Monday, September 08, 2008

Melt and Pour Soap Tutorial

I was mixing up a batch of soap and had my camera out, so i figured- what the heck? 
So Here's a tutorial on how to make melt and pour soap, my style.

Start with your basic supplies: melt and pour soap base, a knife to 
cut the soap with, something to melt the soap in (i use a pyrex 2 cup measuring cup), something to stir the soap with (i use a plastic knife- easy to clean or toss if i'm lazy), your color and fragrance (can be bought in the soap making section of your local craft store, or you can be creative and use things from the kitchen), and your soap molds (i use silicon cupcake pans- easy to pop out the finished product, and they come in different shapes).

Next you are going to take your soap base and cut it into roughly 
one inch cubes. It sort of crumbles a bit for me, so I don't worry too much about it being perfect. Basically, you just want it in smaller pieces so it will fit into your melting container.

Now you fill up your container. I try to make about two cups of 
soap at a time, so I fill my measuring cup so its
 almost overfull. When it melts, all the empty spaces get filled in. 

Now I put the soap in the microwave. The time will vary depending on your microwave and the amount of soap you are using. For my two cups of soap, I put it in for two minutes. If you are making a smaller batch, you can try putting it in for thirty seconds at a time, stirring in between to make sure its all melty. Be careful not to overcook it. I accidentally did that earlier today, and it was not pretty. I had burnt soap. I didn't even know that was possible until today. It was brown, and smelled funny, and melted the plastic knife I used to stir it with. So don't try it. 

Now you should have nice, smooth, melty soap. Its time to add your fragrance, coloring, and other add ins. The recipe is up to you. I like to raid my kitchen for fun ingredients, like honey and oatmeal. If you do really tiny batches, you can experiment and find out what works best. I like the little candy molds, or th
e silico
n ice cube trays for these... if you come up with a combo that doesn't work, at least you only wasted a tiny bit of soap. 

Okay. Now its time to pour your soap into your molds. Keep your molds level. You can use pretty much anything you can think of as a soap mold. I love using silicon, as it makes the soap really easy to come out, and gives it a nice pearly finish. I've also found t
hin plastic hollow toys, cut them down the middle, and used those as molds. Be creative, just make sure that the soap will come out in one piece. You can even just use something like a brownie pan, and make one big soap, then cut it into individual bars. Or if you don't make it too thick, you could even try using metal cookie cutters and cutting out fun soap shapes. Then you can re-melt your scraps, and start all over!
The cupcake trays I use make 2.5 - 3 oz bars, depending on how full i fill them. 
If you have pets, make sure to keep your soap away from them. Trust me, its a pain to try to pick off cat hairs from the back of your soaps. Its even worse when you get paw prints in the soap. 
The soaps take a little while to cool. If you are making bigger bars, its going to take longer. Don't rush. You'll end up with smooshed soaps if you try. Just let it sit for a few hours, and when its completely cool and hard. Then you can pop out your soaps, and voila! You've made your very first glycerin soap!

Be careful, its very addicting, because it is a fairly fast process. I love seeing the finished product right away. It can get boring if you just stick with the colors and fragrances from the soap aisle at the craft store. If you experiment with different ingredients, you'll have a lot of fun. Essential oils work great. Extracts not so much, as they contain alcohol which can dry out skin, and the fragrance fades away over time. 

Anyways, have fun, and enjoy your new soaps! They make great gifts for friends and family, and its so rewarding to use products that you've made on your own.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

While I'm bored at work, I try to spend my time entertaining myself on the internet. This can prove to be a challenge, when the computers block most of the websites I frequent. So here is what I usually do to pass the time.

1. Blog
2. Yahoo Groups
3. Play the LA Times daily crossword puzzle and Sudoku game
4. visit various message boards (the ones that aren't blocked, anyways)
5. research fun and exotic pets
6. window shop for fancy (and expensive) camera equipment
7. Shop

And that's pretty much how I spend my days at work while I'm not working. Its not the most productive thing to be doing. So I found a better way to spend my time while goofing around on the internet. Its a website called Free Rice ( Its like a vocabulary quiz. Its multiple choice, and it automatically adjusts itself to your vocabulary level, so its never too easy or too hard. And for each word you get right, 20 grains of rice are donated to people in poverty. Even just a few minutes a day can make a difference. And the best part is, you aren't just helping other people, you are actually helping yourself by building your vocabulary. Its a win-win situation.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I hate expectations. I hate that I'm expected to finish college as soon as possible, and to transfer to a university. I hate it. That is not whats in my plans. And yet all of my coworkers seem to think I'm going to do just that. I plan on finishing my AA in Liberal Arts when I feel like it. Definitely in the next year or so, but I'm in no rush. I however, have no intention of attending a university in the near future. Once I finish my AA, I'm done. I don't plan on using it, anyways. Why waste the time and money in school if its not getting me anywhere, anyways? Yeah, I know people with college degrees get paid more. But I plan on being self-employed eventually, and will make whatever I can, regardless of education. And I can always change my mind and go back. I just wish people didn't expect things out of me.

