Friday, August 22, 2014

More soap ball embeds...

I don't know about anyone else, but sometimes I really start to feel like I'm running out of ideas for Soapmaking.  How many different types of swirls can I do before everything starts to look the same?  By the time I got to this soap, I was in one of such slumps.
Japanese Grapefruit and Citron leaf neatly crushed with Sparkling Mimosa with smoky note of Tobacco, Sugar Cane and Black Vanilla
I've been holding on to this oil for a while now unsure what to do with it.  It's "Dirty Mimosa" from the Sage.  I like using FO's from MMS when I'm looking for something very different from the popular scents that other soapers are carrying in their shops.  If only I had a nose for real scent blending...sigh. 
I play around a bit with it, but I'd LOVE to really, really understand how to create my own fragrance blends.  Sorry, back to this soap :0)
 As I was saying, I'm a bit in a design slump, so I decided to just go with an ITP swirls with more focus on the colors as opposed to the design.  The soap balls were  a last minute addition.  I saw my last bar of Seaberry on the rack and decided, why not add some soap scrap balls again. 
The orange soap shreds didn't have much "pop" to them, so I decided to dip them into some gold and orange mica.  I really thought the base would discolor due to the vanilla in the fragrance description, but these have been curing for 2 weeks now and so far so good.  Fingers crossed.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Melt & Pour Soap from Scratch and more Color Mixing

A few days ago, I shared a video on Youtube chronicling my first attempt at making Melt & Pour Soap from scratch.  You can view my video making the MP base at the end of this post.  Also, you can view the original blog post and recipe from Cee here.
So, from my little project, I was able to make lots of cute embeds to use in my soap for this fall. 
 Fresh top notes of Orange, Pink Grapefruit and Tangerine with a heart of Strawberry, Apple, Pear and soft florals on a warm base of Sheer Musk
I've been using micas form Nurture Soap Supplies for most of my soaping.  There are still some favorites that I like to stick to though.  I love my 24K Gold from TKB and Crimson Red from Bramble Berry.  For the most part, I am very happy to say that the colors are quite stable in CP soap. 
However, I still prefer to mix my colors.  Adding a bit of oxides I find really helps ground some of these micas, particularly yellows & oranges.  Purple is my favorite color and I LOVE trying to fit  a bit of it in there whenever I can so, once again color blending really helps achieve different hues of the same color.  I have a not too stable purple neon from TKB that blended beautifully with my NSS mica.  I'll be posting that soap in an upcoming post.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gearing up for Autumn...

I know summer is still here but for soap-makers, this is around the time that we usually start getting our fall line-ups together.  Before I jump into my fall soap batches, I wanted to share just a few summer soaps that I didn't blog about. 
Scented with Awapuhi Seaberry.  This is a calming, "by the sea" type of scent with ozonic marine notes with the aroma of tropical flowers, citrus and tart berries on a mellow base of white musk.
I used three different shades of blue swirled into a white base.  The soap balls were made with shredded soap from every soap scrap I could find in varying shades of blue.  I really like how the balls resemble little blue planets
 A fresh and uplifting blend of Orange Zest, Lemon Pulp and Kiwi with a center of Bamboo & Blackcurrant on a warm woodsy base

I really don't know what this technique is called, but for a point of reference, I refer to it as a "traveling faux funnel" pour.  It's just like the faux funnel pour put I choose a different spot to pour every few passes.
One more,  I have to show this one because I just really, really like the scent! 
 Fresh sliced Pineapple beautifully blended with the heady and intoxicating aroma of Jasmine
I honestly can't even talk about the swirling technique for this one, LOL.  For once, I didn't really plan the soap design.  I chose the colors and just sort of dropped them in.  What I have been doing though is playing around with color mixing.  I tend to use the same colors over and over again in my soaps, so I am trying to at least come up with different shades for those colors.  I though this combination was pretty, fun and tropical.
Now, I'm looking forward to fall.  I'll be back to share my creations as I finish them.  Thanks for reading :0)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Seaberry Handmade Soap

