Saturday, March 10, 2018

Sometimes, It's the Simple Things

As a soap maker, I often find myself browsing Pinterest for ideas. There are some amazing soap makers out there... swirls, colours, techniques. Really, some of the soap they make would qualify as pieces of art. I'm serious! Check out this woman's soaps - From Grace to You. She even has a bar of soap that she sells for $300 (US) per bar! I wouldn't be able to decide whether to use it or hang it on the wall, to be honest.

I'll stick with the simple soaps I make. I don't want anyone to be so intimidated that they refuse to use my soap because "it's too pretty". It's meant to get you clean, with some enjoyment thrown in for good measure. Call it an affordable luxury, if you will.

This week, I did simple. We have a small challenge going on in the Ravelry soap makers group, making soap with natural colorants. It's something I've been meaning to do for a while but just haven't gotten around to, never had the push to just do it. This week, I did it.

A month or so ago, I infused two jars of oil with natural colorants, one with Annatto seed powder and one with Turmeric powder. The jars of oil have been waiting for me to put them to some kind of use. Incidentally, the oils can also be used in food making. Both herbs are also food herbs. Annatto is most commonly used in rice dishes, giving it a gorgeous yellow colour (from my reading) and I'm sure everyone is familiar with turmeric, widely used in Asian food.

Annatto on the left and turmeric on the right
I chose a low coconut oil recipe and made enough to fill my mold, plus a little extra. I haven't taken pictures of the main soap yet (that will happen later today) but here's a picture of the mini loaf, coloured with annatto and turmeric. Oh, I added a little bit of turmeric into the soap batter as well.

It's very lightly scented with sandalwood fragrance oil and there are calendula petals on the top. Calendula petals can also be used as a soap colorant and it's one of the very few botanicals that doesn't discolour in soap. This picture doesn't show the colour very well. It's much more obvious in the following picture. The scrap that the mini bar is resting on is the end cut of the loaf; some of the batter was left uncoloured to make the natural colours "pop".

I've already said that I'm always on the lookout for techniques I can implement in my soapmaking. I came across another, very simple, one that I will definitely be using. It was inspired by a pin that lead me to this website - Forest & Fauna - and a way of making your own chocolate chips. I had no intention of making my own chocolate chips but I could immediately see a way of implementing this in soap.

When I made another batch of "My Poop Don't Stink" this week, there was a little bit of batter remaining that wouldn't fit into the molds. Instead of letting it go to waste, I spread it on to one of my silicone trivets, one with a honeycomb mesh. This morning, I unmolded my little chocolate soap chips. Aren't they cute?

I intend to use them as confetti in a soap batter or as decorations on the tops of future soaps, once I have enough to do something with. They won't all be chocolate, as these are, but multi-coloured. And they're SO easy!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Some Of These Things

Weekends are play time for me. It's my time for soap making. This weekend has been no exception. First up is a long planned Lemon & Poppyseed soap. Whenever I've made it in the past, it has gone over very well. It has just the right amount of "scrubby" and the scent of lemon, orange, and peppermint just smells so yummy!

This one was made yesterday and unmolded and cut this morning. The weather was actually nice enough, finally, to take pictures outside.

The only (very minor) critique I have about this soap is that the yellow could have been a little more... yellow. It's the first time I worked with Voyageur's concentrated neon colours so I was very light handed. I know for next time, I can use more.

Today, I made another batch of a soap that has become my most popular soap to date, Java Jumpstart. The scent is intoxicating - a blend of cinnamon, clove, ginger, patchouli, and sweet orange - and the addition of cocoa, ground coffee, and oatmeal gives it a scrubbiness that makes it perfect as a kitchen soap. I have a bar of this one in my bathroom at all times.

It's still in the mold (I just made it this morning) and should be ready for cutting by the time I get off work tomorrow.

After I took this picture, I decided to change the top up a little. We'll see how it works out when I cut it.

Remember the old Sesame Street song, "One of these things is not like the other, some of these things are kind of the same..."? (Do they still sing it?) Well, in this next picture, some of these things are not like the others.

