The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Soap Making part 2.

Last week I covered the first soaps I made including the Lux Flakes method that I really loved. Before moving on I want to update this method. I made it again with pink colour and I love this so much!

Also Patsy made this soap and as Lux Flakes are not available in the US she grated pure Castile Soap and it worked perfectly. You can see how they look and how she did it on her blog post here.

Leigh made it by grating Ivory soap with great success which can be seen on her link I will post in the Melt and Pour soap section in a minute...

Having grated soap before I will say that jobs like these go much faster if you are watching tv or chatting to someone and suddenly it is all done!

Making this again I found some new things. Last time I melted it and blended it with the stick bender until smooth then poured. This time I dissolved my colour which is a pigment into some of the second lot of milk that goes in. Then I added that until I was happy with the shade of pink. This meant I blended again and overall much longer than my first batch. The mix became silky and glossy with a high shine...

It was heavenly! So now I know to keep blending and it is only better. It is gorgeous! It is really like working with chocolate as it sets quickly and you need to pour into moulds asap.

I highly recommend this soap (the recipe is in Part one last week and the first photos) If you want to make soap and are worried about caustic soda and chemicals then this is wonderful. I now prefer it and will never bother with caustic soda again. However it is personal preference.

Originally I was inspired to start soap making again by Nanna Chel. She has a lot on her blog about soap making and different methods. This is a good post to start with "What soap recipe do you use?"

There are many methods!

For my birthday Helen had given me rose shaped soap moulds and a large amount of solid Glycerine Melt and Pour soap. This is available from soap making supplies.  Mine was clear and I added a small amount of pink pigment to it. Directions come with the purchase of melt and pour soap, it really is simply of melting it gently and pouring it into moulds.

I made heart shapes with rose buds in the centre (dried rose buds from the garden) for Valentines day...

And rose shaped soaps for gifts later in the year.

This was really easy and fun. Leigh just used this method and brilliantly put toys inside the soap for children. Known as motivation to wash! Have a look what she did...

Soap Opera.  This is really good! I have also seen soap with a little rubber duck in the middle or dinosaurs! But the sky is the limit here! What great gifts!

Finally I made actual cold pressed soap which is using caustic soda. It is not hard at all. I mix the water and caustic soda outside and let it cool down a bit then bring it in. 

For this soap I followed this recipe/tutorial...

How to make cold process soap.

My batch turned out speckly as I should have blended the pigment into some oil then added it but I put it in directly. I have just pretended it should be speckly. Mind you this would be great to do on purpose to make speckle eggs! I would love to do that.

This is a good recipe and was easy. I am glad I made this and tried a few methods.

All this has given me heaps of soaps for gifts. Sometime soon I will also show packaging ideas.

It has given me great supplies to keep on hand as well. I have loved it. I think I will make it an annual event.

Overall let your soap mature for as long as possible. It will get harder and harder and last longer in use that way. I really hope if you have been thinking of soap making you will give it a go.

So for February I have added rolled hem hankies, laundry soap, wool wash, heart and rose soaps and a few bargains such as the heart shaped cake tins to my present cupboard. I am very happy!

Next week is Show and Tell for February!  Thank you to everyone who has already sent me pictures! Last Show and Tell resulted in so many ideas, so much inspiration and several things that helped me greatly such as Rachel's laundry liquid recipe.

Please join in even if you have incomplete projects a photo of progress is still welcome. Email me at and next week we will see what everyone has been up to!

We are two months into the year now. Imagine how much we will have made by December! Believe me, reaching Christmas with a cupboard full of gifts is wonderful. It is so much fun when you get it all out! It is like Christmas! And I have always forgotten much of what I made by then and that is funny and surprising. The rewards of starting early are huge.

I hope you are having a good week. I had a painting afternoon coming up! xxx


  1. Dear Annabel, Your gift cupboard sounds wonderful so far. All of this soap is just gorgeous! I'm glad to know that the Ivory soap worked well for Leigh, as this is what I was going to try out. I have a question about the melt and pour method. You may have already said, but do you have to use a separate pot (i.e. not a cooking pot) for this? I know with the caustic soda method you do because of the chemicals, but since the melt and pour is already just soap, it seems to me like it wouldn't matter. I just want to be sure, though! And I still think your speckled soaps are very pretty, accident or not :) I will be looking forward to show and tell. Have a blessed week, ladies! Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      Thank you! It is amazing how adding regularly accumulates!
      Re the cooking pot it would be handy to have a soap making pot but really nice we wash out pans with soap anyway and that is all this is I don't think it matters as long as it is really well cleaned and rinsed. If it is a non porous surface I think its ok. But my wooden spoon is going to absorb things so I have soap written on the handle so it is only for soap!
      I hope you are having a good week. The week goes too fast thats my problem! With love

