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!!!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mantra Swirl

For this month's Greatcakes Soapworks Soap Challenge Club we tackled the Mantra Swirl. I tried this swirl a few months ago; didn't get the swirl part at all. So I was glad to join with over a hundred other soapers worldwide who were eager to learn this technique as well.

I didn't get many pictures of the process. I used my cocoa butter recipe. A slower moving recipe probably would have been a good thing as I would have had more time to work through the process (not to mention stop to take a few pictures) but I do love this recipe.

I was so pleased with the outcome here that I had to celebrate with some glitter on top! I scented this with bamboo and white grapefruit.

Overall, I'm pleased with the final results. Next time I think I'll use a thinner line of colour in the middle.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Peacock Swirl

Once again Amy from Greatcakes Soapworks has issued a soap making challenge, this time using the Peacock Swirl technique. I've tried this technique before for Erica's Colour Palette Challenges at Bath Alchemy. At that time I used a small recycled container that was about 8"X 8". For this challenge I used a mold that I made from coroplast that measures 12" X 9" and lined it with very thin silicone baking mat. For the rake I used what I had on hand, which was another piece of coroplast and some bolts; when the bolts were screwed into the coro they were very sturdy, straight and didn't move. I quite liked that.

Everything is prepped and ready to go
I have to say, I thought Amy's method of pouring a solid base before adding the coloured stripes was pure GENIUS! I didn't like the muddied up edges of my last peacock swirl attempt. I poured a pale blue base, then layered stripes of orange, yellow, green and purple.

Ready to 'rake'

I almost left it like this - I really liked the look here. But that wouldn't be a Peacock swirl, so I continued.

Don't you just love the look of wet soap?! It's all shiny and bright. These are the colours I wanted for the final soap. But alas, the shine goes away and the bright colours lose some intensity.

When I came back to my soap the next morning there were HUGE cracks throughout. I wish I had my camera and could have taken pictures. I remembered seeing a youtube video on how to repair soap cracks so I quickly went in search of it. Just about every bar had a crack in it, but 2 in particular were so large I didn't think anything could fix it. But Bonnie's method worked beautifully!

Thanks for another great challenge, Amy! Looking forward to the next one!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Just loading up the curing shelves!

I had a great day last Saturday. I hid myself in my soaping room for 8 solid hours and just made soap. Don't remember the last time I soaped for that long in one day. Here are some of the results from that day. 


This bar is made with lots of scrubbies for those 'diggin it the dirt' kind of days. From the bottom up: finely ground coffee, poppyseed, apricot seed, raspberry seed and finely ground pumice. Scented with citrus essential oils - lemon, orange and lime. 

 My sister has been asking for this one since I sold out in December, so this one's for her.


With Fresh Raspberry fragrance oil, Lemon and Litsea Cubeba essential oils.

 With coconut milk. 

 Also with coconut milk.

I've been out of this one for a while, and the heels of my feet have noticed! Can't wait for this finish curing.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fourth and Final Challenge Soap

I had never heard of Leopard Spots soap technique until Amy put out her challenge on her blog, but it sure was intriguing! Cee's looked really cool; I especially loved her colours! And Amy made it look so easy on her video. I found that it was harder than it looked, though. First, my colours were not co-operating - how could I have forgotten that orange essential oil would alter my mauve coloured soap?? Then my black (activated charcoal) set up quicker than the rest of the soap. But I got 'er done! It overheated a bit, as evidenced by a few small cracks on top and some clouding on the cut surfaces. And then there's the dreaded Ash! I know, "embrace the ash". I don't like Ash! Just sayin'...

This soap is fragranced with sweet orange and lavender essential oils. Can't wait to check out the other participants creations; you can too at Amy's Greatcakes Soapworks blog. Thanks so much for the challenges again Amy! It was so much fun!!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Mothers' Day soap made with Love

Have you ever noticed that once you become a mom you appreciate your own mom so much more? My mom grew up in the Netherlands in the 1930s and '40s and her childhood experiences were nowhere close to my own; I have been richly blessed. In 2006 my 5 siblings and I, along with our mom went to see the land of our forefathers. We toured the area my mom grew up in, and then we went to see where my dad came from. We saw childhood homes, met relatives and enjoyed the history and architecture of the land. The day that would have been my parents 50th wedding anniversary, had my dad not passed away almost 3 years prior, we spent at the famous spring garden, the Keukenhof. It was a beautiful day and the flowers, particularly the tulips, were breathtaking!
The tulip fields along the way