I came across a pin on Pinterest on how to make river rocks with soap shavings and odds and ends. This was a fun little distraction and something I'll do again. There are always bits and pieces that end up in the scrap basket. This is one way to use them up; that and the fact that they're the last piece in a future project idea.

So, which are real and which are soap?

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Soap Gremlins

I'm not thrilled. It seems I've been tempting the soap gremlins and they've showed up. As pretty as the Ice Queen soap is, it isn't perfect.

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy with the soap itself. I love the concept of this soap. This particular batch, however, didn't play nice. Once hardened, it was nearly impossible to get out of the mold. Seriously, I had to lay the mold on the floor, put my foot on one edge, and tear the mold apart! Perhaps I should have waited another day or so. I ended up cutting about 1/4" off one edge. So much for not lining that particular mold. Why tempt the soap gremlins more than necessary, right?

Then there were the sugar pearls. I don't think they like the gelling process.

Do you see the orange-y halo around some of the pearls? They seem to have started melting and reacting with the soap batter. I think I'll try another batch, possibly this weekend, to see if not gelling them makes a difference.

I also need to remember that soap does NOT have to be unmolded within the first 24 hours. I was a little impatient with the poop soap. I really wanted to see how it looked so I unmolded one before it was fully saponified. Part of it was left in the mold. Oops.

Patience, grasshopper, patience. Now, how do I appease the soap gremlins and send them on their way?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Two More Made

It is not nice out today. It's been snowing on and off all day today and it isn't a day to be out and about. It is, however, the perfect day for making soap.

With a soaping supplies order having arrived this week, it was the perfect time to make my planned Poop Soap. Yes, Poop Soap. I'm going to call it "My Poop Don't Stink". And, this one doesn't stink. It smells like chocolate fudge! I know a few little, and not so little, boys who will love this one.

In the mold, it looks a lot like chocolate pudding, doesn't it? And that's kind of what it smells like, too. My daughter suggested I add a bit of ground coffee to the batter so I did, along with a bit of ground oatmeal. The coffee will make the soap a little "scrubby", making it a good hand soap.

Today, I decided to, once again, make the Ice Queen soap. This time, I used a non-morphing blue colorant. I used a luxurious blend of oils that includes cocoa butter and shea butter and is scented with Sensuous Sandalwood, one of my favourite scents right now.

I've topped it with dyed rock salt, sugar pearls, and ultrafine opalescent glitter. I'll be able to unmold and cut it tomorrow and, I'll be honest, I'm looking forward to seeing how the swirls turned out.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Play Time

The soap dough challenge on Soapmaking Forum is coming to an end this weekend. Over the past week or so, I've been mulling ideas around, trying to come up with.... something. I finally came across a photo that inspired me; it was similar to this one.

I know that these are fairly simple to mimic but they still take time and trying to figure out how best to put it all together was also a bit of a challenge. When I realized that the deadline was fast approaching (Feb. 25), I figured I'd best get my butt in gear.

Over the last few days, I'd been sketching out layout ideas and finally came up with one I liked. When I got home from work yesterday, I got to work. Unfortunately, my batter thickened up a little faster than I'd hoped and I had to hurry to get it all together but, all in all, I'm pretty happy with my soap.

Here are some of the pieces I used to put the soap together. On the left, the pink/white/black rod and the black and white rods will span the length of the mold. (I used the mini mold for this soap.) The rest are some of the "candies".

John was ready to try one of these before I told him they were soap. He was a little disappointed.

The soap in the mold. Sorry, the photo isn't the best but you get the idea.

And, the cut soap. I had envisioned the bar being another, larger, candy with green, black, and white stripes but my batter thickened up more than I expected. I'm not disappointed, though. It's a fun soap, a cheerful soap. The batter was lightly scented with Sweet Fennel essential oil, an oil that smells like licorice.

