Soap Crafting Club Adventure #1: Funnel Pour

Back in October, my awesome husband gave me the birthday gift of membership to the winter session of Bramble Berry’s Soap Crafting Club! What an incredible gift, right?! My extreme excitement made it terribly painful to wait for that first delivery of soaping supplies at the end of January. But it was totally worth the wait! I eagerly read through Anne-Marie’s new book, Soap Crafting, paying special attention to the soaps that I knew I would soon be creating. And I must say, reading the book made me even more anxious to receive my supplies!!!

Arriving right on schedule, my first delivery included Bramble Berry’s 5-pound wood mold, complete with sliding bottom and silicone liner, plus all of the supplies needed to complete the first month’s soap: a luscious and beautiful Blackberry Sage Funnel Pour Soap! Here’s what my first shipment included:


The 5-lb wood mold and liner, a funnel, a bag of premixed oils, a bottle of premixed lye solution, and Blackberry Sage fragrance oil


Some sweet almond oil for mixing colorants, and 6 colors: Easter Purple, Sage Mist, and Fuschia diluted LabColors, as well as some titanium dioxide, lustre black mica, and brown oxide

After reading the information and watching the videos provided online, I got busy making my first true funnel pour soap. As I prepped my workspace, I set up my computer (just in case I needed to watch the video again) and opened my book to the correct page. I felt so studious! 🙂 And mold prep was so easy! I never knew the joy of silicone liners until now! I have silicone molds, but I had never lined a wooden mold with silicone. NO freezer paper manipulations! How wonderful!!! I made sure to get my mold in place, complete with upside-down bottom-out cottage cheese container and funnel on top.

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A fully prepped work space. Aaahhh. Such a beautiful thing.

First, I prepped the colors as indicated. Then, I carefully mixed the premeasured lye solution into warmed oils (to which I added a bit of goat milk powder), and blended to a very light emulsification. I divided off my soap into 5 separate containers and got busy whisking in colors and fragrance.

And then began the pouring! The soap was very fluid at first, and I made sure to whisk it after every 3 or 4 rounds of pouring to maintain the fluidity.


The layers were spreading out beautifully!

Near the end, it was beginning to set up, but it was still pourable. The outermost layers (those first poured) were hardening up and not sliding out as easily as I’d anticipated, so I had to jiggle the mold frequently as I neared the end of pouring. It created a slight texture on the top of the soap, which adds even more interest. And this soap completely filled my mold! Look out! I realized that my soap was beginning to overflow from the middle just in time! I almost had soap waterfalls down both sides of my mold!


See where the light touches the ridges? And see how full that mold is?!

I must say that making the soap was really quite a cinch! I carefully followed all of the instructions and tips, and I took my time to assess each aspect of the soap (while still working quickly to make sure my soap didn’t set up too fast!).  All of my preparation and attention to detail paid off, and I had a very happy soaping session indeed. Utter satisfaction is planning and prepping, then executing to actually achieve the expected end result! That most certainly doesn’t happen often, but it happened on this soapy day! 🙂


The first cut!


And the layers revealed!

After cutting this soap, I did discover small white dots inside, which means that I must have whisked in some air bubbles along the way. I also found some large purple spots, which means I must not have gotten  my Easter Purple LabColor mixed in thoroughly, despite all of my whisking! I like the purple dots; I could most certainly do without the air bubbles. But alas, such is a soaping life. These few small things don’t take away from my super-fun soaping session!! It was a blast making this soap!

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These are cuts from near the center of the loaf. Look how cool! How did it do that? I love the layers! This is a good shot of the air bubbles and random purple spots, too.

This soap has been curing for a couple of months now, and the layers are blending together a bit, the lines softening thanks to the LabColors. The photos show a deeper brown/tan hue than the soap appears to be in real life. It looks more like pink in person. And when it’s wet, I don’t notice the air bubbles at all!

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Looks like a perfect bar now! (Because it’s the one I’m currently using in the shower!)

Blackberry Sage is by far my newest obsession in fragrance. I cannot get enough of this scent! I bathe with it, then I want to spray my rooms with it, wash my clothes in it, and slather it all over myself and my children so I can sneak sniffs all day long! Which means I must order some more Blackberry Sage fragrance so I can make room spray, laundry soap, lotion, and of course, MORE SOAP! It really is a wonderful spring and summer scent, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of smelling it. Do you have a favorite scent like that?

