Friday, October 4, 2013

Dandelion Daze...

Goat and Dandelion
Even before I realized the October Great Cakes Soap Challenge was going to feature the Dandelion Tiger Stripe, I've made two batches using this method. I love it how those harp-like bands hang in the soap like angelic apparitions. My first attempt utilized all natural clay-based colorants in a Goat's milk base scented with tangerine and patchouli. I only did a few bands and I love how it turned out.
My second pass was more festive utilizing bright Christmas candy cane colors and scented with spearmint, eucalyptus and peppermint. My batter was much thicker turning my angel harp lines into fat festive little cherubs, or maybe an abstract candy cane sleigh, or melted candy cane Christmas tree--I see different things every time I look at it!  The picture was taken before any final beveling, planing, or fussing. The finished soap is stunning. I love it!
Dandelion Candy Cane
With two pretty batches under my belt, I pondered whether to sign up, but did anyway. Hmmm...what color scheme? What scent? Maybe something not so Christmas-y? On a recent WSP order, I opted for a free oxide sample...a beautiful grapey purple called Matte Purple Pigment Powder. I do extensive research and read every review of everything I buy, but since I didn't buy evaded close scrutiny. Breaking out of the Christmas red and red theme, I was going to do a base using this captivating color and dandelion stripe it with green, pink, white and black. Oh, it looked so pretty, that purple all mixed up with a little bit of oil. I opted for a floral essential blend using lavender, clary sage, and just a touch of ylang-ylang--except ooops... darned bottle slipped and ended up with a shade more that than I wanted. In my experience, this floral accelerated trace, so smart me...I didn't add any of the blend into my separated dandelion patch.

As soon as the purple colorant hit the soap, I knew I should have gone back to the site and read all the reviews, gosh darnit, but oxides are oxides, right? What you see is what you get? Not. My beautiful grapey purple was turning a disappointing barely purple mostly grey. I tossed in a little more and now had dark grey with specks. Instant flashbacks ensued of the time I tried doing a droplet effect with alkanet colored soap into white base and ended up with something that looked like stilton. I soldiered ahead trying my best to ignore the grey and complete the soap. Everything else about the batch was perfect! It's in the mold now...I'll take it out of the mold tonight and get the final verdict. Don't worry, I will post my mistake. It'll be a hoot.

I've messed up a few batches now, but that's ok...I've done over 20 for my fall show and seriously...I've had a blast....even with the mistakes, because it means I'm gaining experience! Yeah! Sure enough...I went back to WSP site and all but one of seven reviews were rants pertaining to how it turned grey, or a few even brown. WPS people had a warning that it could discolor in high ph environment, so the onus was on me and the other overly excited soapers that just saw that pretty color and dove right into the soap box.

Being in the career industry (day job), I just read an article for work written by Jay Block of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches that expanded on Benjamin Franklin's 3 keys to success as applied to career success, but can be applied to anything really : 1). Big achievements come one step at a time. 2) We have the power to mold our lives if we consciously pursue greater knowledge and improve our skills every day and are flexible along the way. Totally agree! Now, it's number 3 that got me a little, made me really think because it's so uncharacteristic of how I used to approach flubs and failures, with fits, tantrums, ultimatums, etc.. 3). Success is measured through pleasure. We've got to be happy along the the way, inclusive all the perceived successes and failures.  Kind of winds into the ole adage, "there's really no pleasure without a little bit of pain." To wrap it up, strive for happiness along your journey to education, a new job, master soap maker, etc. and you'll eventually reach your goals and realize it wasn't so much reaching the goal that made you happy, but the ups and downs of the entire journey.
Winter Warmer

One more this soap. It smells divine. Opening the door to fragrance oils has led to the creation of some uniquely me blends. This one is a combination of Bourbon Vanilla and Cocoa FO blended with Patchouli and Benzoin essential oils. I'm calling it Winter Warmer for it's capacity to melt the coldest of moods.


  1. Your goat's milk dandelion looks pretty and delicate, the candy cane one looks happy and festive, and the winter warmer is just gorgeous! I'm sorry to hear about your purple turning gray. For the longest time I could not achieve purple (I have to blend since I don't have straight purple) but I finally did recently! Thank you for sharing the article on the 3 keys to success. I could not agree more and it's good to be reminded of these things. Have a happy weekend, Cindy! :-)

  2. Gorgeous soaps, Cindy! The Goat and Dandelion's swirls look so pretty and delicate, and the Candy Cane soap is stunning! I love the swirls in the Winter Warmer, too, and the scent sounds amazing.

  3. Loved your soaps. Did you use a red oxide for the red?

  4. Not sure which soap you're referring to, but yes, I use matte red oxide, sometimes combined with a merlot mica sparkle or pink to get the shade I'm looking for. I hardly ever use the matte red oxide by itself.