There was more batter than needed for the small mold, which I did on purpose because I knew I wouldn't be able to use all the "candies" on this loaf.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with this soap. It's fun, playful, colourful, smells yummy and the scent works with the theme of the bars. That said, I still want to make a soap with roses, scent it with something totally different and call it "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden."

Tomorrow? Poop!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Lesson Learned

When it comes to almost any craft, there are times things don't go quite as planned. I had a vision of what I wanted my Flower Garden soap to be. I knew the scent I wanted and I knew how I wanted to pour.

This was my inspiration. I wanted to pour uncoloured batter on the impression mat. Then, I would colour the batter and add my scent. The first step went beautifully.

And then everything went south. When I added my colour (a mix of Moroccan Red Clay and Glitz and Glam Mica) and scent (a blend of English Rose and Sensual Amber.... smells amazing!), my batter accelerated, and fast!

I did manage to spoon it into the mold and managed to get most of the bubbles out but I was afraid I'd "smooshed" the uncoloured batter into an unrecognizable mess. I'd made a larger batch and what was left was pressed into heart shaped molds. Yes, pressed in. By the time I'd filled the flower mold, the batter had firmed up to a play dough consistency.

By the time I went to bed last night, the soap was completely firm and I could unmold it. However, some of the flowers on the top were so brittle I couldn't get them out of the mold properly. Plus, the batter had been squished under the impression mat and up the sides of the soap body.

These hearts look the worst. Today, I cut three of them into small cubes to make a confetti soap. It's in the oven, gelling, right now. My first reaction was to rebatch the entire batch but.... It IS a nice soap. Already it's hard, it lathers well, and it smells really nice, very feminine. I think I'll keep the bars (the hears will be used for rebatching) but offer them at a reduced price, just because they're not perfect.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Time for a Change

One of the first things you'll notice today is a name change. I've recently become serious about gearing up to sell some of my soap. To that end, Suds 'n Things is too nebulous a name, too difficult to come up with a "look", a logo, a theme; I needed something a little more concrete, something that reflects what I do and where I am. After a lot of thought, I've decided on Mission Meadows Soapery.

We live in an area of Kelowna called the Lower Mission, near Mission Creek, one of my favourite walking spots. Near us there's a farm called Old Meadows Farm, where we often buy vegetables in the summer, another favourite spot. This area has historically been an agricultural area, with orchards and, now, vineyards. When I combined the two, I came up with Mission Meadows... and because I make soap, the Soapery was rather obvious.

That out of the way, I still intend for this to be a place to catalog my soapy adventures, making it easy for me to see what I've done and when I did it.

Last week, I blogged about the Dead Sea Mud soap. I never did show the cut soap. It turned out even better than I'd anticipated. Apart from looking like blocks of concrete, the soap smells amazing and has an earthy, pure look about it.

The "shells" aren't part of the soap; they've just been laid on top for the photo.
I'm looking forward to trying this soap. It should be a good one. The soap base is a good one, one I've used in other soaps as well. When you have a good base recipe, you'll always have a decent soap.

Last weekend was a long weekend here in BC (Family Day). The grands were here for a few hours on Monday and I let Trinity play with the soap dough, mainly to see if she could inspire me. She enjoyed it and came up with a few things.

All that day (and all the previous week), I was mulling around an idea for a soap made in a column mold. I brought home a core from a roll of architectural paper, a 3" heavy cardboard tube. I'd previously purchased an impression mat, intended for cake decorating. My intention was to line the tube, first with freezer paper to make the unmolding easier, then with the silicon impression mat.

For colouring the soap, I wanted to use some of the green clay I'd purchased a few weeks earlier. I was envisioning a green and white In The Pot (ITP) swirl. Once the kids had gone home, it was time for me to play.

Here's what the soap looked like as it came out of the mold, with the silicon impression mat still in place. It's already looking good.

At this point, I was thrilled. The soap had partially gelled and it felt smooth and fairly hard. And it smelled amazing. I scented it with Petitgrain, Bergamot, and Lemon essential oils and coloured it with Chromium Oxide Green and Titanium Dioxide (white). I cut it the following day.

