Orange Blossom Special

About a year ago I made a batch of soap that I requested help in naming. One of the suggestions by my friend Cindy, was Orange Blossom Special, in remembrance of the Johnny Cash song (one of my favorite musicians).

I didn't use the name that time but I tucked it away in mind as inspiration for a future soap batch.

Introducing Orange Blossom Special created with essential oils of lavender, orange and clove, with the addition of calendula blossoms.

This time around when I created the soap I had that name in mind as I planned the recipe. I knew I wanted to use carrot to create an orange bar (I use all natural colorants and fragrance). And I wanted it to smell like lavender but with a hint of sweet & spice. I imagine an orange blossom smelling sweet and spicy but having never traveled south I haven't confirmed this to be true or even know if they do have a scent. Can anyone enlighten me?

Either way this soap wasn't made to mimic an orange blossom per se but to be orange with a blossom smell and a little bit special.

It turned out a bit heavy on the lavender side, nice for lavender lovers, not exactly my favorite though. I like one bar of lavender scented soap in my bathroom but 36 curing in my kitchen is 35 too many for my sensitive nose. So I cleared a shelf in my linen closet and now our linens will be lightly scented for months to come.

Here's a few photos of the soap making process. I actually made this batch during the day when the light was better for photo taking.

Carrot juice and lye: looks not too bad but you don't want to touch, taste or smell this stuff

Mixing the carrot juice and lye with the melted oils: I love that pretty swirl

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  • Spring

    Spring on May 21, 2009, 11:44 a.m.

    I am addicted to Lavender this spring... I'd love to purchase a couple of these, for me and my sister!


  • kirwin

    kirwin on May 21, 2009, 2:40 p.m.

    I am so impressed with everything you do -- really. Have you discovered an 8th day of the week that the rest of us don't know about?! How do you do it all?


    • renee

      renee on May 21, 2009, 4:06 p.m.

      LOL! Kirwin, I DON'T do it all. You only see the parts that I do. I wrote a post during the winter about all the things I don't do because I want my blog to be a place of inspiration and encouragement not discouragement & insecurity (the way I feel when visiting super-woman blogs).

      A couple things come to mind though in response to your question:

      • My youngest kiddo is 6 and although they are home all day, everyday with me they are quite independent in their play. But I do have time scheduled each week for me to help them with their projects and to do their activities.

      • I really loathe errands and shopping and try to limit those outings in our week, all outings really - except those into nature or the farm or whatever. I also don't drive kids to and from school, activities, play dates and such. We do those things (minus school), just not every day.

      • My kids are very much a part of the household scene and do a lot of the chores, ie: laundry with me. I don't usually have to spend chunks of time dealing with piles of undone household "stuff".

      • I don't watch tv and spend my down time in the evenings doing creative stuff - photo or blog related.

      • Spring & Summer is very productive time of year for me.

      • I take a day off a week, our whole family does, from the work of home and family life. We prepare ahead and go to the mountains for the day. I think that day off recharges us and keeps us balanced. So no, I haven't discovered an 8th day.

      • I'm fairly focused in my goals and creative pursuits. I have a daily schedule/routine for our family and I do my best to stick to it so I can accomplish those goals.

      Please don't think I do it all - I don't. But I do what's most important to me and share it here.


      • maya | springtree road

        maya | springtree road on May 22, 2009, 11:58 a.m.

        i would love to read a post from you on developing a schedule. maybe it's just because my kid is 3, but i'm having a really difficult time making/keeping to any sort of schedule. this is making things difficult since i'm trying to plan a business.

        any tips are very welcome. :)


        • renee

          renee on May 26, 2009, 6:27 p.m.

          I'd love to talk schedules! Hopefully some day I'll put something together for the blog. In the meantime, figure out what you most value, prioritize for that and be willing to let other stuff go.


  • shelli

    shelli on May 21, 2009, 7:12 p.m.

    What a wonderful thing to be able to do! Thanks for sharing the process.

    I am not aware of what an "orange blossom" is - that is if it's a specific flower - so I have never smelled one.


    • renee

      renee on May 22, 2009, 1:56 a.m.

      I'm assuming that orange trees, the kind that produce oranges, have blossoms, they must if they produce fruit. That's the ones I'm referring to.


  • Denny

    Denny on May 22, 2009, 1:19 p.m.

    Yes!! Orange blossoms do have a scent! There used to be orange groves on the south side of Phoenix and when we drove by, the scent was strong and sweet. It's somewhat similar to honeysuckle in sweetness and strength. It always made my best friend sneeze, so rolled up the windows when we got to that road.

    I'm making soap, but I'm sensitive to scents, so I haven't been putting scents in my soaps. I notice that you do add scents and you say that you're nose is sensitive. Do you get a scratchy throat or headache when you're making your smelly soaps? How do you deal with that? Do you tough it out to make scented soaps to meet customer's desires?

    Thanks for sharing.



    • renee

      renee on May 26, 2009, 6:32 p.m.

      Denny, thanks for sharing this.

      When I say I'm nose sensitive it means I really smell things, and I can pick up on subtle smells, some pleasant and some not so pleasant that others don't notice. I'm not sensitive in that I react to smells but just that I'm very aware of them.

      I don't get an itchy throat or headaches when making scented soap, though the lavender was bothering me just because it was so overpowering.

      I don't have customers so I don't have to worry about that! I make the soaps I want to make and give or barter the extras. I'm not a business just a home soap maker.


  • lisa @ 5 orange potatoes

    lisa @ 5 orange potatoes on May 27, 2009, 4:09 p.m.

    oooh, a soap making video! sounds wonderful! The orange blossom soap sounds heavenly, those are my favorite scents all in one place.

    Visit Jane at Spain Daily to join the corner view postings

    Just leave her a comment that you want to join and she will include you. She is a lovely lady and I think she visits every one of the corner views listed!

    Have a great day! Lisa :)


  • Peg4Jesus7

    Peg4Jesus7 on Jan. 21, 2010, 5:24 a.m.

    I live in Florida, and I can tell you, orange blossom MUST be what heaven smells like!! Driving past the orange groves at just the right time of year is unbelievable ~ can't get enough of that wonderful scent ;-)

    I would also love to learn to make soap, so I'd love to hear about your video.

    Thanks for a great blog, I'm glad I found you!

    Blessings, Peg


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