Monday, March 25, 2013

POMONA Handmade Soap

 This is a super delicious fragrance blend that I use to call Honey Pear.  It's a realistic yummy pear scent with crisp effervescent "fizzy" notes on a base of sweet honey nectar and vanilla.  The old name doesn't really seem to fit because of the extra notes, so I've renamed it POMONA.
I mentioned in my last post that soap names don't come easily to me.  Coming up with one a really a long process that involves a lot of time on Word Hippo's thesaurus, Wikipedia and, when all else fails, an exhaustive search through Greek and Roman mythology.
 All else failed, so I did a search for pears in mythology and came up with Pomona the goddess of fruitful abundance.
I've been playing around with my swirl patterns a lot more lately too.  Always gotta find a way to keep em uniquely me and a little different from the rest, lol.  Also, I've found that grounding my neons with a bit of iron oxide is really helping the colors to stick much better. I'll share more of those results in my next post.  Until next time...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Misbehavin" Handmade Soap

Call me crazy, but when a company says their colors are stable in CP soap, I actually expect said colors to be stable in CP soap.  I've purchased from this company in the past and had no problems with their colorants.  I won't name the company, but I will let you know that their company initials are not BB. So, I didn't hesitate to purchase some bright neons from them to liven up my spring/summer soaps.  

Needless to say, I was quite annoyed when my soap, called Purple Hooters mind you, morphed from what was 2 beautiful shades of PURPLE to pink. What in the world...
Maybe, I'm a little weird, but I'm more annoyed that I had to come up with a new soap name than the morphed colors.  Am I the only soap-maker who struggles with soap names?  They don't come easy to me.  

The colors themselves wound up giving me the name.  I was muttering about the bad, misbehaving colors when inspiration struck...I think.  I'm tentatively calling this "Misbehavin" as a nod to these naughty colors.

This was my first successful attempt with the oil mica swirl method.  I love texturing my soap tops and it took a minute for me to realize that it will mess up the mica swirl.  I'm thinking that if I let the batter firm up a bit more, there may be a way to get a little more height in there.  Oh well, till next time :0)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Botched Soap

This started as a pretty cool looking batch of black activated charcoal soap with white and crimson red swirls inside.  The top was textured all nice and then, I go to cut the bars. I did a water discount on all 4 of the batches made that day, but this one was waaaaay harder than the rest and just a bit crumbly when sliced. (It smelled absolutely divine by the way: Cherry Fizz).  So, I do a quick zap test and got zinged.  Yup, lye heavy.  I wracked my brain trying to figure out what went wrong, then remembered: as I was finishing up with pouring the oils, my friend called needing some "urgent" relationship advice.  So, while I'm yapping on the phone, I forget to add the Rice Bran oil.  

I actually considered throwing the whole loaf in the trash.  I was that pissed mad with myself.  Then, reason returned and I decided to pull out the crock pot and do a re-batch.  

After  shredding the bars, I added the missing Rice Bran oil plus a bit of glycerin.  The glycerin wasn't really necessary but I figured why not.  At this point, it can't hurt anything.  The bars still had enough moisture in them that it didn't take long to cook down at all and the scent was actually strong enough, that it wasn't necessary to add anymore fragrance.

   I glopped it into my mold and smoothed the surface out with some plastic wrap.  A few hours later, the bars were ready to cut.

Ugly, right?  Yeah, I know BUT the lather is wonderfully creamy and the bars still smell yummy.  My boys love them.  The bars sort of look like shiny granite when they're wet.  These will sit for a few weeks and then we'll use them here at home.  Fortunately, this was only a half of loaf  made with leftover fragrance oil.  Not too much of a waste :0)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Water Discounting...Cider Barrel, Golden Blossom and OMH

So, in my last post, I mentioned that I've been doing water discounts in my soap.  That's my new thing. Tiggy from Future Primitive gave me a few tips (Thanks Tiggy!) and I've been rolling with it since.  A water discount is simply reducing the amount of water or whatever liquid you're using, to make soap.
 The percentage that I discount depends on the fragrance and other ingredients being used.  Sometimes it's as low as a 5% discount.  The highest I've gone is a 30% discount and honestly, that's as high as I'm comfortable going. 

Cider Barrel is an apple cider type scent with some little secrets thrown in to make it extra yummy.  
I did a 30% water discount on all 3 batches.  They were made in the morning and two of the batches were hard and ready to cut that evening.  I personally don't feel that water discounts cut down the cure time, but it certainly makes it easier to get the labeling and shrink wrapping (I use open ended bands) out of the way.
I packaged them about 3 weeks into the cure.  Because of the discount, I don't have to worry about the bars shrinking and causing the labels and wrapping to become loose.


Golden Blossom is a beautiful scent with sweet fruit, light florals, vanilla and musk.  It's very light and somewhat powdery, yet somehow, quite strong if that makes sense at all.  This was also firm and ready to unmold the same day.


OMH! is my version of Oatmeal Milk & Honey.  This is a full Goat Milk soap with Colloidal Oatmeal.  For some reason, although I poured this batch first, it was the last to firm up.  I messed the sides up pretty bad removing it form the mold.  Apparently it wasn't ready at all, because the cut bars did a partial gel on the counter overnight.  They're fine now and just as hard as the first two batches.

I made three batches one week before this group and these bars are way harder than the bars that have been curing for 4 weeks already. 


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