Introducing Green Goddess soap
To say I am happy is an understatement. I am thrilled with this one; it is everything I had envisioned. I had enough to make a few smaller bars as well and, on one of them, I used one of Trinity's creations. She doesn't know it yet, but she'll be getting this bar of soap once it has fully cured, in about a month.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Mud Soap

I'm a Pinterest addict. I freely admit it. Don't judge me too harshly, though. I do come across some good stuff occasionally and I have pinned some good stuff, too, as I've come across it. In researching soap and techniques,  I came across a "Humblebee and me" post about Dead Sea Mud soap. Then, while I was doing a bit of shopping on the Voyageur website, a tub of Dead Sea mud managed to make its way into my cart.

Today, I made her recipe, more or less as written. Marie uses tallow in her recipe; I think I still have a tub of tallow, buried deep in my freezer. I think. I know I have lard so I reformulated the recipe to use lard instead of tallow. (Both make great soap, by the way.) Apart from that minor change, I followed her recipe.

The batter took a while to come to trace but, I have to say, it looked so silky I just wanted to dip my fingers in to feel it. That is never a good idea when it comes to fresh batter so I didn't but.... I wanted to. The soap is in the spare room now, saponifying, doing its thing.

It's scented with Petitgrain and Mandarin Orange. It smells lovely, almost old fashioned and, as she notes in her post, it's a heavy soap. I've never used Dead Sea Mud before; it has a distinctive odor. John says it smells like the bottom of a pond and, I suppose, when you really think about it, this IS mud from the bottom of a lake. It's very earthy, salty, vegetal, deep.

This morning, I unmolded and cut the Salt & Pepper Soap. I was kind of surprised at  how hard the soap was already. Other soaps, after 24 hours, aren't nearly as firm as this one was. It's probably because I gelled it, while most of my soaps are not gelled. Cutting it revealed the glycerin rivers I was hoping for, as well as the salt halos I was looking for. Interestingly, a lot of soapers see glycerin rivers as a flaw; I want them in this soap. I could have used more Activated Charcoal and have made a note to that effect in the soap recipe. All in all, though, I'm happy with it.

Last week, I received an Amazon order that had a couple of mini shell molds. I wanted them so I could make some embeds, especially for a soap I'm planning out. It will have a seaside/beach/ocean theme and shells will, of course, fit right in. Using a bit of the batter from the Salt & Pepper soap (and I do mean a bit... no more than a couple of tablespoons), I made these...

The largest of them is no bigger than an inch across. The stripes (pale brown) are painted on with a mica in glycerin. It soaks into the fresh soap, leaving the colour as more of a stain than anything else. I'm looking forward to using these in an upcoming soap and will be making more with little bits of whatever soap I'm making in the interim. I already have a few in the mold using the S&P batter.

I'm also looking forward to incorporating more of the melt & pour soap into future products. Suddenly, soap making is so much fun again!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Salt & Pepper Soap

A couple of years back, we had a black & white soap challenge on the Soapmaking Forum. I made what I called Salt & Pepper Soap. One half was coloured white and had poppy seeds in it; the other side was black and had salt in it.

That was then. I decided to reprise that soap because I did receive a lot of favourable comments on it. It went into the mold today and I've had it in the oven for the last couple of hours, gelling.

It looks like it's lightened up a bit in the oven but we'll wait and see how it looks once it's cooled and I can cut it. If I remember correctly, I didn't scent the challenge soap because I wanted maximum time to do what I had envisioned. This time, I scented it with a combination of Sweet Amber fragrance oil and Peppermint essential oil. It smells pretty good, to be honest.

Every once in a while, you come across something that kind of blows your mind. Today was one of those days. I've seen a pin on Pinterest on how to make a soap mold from corrugated plastic (Coroplast) numerous times and was intrigued but when I clicked on the pin, it took me to a website that was clearly translated from another language... badly. It was very difficult to follow, let alone understand. Then, this morning, one of the ladies (artemis) on SMF posted a YouTube link to a video explaining and demonstrating the technique very clearly.

