Sunday, April 28, 2013

Soap gremlins and Mica swirls

So I wanted to try the peacock/bouquet swirl, and the above photo is the soap I got instead.

"But it isn't even close!"

No, I know. Because soap gremlins.

I HATE soap gremlins.

Granted, I was using a fragrance oil I knew accelerated, I just forgot HOW FAST. Tried adding more water, nope. Got stuck in my soap condiment bottles. Ohmygod. Dumped bottles out into soap, layered, hoped for best.

Instead, I got CRAYOLA BARF. Oy.

So I rebatched, sliced the soap up nice and thin, put it in a crock pot (it was still soft and squishy after 3 days from all the water I added) for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Plopped into mold. Still smelled of Freesia, silly white florals, and had a lovely lavender color to it:

Brushed the top with some oil-mica and glitter.

Decided to try a heavy olive oil recipe with my other planned batches for the day, to slow things down a bit. Soaped a green tea and willow silk/shea soap with french green clay, wanting to try the oil/mica swirl again. I was impressed! Soaped well, smelled beautiful, and look at the SWIRL!

This is after drying a bit. Yay!

Wanting to take the opportunity to use the gremlin-free soap time, I started on another. Purple sandalwood, colored with a purple mica and activated charcoal. Smelled yummy and odd, musky. This is BEYOND my favorite mica swirl to date:

SO PRETTY. <3 Finally, after all those tries, I got it. Took me long enough, LOL. Can;t wait to see the inner swirls with the green tea and sandalwood soaps. Exciting! I'll just have to wait longer to unmold due to extra olive oil. Here's another pic of the lovely purple swirls!

So happy with my soap results today. The gremlins were beating me down for a while.

And here's the paradise soap cut!

Love the hanger swirl, just wish the colors had come out brighter. I'll get usage rates down soon! The green and purple seemed to do fine, so we'll see. :)

Thanks for reading, and HAPPY SOAPING!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mica Oil Swirl Experimentation

Ever since seeing everyone's lovely soaps for Amy's Great Soap Challenge 2013, I loved the mica oil swirl the most. I recently ordered new micas from The Conservatorie, and I was ready to try them out!

First off, they all blended beautifully into my sweet almond carrier oil. And I love the shimmer they have! Gorgeous. As an over achiever, I wanted to do a four-layered soap using a hanger swirl, with the mica swirled top -- repeating all four colors. I'll tell you now, lesson learned.

I scented the soap with a blend of 2 parts Almost Paradise (RusticEscentuals) to one part Just Peachy (also RE). I was keeping my fingers crossed for NO SOAPY GREMLINS.

Well. So much for that.

The soap base accelerated really fast with NO FO. Oy. It was my first time using tussah silk in my lye, however. I hope that doesnt become a common thing. I seperated my FO blend into four parts, splitting them into the colors, just in case of acceleration.

Good thing I did. I layered green, blue, orange, and then yellow -- by the time yellow was layered, it was THICK. Ugh. I grabbed my hanger, swirled really fast and swirly, then plopped droplets of the mica-oil mixtures on top. Swirl away!


Even with the thick batter, it didnt seem so bad for a first try/ The orange and yellow blended into the top layer anyway, and the blue is showing nicely. The green was a tad light, I think I might have been stingy with my mica, but overall I like it. I think I'll call it Summer Paradise.

Layering wise, I was thinking ground, ocean, and then a sunset-ish picture. I'm quite happy with it in the mold, I'll just have to wait until tomorrow to unmold my beauty to see if I REALLY like it.

Thanks for reading, and HAPPY SOAPING!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Energizing adventure!

As you may know from previous posts, this is Energize. It's an amazingly lovely heavy-lemon scented soap, with a soft undertone of sweet. This is the bar as it was originally pulled from my DORIGHT slab mold.

After being annoyed by the heavy ash, even after steaming the bars, I decided I'd give my SMR planer a try.

So off I went! Lovingly beveling the edges of my soap bar, planing the flat sides (I find that if you plane the front and back of the bar first, then the corners you want beveled, and THEN the sides, it works best!), reveling in the scent of yummy citrus as the fresh slices aerated the room. Halfway through, however, I was wondering what to do with my planed leftovers. I had been squeezing them together after each bar, making little squished soap bits. Then it occurred to me.


Who DOESN'T love soap balls? Even if I just use them as embeds, it's an awesome idea. So I started rolling!

Nice, clean-of-ash, planed soaps. <3

And soap balls!

Size comparisons:

Thanks for reading! And as always -- HAPPY SOAPING! 

Lavender Mist soap!

One of the reasons for wanting to make this soap is because I ordered a 1/2 lb of lavender buds off Amazon. However, I didnt realize HOW MUCH that would be. Oh my jeez.

