Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Countdown to Christmas!

What a beautiful fall we are having! The days are warm, the evenings are cool and the colours in nature are fabulous!! I'm determined to enjoy every minute of it, especially because when I looked at the calendar today reality hit me - Christmas is in 3 short months! It's a reality we soap makers must embrace because soap needs time to cure and while 4 weeks is the general rule of thumb, I personally prefer a 6 week cure.

Here are some of my Christmas soaps that I've been working on.

Apple Cinnamon
I love the texture in this one, and who doesn't love the smell of apples and cinnamon.

Christmas Memories
I tried this fragrance oil last year and loved it. The middle layer has no colourant at all, and it discoloured to this caramely rose. That would explain why the green and red are a bit darker than I intended. It's a strong scent of pine, cloves, cinnamon and cranberries which sounds kind of odd to me, but somehow it works - very Christmasy.

Cracklin' Birch
The blue is a bit lighter than I expected, but I like it. It smells like a spicy floral. This one and Christmas Memories are both goat milk soaps with mango butter.

Gifts of the Magi
This one is my favorite. I was curious as to what frackincense and myrrh were like, so I ordered some and infused my olive oil with the crushed nuggets for this recipe. Such luxurious gifts need tussah silk as well for some added decadence, and to finish it off, a sprinkling of gold mica. I expected the scent to be musky but it really isn't; the fragrance description reads "A well rounded accord of frankincense and myrrh, vanilla extract, with unique top notes of French jasmine and English Ivy." It just smells wonderful to me!

With my Christmas soaping well under way I still have time to enjoy this exceptional fall weather.  Happy Autumn Everyone!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Busy in the Soap Room

It's September! The kids are all back in school and it's time to stock the soap shelves. Here's what I've been working on over the past few weeks.

I'm determined to complete one more 'Quad Pak' (a gift pack of 4 soaps), this time a 4 Seasons Pak. These 2 soaps represent spring with the fresh scent of spearmint, and fall with pumpkin spice. Summerberries is already done, now I just need a winter soap to finish off the pack.

Then there's Coconut Lime Verbena. I love the scent in this one and am hoping it doesn't fade too much in the coming weeks.

Coconut Lime Verbena - with coconut milk

This is Green Tweed - one of my favorite scents - made with goat milk. I normally try to avoid the gel phase with my milk soaps, I'm always afraid of them over-heating, and I really do like the muted colours of a non-gelled soap. But with all my partial gels lately I decided to let this go right ahead and gel - and it looks fine. How on earth those soap balls ended up with a partial gel I have no idea!

My essential oils have been sadly neglected lately, so Lavender Lang was created. I used alkanet infused olive oil and annatto infused olive oil. The yellow isn't too yellow, but the purple turned out great.

Lavender Lang - with tussah silk and lavender and ylang ylang essential oils.

There's good ole Ash again! This time I think he's looking quite distinguished.

Street Tones Colour Palette Challenge

The second Colour Palette Challenge from Erica at Bath Alchemy is entitled "Street Tones". I really like these colours.

I used the same recipe and technique for this challenge as I did for the "Just Peachy" challenge. For Peacock Swirl - take II I used chromium green, hydrated chrome green, ultramarine blue and natural soap. For the blue I wanted a very light shade so I used just a smidgen; should have used a smidgen more as it is barely visable.

Wet soap - just swirled.
All was going just fine, I cut the soap into 6 bars and left them to cure for a few days before taking pictures. That's when my good friend (not) Ash appeared. And he laid it on thick, let me tell you!

Ash just had to come mute the colours!

I re-trimmed the edges to get a look at what might have been.

This guy is scented with lavender essential oil and spearmint fragrance oil. Smells gooood.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"Just Peachy" Color Palette Challenge

It seems the soaping world has been inspired by Amy at Great Cakes Soapworks; while Amy has taken a break during the busy soaping season from issuing her famous soap challenges two other soap challenges have begun: The Melt and Pour Soap challenge issued by Anne-Marie from Soapqueen.com and The Color Palette Soap Challenge issued by Erica from Bath Alchemy. While I love reading the Soapqueen's blog I don't make melt and pour soap so I haven't jumped on that challenge; however the soaps created by those who are participating are amazing, so be sure to check them out. 
Erica's challenge sounded interesting to me. Participants are encouraged to theme a soap around a colour palette that she posts each week. I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to try out a new technique that I've wanted to do for some time now - the Peacock Swirl. But I don't have a slab mold and didn't want to invest in one at this point; nor did I want to make huge batches of soap at a time for this challenge. As I was taking the recycling out one day I came across a plastic container that held dishwasher tablets - perfect! I watched the tutorial (again) that Amanda did on her Lovin Soap Blog, and set out to do Erica's challenge.
The first week is the 'Just Peachy' palette. I chose a slow moving recipe, and coloured my apricot freesia fragranced soap with chromium green oxide, sunset orange oxide, red oxide and gold mica (gold kinda got lost somehow) and went to work on my very first Peacock Swirl! Alas, the 'tines' on my 'rake' were too short and muddied up the mix, but one of my six bars isn't too bad for a first try.

The second colour palette challenge is entitled 'Street Tones' - check it our here. I hope my Peacock Swirl improves for this one.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Drakkar - Type Goat Milk Soap

A few days ago I made a new loaf of Drakkar - Type Goat Milk soap. I'm quite pleased with the outcome. I especially love how each bar is so different from the rest.