  2. Made the lux soap too annabel and for the first time coloured my soap, very happy with the result tho as you say it sets super fast the cold processed soap gives you a bit more time thanks for your wonderful posts. Sharlene

    1. Dear Sharlene, I am glad you liked it! Good point... cold pressed does give you more time to pour and smooth it off.
      Thank you so much! I hope over the year we can get lots more things made for our supplies and gift cupboards. We are going pretty good so far! With love

  3. I made the lux soap and just hated it. I don't know what I did wrong but it was not a nice soap nor and easy process. So I'm back to making cold pressed soap with colour and essential oils to perfume it. I'm still working on my sons QS crochet bed blanket. I Ran out of yarn on the weekend and am waiting for my new order to arrive. I have cut out 6 baby bibs and one baby cot quilt. i purchased two lined hard cover journal style books from KMart for $3 each. I'll make a removable fabric cover for these, one male and one female design and these can go in the gift cupboard. I also picked up two tins of fancy sticky notes, on for a male and one for a female, to go in the gift cupboard. My DIL sent me two PDF patterns, one for a handbag and one for a clutch wallet. I'll use these free patterns to add bags and wallets to the cupboard. Looking forward to having a go at making these.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Oh no! Something must have gone wrong but I don't know what. It is so creamy and smooth ... did it look like the picture above? That said, if you have a cold pressed soap you love then you have a good soap recipe and are ok.
      You have made lots and have many things on the go! Well done!
      The blanket being queen size is a big task. I have only make one QS blanket and it was mammoth. I love it but it took some doing! Once finished though it should be something that lasts forever just about!
      You are on track to have a great Christmas gift cupboard and covering many gifts as the year goes as well. With love Annabekxxx

  4. Dear Annabel, this is so timely for me as in December one of the things I had written down on my new years list was to try and make soaps. "Serendipitous" I hope that's the right word for this :). Do you ever add essential oils to perfume the soaps - if so when right at the end or earlier on in the process. Better go and read all the links thoroughly, thankyou again for 2 inspiring months,
    Cheers, Bevo xx

    1. Dear Bevo,
      Thank you! I am so glad to have you here and you are finding some helpful things.
      You can add essential oils. I have found the Lux soap smells lovely with nothing added. Other soaps I would be interested to use oils. I know you need to use good pure essential oils and they go in at the end when you are stirring to get to trace. (set point)
      I hope you have as much fun trying soaps as I did. It is really good. Some nice moulds is good for the gift ones I think. With love

  5. Hi Annabel!!

    I can see a place for soap making at our place down the track! It's so good to see the results of your efforts. Well done!
    I had a laugh when I stumbled across giant knitting on the internet. Have you seen this? I can just imagine trying to wash the finished product!!!!!
    I'm glad some of my preserved passionfruit butter is in very tiny (Ozemite) jars. We had some with our lunch of leftovers of a stew that used up ingredients from the fridge. The jar held enough for the meal, & no refrigeration is required, since that jar is now empty!! Pantry work is great.

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      Yes I have seen giant knitting and also arm knitting... it sure is chunky. Yes not sure how you would go washing it!
      Passionfruit butter sounds lovely. Yum.
      You have gas refrigeration or a generator? I think you said generator...
      This would be another advantage of spinning, lovely to be doing and no need for power either! With love

  6. Annabel, as I have said before I quite like the speckled soaps. LOL! My next batch of soap will be 'pink' I hope. I now have my new soap mould so am keen to try 'swirling'. Nothing like a bit of experimentation. :-)

    1. Dear Nana Chel, I did not think of swirling! Now I am imagining a marbled effect... that would be so nice! I think I will make notes and plans for next time as that will be good to do something different.
      Thanks for encouraging me n soap making. Now finally I am on to rag rugs... well I am citing fabric into strips so it is coming! With love,

  7. Annabel, I can't wait to try my hand at soap making. It sounds so easy and yours look so beautiful.So far this year all I have in my gift closet is 10 crocheted wash cloths and 10 crocheted dish rags. Not up to par on my Christmas challenge but with the addition of some beautiful soaps I will be well on my way. Thank you for sharing with us

