Monday, May 18, 2015

The ever elusive COCONUT...

Where, oh where has my coconut scent gone
Where, oh where could it be???
My goodness, coconut has got to be the most difficult scents to achieve in cold process soap.  Notice, you don't see too many straight coconut scented soaps floating around the net.  For me, this has been an extreme source of frustration for years!  I've tried them form pretty much every major supplier and while I love my suppliers for their other amazing fragrance oils, I have yet to truly be happy with a coconut scent from any of them.

Every summer I get a request for a straight coconut soap and every year, I have to say that it's not possible.  Coconut fragrances just can't make it through the rigors of cold process soap.  This year however, I decided to try and tackle the ever elusive coconut.
To start, I made a batch of coconut scented hot process soap.  I cut the oaf into bars and once they were firm enough, shredded them with a cheese shredder (sorry, no picture of that step).
Finally, I made a regular size batch of soap and added my coconut fragrance.  Mixed to a nice thick trace and added the shredded soap.  My thought here was that since hot process soap can retain the scent, adding the strongly scented hp coconut soap shreds to the main batch would allow the fragrance to carry through without interference from the cp method.
I added a bit of cocoa powder to the base to create the brown and TD to the top since I knew it was going to go beige on me.  So far (2 1/2 weeks into the cure)  the HP shreds still have their scent.  The rest...meh.  Hubby and I are both getting a mild chocolate scent but not much of anything else.  This was going to be called "coconut cream" but at this point the bars have more of a light toasty coconut type scent.  Most likely there will be a name change coming.
I'm not sure how I feel about this one guys.  I'll do an update later.  A few cp soaper reviews stated that this particular fragrance oil improves with cure and smells like coconut milk once you actually get the bar into the shower. I keep a chunk on my nightstand and sniff it constantly. The scent is definitely present it's just not screaming coconut to my nose. 
Customer feedback will determine whether I give this a go again or not.
Till next time ♥
UPDATE - almost 4 weeks into the cure, the scent has bounced back.  It's like a coconut milk scent.  I don't detect cocoa anymore and am very happy with the results!
FYI: soap-makers, this is Natures Garden Creamy Coconut but I'm sure the process will work with most other suppliers as well ;0)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Making "Purple Rain" Handmade Soap

I've said it before and I'll continue saying it: I L♥VE purple.  Like, really love it and will happily take advantage of any opportunity to use it in soap. 
A unique blend of Sweet Orange and Lemon with a fresh and calming heart of Lavender on a woodsy base with Orange Blossoms
It still amazing how far supplies for the Soapmaking community has come.  When I first started soaping, the use of stick blenders was still catching on!  Just over a year ago, I was posting about my struggles to achieve a true, strong, vibrant purple in cold process soap.
Here's my first attempt at this soap from 2013:
As you can see, my purple pigment morphed in to a pink. 
I'm so happy to have found such wonderful cold process stable micas.
Here's the making video :0)

Friday, May 1, 2015

"LOLA" Handmade Soap - ITP Swirl

Back in March ( I think)  Petals launched her Spring Release.  This was a very fun release to prepare for because I was working with several new fragrances.  I was extra fun, because my mom was here  in the states for a visit at the time and we sat together for hours planning designs and color schemes.  I love it when she visits...sigh.
A sassy and flirty fruity blend of summer Berries, Orange Zest and Sparkling Pink Moscato 
To start, I went with a bubble gum pink base.  Then added a gold mica line.  For the center portion, I did an ITP (in-the-pot) Swirl.  I used a soft green base with more of the pink and a touch of yellow.
I do my ITP swirls in the opposite direction of most soap-makers.  A classmate asked me back in the 7th grade "Why do you always have to do the opposite of what everyone else is doing?"  I couldn't answer that question then and still can't answer it now, LOL! 
I've always sort of just done things my own way - it just happens to be opposite of everyone else, ha, ha.  No point in changing that now ;0)
In this case, I simply like the wave-like patterns created when the pour is horizontal better.
The top has the remaining pink batter, textured with some iridescent glitter. 


Friday, February 27, 2015

Sundance - In the Pot Swirl


A Citrusy blend of Yuzu, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Tangerine, Satsuma, warm notes of Cloves and candied Lemon Drops

The in-the-pot or ITP swirl is probably my favorite go-to swirling method when I don't know what else to do.  It's difficult for even someone as finicky as I am, to be unhappy with the end results of this method.
It's pretty darn near impossible to mess up an ITP swirl.  I love changing the direction of the pour between passes.
It creates all kinds of interesting patterns and swirls and creates a result a bit different from the traditional ITP look.
These will be cured and in the shop just in time for Spring ♥

Monday, February 23, 2015

MISBEHAVIN' is finally behavin'

This fragrance has been in a part of Petals Bath Boutique for years!  It's gone through a few name changes (see: Purple Hooters & Pishsalver Potion) and countless design changes. 
A sparkling fruity accord of juicy strawberries, raspberries and citrus pulp on a bed of soft sexy florals
The last few changes have been variations that always involved purple and pink.  I settled on the name "Misbehavin" because the colors in first purple and pink batch morphed so badly, that I was angry, frustrated, compelled created a name to match my emotions.
I think that now I have finally settled on the perfect blend of colorants and a design that makes me happy. 
Below is a video of this latest batch being made.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Madcap Handmade Soap

This soap was one of the first batches that I made for my Mid-Winter Release that went live right before Valentines Day.  These are sold out now, but my blog is not just for sharing but is also sort of an online diary of my Soapmaking journey, so I need to log these things in.  I hope you don't mind indulging me as I play catch up!

 An alluring unisex fragrance with top notes of Oakmoss and sensuous Sandalwood supported by Tonka Bean and fresh Citrus on a base of precious Amber and soft musk

It's been so much fun playing with my mica's, pigments and oxides.  I've been mixing and blending all sorts of cool colors from almost every supplier, LOL.  I really wish that I had done a video for making this soap.  It was suppose to be a "tiger stripe" swirl, but the batter started to set up and I had to improvise and this was the result. 

The colors are teal, purple, white, melon and silver.  I blended to create the silver and melon portions.  I have no name for this abstract design; particularly because I seriously doubt that I could ever replicate it!  I just KNEW that this batch was going to be a botch but the end result turned out better than what I could have ever planned :0)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Experimenting with different sizes in my tall skinny molds - Sugar Plum Fairy & Sleigh Ride

Last year, I made the switch from traditional shaped soap bars to the "tall skinny" bars.  I'd seen quite a few soapers with these bars but the it wasn't as popular as it is now and I was having a difficult time finding molds that 1. produced the right size bars  and 2. could allow me to make the quantity of bars that I need for each batch.  Finally, I just decided to have another mold custom made.
Sweet Sugared Plums with a heart of Citrus Zest on a base of warm Vanilla Musk
Making soap this way has its pros and cons for me.  One of the major cons, is that I have been having a difficult time creating my swirls in the narrow compartments.   So, my challenge has been coming up with other creative elements that aren't just about "the swirl".  
 Top notes of Orange Zest with a center of tart Granny Smith Apples on a warm and spicy base of Clove and fresh Mint.
I tried to create my own true red by blending merlot mica, hot pink and even a bit of purple.  Meh, I'm not overly impressed.  Not sure it was worth the extra effort.  Good news though, I saw that Nurture Soap Supplies is working on a new an improved "true red" mica for CPers.  Can't wait to try it out.

Anywho,  I decided to make them shorter and thicker.  I really like this size as it fits less awkwardly in my hand and they wear down more evenly in the shower.  Now I'm trying to experiment more with colored layers, embeds, etc.  It's still a work in progress ♥


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