Monday, July 22, 2013

Rose Soap

Funny, how I get an idea in my head for a soap and can't let it go till I make it. I perused Etsy soap sites, blogs, Google images, etc. for a good soap technique to bring my rose soap to life. I really love the pictures of rose soap with rose petals embedded on top, but my practical, botanical-bit wary husband discouraged plying my soap tops with crushed roses. He said, "Who wants to wash with scratchy rose soap with soap petals that fall off in the shower?" Hmm...he had a point here, but I still love all those rose topped soaps, so I compromised and used only a minimal sprinkling to adorn the tops. Practical botanical bit haters can pluck the 3 or 4 petals off before indulging.

At last, I decided on a modified dream-catcher style where I layer alternating light pink, dark pink, and white layers in a slab mold. The pink and dark pink were made with rose clay and Brazilian red clay, which I love for the great soap feel it provides.  I added a few splotches of green and ran  my skewer, outward,  through both the lily-padded pools and the leaves. It didn't really look like roses, but the impression of roses was definitely there. Now, here's a first--normally too consumed with making my soap work, I decided to step it up a notch and do a few pictures of the soap in progress. Mind you, I'm a nervous Nelly and normally too focused on the soap to do anything else. Instinctively, my family avoids asking me questions or talking to me when I'm in the soap zone. Here's the start of my rose soap. It's controlled chaos, for sure, but suits the way my brain works...flitting here and there..nothing ever linear.

I used a super luxurious blend of oils including olive, avocado, shea butter, rosehip oil, and coconut. I added a light scent blend--rose absolute, palmarosa, and patchouli.

Here's the cut bars--even though I used a CPOP, I'm still going to let these cure a few weeks. The scent was a little more subtle than I anticipated. My husband loves it--even with the botanical bits! He'll just pick them off and proceed as usual. Girls love this stuff--we'll just sniff our bits, pick em out of the shower and love every minute of it. This is a GIRL soap.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Late Summer Soaps & Goats

It's sweltering something terrible in northeastern Ohio to the point of ridiculousness, so most of us (those fortunate enough to have air conditioning) are stuck inside as if there were 3 feet of snow on the ground, so along with making stuff for my table display at the Avant Garde Craft Show in October, I've been trying out new soaps, scents, and techniques. My Etsy soap, so far, is just but a tiny little fish among schools of bigger and brighter, more territorial and established fish. Again, like I tell my graduates just out of school with no experience lamenting that they can't get experience without someone giving them a chance, it's all down to networking and getting yourself out there. My soaps need to be smelled! I'm hoping that people who buy my soaps at the show will feed back into my Etsy store, but we'll see. While there doesn't seem to be a lot of soap makers in my area, they are sure plentiful on Etsy!

 Here's my last creation inspired by the husky-voiced Soaping 101 lady demonstrating what she called a "synergy" type soap because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
 Basically, it's four checker squares created with four different colors with an ITP swirl to boot! I used alternating squares of yellow and green for mine and ditched the ITP swirl as unnecessarily complex. The yellow color  is from Brambleberry's Brazilian yellow clay. The spirulina, as fish tank smelling as it is, makes an awesome deep leaf green. I used a rosemary, cypress, and litsea blend with just a touch of petitgrain.  This was a fun, albeit challenging technique since it requires about 6 hands. Here's how you do it: Bring soap to moderately thick trace. Rig up a divider down the middle of loaf-mold (lengthwise) or hold it if you don't have the mechanical abilities for rigging and pour the green down one side and the yellow down the other. I recruited my soap curious neighbor to hold the divider while my daughter and I did the pouring. Now, slowly lift the divider out of the soap allowing your thick soap to lay side by side, snug as a bug. Now, have someone hold the divider on top of the two layers and pour again, but this time, use the yellow and green on opposite sides.  I love how this turned out...not as nice as the Soaping 101 lady (what is her name anyway?) but still nice. Check her out on YouTube Soaping 101....she has dozen of different soaping tutorials.