    1. Dear Saundra,
      Well done! That is a great start to the year! And yes soaps would go in with the theme very well. I love to do that where it all adds up to a little set. It has turned out I am building household cleaning sets as I have been given baskets... I have laundry liquid in bottles, wool wash, bars of soap and I crochet cloths also and edgings around face washers... so it is a bit of a theme. I thought I might paint old fashioned wooden pegs also.
      It is a good start tot the year and as we add things even cards and tags hopefully by December it will be a fantastic collection! With love

  8. I have tried the rebatch method with coconut oil soap last year and it didn't set well. I think I will retry with another soap since so many had success! Thank you for the ideas! :)

    1. Yes it sounds like the pure castile or the grated ivory work. Glenda is also trying some soap flakes she ordered. So hopefully that is a few choices. I have found this very good. The using a stick blender to get it perfect is important I think. Good luck! With love

  9. Annabel,
    I agree with Nanna I like the speckled soaps a lot! LOL Also great minds think alike! a few weeks ago I had the brilliant idea of making Emma a rag rug. I thought I would use the mesh bag that potatoes come in and knot the strips in the squares of the mesh bag. It didn't work the bag was more like thin plastic and weaved differently. It's pretty sad when you don't notice the change in the bag your potatoes come in! Well to be honest sometimes I don't really notice my potatoes until they look like they are some kind of weird house plant! Ah well I will try something else!

    1. You've got such a good sense of humour, Vicky. It is lovely, & you make me laugh - in the nicest possible way!
      Rachel Holt

    2. OOHH Emma will love a rag rug. She will probably say "Annabel would love this!" lol
      What you need is something like a pink bedspread that can be cut up into ribbons.... I hope something just right comes your way! xxx

  10. Dear Annabel. I adore all of your soaps, but like others have said, I especially love the speckled ones! They remind me of our little hens speckled eggs when I was a child. You've done brilliantly with the soap making, and what a wonderful gift they will be. My daughter and I were proud this week, to be able to gift two of my sugar bowl candles to two of her friends for their birthdays. These are a really beautiful gift that would have cost $50-$100 in the retail stores, and they were enthusiastically received. It's a good feeling, isn't it? You might be interested to know, that your Lux flakes soaps, are actually called 'French Milled' soaps. The French Milling process is one of melting down existing soap to create another. You might also like to know that I saw little wrapped soaps with teeny weeny crystal buckles a quarter the size of the ones you use for your soaps, for $12.95 each!!! We're doing a good thing, we ladies here! Lots of love to all, and can't wait to see photos next week. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, Speckled eggs are gorgeous. As you know I am mad on nests and eggs anyway!
      I think your sugar bowl candles are spectacular. And I agree about the prices. I have seen them for that much.
      Really? french Milled Soaps sounds soo much better! I didn't know that. I did see Goats Milk soap for $7 a bar. You beat me with the $12.95! Although remember how I started with the wrapped soaps and the bling buckles.... as in a local gift store there were ones for $20!?
      Yep, we need to know these prices. It truly gives me more confidence with giving.
      Sorry for slow reply. Painting and baby sitting take their toll again on time and replies so many got away from me. But I get there eventually!
      Have a lovey weekend! With love

  11. Beautiful soaps! I am continuing to work slowly on some of my projects. Easter is coming up in about a month. We usually get together with friends and family and have a big egg hunt. Traditionally, I am the bunny who provides the eggs. I have a lot of plastic eggs saved to use again. I have a bit of candy that is still in date from Christmas and was able to pick up a little more after Valentine's. We like to put little toys in some, rather than all candy. I found some pretty little bottles of nail polish after Christmas that I think will be fun in the eggs. As I clean and organize, I am watching for new things I have on hand to use. While looking at Valentine clearance, I found a pack of Valentines with 16 pretty pencils with Disney Frozen photos for 29 cents. I am tucking them away for my youngest granddaughter who loves Frozen.

    Thank you for you lovely, encouraging blog! Elaine

    1. Dear Elaine, I love that you are the Easter Bunny. Also about the little toys in the hunt.
      I got Valentines Day clearance bargains too! I love this! AND after Easter we need to do the same as I would say there will be even more bargains. The very next day here is the day to go. As you mention it is not just chocolates but all kinds of treats that go out so cheaply after the event. A great time to put away gifts.
      Thanks so much, have a lovely weekend, love

  12. Dear Annabel, I've sent some blog love your way, in my post today on making Goats Milk soap. I've linked this post to show different ways of moulding them. Just gorgeous! Mimi xxx


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