We have been enjoying the soap recipe we used for our wedding favours, so I think it will be a staple for a long time in our house.  This time though, we have decided to add some new "flavours" and colour coded them (as if the scent wouldn't have been enough).

  • Green - Peppermint and Rosemary
  • Yellow - Lemon and Lemon Grass (had to add some Lime as I ran out of Lemon Grass)
  • Pink - Lavender
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I finally picked up a dropper yesterday so I could make a small batch of a Thieves Oil blend that I found online at Natural Aromatherapy Benefits.  I had previously used up my wife's spray version of Thieves I was using as a foot deodorizer, and was looking forward to making two spray versions that I had read about on the site:

  1. The "All Purpose" Thieves spray (one drop per oz of water), initially to use as a surface disinfectant, room deodorizer, and mouthwash.
  2. The "Topical" Thieves spray (one drop per four drops of carrier oil; like sweet almond oil), initially to use as a foot deodorizer and try out as a body spray and/or deodorant.

I adjusted Recipe #1 down to the least number of drops by diving each ingredient by 5:

8 drops Clove Essential Oil
7 drops Lemon Essential Oil
4 drops Cinnamon Essential Oil
3 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil
2 drops Rosemary Essential Oil

This gave a nice starter amount of the Thieves Oil blend that fit into the tiny dropper bottles we had around the house, and I only needed 4 drops to make the "All Purpose" spray in our four ounce spray bottles... but was a fraction of what I'd need to mate the "Topical" version.

So i decided to divide each "drops" number by eight, called it "teaspoons", and then calculated how much carrier oil I'd need:

11 1/2 teaspoon carrier oil (sweet almond oil)
1 teaspoon Clove Essential Oil
7/8 teaspoon Lemon Essential Oil
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon Essential Oil
3/8 teaspoon Eucalyptus Essential Oil
1/4 teaspoon Rosemary Essential Oil

This fit easily into my 4 oz spray bottles, and it was much quicker to measure by spoon than by drops for larger quantities.

The "Topical" has a fairly strong smell, but the "All Purpose" spray is so gentle and pleasing (almost like a pop or candy smell) that we are seriously thinking of using it in one of our next soap batches.

In my previous article on DIY Antiperspirant, I linked to a video/blog on the heyfranhey site that had inspired the new antiperspirant recipe I've been enjoying.  However, her final words in the video talked about how her grandmother simply used a fresh lemon wedge.

Deciding that this "too good to be true" statement was worth exploring, I had to give it a try.  And to my amazement, I found that it actually works!  Simple, effective, and as easy to make as slicing a lemon!

After my previous post on Lessons learned about natural deodorant, I was still struggling with minor irritation even after eliminating the essential oils and reducing the baking soda.  Wanting to solve my issue, I decided to perform another search, but decided to search for DIY antiperspirant instead of deodorant (I had traditionally used antiperspirants all my life).

I quickly found a posting of 3 antiperspirant recipes by Bri at Natural News, and boy am I glad I did.  Glancing at the recipes, I decided that I liked the ingredient list of recipe #3, which I have copied below.  The recipe is actually from a HeyFranHey video/blog, and I really enjoyed the information she shared on why she chose each ingredient, as well as which ingredients to adjust to personalize if for the protection you need.  While Fran mentions 2 tablespoons of baking Soda in her video, Bri listed only 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) in her recipe, which is what I used.

4 Tablespoons Cocoa Butter
4 Tablespoons Shea Butter
1/2 Cup Arrowroot Powder
3 Teaspoons Baking Soda
10 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
(I use our homemade Thieves Oil blend)

After using this recipe for over a week, I am well past my normal reaction period of 2-3 days... and happy to report that my irritation is a thing of the past! Thank You Fran for pointing out in your video that Baking Soda is a common irritant for folks with sensitive skin, and Bri for suggesting to use less than Fran's original recipe!

We knew that that in our move to the Paleo lifestyle, that we were going to be make our own cleaners and soaps.  We also thought that giving some of our homemade soap would probably make a really nice favour to give our wedding guests.  But, with the wedding day coming as fast as it was, and the other tasks taking priority, we just never seemed to have the time or energy to "get it done"... until today.

I should also confess that playing with lye wasn't something I was rushing too, and in the end my sweetie took that part of the job off my hands which was great!  The only finicky thing I can say about working with the lye was that it seemed to be very staticy... so it clung to our plastic container and would literally jump out towards you when you'd move your (glove covered) hand near the top of the container.  We had our sprayer of vinegar handy and even used it a couple time to be sure anything we put in the garbage was neutralized.

In the pictures below, the first two show all of the tools we used to make the soap.  The stock pot we found at costco made a great soaping pot with its height; catching any flyaway's that the emulsion blender tossed about. We even put a stainless steel cookie sheet under the scale and working area, which greatly helped to catch lye granules and made cleanup much easier.  We also made sure we had two thermometers so that we could easily coordinate bringing the lye solution and oils together in the magic 100F-110F range.

