Growing Calendula and Making Soap!

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I thought I’d post about what I have been up to lately.  As most of you know, I love making things from scratch and trying new things.  Well…recently I have started exploring a couple of new things:  growing herbs and making soap!

Growing Herbs {Calendula for now!}

I tried to grow some basil last year and the rabbits ate all of it before it even had a chance to get very big!  One year I grew some mint in some pots and that went pretty well.  We dried the leaves and used them in tea.  Yum!

Well, as I have been looking more into herbs that you can grow and use for medicinal purposes, I landed on some information about growing Calendula (Pot Marigold).  This flower is supposed to be very easy to grow and produces flowers that can be used for medicinal purposes.  This week we cleaned out one of our front flowerbeds and planted Calendula seeds.  We’ll see how it goes :).

My plan is to use the flowers to infuse oil that I can use in making lotions and salves.  I can’t wait to give it a try.  I’ll have to post some pictures later of the process.

Making Soap

I tried to make soap years ago and never had much luck.  I’m not sure if it was the recipe I used or if I just did it wrong, but the soap didn’t turn out very good.  Recently I decided to give it another try.  I have to say that making your own soap is a learning process.  It takes a few times to get the hang of it.

I have made two batches of soap and both batches didn’t turn out too good.  Thankfully I read about how you can “rebatch” the soap to “fix” it.  The first batch of soap I rebatched turned out kind of dry still, but it is still usable.  In fact, I have a bar in the shower right now that we are using!  (I read that when you rebatch soap you don’t have to wait as long to use it…it’s just the longer you wait the harder the soap will be and the longer it will last.)

The second batch of soap that I had to rebatch turned out a LOT better!  It looks smooth and more like soap.  It is cut and is curing right now, so I will be anxious to try that one soon!

One of the changes that I made from when I made soap years ago, is that I bought a stick blender to use.  When you are mixing the oil and water/lye mixture, if you stir by hand it can take hours to get to “trace”.  With a stick blender you can reach trace in a matter of minutes!

I am still learning though.  With each batch I made, I learned what I did wrong so that next time I will hopefully get it right the first time!  In the meantime, I have a bunch of bars of soap to  use up :).  When I start getting low I’ll try it again.

The Miller Soap website is a wealth of information on making soap.  If you are at all interested, check it out!

Have any of you tried making your own soap?  Do you have a favorite recipe?  Please share your experience!

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    1. Thanks Diane for sharing that! I started a notebook for myself of herbs...the first section is Calendula! I planted a whole section of one of my front flowerbeds with Calendula, so we'll see if they take off. I sure hope so, as I would love to get some oil infusing with some flowers this summer! Have a great day!
  1. hello Sheri, could you share with us a soapmaking technique you are currently using? I've checked out that website and there is so much information, that i got confused! I still would like to simply know-how to make my own soap at home. Is it possible for you to do that?
    1. Thanks for asking. I am really just learning this and am not in a position to give expert advice yet! I do plan on doing a post sometime soon showing the recipe I used and then linking to the instructions that I followed. It is a rather simple process, but you do have to know what you are doing...and that takes some experience and trail and error :)!

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