Week 7 Accomplishments

1) Made lots of soap: Raspberry Scrub using a new method- Grinding the seeds to a smaller size rather than using the whole seed. Also made Just Plain Raspberry.

2) Ordered new slides to send when applying to shows. Needed to update them with some new products, better quality photos, and I was running out of my old ones, I always loose them somehow.

3) Ordered 2-part paper for order forms. Always thought you had to have these done at the printer, but I found the paper on e-bay and thought I'd give it a try.

4) Labeled the last of the glitter gel. If you've read previous posts I though that this was done, but I found some more….

5) Cut up and milled basic soap..

6) Split up bath salts- I get them in a big 50 lb box that is a bear to move around, so I split them up into 3 lb bags so I can make them easier. Also got most fragranced and ready for packaging.

7) Split up cornstarch- ever open a 25 lb box of cornstarch? Well, if you haven't it is safe to say it looked like it was snowing inside…..Should be safer in smaller bags, less to spill…..

8) Packaged and labeled 6- bath salts. New fragrances like Raspberry and Black Cherry!!

9) Printed, cut, and put in labels for soaps in organza bags, about 500!

Show Report: I was supposed to be at a show this weekend but didn't make it due to illness. I was really under the weather. Next show is in March….

On a personal note: we are looking for a house in the Lehigh Valley to rent, we went searching this weekend and last evening, to no avail. Want to move to a bigger place by April really, really bad!

Ingredient for the Week- Essential Oils

Essential Oils and how they are distilled.

Water distillation in the extraction of essential oils.

In the manufacture of essential oils using the method of water distillation, the botanic material is completely immersed in water and the still is brought to the boil. This method protects the oils so extracted to a certain degree since the surrounding water acts as a barrier to prevent it from overheating. When the condensed material cools down, the water and essential oil is separated and the oil decanted to be used as essential oil. The water that is so separated in this process is also used and is marketed as "floral waters" (also called hydrosol or sweet water) - such as rosewater, lavender water and orange water. Water distillation can be done at reduced pressure (under vacuum) to reduce the temperature to less than 100 degrees, which is beneficial in protecting the botanical material, as well as the essential oils.

Steam Distillation
Steam distillation is the most common method of extracting essential oils. Steam distillation is done in a still. Fresh, or sometimes dried, botanical material is placed in the plant chamber of the still, and pressurized steam is generated in a separate chamber and circulated through the plant material. The heat of the steam forces the tiny intercellular pockets that hold the essential oils to open and release them. The temperature of the steam must be high enough to open the pouches, yet not so high that it destroys the plants or fractures or burns the essential oils. As they are released, the tiny droplets of essential oil evaporate and, together with the steam molecules, travel through a tube into the still's condensation chamber. As the steam cools,it condenses into water. The essential oil forms a film on the surface of the water. To separate the essential oil from the water, the film is then decanted or skimmed off the top. The remaining water, a byproduct of distillation, is called floral water, distillate, or hydrosol. It retains many of the therapeutic properties of the plant, making it valuable in skin care for facial mists and toners.

Cold Pressing
Another method of extracting essential oils is coldpressed expression, or scarification. It is used to obtain citrus fruit oils. In this process, fruit rolls over a trough with sharp projections that penetrate the peel. This pierces the tiny pouches containing the essential oil. Then the whole fruit is pressed to squeeze the juice from the pulp and to release the essential oil from the pouches. The essential oil rises to the surface of the juice and is separated from the juice by centrifugation.

Some flowers, such as jasmine or tuberose, have such low contents of essential oil or are so delicate that heating them would destroy the blossoms before releasing the essential oils. In such cases, an expensive and lengthy process called enfleurage is sometimes used to remove the essential oils. Flower petals are placed on trays of odorless vegetable or animal fat, which will absorb the flowers' essential oils. Every day or every few hours, after the vegetable or fat has absorbed as much of the essential oil as possible, the depleted petals are removed and replaced with fresh ones. This procedure continues until the fat or oil becomes saturated with the essential oil. Adding alcohol to this enfleurage mixture separates the essential oil from the fatty substance. Afterwards, the alcohol evaporates and only the essential oil remains.

