About Glenda

I have spent the last 30 years living in the corporate world and now it is time to follow my passion of 'making my own'. This blog is the documentation of that journey. I alternate between the southwest of Western Australia and Perth.

Indigo Blues

I have to tell you about my first hot process soap.  I have been thinking about this soap for ages.  Finally, it is a reality.  You may be curious as to why I am so excited about plain blue soap … well, there is a reason.  Ages ago, I made Starry Starry Night which is, without doubt, my favourite soap I have ever made but, alas, it had an issue.

Starry Starry Night was coloured with indigo powder and I have since learned that not all indigo powder is created equal.  Even though I followed instructions on how much to use, clearly it was way too much for my indigo powder.  The suds the soap produced were blue, and when I say blue, I mean really, really blue.  I was pretty shattered because I had twelve perfect bars of soap that couldn’t be sold.

As first, that didn’t deter me too much.  I told Maus we had to use it.  Because it was so blue, I took to washing my greying hair in it and I reckon it made my hair look pretty good.  But Maus has a tendency to put soap on the face washer and then clean her body with it.  When our face washers started turning blue, I knew another solution was called for.

Enter Mont Blanc. I ended up grating two Starry Starry Night bars and using them as confetti in this soap.  Even though others liked it, I was not keen.  When I cut the bars, the indigo smudged dark blue onto the pale blue soap.

What to do?

My brain has been working overtime trying to come up with a solution.  Indigo Blues is the answer … and I love them.

I have been playing around with remilling soap of late and, as is my want, I have been reading everything there is to read on the subject and have watched every YouTube video there is to watch .  And when I had exhausted that subject, I turned my thoughts to hot process soap.

My preferred technique is cold process soap because it produces a nice smooth bar and the process lends itself to being artistic with the design.  But since I had also made glycerine soap, melt and pour soap and had been remilling soap, hot process soap was the last frontier.  I started reading all there was on hot process soap and, again, watched another million YouTube videos.  And then, I read one comment in a soap makers forum and the penny dropped.  The writer mentioned that she rebatched soap by making a small batch of hot process soap and then adding about three times its weight in remilled soap.  When the new soap went through gell phase, it would melt the remilled soap and you would end up with nice, new, rebatched soap.   I also read about new techniques to make the hot process more smooth and less rustic-looking by adding sodium lactate, milk/yoghurt/coconut milk and sugar.

I was very interested.  There is no way I could use 3 x the Starry Starry Night soap to one part new soap – it would still be too blue. I would need to have three parts new soap to one part Starry Starry Night.  And I liked the idea of a smooth soap.  In this instance, I didn’t want a rustic-looking soap.  I wanted a uniform colour and smoothness.  I decided to give it a go.

For the soap makers out there who have a soap where the colour needs to be toned down and would like to know what I did, here it is.  I chose to use the same recipe as I used for Starry Starry Night but I don’t think it is important.  Use whatever recipe you like.

  • Water – 38% of new soap oil weight, ie, no water discount
  • Fragrance – approx. 5% of new soap weight and same variety as used in the remilled soap
  • Remilled soap – approx. 33% of weight of new soap
  • Extra water – 25% weight of the remilled soap
  • Add to cooked soap
  • Sodium lactate -1% of new soap oil weight
  • Sugar – 1% of new soap oil weight
  • Yoghurt – 3% of new soap oil weight

And it worked a treat.  It is lovely and smooth and the suds are white … well, maybe a little blue but certainly nothing to worry about.  The amazing thing is, it is not much lighter than the original Starry Starry Night soaps. I might try that design again but this time with much less Indigo powder.

The world of a soap maker is never dull 🙂

Some Tasmania shots

I know this is not a travel blog but I thought I would show you some of the better shots from our recent little holiday in Tasmania.  We went for 2 weeks which was long enough to see the sites but, clearly, not long enough to see all the state has to offer.  Maus hadn’t been before so we ticked off items on the “must see” list like Port Arthur, Cradle Mountain, Strahan, Stanley, Launceston, etc. but, if we went again, we would skip these places and go on the less touristed path.

First stop was Eaglehawk Neck where you can see the absolutely amazing tessellated pavement.  It is so hard to believe that this formation is all natural.  At first, Maus thought it was an old convict building quarry where they had cut out building blocks and left their scar on the environment but, no, it is all due to tidal erosion. Continue reading

Corn fritters (Bhutteyan Da Kebab)

Did I mention that we have a lot of corn at the moment?  The first day back from our holidays, I picked 14 cobs and, two days later, eight more. We, usually, have a glut this time of the year and go into corn fritter mode.  I have previously posted Bill Grangers’ sweetcorn fritters with roasted tomatoes and bacon and corn & ricotta cakes with roasted tomatoes and pesto from Delicious magazine.  If you are inundated with corn or love corn fritters, I recommend both recipes but, for us, it was time to try something new. Continue reading