Thursday, March 10, 2011

Crockpot soap with Papa's Lavender

A few months ago we purchased the Homestead Blessings DVD set. We've enjoyed watching them all and have been inspired to try some new things including soap making. Soap making is something I've been interested in for a while, and the DVD made it look so simple and fun! Miss E really wanted to give soap making a try, so the ingredients and equipment went on our list of things to pick up at some point.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a blog post on how to make coffee soap in the crockpot. It looked even easier! I was inspired! Miss E really wanted to try making lavender soap. I realized that the anniversary of my Papa's death was coming up, and that I had a bunch of lavender from his garden just waiting to be used! It was decided that we would be making lavender soap.

We gathered our materials, including safety equipment. I talked to all of the kids about how just one ingredient (the lye) in the soap makes this a "grown-up" job. Miss E was going to observe for the first couple of times we make soap (with eye safety on), and then we would see if she could help a bit some time. Everyone else needed to stay out of the kitchen during nap time and stay quiet so I could give this a go.

It went very well as I added the lye to the lavender "tea" I had made using some of Papa's lavender. Next I melted the oils.

After adding the lye, things just did not progress as it seemed that they should have. After over an hour of heating and stirring my soap never made it to the "trace" stage. Something was going wrong with the soap. I had been avoiding using my stick blender (not wanting to contaminate it with the lye), but I realized that this was the only way to recover my very first batch of soap. The stick blender worked. A bit too well though. All of a sudden my soap was just how it should be! It bubbled up! And bubbled up some more. And more. Soon in was obvious that it was going to overflow the crockpot. I removed the stone wear from the heat to try to stop the cooking process. Fortunately the counter was covered with a towel and I had an extra towel handy so the mess was well contained (sorry, no pictures - I was a bit busy.). My soap progressed very well there without being put back on the heat. I added the last oil, some lavender essential oil, and some lavender buds from Papa's garden. Then I spooned it into the mold (a pringles can; the kids were so sweet to empty it for me!).

I'm going to let this cure for about a week or two and then get these ready to send out to the women in the family as a sweet memory of Papa. I hope they turned out.


  1. I also read the coffee soap blog & was I am really going to try this!

  2. Trying this when I return from vacation!