Along the riverbank at the Keukenhof
I have such fond memories of that trip. And when I came across a 'Tulip' fragrance oil on the Natures Garden website 2 thoughts came to mind:
  • I didn't know that tulips had much of a scent
  • I gotta get that for my mom!
And so I did! I've been dreaming up this soap for months. Determined to come up with a design that would remind my mom of the tulips from her native country, I started by pulling out the plastic chocolate holders I had saved from a box of wooden shoe chocolates that a friend had given to mom and made some wooden shoe embeds. To represent the tulips I made a whole lotta soap curls. Then I went to it. And now that Mom has her early Mothers' Day gift of the entire first loaf, I present to you "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" Shea Butter Bar.
"Tiptoe Through the Tulips" Shea Butter Bar

"Happy Mothers' Day, Mom!"

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mica Swirled Top

Week 3 of the Greatcakes Soapworks Challenge - Mica Swirled Top. I had a hard time figuring out what to do for this challenge. The only sparkly mica I have on hand is 24 karat gold. I knew it needed a dark soap, and I wanted to keep it really simple so that the top would be the star. But I had soapers block. And then my package of essential oils arrived from Victoria! And inside was a beautiful bottle of Vanilla 20x essential oil!! I knew what to do!
I added some cocoa powder to this batch, hoping for a bit of a chocolate 'flavour' as well. And then I added just a titch of patchouli essential oil. Once in the mold I used a pipette to add the gold mica mixed in olive oil.
Then came the swirls!

And here is a close-up. Isn't she pretty??

I put this loaf to bed for the night, and look what I came to the next day.
Now how disappointing is that?! If this vanilla didn't do what every vanilla, essential or fragrance or otherwise, does to me every time I would not be happy, I could promise you that!

And much to my pleasure it did darken, and it ashed, but I think I can live with it! :-))
Chocolate Vanilla Cocoa Butter Bar
There will be no new challenge for this coming week; the final challenge in this series will be the following week, and it involves leopard spots! Should be interesting. Be sure to check out Amy's blog to see all the other challenge-takers creations!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Challenge Week #2 - Elemental Swirls

Amy's challenge (Greatcakes Soapworks) for this week is the Elemental Swirl. Using the same recipe as last week, I chose to make 2 smaller batches simultaneously - I just felt that it would give me more time to play. For my first layer I swirled Fizzy Lemonade, Tangerine and Sunset Orange into my base and poured it into my mold. For the pencil line I used copper mica; think I could have used a bit more but I only had a smidge left to begin with. For my second layer I swirled Ultramarine Blue and Chromium Green into the base and layered it on top of the mica. I had some lemonade and tangerine soap curls from my Mother's Day soap left so I added those too.

Elements Cocoa Butter Bar

This soap is scented with White Tea and Ginger fragrance oil. I'll leave these for a few days before cleaning the edges and stamping them. I really enjoyed this challenge. Can't wait to check out all of the others on Saturday!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A New Challenge!

Amy from Greatcakes Soapworks has done it again - she's issued a challenge to soapmakers around the globe to try new soap making techniques. How can I resist? First up: Tiger Stripes. I had been hoping to try the Tiger Stripes for a while and this was the perfect opportunity. And although it may lack some creativity, I embraced the whole 'tiger' theme. Why?
  • Tigers are beautiful animals
  • I love the colour orange
  • My favorite childhood ice cream was (and still is) Tiger ice cream
  • I love using natural colourants and I had some paprika infusing in olive oil.
So I present to you my Tiger Tails handmade soap.

Tiger Tail Cocoa Butter Bar
This bar is made with olive, coconut, avocado, palm kernel and castor oils with a healthy addition of cocoa butter. It's coloured with paprika infused olive oil and activated charcoal, and it's scented with aniseed and orange essential oils. And for added luxury it contains tussah silk.

Wet soap in the mold
 I started pouring a little too thin, but it didn't take long for the soap to thicken up. I was afraid the orange would fade, but it seems the opposite happened, much to my delight. Taking pictures throughout the process wasn't going to happen though, as I needed to work quickly. One whiff of this bar and I can almost taste that yummy licorice and orange ice cream of my childhood days!

Be sure to check out the other participants soaps - they are all amazing! Thanks Amy for the challenges, I love taking part in them!