Armed with melt and pour soap bases, I started my journey! I mixed lavender buds in the bottom in a clear glycerin base, spritzing with alcohol.

I then colored and scented a nice light purple base, layering that on top of the glycerin  Some of the lavender buds were all floaty-around!

And more lavender.

More base.

I was trying (and failed) to swirl. Oh well. More buds!

And cut and packaged. This was actually one of my most popular soaps when I first started. The lavender mist scent went well with the natural lavender buds in the soap.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

16lbs of Cut Soap!

You guys remember this lot from yesterday, right?

Oh yes. Getting all of this soap out of the molds was a challenge in itself, but cutting it -- whew! Hand cutting it, I might add. The bars arent all even (let me tell you, I LOVE my slab mold now - it does it for me!) but money is tight, so I'll have to wait for a special day to invest in one of the fancy wire cutters.

But here are the soaps!

This is my Energize bar. A nice little (no column!) swirl done in my slab mold. It's got a bit of ash on the top, and some of the bars are sweating, but it smells heavenly. Scented with a blend of yuzu and lemon verbena, it's strong citrus top notes have a nice, sweet undertone. Lovely for morning showers!

This is the batch that accelerated so much it nearly hardened in the pot! Whisper, it was meant to have a hangar swirl (which is present in like, two bars) but whatever. It smells wonderful, a nice, heavy white floral (which I know accelerates anyway, duh) with a slight tinge of perfume. The tops of these are ashed as well, though I'll be using my soap planer/beveler from Soap making Resource to clean all of these babies up!

You can see how bad the ash is really well on these.

Probably my favorite one in terms of design out of the previous bars, this is Pink Lavender. Scented with a blend of lavender and some nice light florals, it has lavender buds sprinkled along its textured top. Lavender buds are also present throughout the middle of the bar (meaning there were some streaks when cutting). I used purple labcolor from RE to color the top part with, with TD mixed into the whole batch. Not sure if it's the TD that mixed with the labcolor, or the CP method that made it turn this delightful pink color. Happy accident, yay!

And, finally, Rustic. This is scented with a blend of eucalyptus and musk, a nice manly scent. I went with a simple grey bar, dusted the top with black glitter (more manly than -- pink glitter? I don't know) and ohmygawd it smells amazing. This bar and the Pink Lavender were softer out of the molds, more sticky -- though they were 3lb batches versus the 5lb of the others, so I'll account it for a cooler saponification temp.

Yay glitter!

These are some of the more professional soaps I've made, as these will be the ones I show to a wholesale client later int he week (wish me luck!) I never would have imagined that my hobby would have evolved this fast, and I have all of you to thank for having such an amazingly insightful community of soapers for me to explore! 

Happy soaping, my lovelies -- I will be updating more past batches until I get more palm oil in, as I barely have enough for a 3lb batch!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Let's get down to business...

...and make some soap!

Thursday I lost my day job -- don't worry, the reasons were silly, the company is intensely conservative, and I'm glad to be rid of them. I just need to find somewhere else to do my business. Better news is, however, that I have more time to make soap!


I got my molds in from MRDORIGHT on Etsy, and I was excited to try them out. Today was my "catch up on soap dishes/soap until I drop" day, which included me washing my soap dishes four or five times today, because after I finished one batch -- it became time for the next!

This was my first batch, done using MRDORIGHT's 18-bar slab mold. I'm so happy with this purchase! Everything was easy to put together, and the bars look lovely already. Can't unmold until tomorrow, but dang it -- they're gorgeous. This one I'm going to call "Energize" -- scented with a delicious blend of Yuzu and Lemon verbena, it's strikingly citrus.

Here's a better image of the swirl pattern from above. Fizzy Lemonade and Tangerine Wow from BrambleBerry, done in a simple spider web swirl.

The second batch was a slight bit more of a nightmare.

I wanted to use Whisper, a scent I found at Rustic Escentuals that smelled amazing -- I'm guessing it was a heavy white floral scent, because this was the FASTEST acceleration I've had to deal with yet! It was scary -- hardening in the pot and everything! OY!

I'm terrified with how this will turn out. The base layer is white, with a purple top, and I *attempted* a hangar swirl, though it was so thick I probably just made rivets in my soap. :( This one may just end up on my clearance rack..

It smells wonderful though, even now. The apartment smells of citrusy florals. Weird.

Batch number three!

I'm very impressed with this one. The base is white for this also, but it's layered. The top is a nice light pink -- I used purple labcolor, though it changed in the pot. Fine with me, as the lavender I scented with this suits the nice pink top, and I like the contrast of the shade with the lavender buds that are a striking purple. <3 Lavender buds were also mixed into the soap mix, for a nice little surprise.

