Soap recipe

Wild crafting rose petals: a sensory delight with castile soap recipe included!

Mason jar filled with wild rose petals

It is hard to drive down a gravel road on a sunny day without ogling all of the wild roses that appear to be waving at me, reminding me to stop to pick them.

I asked my husband to help because he doesn’t mind the thorns and is able to crash into the bushes like a bear to pick the petals in half the time that it takes me to do it.

My main goal is to make a rose petal infused olive oil to stir into a batch of soap. But instead of one of my regular recipes, I want to do a pure olive oil soap otherwise known as Castile soap.

I have been wanting to try this for a while as it is getting harder and harder to find oils that don’t have some sort of socioeconomic or environmental costs associated with it and as far as I know there are no human or animal rights issues with olive oil to date.

It was a sunny Sunday when we went hunting for wild rose petals.

It was hard to reach many of the rose petals as some of these plants trailed up over 30 feet in the air. But after a short time, we got a bag full. I took them home and sorted through gently on a piece of white clean cloth to get rid of bugs and then piled them into a clean glass mason jar. I poured olive oil to cover and mussed them up to allow the petals to release their fragrance to infuse in the oil. I set this into a pan of water and brought it to a boil to heat it up. I then set this aside with a tight-fitting lid in a dark place and shook it for a few days. I used this infusion after only a week.

After the petals have been stewing for a week or so, I  strained out the petals, which have discoloured considerably, but the leftover scent of oils is extremely fragrant and a lovely addition to my pure olive oil soap.

I am nervous about using an olive oil only soap. When I ran the numbers through a lye calculator, the one I like to use is as it gives an easy to read recipe that gives you options, such as how much to superfat and how creamy or cleansing the bar will be. In this case, it is telling me that the bar is 0 for cleansing! I am curious about how this feels in the shower but I will have to be patient. ( Update: it feels fabulous and smells amazing!)


2834 grams extra virgin olive oil ( I ran out part way and had to use about 250 grams of pomace olive oil)

850 grams water

356 grams Lye

French pink clay for swirling

Essential oils weighed out in grams about 114 grams in total

20 grams rose geranium

40 grams palmarosa

20 grams clary sage

20 grams jamarosa

14 grams lavender

I used mainly extra virgin olive oil for this batch, I weighed it out as usual but then topped it up with the strained wild rose oil infusion.

Follow basic soap making instructions wearing all of your safety gear as usual.

The extra virgin olive oil gave the soap a nice deep orangey yellow colour as I was stirring it up. At trace, I stirred in a healthy dollop of the infused olive oil for extra scent.

I had my oils and lye water at about 97 degrees and later covered the batch with a sleeping bag. I found them easy to pop out of the mold. I think they overheated because they had a bit of a darker swirl in the middle, so next time I might not insulate them so heavily. I might only use a towel.

Below is a picture of my wild rose olive oil soap after I cut them into large chunks.

They smell divine. I am going to use this essential oil combination again, as it’s a winner.

I will let these cure for at least 6 weeks before I use them. I love the pink clay swirl and must note that the base colour is more yellow in real life than the photo portrays. This yellow colour is from using the extra virgin olive oil and some of my essential oils would have changed the colour. I do not like to add titanium dioxide to whiten my bars because I don’t believe that you should add extra ingredients that are unnecessary.

Wild Rose Olive Oil Soap
Simple body product recipes

Rose Petal Lip Balm


It is hard not to want to make all your recipes with rose petals now that they are in bloom in everyone’s garden. After enjoying my rose and olive castile soap I decided to put rose petal infused olive oil in a lip balm recipe. I have read that shea butter and raspberry seed oil have nice sun protection factor or SPF so it seemed like a good idea to include it into my recipe but I still recommend wearing a nice floppy hat on a hot sunny day.

Here is my recipe…. I made it on the soft side because my daughter said she prefers a softer balm.

Rose Petal Lip Balm

22 grams beeswax

16 grams cocoa butter

16 grams aloe butter

20 grams of shea butter

12 grams of raspberry seed oil

6 grams of apricot kernel oil

4 grams or less vitamin E oil

20 grams of rose petal infused olive oil

This is a very simple and straight forward recipe after you have made your rose petal infused oil. First measure all of your ingredients on your scale. I like to weigh everything in grams. Melt the beeswax in pourable Pyrex large glass measuring cup set in a double boiler. I poured in some of the liquid oils at this point.