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The first soap picture is when it was first poured into the mold... or should I say scooped.  I think our first lesson was that we let our trace get way too thick; which was why we needed to use a knife to smooth off the lumpy tops.  The second thing we learned is that our molds are huge!  This ended up being a great blessing only 4 days before the wedding, because we got away with only making the one batch (of two molds) and cut the bars in half after 24 hours.  The second soap picture is after cutting and placing on the shoe rack we picked up at costco as our curing rack. Hurray for making all the soap in one day!

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Our third lesson is that the two shades of purple oxides that we tried to use to colour our soap didn't create a middle purple.  Initially, we thought our bars were going to turn out a grey mud-like colour, but were very please when they started looking more like tan after 24 hours.  Obviously the colour the soap is at trace and the colour it is cured/curing are two different things.

We could sure get a good sense of the soap while we were cleaning up the area and tools.  Not sure if we can wait the full 3 weeks to let the bars harden before we try it out in the shower!

After reviewing the recipe we want to follow for our wedding favour soaps, and running it through a soap calculator, I realized that the little 15ml bottles of essentials oils that we had around the house just were not going to cut it if our plan was going to involve making almost 20 lbs of soap!  I needed many ounces of Essential Oils, not milliliters.

I can sense that Bulk Apothecary is going to be a favourite site of ours into the future.  We ran around Winnipeg hoping to find a good price on the Rosemary and Thyme that we wanted to add to our soap... and $15-$20 for a 0.5 oz was not what we wanted to pay.  Bulk Apothecary has the same size bottle for $3-$4, or 16 oz bottles (thirty times the oil) in the $40 range... hmmm, $15-$20 for a 0.5 oz or $40-$50 for 16 oz... an easy decision!

This time, knowing that there should only be one box, we had the package delivered to Mike's Parcel Pickup.  While it cost $30 in gas, that was far cheaper than paying UPS $50-$70, and much quicker than waiting and running around to do the self-clearing.

While we were placing an order anyway, we added some other oils that we are going to try in the next soap recipe batches for their aromatherapy qualities, soap exfoliants (seeds), soap colouring sample kit (oxides), oils we didn't have to complete our own "thieves oil" blend, caps we meant to get for our bottles from our last order, and some books on our new hobbies.

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Our first order from Bulk Apothecary arrived today!  The intention of this order was to set the stage for making our own household cleaning products, shampoo, soap (also to be favors for our wedding guests), body sprays, lotions, lip balms, etc... and containers to hold them in.

This order consisted of:

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  • Beeswax
  • Black Fine Mist Sprayers and Cobalt Blue Bullet Bottles
  • Borax
  • Castor Oil
  • Cocoa Butter
  • Glycerin
  • Golden Jojoba Oil
  • Kaolin Clay (white)
  • Lime Essential Oil
  • Lip Balm Jars (white, 0.25 oz)
  • Rose Soap Stamp
  • Shea Butter
  • Silicone Rectangle Soap Molds
  • Sodium Hydroxide (lye)
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Witch Hazel

Unfortunately, we had some lessons to learn with this order:

  1. The Bulk Apothecary rep I called questimated that this order may have as many as seven packages.  This deterred me from using Mike's Parcel Pickup who charges $5 USD per package.  As the shipment only came in three boxes, Mike's fees would have been much better.  Oh well, I guess the rep guestimated high, which would be the preferred choice to guestimating low.
  2. UPS offering to broker packages from the US is stupid expensive... like add $50 to $70 dollars on top of your government taxes.  I wished I had known about this and declined their offer to broker the package for me; choosing to self-clear it myself.

There are plenty of horror stories about working with lye.  The common theme is to give it the proper attention and respect that it deserves if you are wanting to be a soap maker, because after all you must have lye to make soap.

Thank You Marie!

This truly is an All-in-One Soap Recipe; use it as your soap, shampoo, and shaving cream.

Thank You Marie!

When the recipe I was following mentioned that essential oils was optional, I mostly ignored that figuring "why wouldn't I want to add a scent?"  While the recipe mentioned Tea Tree oil as a good option for men, the first extract I grabbed from the cupboard was peppermint, and went with it.

Lesson #1: Peppermint is not a good choice for a deodorant.  I never clued into past experiences where peppermint caused a nice heating effect when used as an aches-rub, and never expected that I might be inviting a heat rash which took only 2 days to bloom.

Lesson #2: Sometimes essential oils just need to be eliminated. Trying Tea Tree oil as the recipe had originally suggested next definitely helped reduce the heat rash, but irritation persisted.  At this point I wasn't sure if the recipe proportions would need to be played with, or an ingredient eliminated.  Thankfully, i found my answer in Divine Ms D's blog where she shared the fact that she had to eliminate essential oils for the same issue I was facing.

While I am finally finding the irritation to be finally subsiding, I may try the recipe she follows (if I'm not happy with the ultimate results) as the proportions are different from mine.

Thank you Divine Ms D for sharing on your Paleo Sistah blog!

Follow-up post

Food For Thought

Go window shopping. 
Gaze at all the items you would love to own.
Imagine using them and enjoying them.
Regularly repeating this exercise will help to attract
The things you long to have. 

Jane Struthers, Attracting Abundance

Affirmations

As I forgive myself, it becomes easier to forgive others. 

Louise Hay, I Can Do It Cards

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