Sunday, 19 December 2010

Orange Poppy Seed and Oat Bran Soap

My fourth batch of soap ... and another recipe to try. I'm learning heaps from a forum called 'The Soap Makers' forum and have learned about 'soap calculators' ... places you can enter the quantities of oils you're planning to use and it will tell you how much lye and how much water you need for those oils.

This time I thought about a soap for hands ... with poppy seeds to exfoliate and oat bran to soothe. I've read that orange essential oil won't last due to it being a 'top note' oil, so I used patchouli essential oil to 'anchor' it.

I also mixed about a 1/2 cup of the soap mix with some turmeric to get a golden orange colour. I then mixed this into the top 1/4 of the soaps when they were in the moulds. The colour looks like it might fade, but it was fun trying something different and I like how it looks.

Peppermint with Ground Pumice Soap

For my third batch I used a different combination of oils and this time added a french green clay ... for a hint of colour and it's good for your skin. I used peppermint essential oil and ground pumice stone. I was thinking that this one might be good for Gardener's or for use on dry skin, like around your feet.

I felt much more relaxed making this batch ... think I'm coping better with the 'lye monster'.

The smell is divine ... but I've noted not to use so much essential oil next time!

Cinnamon and Patchouli Soap

I chose to make a second batch, using a slightly different recipe and this time using cinnamon and patchouli essential oils and ground cinnamon to make a swirl ... or to try to make one.

These are the ingredients for this soap.

This soap went to a thick trace much sooner than I expected ... it seemed like it happened after only a few minutes of using the stick blender. I still added the cinnamon and patchouli essential oils. Plus I removed about half a cup of the soap mix and stirred the ground cinnamon into it. Then I returned this to the main mix and stirred it through carefully with some chopsticks. Then put the mix into moulds with a large stainless steel spoon. The mix was too thick to pour in.

24 hours later I unmoulded this soap ... it smelled beautiful, but looks a bit rough.

Next I cut it and decided it doesn't look so bad. Maybe after it's cured for six weeks, it will be an ok batch. Have to remember that cinnamon is not good for people with sensitive skin.

My first batch - Lavender Soap - 27 November 2010

My soap unmould after 24 hours. I sliced the bar from the silicone mould into six pieces.

Up close with the bars of lavender soap

Up close with the muffins of lavender soap

Now I have to wait six weeks to try my first patch! Damn!

Soapmaking Process

Put apron on!
Measured the olive oil in the measuring jug, then into the large saucepan
Measure the coconut oil in the measure jug, then into the large saucepan
Placed the large saucepan on an element, to heat later
Measured the water in a 2 cup pyrex measuring jug

Put gloves on!
These stayed on until after everything was washed up!
Weighed a small glass bowl, then added the lye to this bowl

Took the pyrex measuring jug with the water outside and put it in a cardboard box on my deck
Took the stainless steel mixing spoon and thermometer outside and put them in the cardboard box

Put on my goggles and paper filter face mask!
Carefully carried the glass bowl with the lye outside to my deck and slowly and carefully poured it into the water. You must add the lye to the water, as the reaction of doing it the other way can cause major health risk. Gently stir it with the mixing spoon. I couldn’t smell or feel any fumes, which was a great relief!

NOTE – the lye reacts with the water and will become very hot and fumy, so make sure you and the area around you is protected. Also this is not the time to have children or animals around. Make sure they are safely in bed or inside the house.

I put the thermometer in the lye mixture and it was about 80 C, now you have to wait, until it gets down to 50 C

While waiting I prepared some moulds. I had no idea how many to use, so I had more than I needed, including a mix of plastic, cooking ‘rubbery’ ones, cardboard shoe box, ceramic bowls, glass and pyrex bowls. Also I had wax paper and spray cooking oil.

Next I turned my element on to low to slowly heat the oils

I kept checking on the lye mix to see how the temperature was dropping ... I’ve read that you can cool this down in a sink/bowl of cold water if you need to.