I set the measuring cup on a metal trivet in the bottom of my large pot of boiling water. If you have a microwave please use it in short intervals only as you do not want to overheat the beeswax. Heat one minute, stir, heat 40 seconds, etc.

After the beeswax is melted, add the cocoa butter and aloe butter and the last of the liquid oils except for the vitamin E oil. I stir in the shea butter last. Add your vitamin E oil at the very end so it doesn’t evaporate out. Stir well. Quickly pour your melted mixture into what ever containers you like. I happened to have some oval tubes. I also have this handy dandy lip balm holder that saves a lot of time and energy. But if you don’t have one just use a large elastic band to keep your tubes upright as you are filling them.


I really had fun making up these pretty labels on Publisher. I then sent them to my local printer to have them done up on some sticky label paper.

Next time I would like to use SKS packaging’s small cardboard tubes.

See link below to marvel at them.

I thought I would leave this batch unflavoured because I find the flavouring often makes your lips chapped, which is not what I am going for. I thought it might be fun to infuse the batch with a single strand of a real vanilla bean. It smells wonderful but I should have infused the oils longer because I can’t taste the vanilla at all. I also decided not to add any sweetener like honey because I have trouble mixing it into the melted butters and oils. But please do experiment.

These lip balms are pure moisture. The oils and butters feel like you have rose petals kissing your lips.


(How to clean up afterwards)

I suggest that you heat the glass Pyrex glass up again on the stove and then wipe it out with a paper towel to get the greasy parts off. I  then add a splash of white vinegar and let it sit for a bit before washing with hot soapy water.




Simple body product recipes

Tattoo & Body Balm Recipe

My whole family has tattoos. There are fishbones dancing around my husband’s freckled arm, jellyfish tentacles snaking down my youngest’s arm and a tiny wave and black ink whale on my other daughter’s body. So of course I had to make up a natural recipe to keep their skin pliable and moisturized and also to buff up the ink to keep it sharp looking.

I decided to use one of my favourite oils for moisturizing… apricot kernel oil. I also decided to try a new one, raspberry seed oil that is high in sun protection factor or SPF. To add a bit more SPF value I put in a heaping tablespoon of fragrant green tea botanical extract.

I used to make an eczema salve I called ugly butter that was high in shea butter that was well loved. It also had kukui nut oil in it which is quite pricey so I quit making it but I decided to take the high shea butter part of the beloved ugly butter recipe and go from there. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to put beeswax in a tattoo balm recipe as it would add a layer of waxiness. But after reading up on the plethora of information on the internet, I agree that it is a preferable ingredient to use instead of anything petroleum based.

Beeswax is great for trapping moisture into the skin, and these three high quality butters; aloe, mango and shea butter are wonderful additions to this balm to keep the skin firm.

Remember to sample a bit of this salve on your body first. Each person’s skin will react to anything, even Lavender essential oil can cause allergies in some people. I don’t add any preservatives because I make these in very small batches. These should last at least six months or longer if you keep them in the refridgerator.


Tattoo & Body Balm

112 grams beeswax

100 grams shea butter

70 grams aloe butter

56 grams mango butter

100 grams apricot kernel oil

96 grams raspberry seed oil

dollop of vit e oil

6-10 grams of Helichrysum oil in jojoba oil

few drops of lavender essential oil ( I used single Bulgarian, my favourite)

a heaping tablespoon of green tea botanical extract stirred in well at the end.

Botanical Name: Camellia sinensis

Directions: In a glass double boiler melt the beeswax and mango butter.

After the beeswax is completely melted, slowly pour in the liquid oils and then then stir in the shea butter. When everything is melted put a dollop of vitamin e oil and stir well. Sprinkle in the heaping tablespoon of green tea powder. Oh it smells so sweet! Stir in the essential oils at the very end so they don’t evaporate completely out of your balm. Pour into your containers of choice.

Let cool before putting on the lids. That’s it, you’re done. Time to make dinner or water the garden.

I first tried to make this like a whipped butter. If you want to make a whipped butter please look up my whipped butter recipe, the ones with the Go Go’s album cover on it. The mistake I made in this batch was that I didn’t melt the beeswax enough so I remelted everything, growing weary of waiting for it to cool down and then to whip etc. so I just poured it into my tins like a regular salve recipe which worked out just fine. Sometimes it is tricky to work with a lot of shea butter, as it can get grainy, but this recipe glides across the skin wonderfully, so if you are trying this recipe, you can go either way, it is up to you. I am always in a rush, too many things on my to do list so waiting around for a whipped balm in the freezer is not what I am always inspired to do.