So this isn't yarn related at all. I have nothing to say about yarn because I haven't had time to work with any lately. I'm working 9-5, five days a week, and then 9-6 on saturday and sunday, which basically leaves any free time for taking care of the basic needs- eating, sleeping, breathing. My yarn stash is diminishing, after donating much of my ww acrylic stuff to some elementary school so the girls there can learn to crochet, and sending a boxful of my random nicer stuff to a friend across the country. I started an afghan using two strands of ww acrylic and an N hook, to use up the rest of my stash, but had to stop due to time limitations, and joint issues. My yarn cabinet is slowly becoming an invert cabinet. I'm keeping my hissing cockroaches, my tarantulas, and various other spiders in there. Hey, spiders spin silk, it all works together, right?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

trigger finger

I don't know if trigger finger is genetic or not, but my mom has had surgery for it in the past. Now I'm getting it, and its really making it hard to crochet or knit, because both of my index fingers keep locking up, and my right ring finger is starting to, as well. I'm working on a baby blanket for my brother-in-law's cousin, but I can only do a row or two at a time before my fingers lock on me. Its crazy, I'm only 19, its not fair. I still have plenty of crafting left in me!

I may be losing my health insurance soon. I'm supposed to go to school full-time for it, and I was, but I had to drop one of my classes because I kept missing the deadlines for assignments, and it was more than half over. I was so behind, I doubt it would have been possible for me to still pass the class. so now I'm down to 9 units. I hope I don't lose my health insurance, I really need it, especially if I want this trigger finger thing fixed.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Tunisian Crochet!!!

My mom was at a garage sale, and came across a huge box of crochet hooks. She got over 40 of them, for a quarter a piece. I'm always losing them, so I figured it was a good deal. Most of them are steel hooks, which I just bought a whole set of last week, but oh well, the more the merrier. There were a few afghan hooks, though. I have been looking for one of those for awhile, but Joanns, Michaels, and Walmart don't seem to be stocking them much lately. so now I'm working on making a crate pad for Daphne. I love tunisian crochet... Its like knitting, but with a crochet hook! No more pointy needles to stab my fingers with! Just one, smooth, hook. It looks almost identical to knitting, except the Vs go sideways instead of up and down. Oh well, can't win them all... After I finish this crate pad (I'm just doing a long rectangle, folding it in half, and crocheting a border through both layers, so its doubled), I need to see what other fun things I can do with this technique. Its probably not as versatile as knitting, but its so much easier on my hands...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I have not been up to much crafting at all lately. I'm not really sure what I've been doing with my time. It just seems to be passing by faster each day. Oh well. Anyways, its been months since I've been yarn shopping. Seriously. I don't know how I've survived, but I'm afraid that if I step foot into a craft store, I'll fall off the wagon, and spend way too much money. I don't make much money, and whatever I make is usually spent on gas and pet supplies. Too many pets. I need to find a way to make my own money, and fast. Anyways, I'm veering off topic. This morning, I checked my bank account to see if I could afford a quick run to the craft department at Walmart (I need fake flowers for props for work, and a skein or two of yarn can't hurt), when I noticed that my credit limit has been raised. It was originally $3000, and now its $5000. I don't like this. The impulse shopper in me wants to run off and spend money on big crazy things, but the sensible me knows that this is the bank's evil ploy to get me to run up my credit card when I can't afford it, so I can be in debt longer, and they can get more interest from me. I'm not falling for it! I'd cut up my credit card if I didn't think I might need it for an emergency. I wonder if I could just call the bank and have them fix my limit.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I haven't been up to much crafting lately. I've been bogged down by work on weekends. During the week, I haven't really been doing much, but I've still been busy, if that makes any sense. I'm working on the boogie vest from knitty, using some of the fishermans wool my mom picked up at a thrift store. I didn't think I had enough for a sweater, so I decided on a vest. I finished the back, and am about 1/3 of the way done on the front, and it looks like i'll have plenty of yarn left over. my mom wants me to make a second one in a smaller size for a christmas gift for her friend. I agreed, because theres nothing else i can think of for that yarn, and it works up really quickly. I just hate doing cables.
I doubt I will have much time to work on my crafting in the near future. I was looking through the course catalog for school today, and that mind boggling. If I actually take school seriously and work towards my degree, I might have to go to school 5 days a week. working on weekends, that leaves me with no time to myself. not cool. I realize that in this day and age, college really isn't for everyone, and I know that its definitely not for me, but I am stubborn and am going to finish my degree. Even if its just an AS, its better than nothing. I always had goals to go all the way in school, stopping with a doctorate. That is not going to happen, but I'm not giving up completely, I am going to stay in school. I have no skills for a full time job. Taxes are only part time and seasonal, and this photography gig is weekends only. My new career goal is to get a degree in photography, and then learn animal grooming. then I want to open my own grooming salon/pet photography studio. Working with animals all day, doing two things I love, and owning my own business. and the studio gives it a different edge. Sudsy Snapshots. I don't know. something cute. its a dream. my dreams may shift and change frequently, but I have learned that I still need to follow them, I can't give up on them, or I will have nothing.