Hand Milled Soap

Cold process soap is a fascinating hobby (or business) to get into. Long ago, when my oldest was a baby I taught myself how to make soap. In the pre-internet days (for me), it was so much harder to learn. There wasn’t videos, and books were sparse at best. As I taught myself how to do it, I found a side niche I enjoyed, which was making hand milled soap from the cold process soap.

And what is hand milled soap? It is taking cold processed soap an extra step. You are left with custom bars of soap that are often much harder than first batch is. It saves on essential oils, but also allows one to make multiple types of soap from one base.

First, you must have soap base. Either make your favorite cold process soap, and let it cure fully – or find a soap maker who can sell you bars.

The not as fun part is grating the soap. It takes time. Use an old school metal box grater, or if you have it, a food processor with a cheese grating option. Or beg older children to do it…..

I use 2 pounds grated soap (weighed after grating). You will need a large stainless steel double boiler (though you can do this in a large heat safe glass mixing bowl in a pinch, however an actual double boiler is easier to use). Put a few inches water in the lower pot, bring to a simmer over medium heat. Put the double boiler over the water, add in the soap and ½ cup filtered water. Lower the heat to low and let slowly melt, stirring very gently with a silicone spatula, as needed. If the soap looks dry, add another ¼ cup water and mix in. The longer a soap has cured, the more water you may need. This isn’t a bad thing though. You learn after a few batches how to “read” how much water is needed.

You can use goats milk, but realize your soap will need to be used up much faster. Water gives a nearly indefinite shelf life.

As the soap softens and melts down, gently stir. It will go from looking like grated cheese to where it is a spreadable thick mixture, and pockets may appear slightly clear. Once all the soap appears melted, stir in any add-ins and essential oils. I use 100 to 120 drops of oil, you may prefer more. The smell won’t be strong at first, however as the soap cools and hardens over time, the heady smell of the soap goes away, and the essential oil smell becomes dominant (especially if you store your soap in plastic totes later). Add more if you are unsure, even up to 200 drops. I keep the add-ins at ¼ cup or so.

Scoop melted soap into a silicone rectangle mold (they are bread pan shaped), placed on a small cookie tray. Spread each scoop across the mold and gently rap to pack it in tight. Once all the soap is in the mold, smooth out the top, and rap firmly on the counter.

Let cool and set up overnight.

To unmold, place a piece of parchment paper on a cooling rack and turn the mold over gently. Pull the sides gently and press the bottom to release the soap. Remove the mold, and let the soap sit for another day, turning over halfway through, so all sides get a chance to dry.

Honey Oatmeal Orange Soap & Peppermint Soap.

Using a soap cutter, slide it through the soap to the size you prefer. I trim the ends as well, giving a uniform look to the bars. I cut between 5 and 6 bars, depending on which rectangle mold I use (one of mine is a little narrower and longer)

Separate each bar, and let sit for up to a week to dry.

Once the sides feel dry, line a storage tote with parchment paper and place the soap inside, and cover. Keep in a cool, dry and preferably out of direct sunlight. Once fully cured you may wish to box or bag the soaps individually.

This soap is Peppermint (peppermint leaves, dried and crushed, and peppermint essential oil).


Holiday Gift Making: Cedar and Rosemary Soap

Handcrafted gifts can be a fun way to show your love to family and friends – and you can use a few cheats to make it simple and easy. Cedar and Rosemary Soap has a deep woodsy scent, that works for both men and women. If you dislike floral, this is the one for you. Its pale green color comes naturally from the rosemary and the color of the essential oils. No need to add in coloring, let nature do it for you. I have included a link to a favorite glycerine soap base, but as always…read the labels before buying to check on ingredients.

Rosemary, air-dried, is mixed into the soap for scrubbing. We harvest all year, and tuck branches into paper bags, and set aside till dry. Once dried, strip the branches and store the needles in glass jars.

I used in the soap blend some of best essential oils I have had the pleasure of using: Whidbey Herbal, which are made just a few miles from our farm. Being able to support other local farms is important for us! But more than that, Whidbey Herbal’s oils just smell fantastic.

Cedar and Rosemary Soap



Grind rosemary in a high-speed blender or herb grinder, and set aside.

Unwrap and cube the soap, place into a microwave safe glass mixing bowl or measuring cup.

Microwave for a minute, check to see if melted. If not, heat for 30 second intervals.

Take out carefully, and stir in rosemary. Stir gently until the rosemary is fully mixed in, this will take about a minute.

Add in essential oils, stir gently to mix.

Place molds on a cookie sheet. Divide soap between molds evenly, a metal ¼ cup measuring cup works well.

Let sit on counter till cooled and firm. Give it a few hours.

Gently pop out, seal in soap bags (or plastic bags/film) and store in a cool/dry area. Glycerin soap needs to be kept covered as it can weep when it pulls moisture out of the air.