Solvent Extraction
Another method of extraction used on delicate plants is solvent extraction, which yields a higher amount of essential oil at a lower cost. In this process, a chemical solvent such as hexane is used to saturate the plant material and pull out the aromatic compounds. This renders a substance called a concrete. The concrete can then be dissolved in alcohol to remove the solvent. When the alcohol evaporates, an absolute remains. Some trees, such as benzoin, frankincense, and myrrh, exude aromatic 'tears', or sap that is too thick to use easily in aromatherapy. In these cases, a resin or essential oil can be extracted from the tears with alcohol or a solvent such as hexane. This renders a resin or an essential oil that is easier to use.

Turbodistillation, Hydrodiffusion, and Carbon Dioxide Extraction
Turbodistillation is suitable for hard-to-extract or coarse plant material, such as bark, roots, and seeds. In this process, the plants soak in water and steam is circulated through this plant and water mixture. Throughout the entire process, the same water is continually recycled through the plant material. This method allows faster extraction of essential oils from hard-to-extract plant materials.
In the hydrodiffusion process, steam at atmospheric pressure is dispersed through the plant material from the top of the plant chamber. In this way the steam can saturate the plants more evenly and in less time than with steam distillation.
Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction uses carbon dioxide under extremely high pressure to extract essential oils. Plants are placed in a stainless steel tank and, as carbon dioxide is injected into the tank, pressure inside the tank builds. Under high pressure, the carbon dioxide turns into a liquid and acts as a solvent to extract the essential oils from the plants. When the pressure is decreased, the carbon dioxide returns to a gaseous state.


Ingredient for the Week- Castor Oil

How is Castor Oil Extracted?

The oil is obtained from the seeds by two principal methods - expression and decoction.

The oil exported from Calcutta to Europe is prepared by shelling and crushing the seed between rollers. The crushed mass is then placed in hempen cloths and pressed in a screw or hydraulic press. The oil which exudes is mixed with water and heated till the water boils and the mucilaginous matter in the oil separates as a scum. It is next strained, then bleached in the sunlight and stored for exportation. .

There are two modes of extracting the oil by expression: (1) without heat, when it is termed 'cold drawn Castor Oil,' this process being largely carried out in Italy, Marseilles, Belgium, Hull and London; (2) with heat, the process generally adopted in America.

In the north of Italy, the fresh seeds are alone used, and after they have been crushed and the seed coats very carefully removed with a winnowing machine and by hand, the blanched seeds are put into small hempen bags, which are arranged in superposed layers in a powerful hydraulic press, with a sheet of iron heated to 90 degrees F. between each layer, so as to enable the oil to flow readily, they are finally submitted to pressure in a room, which in the winter is heated to a temperature of about 70 degrees. The oil which first flows is of the finest quality, but an inferior oil is subsequently obtained by pressing the mass at a somewhat higher temperature. The peeled seeds yield about 40 per cent. of oil. After expression, the oil is usually bleached by exposure to sunlight or by chemical means.

In America, where the oil is obtained by expression with heat,. There the seeds are submitted to a dry heat in a furnace for an hour or so, by which they are softened and prepared to part easily with their oil. They are then pressed in a large powerful screwpress, and the oily matter which flows out is mixed with an equal proportion of water, and boiled to purify it from mucilaginous and albuminous matter. After boiling about an hour, it is allowed to cool, the water is drawn off and the oil is transferred to zinc tanks or clarifiers capable of holding from 60 to 100 gallons. In these it stands about eight hours, bleaching in the sun, after which it is ready for storing. By this method, 100 lb. of good seeds yield about five gallons of pure oil.