I've watched it and it suddenly went CLICK in my mind. Once I saw it, it just made sense. A piece of Coroplast and four binder clips. That's it. I can now make any size of mold I might want or need!

You know I had to try it, right? This is a 6 x 4 x 3" mold, enough to make about 4 bars of soap of about 3" x 2" x 1.5"

It comes together very quickly with the binder clips. The videographer recommends lining it with plastic wrap and, from some of my reading, the Coroplast does begin to disintegrate with repeated uses (because of the lye). However, I can get the Coroplast for very little and it makes for a very inexpensive mold.

Four binder clips and... ta da... a mini test mold that cost me absolutely nothing! I was given a piece of black Coroplast that measured about 3' x 4' by my neighbour, who was going to throw it into the garbage. I have enough to make as many molds as I want.

A tall & skinny mold? No problem! An extra long mold for a large batch? No problem!

I am VERY happy!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Honeycomb Soap

We have a winner! The suggestion of putting the soap in the oven for CPOP (Cold Process Oven Process) was definitely the key.

I let the soap sit overnight before trying to unmold it then held my breath as I pushed the bottom of the mold to reveal....

It came out beautifully, just as I had imagined! I waited a couple of hours before cutting it and deliberating on how best to cut it. I love my little wire cheese cutter but I'd been told that M&P soap has been known to break the wires. On the one hand, I do have a couple extra wires for my cutter but, on the other hand, I didn't want to unnecessarily break on in trying it. 

I tried it anyway. I turned the soap upside down, cutting through the cold process part first, then slowly and carefully pushing through the M&P soap. It worked beautifully! 

Then, last night, after my first round of colonoscopy prep was finished (shudder), I melted some of the clear M&P, coloured it to mimic honey as best I could, and drizzled the "honey" over the soap and left it to set overnight.

I am beyond happy. To envision something in my mind is one thing; to successfully take it to completion is quite another. Now that I know it's possible to work with both kinds of soap in one bar, a whole new world has opened up and my mind is spinning with possibilities.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Ugh and Ugh!

Well, my soapmaking has hit a bump. The lavender, patchouli, and jasmine soap is out of the mold and cut and..... it stinks! It really stinks. Even though there is only 1/2 teaspoon of jasmine in the entire loaf, it dominates dramatically. On the bright side, the soap end I tried lathers beautifully and smells better than the soap itself.

I'm a little torn as to whether or not I should scrap the entire loaf and write it off, or offer it for sale at a reduced rate. Some people might like it and it is, after all, a decent soap. Decisions, decisions.

Here's the bottom of the loaf, which I had wanted to be the top originally. It was definitely an experiment. I'll try using the mat again but I'm not sure it's something that will be a regular feature.

Then, earlier this week, I wanted to do an experiment. Something I saw on Pinterest piqued my interest.

The one in the picture is made from melt & pour soap, something I don't work with. However, it did get me thinking. What if I combined melt & pour with cold process soap. After all, cp soap, made with oatmeal, milk, and honey, is a lovely soap. Using the melt & pour would make the honeycomb layer more realistic that it would look with CP soap. Then, add in the fact that my Voyageur order arrived and it contained a bottle of Oatmeal Milk & Honey fragrance oil, and my decision was made. I stopped in at Michael's and purchased a 2 lb. block of melt & pour base.

Once home, I finalized my recipe to fit in my new mini mold and got to work. First, I lined the bottom of the mold with bubble wrap to emulate the honey comb. Then I melted some of the m&p soap and coloured it with a bit of yellow/gold colorant meant for m&p soap, and poured it into my lined mold to a depth of about 1/2 inch.

Then I made my cp soap. keeping everything as cool as possible. I have read that, when making a combo soap, it's a good idea to spritz the m&p soap with alcohol before pouring the cp soap so I did that, spritzing generously. I know that any soap made with milk and honey can overheat so, to be on the safe side, I put the mold outside for a while. Our temperatures right now are hovering around the freezing mark and I thought that should help keep it on the cool side.