*My mold holds about 3 ounces or so per cavity (see link above), the recipe makes about 5 soaps per pound of base. Most molds will tell you how much they hold.

Building A Home Apothecary

Many homesteaders are drawn to natural methods and for many, being able to make natural first aid, herbal remedies and more is a big part of their self-sufficient life. Building a well-stocked apothecary is a first step, so that you can easily create what you need. Dried herbs? Oils? Jars and tins? Essential oils? All ready to go.

What do we have in ours? Quite a bit! Our ‘pantry’ runs from building blocks of raw ingredients, to storage containers, to even incorporating things like scales and measuring spoons.

While the list might look long, it isn’t too terrible and you can slowly add to it. You might even have a number of items already on hand in your kitchen and can use them.

Storage –

Mason Jars: You will want 4-ounce and 8-ounce jars for storing salves, scrubs, oil combos and more. Pint (16-ounce) and quart (32-ounce) for storing dried herbs, salts and more. It is hard to ever have too many mason jars. I use clear as I store my items out of direct light, however you can now get amber jars.

Metal Tins: Lip balm and hand balm sizes to ones big enough for shaving balms. We use these 2-ounce ones.

Plastic Lip Pots: Perfect for lip balm or travel/trial sizes of hand salves and balms. If you like push-up style, we have used these.

Lip Balm Stickers: We use these for our beeswax balm.

Glass Rollerballs: Both 2 ML and 10 ML, for roll on applications. Look for stainless steel or glass roller balls if possible.

Glass Spray Bottles: In 2-ounce, 4-ounce and 8-ounce sizes. Glass is best, as essential oils can cloud plastic over time.

Deodorant and stick balm applicators: Both oval and circle ones are sold, they are handy for recipes needing a push container.

Wooden boxes: For storing mason jars and more in. If you keep your sections tidy, you will know where everything is.

Storage Container for Essential Oils: We use this chest as our main one (though we also use two more wooden ones that are smaller)

Essential Oil Cap Stickers: There are many to choose from, I love the designs on these. Stickers might seem silly, but when you have multiple chests of small containers, it really helps you pick them out quickly.

Prep Items –

Small Digital Scale: Weighs up to 5 pounds.

Measuring Cups and Spoons: Preferably stainless steel for easy cleanup.

Thermometers: While not 100% necessary, a candle thermometer is very helpful for keeping delicate waxes and oils from scorching. If you get into soap making you will want multiples, that are used just for it. As well for candle making.

Empty metal cans or a melting pot: A dedicated melting pot is worth the investment, especially if you melt a considerable amount of beeswax or candle waxes. In apinch use BPA liner free metal cans (such as tomato ones, well scrubbed out).

Bamboo Chopsticks/Compostable Spoons: They are very helpful for stirring, and ladling out recipes. When done, just toss in your compost pile or yard waste bin.

Candle wicking: You can buy rolls of dipped wicking, that you cut to size, but the easiest is to buy an ample stock of ready to use wicks, with bottoms already attached.

Parchment Paper: Great for lining counters with when pouring salves or beeswax (or candles), for easy cleanup.

Paper Towels: You can never have enough on hand for cleanups.

Pipette: These clear flexible plastic pipettes make transferring fluids like fractionated coconut oil a breeze, with almost no mess.

The Raw Ingredients –

Herbs: Buy from a reputable source your dried herbs/spices, such as Mountain Rose Herbs or Frontier Co-Op, or from local farms. Best choice? Grown and air dry your own.

Oils: Depending on projects starting oils might be avocado, coconut, olive oil and so on. Buy organic and cold-pressed/unrefined if at all possible.

Fractionated Coconut Oil: This form of coconut oil is designed to stay liquid all the time. Use it in roller balls and similar.

Shea Butter: Used in balms, salves and more.

Essential Oils: A loaded question on what to buy? See here for a discussion.

Salts: Celtic Sea, Dead Sea and Himalayan are all good choices. Buy as large as possible in grain size.

Clays: There are various forms, personally I only buy as needed.

Wax: Beeswax is the first choice and locally sourced is utterly important. If you cannot find a local source, make sure it isn’t from China, as it is most likely not pure beeswax, if at all.

Enjoy and have fun creating!


Disclaimer: This is a personal opinion post and is not meant to be used as medical advice.

Becoming An Herbalist Mini Course

Herbal Academy has opened up registration for a fabulous new course – a new mini course – that is free! The new Becoming An Herbalist Mini Course:

Becoming an Herbalist Mini Course Registration - class is free!

Have you ever wondered about herbalism classes? This new mini course is open for registration from today (July 19th) till August 5th, and will start on August 6th and has two options: the totally free class, or you can upgrade and purchase a gorgeous printed herbal journey workbook to go with it. Even though I have taken many classes through Herbal Academy, I signed up this morning for the class. And yes, I ordered the workbook, I just couldn’t pass it up!

