Thursday, July 17, 2014

Colour Challenge - Mineral Autumn

I loved making my soap for the first Colour Challenge so much I just couldn't resist trying it again with the second palette that Amy from Greatcakes Soapworks had presented - mineral autumn.
http://greatcakessoapworks.com/scc/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/mineral-autumn.jpg
Design Seeds Mineral Autumn Colour Palette

Originally I was going to create a soap with these colours using micas and oxides, like the last colour challenge, and then choose the soap I liked best to enter for the challenge. But then I remembered that I had some herb infused olive oil I started several months ago - paprika and annatto.
Paprika Infused Olive oil and Annatto Seed Infused Olive oil

So the decision was made - we're going All Natural with this soap. And yes, all 5 colours in the palette.

Weighing out the olive oil for colourants
My recipe for this soap included Olive, Coconut, Apricot Kernel, Palm Kernel and Castor oils, as well as a pinch of Tussah Silk. For the colours I used
  • Orange - Paprika infused olive oil
  • Red - Rose Clay
  • Black - Activated Charcoal
  • Yellow - Annatto infused olive oil
  • Natural - White Kaolin Clay & Dead Sea Mud Powder

Mixing the natural colourants
I made my soap as usual, but shorted the olive oil by 5 ounces. In each of 3 pouring containers I poured 1 ounce of olive oil. Then I added the Rose Clay to the first, Activated Charcoal to the second and White Kaolin Clay to the third. In each of the other 2 pouring containers I added 1 ounce Paprika infused olive oil and 1 ounce Annatto infused olive oil. Then I divided my soap batter equally in the five pouring containers, by weight for accuracy.

The white kaolin clay was a little too light, so I added about 1/4 tsp dead sea mud powder.

Now for the fun! I did a tiger stripe pour, and when that was done I swirled the soap with a spoon, but only one rotation with the spoon before moving down the soap mold. Then I swirled the top a bit.

I like it!
The cut bar

Mineral Autumn All Natural Handmade Soap scented with Spearmint & Anise essential oils


I had never used Rose Clay before. Brambleberry generously provided a package of it at the HSCG Soap Conference so I was happy to have a chance to test it.  I was surprised the colour came out as dark as it did. I was glad I added the Dead Sea Mud Powder; although it was only a tiny amount that was added, it was enough for the job. Somehow the yellow was completely lost.

Overall, I'm happy with this bar. Many Thanks to Amy again for the inspiration!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Colour Challenge - Summer Setting

Life can get really crazy at times, can't it? So far 2014 has proven to very eventful: college, university and high school graduations for my kids, several travel opportunities and an amazing new job that I wasn't even looking for! I feel extremely blessed. Throughout the chaos, however, it's easy to feel overwhelmed.

That's a bit how I was feeling when I read the email announcing Amy's latest challenge - the Colour Challenge. I haven't been able to take part in many of Amy's challenges in the past year, but here was the perfect opportunity for me to truly engage in the Simple Pleasure of making handmade soap again- just for the fun of it. And the best part was that I finally had the chance to use my new soap mold, purchased for me by my wonderful siblings who wanted to help me celebrate my 'big' milestone birthday (another 2014 event) - Essential Depot's Silicone soap mold with stainless steal stackable basket. Oh how i love this mold!!

Anyway, the Challenge - to create a soap using at least 3 colours from a chosen palette from Design Seeds using either synthetic or all natural colourants.

I started with the 'summer setting' palette:

summer-setting

And this is what I came up with:

