On occasion I receive messages asking how to mix soap dough colors.
Ideally it is preferable to make the soap dough with the color mixed into the oils before lye-water is added. I use soap stable micas; some from TKB Trading, Nurture Soap Supply and a few other places.
First try making the basic colors, or primary colors – red, blue and yellow. With these prime colorsthe secondary and tertiary colors can be made. Having white soap dough will give tints of any of these colors.
Here is a video sharing when soap dough has not been made properly and what it looks like when it has been made properly.
There are times while doing anything that doubts creep in – business might be slow, negative comments come your way or simply, you ask yourself, “is this what I should be doing?”
This doubt has a way into your home. Did you know? It’s true, you may have unwittingly invited this in, even offered it coffee.
There is a knock on your door and you, being the curious and welcoming-being that you are, answer.
This creature pushes past you, walks right in and makes itself comfortable on your sofa, then asks if there is coffee brewing. This guest asks in that manipulative way some beings have of slithering into another’s graciousness, knowing just by asking that what they ask for will be produced.
Not wanting to appear rude, you make a pot of coffee.
While you are making coffee for your new guest he asks, “what are you doing today?”
You answer from the the kitchen, “preparing to make soap this afternoon,” matter-of-fact yet still friendly.
While the coffee brews you sit with your guest and see a sneer creep across his face.
You shrug his odd grin off as just his way, and ask, “what is your name, my mysterious guest?”
“Oh, I’m here to see if you are ready, my dear.” He answers, picking up a baubble from your coffee table, examining it like an antique expert.
“Ready for what?” You ask.
“Ready to welcome his highness.” He replies as he sets your glass heirloom back on the table.
Your heart catches, and now you are truly curious, which is the response your guest wants. He can feel your curiosity and that, my dear reader, is what he was after all along.
“His Highness.” He says as he settles his bottom deeper into your sofa.
That is the moment it dawns on you who this creature truly is, as if a veil is lifted, you see his green face. A memory of the grasshopper landing on your hand the night before surfaces along with the enticement to eat one more cupcake, as if it wouldn’t matter; the feeling to drive just a bit faster and sneak through the yellow light taking up time from those waiting their turns; the idea to take a spoon to your last soap to make it just a bit better but only to muddy the bright colors.
You realize this is the Ambassador of Soap Chaos, and Chaos comes with many faces.
This Chaos comes as Loki, the Wild Crouch, the Trickster. Many cultures, many people have known this Reckless Wrecker who have been enticed, enchanted to do just a bit more, ignoring their own internal guidance. Forgetting about the Fates who always have a hand in creations.
We in the soap world know this creature, his highness the Reckless Wrecker as the Soap Gremlin. That mysterious thing that knocks that bucket of oil held securely by your deft and skilled hands to the floor; that being that whispers it won’t matter if your measurements are off just a tick; that being that coaxes you to take a chopstick to the beautiful natural soap tops the Muses have gifted you.
All this time you had no idea you invited this gremlin’s ambassador to chaos into your home, you dear gracious hostess.
Now you do!
The next time you think “just a bit more” while you make soap, hesitate and ask, what or who is guiding me?
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As public as I am, I enjoy my privacy. My privacy contains certain things I hesitate to share, for no other reason but because it feels unreasonable. Until now I have not wanted to share my soap recipe preferences and this will help to explain…
I would like to offer insight to how I work. When I choose to understand something I look to those that have experience and prefer crafts-people who go so far down the rabbit hole that they become experts in that area, seeing things that are not most obvious to others.
Lately, it has come to my attention that my opinion on the recipes of “A Soap Recipe Book of Light and Shadow” might be helpful. I didn’t offer my opinions in the book because I wanted you to choose what you were most attracted to, what ingredients were most accessible in your area and those that would suit you without being influenced by me.
Once you understand fully the terms of saponification and curing, you can see how any soap recipe can be made into soap dough. With that said, there is an ideal balance between soft and hard oil and butters that make for a wonderful soap dough.
After making thousands pounds of soap dough a new awareness has bubbled to the surface.
The first recipe in “A Soap Recipe Book of Light and Shadow” is a very basic recipe. The castor oil can be exchanged for soybean oil with success. I believe there must always be the most basic recipes, one that is reduced to the most essential elements, before we build on that core.
