Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sage and Cedarwood

On Thursday I mentioned working on a soap in differing shades of green using what is known as the faux funnel method.  After a very busy weekend and trying to play catch up with other things going on, and making another batch of soap today.  I am ready to post the picture of my new soap.

It is scented with Sage and Cedarwood fragrance oil and I used Woodland Green Oxide for the coloring (both scent and color were from Wholesale Suppliers Plus (and, no, I don't work for them or anything, I just like the fact that they have incorporated shipping into the cost of their items, so if you order over $30 worth of supplies, you get free shipping and overall it cuts down on my prices).

The method that I used was fairly easy to do.  The biggest difficulty was that it had to be done fairly quickly because the soap starts to get harder to pour as it becomes thicker.  It involved stirring a fair amount between pours near the end and a little bit of persuasion to get the soap through the funnel.  Overall I had a fun experience, and I was very pleased with the result.  I especially like the way the rings are somewhat reminiscent of the rings on a tree and how that ties back to the scent of the soap.

I have another batch coming up that I made today and I will likely post it late tomorrow night or sometime on Tuesday.  I also am debating whether or not I can afford some more supplies and whether or not I have the skill to make a simple log mold out of a furring strip from Home Depot.  If I can get the costs that are listed online in the store and have them cut the wood for me, I can likely get my mold for under $5.

The Haul

So, I got a surprise yesterday morning when my package from FedEx arrived early.  It had originally been due on Monday, so I was very happy to receive my fragrance oils and some sample soaps from my friend on the Soap Making Forum.  I was elated as I opened the box and saw all my new bottles of oils wrapped safely within.  As I took each one out of the box, I felt like a child on Christmas morning. 

Not all the bottles are full, but I am so happy with my new oils and I am not sure what to do with them all!  I have ideas for some of them, but I keep thinking of things that I need different colors then what I have for.  Argh!  This may end up with me putting in another order at Wholesale Supplies Plus.  I am getting my collection of things up much faster then I expected though.  I am sure I can go through these supplies just as fast though!

Anyways,  as for the various fragrance oils (and a couple essential oils also) that I was given, there are scents such as Dragon's Blood, Magic Dragon, Mother Earth, Gardenia, Vanilla Black Currant, River Dance, Amber Romance, Meyer Lemon, Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, Bergamot Mint Essential Oil, Clary Sage Essential Oil, Pumpkin Pie, Bramble Berry's Drakkar dupe, Bay Rum, Crisp Apple Rose, and Sun & Sand (and more that I forget).  Not all of the bottles are full, but some of them are and many have enough for at least one pound of soap.

Along with the oils, I was sent several sample bars with other various scents, so I could see what they smelled like.  These include Black Raspberry Vanilla, Lavender & Mint, Fresh Lemongrass, Love Spell, Sandalwood Vanilla, and a mystery bar (the label with the scent appears to be missing).  They all look lovely and I especially enjoy the scents of the Lavender & Mint, Vanilla Sandalwood, and the mystery scent.

Of the oils, I think that the Pumpkin Pie and Bay Rum are my favorites.  I really like the Crisp Apple Rose, River Dance smells nice in the bottle, and I also like the Drakkar and Bargamot Mint.  I have some plans for some of the scents and some may depend on what this months soap challenge ends up being.  I thank Marjorie again for her kindness in spreading joy to others.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Some Soapy Cheer

Another day and another day of soaping.  I got my delivery of oils yesterday from Wholesale Supplies Plus so I could actually make soap today. I used my normal recipe, but tried a different coloring technique and I think I will go crazy waiting until I can unmold it and see how it came out!  Along with my base oils, I got a fragrance oil of Sage and Cedarwood.  So, today's soap is scented with the new fragrance and I separated the soap batter into three.  One of the batters I left uncolored, while the other two I used green oxide on and made two different shades of green.

Using a funnel, I poured a small amount of each color into my PVC mold.  I first poured the uncolored, then the light green, then the darker green.  I repeated this process over and over again until I had used all the soap.  I had seen this method before on a youtube video, but it the first time that I have tried it.  Tomorrow, after a long day of waiting, I will be able to see how my soap turned out.  Sadly, I likely won't be able to post pictures here until Saturday as I will not be home until late Friday night (technically Saturday morning) because I am visiting some friends.

