Wednesday, 6 August 2014

"Royal" Soap Swap

 I recently made soap for a soap swap with other New Zealand soap makers. I’m really excited to see what I get back. Anyway the theme of the swap was “Royal”. That immediately made me think of Lorde’s song Royals and the really dark lipstick she wears and how similar that colour is to the purple robe the Queen wore for her coronation.

I figured I could do a mantra swirl with dark purple on either side and white with poppy seeds (to represent the black bits of fur) in the middle. This is what I was aiming for:

There is a heap of soapmaking info out there, I used the video from Kenna at for the nitty gritty.

I’ve just begun really playing with colours and I am hoping to be able to colour most of my soaps using natural products, e.g. spices, herbs, clays. I’m hoping to blog more about this later. There is a lot of info out there but not much of it has been tested in goat milk soap so it may be slightly different. Anyway I jumped straight in for this one. I found this amazing soap for sale on Etsy. Anyway it was a rosehip soap and it looked like a really dark purple. I just went back and looked at the sellers listings and his rosehip soap now looks more like how mine turned out. But he has changed his ingredients because that was the mystery I’ll come back to.

So going off one photo (and also pictures look different on different computers but I was ignoring that), I rushed out and bought some rosehips. I’m working with already frozen milk as we aren’t milking our goats at the moment, so I couldn’t infuse the rosehips into the goat milk so I made a really concentrated rosehip tea and then froze it and used 50% rosehip tea and 50% goat milk.
I use the frozen milk method written about by Anne Watson in her book Milk Soapmaking. 

I always forget to take photos when I make soap. I also can’t figure out how people take photos of themselves making soap if it’s only them. Maybe they have a tripod and a remote?
So I made the soap and when I was pouring the batter into the divided mould one of the dividers slipped out, and I wasn’t too confident doing my swirls but I was pretty pleased about how it turned out for my first go. But sadly my rosehip didn’t go purple. It went . . . pinky tan. Not exactly Lorde’s lipstick. 

I figure that anything I use to colour goat milk soap will probably turn out paler as the base soap is more white and opaque. However it was a long way from the purple I saw on the internet. Oh and I’d scented it with lavender so the purple was a little bit crucial.

So to everyone who gets my soap in the swap, you have to pretend it is purple!

But back to the mystery as to why RockyTopSoapShop made a purple rosehip soap (which isn’t so purple anymore). I looked at the ingredient list and two things struck me: It said rosehip tea so maybe it had black tea in it as well? And it had apple cider vinegar in it, which might have done something to the colour. That seems like an unusual soap ingredient as its an acid so its going to react with the lye and throw out your superfat calculations and neutralize itself. Although I suppose that there may be other stuff in apple cider vinegar that is beneficial to soap and you could work out how much acid is in the vinegar and add that to your lye calculation.

Anyone out there use apple cider vinegar in their soaps?

Saturday, 19 July 2014

So we got married!

I set up this blog in a huge burst of enthusiasm and then haven’t really done much with it. One of my major excuses is . . . we got married! On the 22nd of March (ok so that was hmm nearly four months ago, maybe not so much of an excuse) at Pukehiki Church on the Otago Peninsula.


Pukehiki Church is now run as a charitable trust for the benefit of the community, but was a Presbyterian Church until 1994. Check out for more info.

Anyway it was an amazing day! The sun shone and the wind blew. A lot. It was a lovely north easterly. For those of you unfamiliar with the Peninsula when the wind blows north east the wind comes up the harbor, hits the Peninsula and is pushed over the top and is trying to “catch up” with the rest of the wind going round. So it is strong and cold.
Group shot after the ceremony

 And we went off to take some photos around the farm:
Here we are feeding the donkeys

And there's the wind!
And here is one of my favourite shots:
Actually that isn't on our farm, it's round the corner
 So it was an amazing amazing day. And we can't thank everyone enough for all the help and support we got putting together our wedding. We did alot of it ourselves which was pretty stressful at times but came together at the end.

For everyone who came: We loved having you there! And when we were cleaning up the next day I found the Minglo cards!


Monday, 5 May 2014

Our new billy goat!

We bought a new billy goat this weekend. He's Nubian on his sire's side and Sable/Toggenburg/Nubian on his Dam's side. His name is Lemonty Flashdance (Flash for short) and he is super cute! Below is a photo of him hanging out with some of our wethers. He'll be put out with our does next year when he's bigger.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Welcome to Paradise Farm

We are a small farm located on the stunning Otago Peninsula in New Zealand. At the moment we farm cattle (mainly Highland), sheep (mainly black face) and are milking goats. We also have a menagerie of cats, dogs, chickens, a crazy budgie and two beautiful donkeys.

This farm was settled in the 1860's and two of the original three buildings still exist and are in use today. We live in the stone cottage and the still use the barn.