My third and all time favorite recipe is #17. This recipe has my two favorite ingredients, Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter and I adore this recipe. It provides a perfect bar and even more perfect soap dough. If you want just one recipe do try this long time coming, hard earned recipe.
Now, I want to let you know I love all these recipes, each one is my child. I have used each recipe for bars of soap and soap dough, some for their slow trace properties and others for their stout behaviors. I would not have offered them if I found them inferior in any way. I culled the those recipes that weren’t up to snuff and reliable. I have books and books of recipes that didn’t make the cut. All the recipes in “A Soap Recipe Book of Light and Shadow” are tuned and sound, sing a song and each amount exact.
Now, on to the next book… Which I’m working on at this moment (ok, not this very moment, but in the in-between spaces of life). The next book, a Complete Book of all things Soap Dough (not a real title but a focus) I will have written out details of how to create soap cookies, glittered soap creations, basic soap dough shapes, unique Sorcery creations and more soap dough recipes with exotic oils and butters to add to your collection of soap recipes.
Also, there will be a huge dose of inspiration. This part is much more delicate and takes my own authentic inspiration in order to convey. One cannot convey what one does not understand, posses or fully comprehend or it will certainly fall short.
Welcome to the Hobbit Home Where the Soap Witch Lives
Sorcery Soap has moved! Thank you to all those who helped us move with your orders, well wishes and good luck spells this past month. Although some spells need a touch of work. Keep reading and you’ll understand.
I’m happy to report no more stairs! Our new home is a one story. Truman-dog seems pleased to walk out the door into the yard. This home is more than we allowed ourselves to dream. It is not large, which I love, but roomy enough to give us breathing space. Happy to report all fragrance oils made it safely to their new home where light cannot reach their delicate little souls.
Our neighbors are lovely, we’ve met both on either side and they are older and quiet; a single woman on one side and a couple on the other and both, on first few meetings, are pleasant.
The main living area has been dedicated to our work, blogging, research and, of course, soap making. Our home is not set-up traditionally, we dedicate our living and dining room to what we like and utilize our spare room for our movie nights. No worries, if you stop by we have a comfy lounge area lit up with fairy lights.
The lighting in the main area is quite interesting and varied with two large windows and a patio slider. There is a built-in book shelf that holds most of our books, however, my mate stacked them to all fit, not to find. There is no dewey decimal system here! I like the randomness of it. I have already run across books I’d like to read again.
On the outside, a private yard runs the length of the house with a covered veranda.
Before we moved we had a few days so the family came over to do laundry, hang out and see how the house felt. The second night we were waiting for the laundry to finish when J walked into the hall and said, “why is there water on the floor?” The coupling for the cammode came loose and was running. Water poured onto the floor creating a small river. (Ok, that was dramatic.) It truly was everywhere! The hall was flooded, into the living room, soaked the newly remodeled bedroom closet carpet and even outside on to porch. Which was probably to the good. We jumped-to and utilized all available towels to sop up the water, not having a mop. It was cleaned up – no harm, no foul.
Two days after we moved in there was a storm. The winds were dramatic and we had a bit of rain, oddly only on one part of the yard. It was high contrast from the static hot weather we generally have in this part of the desert.
The old apartment still had to be cleaned. The next day, we opened the gate and to our astonishment there was a tree on my car. Ok, it wasn’t a whole tree but a huge branch.
We quickly discovered Palo Verde Tree’s have thorns. The car could not be moved without attending to the tree that was loving my car too hard. J made short work of that tree with his handy saw. He went into the house to get a towel to better grab the tree without getting further torn up, as we didn’t have gloves. I continued to cut the tree up and cut through a large branch the entire tree was resting on. I attempted to save my side mirror with no idea the weight of the branch was supported not by my mirror, but the very branch I cut through. Once it fell on me I had no choice but muscle the main tree branch off.
With a dent on the roof of my car and a scratched window, a few thorns in our skin and some scratches on my mate, all was well. We finished the job of cleaning our old apartment, removing our energy and setting our sights on the high levels of creativity floating about in our new hobbit home where this soap witch now lives.