Summer Setting Colour Challenge using micas and oxides
My recipe included Olive, Coconut, Sunflower, Palm Kernel and Castor oils and Tussah Silk. I split the batch in half. The first half was whitened with titanium dioxide (a tip from Amy's video) and then split into 3 containers and coloured with Peacock Blue mica (for light blue), Purple Vibrance mica (for lilac), a little more purple vibrance mica + a bit of Titan Violet mica (for dark purple). The three colours were layered into the mold; then I used a large serving fork to 'fork swirl' the colours.
Fork Swirled first layer
Onto the second half of the soap batter. It was also split in three: a smaller portion was coloured with Red oxide and a bit of Ultramarine Blue oxide. It took a bit to get the maroon colour I was going for, and it still wasn't quite what I wanted, but the soap was getting thick so I had to just go with it. That was layered into the mold and peaked a bit. Next was the portion coloured with Tangerine WOW from Brambleberry. I poured that soap down each of the sides of the mold and let it flow together, making sure all of the maroon was covered. And finally the last little bit was coloured with Brambleberry's Fizzy Lemonade and poured down the center.
Ready to be sprayed and swaddled
After spraying the top with rubbing alcohol and covering with saran wrap, this lovely loaf was wrapped in a towel and put to bed. And not a speck of soda ash! Yeah!!! Ashless soap is so very rare for me. And the way this loaf just popped right out of the mold made me a happy soaper! Did I tell you I love this mold??
Freshly cut soap
I'm very happy with the way this soap turned out. The maroon is not exactly what I was going for, but that's okay. The rest of the colours are pretty close.


Summer Sunset
I scented this soap with equal portions of Black Raspberry Vanilla and Champagne Pear fragrance oils, both from Nature's Garden. The scent is very light and refreshing.

I'm totally ready for the next challenge! Thanks once again, Amy, for the inspiration!


Monday, February 17, 2014

Embed Soap Challenge

This month's challenge issued by Amy through her Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge Club is to make a soap using cold process embeds. This is not a new technique for me, however I've shied away from embeds lately because of some frustrations I've had with them, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to work through those issues. Let me explain.

A few years ago I bought several embed molds from flexiblemolds.com. The detail is amazing and I love them, but using one of my regular soap recipes resulted in softer embeds that were easily damaged while popping them out of the mold, even when they were frozen. Then I learned that most people use melt & pour soap for these molds. I've never used melt & pour and really don't have a desire to begin. Not that I have anything against melt & pour; a lot of soap makers make beautiful soap using it. But for me, the thrill of soap making comes in the chemical reaction, that moment the lye water hits the soap pot and magically transforms the oils/butters into that gorgeous, creamy batter that will become soap! Also, in Canada, those of us who sell our soap must register our formulas with Health Canada and our soap must be labelled accordingly. Adding melt & pour embeds would mean that I need to register yet another Cosmetic Notification Form and re-do some of my labels - call me lazy, I just don't want to go there.

So what to do? I needed a hard soap recipe that would not obligate me to re-submit my CNFs. I remembered that the last time I made my castile soap my soap cutter could barely get through it after 24 hours. Also ALL of my soap recipes have a high olive oil content as well as coconut oil. So I mixed up a small batch of soap using the following recipe:
  • 75% olive oil
  • 25% coconut oil
  • 5% SF
  • 25% water discount
  • no fragrance
Adding these embeds to any of my existing soap recipes would not change the ingredient ranges listed in my CNFs and would therefore be perfectly acceptable according to Health Canada guidelines.

For this challenge I decided to use the only flexible mold that I have not yet used - baby blocks. I made a small batch, coloured it, poured it into the mold, and let it sit for about 30 hours. Then it went into the freezer overnight. In the morning I took the mold out of the freezer and let it sit on the counter for about 5 minutes before unmolding. To my delight, the little baby blocks popped right out, no problem! Using the same formula I also made some pink heart. And this is what I came up with:
'Baby on the Way!' Soap in the mold




'Baby on the Way!' cut, trimmed & stamped; scented with lavender, orange, lemon & litsea essential oils
Now, just to be clear, I am NOT making an announcement here. But if I were, wouldn't this be a fun way to do it?? I've been blessed to have given birth to 4 of the most amazing people I know. Not once did I know if I was having a boy or a girl. But it seems these days expectant parents know long before baby's arrival and they seek out cleaver ways to reveal their child's gender. I had hoped to make another log with a blue heart stamped 'Its a boy', but I ran out of time.
I love these little soap blocks!

