Answering the questions

21 May 2009

Alice says hello. ;- )

Good morning! We've had some wild weather these past couple of days with about 250 mm (nearly 10 inches) falling in our area in 24 hours. We have a permanent creek in our backyard that drains water from the surrounding mountains and takes it to the sea. Sometimes I think it will flood into our backyard but in all the time we've lived here, that has never happened. We are fine.

I haven't had a chance to answer questions from the last two days so I'll do that now. If you ever want an answer to a question, you should add it to the latest post because even on a good day I never have the time to go searching back through the archives to answer questions on old posts.

Joanne, in addition to book shops, the book will be sold from this blog, so yes, it will be available anywhere I can post it. I'll sign it for you too if you would like. : - )

Hi Kathryn, thanks for your comment.

Steelkitten, are they real hedgehogs?

Chance and Rois, Hanno loves collecting what I call ' junk' and he calls 'I can fix that'. LOL! Luckily he's a very tidy man so we never have junk on display, it's all in his shed waiting for its time.

Betty, thanks for wishing me joy as I write. I really appreciate that.

Tansy, yes it's a template. The details at at the very bottom of the page.

Bunny, that's nice looking bread. Well done!

LOL Allison. I'm glad you found that dehydrator.

I do remember your Welshie, Maggie. We are really looking forward to welcoming a new family member. I think she will make Alice's future years joyful ones.

Sheila, I think Alice will be renewed too. I can't wait to see them together on that first day.

Brenda, thank you for your thoughts. I write with a sense of inclusion and warmly welcome everyone who takes the time to read here. I'm pleased to know your Christian ladies feel comfortable here.

ithinkican, I don't know of anyone else who had problems posting a comment yesterday. Hanno has written up some notes on garden tool maintenance for me to post soon. It's a good idea to have a few posts from him. He doesn't want to write posts but is happy for me to write up his notes.

Sharon, our cat Hettie likes fish FULL STOP. We've tried her on other foods but she refuses them. It is very difficult to retrain cats to eat different foods but if we ever got another kitten, we'd feed it on homemade cat food. Here is some info on feeding cats written by a vet.

Becky, hello to you and Padfoot! Airedales are great clowns. Rosie and Alice used to chase each other around the yard every afternoon at 4pm. I'm still not sure how they knew what time it was. They have many distinctive traits and are wonderful family dogs.

Gail, I am one very plain and simple gal and I never put anything extra into my soap so I can't really advise you. I am sure one of the soapmakers here will know. My feeling would be that you'd dry the leaves and crumble them up before adding them and you would do that at the trace stage. Can anyone help Gail?

Margaret, it's good to know you've gained encouragement here. I hope for that every day. Good luck with the chooks and the soap.

Cyn, I think Carla's book will go on for a ling time to come. My son Shane has read my book and would like one for himself. I think her message is timeless.

Annie, we are a two person family and that amount of soap would last us about four-five months. I usually give some to my sons, both their girlfriends love it; I use it for hair washing, general cleaning and in the kitchen. Each bar lasts a long time but they can be used for many things.

Toria, thank you so much for that link! I will order some today and make some liquid dish soap.

Carolyn, working with lye is just another skill to learn. You can do it, love. Take it slow and work alone.

Shirley, Hanno made my favourite wooden mould. They're very good, aren't they. You have an excellent site. I discovered it fairly recently and visit you with my other list of current favourites when I have time.

Rose, it's your next step. You'll be fine. Anyone who can make cakes can make soap.

Laura, we bought our scale secondhand from ebay. That was about five or six years ago now but I'm sure they still have them. Ours is a postal scale which gives you great accuracy.

Renae, never throw it out. I think soap can always be rescued. You did the right thing. Let your rebatched soap cure and test it with hand washing but I'm pretty sure it will be okay to use. The thin film may be caused by not mixing it enough. If you're sure of your measurements and have used a reliable recipe, try mixing over a longer period of time. Are you using a stick blender? That is the best method of mixing soap.

Debbie, rebatch it by melting your soap in a saucepan. When it's melted and about 50C, mix it again. Hopefully that will work. If you want to add fragrance, never add it until you've reached trace.

Diana, it does become gel-like and gluggy. It might also separate. That's okay. I just mash mine up with a potato masher and when I use it, make sure I add the gel and water combined. Like masterpiecemom below, I now use the powder. It's much easier to make and dissolves well in my frontloader.

Tansy, I just weighed a few bars from that last batch - they're around 130 - 135 grams each (about 4.5 - 4.7 ozs). My blue resin mould above is 20 x 26cm (8 x 10 inches) and the wooden one is 10 x 30 cm ( 4 x 12 inches).

Hi Jenny, I hope you grow many loofas. I cut mine up and pour soap into them. I have a photo of it somewhere in the archives.

Mrs Mac, thank you so much for sharing how to make your scrubbing soap. It's fabulous.

Donetta, I use this soap to wash up in the sink. You can dissolve it but it will turn to gel. It still works but it's a pain to get out of the bottle. I just rub the bar onto my dishmop. I'm going to be making some liquid dish soap soon. It uses a different type of lye and now that Toria has given me the link to a local supplier, I'll be able to make it regularly. I have made laundry detergent using this soap but I usually use bought soap flakes.

Hi Babs! Can you share how you add the honey and oatmeal? I'm very interested and I'm sure some of the others will be too. Thank you.

D, I don't think you reached 'real' trace. Was it cold the day you made your soap? Your mix might have looked like trace but it had lost its heat and thickened.

Pam, I have read that too but I don't believe it. I always wash my utensils in the sink, using hot water and a scrubbing brush. My mixer is an old one and used mainly for soap but I do occasionally use it for cakes.

Diane, sorry, I don't have time to make soap for sale. Maybe one day I will. There may be other readers here who sell their homemade soap. Who is selling homemade soap? Does anyone have it in their Etsy shop?

Lori, you're using the wrong mould. You need one that will allow the soap to slip out easily. Any of the resin cake forms are very good. I bought mine for $2 at a dollar shop.

Monique dear, this is the question I am asked more than any other. I should put it permanently on the home page. The pots are traditionally used so a gardener will not poke their eye out on the stake while bending over. I just like the look of them and have been gardening with them for many. many years. Good luck with your garden changes.

seanymph, maybe one of the soapmakers here would supply your store when you open. I wonder who is making soap for sale. Anyone?

Jody, the measurements are above.

Elaine, thanks for sharing.

I am really delighted that so many of you are making soap. Slowly, step by step, changes are happening around the world. It feels good to be part of this significant change, doesn't it.