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Friday, December 13, 2013

Reclaiming Old Bars of Homemade Soap

Hello from the hills!

The baby chicks are growing, in fact they've graduated from their container in the kitchen to a stock tank in the basement. I turned off their brooder light for a few minutes and shined an LED flashlight to show off the Lavender Orpingtons pretty color.

I began cutting pieces for Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery quiltalong, but I'm not sure I'll put my triangles together the way they're supposed to be for the quilt. I'm pretty sure these are components for colonial stars which I'm just not crazy about.

So I tucked them in a box until I decide how I want to arrange them in the quilt.

I make our soap from beef suet and had a batch turn slightly rancid before we used it all. (It probably had a bit too much fat for the amount of lye and water.) I didn't want to throw it out so I milled/grated it with my yard sale SaladShooter and added some herbs and food grade oils to make it smell good again.

 Here are some bars that I added orange and banana oils to so it smells a bit like bubble gum.

Peppermint leaves and oil really perked up these bars.

I added some cocoa powder and gingersnap flavoring to make chocolate/gingersnap bars. I can't wait to use this one.

I use the recipes in Norma Coney's book, The Complete Soapmaker for my basic soap and for the hand-milled bars. I added water along with the oils and herbs to all of these bars and will have to let them dry a bit before using. If you have homemade soap that you're not crazy about consider hand-milling it to give it new life.

Hope you're enjoying the season. See you next time, the Good Lord Willin'.
This post shared at: Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop, Encourage On Another, Make It Yourself Monday, The Homestead Barnhop, Natural Living Monday, Waste Not, Want Not Wednesday


  1. The soap is beautiful! Do you sell it, Toni? Your blog always makes me wish I could see what you photograph in person-it is photoliscious! I need to make biscotti, clean house and trim the tree. So late this year-haven't sewn a thing on Bonnie Hunter's QAL but I am going to try to finish cutting step 1 today. Have a blessed weekend!

  2. Thank you, Elaine. I sold soap for several years at craft shows and to friends but not now. One day my husband figured my time into the price of the soap and told me be better off financially if I didn't sell any. (I knew that, but it was fun for a while, anyway.) By that time the thrill was wearing off so I'm happy just making our own and some for gifts, occasionally.

  3. glad you were able to save the bad batch.

  4. What an amazingly talented person you are! You never cease to astound me. The soaps are awesome.

  5. Your soaps are really beautiful, Toni. And you found some creative ways to give new life to old soaps. Good job.

  6. Toni, your bars of soap are beautiful and how nice that you reclaimed them. I'm going to go check out the Celtic quilt along now....
    Happy weekend! xo

  7. Loved hearing about your homemade soaps, Sweetie~ I'll bet your house smelled heavenly. Especially the cocoa and peppermint ones! *YUMMY*
    (Loved the birdie pics and chick flick, too! *haha*)

  8. I was looking at lavender chicks this past summer! They're striking. I was on the verge of purchasing a chicken house when the woman sent me a message saying she'd sold it out from under me less than 24 hours before I was to be at her house. Hopefully, this spring I'll get one.

    I remember the bar of soap you sent me years ago. I sincerely loved that soap. (My dog kept carrying it to his bed from the edge of the bathtub. Maybe he could smell the beef suet? I had to keep it up high!) It had such a pleasant, soft scent and no hint of suet to me. haha. I love the molds you have there better than any I've seen. I think can smell them from the descriptions you gave. I never made soap but I might give it a try this winter. I'm making a list of things to keep me busy. Last winter, I wasn't sure I was going to survive it. I must stay busy and interested this winter ... or I'll go plum crazy! Do you know of a beginner site or book for soap making that I can visit or buy? I've not the first clue where to begin.