These were stamped with letters from a clay embossing set
And if I wanted to present these at a gathering to reveal my baby's gender, this is how I would present them:

Package created using instructions form Dorothy Martin'sYouTube video "How to make a Soap Gift bag"






I had so much fun with this challenge. I learned that the olive/coconut recipe is perfect for making embeds to place on top of the soap. But to embed into the soap a water discount is probably not a good idea. The hearts were rather solid, but the rest of the bar was a bit soft. I placed the log in the freezer for a few hours right after making it to prevent gel. I really tried to wait 24 hours after the soap had returned to room temperature, but patience is not a virtue I possess.

Thanks, Amy! Looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with!!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

New Year - New Inspiration

Welcome 2014!!

I love a new year! It signals a fresh start - a time to review all that happened last year and to image all that will take place in the coming year. And 2014 promises to be an exciting year indeed!

I'm starting to fill my empty curing racks with new soap creations. Take a look at how it's been filling up.



Baby Rose Shea Butter Bar

...with rose soap embeds

This one is scented with banana, chocolate and strawberry. I originally called it Banana Split, but I'm not convinced.

Any ideas for a better name out there???

Knock out! Shea Butter Bar

My son was complaining that I didn't have enough 'man' scents, so this one is for him.





Happy New Year, everyone! May 2014 bring you Love, Peace and Happiness!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dandelion Swirl Challenge

It's been a few months since I've been able to take part in Amy's soap challenges at Greatcakes Soapworks. This month's challenge was the Dandelion Swirl - a pretty cool technique if you ask me. I purchased some new micas from Two Blooms Aromatics a while ago and what a perfect opportunity to try all three of them.
Fresh in the mold.
For the swirl I used Apple Martini, Hot Pink and Peacock Blue Micas from Two Blooms. I didn't want a bright white for the base so I added just a touch of Tangerine WOW from Brambleberry; think I should have added a touch more. I scented is with a combination of Raspberry fragrance oil and Peppermint essential oil. I don't know what I was thinking when I came up with that scent combo but I really like it.
Love that moment when the soap log is just cut!

Do you see the kissing dolphins??

Raspberry Mint Dandelion Swirl


Friday, September 20, 2013

Ginger Boy and Other Recent Soaps

So have you wondered what became of my soda ash-free Ginger Boys? They became the first installment of my Fall/Winter soaps.
Ginger Boy Three Butter Bar

A Christmas Duo

Candy Cane Shea Butter Bar

These two bars are destined for a beautiful gift pack for Christmas gift giving. Can't wait for my beautiful boxes to arrive!

Here are a few other soaps that I've recently made.
Brown Sugar & Fig Shea Butter Bar

Gifts of the Magi Cocoa Butter Bar

Harvest Moon Cocoa Butter Bar with Goat Milk

Winter Garden Shea Butter Snowflakes

Spiced Apple Pumpkin Three Butter Bar

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Soda Ash - be GONE!

Have I mentioned how much I hate Soda Ash?? Just because I hate it though, doesn't mean it hasn't reared it's ugly head into my soap room. And I have tried everything to deal with it. I have
  • covered my peak topped soap mold as much as possible
  • sprayed tops with alcohol
  • dipped ash covered soap in a water bath
  • steamed the ash with a kettle
Each method worked a bit, but not to my satisfaction. So it was time to suck it up and 'embrace' the Soda Ash. After all, it's not harmful, just ugly. So with the right attitude it is possible to convince people that it's part of the design. Right??

Well, a few weeks ago I read somewhere in Soaper's Blogland about a method someone used to more effectively steam away soda ash. They created a dome of sorts around their ash covered soap along with a steaming cup of water, left it for about 20 minutes and, ta-da! no more soda ash!! I tucked that tidbit of info into the back of my mind.  (My deepest apologies to the wonderful soap maker who blogged about this - I can't remember who you are. Please stand up and take credit if you are in the room!)

Then I made some gingerbread embeds that I hoped to use in a seasonal soap that I was planning. And sure enough, Soda Ash showed up!

My poor disfigured soda ash covered Gingerbread boys.      

Oh, Soda Ash, why???

It was time to try this new-found trick.

Ring around the steaming water bowl


The only 'dome' I could find - it fit.
After 20 minutes I removed the 'dome'. Don't they look GREAT?!
Thirty minutes later they are dry and still look great!


I am a happy soaper!!!