Saturday, April 21, 2012

I hugged a tree and I liked it
the bark was rough, there were some bugs and my shirt got dirty
I hugged a tree and I liked it
it scratched my cheek, snagged my pants and then I fell down

It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don't mean I'm in love tonight
I hugged a tree and I liked it
I liked it

Ok, there you go.  Clearly none of you people were going to write any lyrics for me.  Yeah, I'm not above's based from a  Katy Perry song and while she's not a Latvian pole dancer, fellers, I'm pretty sure she'll command some attention.

I know what you're thinking.  Listening to prancy girl music, hugging trees, making soap...But I assure you, that even though I have some pink shirts and even have some pink-ish tasseled loafers are not even close to being light.

Soap? kind of a new agey thing to be making, isn't it?  Perhaps.  Once upon a time I thought I could make some money at it.  After all, lots of other people make and sell soap, they get a buck per ounce for it.  It hardly costs a buck a pound to make...not sure what the justification is on the can make a huge amount per batch, maybe they're trying to make up for the trial and error batches that they made.

I've had a few of those, too.  Once I made some soap from peanut oil, and nothing else.  It never really got hard, and let me tell you about the temptation I have to make a joke about Hugh Hefner's dick.  Not that I have any solid information about it, but....the dude is old...and we've all seen the ads for erectile dysfunction.  How many of those ads do you get in your spam email folder?  Yeah...I don't count them, either.  In the spirit of education and clarification, not to mention taking up another line of the blog, I looked at a viagra email.  They guarantee delivery, but they don't  promise that it'll work.  And they boast that they have 35,000+ satisfied customers.  I wonder if that means 17,500 couples or 12,000 3-somes, or 35,000+ inmates and introverts are able to sport wood again?

We saw a comedian talk about the 4 hour erection side effect....that was pretty funny.  Can you imagine trying to sleep that off?  Try to roll over, it'd be like having a kick stand.

What the hell, we're talking about soap here, quit asking questions, you distract me.  I put some green colour in that peanut oil soap, and some minty fragrance.  I think the problem was that the oil was used....I'd used it to cook a turkey and then was re using it to make soap.  So I took a cheese grater and grated it, tried to remelt it, and finally just stirred it into some fresh new soap.  I've done that a lot, over the years, grind up scraps of soaps and mix into the new soapy goodness.

Some of the best soap I made was with coffee, called a kitchen soap.  Supposedly the coffee (and it has coffee grounds in it) adds some abrasion to remove dirt, as well as removing odors from your hands.  Smells like onion, or dead fish, garlic, for example.  It's called KITCHEN soap, not bathroom soap.  I bought some pumice to make a LAVA like soap when I run out of the kitchen/coffee soap.

One batch of soap, and it was really just a very small test turned out smelling just like sugar cookies.  Never could replicate that again.  :(  Kind of like "best ever bread".

Today's recipe:

1 pound palm oil
2 pounds coconut oil
2 pounds peanut oil
30 oz water
12 oz lye
essential oil to flavor

Soap Bar QualitySuggested RangeYour Recipe
Hardness29 - 5446
Cleansing12 - 2227
Conditioning44 - 6947
Bubbly14 - 4627
Creamy16 - 4819
Iodine41 - 7051
INS136 - 165172

The above is copied from a soap recipe calculator;  you can see that it's in the range of everything except for "cleansing" and conditioning is a little low.  It'll be a little drying, probably, but not too bad.  I don't know what INS is, except that unlike our president, I'm a  natural born citizen and I don't have to worry about being deported.   We could take time out from making soap to talk about that bastard, but I don't really want to.  Here's a linky for the calculator, just in case you're interested, and I know you're interested in every little thing that I do.  What is wrong with you?  j/'re perfect just the way you are.

Flavor?  I mixed some orange, grapefruit, bergamot, lavender, tea tree, together; I was out of bay.  I think I'll make another batch, make it minty.