There are a couple of other things that I would like to bring up in my soaping experiences recently as well.  One of my friends from the Soap Making Forum decided to clear out some of her fragrance oils and she is generously sending the oils that she does not want to me.  So, I am expecting a package from FedEx with this kind gift.  It will be like Christmas to me!

The other thing I wanted to bring up is from another member of the forum offered me a gift certificate for Peak's Candle Supplies.  They are currently having a sale on fragrance oils that are usable in soaps.  I was honored and amazed that I was picked out for this.  I cannot find the words to express how happy I am that I found the forum and the kind people there.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Soaping So Far

Well, I started making cold process soaps less then a month ago. Since my first batch, which turned out to be lye heavy (most likely caused by a scale failure.. that sometimes happens when you spill oil on a relatively cheap digital scale). That first soap has been grated down and it being used for laundry soap. If you would like to see what I lye heavy soap looks like when you try to cut it, this is one example:
My second and third attempts were much more successful and are currently curing. The colors did not come out quite as well as I would have liked, but I am happy to have usable soap instead of laundry soap again :) The soap was made as a challenge from the Soap Making Forum to make a soap that represented something from mythology. My soap was based on the Morrigan. The red came out more as a pink and I did not scent the second attempt as I thought that might have been part of the problem with the color sticking.
 By my fourth soap, I feel I was getting more comfortable with my recipe (a mix of olive, palm, coconut, and castor oils), and my soap came out looking very nice (at least to me). It was scented with an Indian Sandalwood fragrance oil from Bramble Berry and the swirl was done with red oxide. I feel I also started improving some on presenting my soap better with my photography. I am slowly learning these things :-)
 In my fifth soap, I decided to get a little more daring, and I made a green tea infusion to mix with my lye instead of water. This consisted of three tea bags steeping in 172 grams of distilled water. I gave it plenty of time to cool off before adding my lye to the tea as the lye already gets to approximately 200 degrees without the added heat of tea that was not at room temperature (soap making is trying to teach me patience). After mixing the lye and tea, I made the rest of the recipe as I normally would.

When I added the lye mix to the oils, I was a bit concerned as a lot of brown suck to the bottom of the oils. I stuck it out and began stick blending anyways, and my usually tan batter turned a dark and ugly brown! I had a green oxide already mixed that I had been planning to add to the soap, so even though the soap was already an ugly dark brown that seemed like it would barely pick up the green color, I added the colorant into the mix and then added the lemongrass fragrance oil that I almost forgot!

By this time the soap batter was thickening and as I poured it into the pvc mold, it was a very dark green brown, almost like a melted chocolate with a touch of green in it (I am keeping away from some of the more disgusting things I could use to describe it as, but it was really ugly). I feared the worst for the appearance of the soap, but it smelled wonderful! After a few hours of saponifying (I also had wrapped the soap in hopes that it would gel and this would help the soaps ugly color), I took a peak at my soap and saw that it had turned a lovely shade of green.

I went to bed happy with my success. Things were not all roses with this soap after this though, because I decided the next day that instead of giving it the full 24 hours to saponify, that taking it out of the mold an hour early wouldn't hurt anything. I was wrong.

My soap got kind of stuck in the mold and this was another one of those times when I had to practice patience as I tried alternately freezing and heating the soap to get it to slide out of the pvc mold. After a few hours of trying every hour or so, I let it sit on the counter for about two hours and then with a surly look, I tried again. I was about to give up for another few hours when it moved! So, with a bit more persistence, I managed to get my green tea and lemongrass tea out of the mold, none the worse for the wear.
This leaves me with my latest creation. This was a Shea butter soap, which changed up my recipe a little bit. I used my normal one pound batch and added 10 grams of Lavender essential oil and 15 grams of Indian Sandalwood Fragrance Oil. So far the bar feels very nice and looks pretty (no coloring added), but the scent is mostly lavender. I will see how it settles out as it cures and then in use.

So, that is the story so far, will be adding more as I make them. Oils are due in tomorrow!!