Monday, November 8, 2010

More Soap

After receiving an order of good smelling bottles from the lovely Helen at, I set about making some more soap. My first attempt was OK, several people have told me they like it, but being unscented wasn´t much fun. And the ¨brik¨ milk boxes I used were an odd size.

So I made 2 new batches - one with castor oil and scented with lemongrass and lavendar essential oils(the ovals), one with sweet almond oil and scented with West Indian sandalwood and cinnamon (the brown.) I used plastic oval milk bottles for the castor oil batch and smaller liter milk cartons for the cinnamon. I discovered that I had to cut the ¨mold¨ completely apart, and I´m concerned that with some of the new ¨soap¨ stuck to the plastic, it won´t recycle very well. Then I rebatched (remilled) the remaining ugly bars of the original by grating it with a cheese grater and heating with a little water over a double boiler at a low simmer, adding eucalyptus EO, and pouring into molds. I´d found some soap molds and stamps at a craft store in California (boy do I miss gigantic craft stores) and bought a couple to play with. The new ones, except for the rebatched pretty ones, have to age until before Christmas.

I´d like to come up with a shaving soap and a good, heavy duty, cleansing hand soap with some kind of mild abrasive - coffee? Sand? Pumice?

In other news - we´re moving funds around to take with us for the closing. I´ll try to do a more detailed post on real estate transactions, because frankly half the time I´m baffled.

And we´re now quivering with excitement at the prospect of brush clearing. So any recommendations regarding work boots, gloves, etc., and especially good quality hand tools - what to look for and where to purchase them would be appreciated.


  1. Your new soap looks very good, what a difference a mould makes.
    Regarding tools, the best spades and forks we have found here come from Lidl, they are stainless steal and very good quality, however they only have them in the spring and I guess you want them before then.If you look around you will probably find Wilkinson garden tools however they are not cheap, with a fork make sure it has square tines, flat tines are not much use for digging only for lifting hay straw and grass, we both prefer stirrup handles, they are easier to use but not to easy to find. You will need a good strimmer/brush cutter normally petrol 2 stroke, 'Stihl' is a very good make. Gloves, we find that the leather gloves from Chinos as good as any and far cheaper than those on sale in the hardware stores, you will also find a mattock very useful [this is a broad bladed heavy hoe] good for getting stubborn roots out and for ridging up when you are growing potatoes [ also great for mixing cement in a wheel barrow] A wheel barrow is also essential, also a sickle, good garden shears and a pair of secateurs, you will also need a rake and a hoe, I cant get on with the ordinary garden hoes [ dutch hoes] and have a stirrup hoe, however the only place I know that sells them is 'Fruit Hill Farm' which is a on line company in Ireland, there is nothing to beat them and we have had ours for over fifteen years. Hope this helps and it's not too much information.

  2. Not at all! Thank you!

    The soap molds are cute - but not easy to get the soap out of and I don´t expect them to last too many more batches. Word is that silicone bakery molds (I´ve seen them at Lidl) are a handy substitute.

    Any thoughts on workboots? Wellies don´t look particularly durable - but then I´ve never owned either type. Boots are also something I´m leery of ordering online.

    Is there some kind of big Agro-chain store in rural areas that carry everything from feed to tools we could look for?

    So far we have secateurs, loppers, and a sickle. I think a bow saw, hatchet, pruning saw and hedge clippers wouldn´t go awry. Until we have a space that locks securely we won´t be investing in a wheel barrow.

    Hope you all came through the recent storms OK.