Where Everything Odd Is New Again
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Biodiesel soap...and a confession.

biodiesel oops science soap

Ok, confession time given that a client just sent me a picture of my soap, decorated and looking dangerously edible. I messed around quite a while a few years ago with making soap from biodiesel byproducts. (Mostly glycerine is left over when you make biodiesel). It worked really well as soap, but was hard to sell; mostly because the texture always stayed soft. So I mucked around with making liquid biodiesel soap as well. (I can say if you do this, it's one of the best grease-stripping agents on the planet, seriously. Just hard to ship or transport.) Because of...

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Lilacs in spring...or are they?

essential oils lilac scent science

Here's a science Monday factoid for you: Lilac essential oil. Does it exist? Answer: not really. It doesn't respond well to steam distillation, and the yield is so tiny that REAL lilac essential oil would cost a few thousand dollars per ounce IF you can find it which mostly you can't. The good news is that synthetics have become increasingly more sophisticated over time, even in the time I've been making and selling soap. I have sniffed my way through probably a hundred different lilac fragrance oils, and have happily settled in with one that smells like my mom's yard...

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What "and honey" means in an Antika Nueva soap:

honey science soap

Honey is a fun ingredient for soap, and I use it a LOT.   Here's why: Honey is both a humectant and antibiotic. It's still used in some places as a wound dressing-- go ahead and google. It's fascinating stuff. But when I add honey to soap, it's because I'm looking for a couple of effects specifically. The humectancy, and the fact that it causes handmade soap to "mellow" and the scents become more true-to-plant.   Watching soap gel up and get to "trace"--the stage where if you lift out the mixer, it leaves traces on the top of the soap,...

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How Antika Nueva Got Its Name

Antika Nueva

(published on Facebook, originally)When I was trying to come up with a name for my business, lo these many years ago, I wanted something that sort of emphasized my core sensibilities--generally, doing things with old-fashioned or hand tools, in old ways....I also didn't want to name it something like "Kate's Beads and Bling" because, well, I know I have a lot of eclectic interests and they would creep in sooner or later.So.  Since I was (re) reading Elizabeth Peters' fabulous Amelia Peabody series at the time, I knew "antika shops" were the shops in turn of the century Cairo that...

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Four new soaps in the mold-- Grapefruit/Sandalwood/Ylang-ylang, Grapefruit/Amber/Rose, something I need to name after a clipper ship, because it's teakwood, cardamom, and some hints of ocean*, and Victorian Gentleman, which is a little musk, a little rose, and a little clean cotton smell. Despite the fact that going by my reading, Victorian gentlemen reeked of gin and pipe smoke.*and over on Facebook, my friend Suzie steered me to a list of famous clippers, and Sea Witch, of course, immediately caught my eye.

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