I have heard that Turkey Red Oil is Castor Oil, is it?

Turkey Red Oil is produced by castor oil reacting with sulfuric acid. It is a surfactant and therefore makes a wonderful base for a bath oil as it mixes well with water, producing a milk bath. Apart from cosmetic uses, turkey red oil is used in fabric dyeing and as a preservative for leather because it blends with water and helps to keep leather that is stored under hot, dry, low humidity conditions soft and pliable.


Week 6 Accomplishments

There was quite a bit accomplished this week, but since it is my last week of class, most of it was schoolwork. Still need to finish that paper that's due!

1) Went to storage unit twice. Both times to bring completed items over and to unload the truck from last weekends show.

2) Completed inventory for what was sold at the show, and finally got the lip balms counted accurately and into the spreadsheet.

3) The rest of the lip balms that were hanging around got shrink wrapped. Now I need to make more!

4) Had a bunch of "ugly" bars to cut in half to use in the samplers. When the soap comes out of the mold, some bars have air bubbles that make them "ugly" and they can't be sold. But if you cut them in half, one side is perfect to use in a sampler crate.

5) Made lots of soap: figment, almondine, and lavender

6) Made 5 batches of unscented soap (80lbs). And then ran out of sodium hydroxide bummer.

7) Found a new supplier for sodium hydroxide- less expensive and closer so much cheaper to pick up as well. Need to go pick some up next week.

8) Got my blog updated- added my show schedule and a little homage to my friend who is pregnant.

9) Got orders for the week packed and shipped out.

And on top of that I cleaned the bedroom, bathrooms, and kitchen till they were spotless. We also started our search for a new place to live- someplace with more room for soap!


Ingredient for the Week- Soybean Oil

How is soybean oil made?

Three major methods are used to obtain soybean oil from the soybean itself; a chemical extraction method and two mechanical extraction methods.

In the chemical process of extraction, the soybean oil is separated from the soybean meal and then refined using chemicals including a solvent; the oil is then put through several other refinements. Solvent extraction of oil seeds can be performed by equipment of either percolation-type or immersion-type. One commonly used percolation extractor is the rotary extractor, an enclosed vertical system that moves perforated baskets using a rotary motion around a central vertical shaft. The liquid solvent (hexane) is pumped over a bed of flakes, percolates down through the bed and leaves though the bottom through a perforated plate, mesh screen, or wedge wire screen bar system. At the end of the extraction cycle the flakes are allowed to drain and are dropped into the discharge hopper. Miscella is pumped counter-current to the flow of the flakes. Counterflow is very important to solvent extraction (as well as desolventizing) as it helps to remove oil more efficiently than parallel-flow systems. The miscella becomes richer as the oil is extracted from the soybean flakes.

In the mechanical method of extraction, the oil is pressed from the soybean without using any chemicals. These procedures are hydraulic pressing, expeller pressing and solvent extraction. Hydraulic pressing is one of the oldest pressing methods. This is a batch press procedure that requires hand labor and currently is no longer used for soybeans. Expeller pressing has replaced the hydraulic pressing procedure for extraction of oils. Soybeans are not commonly used in this method either.

Soybeans must be carefully cleaned, dried and dehulled prior to oil extraction. The presence of hulls during oil extraction will result in a lower oil yield due to the absorption of the oil into the particles. Initially, the soybeans are fed into cracking rolls to crack the beans, followed by separation of the hulls with the use of shaker screens and aspiration The cracked beans are exposed to temperatures to approximately 74 - 79 C for 30 - 60 minutes prior to using smooth-surface rollers to flatten into large flakes of uniform thickness. The purpose of the conditioning is to make it easier to extract the oil.

How is soybean oil refined?

After extraction and concentration, the crude soybean oil contains many oil-insoluble and oil-soluble impurities that must be removed. Oil-insoluble material may be removed through filtration; however, the soluble materials must be removed by implementing several different techniques listed below.


