Appalachia Celebrating Appalachia Videos

Chatter Makes Our Soap

Chatter holding palm oil

For the last several years Chatter has been making our soap. She learned the process from taking a class. At the time she was trying to be healthier and protect her very sensitive skin.

I really love the soap she makes. I like knowing its healthy for us, but mostly I like it because it produces a good lather which I equate with getting clean even if that’s not entirely true.

Over the weekend I videoed Chatter making soap and talking about the process.

I hope you enjoyed the video!

Tipper

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23 Comments

  • Reply
    Jane ODell
    May 18, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    Awesome video! Your family is so multi-talented! I enjoyed spending this time watching Chatter make soap. Both girls are so natural at explaining what they are doing and making you feel they are talking straight to you. They would both make excellent teachers. Thanks so much for sharing your lives and talents with us! So much love to you all from a Tarheel-born, now from SC, Jane❤️

  • Reply
    Cassie Clark
    May 18, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    Great video! I’ve been making hot process soap for the last 7-8 years I have seriously sensitive skin due to eczema and tumid lupus. After my dermatologist recommended I start purchasing skin safe soap instead of detergent bars, I realized I could make my own much cheaper than purchasing it. I’ve been a little scared to try cold process soap, but I’m going to have to give Chatter’s recipe a try! 🙂

    • Reply
      Tipper
      May 18, 2021 at 7:56 pm

      Cassie-I hope you like the soap!

  • Reply
    Quinn
    May 17, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    Excellent job on the video 🙂
    I attended a one-day soapmaking workshop a few years ago, offered by a small farmers group. The whole point was to provide a way for livestock raisers to make a marketable product out of the many pounds of fat that might be otherwise be discarded at slaughter. I wasn’t raising meat animals at the time, but they let me come anyway because there was an empty slot and I was really interested. Thanks for the refresher course, Corie!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 17, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    By the way, you all have demonstrated over and over something we all more or less know. And that is that we have been hoodooed by the mass production society. Seems every time we get the “real”; field grown, homemade, small batch, natural ingredients and so on, anyway you want to define “real”, we discover it is so much better. I never will forget when “imitation” bologna came out and was plainly labeled “imitation”. Now we still get the same stuff but the “imitation” was dropped off the label long long ago.

  • Reply
    Terri Staines
    May 17, 2021 at 2:42 pm

    Chatter, liked your CP method. Will have to try on my next batch!

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    May 17, 2021 at 1:16 pm

    My ADD or ADHD usually doesn’t permit me to watch videos longer than a couple of minutes, but I was fascinated by the process of making soap. I think she did an excellent job of explaining the steps of soap making and am gratified that she stressed safety techniques while handling lye. Good Job.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 17, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    I think I would like to make soap. I wonder if one can find small amounts of powdered pecan or black walnut shell to add and if that would be a problem for folks with nut allergys? Does the 200-degree reaction mean flower petals, mint leaves, etc can’t be added? Could you add pine rosin (yeah, I know “resin”) in the oil?

    I guess it is a guy thing but I actually like Grandpa’s Pine Tar soap. The smoky pine smell reminds me of campfires, wildfires, fishing trips and the cresote smell of railroad ties and telephone poles back in the day. Lots of memories. I have also seen coal tar soap but have not tried it. I have been on the hunt for years for a “guy soap” with natural smells. Pine tar is as close as I have come. Fortunately for everybody else it is not that strong and very soon is un-noticeable. Or is that just to.me???????

    • Reply
      Tipper
      May 18, 2021 at 11:29 am

      Ron-People do add items to the soap. Corie has tried that a few times but she mostly just makes it plain. I like the smell of pine too!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 17, 2021 at 11:51 am

    I bought some of Corie’s soap a few years ago. I liked it! But when I went to Etsy to order more her store was gone. I understand how with the cost of materials and her labor she would have to charge more for it. Most people go for cheap over quality so she was in a tough market. I don’t buy junk though! Quality people make quality goods!
    Historically soap was made from animal fat. Reckon Corie can make some soap from bacon grease? It would have to be kept away from children, they would eat it. And forget washing their mouths out with it. In fact they might start spitting out cuss words just to get their punishment.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    May 17, 2021 at 11:41 am

    Very interesting and well done demonstration, Chatter!

  • Reply
    Sam
    May 17, 2021 at 11:28 am

    I watched that video yesterday. It was really interesting. I am so glad to know who is Chitter and who is Chatter. I have been watching your youtube channel, the girl’s youtube channel and your brother’s youtube channel. A while back I heard Paul on his channel identify who was Chitter and who was Chatter. I could never find it again to confirm as I had forgotten. So now I know. God Bless y’all.

  • Reply
    dee
    May 17, 2021 at 11:16 am

    Corie, you did a outstanding job, teaching us how to make soap. I know my grandmothers made it with lye. Our oldest son made some years ago but I don’t think he used lye but I know he used oatmeal and essential oils in some of it. It turned out beautiful. It was also interesting to learn what you used to get color in your soap. Thanks for the good lesson!

