So. A while back, I posted some questions about soap-making because I was having a wretch of a time getting my soap to trace properly.
At first, I wondered if it was due to using oils that had gotten too old (it’s not – making soap is a useful way of getting rid of rancid cooking oil, as it turns out), but it looks like I’ve been using too much water in my lye solution or (and this is also possible) I haven’t been stirring the stuff enough. Alternatively, I’ve got the temperatures wrong… but I doubt that’s the problem…
I found this very helpful Trouble-Sooting Chart that gave me The Clue right off the bat. I also found a handy process for fixing soap that isn’t willing to trace (that would be the Crock Pot Method, fyi) over at Gracefruit. I’m not sure I’m up for using my food-prep crock pot for fixing soap, but it’s a good thing to be aware of, none the less.
So, having found some suggestions for how to fix my soap (as well as a site that tells you how to re-batch soap that wound up too hard by incorporating into new soap, and a reminder that coconut oil and canola oil, while dandy, need to be used in smaller amounts or the soap will wind up very, very soft and goopy), I think I’m willing to try soap-making again.
Use 3 parts olive oil and 1 part coconut oil for my base
Use 3/4 of the usual amount of water, but the usual amount of lye crystals for the lye solution
Keep the soap WARM during its first 24 hours
This should result in Actual Useable (unscented) Soap. Thank all the gods.
From there, I can go back to making batches that include essential oils (like “Elizabeth’s Cookies”, “Pomander”, “Squeaky Clean”, “Love Potion Number Nine”, and “Gingerbread”) and then maybe branch out and experiment with doing a lye solution using herbal tea (like chamomile, yarrow, raspberry leaf, or blueberry), coffee, or maybe even coconut milk (which is a wee tad trickier, and so will probably wait for a little bit) instead of plain water.
But, for the moment, just getting the plain, old vegan-unscented stuff under control and reliable would be a Really Good Thing. 😀
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 Vanilla-Lemon with a hint of Rosemary.
 Sweet Orange and Clove.
 Tea Tree.
 Ylang Ylang, Cinnamon, Vanilla, and a few other secret ingredients. This might be a good one to make with coconut milk as part/all of the liquid.
 Vanilla, Ginger, and Clove.