Goat Soap

Who knew this stuff was so awesome! Here's my first batch..very basic, but man, oh, man, this stuff can help with whatever ails you. I've noticed it helps my menopausal acne flares. It helps my daughter's adolescent flares. I did some reading and no wonder this stuff is's most like the Ph of skin, loaded with vitamins and minerals, and contains alpha-hydroxy acids for overall skin rejuvenation.
It's unlikely to cause sensitivities making it a natural choice for those with dermatitis or eczema. I added no other scent because I wanted to experience the real smell of the she-goat wonder, and two, because I wanted this to be facial soap for all skin types. OK, get ready to gasp goat-milk soapers...I used cold-process oven process! Yep, crazy, but I did. I read a forum where goat soapers were debating to gel or not gel their soaps. There are pros and cons to each method. If you let it gel, it's going to be an off-white or beige color. If you cool it and don't allow a gel, you risk gelling anyway, cause it wants to heat up and you might get the unsightly blob of half-gelled half not look. If you avoid the gel, it could be crumbly. One lone poster, pipped in that she gels her goats soaps just fine, so I did. I'll tell you what, I won't do it again. It did work...the soap is amazing, but it was weird. When I CPOP a soap, my recipes go through a gel in half an hour to an hour in a warm 170 oven. This soap took over an hour before it showed signs of starting to gel, then all the sudden, it was super hot and soupy. I thought it was ruined, but after taking forever to cool down, it was honest to goodness gelled goat soap. It's my new favorite.

Since I had leftover goat milk, I tried it again, but upped the yumminess factor. I was taken with the sweet nut-like smell, so I did a chocolate, honey, almond soap--no other added scents. I slightly toasted a tablespoon of finely ground almonds before adding them to my batch. Wow. I love it. This is one soap I'd almost dare my mother to wash out my mouth with. Yeah, I know--I'm a little old for that stuff. My mother has long ago accepted my "slips of the tongue."

This time I did it the conventional way--cold process, but I did slightly insulate to force gel. This heated up pretty quickly due to the added honey, I guess. I haven't put this on Etsy as I'm tempted to hoard this batch. It looks a little grainy, I think, from the added toasted almond meal, but it sure is nice and provides a little scrub action. Who knew the power of the she goat??  Amazing.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Cindy's Scentuals: Soap, Bath, & Body

Even though I had vague swirls of doubt and apprehension running through me like thin traced soap, I decided to kick my soap hobby up a notch. While I'm building an Etsy shop, writing descriptions, policies, figuring out the mysteries of shipping and handling and making the soap to go along with it, I've sent in all the stuff to the state to start a business. I just sent in my transient vendor's license application just this morning. Since I'm heavily olfactory-wired, and cannot pass up a bar of soap without picking it up and sniffing, I knew Scent had to be in there, and soap is oh so sensual, once you've got it lathered up real good and it's washing away the day's dirt and scentual it is...Cindy's Scentuals!

Now, it seems like there's a heck of a lot of soap on Etsy...gorgeous sensuous soaps made by upteen-zillion soap makers, so I don't know if my soap will get any hits or not. To ensure that I don't have soap sitting around for months, I applied for a few local craft shows in October and November. The one in November is a smallish one, at my kids' high school to benefit the band boosters, and only $40 dollar entrance fee. There was no review or anything. I think they'll take anyone who'll sit behind a table.

The other one is a two day show and kind of big and intimidating. When I e-mailed the show manager, I had no idea it was one of those you have to be "selected" for. I just asked her how much a booth is. Opps. She said we could discuss that once I sent her in 3 or 4 photographs of my work. I sent them off and then she said e-mailed back to tell me I'd be a good fit! I was having an interview and I didn't even know it. This is really funny to me cause that's what I do for a living...write resumes, interview, and place students! I didn't even know I should be nervous. Ignorance, is surely bliss.

After I had a chance to revel in the glow of soaping acceptance, the reality set in. What kind of traffic does this show get? It's not one of the huge ones, but it's a good size and well-advertised. It's run by Avant-Garde Craft Shows. much soap should I make for a two day show? One hundred bars? Two-hundred. I figured the lady knew I was a newbie, so I just came out and asked, "Do you think 150 would do it?" She thought it would, but really, it's completely up to me. I might need to move up to a bigger mold!  What if I run out? Or worse yet, what if no one likes my soap and stuck with 150 bars of soap?

In the meantime, I'll read all I can on pulling off your first craft show...and make soap. This morning I made my first ombre soap with deep aqua to light aqua gradient
. I threw in a cocoa line and some orange soap balls left over from my landscrape soap. I'll be cutting soon.

Also, I finally made that batch of goat's milk I was scarred to death of, but that needs a whole post.