    1. Hi LesleyAnn, I can't believe the woman sold your chicken house to someone else. I do hope you find a good one in the spring.
      I think you'd love soapmaking. It's fun and real soap is so much better for your skin. There are lots of good books on the market and youtube has a ton of videos by soapmakers. I'm going to try a new-to-me way of making soap using a stick blender. They say it speeds up the process so that you don't have to stir a stubborn batch of soap for an hour before it's ready to pour into molds. I've done that many, many times. *sigh* Here's a link to a youtube video that got me interested in using a stick blender for stirring. The lady in the video uses lard which makes good soap and is easier to obtain. (It's difficult to find a meat processor that will let you have beef suet for soapmaking, plus it has to be rendered before you can use it for soapmaking.) Her method is a good one, I think. She uses a silicone loaf pan for her mold, another plus for her method. Here's a blog post link with Wardeh Harmon making crockpot soap, also very good.
      Oh yes, we must stay busy! Have a great weekend.

  9. Oh those baby chicks are just too cute :) And your soaps are beautiful! I can imagine they smell wonderful. It's always a pleasure visiting you and I hope you have a blessed weekend! Hugs and blessings!

  10. Nice to see the baby chicks growing. Your soaps looks different. Think it will have a wonderful smell.

  11. Your chicks are growing nicely, and they are oh so pretty! I love the colors you chose for your quilt. It sure does look like it was a lot of work to cut them out. Your soap sounds lovely and is very pretty.

    I hope you are having a wonderful weekend.


  12. Hi Toni! Oh much to comment on in this post! Love the birdies! I've been lax with re-filling our bird cold to get out there, but it's so fun to watch them come for the seed.

    Glad that you are doing the quilt-along. You will have to post more pictures on your progress. I'm starting Lori Holt's Row-Along in January--the one that everyone else did earlier this year. A friend and I are keeping each other accountable since neither of us were able to get started originally.

    And you already know we love homemade soap!! Hannah has gotten many orders for Christmas gifts and I'm the "go-fer" taking it either to the post office or delivering it if it's local. Great idea - being creative by making sure your rancid soap smells nice again.

    Always enjoy your posts!

  13. Nice design. Home-made soap, must be so much fun to make them and see them turn out well. Have never tried it.

  14. What cute little birds. I'm so glad you could save your soap. That looks like an awful lot of work to have it go to waste. I had no idea it could go bad. Thanks for stopping by have a great week.

  15. I didn't know it could go bad either!
    Hi, Toni :) I am amazed at all the neat things you know about. I only helped make soap once and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was with goat's milk and lye and the bar my friend gave me lasted a LONG time. Yours are so pretty :) I bet the peppermint leaves and oil make them extra special in the summer (I find mints cooling on the skin). Do have a wonderful week...are you having lots of snow? We had almost 3" today. Stay warm, dearie!

  16. Your chicks are so pretty and growing nicely. I like your soap very much. They are lovely with the patterns. I cherish our blogger friendship and hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  17. The soap looks so pretty! I made soap with a friend over 10 years ago and I STILL have some...ha ha! We made a basic recipe and then I would hand mill ours as well. It's a lot of work but I'm glad I made was fun. Yours look like they would make great gifts...hope you have a Merry Christmas this year!

  18. the gingerbread soap sounds perfect for the season-and thanks for sharing the little chicks video
    Merry Christmas

  19. I wouldn't have thought of reclaiming the soap that way. Frugal girl! Yay!
    I've made suet soap in the past. It does last longer. I've been making soap with my friend with veggie oils. It's easier. I'd like to go back to doing it the old way, too.

    Blessings and Happy Christmas!
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

  20. Love the idea of recreating your soap! That is something I really want to try soon but need a good scale… Hopefully very soon! Love to see your home industry :)

    P.S. I was browsing your profile and found that we both love the HIDDEN HAND!!! :) What a book!

  21. What a wonderful idea for soap and they look so pretty. Cant wait to see your quilt when it is made! Glad your chicks are growing well. Wishing you a Wonderful Christmas!

  22. We wish you a Merry Christmas,
    RW & SK


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