13 oct. 2011

From fugly to ugly duckling

I went to the meat market the other day and saw these beautiful bags of lard. So white and lovely I HAD to buy some and try to make lard soap. I did my research and decided to make a lard+olive+coconut recipe just because I want to use the soap in the shower without it being to drying, and I wanted to boost suds :)

I went ahead and got everything ready, melted the lard in my crockpot - and it smelled horrible!! Not rancid but just - well - like lard. I anyways went ahead and threw in the coconut and olive oils,  and mixed in the lye. It took a little bit more to trace than usual, but when it did I just went ahead with the HP. After about 30 minutes I went to check on it and it was a beautiful translucent brown :( I was wishing for creamy white bars and got stuck with ugly brown. But still I kept on (you know where this is going right?). I prepared the pigments - wonderful purple and green - and got the fragrance out. I planned on doing a in the pot swirl with the two colors and the cream base (hah!). I threw in the fragrance, which did not seem to mask the horrible lardy smell - and got a bit of the soap out to mix with the pigment. I don't know why but the color would just not stick! No matter how much I mixed and added I got a nasty looking grey instead of a nice violet. Not learning when to quit, I got another bit of soap and dyed it green - or at least tried to - it turned out bleh!

I was too far along to quit now so I got the two back to the main pot, swirled and molded in hopes that the cured soap will look and smell like I envisioned.

Later that day I went to check up on the soap and it still looked horrible :( It looked like it was already hard enough for me to unmold so I did and left it there to harden up a pinch more before cutting. NOT A GOOD IDEA!! The whole loaf warped! When I went to cut it next morning one of the sides had bumped up, dragging the other side to a horrible shape. But somehow it all matched - horrible smell, horrible colors and horrible shape.

I cut it and let it sit in a corner. this morning I took another smell...urgh, not so bad as when I molded the soap, but still quite leathery. Color hasn't improved....and well, the shape is just too much. So I went at it with a biscuit cutter. I was merciless! And then it happened....my fuglies turned to ugly ducklings right before my eyes!! they no longer looked hunchback, smelled leathery and well...color's about the same, but at least they have a shot of being swans some day - I hope.

Lessons learned: when something just doesn't feel right - don't push on. When you've pushed on far beyond the quitting point stick to it until the end. When all else fails, re-batch.

Until next time...

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