Thursday, October 3, 2019

Gma's Jittery Mocha Latte soap...

I started making this soap because so many people love coffee and coffee has great benefits for the skin. The first batch I made had coffee as part of the water in the lye solution and coffee grounds as an exfoliant.

Current Gma's Jittery Mocha Latte soap...

It is a pretty great soap with castor, coconut, grapeseed, olive, sweet almond and avocado oils, as well as cocoa butter. It also has yogurt and heavy whipping cream. I really wanted this soap to smell like coffee and I have searched for a roasted coffee essential oil for months.

During that search I started reading about the benefits of coffee bean oil (not essential oil) and there are a lot of them. I'm one of those people who kind of take miracle cures/fixes with a grain of salt even though I've had tremendous luck with essential oils for so many different things.

Some of the claims that coffee bean oil proponents promote include...
  • Reduces acne
  • Diminishes cellulite
  • Soothes insect bites/stings
  • Soothes puffy eyes
  • Acts as an antioxidant and fights free radicals 
  • Reduces fine lines/wrinkles

I definitely felt like it was worth the investment to add this to Gma's Jittery Mocha Latte Soap. To make recipes for soap I use a soap calculator (SoapCalc) that lets you...well, calculate soap ingredients. Most importantly, it calculates the safe amount of lye to use in your batch.

When I want to see the properties of a specific oil, I just add that one oil to get an idea of what it does for soap on it's own. So here are the results of coffee bean oil...

I mainly pay attention to the top 5 "Soap Bar Quality" numbers and I can see that coffee bean oil adds hardness to the bar, is conditioning and provides a creamy, rather than bubbly, lather. So it seems like a good addition to soap because SoapCalc is going by the oils properties (fatty acid chains and stuff), not by what the internet says about coffee bean oil. You can see that it has no cleansing properties in and of itself, however if you're using it to wash your hands your hands will still get clean...because you're washing them. In comparison, check out what happens if a bit of coconut oil is added...

It becomes a much harder bar, it has great cleansing qualities and now it has some bubbles. But, the conditioning and creamy qualities go down. Ahhhhhhh! I can spend hours working on recipes to get the best possible properties I can. So why does this happen? No idea. Obviously coconut oil has different fatty acid chains and they may react to water molecules in a whole 'nuther way.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Coffee soap! So I made more Gma's Jittery Mocha Latte Soap yesterday and added roasted coffee bean oil and coffee essential (I wasn't sure if the coffee bean oil scent would stay through the curing process). I just have to say that both of these smelled amazing! I was pretty excited about making a coffee soap that smells like coffee.

So the batch was mixed and I split a tiny bit of the batter off. To the larger portion I added organic cacao is a mocha latte, afterall. I left the smaller portion as it was and poured...

Textured the top with a spoon and sprinkled ground organic coffee and organic cane sugar on top.

Now I just clean the kitchen and start waiting to see if it gels...

The soap did gel, the hottest temperature reading was 114 degrees F.

And this morning it was ready to slice...

You can see the lighter drop swirl at the top of the bars.

This soap should darken a bit, at least the part with the cacao powder, it's a bit hard to see but there is a darker rim around the sides and bottom of the soap. This "discoloration" is part of the curing process. I was a little perplexed by the fact that the coffee grounds look like they're encased in air bubbles, I try pretty hard to eliminate air bubbles in the soap before and after the pour.

The biggest issue I have at the moment is that...I smell very little coffee. I didn't necessarily want it to be a hit-you-in-the-face coffee scent but I didn't want it to be a I-think-I-smell-coffee-but-it-might-be-my-imagination scent either. I'm hoping when the "new soap smell" wears off, the coffee scent will shine through. If not, at least it will have real coffee, coffee grounds and coffee bean oil. That's about as coffee as I can make it and it will be listed in my shop at the end of October.

If you can't wait until then to grab a bar of Gma's Jittery Mocha Latte Soap, there are a few bars of the original version left in the shop.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Re-using plastic grocery bags...

A few posts ago I joked about how back in the day crocheted hats were the thing to make with saved up plastic grocery bags. I'm not exactly sure how it started but the thought of repurposing plastic bags was kind of new then.

When stores started using plastic bags instead of paper bags it was like, yayeeeee, we're saving trees! Well, we all know how that turned out. I've never been a fan of plastic bags, sure, they have handles but sometimes they're just plain useless. You often have to do the double bag thing so then you're stuck with one more bag to dispose of.

Anyway, after that last post I decided to see what other things people were making with plastic bags. Some are actually kind of cool. I'm not affiliated with any of the links, or any links, (my family does claim me sometimes, though).

I searched the webs for plarn crochet projects (plarn is basically plastic yarn), there were tons to choose from. There's also knitting and weaving projects as well.  

If you have an overabundance of plastic bags and are looking for something crafty to do you might check out a video or two on how to cut the bags. It might seem like a no brainer, cutting bags into strips, but there are a few secrets to it that allows you to cut the bag into one long strip so you're tying fewer strips together. 

I wasn't able to find the owner of these cushions but if you can crochet you will most likely be able to find a pattern for a ball and scale it up a wee bit.

Had to include the hat!