What is in the course?


Lesson 1 looks closely at certification and regulation for herbalists and explores some of the educational options that are available to those interested in herbal careers. Learning about these important topics will help you begin to develop confidence and lay the groundwork for a career as an herbalist.

In Lesson 2, we will take a look at the language that herbalists use – words you can and cannot use legally, regardless of education, due to the current state of herbalism as an unlicensed practice. While this topic is sometimes confusing for beginning herbalists, it is important to understand the appropriate use of language when talking or writing about herbs.

Lesson 3 dives deep into the ethical considerations of becoming an herbalist. We’ll give you the lowdown on scope of practice, confidentiality, informed consent, and full disclosure. For those interested in clinical practice, we’ll go over basic red flags, safety concerns, and referrals. Introducing yourself to these key concepts will continue to build your confidence in building an ethical and safe herbal practice.

In Lesson 4, we will outline key aspects of starting your own herbal business and the many details that go along with each. Considering the diversity of options covered in this important lesson is an invaluable stepping stone to dreaming up an herbal business and writing a business plan.

Lesson 5 discusses the importance of keeping your finger on the pulse of herbalism. The way that herbalists use herbs is constantly evolving, with new clinical research being published all of the time and practicing herbalists discovering novel ways of bringing balance to human physiology with herbs. Get inspired by all of the ways you can stay connected, network, and continue your herbal education in the last lesson of this free mini course!

Enroll in the FREE Becoming an Herbalist Mini Course and discover your herbal path

And you have plenty of time to take the new class – 3 months once you activate it, meaning if summer is busy, once the kids go back to school, it is time for you to go as well! But don’t wait to sign up – you only have till August 5th, before the class signup closes.


Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle 2018 (Our Book Is In It!)

Why should you want to check out the new Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle 2018 released today?

Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle Short Video 2 from Ultimate Bundles on Vimeo.

When I began first began learning about natural remedies and using them for our family, and in our business, I spent so much time researching. I often had to experiment, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way (and tossed a lot in the garbage or compost bin!). I was fortunate I found mentors, and a great school to take more classes through. It was hard work. And that’s why I want to make it easier for you.

What if I told you someone had already put together a complete package to get you up to speed on using herbs and essential oils safely and effectively, or even help you dig deeper into the research and learn more advanced techniques once you’ve got the basics down?

And… that package was already carefully vetted for you (saving you time) – at a price that’s way too low to miss (saving you money)?

Well, look no further, because it’s here!

Introducing the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle!

For six days only, everything you need (and then some) is in one fabulous package, for the most affordable price ever. (Seriously, just wait until I tell you the price.)

This year’s edition of the Herbs & Essential Oils Super Bundle includes 28 ebooks and printables, 4 full eCourses, and 2 membership sites!

And, it includes a digital copy of my fab book, Natural Body Care: Recipes That Soothe The Skin!

These top-quality resources cover everything you need to give you the skills and confidence to use natural remedies in your home.

You’ll get a complete library to help you:

    • Rebuild your medicine cabinet with natural remedies
    • Create beauty and skincare products without harmful ingredients
    • Treat your digestive complaints, pain, colds, and flus with everything in your medicine cabinet
    • Know which herbs are safe for pregnancy, babies and children
    • Confidently prepare herbal extracts, salves, and balms
    • Liven up your meals and get major health benefits by using the right herbs and so much more!

Plus, it comes with over $60 worth of bonus offers from companies you’ll love (like essential oil diffuser earrings, natural skincare, and herbal tinctures!).

You sort of need to see it to believe it, but the package includes 34 digital products and it’s worth over $560 (but you’ll get it for 95% off)!

Besides being so incredibly helpful, one of the things I like best about the bundle is the price. By offering it for a short time only, the team at Ultimate Bundles is able to give you access to ALL of this… for just $29.97.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit the bundle website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this package, then click the “Get my copy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.
  2. You’ll receive an email with a login to the online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.
  3. Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the topic you want to tackle first and start using natural remedies!

The most important detail, though, is that this bundle is available at this price for just six days! After Monday night, June 4th, the price goes up.

I’d hate for you to miss out, so click here to learn more or buy the bundle: https://us154.isrefer.com/go/heosb2018/a8920/

It’s even backed by a 100% happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.

You want to protect your health. You shouldn’t have to feel overwhelmed because it costs too much or it’s too hard to find trustworthy resources that make using natural remedies easy.

Learn more or get your bundle here: https://us154.isrefer.com/go/heosb2018/a8920/

(Psst… the bundle price will go up at 11:59pm Eastern on Monday, June 4th, so don’t wait!)