My family loves this balm and I admit I saved a bit for my hands after doing a pile of dishes that we always seem to have clogging up the counters.


Happy balming everyone.

Even if I don’t have a tattoo if I listen to this song when I am driving down the winding roads of Gabriola, dodging wild turkeys, baby deer on bouncing legs, and seniors cycling by in all their fancy bicycling gear, I feel pretty cool, even without a tattoo. And I feel like I almost, just might get a tattoo. At least I have a balm for it now.

Click the link below for Youtube playing The White Stripes, Seven Nation Army.





Soap recipe

Rhassoul Clay and Apricot Oil Sudsy Shampoo Bar Recipe

Today I was in the mood to make up a recipe to use up some Rhassoul clay that I ordered and forgot about. I thought it might be fun to use some of my delicious carrot seed essential oil and lemongrass to scent it and for extra goodness, I added a considerable amount of apricot kernel oil which besides being very good for all parts of your body is also great for your hair.

I decided not to super fat this batch and left it at 5 % which is not usually my style but I noticed my husband who faithfully uses my superfatted nettle shampoo bar for years has been getting a bit of build up, and we are not the kind of people who will buy cider vinegar to use in our hair as a rinse- we love it in our salad dressing! So anyways, I will get back to you to let you know how fabulous it is for hair or not… Rhassoul clay is purported to leave your hair soft and reduces flakiness. Which was why I must have ordered it in the first place; I thought it would make a decadent shampoo bar ingredient.

See recipe below:

Rhassoul Clay and Apricot Oil Sudsy Shampoo Bar Palm free!

900 grams of coconut oil

640 grams of castor oil

640 grams pomace olive oil

260 grams of apricot kernel oil

260 grams of cocoa butter

1026 grams of distilled water weighed out on a scale

384 grams of lye

42 grams Rhassoul clay stirred in at trace

about 100 grams of essential oils

in this batch, I used a combination of clary sage, lemongrass, lavender and wild steam distilled carrot seed oil stirred in at trace.

Please see basic soap making instructions if this is your first time making soap.

This batch took a short 8 minutes of combination hand stirring and blender stirring. I made sure to blend the clay well at trace. I insulated this batch for about 24 hours, popped them in the freezer for a few hours while I visited my friend down the street while she served me tea and cookies on her deck.

When I returned they easily came out of the mold. I let it sit for one night and cut them this morning into nice chunky pieces. My hands already feel very soft ( I should have been wearing gloves I know but I couldn’t find them.) Or it could be the Himalayan salt lotion bars I made but that will be another post. The clay gave the bars a lovely earthy dusky, colour and they smell sharp like a combination of sunshine and green leaves, just what I want my hair to smell like.

And if it doesn’t work for my hair type, I know my skin will love it.


Here is another easy recipe to use with this versatile ingredient

Rhassoul clay face mask.

Put about a heaping tablespoon of Rhassoul clay into a nice non-metal bowl, slowly add a little bit of water enough to make a paste that will stick onto your face, add a drop of tea tree or lavender oil and spread this paste to dry on your face. Let it do its work for about 10-15 minutes, wipe off. How easy is that? And no bad preservatives.

Please note: some people have allergies to clays and essential oils so test on a small patch of skin first before slathering onto your face!

Also, don’t breath in the tiny particles… for obvious reasons.

Fernando by ABBA for my mom on mothers day…



Simple body product recipes

Face Serum Recipe

I have a very simple face serum recipe that I am going to share with you today.

It has only four ingredients that I weigh out in grams on my scale.

Here are my ingredients-

And here is the world’s most simple yet amazing and super fresh and delicious smelling face serum-



I love the olive oil derived squalane oil- it is very light on the skin and is often called nature’s facelift in a bottle!

Meadowfoam reduces lines and wrinkles and traps moisture under your skin, just where you want it!

Rosehip oil is packed with omega-6 fatty acids which we all know are good for repairing damaged skin.

Carrot seed essential oil is from Queen Anne’s Lace or in latin Daucus carota- contains both vitamin E and vitamin C naturally, which helps to rejuvenate the skin. It is balancing and can be used for both oily and dry skin! There are almost too many good things to name on this amazing oil, but the main reason I am crazy for it is the scent. Sometimes if I am feeling all crazy I may use Helichrysum oil instead of carrot oil… the benefits of Helichrysum include creating a soothing sensation and of course my favorite wrinkle reducer!