When the temperature of the lye mix was 50 C and the oils 50 C, I added the lye mix to the oils (I had the saucepan with the oils in my sink, ready for this). The colour of the oils became slightly cloudy, but the smell was fine. I think all I could smell was the beautiful coconut oil.

I started to blend with the stick blender. Mix carefully as this mixture remains caustic until the soap has cured. The mixture will be runny to begin with and then slowly it will thicken.

At around the 10 minute mark I recognised that the mixture had thickened and I’m not sure, but it may have already been at ‘trace’.

I added 1 tsp of lavender essential oil and the heads from some lavender flowers

I mixed a little further and I was sure the mixture was now ‘trace’, as I could clearly see ripples on the top and when I removed the blender marks remained on the surface. Plus drops of liquid from the blender left a ‘trace’ on the mixture when they dropped. I suspect my mixture was a little too thick ... but I’m hoping that it will still make great soap.

I now poured this mixture into the moulds I prepared. I had to use a spatula to complete this, due to the mixture being thicker than necessary.

I wrapped the moulds with towels so they won’t cool too quickly and put them on a tray. Now I have to leave them to set ... this is the ‘not so good’ part!

I’ve read to leave the moulds for between 15 hours and a day or two ...

First Batch - Lavender Soap

Here's the protective equipment I used -

Here's the containers and other bits and pieces I need to use -

Here's the moulds I might use ... haven't really decided which ones I'll need, as I have no idea how much soap the recipe will make -

And here's the ingredients for the recipe I'm trialling -

Saturday, 18 December 2010


Four weeks ago I finally found the courage to make my first batch of soap. I'd researched this subject for years and was always a bit scared of the 'lye monster' ... in fact I didn't want to believe that I had to use such a caustic ingredient as potassium hydroxide ... it just seems all wrong to use the main ingredient in drain cleaner when I'm trying to change my lifestyle to be as chemical free as possible.

Finally I did more research and learned about the scientific process that oils and lye go through, and how soap is actually made ... and what happens to that nasty 'lye monster'.

So with that knowledge I got myself the necessary protective equipment ... goggles, paper filter mask, heavy duty gloves and apron ... and made sure all the bits and pieces I wanted to use were either stainless steel, pyrex or plastic ... no other metals.

Then it was about gathering the ingredients, measuring precisely ... making sure the laundry door was shut, so my dog couldn't get outside ... as I decided to mix the water and lye outside ... to keep all 'chemical fall out' away from the inside of my house.

I decided my first soap would be lavender and that I'd keep the mix smallish ... as I really had no idea what would happen.

To be continued ...

Monday, 12 April 2010

11 Days - with 7 elastics

It's incredible ... except when I have to eat, I don't remember I have all these elastics.

My daily wear doesn't vary much, which I'm hoping is good -
- 4 hours on Thursday- 19 hours (10 hr, 9 hr) on Friday
- 19 hours (9 hr, 10 hr) on Saturday
- 22 hours (19 hr, 3 hr) on Sunday
- 21 hours - 18 x 7 (12 hr, 4 hr, 2 hr) + 3 x 4 on Monday
- 21 hours - 9 x 7 (7 hr, 2 hr) + 12 x 4 on Tuesday
- 21 hours - 9 x 7 (7 hr, 2 hr) + 12 x 4 on Wednesday
- 20 hours - 9 x 7 (7 hr, 2 hr) + 11 x 4 on Thursday
- 21 hours - 9 x 7 (7 hr, 2 hr) + 12 x 4 on Friday
- 22 hours - 19 hr + 3 x 4 (when I had visitors) on Saturday
- 22 hours - (18 hr + 4 hr) on Sunday
- 21 hours - 11 x 7 (8 hr, 3 hr ) + 10 x 4 on Monday

I'm changing my diet to raw, although sometimes I've found chewing a challenge, but I'm loving the changes I'm learning about. I'm also having one green smoothie a day ... and they're amazing!