I’ve been thoroughly impressed with my membership to this fun club. I have access to an online classroom where the BB team posts instructions and videos on how to make the soap. There’s a whole community of soapers involved, from very experienced to brand-new saponifiers, who all get to post pictures, ask questions, and share experiences. There is so much value in interacting with one another, and it’s so cool to see how the same recipe turns out differently every single time. Climate and temperature and technique make every batch of soap unique and special. It’s been a lovely reminder that soapmaking truly is an artform, which Anne-Marie’s book so vividly displays.

Check out this post and this one to see my other Winter Session Soap Crafting Club adventures!

Until next time, I wish for you wonderful days full of favorite scents and suds!

A Baby Changes Everything

Five babies change, well,… Is there more than everything? I’m amazed at how much life has changed since having children. Yes, there are the sleepless nights, sweet sloppy kisses, crazy tantrums, love I never knew I could feel… But I’m not talking about all that stuff, as wonderful (and trying) as it all is! I’m talking about how much my perspective and lifestyle have changed.

You see, when the triplets came along, I started thinking about ways I could save us money. We suddenly jumped from one child to four, and I became a stay-at-home mom, cutting out a good chunk of income. Somehow I stumbled upon the giant world of cloth diapers.

And that’s where it all began.

What started as a way to save us money turned into a more natural way of living. I never intended to become so green. It just happened more and more over time. Cloth diapers led to natural remedies, which led to natural cleansers for our home, laundry, and bodies, which led to making my own soap. Once I realized I could make a lot of the things that I used to buy in the store, intrigue and even excitement set in. Creating things from scratch is exciting! It’s domestic triumph! And when you succeed even once, it spurs you on. From making soap to designing soap molds, from crocheting hats to knitting scarves, from making cute hair bows to sewing. The satisfaction that comes from creating is addicting.

This is true in the world of cooking as well. I’ve always loved to cook and bake (which is one of the reasons I love to make soap; it’s just making and following recipes, after all). And lately, I’ve been cooking up a storm. Maybe it’s the change in weather. Fall beckons me to make chili and homemade bread and pumpkin muffins. Or maybe it’s all the fresh produce we’ve been getting this year. Our measly garden has actually produced a nice little crop of tomatoes and cucumbers, and our neighbors have generously shared with us a bounty of strawberries, peaches, corn, potatoes and apples. I’ve spent a large chunk of time making jam and pie fillings, and freezing and canning the tastes of summer. Once again, domestic triumph! Preserving natural goodness and cooking from scratch = victory! And it all tastes SO GOOD! It’s fun to pull real food out of the freezer. It’s fun to make yummy and healthy meals for my family. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not always easy. It takes planning and work. But it’s so worth the effort. 

Five short years ago, it would never have occurred to me to do these types of things! Food from scratch? Canning? Making freezer meals? Being only me and hubby back then, we were content to eat out a lot and throw in a few home-cooked meals every so often. Now, I find myself researching real food cooking and eating. Who knows? Maybe in another five years, we’ll be nearly self-sufficient! My hubs and I are already planning a bigger, better garden for next year, and we’re excited at the thought of including our kids in harvesting, cooking, and eating well. We’re hungry to learn, and we’re fascinated with how it all works. We certainly haven’t arrived yet! We still eat processed foods and get take out, but it’s becoming less frequent. I don’t know if our goal is to always eat all-natural, but we do want to be more natural. This is true of our lifestyle as well.

I’m beginning to feel a little bit Martha Stewart-ish. Or Amish, maybe. An Amish Martha Stewart. From crafting to cooking to making my own soap. But I’ll keep my electricity, please.

In all seriousness, we are so very blessed that God gave us these five babies who changed absolutely everything. We feel like God has called us back to Himself, focusing us on His creation and His intentions for our family, and showing us how He provides for us continually. He’s given us the desire and ability to do all of these things. We love to create because He loves to create. And it’s a fun process, all this creating! We’re thankful for all of the changes that have come with our five messy babies, and we’re looking forward to the changes that will keep coming as we all grow up together.