|Some pumpkins I spotted in Gatlinburg, TN|
With the holidays approaching, I need some soap to gift. Everyone needs soap. Everyone loves soap. Not everyone loves pumpkin, but the good thing about soap is that you don't have to eat it. In fact, you definitely should not eat it. So, even if you don't like to eat pumpkin, you'll probably like pumpkin just fine in soap.
Hopefully, you'll like it better than fine. The natural sugars in pumpkin can help boost the lather, creating a luxurious bar. And if you also add something like goat's milk (which I did in this batch), the luxury factor goes into overdrive.
To make this soap, I used olive oil, coconut oil, sustainable palm oil, shea butter, and castor oil. For my liquid, I used part goat's milk (168g) - which I measured off and froze ahead of time - and part distilled water (121g). The original recipe called for 345g of liquid (for a full water amount), but you'll notice that my liquid adds up to 289g. Because I also added 56g of pumpkin puree, I subtracted that amount from my liquids. (I used the pumpkin puree at a rate of 1 ounce, or 28g, per pound of oils.)
I used canned pumpkin for my puree. (Make sure you read the ingredients label - you want 100% pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, which has added spices and sugar.) Because I was using only 2 ounces total, I had some left over. Unless you're making a fifteen-pound batch (or using a lot more pumpkin than I did), you'll probably have some extra, too. You can freeze the leftover pumpkin for later. Or you can make Pumpkin Molasses Cookies, which is what I did.
Goat's milk is a wonderful additive in soap - it feels so creamy and the sugars in it also boost the lather. It's a good idea to freeze the goat's milk ahead of time and to soap cool so that the sugars in the milk don't scorch. I like to stir my lye solution in an ice bath to keep the temps low. The thing about goat's milk is that it can smell a little funky when the lye hits it. I've heard it described as an ammonia-type smell, but I think it sorta smells like goat cheese. Many folks find the smell unpleasant (I didn't mind too much since I absolutely adore goat's cheese), but not to worry - the smell disappears within a few days and shouldn't affect the scent of the final soap.
For the scent, I used a Sweet Pumpkin fragrance oil from Elements Bath and Body. This is my favorite pumpkin scent out of all of the pumpkin FOs I have tried so far. It is more sweet than spicy, which is why I like it so much. See, my nose is weird. I have a difficult time detecting spice notes like cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, etc. A lot of times I can't really smell pumpkin-scented candles. I once had a pumpkin and spice FO that I couldn't smell at all. Thinking that maybe the fragrance was defective, I had my friend sniff the bottle and he said, "What?! You can't smell that? It's so strong!" Funny thing is, my dad is kinda the same way. I dragged him into a Yankee Candle once and made him smell everything and he and I had trouble with a lot of the same scents. Genetics, I guess. DNA is weird wacky stuff.
Anyway, I really like this fragrance oil and everyone else seemed to like it, too, when I used it last year. The vanilla in the fragrance oil does discolor the soap, though, so it is necessary to plan accordingly. My soap went from a carrot-orange color to a dark but lovely brown.
Somewhere along the line, I saw this blog post by Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks. She uses a rubber stamp dipped in mica to embellish her soap bars. I loved this idea, and thought it was an easy way to add some pizzazz to my bars. Amy even made a YouTube video showing how she stamps the soap, and I used her method. (A big thank you to Amy for sharing her technique!) I didn't realize until I watched the video again that she and I had made very similar soaps. We both used pumpkin puree and goat's milk in our batches. When I went to make my pumpkin soap, I remembered that I had some goat's milk in the freezer and thought, Wouldn't that make this soap even nicer?
|The soap about halfway through gel phase|
I used my wooden log mold for this soap, and it turns out that I really didn't need to insulate this batch. With the combination of pumpkin puree, goat's milk, and the spice notes in the fragrance oil, the soap went into gel phase almost immediately. Fortunately, I was peeking at my soap and saw it going into gel phase, so I was able to take the top of the mold and the towels off before the soap overheated or cracked. (My textured tops kinda flopped, though.)
When it was time to cut the soap a couple of days later, I dipped my pumpkin stamp into some of Bramble Berry's Gold Sparkle Mica and then pressed it lightly but firmly into my fresh-cut soap. (It's important that the soap has been cut just before you do the stamping so that the mica will stick to it.)
I had some Goldilocks moments: The first try, I didn't use enough mica. The second try, I used too much. But the third try was juuuuuuust right. I discovered that it is best to get a bunch of mica onto the stamp and then tap the stamp against the countertop to get rid of the excess mica. After I cracked that code, stamping was much smoother and more uniform.
Here is a video showing how I made and stamped my Sweet Pumpkin soap:
How to clean the stamp when you're done? Get a toothbrush (new and unused, of course) and scrub the stamp under running water.
|I bought a bunch of stamps. There was nothing I could do to stop this.|
Oh, and hey, don't forget - it's still November, so that means that it is Givember time at Bramble Berry! A few weeks ago, the lovely folks at Bramble Berry sent me some supplies to try (you can read more about that here) and offered a very special treat to my blog readers. Here's how it works: Any Bramble Berry order placed during the month of November that includes the code GIVEMBER50 will get you entered into a drawing for a $50 Bramble Berry gift certificate. This code only applies to orders placed during November - don't forget to include the code during checkout! Happy shopping, and best of luck to you all in the drawing!
Also, Thanksgiving is next Thursday and I want to wish all of you who are celebrating the holiday a very happy Thanksgiving!