Will you make soap in March with me?
Week 1: Learn about lye, saponification and cold-process
Week 2: Supplies and ingredients (oils, fats and essential oils)
Week 3: The method, step-by-step
Week 4: My favourite recipes
Week 5: Troubleshooting and your questions answered!
Let's dive into the ingredients and equipment you'll need to make your own soap!
• Oils and fats (listed below)
• Lye (purchase at soap-making store, online or at your local hardware store)
• Water (tap is usually fine but distilled is safest)
• Essential oils (optional)
• Additives (optional): honey or exfoliants (listed below)
• Colorants (optional): cinnamon, turmeric, beet powder or cloves
• Apron, rubber gloves, eye protection (goggles or glasses)
• Stainless steel pot (large), stainless steel bowls (small and medium)
• Heat-resistant glass container
• Digital thermometer (18-105 C)
• Digital scale (metric)
• Hand blender/emersion stick blender
• Whisk, silicone spatula(s)
• Wooden soap block, molds or baking pans
• Parchment paper, towel, scissors, tape, steel cutting blade or knife
• Cooling racks
• Coffee grinder (optional)
• Ice cubes (for an ice bath to cool lye and water or the fats and oils)
Of 345 species at risk in Canada, more than 160 have waited far too long for recovery strategies. Thanks to a recent federal court decision, four luckier ones are finally getting overdue plans detailing steps needed to save and protect them, including identifying habitat they need to survive. But to make it happen, environmental groups including the David Suzuki Foundation, with the help of Ecojustice lawyers, had to take the federal government to court. It wasn't the first time we've gone to court to protect wildlife.Continue reading »
A century ago, 35,000 grizzly bears lived in British Columbia and also flourished from Alaska to Mexico, and east to Ontario. Today, only about 15,000 grizzly bears inhabit B.C., having disappeared from the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan and around Fort St. John.Continue reading »
By Degan Walters, David Suzuki Foundation Ocean Keeper
Snow dusts the mountaintops, the skies and water are a uniform grey and the creek draining into the dive site is icy cold. Family barbecues and laughing children that crammed the seaside parks only a few months ago are now long gone. There's no one here but us divers.Continue reading »
I make soap. You can, too.
Over the past few years I've made 35 batches of soap. Here's why you might try:
- You like DIY projects and want to learn another
- You hate DIY projects but want to learn about ingredients in store-bought soap
- You like cooking and baking, i.e., experimenting with endless combinations of oils, fats and additives like oats, orange peel, honey, clay and essential oils
- You hate scouring store-bought soap ingredient lists to avoid toxic chemicals like PEGs and parfum (fragrance)
- You're scared of lye (also found in foods like bagels and olives)
- You like chemistry
To make soap, you need an acid and a base to react with one another and neutralize into a salt—that's saponification. Soap is a salt.
The cold-process method uses lye as a base, fats and oils for acid, water and reaction heat only (no external heat). Ask your Grandma. She probably used animal-based fats like lard or tallow to make soap! I'll teach you how to make all-vegetable soaps — without palm oil.Continue reading »
Governments, media and much of the public are preoccupied with the economy. That means demands such as those for recognition of First Nations treaty rights and environmental protection are often seen as impediments to the goal of maintaining economic growth. The gross domestic product has become a sacred indicator of well-being. Ask corporate CEOs and politicians how they did last year and they'll refer to the rise or fall of the GDP.Continue reading »
Yesterday the Government of Ontario promised to spend $190 million to help Greater Toronto Area (GTA) municipalities recover from devastating storms that have hit the region over the last few months.
Local mayors welcomed the funding. It will help pick up the tab for disaster relief centers, hydro crew overtime and the cleanup of thousands of trees downed during a devastating late-December ice storm that left millions of residents without power for days.Continue reading »