Mid-Winter: Making

My sweater project has not gone as planned. As in, I haven't made nearly the progress I had hoped to by this point in the month. 

But a successful re-stock (everything turned out lovely) of my handmade soap, lotion, and lip balm helps to ease my creative woes. 

I made my lip balm, following my tried-and-true recipe. However, I divided the batch in two and made half peppermint, and the other half fennel. 

I also tweaked my lotion recipe a bit, experimenting with more culinary-inspired essential oils. 

How I made the lotion:

1. I melted all of these together.

  • 1.1 oz cocoa butter
  • .6 oz shea butter
  • .6 oz beeswax
  • 1 oz almond oil
  • 1.1 oz grapeseed oil
  • .5 oz skin-healing herbs infused oil

2. In a separate container I whisked 1/4 tsp of borax into 4 oz of water. 

3. I poured the melted oils into the water mixture and whizzed with hand blender. 

4. I added:

  • 20 drops GSE
  • 10 drops lime essential oil
  • 10 drops basil essential oil

5. Whizzed it all again. Poured into sterilized jars. 

6. Applied pretty labels. Download your own labels here. (I love these labels.)

I don't usually like lotion bars. They are awkward to store and are especially greasy. But winter calls for some intense skin care so I experimented a bit with the Shea Butter Lotion Bar recipe from Wellness Mama's Natural Beauty Guide (offered with the Ultimate DIY Bundle back in January).

I added frankinscence, rosemary and orange essential oils. I haven't used the tube yet, the one you see pictured above. I keep a small disc of the lotion bar (which I made by pouring half the recipe into one of my silicon muffin pan cups) above the kitchen sink. This is a great spot to remind me to care for my hands with frequent applications. 

This is the soap recipe I used. 

I was feeling quite inspired after whipping up this batch. And since I have been asked repeatedly (and repeatedly) by local friends to teach a class, I've decided to get it on the calendar for May. I've decided on a recipe and I'll start ordering the supplies, creating the handouts and "advertising" soon. Feels good to be inspired to teach. 

Find links to all my soap making posts - instructions and recipes - on this page

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Mid-Winter: Tracks & Trails »
  • Kalise

    Kalise on Feb. 20, 2015, 8:36 p.m.

    Hi!  I'm a long time reader and have never cough commented before. So hello!  I have a quick question about your soap recipe.  I used to make soap all the time and used Palm oil to make a hard bar, I've since given up Palm oil because of the Orangutans.  Do you use sodium lactate in your recipe?  Does it make for a harder bar?  I have had some real disappointments recently with super soft bars.

    Thank you!!


    • renee

      renee on Feb. 20, 2015, 9:11 p.m.

      Kalise. Hello :)

      Exactly. I use sodium lactate to produce a harder bar, and in my experience (I've been using it now for 2 or 3 batches) it works well.

      Here's a video to get you started - this is the one I watched to learn about it. I just googled "making soap with sodium lactate" or something like that and found resources - blog posts, videos to learn about it. 



  • Laura

    Laura on Feb. 21, 2015, 12:32 a.m.

    I have never attempted to make soap, but I would like to try it. I wish I lived nearby to take your class. I'm off to read your other posts to see what all is involved and how much it might cost. Thank for inspiring me (again)!


  • Tara

    Tara on Feb. 21, 2015, 8:56 p.m.

    so nice to see you go back to these roots! It made me smile to read this. I associate these crafts with you and it has been so long since you've blogged about it. It makes me think you are nurturing yourself well. Maybe you will think about selling soaps in the future?(a girl can dream:) 


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