So, you may ask, "Where has she been?" Well, we've been doing a couple of things at once.
The big thing is that we have been trying out the big soapmaking equipment. From time to time, I decide that it doesn't really make that big of a difference because, after all, we can make 8 or more regular batches in a day. With Tina helping, we are like a "well oiled machine" and just pump them out very easily. We've been making soap together since day one and there is this strange little ballet that we do - each anticipating the next move of the other.
This new equipment is throwing us for a loop because it calls for a completely different dance. Weighing such large quantities of soap - mixing large quantities of lye, daunting. Risking much larger quantities on each pour. You get the idea. It also seems to be pretty picky about at what stage of trace we pour the soap. The much larger mass in the molds causes worries over heat building up and causing other problems.
To the left, I'm mixing a batch in a 5 gallon bucket with a mixer on the end of a drill. (See my Crocs?) The trace takes much longer and that comes as a surprise.
The finished product, though, is very nice - uniform and a LOT of one soap. It will be so nice to have large quantities of some of the varieties - and all in one shot.
The cutter (to the right), although sometimes hard to push through all that soap, just does such a nice job. It's pretty impressive looking, don;t you think?
I've used the same setup for 6 years or so. A great mold and cutter arrangement that my husband, Bob, made for me. We'll still use that for some of the soaps that aren't the best sellers and it's very comfortable.
Yesterday, we made 4 regular batches of various types of soap along with one giant batch of lavender.
The big batches are still pretty touch and go. The lavender is a marbled soap and I can't wait til it comes out of the mold to see how that turned out.
Along with all the soap action, Tina changed the deadline for The Essential Herbal and we're also working on the preliminaries of putting the next edition together. It will be nice to have enough time to proofread it properly etc.
It will be easier as time goes on. I just keep telling myself, "Change is good, change is good!"