The Journey of a Soap

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I still can’t believe that this time last year I had no idea that there was a whole world of handcrafted soapmaking out there.  I’m specifically talking about cold-process soapmaking and not the whole melt & pour stuff which I had seen but wasn’t so intrigued by.

IMG_4512But as a prolific baker of all things sweet and savoury, the whole alchemy of the process drew me in instantly and before you know it I had my silicone bake ware out for another use.

IMG_4517My first batch of soap was made in a silicone loaf tin and made with whatever ingredients I had in the kitchen, which included olive oil, sunflower oil and a lot of shea butter (looking back on this it was far too much shea butter).

I scented it with fennel and lavender essential oils and wanted to call it Liquorice Lavender.  In my mind I had imagined that it would be black with beautiful purple swirls.

IMG_4526I coloured it with four charcoal tablets (I didn’t have any fancy soap making supplies then) and purple food colouring (ahem).

Despite my naivety it was a very exciting and fun process.

IMG_4525Unfortunately the only good thing to come of it was the amazing scent.  Other than that the colour of the charcoal was a strange pale grey (I didn’t use enough).  While the purple food colouring completely disappeared the moment it was exposed to air!

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Freshly cut the food colouring shows up fleetingly

The lavender topping dragged through when I cut into the slices and the lavender I included inside went a horrible orange-brown.

The family loved it though.  Bless them.  Most of the bars were used up but about half the batch was left over (I made 1.5kg oil weight).

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Black Blooms Soap Loaf

I didn’t want to throw away the batch for sentimental reasons so kept them until recently.  I decided to cut them up into small square embeds.

Liqourice Lavender embeds added to Black Blooms soap
Liqourice Lavender embeds added to Black Blooms soap

They were put to good use.

Topped with calendula, hibiscus, rose petals and blue malva flowers
Topped with calendula, hibiscus, rose petals and blue malva flowers

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