Contrary to what the Labor Day holiday is supposed to signify, I worked like a soaping dog cooking up three new batches for the fall show. The first batch was a first on a few levels...I caved to my daughter's laments about fragrance oils. I bought a sampler pack from Brambleberry when I first started soaping and really like the vanilla and milk and honey scents. I also bought Anne Marie Faiola's book "Soap Craft ng," which is wonderful, so Livy and I whipped up one of her recipes, Oatmeal Layers, a homie
sweet-I could- take- a- bite- out -of -you- soap for the fall.
I've only used fragrance oils once, on my second batch of soap ever, Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey, and I don't recall it doing anything funny. It came out really nice...a nice beige-y tan color. Since then, I've been using essential oils like crazy, but even with skilled blending techniques, you just can't get certain scents that make people go nuts, and I really think people are a touch more motivated more by scent than fancy swirls. I see when customers sniff among a dozen soaps--it's clearly the scent that sways followed by design. As a soap maker, I love design because I know the technical finesse that goes into balancing temperature, oils, scent, and technique--when it goes right, I'm deliriously proud and it's an instant favorite. I followed Anne Marie's recipe to the tee, and so interesting how those vanilla fragrance oils discolor over time. In this one, I used a vanilla, milk and honey blend on the bottom, and an almond on top. It's been two days since I made it and already the bottom layer is turning dark. The actual soap featured in the book has a dark brown bottom layer. I didn't have the exact quantity called for, but hoping the final cured soap looks as delicious as Anne Marie's, but probably not, since I forgot the honey-oops. Here it is after day 2
I love this book. I bought the handy spiral-bound version--because the beautiful pictures make it coffee table worthy and I can take notes. I've developed some very nice recipes using Soap Calc, but agonized that certain thicker recipes were costing me a fortune because I used high percentages of shea butter or cocoa butter to get them that way. After studying her recipes, I've discovered I can make a perfectly glorious thick-high quality batter without the high expense. Awesome book.
My second batch, called Autumn Wreath, is not exactly as envisioned, but pretty darned close. I bought a new liquid pigment, the liquid version of the matte Americana red oxide I'm used to. Well, the liquid stuff, when added to white soap, goes pinky pastel and not the vibrant red you get with the powdered oxide. Lesson learned, but I still think it's beautiful. I used a blend of essential oils: cedar wood, fir needle, rosemary, and clove. Smells like a mid-autumn trail run through the pines. Love it!
My third batch, a modified mantra hanger swirl, is still nestled in it's mold. I uncovered it for a quick minute to get a picture. This one uses three naturally colored clays--Brazilian red, Fuller's clay, and sea clay. I think the hangar part went O.K., but you never know. I'm really drawn to masculine hippy-dippy scents, so this one is lavendin, basil, and patchouli.