Sunday, 15 July 2012

herbs that I soap with

I have an allotment. I've been working on it for nearly 20 years with my mum & dad. We grow food, flowers and lots of weeds (!)  soaping is comparitively new to me (4 years) but there is a solid connection between the two for me: botanicals.  I love to try and incorporate things that I have grown (on purpose as well as accidentally) into my soap recipes. I use freshly pressed organic cucumbers for my coolcumber soap, which are generally prolific, but a little slow this year due to the crappy weather. I also grow calendula petals, which I dry and infuse in olive oil for my cuticle balm, and my new pure lemon calendula soap.
calendula blooms that I picked today, ready for removing the petals for drying

 I infuse the petals in olive oil for a few weeks - you can speed this process up by using a crock pot or slow cooker.  the infused oil is strained, and used as part of the oils/butters portion of the soap recipe. I then blitz a good amount of the petals that remain after straining with a blender and add these to the soap batter for a beautiful speckled appearance.  the olive oil takes on some of the colour from the petals, making for a lovely buttery yellow soap.
 don't you just love the gorgeous orange hues of these beautiful petals?

I have also collected some fresh nettles, not necessarily grown on purpose, but useful all the same!  I am going to create a new soap for my pure naturals range: pure nettle mint soap, with spearmint essential oil to compliment the nettle infusion. I can't wait!
 fresh nettles picked today, for drying.

and just because I pure lemon calendula soap!