Monday, May 10, 2010

summer sunrise and practice with natural colorants

soapy sunday! it took a bit of discussion to decide what we wanted to make. we have friends with babies coming up, so we've been wanting to make a super gentle baby soap with goats milk. the men have been asking for man soap, but we keep forgetting to buy guinness to use as the liquid. plus, we'd have to boil it and let it cool the day before. we decided to go for something a little more fun and play with color. we loved the recipe we used for the margarita bar that turned out to smell great, but was way over mixed color-wise. it was nice and hard and had great lather, so we figured we would use it again and try for better color technique this time.

we really want to go all natural with our soaps. only essential oils, no fragrance oils. only natural colorants, no lab colors. so j. made a beautiful EO blend of jasmine, orange bitter, and lemongrass for a nice summer scent that wasn't too citrusy. just bright and clean. for the colors, we were thinking yellows, reds, oranges, and peaches. so we went with (clockwise from the top) paprika, dried orange peel, ground calendula petals, and tomato powder.

we took 3 cups of soap out and colored each cup with 1 1/2 tsp tomato powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, and 1/2 tsp orange peel.  we colored the rest of the base with the calendula petals (about 2 Tbsp) in hopes for a nice yellow base. j. had the awesome idea to pour samples of each into our mini muffin pan so we will know which colorants turned out what colors.

then came the hard part.

we had two molds/old pieces of tuperware :) we lined them with parchment paper, which is so hard btw, then dumped the base color (with calendula) about an inch think in the cake pan mold and about 2 inches in the log mold. (should have poured in the cake pan first only about 1/2 inch think so we'd have taller log soap). j. colored the log by pouring in the colors from up high to get them deep into the soap, then swirled a chopstick around a bit all the way to the bottom. then she used a spoon to get some sweet waves on the tops, but we forgot to get pictures. i poured lines on top of the cake mold, then swirled them lightly with a chopstick.

four weeks later:

the calendula and orange peel barely turned any color at all. paprika is a nice pinky color, and the tomato turned from a dirty red to a kind of ugly yellow brown color. no more tomato powder added at trace at least. maybe it'll be different added to the lye solution or the oil first.

so, barely any color at all in the soap itself. pretty disappointing. still smells great though.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

i may be getting the hang of this

i haven't been so good about keeping up, but hey, no one is reading anyway. this is more for me to keep my thoughts straight and hopefully document a bit of this soap stuff.

for mother's day, i thought i'd make my mom something custom. she's always in the garden, so she's always 1) covered in bug bites and 2) always has dirty hands. hands in the dirt is the only way to garden. you have to feel the dirt. but it's not so nice on the hands. so i made an ultra moisturizing soap with corn meal to really scrub off that dirt without leaving her hands dried out. i also wanted to play with a bit of color using greens with a bit of red. this is what came out of the bunch:

pretty good! did make a mistake though. i dumped the green oxide into the soap before i took any out for the red. so i mixed the brick red oxide with a bit of oil and added it after i poured the green into the molds. the first few days out of the mold, they leaked oil, but now they look pretty cool! the red has stayed put, and kind of carved out some neat swirls.

the next week, i felt the itch again! plus, i found some delicious smelling coconut oil at the farmers' market that i just had to try. so i invited my neighbor over to make soap while our boys were making beer. first, we made my recipe for white chocolate truffle soap. it has lots of cocoa butter, so it smells just heavenly. and instead of using almond essential oil to keep it white, we went with vanilla bean and just a dash of cinnamon. mmmmmmmm-MMMMMMM! it smells so good. and i think it will darken to a nice milk chocolate color, so the scent and colors should be right on. here it is right after cutting:

and here it is 6 weeks later:

didn't even see that crescent shape on the bottom until i was editing the pictures. weird. but using it is a dream. nice and hard, *great* lather, and my skin feels amazing after using it. definitely will keep this recipe around.

since the batch was going so well, we decided to go for another one...cupcakes! or more specifically, lemon poppyseed cupcakes. i saw a cute tutorial on cupcake soap on the soap queen's blog. i'm into more natural colors and fragrances, so i thought lemon poppyseed was a nice alternative to strawberry cheesecake. but i do love those bright pink colors! ours came out beautifully. poppyseeds and tumeric to color the "cake" and nothing in the "icing" to keep it nice and creamy looking. quite a success. it's been hard not to try a bite, they look and smell so delicious! can't wait to see how they soap!