Before I left to visit my grandchildren I wanted to make a batch of soap so that it could start curing while I was away. I had been infusing calendula petals in olive oil in the sun for a few weeks and that was ready to use. So firstly I strained the petals as I was going to add some freshly dried ones during the soapmaking process.
Just before I start making the soap I remembered I had some Green French Argiletz Clay that I had bought while on holiday at the beach last year.
A friend took me to Simply Natural Soap Making Supplies in Caboolture and we bought a couple of clays and some other bits and pieces for making deodorant and soap.
I really didn't have time to put a lot of thought into making this soap and probably should have made the layers half and half but I don't mind the look of it. As it wasn't quite 24 hours when I took it out of the mould the next day it was still fairly soft but I couldn't wait any longer as I had to cut it before I left. It did cut well but I didn't stamp each cake of soap as it really was too soft to do that at that stage. As you can see when you compare the above and below photos that it has darkened during the past couple of weeks and I quite like the green layer.
I wrote down the recipe on a little piece of paper which I know is really silly and it had disappeared when I got home but I am pretty sure these are the amounts of oil etc. that I used as I put it through the Brambleberry Lye Calculator first. I did try to use the weight conversion calculator to change the grams to ozs for my US readers but I am not sure if I am doing it correctly so will just leave it in grams and I am sure that anyone who has a burning desire to try out this recipe will easily convert the amounts.
Calendula Soap with Green Clay
600g Calendula infused olive oil
200g Carotino oil
200g Coconut oil
30g Lemongrass and Persian Lime Fragrance Oil from Gavin's Little Green Workshops.
1T Green Clay mixed with a little of the water already measured.
I heated the oils for this batch rather than use the room temperature method. After reaching a light trace I took out about 1/3, put it into a jug and added the 1T clay which had been mixed with water first. I then brought it to a thicker trace, added some of the dried calendula petals and poured that layer into the mould. Then I added the remaining petals to the remaining soap mixture after bringing it to a thicker trace as well and poured it on top. Some more calendula flowers were then added to the top and pressed down.
The mould was then wrapped up well and left overnight until I really had only a little time left to unmould and cut it. I didn't mind the look of it and might make it again down the track.
I have been intrigued by how dark the Oatmeal Stout Soap has been getting as time goes on. There is no colour added to this soap and the darkening is simply caused by the Oatmeal Stout Fragrance Oil.
However, I noticed that it had developed a coating of soda ash. I did some reading about it on The Soap Queen who has answers for all things related to soap making and she has some solutions for getting rid of it. I had never even heard of soda ash until I noticed some on my first batch of soap using the room temperature method when you don't heat the oils but have seen it on a couple of other batches since then when I have heated them. Soapmakers who sell their soap often spray it with Isopropyl Alcohol but I don't sell mine and the soda ash is harmless and quite common apparently so I don't bother.
Now...what soap will I make next time?
I spent a couple of hours pulling weeds today as they have gone crazy after all the rain and I noticed that there are several cactus orchid plants flowering at the moment. One is a lovely light pink and this one is actually bright red but the red is never true to colour with my camera for some reason. Still I think it looks stunning. Don't you?