Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Latest Projects

Well, I have been lousy at keeping up with pictures and my blog, but I have actually made a couple soaps in the past week or so.  The first one I made was a request for another Green Tea Lemongrass soap similar to the one I did early on.  It is made with a green tea infusion and dried green tea leaves in the soap along with lemongrass essential oil as a scent.

I was prepared for the fact that the soap would not be pretty as it was setting up this time, so was not terrified by the ugly brown color this time.  I did run into a bit of a problem, however.  I did not do very good with the liner and it folded back into the soap, so it ended up with a nasty chunk out of the top on one side.  Hopefully, the friend that I made the soap for does not mind if some of the soap is not the prettiest.

This is a picture of one of the soaps that had the liner fold back unto the soap.  As I said, not very pretty.

The other soap that I made just a couple days ago was using Northern Pines fragrance (which the friend that I bought it for says, "It smells kind of like Lysol, but I like that.").  I made him some melt and pour soaps with the fragrance before, but wanted to make him some handmade soaps as well, so I did an in the pot swirl.  It came together very easily and I think it came out fairly well except for a little ash on the top.

Hopefully, I will have more soaps forthcoming and it won't be too long between posts!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bramble Berry Soap Swap Haul!

Well, after several days of not writing, I have two posts in one day.  My package from the Bramble Berry Soap Swap arrived today!  I sent in twelve soaps and received thirteen in return.  It appears that I got my soap in early enough to get one of the bonus soaps made by Anne Marie from her book.  I am happy with my little haul and there is a nice variety of soaps for me to try.

I am particularly fond of the scent of the Arabian Spice scent.  There are also some really nice essential oil blends as well.  The one made by "Dana" has a link on the back to the video showing how it was made.  I haven't watched it yet as I was busy picking up the car and getting groceries today, but I plan on watching it tomorrow most likely.

My only mild disappointment with the swap was that I got two soaps with the same scent and it is not a scent I am particularly fond of (Cherry Blossom).  Overall, I am very happy with the haul and I had fun opening all my little soapy gifts!  I hope that the people who got the soaps that I made are not disappointed with them.  I feel like such an amateur compared to some of the other soaps that I received.  It was nice to see the other wrapping ideas that people had as well.  Overall, I had a great time and learned from things, I think.

Long Time No Soap...

It has been a while since I have posted and my life has been a bit crazy.  I have made one soap since I last posted and I plan to make some soap today if things work out as planned and the garage does not call and say the car is done before I am done with making this post.  The car needed an oil change and to have the AC looked at.  Hopefully, the AC is not going to be expensive as I am low on funds (as usual).

Anyways, my latest soap creation was actually made last Tuesday (I think), and I am only now getting around to posting about it now.  This soap was made with my usual recipe and I used red oxide to make an in the pot swirl.  I made the soap at a lower temperature as I have been doing lately, and it came together a little slowly at first, but when I started working with the color it started thickening up fairly quickly.

I managed to get it to behave long enough to get it poured into the mold and allowed the soap to gel as it did not have any milk products in it or anything that would cause it to overheat.  The soap set up well and I cut it the next day as usual.  Instead of taking pictures right off as I often do, I waited a bit as I had been pretty busy.  When I did take the picture the creamy color of the soap had darkened, so I found out that the fragrance oil that I had used (Ginger Spice) had vanilla in it.

Overall, I am not upset with the way the soap turned out.  I love the scent of ginger and while the soap is a bit darker then I had "planned" I am not upset with it as I knew very little about the fragrance oil I was using (I bought this fragrance oil through Etsy).  I hope that the other scents that I picked up with this one work out well.

I will do my best to keep up better with posts here and get back in the swing of making more soaps again. I have not been feeling very inspired by much lately, which is likely part of the toll of depression. The only thing I can do is to fight against it by making more soap and working on staying active.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Chocolate Milk

Knowing that it was going to be a busy weekend, I made a soap sort of late on Thursday evening.  I did another goat's milk soap, but this time I used chocolate fragrance oil and colored it with cocoa powder.  I do not usually like foodie soaps for myself much, but I really wanted to try the cocoa soap for some reason.  Maybe it is because I love chocolate so much.

Anyways, I had the goat's milk measured and frozen beforehand as I had with the oatmeal, milk and honey, but this time I measured the oils out and let them come to a reasonable temperature (about 85°)  before I even took the milk out of the freezer.  Again, the mix came to trace nice and slow so it I chose to do something more complicated, I would have had plenty of time to work with it.  As it was, I did a plain chocolate color bar instead of doing a swirl.  I added about 3 teaspoons of cocoa powder to the mix at trace and it was still a bit light when I poured it into the mold.

Like the oatmeal, milk and honey soap, I put it in the freezer to avoid scorching.  I left it in the freezer for two hours then moved it to the fridge for the night.  This is where things differ from the oatmeal soap.  I slept poorly on Thursday evening and got up early Friday morning (kind of like I did last night, which is why I am posting so early in the morning), and took the soap from the refrigerator to see if I could unmold it.  I had been a bit impatient... and the soap was not quite ready.  I let it sit on the counter instead of trying to cut it immediately, and it went through gel phase.  I don't mind that it did, because it darkened the soap and didn't harm anything.

