Friday, March 30, 2012

Challenge #2 - Milk Soap

I love goat milk soap. I love the texture, the creamy lather, but mostly I love the way it makes my very dry skin feel. I've made a number of soaps replacing the full water amount with goat milk.

Last month I saw a youtube video on making soap with greek yogurt. I decided to give it a try and - oh my - I am hooked.
This really is the creamiest! After 2 weeks of curing I grabbed the end slice for a test run. The creamy lather was so soft and silky. Love it! (Oh come on, I know I'm not the only soaper who lacks the patience to wait 4 whole weeks to try the new soap!)

The soap challenge from Amy at Great Cakes Soapworks this week was for milk soap. I decided to go with an almond theme: almond milk, almond oil - which I rarely use, and a yummy amaretto fragrance oil that I had just purchased but hadn't had a chance to play with yet. Amy used real chocolate in her video, and while the incorporation of chocolate had often intrigued me, I had never tried it; this seemed like the perfect time.

With so many 'new' elements for this batch, I decided to do some testing. So glad I did. I made a small batch which traced very quickly so I separated it into 4 small containers: one I left plain, no fragrance, no colour; to one I added titanium dioxide and a bit of fragrance; to one I added a bit more fragrance but no colour; and to the last one I added some chocolate melted in olive oil and a bit of fragrance. Stirred them up and they all liquified on me! Guess that was my first false trace. It took a while to thicken up again with stirring (not enough in each container to stick blend), but eventually I was able to pour it at a thin trace.

This is what I ended up with. I decided to do a chocolate base and layer it with the darker of the three light samples, which was the one with no t.d. but a bit more fragrance. These samples I used to make cubes to embed and curls to embellish the top with. When I got to work making the 'real' soap batch I was ready for that false trace, and sure enough, it happened. This time after separating into two containers there was enough soap in each to stick blend back to a thick trace.


So, new experiences with this challenge include:
      ~ using almond milk in place of water for the lye solution
      ~ using chocolate
      ~ a new fragrance oil - which smells amazing, btw
      ~ testing to see how all of the elements work together
      ~ false trace

This was a great challenge. I learned a lot, and though I am sure that the soap will darken over time, I'm really pleased with both the look and texture of this soap.

Looking forward to the next challenge!!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Weekly Soap Challenge - I am so in!

Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks has issued a challenge to all soapers to try new methods and techniques - together, as a group. How fun is that?! I've been so excited since I first read about the challenge. The first challenge was to do an in-the-pot swirl, with at least one more colour than you have previously used. I do believe I've used 3 colours before, but having an aversion to even numbers I decided to go for a 5 color swirl for this challenge. Yes, I have attempted an ITP swirl, but I have in no way mastered it. I tend to mix too much and use colours with too little contrast. Surely with 5 colours I should see some swirls, right???

Well I pulled out all of my colours and chose sunset orange, yellow, and chromium green oxides, pink ultramarine and midnight blue mica. I mixed 1/4 teaspoon of each colour with 2 teaspoons water; I also mixed 1/2 teaspoon t.d. with 2 teaspoons water to add to my main batch. Also added white bamboo and grapefruit fragrance oil - the only fo I had that I knew wouldn't speed up trace. I also pulled out some purple glitter that I had recently received (and then promptly forgot about it). Then I went for it keeping 2 things in mind: don't overmix, and swiggle the soap while pouring into the mold.

Ta-da!! Look at those swirls - I am impressed. It seems the secret is most definitely in the swiggling of the soap in the mold. I usually just pour it in the mold and put it to bed. This works much better.

Now, I wondered, what if I used less colour? Why not try it again? So I did! Everything was exactly the same, except I used 1/8 teaspoon of each colour with 1 teaspoon water, and I didn't forget the purple glitter.

Wish I had forgotten the glitter - it looked awful! I use plastic kitchen utility drawer organizers for molds, so to unmold, 24 hours after pouring I put the log in the freezer for a couple of hours and then it pops right out. I carefully rinsed the glitter off the top of the log and then while it was thawing the condensation allowed me to wipe off a bit more. Much happier with the tops! The base was slightly lighter in the second batch, and I think I like the colours better in the second batch. I'm happy with both batches though.

I loved doing this challenge, and I am equally excited to do the next one! Looking forward to seeing everyones results!! Thanks, Amy, for the inspiration and the video how-tos. I am a happy soaper!!