The following day, I unmolded the soap.

It smells amazing! So soft and, dare I say, comforting? That's the upside. The downside? Well, it came apart. There's also a lot of soda ash on the cp part. 

This morning, I'm trying it again. I'll be following some recommendations from fellow soap makers on SoapMaking Forum. The first suggestion was to encourage the soap to gel. Allowing it to gel should bring the heat up just high enough to soften the m&p soap and allow the two soaps to meld together. The other suggestion was, once again, spritz generously with alcohol.

Right now, it's in the oven, which was brought up to about 150°F, then turned off with the light left on. I'll leave it in there for a few hours. We shall see. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Dancing In The Rain

This morning, I unmolded and cut the Dancing in the Rain soap. I probably should have waited until later in the day (the soap was on the soft side) but I was eager to see how it had turned out. It wasn't how I was hoping it would be but it's definitely acceptable.

I'm thinking now that it might have been better in a slab mold and cut horizontally rather than in a loaf mold and cut vertically. I'll try that another time. As an aside, I've made a list of techniques I'd like to try. The dancing funnel pour is back on that list.

I also trimmed the rimmed soap; I used some of the soap dough to make the rim, got that fitted into two cavities of a silicone mold and filled them with leftover soap from the Rain soap. I'm pleased with the result. I have a feeling some of the colour (especially the red) may bleed. It's pretty intense. We shall see.

This afternoon, I planned out and made another batch of soap. It didn't go exactly as planned, to say the least. 

I bought a texture mat at the Bulk Barn today and cut it up to use in my soap mold. The intention was to colour a bit of the soap batter and coat the mat before pouring in the rest of the soap batter. My batter went from fluid to thick trace in, literally, seconds! It went so fast I almost didn't have time to get the scent into it. 

It's definitely not the prettiest soap I've ever made but it does smell good. It's scented with lavender, patchouli, and jasmine. 

The soap should be a good one; it's made with tallow and lard, along with palm kernel oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and castor oil. Any soap made with lard and tallow is bound to be a nice soap so, even though it isn't pretty, I'm still content. Besides any day with time spent making soap is a good day.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

In My Happy Place

I am having so much fun! I've been researching techniques, watching soap making videos, reading about soap and, today, making soap. One technique that has me intrigued is the Dancing Funnel Swirl. It isn't really a swirl but it is, definitely a technique. It, also, doesn't use a funnel; it uses squeeze bottles.

To make it, you pour your soap batter into separate squeeze bottles for each colour. Soap batter is dropped into your mold, first drops of one colour then, on the drops of the first colour, the second colour is dropped. (Gee, that sentence sounds awkward, doesn't it?) If you Google it, you'll see some amazing examples. Go, Google it!

Ok, just to be nice, here's a video I watched a few times before even thinking about trying this technique. She made hers in a slab mold; mine is in a loaf mold but the technique is the same. It's simple but, oh. so cool looking!

I tried it today using two colours, white and ultramarine pink, using the same recipe I used for the Ice Queen (so not blue)/Rose Quartz soap. At the moment it's in the oven, gelling. I don't normally gel my cold process soaps but, in this case, I want the colour to pop as much as possible. As well, I purposely made a larger batch than I knew I'd need so I would have a little extra for experimentation.

Speaking of the Rose Quartz soap, I need to come up with another name for it. The pink has completely disappeared and the soap is now a beautiful pale lavender. When I told Kristen I was thinking of calling it Lavender (or Mauve) Quartz, she immediately replied, "Oh, you mean Amethyst?" Um, yeah. I'm hesitant to call it anything but pretty right now. Who knows whether the colour will morph even more? We shall wait and see.

A few weeks ago, I made soap dough in preparation for February's challenge on the Soapmaking Forum. Last weekend, I put together a cane of soap with the intention of using it to "wrap" soap, also called Rimmed Soap.

