Thursday, April 8, 2010

recent soap stories

it's been a while, so i'm going to catch up on the last few batches all at once. grab a cup of tea and settle in for some new soapers' bloopers. i swear we read and study and when it comes down to it, we apparently have no idea what we are least we have fun.


we never have enough time to make soap, and we usually decide friday afternoon before people start getting together seems like a good idea. somehow, we convince people to come over and hang out while we are slinging lye everywhere.

on 3/5, we made focused more on scent than soap quality. we were still kind of figuring out what an SAP value was. if we didn't have an ingredient, we just didn't make that recipe. we made a 4 pound batch of a nice shea butter recipe we found somewhere and focused on combining our essential oils. we wanted a nice summer cooling soap for the coming georgia heat and we wanted a dog soap for our adorable goldendoodles to help them battle the mosquitos and fleas.

j. has one of albus's little sisters from a different litter. same mom and dad, they are just a year or so apart. they love each other.

the batch went well, especially since it was our first batch using the immersion hand blender. god's gift to soap makers. amazing. really.

once we got to a super light trace, we separated the batch into two separate containers and added our scents. peppermint, spearmint, and sweet birch for the cooling soap. cedarwood, citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, and tea tree oil for the dog soap. bugs hate those oils!

then, we colored the cooling soap half with blue mica for a nice "chill" color. now, if you are an experienced soaper, you would start yelling at your screen: "you can't use mica in cold-process soap!" well, we didn't know that, and it colored the soap a beautiful perfect blue color for our cooling least until the next day.

yuck. - it still smells great though. and the yucky color stuff cuts right off.

after some "grooming," it looks just fine, smells, great, and has a nice lather. it's a little soft in my opinion, but it lasts fine in the shower.

the dog soap came out just fine. lighter than the cooling soap, and with a pretty nice lather as long as you have plenty of water.

next time, i'd like a stronger smell. and maybe add eucalyptus and patchouli as well. maybe take out the tea tree oil or rosemary. not sure yet. and more coconut oil next time too for more lather.


two weekends later was a bath and body whirlwind. on friday night after having several cups of homemade apple cider (bad idea) we rushed to make our friend c. a wedding shower basket of goodies. having never made lotion or bath bombs, it was quite an experience. it turned out great! i had all the recipes and ingredients ready, and the day before, j. and i had written out all the eo combos we wanted to use. several "romantic" scents, a few "tingly/minty" combos, and a few "spicy" combos. we made lotion, body butter, bath salts, massage melts, and massage oil. it still took us until midnight to get everything made.

i didn't do so great of a job arranging the basket and felt extra un-crafty when another woman showed up at the shower with a professional basket that she made herself. she apparently has some baking company up north and does all the baskets herself. mine looked pretty frumpy next to hers...but, at the end of the shower, you know which was the only present c. decided to take home? ours!!! she would pick up the rest the next day, but our basket of lotions was going home that instant. very nice.

no pictures. sorry. you wouldn't want to see the sad basket anyway...but we did package everything in cute mason jars and little baggies. it was just the basket arrangement that sucked. new craft to learn!


on that sunday we invited a 3rd new soaper over to make a seaweed and dead sea salt facial bar as well as a margarita bar. the seaweed bar looked awesome, but the spirulina smells terrible. and it turns out, dead sea salt "sweats" a lot. well, damn. now we have cardboard stuck to all the bottoms of the soap. a few look alright though. we'll see how they turn out in a few more weeks though. they should be ultra conditioning with that aloe juice and sea weed.

not super beautiful. still figuring out how to cut soap, so next time, just regular sea salt. maybe there will be less moisture sweating and prettier designs.

the margarita bar didn't turn out like we wanted. we really just wanted to play with some color (the right kind this time - we tossed out the mica), but didn't have everything we needed for the margarita bar. oh well, let's make it anyway without the lime juice and raw sugar. but we already figured out the essential oil blend, so let's go for it anyway. maybe next time. then we realized we had no idea how to swirl colors.

we tried pouring in the separate colors into the tiny mold at once. these actually turned out the best. lack of stirring definitely helped out. but we only did 3 since the logistics were difficult.

then we tried adding the colors to the big pot to do something like kbshimmer's video on in pot swirling. sooooo did not work for us. we have a bunch of reddish brown green soap now. our fault for pouring into individual molds instead of one big one. every time we brought the pyrex up and down, the soap mixed again.

not as appetizing as a refreshing margarita, even if it does smell great and limey. our fault though. next project on the docket is building a log mold.


i found some sweet old school tupperware at a yard sale and was totally psyched to find several pieces in the exact shape of what a log or tray mold would look like! i paid 50 cents a piece and came home skipping. i had just finished watching tiggy's video (from future primitive - only the coolest soaps i've ever seen!!!!) on creating black lines in soap, so i thought i'd give a 1 pound batch a go to test out my new tupperware.

i was headed to the beach the next day, so i wanted a beachy soap. the scent turned out really nice: cedarwood, lavender, rosemary, and just hints of clary sage, lemongrass, sweet orange, and a drop or two of spearmint. heavenly.

then i thought: "why not color the top blue like the water, and add salt?" and then i thought: "ooh, i could add pulverized oatmeal to the cream color and it will look like sand!" and then i though: "holy crap, put the mold at a diagonal after pouring in the cream and it will look like waves coming up onto the sand!!!!!!" i was very excited. and for good reason. it turned out beautifully:

i imagine it will be very exfoliating :) also, i should have cut it after only 3 hours or so. the salt makes the top of the bar *very* hard. my first attempt to cut the log resulted in the blue part separating from the cream. i had to saw through the rest to keep them from splitting. but i really feel like this might be my best bar of soap ever. what a great way to end the night before going on vacation.

next time, i'll make a bigger batch so the bars will be taller. and, i'll remember to be patient for a super hard trace so i can make waves on top. it was 9:00 and i wanted dinner. by the time i got back, it was too hard :( next time...

i will try to stay up to date more often. i have a neat one coming up about the green goop smoothies i've been making recently, so get excited.