Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Soapy Saturday

Soaps by Justine Crane
This past Saturday was full of good, clean fun and learning!  My sister-in-law Cindy and I went to a Botanical Soap Making Class taught by Justine Crane of Oh True Apothecary and The Scented Djinn.  For those of you who have been with me for a while, you'll remember the Natural Perfumery class of hers that I enjoyed so much last August  (read about it  here: What a Workshop!)

The soap class was held again at the Intermountain Nursery.  We were out on the patio/potting shed area.  While it's a beautiful spot out there and ideal for the classes, we were unseasonably COLD!  Leading up to the weekend we were worried we'd be overly warm as the previous weekend was in the 90s (as is usual).  We were treated to a record-breaking 57 degrees for May 22nd.  It had been 112 years since that record was challenged!  Thankfully, the nursery had a fire pit made from an old washing machine tub (I should have taken a photo - it was really neat) and a propane heater shown below. 

Cindy melting cocoa butter over the propane heater
There were 11 students eager to learn the correct methods from Justine on making cold process soap.  Since it involves lye, Justine emphasized following proper safety procedures at all times.  We were all wearing long-sleeves, gloves, eye protection, and breathing masks.  Safety first!  (Cindy is planning on procuring us the long white lab coats to complete our look for our next soap making adventure)

Cindy, aka the mad scientist
We learned the best natural ingredients to use and the reasons or benefits of each.  Justine also discussed and showed us the proper tools and equipment to have on hand.  She took us step by step through the process and allowed us to each be as hands-on as we wanted.  Everyone got to take a turn in some part of the creation of our soap. 

Pouring in the lye
Measuring out yummy smelling coconut oil

One of my favorite parts was the blending of the scent.  We broke up into teams to create top, heart, and base notes from the essential oils.  Cindy and I were responsible for the top note.  We used bergamot (yum, Earl Grey tea....), lime, and a bit of lemon.  Very clean and fresh smelling!  The other teams mixed up the heart and base notes and then we combined them all together.  It turned out to be an amazing scent.

Testing the scents
After all of the measuring, blending, and experimenting with some color,  this:
Oils, butters & lye
Became this:

Our almost finished product!
The class was everything I had hoped it would be.  Being shown how to do something and getting to be hands-on really makes a difference in learning some things for me.   I'd been reading about making this type of soap for years but was leery of trying it - mostly due to the lye and a few questions I had that went unanswered until now.  Justine armed us with the proper methods and the safety precautions and I'm now anxious to get started. 

I've gathered my ingredients and tools and will be ready to go on my solo soap flight in a short time.  I actually stopped to buy lye at the hardware store in Prather after we left the nursery.  Cindy and I excitedly bounced ideas off of each other all the way home.  I was thrilled that Cindy was able to go the class with me.  We always have a lot of fun together and seem to really work well as a team.  I think this terrifies our husbands at times..... 

Thanks Justine for a great class once again.  Check out Justine's sites Oh True Apothecary and The Scented Djinn for more info on natural perfumery and working with botanicals.  She also has an online perfumery course!


  1. Oh what a fun class. Darn. I would have loved to have come join the fun!


  2. I'll just have to give you a heads-up for her next one. You can come up for the weekend!

  3. Sounds like a fun class! I love to make soap, but I don't know anything about blending scents. Another one of those things on my want-to-learn lists!

  4. I have always wanted to learn how to make soap! I am green with envy, bet the class was awesome!!


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