Why pay big bucks at the department store when you can make a product that contains no bad preservatives in it and has just a handful of ingredients that are easy to find on many online soap supply companies? Please note I had some plastic dispensers that I am not proud of but have to use up! Next time glass only!

Soap school 101

Soap Stamping It Up!


I just made a nice batch of nettle shampoo bars but because they are palm free and quite sticky with the castor oil that is needed to make the bubbly part of shampoo- I pour these bars into a regular old square mold. To liven them up I bought this cute little mold from Milky Way Molds online from Aquarius Aromatherapy Soap Supply in BC. I waited about five days before stamping this batch because it is quite soft. I will also let these cure a bit longer maybe about 6 weeks.

I swiped a mallet from my husband and here is the result. I usually give it about two good thwacks.

I was tired of hunting for stinging nettles in the forest so I planted some in the garden. I do not advise this. They really like the garden and pop up everywhere making weeding quite painful. Although this batch is from a little corner of the vegetable garden. It made a really nice deep green.

Sorry I have been a bit behind in this blog. I am currently taking a course in ceramics which is fun but making me very busy. ( also a course on writing drama for radio and film- silly me!)

On the positive side, I am learning how to make clay stamps so stay tuned for the tutorial to make your own personalized stamps.

Supplies and sundries

It’s Not Easy Being Green


As Kermit the Frog says, it’s not easy being green. But this in not always the case in soap making. I have some favourite ways to make natural green coloured soap. I used to use chromium oxides etc. which are deemed safe for cosmetic use, but  I figure that seeing as I am going through all the trouble to make a completely natural  bar of soap- why not use colourants that not only look divine, but also add some great skin care properties too?

One of my favourite green soap additive to use is French Green Clay. It gives your soap a lovely mild cool green. This clay not only lifts toxins from your skin but also adds minerals back to your skin after you use it.  I  often use it for my peppermint and rosemary bars . I use a lot of clays in my bars because of the beautiful muted tones they give you finished product.

Next on my list of favourites for a nice fresh green colour is to use stinging nettles. I pick them carefully and then wash and boil them up in  distilled water. I puree them and use this soupy mixture as my lye water. This gives your soap a nice middle shade of green. Nettle is great for eczema and is supposed to help stimulate hair growth- which is why I often use it in my shampoo bar recipes. If you pack in a lot more nettles, your bars acquire a deeper shade of green.

For another shade of green, I like to use organic seaweed powder- the colour shown below is a bit on the earthy side but I love it and of course we all know seaweed powder is great for your skin, it is packed full of great minerals! I like to use it with my Siberian Fir Needle Essential oil or sometimes Basil and Lime, depending on my mood.

Pictured below is my salt bars that are mixed in with the seaweed powder, what a nice natural colour, these bars have rosemary and lavender in them.

One more colour I use to add a bit of a greenish hue, is hemp seed oil. I love its soft moisturizing properities- mixed in with some shea butter makes up a really decadent bar. Pictured below is the colour of unrefined hemp seed oil in a glass mason jar, next to it is French Green Clay.

Sometimes I use a combination of different greens to swirl in a batch of soap to give your soap different exotic looking layers.

Here is my inspiration for today’s post- from a walk at Sandwell park.


Click on the link below to hear Kermit’s song- where he says his wise wise words such as-

” you blend in with so many other ordinary things” and “green is the colour of spring”


Soap recipe

Gardener’s Hand Soap Recipe

I have a standard and very easy gardener’s hand soap recipe. I use ground pumice and ground orange peel as the scrubby elements. These natural and gentle abrasives, along with Calendula petals and some strong antibacterial essential oils are what makes this recipe a winner.  Orange peel in your bar soap recipe gives your soap a nice scrub without hurting the outer layer of your skin- it also anchors the scent of your essential oils, making it smell delicious right down to the last bubbly scrap.

The cocoa butter in this recipe adds a nice bit of extra conditioning properties for your skin and also speeds up your trace time. The stir time for this batch was less than 8 minutes!

Adding cocoa butter to your soap also has the benefit of adding a little extra hardness to your end product.

Besides being great for dirty, muddy gardener’s hands this works very well for removing grease. I once had a young man sneak up to my market table to secretly buy it because he loved it so much for cleaning his hands. He didn’t want his other friend who made soap to know!