Maybe you're looking at the recipe wondering how to make it work.  It's pretty simple, although if I get much more clumsy, I may have to give it up.  Ok, if I'd spend a month cleaning up the damn basement, it'd be a lot easier.  Here's how you do it.

Melt the solid fats, and then add the liquid fat.  In a separate bowl, add the lye to the water, a little at a time, stirring with something wooden.  It will get HOT.  I once used hot coffee with the lye...nearly had a catastrophe. Yes, it boiled.  Very quickly.  Almost scared me.  Lye is some scary stuff...if some gets on the skin, it's best to brush it off, not wash it off...although once it is brushed off it should be washed off, and thoroughly.  One grain got on my thumb today and started burning...but since I'm in the basement, there's lots of water available.  When the oil and the lye mixture are about the same temp, less than 120, ideally, or something like that, stir them together.  Then stir frequently until the soap shows "trace", then you can pour it into the mould.  I built a wooden box and line it with plastic, sometimes I use a small tray that came with the freezer, I was going to pour some into the plastic boxes that Crystal Light comes in;  Val likes a more oval shape for soap.  She's pesky.

You can't get lye just anywhere, any more.  Some hardware stores still carry it as a drain cleaner, be very careful when you buy it, make sure it is lye and only lye. NaOH is what you want.  KOH is what you use if you want to make liquid soap or shampoo, I suppose.  (BTW, lye is the only drain cleaner that works.)  You do not want this crap in your eyes or on your skin, it attracts water, so it would be esp happy in your eye.  Holy hell, I can't imagine the burn.  I bet you'd forget all about that burning sensation you have when you pee.  I said YOU, not me.  2 years ago I bought some lye from someone in NY called The Lye Guy, the price was pretty good, even with shipping.  However, this stuff pulls water in so well, that it's clumped up in the container.  This stuff is so powerful, that I won't reuse the containers.  For anything.  Ever.  Just in case.  I'll throw the fuckers into the recycling box, though, let them sort it out.

Trace is the thickening of the mixture, to where you see the swirl left in the mix from the stirring implement.  Sometimes this takes a long time, sometimes a short time.  Sometimes I've gotten tired of stirring and pour it into the mould  and forget about it for 6 weeks.  It always works.  Today, I stirred it together, went to prepare the smelly stuff, came back a few minutes was already pretty thick.  Weird.  I don't know if sometimes I don't the math right or the measuring/weighing isn't accurate...won't know if it's good till it's ready.  There's a scientific test to determine readiness...simply touch the tip of yer tongue to the soap....if it feels like you've touched yer tongue to a 9 volt battery, it's not ready.

I once saw a guy put his tongue to what LOOKED like a 9 volt, except it was 22 volts.  He was driving at the time, and it rather startled him.  But if you just get a nice soapy taste on the tip of yer tongue, the soap is ready!  I generally cut it long before I use it; it gets too hard to cut...Oh, what do I used to cut my soap?  Nice of you to ask.  I built a soap cutter, from some 2x4s, a wide board, some maple scraps, a bolt, some wire, some screws.  Drilling a hole in a 3/8 bolt and finding piano wire was the most difficult task.  Yeah, I could have bought a whole spool of the stuff, but I only wanted a foot!  Turns out that welding wire works too.  If I did it over again, I'd not make it infinitely adjustable, I'd just have it set for one thickness.  If you want a pic of this thing, I could take one.

Why make soap?  it's kind of fun, it's nice to be somewhat self sufficient, it's good to have real soap, instead of an over processed detergent, full of chemicals and poisons.  I can make it out of almost whatever I want, flavor it or colour it however I want. That pretty well sums it up...but feel free to ask Uncle Google for his opinion....there's a website out there called treehugger that has some opinions that are similar to mine, and written out a little better...hard to believe, I know.

Let me know if you make some soap, if you're successful, if you I can laugh at you.
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