Saturday, September 7, 2013

Food-Smell Inspired Soaps and Soap Obsessions

My daughter really loves spearmint soap, so we decided to do a small batch heavily influenced by the family favorite dessert--mint chocolate chip ice cream. I think food scented soaps are the most frustrating of all because they make me want to lick my stick blender or take a chunk out one while washing up in the shower. My husband thinks it might be a good aide for those trying to lose weight, but  I disagree...a soap that smells like mint-chocolate chip icecream makes me want to eat the real deal. I'm not super crazy about food-smelling soaps, but I was excited about this batch. I've started incorporating a few more fragrance oils into my soaps and this would be a good one to start. Spearmint essential oil would be the perfect mint, but real chocolate or cocoa in soap would be too subtle. I opted for Brambleberry's Hot Cocoa FO mixed into a chocolate brown swirl layered between two expertly colored layers of spearminty green. I used the spoon swirl technique, also referred to as the Celine Swirl, to swirl the three layers together.

  Upon cutting it this morning, I was ecstatic with the results. My only reservation, a slight fear that brown cocoa scented will darken the surrounding green--or will it stay put in the brown? My daughter nailed that mint ice cream color on the head by blending matte forest green, aqua blue and touch of spirulina.

I touched on few obsessions/bad habits, but how about soap making? When do I cross the line into obsession? I have a tendency toward obsessions..there was the gardening obsession, the dried flower and wreath making obsession, the running obsession, and now the soap obsession.  I started off making soap for the extended family as gifts and what-not, then to friends, then to co-workers...well,  now I was spending so much, I had to start charging, which people were perfectly happy to do. Since there are so many soaps colors, scents, and techniques, I must try them all.  I figured I better start an Etsy shop (not doing very well) and sign up for a few craft shows. I've spent a ton on materials...molds, liners, fragrances, equipment, etc. with up to now, very little return. I hope to sell well at the craft shows I've chosen.  If my soap sells well, I can make more soap. If it doesn't, I'm stuck with a ton of soap and wouldn't feel justified in making more. When trying to figure out when my hobby, passion, or past-time is turning obsession-ish, I ask myself the following:

1)Is it affecting work/life balance?
Well, a little husband's been complaining a little, but likewise, I complain about the three times a week band practices and two times a weekend gigs. I justify that I make soap to have something to do when I'm a band widow. As far a work balance...I definitely would like to work less and make soap more, but my day job pays substantially better and I like that to!

2)Is it draining my bank account?
Definitely no, even though it seems like I have. I'm lucky that financial management has always come easily to me. Actually, that should be on my obsession list too since I went through a financial management dark period when I was separated and divorced for three years. BTW...married the same guy again! I track all my spending and set financial goals. I'm frugal and search for deals. I wanted to start slowly and buy all my start-up supplies on current income and never savings. I bought Soapmaker 3 early to track my inventory and batch costs.

3). Do you think of soap 24/7? Do you dream about screwing up soap?
Well, yeah...

So, am I obsessed? Yeah, probably, but one thing I do know, as I approach 49 years of living with Cindy, is that I eventually find a comfortable balance. I ran for 7 obsessive years, before I said, "Hey, running 50 miles races is kind of crazy!" Now, I'm a recovering maintenance runner logging a sensible 15 miles a week. I still garden, but it's no longer necessary to start 1000 seedlings in my basement. It's a curve, I guess, of which I'm still on the upswing.


  1. The Mint-Chocolate Chip soap looks great, Cindy! It must have been fun making it with your daughter. BB's Hot Cocoa FO is amazing, and I'll bet it's great mixed with some spearmint. I love your swirl - I just tried the Celine Swirl for the first time, too, and I'm anxiously waiting to cut the loaf to see the inside!

  2. Thanks Jenny! You must share your Celine swirl. My daughter is very helpful to me, especially when it comes to blending colors...she's my color consultant.

  3. Thanks Jenny! You must share your Celine swirl. My daughter is very helpful to me, especially when it comes to blending colors...she's my color consultant.

  4. What a great soap Cindy, I love the minty color you and your daughter achieved! I bet it smells AMAZING!

  5. It was funny reading about your obsessions! I could relate to most! :-) I think a little obsession is needed to be really good at something.
    Christmas is coming up and it would be a good time to unload your inventory. Look for people with a long list of names to give gifts to. :-)