  • Reply
    Sallie the apple doll lady
    May 17, 2021 at 10:03 am

    Wow! That girl is a natural at doing demonstrations. What talent your family has. She covered the details very well. I helped my mother make cold process soap when I was about Chatter’s age when she was asked to do it at a local state park festival one year. Then years later when my son’s elementary school had pioneer days I demonstrated making soap. One year when I became ill he even did the demonstration for his school. That led to years demonstrating soap making at festivals and events across Tn, many of those years at Townsend festivals in the Smokies. It even landed me a job at a museum. This was before artisan soaps became popular. I just made a simple soap although I did experiment with colors, scents and different oils. I used an enamel pot, wooden spoon and for demonstrations a cast iron pot to melt the lard. At home I used stainless steel. Although I have sensitive freckled skin a few tiny splashes never seemed to cause much harm even with cautious measures. I felt the outside of the lye pot and watched the level of melted lard and finally learned when to put them together. But I usually had to stir a long time and weather affected the saponification time. I had many less than successful batches, some too soft, and even one that became so hard so quickly I had to throw away the pan, spoon and soap. But I had many repeat customers and developed a list of uses from turtle and catfish bait to washing dirty words from mouths. So many people had a hard time realizing that lye, as said in your video, changes in the saponification process and is no longer caustic after the soap has had time to properly cure. I remember one “naturally” appearing young woman in her hiking outfit who very proudly declared that she didn’t use soap made from chemicals. I didn’t say it but thought that she had to because all soap is made from chemicals. It could be potassium hydroxide from wood ashes or sodium hydroxide but if it’s not something used as soap from a plant or other substitute it has chemicals. But I understood what she meant. Visitors shared stories of how it was made in the military and on naval ships, a horrible experience of a newlywed coal miner, and getting their mouths washed out or at least threatened to. My recipe came off the box of Red Devil Lye and used lye, water and lard. I could easily buy lye then at the grocery with the drain cleaners. Then there was lots of publicity about people not using common sense nor the safety precautions and getting injured. So the recipe was replaced by a label of safety precautions. The amount decreased, the container changed to a safety cap, then because it was used in making meth it disappeared from the shelf. I had to buy it in bulk from a chemical supply and sign for it. Now it’s back on the shelf in some places but no longer Red Devil brand. I focused on the basics and although I never made any with wood ashes as my ancestors did, I discussed that process with visitors. I heard many wonderful and interesting stories about traditional soap making. But the most interesting and important part to me was realizing that these people years ago used what they had, didn’t waste anything and made what they needed for their families. They didn’t have a recipe for dripping lye in an ash hopper nor did they measure the amounts of lye, lard and water. They learned from experience as she showed how to tell by the way it looked and felt. Sometimes they dropped and egg in to see how it floated to test lye strength. Some could even alter the ingredients to make a soft, gentle soap for bathing or a stronger soap for the dirty work clothes. When made correctly it was not a harmful soap. I make it occasionally and still have several old brown bars that I didn’t offer for sale because they turned brown probably from using old lard. I keep a bar on each sink and use it daily.
    Today’s post is another example of how fortunate your family is and I know you have to be proud of your daughters’ many talents. Thanks for sharing another part of Appalachian life.

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    May 17, 2021 at 9:39 am

    I enjoyed this so much. I remember Mama making soap in the big black pot outside. I’ve always wanted to make some but they lye is scary. Maybe I’ll have the courage to try. My son salvaged a 5 gallon bucket of coconut oil from a tornado so I’m all set with that and I found I have about five bottles of olive oil in the back of a cabinet.

    Thanks Chatter!

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    May 17, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Chatter, you’ve done us all a great service. Brought back some very early memories of my Mother and Aunts making “lye” soap in the back yard. Their soap turned out sorta like the old Octagon brand that you could buy in the stores then. It was raw and somewhat unattractive, best used only for utilitarian purposes, but it got the job done. Your video, with your and your Mom’s commentary, made the whole process even more enjoyable. I\But…f I weren’t from the South I would have thought you were referring to that black, sticky stuff instead of “Tare.” (We also call “tires” tars.) I want to try this myself one of these days. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Shirl
    May 17, 2021 at 9:03 am

    Thank you for sharing Chatter’s easy to follow recipe. I watched every minute of the video and listened to every word Chatter said. When she sold soap on Etsy, I bought some and loved it. I tried to make a batch using a recipe I found online. It turned out ok but was not simple to make like the recipe Chatter uses. I will watch the video again and write down the measurements before I give it a try.

  • Reply
    Denise R
    May 17, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Thank you for the soap making video! I’ve been thinking about making soap for us for several years, but the process, when reading about it, seemed complicated. Now I know it’s not and I will be attempting to make our first batch in the next few weeks.

  • Reply
    Joann Osborne
    May 17, 2021 at 8:44 am

    This video was great. I am now going to assemble the ingredients I need to make my own batch. Thank you for taking the mystery out of the process. Question – what was the liquid in the bottom of the small pot, the one you put the lye flakes into? I missed that.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    May 17, 2021 at 8:38 am

    I have always thought you Pressley gals have the prettiest, smoothest, clearest complexions I’ve ever seen! I now know the secret is healthy soap- homemade to boot!!! I enjoyed the video, enjoyed watching the whole soap making process and Corie happens to be a most cheerful instructor!!!! Thanks so much and my sensitive skin thanks you. This is awesome!!! Can you show us a few bars in four weeks? I just want to see how pretty they turn out. Have a blessed day Hillbillies all over this land!!!

  • Reply
    Terri Staines
    May 17, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Chatter, I use cold process method mostly too but have never tried it without heating the oils. Your process is much simpler! I will definitely give it a try.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 17, 2021 at 7:48 am

    This is so cool, Corie! I’ve used your soap for years, ever since you started making it. The video helps me see how you have refined your process over the years you’ve been making soap to the current excellent product!

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