Saturday, March 19, 2011

Praising the Bar

The soapfest I've been on for the last three weeks has been absolutely fantastic. Even though soapmaking is my job, I never stop marvelling with each batch that I make. It's almost like I've never made it before and I'm seeing it for the first time. I suppose that's because each batch is an individual in its own right.

I'm sharing with you here the latest batch of Calendula, Calm and Co. The oils creamed beautifully together and every step of the way, I kept saying to The Barbara, "OMG... I can't believe this batch." It really is a beautiful soap to make.

The soap has sat in the mold for 36 hours and I'm splitting the first log. I don't often get this in photographs, but the consistency is so perfect, it looks like it's just been poured. It's just so smooth and the petals have really yielded a bright orange.

This is the log lineup as they come off the cutter. I do this by hand with a single guitar-type string. It gives me a very even cut. It's hard to believe that once upon a time I did this part with a knife.

The full batch lineup. I get five logs that yield 11 bars each, and a nice thick strip that I'll use for samplers or Mischief Makers.

My trusty soap cutter. This stage is a bit like cutting cheese. At two days old, the logs are firm, but even so, you can see the strings slice through it easily enough. In only a few days, the soap bars will have hardened up nicely. But it's the four to six week curing time that really makes for the hard, long-lasting bar of soap that is Manor Hall.

Here's an artsy pic. I don't know what it is about this one, but I love it. I think I might have this blown up and put it on the workshop wall. There's something still and peaceful about it. I think that's rather fitting, seeing that it's Calendula, Calm and Co.

The bounty. I can normally write off a good ten bars per batch as Mischief Makers, but this particular batch has been a full yield. I wasn't supposed to be testing this one out until Wednesday, but it looked so good, I couldn't wait and had to lather it up today. Believe me, it feels as good as it looks. And it will be available for you to lather up on March 28th.

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