My favourite green smoothie so far is -
- 200 gm silverbeet
- 3 bananas
- 1 handful of strawberries
- 1 cup water

Blend ... and enjoy!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Thursday - 1 Week with 7 elastics

Apart from not being able to eat with these elastics in, things feel as comfortable as they usually do. Often I go to put something in my mouth and then realise I can't. This is a reminder why I don't like the thought of invisalign and why I'm grateful it was never an option for me.

My daily wear hasn't varied much -
... so far -
- 4 hours on Thursday
- 19 hours (10 hr, 9 hr) on Friday
- 19 hours (9 hr, 10 hr) on Saturday
- 22 hours (19 hr, 3 hr) on Sunday
- 21 hours - 18 x 7 (12 hr, 4 hr, 2 hr) + 3 x 4 on Monday
- 21 hours - 9 x 7 (7 hr, 2 hr) + 12 x 4 on Tuesday

- 21 hours - 9 x 7 (7 hr, 2 hr) + 12 x 4 on Wednesday
- 20 hours - 8 x 7 (7 hr, 2 hr) + 11 x 4 on Thursday

I now think it'll be weekends that will be the challenge, as this weekend I have several activities and they will grately reduce my x 7 elastic wear ... but I'm coping well with x 4 wear, so here's to that making progress.

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Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Tueday - Day 5 with 7 elastics

First day at work since my new elastics and although I only have to wear four at work, I feel they hold as tightly as the seven do. The best part is, with four I can talk ... although I still can't eat 'real' food.

My ortho was pleased with the times I've been managing and still wants me to work hard at wearing the seven elastics as much as possible.

... so far -
- 4 hours on Thursday
- 19 hours (10 hr, 9 hr) on Friday
- 19 hours (9 hr, 10 hr) on Saturday
- 22 hours (19 hr, 3 hr) on Sunday
- 21 hours - 18 x 7 (12 hr, 4 hr, 2 hr) + 3 x 4 on Monday
- 21 hours - 9 x 7 (7 hr, 2 hr) + 12 x 4 on Tuesday

I can't see me being able to decrease the hours wearing four elastics, due to that being from when I got ready to leave home till I took them out for tea. Here's to there being some progress soon. My ortho has warned me, that with my history, it's possible that my teeth will not move as desired ... but I'm hoping they'll prove him wRoNg!

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Monday, 5 April 2010

Monday - Day 4 with 7 elastics

Today was a public holiday ... so I've managed 'good times' again ...

I managed to wear them -
- 4 hours on Thursday
- 19 hours (10 hr, 9 hr) on Friday
- 19 hours (9 hr, 10 hr) on Saturday
- 22 hours (19 hr, 3 hr) on Sunday
- 21 hours - 18 + 3 hours (12 hr, 4 hr, 2 hr) + 3 hr of 4 x elastic wear on Monday

I'm now more comfortable with the elastics in than out. That's something I didn't expect.

When I take the five elastics that run across the front of my bite off, there's not a huge difference in feeling, but when I remove elastic one and seven ... the ones on the sides, my jaw feels lost ... it's a huge 'release of pressure' feeling. Interesting ...

Here's some pics of my mouth with 4 x elastics, what I need to wear when I have to talk, for example when I'm at work.

This is much easier to cope with than the 7 elastics, although I can't eat with them in.
Tomorrow I return to work ... it will be interesting!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Sunday - day 3 with 7 elastics

Today ... Sunday ... my mouth is feeling heaps better ... my jaw isn't achy, which is a huge relief.

Last night I cleaned before going to bed ... around midnight ... and I've not taken these things out since. It's been 13 hours ... and I'm stoked I've done this long. I've been drinking protein shakes (with loads of yummies added - pureed), so I'm not hungry. Have to admit I'm looking forward to tea time ... as I'll definitely be eating big time. Will make sure I have softish food, as my jaw may not be too keen on chewing ... but will see how it feels at the time.

After the protein shakes, I've been brushing the front of my teeth gently and using a mouthrinse. I've not been off my property, so I'm not concerned about odours at this moment ... but if I sense visitors, I'll be in my bathroom asap!

