I tell, ya, for several consecutive batches, I couldn't make a fancy topped soap to save my life; they traced nicely and gave me all kinds of time to do nice droplet effects or swirls, but no peaks like on a pretty birthday cake. So, tonight, going with what I do best, I ran a new recipe to try in my 9 bar slab mold. I like to incorporate a few new concepts into each new batch. On this one I wanted to try new natural colorants, alkanet root powder and spirulina. from Mountain Rose Herbs. I read that spirulina is practically a super food amino acid laden nutritional bomb. I could whip it into smoothies for new my spring cleaning of the soul diet, since just a little of that stuff goes a long way in soap. A half teaspoon was alright whipped with vanilla yogurt and frozen fruit, but use a teaspoon, like I did this morning, and it tastes like an aquarium. My son told me I was a hopeless hippy eating fish food. Hmmm...what is this stuff going to do in my soap? Will it smell like the ocean? Best use a bunch of patchouli in this batch. I also ordered my first bronze mica!!
Ok, here's my vision: I'll make a patchouli-spearmint-lavender blend with a new recipe containing olive oil, rice bran (never used this one before--oh boy!) coconut oil, sunflower, shea, a wee-bit of castor, and just to get rid of it--some palm kernel oil that I bought before I knew it was messing with orangutan life. I know there are sustainable sources of palm kernel, but I had no clue if it was. I only used it one other time on a wayward batch I screwed up due to poor additive choice. Note to self--never put dried lavender on fresh poured soup. It looked like cancer. Bad associations aside, I needed to use it up. My design was going to be that modified mini-dream catcher design that looks like flowers once it's cut. I wanted to pour a white base and then faux funnel alternating light alkanet purple, spearmint spirulina green, and mica bronze brown. I was so excited, I decided to soap during the middle of the work week. With the teenagers voluntarily sequestered in their rooms and the hubby off to band practice, I could turn the kitchen into my super soaper lab! I got out my goggles and put on my former nursing lab coat, now turned dedicated super soaper coat, and got down to business.
When I started mixing, I was a little shocked at how fast it was tracing. Why could that be? I use well-behaved essential oils! I poured at 110 degrees. I poured out my base of white into the slab and proceeded to mix up my colorants. I started with the spirulina green and poured a circle, which sat right on top of the soap! Yikes, change of plans to a peacock swirl blobbing alternating lines of color. While I finishing my peacock, my daughter came out of her room (she usually does that once I'm done doing the boring set-up and measuring) and asked if we could eek out a few peaks using a whisk. Then I popped it into the oven for a CPOP. I like to use this with my slab mold, so I get a complete gel. I just took it out of the oven and it's dark as night. We'll see how it looks in the morning once it cools off.
Funny, how this soaping stuff is--only twice has my soap turned out like the vision in my head. The soap is always nice (except the brown lavender batch), but that's my goal...make the vision happen on a more consistent basis. On a positive note, maybe I've found the perfect fancy top recipe. I think it it's the palm kernel. It was the only NEW thing, except for the rice bran oil. Any ideas??