This was just an experiment so there are only two bars; I'll unmold them tomorrow. The center (pink) soap, which was also used in the dancing funnel soap, is scented with Rain from Voyageur Soap & Candle. I wasn't too sure about this scent; it's very strong in the bottle and the one time I did use it in soap, I didn't like it. Again, it was too strong. This time, I only used one teaspoon in a one kilo (oil weight) batch of soap. I'm liking it much better now. Obviously, with this fragrance oil, less is more.

Because it's a little slow at work right now (finally), I was able to take Thursday afternoon off to make my Salt Soap, something I've been wanting to do for a couple of weeks. After giving Kristen an entire batch of these bars for her birthday, I was left with only one bar in reserve. That is NOT enough!

This should see me through the year nicely, once it's fully cured. The only downside to this soap is that the longer it cures, the better it is. The upside to this soap is that the longer it cures, the better it is. Ideally, I should put it away for the next six months to a year. Truly, this is a wonderful soap; it smells amazing (equal parts lavender, peppermint, and rosemary) and the lather is thick, creamy and gentle. I even use it for shaving my legs because the lather is that thick. And, it doesn't dry out my skin. 

Tomorrow, I'll post pictures of the Dancing Funnel soap. I'm looking forward to seeing how it turned out. Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Well, That Was Interesting

This last batch of soap, the one I'm calling Rose Quartz, has definitely been interesting and a real learning experience. Don't get me wrong, the soap is amazing. If I do say so myself, it's beautiful and it smells amazing.

The learning part comes in when it comes to the colouring. As I wrote yesterday, I used FD&C blue; it morphed into pink. At least, it's pink on the outside. This morning, I cut it and received another surprise.

It's mauve! (See that gorgeous swirl? That makes me happy!) Some commenters on the SoapMaking forum have said it might not be finished morphing yet so it will be interesting to see what happens over the next six weeks or so.

As for lessons, I've learned that if I want a pretty mauve, I can use the FD&C blue. One poster on SMF said she uses this particular blue to make a royal purple colour.  Another one suggested having a jar with pre-mixed lye water handy and using a sample cup of lye solution to test your colourant to see whether it will morph and if so, how it will change. What a great suggestion! 

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Things Don't Always Go As Planned

Last week's soaps are out of the mold, cut, and curing. I was very pleased with both batches that I made. Yes, I made two batches last week. In addition to the no coconut, whipping cream soap, I also made a batch of one of our perennial favourites, Java Jumpstart.

Of all the times I've made the Java Jumpstart, I think I'm most happy with this particular batch. I think I've got the ratio better this time than I have in the past. Normally, I've used close to half and half for the plain section vs the coloured section. This time, it was more like 2/3:1/3. I could go even less for the coffee section, I think. 

And here is the perfectly named, Alabaster Cream soap, made with whipping cream as one of the oils. Thanks go out to one of my long distance friends, Shirley, for the name. It's absolutely perfect and, as a thank you, I'll be sending her a bar once the soap has finished curing. 

All day yesterday and this morning, a soap inspiration was swirling around in my mind. I even had a name picked out, Ice Queen. I was envisioning a pale blue soap, with white swirls twining through the blue, topped with swirls of white and blue and highlighted with blue-dyed rock salt and opalescent glitter. I planned out the soap recipe, using a tried and true blend of oils that included coconut oil, olive oil, lard and tallow, the scent (once again, lemongrass, lavender, and peppermint... so fresh and cool), the colours. And I made my soap.

Except, it didn't quite turn out as planned. 

Um, yeah, the blue turned pink! I really couldn't use the pretty blue salt I'd prepared; it really just would not look right, you know? After some quick thinking, I dug out the bag of pink Himalayan rock salt I had tucked away for use in bath teas and sprinkled some on top of the soap. The glitter gave it a sparkly finish. Even though I'm a little disappointed that it didn't quite turn out the way I expected it to, I'm still very happy with how this soap turned out. 

Plus, it gives me an excuse to try again.