I usually make most of my soap in lovely starfish molds that my husband makes for me but for this batch I used a plain old plastic bin greased up with some olive oil. Really— sometimes I get tired of starfish ( tough for a company called Starfish soap company- poor me!)

To give the bars a nice rough looking edge I cut them with a wavy vegetable cutter that I picked up a second-hand store.

Starfish Soap Company’s Gardener’s Hand Soap

Weigh out all of your ingredients in grams except for the Calendula and orange peel

1 cup of calendula petals

2 cups of ground orange peel

50 grams ground pumice

70 grams beeswax

100 grams of cocoa butter

932 grams of palm oil

1060 grams of coconut oil

1410 grams of olive oil

Essential oils

56 grams of tea tree oil, 8 grams of lemon, 18 grams lavender, 38 grams lemongrass, 14 grams lime.

Distilled water- 1358 grams

Lye- 486 grams

In a well ventilated space stir in your lye into your measured water. Cover and set aside to cool. I like to set my lye outside on these cool days to allow the hot mixture to cool down quickly.

Melt your oils and beeswax. Stir in your olive oil and set aside until both your lye water solution and your oils are the same temperature. I usually stir at about 100 degrees F. Hand stir quickly for about 5 minutes. Then use a stick blender for one minute, hand stir for one minute- keep alternating until you reach trace. First time making soap? Find my basic soap making instructions in this blog.

At trace quickly stir in your essential oils and pumice, Calendula petals and your orange peel. Pour into your mold, put a piece of waxed paper on top and then insulate for 24 hours.

To help get it out of the mold, I usually put the soap in the freezer for 2-3 hours. I then pry the sides with my straight edged soap cutter and push it out on a clean piece of packing paper.

In a few hours or even the next day, cut the bars with your funky wavy vegetable cutter and air dry at least 3-4 weeks.

These are lovely gifts to give to your favourite garderner or mechanic, or I like to set my big old chunky bar on the edge of my kitchen sink to wash my hands after tackling some greasy pots and pans. This bar also feels great if someone is in the shower with you to scrub your back.

Image(s) courtesy






Simple body product recipes

Not Just Another Whipped Shea Butter Recipe—( yes it is)



Today’s recipe is super simple. It hardly takes any time at all. The hardest part I find when making up a whipped shea butter recipe, is finding all of my ingredients- especially finding the attachments for my hand-held crappy blender for instance or searching for the recipe that I wrote down on a scrap of oily paper somewhere. It was not too many years ago that I figured out that I had to have one book, and one book only to scribble all of my recipes down into. So I bought myself this sweet little book and now I hardly ever lose any of my recipes. Below is a picture of the smartest thing I ever did for myself.


First you must pick out an album- you heard it right- album-— musical options are very important to get you going.

Today I chose the Go Go’s. Go girl power! And did you know they wrote all of their own songs?


Measure all of your ingredients out in grams. Melt your butters in a double boiler then stir in your avocado oil. You are welcome to interchange any liquid oils you like, I just happened to have a bottle of avocado oil that I wanted to use up, but feel free to try sweet almond oil, apricot oil or even olive oil. Olive oil tends to be a bit greasy- it sits on top of the skin.

I like to stir in a bit of vitamin e oil after everything is liquidy and let this melted concoction sit for about 20 minutes to cool to room temperature.  I put half of my essential oils in at this point, and the rest in after the first freeze. Put your container into the freezer and set your timer for approximately 20 minutes. Take out and blend this for about 5 minutes and then pop back into the freezer for another 15 minutes or so. Take this out of the freezer and whip up with the turbo button if you desire for approximately five more minutes. And Voila! That’s it. A creamy batch of whipped goodness for your skin. How easy was that? This batch made a bit more than I really needed so I suggest to give these away to everyone you know to get in their good graces. My hands and arms have never felt so nourished after slathering myself up with the leftovers. For fun I tried my new fave eco tube and it seems to be holding up nicely. I also had some blue containers from other various creams I have experimented with over the years, but please put your cream in a mason jar as that is the style right now and really does look adorable.

Glass mason jars and chalkboard paint- one just cannot get enough of these things these days.

Starfish Soap Company’s Shea Butter Souffle

250 grams shea butter

25 grams aloe butter

10 grams mango butter

88 grams avocado oil

a few drops of vitamin e oil

approx. 6 grams of essential oils I used Palmarosa and Lavender