We have moved on from the mischievous goblin and gremlin shenanigans, and discovered I’ll need a bit of refinement for my protection spells. It all could have been much worse, so difficult to say how much they worked. 😉 There is no accounting for the ridiculousness of naughty faeries and troublesome goblins and gremlins. It seems these beings float in on streams of creativity, so I’ll take it all!
I can taste Sorcery in the air. This Soap Witch can feel it growing and tickling to manifest, so new Sorcery soaps are on their way to being in this world from the other world.
In order to properly thank you I’d like to offer you this coupon for 28% off your next order. Use “SorceryThankYou28” at check out for this discount on your next order. It will become invisible (expire) at the end of this month. (9/30/2017)
If you didn’t know, there is a merry little band of soap makers who have joined a group I named “Sorcery Creations” on facebook.
What happens there?
Unusual and peculiar soaps, bath and body product images are posted, soaping inspiration and questions to help you get past your soaping limitations… And many, many extraordinary soap makers to offer their sage wisdom and guidance are among our members.
I understand some soap makers are busy making soap, have an over full life or don’t have the desire to be active on line. I understand and want to offer this, even if you don’t participate you will be influenced in your soap making ideas and abilities by viewing the activities and images in this group.
I see a variety of soap makers who have been influenced by the Sorcery of this soap maker, in and out of this group (I share often) – soap creations that they have had no history of or have never manifested come to life after Sorcery Soaps reached their awareness… Maybe you are one of those, maybe you need a group of soap makers to support your soaping rebelliousness, or maybe you need a surge of inspiration. All good reasons to join Sorcery Creations Facebook group. It is a group of honorable soap makers I have found to have steel integrity.
Also, if you haven’t heard, Sorcery Soapery is moving. If you’d like to help move this Soap Witch, use “MovetheSoapWitch25” at check out before August 31, 2017 to receive 25% off all Sorcery Products even ebooks, which don’t need moving.
I will be, and am, deeply grateful for your help… You will be with me in spirit during our move. Which is all I can ask for.
Thank you to each of you who have helped me so far. Truly is an amazing idea to think people of all over the world are here to help us move this Soapery.
Some how, moving brings out the most inefficient in me. My very nature abhors moving, but I’ve done it more times than anyone I know. So that, too, must by my nature. A crab changes it’s shell each time it grows out of the old one. I hope this is the case for me too.
More than anything I hope this last period of growth is over for awhile. Well, this type of growth anyway – out growing my shell. I still want to grow in awareness, compassion, understanding and most importantly, creativity.
Once this move is over, we are all settled into our new home, all Sorcery Soaps have carefully and safely nestled into their new apothecary-ish soapery, I can level-up to my new creativity. I’m looking forward to this experience, manifesting new sorcery, sharing insights and tales of creativity in the new Sorcery Book and expanding the Sorcery Soap products.
Some magic needs to expand.
If you’d like to contribute to moving this Soap Witch, I’ve offered a coupon. Use “MovetheSoapWitch25” at checkout.
Once the coupon expires, this Soapery will be paused until we are completely ready to ship your order unencumbered by the anxiety of changing shells.
I’ve been asked why I don’t use silicone molds. This question is curious to me.
I make all embeds by hand, using tools at times, but mostly molding by hand. I sometimes cannot duplicate, often times I can, but not exactly the identical as the first – often times better. This is why sculptors use molds as well. Sculptors carve the original in clay and mold, through a process, into bronze or the desired metal. Some use a lost wax casting method, where the original is lost, but a silicone mold is made before the loss in order to duplicate.
I do not.
I trust in my boundless creativity. I also know that once my fingers and mind have found the path they will, both, remember forever that path. Because I discovered it, I was not taught. It was not someone else’s path, but uniquely mine.
When one discovers a path, in the woods or in the creative ethers, it is etched onto that person. This might not be true for all, but it most certainly is for me. It has been that way in all my endeavors. How does one put that on a resume? And, it is a most valuable resource.
When I had my construction company I mentally tracked all goings on and as a way of teaching my replacement, I wrote things down, had systems in place and written handbooks. It still took months to teach someone all that I stored in my mind and being. There was a rhythm, a music in my office that showed me my way every day because the events, the actions that were necessary to keep that business moving forward changed daily, therefore I had to adjust and still not lose the melody. That was the nature of the original question presented, how do I show someone that music? How do I teach someone to feel their own music and apply it to given circumstances?
