A little over an hour from my growing up home in McLean, Virginia - in the Beautiful Shenandoah Valley - is our family farm. My family settled here over 200 years ago. My siblings and I would spend weeks here in the summer with my Grandmother and great Aunt. We spent Christmas here..... it was truly unbelievable!! We all have so many wonderful memories and stories to tell!! What an awesome childhood! My family lived in a major metropolitan area (a few miles from DC) and yet could leave it all and come here - it was like going back in time!! My mother is an only child and my dear wonderful Grandma Lois (my mothers mother) only had one sister, my Great Aunt C'Lee, and she had no children. My mother had 4 children and needless to say we were doted upon and spoiled something awful!! All I remember growing up was Love! Love! Love!!!
Just beyond the stone fence (right building) is the spring house. It is a glorious place. Up those stairs and through that door is the tack room. This is where we went to get the bridles and saddles to ride the horses. My mom would put me on Ginny, at age 2 or three, and I would fall asleep. She was a trusting gentle horse. She was my babysitter!! My sister Julie is behind me with my mom watching!
Underneath the tack room are two rooms. One with a big fireplace! Where they had the copper and iron kettle. They would make apple butter and soap and many other things in the day!! The other room had a trough going through with the spring water from our natural spring. They had big crocks they put in the water to keep things cold. They also had a big trough outside where wonderful yummy spring water was always flowing and has never gone dry. We played in the trough on hot summer days!! My children did the same thing! I am grateful they spent time here as well with their cousins!
This is my Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Glaize
Well even after having a one on one tutorial with an expert soap maker (who gave me some awesome recipes), taking several classes and reading a couple of books on soap making, I am not an expert!! However, I think I can get you through!!! I love making and enjoy using homemade soap! There is just something awesome about being a big bubble in the shower with soap made right in your kitchen!! I guess it is like my dad starting with the axle to rebuild a car, I like starting with the very raw materials and make something!! I have several recipes I like, but below is one I make in a crockpot. Another one of my favorites is goats milk soap, but I can't make it until my neighbors start milking their goats again!! :) Also 100% Olive Oil is not as bubbly but very moisturizing!! I have learned through a lot of trial and discovery and now I want to pass it on!!
Don't let all the rules for soap making scare you!! It is not scary!! Just be careful!!
- Wear rubber gloves
- Wear goggles
- Wear long sleeves
- ALWAYS pour the lye into the water!! NEVER pour the water into the lye.
- When mixing lye and water be outside or in a well ventilated area
- Do not make soap when children are close by
- Have a bottle of vinegar ready to grab in case of a spill! It will neutralize the lye immediately to stop burning.
- When using a hand blender to mix the oil with the lye water - ALWAYS - put the blender way down touching the bottom of container or crockpot BEFORE turning on.
- Rinse all utensils and have a sink of water ready to put all your utensils when finished using. Hand wash your crockpot with remaining soap left on the sides. Plenty to wash all your dishes! I always then put in dishwasher to be sure. Not the crockpot!! 😃
- Wear your gloves to clean up as well
- It's like being a scientist in the kitchen. Enjoy!!
I really like using the oils that are in this recipe below.
Olive Oil It is so soothing and moisturizing to the skin. The French are famous for their 100% Olive oil or Castile soap. Very luxurious!! I love homemade 100% Olive oil soap!
Coconut Oil Makes lots of bubbles in the shower to help you feel clean. It is also anti microbial, antibacterial, and helps with fungus (yuck) like on feet and helps with acne and a bunch more.
Palm Oil Nourishes the skin with vitamin E. Is anti-aging. With palm oil your bars will be harder which makes them last longer.
AND they are all pretty easy to get, BIG plus!! I use these same oils in the goats milk recipe too!
Collect all the stuff you need to make the soap!!
- Digital scale
- Rubber gloves
- Safety goggles
- A pitcher or a 2 qt glass canning jar for water
- A pitcher or 1 quart canning jar for lye
- The oil/oils your recipe calls for
- Hand stick blender
- Wooden mold or other mold/molds. My mold inside is 15 1/2' long, 3 5/8' wide, 2 1/2' deep
- Long handle spoon
- Plastic to line wooden mold if using
- Elastic band. Can find at grocery store
- Bottle of vinegar - it will neutralize the lye if you spill!! Be quick so it does not burn!!
- Crockpot 6 qt.
30.8 oz. olive oil
30.8 oz. olive oil
18.9 oz. coconut oil
14.2 oz. palm oil
9.2 oz. lye
The first thing I do is gather all of the ingredients and supplies I need before getting started.
- Turn your crockpot to "low"
- Measure all your oils and put in crockpot then put on lid
- Let all the oils start to melt - when almost melted
- Then measure out your water in a 2 quart canning jar or equivalent
- Then measure out your lye in 1 quart canning jar or equivalent
- Take water and lye outside or open a window that is safe from being spilt!
- Pour lye into water! Very important!! Do not pour water into lye (safety reasons)
- Using a long handle spoon stir til clear and let stand for 10 minutes
- It was a yucky winter day and I did not want to go outside and this works well for me.. My window is open.
- The jar will get very hot so be careful
One thing I love about making soap in a crockpot is you don't have to worry about what temperature the oil and lye water is!! That is a huge PAIN!!
- At this point pour your lye water into the oils in the crockpot and stir with a spoon til the water and lye mixture and oils are blended.
- Important!! Put the stick blender in the crockpot all the way to the bottom before tuning on so there is no splash!!!
- Mix around and around until trace. So what is trace? Trace is when you can see the tail behind the blender. Hard to see the tail in the picture!
- Cover the crock pot and let cook for 15 min.
- Uncover and stir with spoon
- It will look as if it has turned into apple sauce as you stir, but it has not so don't be tempted! :)
- Put the lid back on and cook for another 10 or 15 minutes. Watch carefully so it does not bubble over.
- The sides will be very bubbly and it turns into itself.
- Turn your crock pot off and stir well.
- It will get shinny looking
- Take a little with your glove on and it will almost instantly look like soap.
- I take it to the sink and see if it will bubble between your fingers, if so, it is done
- Have your box lined with a plastic bag. I like to use a clear one and then put a large elastic the kind that will hold your trash can in place around box.
- Work quickly and place soap in mold
- Pat down with gloved hand and make sure it is evenly distributed.
Oh my goodness it is so DIVINE!!!
My family loves it!!!
PS - you may wonder why I don't have any essential oils to put in. Well the reason is you don't need them!! They are expensive and it smells so clean and good without them! Save your oils for other important things!!