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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I began my 11th year of beekeeping in April 2016. Now there are about 1275 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Making soap is lots of fun!

Last January my sister and I took a class in soap making at the John Campbell Folk School. It was a weekend class and we had a great time and learned a lot. We also made a lot of soap in that weekend.
  
I immediately came home, ordered supplies and then looked at them for so long that by the time I got around to making soap six months later, I had to relearn the process.....but boy, is it fun. And making soap is a useful way to employ beeswax.

Beeswax in soap makes the soap harder and causes it to last longer. My recipe that I have finally settled on for now includes both beeswax and palm kernel oil flakes to harden the soap. The soap is full of shea butter and when one uses this soap, it softens, rather than dries, one's skin.

My daughter is an attorney and she ordered gift bags from Linda T's Bees as thank you gifts for her referral sources. We put soap, lip balm, lotion bars, and honey in each bag. I got to make lots of fun soaps for the project.

   

 

I made pumpkin soap colored with paprika and with an exfoliant of poppy seeds; then I made basil/rosemary soap, oatmeal honey soap, cocoa swirl soap, honey/chamomile soap, dirt and basil soap, chocolate chip cookie soap, cucumber mint soap, green tea soap, and vanilla oatmeal soap. I have loved making soap. I just found a recipe for fresh carrot soap and want to make that as well as avocado soap with fresh avocados (like bathing in guacamole?). I even ordered avocado oil to use in that soap.

I've bought silicone soap molds, have used cardboard milk cartons (as we did in the Folk School) and have just had so much fun.

If you have any beeswax from your bee year, this is a great use for it. You do have to melt and filter the beeswax and weigh it precisely to make this all come together well.

Some helpful hints:

1. You have to melt some of the oils in order to use them. The last thing one wants to happen is for the oil to turn over and spill, so I have put a cotton placemat in the dutch oven filled with hot water to keep the plastic bottle upright.


2. There are all kinds of silicone pans that one can use - this is a silicone bread pan from Target:


3. After you make soap, it has to cure for three weeks. Another great use for the queen excluder:



Try it, you'll like it. (Note: this is cold process soap made with lye)


3 comments:

  1. Will you share your receipes? Thanks!

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  2. Hi Linda -- Even though it's not, I will take this as a personal challenge to just DO IT. I've taken a class, made soap with a friend, and even have all the ingredients (including the lye!) but have yet to summon the wherewithal to get busy in my own kitchen. I hope retirement gives you the resources to solve the "too many interests, too little time" dilemma! Best wishes, Anna W

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great to hear from you, Anna! Hope all is well with you. Do try the soap and let me know how it goes - I think it's loads of fun - actually I'd be happy making soap every day. The hardest part is that you have to wait three weeks for it to cure to find out how well the batch turned out - I'm not a patient waiter!

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