It seems I’m doing something similar with Sorcery Soap. There is a music in this creative world, one that the seasons or the weather tells me as much as the 4-6 weeks curing time tells me. Once soap is cured, that dictates the next series of events: taking of photos, labeling, adding to the website, wrapping soap, writing ad copy… Eventually shipping. This is the most simple example.
How do you know when to order more soap supplies? When I weight things out this last time it seems I have run completely out of my one ingredient I use most… Shea Butter. When I order by “feel” I have yet to run out. Curious.
Like any good musician who knows their music without seeing the page an artist who knows when to create, what to do next and how to execute that action, soap making has its own music.
If anyone ever does end up working with me, there is a time to go for a hike and a time for a run, a time to sit quietly and muse and a time for much activity. These daily events are as important as molding embeds for a soap that hasn’t fully formed in the mind.
Janet Darrow is the moderator of one of the largest Facebook soaping groups around, Soap Making. Janet manages over 36,000 members, daily and does it with kindness, decrement, and a healthy does of wit. Janet does all this and makes her own soaps.
Learn more about Janet Darrow in this first-time interview. – Bee Iyata
When did you first get introduced to the Soap Making Facebook group?
Viktoria Grace Lindskog created the group August 20, 2010. I was added to the group by Lee Davies on September 11, 2014.
How did you become moderator of the Soap Making Facebook Group?
At the time I was added there were approximately 3000 members and Lee Davies was the only active administrator. He was on the other side of the world so his days were my nights because of this the group was kind of unruly because it was most active while he was asleep. I told him once that he was deleting the wrong people and that it was the same mob causing friction over and over, he then asked if I wanted to help him admin the group. I waited a few days and told him I could try and help for a while until things got smoothed out, so he made me admin and left the group.
For the next couple months it was pure hell. I have never been called so many awful names; I had never felt so hated. I even managed to be mentioned in a bully video. I’m not looking for sympathy but I really wondered what I got myself into. Things started to work out when I stopped trying to reason with the unreasonable.
Every day a lot of people were asking to join I spent most of the winter trying to keep up and the drama was much less by now. I finally felt confident in adding more admins to help, these poor girls (especially one of them) got to hear it all and they will never know how grateful I was for them lending me their ear helping and for putting up with me.
What does your day of being an administrator of one of (if not the biggest) soap group on Facebook look like?
It is the first thing I look at in the morning and the last before I go to bed. This has become such a part of my life and I have learned so much from this group and met so many unique creative people made friends and I feel privileged to have something in common with them all.
What skills do you possess that help you manage this group?
That is a really broad brush… I think the skills I have that might help in the soap making group is that I try my best to stand solid and treat everyone with the same respect, I like problem solving, helping people and sharing as much knowledge as I am able to. Also, helping members to search and navigate the page. Maybe tag them in something they need help with or sharing a file or even commenting on (bumping) a post I know nothing about so others might help. In a group with this many members there is no reason for a question to go unanswered.
How long have you been making soap, Janet?
Three years ago a friend and I wanted to learn how to make beldi soap to use on tadelakt, plaster. My friend made soap first and sent me homemade soap. It all started thereand I got so involved in soap making. I never did do the tadelakt.
I like making cold process soap and anything to do with soap. I have made soap decks, several cutters, several molds and a planer.
What are your favorite butters and/or oils?
Before I knew what I was doing, my favorite was any exotic oil. I just knew they had to be better than lard or tallow something we always had plenty of on the farm. My favorites now are Shea butter, lard, tallow, rice bran oil and of course I experiment with new oils once in a while, lard and tallow are very luxurious in soap.
Who is your favorite type of poster in Soap Making Facebook Group?
My favorite type of member might be happy they made their first soap, or happy when they understand something new. I like positive people it sets the tone for the rest of the group.
What do you want members to remember when posting in this group?
I would like members to keep in mind the rules and to have respect – most of the members do.
What is your favorite part of moderating this soap group?
My favorite part is meeting so many good people from all over the world with one thing in common. We all need soap ;). Being thanked or appreciated for helping someone. To see someone helping someone else in a kind or fun manner and so much more, I can honestly say, all of it is my favorite.
Thank you, Janet, for taking time from your busy day of help all of us communicate better in the Soap Making group.