soap photos

soap recipe calculations
calculations are the first step to creating excellent soap
coconut oil soap recipe
Coconut oil one of the solid oils that I use the most.
cocoa butter soap recipe
Cocoa butter is the secret to a luscious bar of soap
olive oil soap recipe
Olive oil is a magical ingredient for the skin.
soap making ingredients
Soap ingredients. Goat’s milk and beeswax from local sources.
soap making
Melting the oils in a stainless steel pot.
lye soap
Lye is available in flake or powder form. I prefer the powder, it dissolves more evenly, giving fewer surprises when making goat’s milk soap.
ice bath for goat's milk
An ice bath is essential for keeping your goat’s milk from curdling when you add the lye
cold goat's milk before adding lye
Goat’s milk before adding the lye. Always use non-reactive materials with lye, such as plastic or stainless steel.
lye reaction in goat's milk
The lye reaction will cause the milk to turn yellow. It’s important to add the lye slowly so you don’t spoil the milk with it. Takes patience. I usually freeze my goat’s milk now so that I can add the lye more quickly. You still have to be careful though.
adding lye solution to oils
Stir constantly when adding the lye solution to the oils
using hand held blender to mix soap
A stick blender is a great mixer for this but I have burned out a few. I’m going to try out a paint stirrer, the kind that attaches to a drill, to see if that works even better.
Gel phase. It’s not really recommended for goat’s milk soaps to let them enter gel phase. This is what it looks like when it does. The soap is still good, most of the time, but sometimes it can overcook your milk and spoil the soap.
Bentonite clay was added to this soap as a drawing agent. It is good for oily skin. It wasn’t a popular experiment so we haven’t made a second batch.
A horrific failure to saponify. I’m not sure what happened, this was my first soap failure. There have been others.
What not to do: don’t overestimate your crock pot’s capacity, and don’t use aluminum foil. It’s reactive and I don’t know what I was thinking.
seven deadly sins soap
wash away your sins, start with the seven deadliest
An older example of our packaging. All very home-made.
what our soap looked like at LAAFF
Coffee soap.
We got some wooden boxes after realizing how plastic everything was at LAAFF. Naturally, the soap is just a teensy bit too wide for the boxes so we have them stacked sideways.

003 011 001 004 009 019 020 234 011 008


snow days

One good thing about snow days is that you pretty much get forced to do some work. Here at the alchemy lab I’ve been retooling our labels and making some Seven Deadly Sins samplers. Can’t wait to show everyone the new packaging idea!

Also we poured up the yellow root tincture and I am testing the bundle of yellowroot to see if any dye remains in the sticks. I’m trying it on my police line scarf, the yellow has faded from that one a lot. We’ll see. If it doesn’t do much I may throw in some turmeric.

AND, I’ve almost finished another police line scarf…if noone buys it before Saturday I’ll have it at my booth at the Madison County Arts Council Holiday sale, at the Arts Council building on Main Street in Marshall.

Looks like I will be making a snakeskin project for my Design Project. I am looking for the right kind of glue to use on snakeskin. I have not decided what I am going to make but it will probably be something simple since I have never worked with snakeskin before.


Well, we had a good day!  I did feel that we would’ve had a better booth ambience without all the plastic, so we’re looking into some booth upgrades for the next time.  I am looking for some wooden crates or boxes that we can use instead of the plastic.  I do like the plastic for storage because the soaps don’t lose their scent.

our table before the festival started

I do feel the booth had a sort of boring look.  I will probably make new signs and everything.  But, it’s okay, we did great even though it wasn’t the most spectacular visual experience, so I’m just thinking how great it will be when we get it looking really nice.  We did get a lot of ‘it smells good in here’ so we’re just going to build on the whole concept of making it pleasing to all the senses to lure people into the world of luscious handmade soap.

the booth from outside

We really didn’t have a lot of time to take pictures!  It was a wild day and we each took a spin around the festival a few times, and lots of Asheville friends stopped by to say hi and buy soap.

The seven deadly sins soaps got a lot of attention.  Things are in the works to bring them to Asheville retailers.  Wish me luck everyone!

The other new development is that I got in touch with an old friend to get some goat’s milk from her since my other source is going to dry up soon, literally, and I got the best tasting goat’s milk I’ve ever had.  I think it’s because she loves those goats.  I am going to go out there and blog about her micro-farm one day soon.

More LAAFF preparation shenanigans

We decided the horns needed to be better represented in photos here.

I guess I should try looking more fearsome

We got another picture I will allow other human beings to view

I definitely need some kind of pointy tipped battle axe

So, there it is.  Now I just have to figure out what the rest of my costume is going to be.

The New Horns

yep, that's me with my smashing new horns

Today was a fun day. I went down to the Organic Armor studio in the River Arts District in Asheville. I forgot my camera, which I really meant to bring. Mostly because I wanted to play dress up and take pictures. So, what I did instead was I picked out this awesome set of horns. I was torn. Should I choose the ones that stick in your hair and really look like you have horns growing out of the top of your head? or the ones like this that sit across the head more like a tiara? I think it might have been designed with a different placement on the head in mind, I’ll get someone to take a picture that way some other time. Perhaps Sunday, even.

list of soap varieties I have available right now

Good News!! For those of you looking for an easy way to order my soap and other various assorted things I’ve made, I have an etsy store! There is a link on the right column of this page, Toadstool Alchemy Lab’s etsy store. Thanks to everyone who made me do it finally.

Lavender Goatmeal -yes, goat’s milk and oatmeal-olive, coconut oils, cocoa butter and beeswax-$9

Lavender goat’s milk-goat’s milk, olive, coconut oils, cocoa butter and beeswax-$8

Peppermint- goat’s milk, olive, coconut oils, cocoa butter and beeswax-$8

Cedarwood: goat’s milk, olive, coconut oils $8

Rosemary-goat’s milk, olive, coconut oils, cocoa butter, beeswax-$8

Lemongrass-olive, coconut oils, cocoa butter and beeswax-$7

Ylang Ylang (pronounced eelong eelong): olive, beeswax, cocoa butter, coconut oils $7

Patchouli:  olive, coconut oils $7

Jewelweed: olive, coconut, palm kernel, shea, clary sage and ylang ylang oils $9

Palmarosa/Rosewood: olive, beeswax, coconut, palm kernel oils $7 SOLD OUT

Palmarosa/Ylang Ylang/Bentonite clay (for oily skin): olive, palm kernel oils, cocoa butter. $5-not recommended for dry skin as the bentonite clay is a drying agent. These bars are smaller, more in the 3-4 oz range and are really for problem (acne prone) skin.

Nutmeg/Cinnamon Leaf-goat’s milk, olive, coconut oils, cocoa butter, beeswax, ground coffee $9-not recommended for ‘mature’ skin as the coffee grounds are an exfoliant which may be too harsh

except where noted, these soaps are all very mild and good for all skin types, cocoa butter soaps are especially nice for skin that is on the dry side.

prices are per ~5 oz. bar. email me at to make your order. Smaller bars and sample packs available on request. Bulk orders (10 bars or more) receive a 10% discount.