Degumming is a process that involves mixing crude soybean oil with 2-3% water, gently agitating for 30 - 60 minutes (being careful to prevent the introduction of air and subsequent oxidation of oil) at a temperature of 70 ƒ C. This hydrates impurities that can be settled, filtered, or centrifuged out from the degummed oil.

Alkali Refining

Continuous automated refining operations are used to remove objectionable impurities that may affect oil quality. Caustic soda is used in refining to remove free fatty acids, phosphatides and gums, colorants, insoluble matter and other material. This mixture is heated centrifuged to separate out the caustic from the refined oil.


Normally, a continuous vacuum bleaching process is employed by adding activated earth to the refined oil to remove color, odor, and other impurities. Shortenings are typically bleached to a white color while margarines, and salad and cooking oils can remain yellow-tinged. The odor, flavor, and oxidative stability of the bleached soybean oil are greatly improved.


Hydrogenation of soybean oil increases the melting point and improves stability of the oil. The hydrogenation will give different degrees of hardness for specific products desired. This reaction occurs between high purity hydrogen gas, a catalyst (such as nickel) and the fats and oils resulting in the addition of hydrogen to unsaturated bonds causing saturation. Hydrogenation occurs in a vacuum-pressure vessel containing oil into which the hydrogen gas is dispersed as fine bubbles while heating the mixture and agitating. When the desired hydrogenation is obtained, the mixture is cooled; the catalyst is filtered out to obtain a solution that is completely clear. The partially hydrogenated oils remain liquid and the more highly hydrogenated soybean oil is hardened.


Deodorization is a high temperature, high vacuum, steam-distillation process that is necessary for the removal of volatile flavor and odor compounds to transform the oil into a bland-tasting clear liquid desirable to consumers. The removal of the free fatty acids will also increase stability of the oil. The oil is sparged with steam at high temperature and vacuum that also prevents the introduction of oxygen and thus oxidation from occurring during the deodorization process.


Soybean oil use for application as cooking oil must be winterized to meet requirements of the American Oil Chemists Society cold test. Winterization is a process performed on partially hydrogenated soybean oil that involves the chilling of the oil to allow the solid portion to crystallize and the subsequent filtration of the two phases .Winterization is a form of fractionation or the removal of solids at selected temperatures. It involves the removal of a small quantity of crystallized material from edible oils by filtration to avoid clouding of the liquid fractions at refrigeration temperatures. Oil is chilled slowly to about 6 C during a 24-hr period. Cooling is stopped and the oil/crystal mixture is allowed to stand for 6 to 8 hrs.


Methods such as dewaxing and solvent fractionation are also used to clarify oils. Dewaxing squeezes or presses liquid oil from solid fat by hydraulic pressure to produce hard butters and specialty fats. Solvent fractionation involves the crystallization of desired fractions from a mixture of triglycerides dissolved in a suitable solvent. Fractions may be selectively crystallized at different temperatures, separated and the solvent removed for a final product of specific triglyceride or fatty acid composition.

Week 5 Accomplishments

This was a big week for us! We exhibited at our first wholesale trade show on the 4th and 5th. It brought us many new customers, some from as afar away as California and Washington. We are very excited about some things that are in the works with a local Historical Society as well and we hope to be able to tell about them soon. We are looking into doing some more trade shows in the near future. Along with all this excitement here is what else got done this week:

1) Made soap: more Goat's Milk Rose and Figment

2) Assembled some new displays and got some older ones stained and sealed

3) Milled soap (about 100 lbs)

4) Went to storage: brought over completed items and got the truck packed with everything needed for the show

5) Designed and printed the 2005 order form.

6) Completed and printed the 2005 flyer

7) Shrink wrapped lip balms

8) Wrapped 140 bath fizzys

9) Went through road boxes and reorganized and restocked
Printed and cut out 1000 soap labels