My ortho said he's only ever done this a few times in the past and only with stubborn patients ... I think he meant patients with stubborn teeth ... and I couldn't laugh properly, as I already had the elastics in when he told me!

He has said I only need to wear elastics numbers 1, 2, 3 and 7 during work hours and when I'm public, and if possible number 4. Then add 5 and 6 (the ones that stretch the furthest) when I don't need to talk to people, or eat.

Last night ... after two days of 19 hours ... here's the pics of share relief!
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Saturday, 3 April 2010

These Elastics are Horrid!

I managed to wear them -
- 4 hours on Thursday
- 19 hours (10 hr, 9 hr) on Friday
- 19 hours (9 hr, 10 hr) on Saturday

... I'm not counting Thursday ... as that's when I got them, but Friday was a holiday and Saturday's the 'real' weekend ... so both days are short by 3 hours.

I can't work out how I'm going to fit that extra 3 hours in ... plus if I decide to have a life (like go off my property) ... I'm not sure how I'd cope in public with these elastics in, as I can't talk properly, I can't eat and ... whinge, whinge, whinge ...

The frustrating thing is ... I really what my braces off asap ... and this seems like the best way to make this happen. Maybe I need to not work for the next few months ... stay away from friends ... and phones ... and just wear these elastics ... except when I'm eating and cleaning my teeth.
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I'm not sure why I'm doing the cheesy metal grin ... as really I'm not smiling on the inside!

A reminder of what's happened in the past 4 1/2 years of treatment

Wow ... it does make me realise that heaps has changed ... even though it often feels that there's so much that needs doing!
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Smiling through seven elastics

My lastest 'chair time' brought with it a major change in elastics ... in fact more major than I thought possible!

My ortho said he's trying to 'pull' my bite together so I can get my braces off. They've been on far too long (no disagreement from me on that one) ... so something needs to be done. Hopefully if these elastics work ... and for the discomfort, they damn well better ... my teeth will be free this side of christmas. Now that's something to motivate me to do my best to wear them as directed.

Wearing instructions ... as long as possible each day! Break that down further ... try to achieve 15 hours on work days and 22 hours on weekends, holidays etc. Oh my dear Goddess ... those are long hours. My ortho added that I need to try and wear them for long periods ... by that he was meaning, not to put them in, take them out, put them in, take them out ... Think I may try and keep a log on here to see what I achieve ... as I do need to try hard and this may motivate me, if I have to write it down.

My jaw is still a bit achy and there's no way I can eat with the elastics in. Also talking is a challenge, although I'm doing my best. It's a good thing this started the evening before a long weekend ... as that gives me four days to do my best!

Here's the photos ... beware ... these are scary!

Front ... showing my open bite. My upper front teeth are tied together with chord after having IPR to straighten the edges of them, so they meet without a gap.
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Left - this shows the seventh elastic, it travels from the hook on my upper canine under the hooks on my lower canine and premolar and back to the upper canine's hook. The bend in the archwire is still working to bring down and align the upper premolar ... but it doesn't seem to want to move.
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Right - the beginning of the six elastics to 'pull' my bite across. The cord tied around the brackets on my lateral incisor and first premolar have totally closed the gap where my impacted canine sits in my jaw. That chord is still there and the major bend in the archwire is to bring that premolar down even further ... but like the left one, it's not keen to move. Then there's a bend to try and bring the second premolar into better alignment ... I'm hoping they work ... very soon!
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Just for some fun ... I quite like this look, as you can't see all the wear on my front teeth, or all the things that orthodontics alone can't fix without surgery. This photo also shows, that even with the elastics 'pulling' my jaw round, the middle of my upper teeth is way off ... so without surgery, even if my teeth move, my jaw will remain well off centre. This hopefully won't affect my bite in the long term. One thing I love about this photo, is that it makes my upper teeth look to be well in front of my lowers. They're not really that far in front (as the upper two side view show) ... but it looks great compared to where I started, with a class III and edge to edge.
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Laughing ... well as best I can with these elastics holding tightly ... I've decided that after having braces for so long, laughing is really the only way to look at my situation.
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