Well, I'm all finished making soap for my Summer Release.  I'll be sharing several of them here and, hopefully, will have a few tips and tricks to share along the way.  I always share a bit more about my techniques and "secrets" here on my Blog rather than on Youtube or Facebook.
To me, there is just an extra special something about people willing to dig and READ for information.  That's how I started and I have a deeper level of respect for those willing to do the same.
So, to start off, I'll share:
This design was an ITP swirl.  There are 3 shades of blue down in a white base. 
The goal was to mimic or create a sense of the movement of water.
To create a bit of interest, I decided to add some soap ball embeds.  These were pretty easy to do because they didn't really require too much prep work.  I simply shredded every piece of blue soap scraps and left overs from previous batches that I could find.  They look more like little planets than berries don't they? I like them though :0)
The shreds were pretty sticky therefore easy to mold together and roll into balls.
If your shreds are too dry and don't want to stick together, you can try spritzing them with a bit of water to soften them up.
I like how no two balls are the same and they're filled with so many different shades of blue.
"SEABERRY" is a light watery scent with ozonic marine notes enhanced by the aroma of tropical flowers, citrus and tart berries on a soft mellow base of white musk.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Preventing Soda Ash

Soda Ash is a harmless white powder that can form on top of cold process soap.  It's completely harmless, but just not very pretty.  The cause is believed to have something to do with soaping too hot or too cold and also from improper insulation.  I don't insulate so I suppose that would be considered very improper! 
 I believe the soap heats up for the gel phase (quickly if you're using milk - which I do!) and then the surface cools down too rapidly causing the ash if the top isn't covered to prevent air from
getting to it. 
This is a short video sharing my trick for preventing soda ash on the surface of my soap.
It may me very helpful for those who like me, don't like to insulate.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Faux Hanger Swirl

This is a swirl that I came up with several years ago.  Before soapers were really sharing the secrets to their techniques on Youtube.  Back when hours of searching online for how-to's on creating pretty swirls in cold process soap in a loaf mold produced the "wisk" swirl on, the ITP swirl or the "grid" pattern swirl for slab molds.  Does any one else remember those days?  All you could really do back then was stare at a picture with your head cocked to the side mumbling over and over, "how'd she do that?"
I'd spent months pondering over several soaps that had swirls with the colors being dragged into one another in a vertical pattern.  It never crossed my mind that this beautiful pattern was being created by putting a wire hanger down in the soap.
Around this time, I was experimenting with using a chopstick to create swirls on the face of my soap.  I'd pretty much mastered those swirl in the slab mold, but wanted the same look in a loaf.  After a LOT of experimenting and countless failed attempts, I finally figured that the key was the angle of the stick.  Imagine you're holding a pencil in your hand and "writing" on the face of you soap. 
It occurred to me that I could maybe do this to create, what I would later find is called, a hanger swirl pattern.
CranApple Rose
"Faux Hanger Swirl" done using my trusty chopstick.
This soap is going to be my entry for the Bramble Berry 2014 Winter Soap Swap.  The fragrance is a blend of Crisp Apple Rose and Cranberry Chutney. 
Blue Sugar
These swirls were done with an actual wire hanger.
"Nooo wire hangers!!!" Sorry, couldn't help myself.  I can't think of wire hangers without remembering that scene from Mommy Dearest, lol.
 Back to the soap:  I previously had two unsuccessful hanger swirl attempts before concluding that you really do have to untwist the hanger in order to have control of it in the soap batter . 
Sometimes I have to learn my lessons the hard way.   
Now that I've actually had a successful go at this, I'm going to play around with the technique a bit more in some future batches.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Here are just  a few more soaps on curing the rack:
This is really a unique kind of scent.  It blends bakery types with fresh.  Which sounds very weird yet somehow works very well.
"A blend of Maple, sweet Spices, Coconut Pulp and creamy Vanilla accents on a crisp ozonic base of Clean Linen"
This wasn't exactly the swirl that I planned.  They were supposed to be coming in towards the center from the top corner and opposite bottom corner, but sometimes you just get what you get, lol.
Two of the bars formed this sort of butterfly pattern that I thought was pretty cool.
"A flirty heart of light florals  kissed with Purple Passion Fruit, sun-ripened Tuscan Grapes and Vanilla musk"
I'm not really a floral kind of girl, but I'm getting there!  They are growing on me.  This soap was a hit last Valentines Day, so I brought it back.  I actually don't mind doing these embeds. They're fun and who can resist sparkly hearts?
In the past, I've always created my own cigar bands, printed them, cut them out, wrapped all the soap bars then shrink wrapped them in plastic soap sleeves or more recently, smell through film.  But since I am, for the most part, a one woman show, it really is becoming a bit much in regards to time. 
So, I've switched to vellum paper and sticker labels.  It took me only a few days to do what normally takes almost 2 weeks.  Customer feedback will determine if I stick with this.  I like it though ;0)


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