My second attempt at a man-bar. Batch 4!

Scented with Eucalyptus blend (which smells very, VERY MAN. Mmmm.), this is a grey based soap, simple, topped with whisk swirls and black glitter. Just for shoots and giggles -- because what man DOESN'T need glitter? :D

The total weight for all of this soap is around 16lbs! Whew! I basically soaped until my palm oil was so low I couldn't make another batch. Which means ordering, and waiting, and ew. My coconut oil is low too, so it looks like I'll be hitting up the Chemistry Store soon. Oy.

All in all, 3 out of 4 of the batches were fine. The last grey batch had a slight acceleration, but nowhere near the Whisper. Needless to say, I think I'll save whisper for a future uncolored soap, or just add fragrance last, after coloring. Definitely not a swirler.

Thanks for reading, guys, and HAPPY SOAPING! I'll update with cut pics of these later. <3

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Galactic Soap - First CPOP

After seeing Anne Marie's post on CPOP on her Soap Queen blog, I wanted to try it. Beautiful CP swirls but with the HP processing -- what more can a girl ask for? Especially one as impatient as I am! Before I started, I noticed my oven's lowest setting was 200F, quite a bit over the 170F that was recommended. I preheated the oven to 200, but let it sit a while off, so it cooled down. Once it was around 170-180F, I knocked it to warm. One step down!

I made up my soap, choosing to use activated charcoal, titanium dioxide, and fizzy lemonade pigments from Bramble Berry. I also wanted to try a spooning technique I saw on a blog post, though now it eludes me. :( (If anyone knows what I'm referencing, let me know and I'll give credit!)

Layering the first bit of soap. I gues the concept here is plopping it down in somewhat straight lines. Or drizzling.

Looking at the pictures, I realize I got much wider in my lines. Which explains why this didnt turn out the way I wanted it to. :(

Cant have swirled CP soap without a lovely swirled top! Kept this one simple, as I love the mantra-style swirls.

In the oven!

I left the mold and soap in there overnight, popping it out around lunchtime the next day. The colors were SO VIBRANT, especially the fizzy lemonade. It just POPPED.

However, I didnt turn off my oven for about an hour and a half, causing the top to get these little bubbles in them. It made a weird texture, but I ended up leaving it on the bars. Apparently, this happens when you bake your soap! Oops! :)

Here you can see the textured tops. Look how bright the yellow is! Wow!

I packaged this bar very simply, and I'm calling it Galactic. It's scented with SnC Cucumber Melon, but it faded/baked off a bit in the oven, so it isnt as strong. Other people don't notice, but soapmakers might. We're an odd bunch. ;)

As always, thanks for dropping by, and Happy Soaping!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Shopping, new soap supplies, and LYE.

With tax refund money in-hand (sort of. Close enough. You get what I mean!), I was able to do some heavy soap-shopping, which is very exciting (after some bills and groceries and ((UGH)) ordering new parts for my gaming rig. Ew.). Here's what I'm getting, hopefully very soon!

This is my first purchase from Mrdoright, and hopefully (although I've noticed people either LOVE these or HATE these, with no middle ground) they will work for making several large batches at the same time. I'll hopefully be setting up a wholesale client account with a lady around 45 minutes away from me, but still -- very cool!

This is the other item I got from Mrdoright, so I can make beautiful column and peacock swirls in something bigger than a 9x9 silicone brownie pan. I love my brownie pan, so don't get me wrong, but it's become my "test batch" pan.

I really want to start shrinkwrapping my soaps, since it's easier than putting them in a cello bag, trimming the bag, and then taping it all shut gift-style. OY! So time consuming. And thanks to Soap Queen's tutorial on wrapping soaps with plastic wrap, this should do the job nicely!

I also ordered several micas from The Conservatorie, very excited! They're some of the pigments that Kenna uses over at Amathia Soapworks. I've been very jealous of her lovely, shimmery, and very very VIBRANT colors, so I had to order some to try for myself!

QUICK! For other soapmakers reading this, Essential Depot has their lye on special for 1.99/2lb container, plus 9.96 shipping. This is the cheapest lye option I've found, so I ordered 5 of them (since you get an extra 5$ off -- and 10 lbs goes a looong way!)

This came in just yesterday, YAY! I had been using a cheapo all-plastic stick blender, and though it worked well, cleanup was annoying. There was always dry soap somewhere in a nook or cranny. I'm excited to be able to detach this one.

I was also able to go ahead and by my Magic Swap Express items for both my CP and M&P soap swap! I will be shipping all 24 of my made bars out early next week! <3

More soaping may happen tonight in my 5lb wood mold and my 4lb vertical mold, we'll just have to see.

Have a lovely evening, fellow soapers, and HAPPY SOAPING!