After it finished gelling, I was impatient to cut it and it was still too soft.  I managed to cut two pieces and then realized it was not working well, so let it sit longer.  I waited several more hours to cut it and then let it sit longer until I neatened it up and took pictures.  This was part of why I did not have this post yesterday instead of today.   So, this is the soap I dubbed "Chocolate Milk."

In other news, the soaps for the soap swap have begun to arrive and I got a few packages in the mail yesterday. I love seeing other people's creativity and how they have wrapped their soaps and such. I am looking forward to getting more of the packages in and getting pictures of the swap soaps! I also get a bunch more soaps to try out and see how I like!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Oatmeal, Milk and Honey

I mentioned a bit ago that I had someone that was offering me some goat's milk.  Well, I got my goat's milks on Sunday and Tuesday after freezing some of the goat's milk, I made my first milk soap.  I made oatmeal, goat's milk and honey, unscented.  For the most part, I kept to my usual recipe of olive, palm, coconut and castor oils, but I used the goat's milk to replace the water in my lye mixture.  I used 100% goat's milk and no water in the mix. 

As I had done a fair amount of reading in advance on how people have been doing goat's milk soaps, I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do.  I measured out and froze the goat's milk in an ice cube tray the day before so it would not get too hot when I added the lye.  I mixed the oils before I started mixing the lye, and next time I do this, I will wait until the oils cool some before I start adding the lye to the milk.  If the goat's milk (or any milk) gets too hot as you add the lye it will overheat and scorch, turning brown and sort of curdled.  While it is still usable if you do that, it does not smell very pleasant and does not have the nice creamy appearance of a bar that has not been scorched. 

Well, with me, I mixed the lye to the milk cubes and the lye mixture started to rise in temperature as I waited for the oils to cool off.  I ended up putting the lye mix in the freezer to avoid scorching as I did not want to add it to the oils while they were too warm.  The lye mix was very thick as I poured it into the oils (I had already added a teaspoon of honey to my oils so I wouldn't forget).  The mixture came to trace fairly slowly compared to what I am used to, but it seems to have done well.  I added the oatmeal at trace.

I put the soap in the freezer for about three hours after I poured it, and then switched it to the refrigerator.  This was to keep the soap from overheating and also kept it from gelling.  It was my first soap that did not gel.  Overall, I am happy with the way it turned out. 

I am not sure if I will get much in with soaping this weekend, as I have some other plans that will keep me pretty busy on at least Saturday. I am hoping I will get at least one batch in, maybe more, but we will see! Until next time, soap happy :-)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Still Making Soap

Yes, I am still making soap and still here.  Things have been a bit stressed for me lately and I have been struggling with depression some, but I am still here.  I made a couple soaps over the past week, but one of them I didn't post because it is my second swap soap.  I think overall it came out well.  The second soap that I am posting a picture of today is a plain unscented soap.  I had expected it to color morph because the scent has some vanilla in it, but so far there has been no real noticeable change.

This is the first soap since I started making soaps that I did not add any color to, and I specifically didn't add it because I was not sure how dark it would get.  I was a little lighter on the fragrance then I usually would be (I used a bit less then an ounce for 1.25 lbs), because I did not have enough of the fragrance left.  I can still smell the fragrance now, but it is obviously lighter then my other soaps.  This is a good test for me as my brother has specifically asked for lightly scented soaps.  I would like to see how the scent in this holds up over time.

The soap came out fairly nice and  while it looks fairly plain, I love the scent.  When I make the scent again, I will know that I can play more with colors with it and will come up with something a bit more colorful or fitting for the fragrance.  Oh, the fragrance is Bay Rum from Bramble Berry, and I really hope that I can place another order from Bramble Berry in the semi-near future and pick up some of their scents that I really like.

I also have handed out soaps to friends as testers and have gotten some reviews back.  So far, the reviews have been almost all positive.  One person has said that my soap was a little drying to her, but that her skin leans towards dry and to not be too concerned about it.  The other feedback I have gotten has been good and at least one person has said that he would buy my soap.  Another is looking forward to me opening my Etsy shop.  At this point, I am still planning on opening in November.  I will manage to get things together for setting up one way or another.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another Request

I had another request yesterday for a lilac soap with purple and white tiger stripes.  Before I say much more about how the soap went, let me say some things about the significance of this soap and making it yesterday.  My mother died 17 years ago yesterday and lilac was her favorite scent.  My sister suggested the tiger stripes and was the one that gave me this request.  So, this soap is dedicated to my mother.  It is also a gift to my sister as well as her birthday happens to be today (although it is going to take some time for the soap to cure, I hope she will appreciate the sentiment).  The tiger stripe colors were to be done in purple and white for the two colors of lilacs.

All that said, the soap did not come together as nicely as some of my previous soaps and I had some crackle with the titanium dioxide, so my white is not as nice and smooth as it could be.  I soaped at the lower temperature as I had been doing the past few times, but I still came to trace faster then I expected and by the time I started pouring the two colors... well, it wasn't so much pouring the colors as I was scooping them into the mold.

I think it smells wonderful and for all the difficulty I had with getting it together, I actually am pretty pleased with the way it turned out.  The stripes are not as symmetrical or even as some of my other attempts at this swirl, and I think it looks more like a zebra stripe this time around.  I hope that I can get some more lilac fragrance oil in the future and try this again, but for now this is how this one turned out.

Today I worked on my second swap soap, but what I did for it is a secret. Hopefully, it turned out well. Like my first soap for the swap, I will take pictures and save them until after the swap.