth and told me she would like two more bars.

After my husband mentioned several times that he wished I could make another batch of the dandelion soap I found myself walking our back field in search of dandelions. By this time the dandelions which had blanketed our property a few weeks earlier were now few and far between. I was able to collect a couple cups of dandelion blossoms. I used half to make a tea-type infusion, which I put in the freezer, and the other half are infusing in oil as I write. I will be able to make one more batch of Sweet Dandelion soap between now and next spring.

We were also pleased with the maple soap which I have decided to call MMMaple Soap. I am not surprised that maple sugar sand which is made up mostly of calcium salts and malic acid seems to have dissolved, nor am I surprised that this soap has incredible lather since sugars added to soap have that effect. I do have some of the sap that we saved for this recipe in the freezer yet so I will also be able to make this recipe one more time before next spring.

Anyone interested in purchasing either of these soaps may contact me by email at and put soap in the subject line.


Two New Soap Recipes

I am really excited about the two new soap recipes I made this week. The soap I made on Monday was inspired by the dandelions that are popping up everywhere screaming “spring is here.” I decided that those yellow beauties might just make a nice soap.

Usually before I try something new with a soap recipe I do an internet search to see if others have done similar. Artisan soap makers are a creative bunch and it seems there is not much they haven’t tried and wrote about. I did indeed find several sites with dandelion soap recipes, stories, and for sale. I do not use other peoples recipes but I like to get an idea of how others have used particular ingredients, what the results were and if there is anything major that might go wrong.

By this time I have learned that when adding botanicals to cold process soaps you will very rarely capture any fragrance and I have no way of testing to see if any potential therapeutic benefits from them survive the process. The most I could hope for is to capture some of the cheery yellow color. Hoping to double up on any benefits I infused both the water and the oils with dandelion flowers. I decided to add honey as well.

This recipe is now out of the molds and has a deep yellow color. It still has to cure for about six weeks and doubtless the color will change as the soap cures. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Todays soap experiment is maple. When I did my internet search for maple soap I found that maple syrup is often used as an ingredient in handcrafted soap. My plan was a little different. When my husband was collecting sap to make syrup this spring I asked him to save me a couple of quarts so I could make a batch of soap with it. “Are you sure you know what you are doing?” he asked. I explained that I plan to use the sap in place of the water in my soap recipe. He graciously obliged my request and I have kept the sap in the freezer waiting to be turned into soap.

One morning when we were having our homemade syrup on our pancakes and I looked at the sugar sand that had collected at the bottom of the jar and wondered about using it in soap. Will the sand particles remain sand or will they dissolve during the processing. I remembered reading that it is mostly composed of calcium salts and malic acid. It is not harmful to eat and upon further research I learned that those ingredients can be beneficial for skin care. Again I can’t make any claims about my soap providing these therapeutic benefits because it is questionable whether they survive the soap making process. The sand in that jar was gone before I had a chance to tell my husband that I wanted to save some for making soap. We had a few more jars with sand at the bottom, so I opened one this morning, poured most of the syrup into an empty jar and put it in the refrigerator for future breakfast. The sand and a small portion of the syrup that was left in the bottom of the jar were added to my soap.

The maple soap, if it turns out well, will definitely be a seasonal soap and I expect the sweet dandelion soap will be as well. Although they won’t be ready for 6+ weeks you can contact me by email ( if you are interested in purchasing either of these soaps. 🙂