Soap Challenge #6: Faux Funnel Pour

April 28, 2012

I’ve never tried this technique before.  Mainly because I don’t really like what it looks like.  I needed to restock on my lavender soap, so I decided to make my experiment this week with that soap.  This is one of my 100% All Natural soaps.  So I used rose clay and woad powder to color it.  And then left part natural.  I’m really frustrated the white part crumbled badly in the wire cutter.  This is the second time it’s happen.  I think it might be the EO and no colorant causing it.  Either way I’m annoyed…

Here are the results:

 


Strawberries & Champagne

April 27, 2012

This post is just a lot of pictures!  I took so many and I couldn’t decide which ones were the best so I decided to post all them :D


Cherry Almond Soap

April 26, 2012

I love this fragrance.  LOVE LOVE LOVE!  And apparently a lot of other people love it too because the first week it was on sale I sold half of my stock.  So, I got to work making another batch.  This time I got the idea to try and make it look like I had embedded cherries in it.

I really like how it came out…at least the first 4 bars I cut :)

Then my spacing got off and the cherries fell in the middle of the bar and missed the cut.  It’ll be like getting a little surprise in your soap bar!  As you use it the cherries will appear!

These are the pictures of the “shifted” cherries :D  You see hints of something within!

You got a little bit of the cherries showing...

This stem got a little off center and the cherries are completely hidden in this bar!

The cherries aren't showing! The stems go all the way through so you see those in every bar.

Overall it was a fun experiment.  The bars smell amazing and I like the swirl I managed to get in the rest of the bar so you have some pink and white.  These were fun!


Mini Ice Packs & Fragrance Oils For Sale

April 23, 2012

ICE PACKS

I needed some ice packs to line a basket with for this summer.  The heat can do in my sugar scrubs on brutal summer days.  So I came up with the idea to line my basket.  With idea in mine I went on a search to find ice packs that would work.  And the cheapest (by far) ice packs I found were a bulk box…a bulk box of NINETY-SIX two inches by three inches ice packs!  I don’t think I’ll EVER use all of these and so I’m selling some of them.

50 cents per ice pack + shipping

If you’re interested comment here or send me an email.  I’d love to find some homes for these!

FRAGRANCE OILS

I also have a collection of fragrance oils that I’m not going to use.  There’s nothing wrong with them, I’ve just decided I don’t like them, learned the hard way I’m allergic to them, or used them once and decided that I wasn’t going to use them again.  If you’re interested in any of them please let me know.

Bramble Berry Fragrances
Tropical Vacation 2oz – $2.00
Lavender Chamomile ½oz – $0.50
Monkey Love ½oz – $0.50
Cream Cheese Frosting 3oz – $2.00
Summer Fling 3oz – $2.00
Beach Breezes 1oz – $1.00
Pearberry 3oz – $2.00

Sweet Cakes Fragrances
Breeze 1+oz – $1.00
Fuzzy 4oz – $3.00 (a peach type fo)
Ocean Shoreline 1+oz – $1.00
Nectarine Blossom & Honey 2oz – $2.00

Wholesale Supplies Plus
Bluebells and Baby’s Breath 4oz – $4.00
Confetti Cake 2oz – $1.00
Champagne Kisses 2oz – $1.00
Birthday Cake 1oz – $0.50
Be Delicious Blossom 1+oz – $1.00
Cupcake 2oz – $1.00
Sweet Pea (less than 1oz) Free with purchase (first come, first serve)
Bedtime Bath (less than 1oz) Free with purchase (first come, first serve)
Black Forest Cake 1+ oz – $1.00
Cake Batter Ice Cream 2oz – $1.50
Banana Cream Pie 1oz – $1.00
Berried Treasure 2oz – $2.00

Nature’s Garden
Chocolate Lovers Type (not a chocolate scent but a sweet scent) 8oz – $4.00

MOLDS

I have the following molds available too.  Each mold is $1.50.  These are great for MP soaps.

1. Heavy Duty White Mold – Rectangular with rounded edges, 4 cavities
2. Approx. 8″ x 8″ Plastic Tray Mold with groves to create bars
3. THREE oval plastic molds (round and rectangular shaped), 4 cavities
4. Circle-Square-Hexagon-Rectangual Plastic Mold – TWO available
5. Round Plastic Mold, 4 cavities
6. Rectangular rounded top Plastic Mold, 4 cavities
7. Plastic Square/Rectangular Mold with beveled edges, THREE available
8. Plastic mold with circle, star and rectangular shapes, sides beveled, 3 cavities


Soap Challenge #5: Essential Oil/Fragrance Oil Blends

April 21, 2012

I do not blend essential oils well—mainly because I have a picky nose. There are a lot of scents that I just don’t like and even more that I’m allergic too. I rarely use flower scents because most of them make me sick. And essential oils I find hard because they’re plant based and I tend to have the same problems as with flower fragrance oils. Some essentials oils all I need is a whiff of them to make me sick for the rest of the day. It makes creating essential oil blends hard. I do best with the fruit and spice scents so I tried to create a combination with those.

Awhile back I’d read the description of cassia essential oil and it intrigued me, so I bought a 3oz bottle of it.

Aromatic Scent: Cassia Essential Oil has a pungent, warm scent. Cassia contains 1% to 2% volatile oil (cassia oil), which is mainly responsible for the spicy aroma.

It didn’t smell like what I’d expect. It was much stronger than I’d expected (even though it’s said to be have a strong strength). And it didn’t have the spicy aroma I was expecting…maybe it does to others but I just don’t smell it. I started my blend of with this keeping in mind the follow characteristics cassia had:

Note: Top

Strength of Aroma: Strong

Blends well with: Benzoin, Clove Bud, Coriander, Cardamom, Frankincense, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lavender, Rosemary and Thyme.

I came up with the following essential oil blend for a 5lb batch of soap:

Cassia – 7/8 oz
Clove Bud – 7/8 oz
Ginger – 3/8 oz
Grapefruit – 1 oz
Lemon – ¼ oz

I’ve tried a variety of methods for creating blends and found that none of them ever help me really come up with a good ratio so I just kind of blend as I go now. I added an equal amount of clove bud in hopes that some of the spiciness I was initially expecting came through. The grapefruit and lemon I added to give it some fruit undertones.

I used this blend in a garden soap with pumice. I think it’ll work well for cleaning dirty garden hands as well as leaving a scent behind on the hands. Despite my blend the soap still just smells like cassia to me. Which isn’t a bad thing, but not what I was going for.

Since I was using an essential oil blend I stuck to natural colors. A very earthy feeling soap. It matches the fragrance and I think works fine for a hand soap.


Bath Bomb Cupcakes

April 19, 2012

I’ve had all the supplies I need to make bath bomb cupcakes for a while now.  I’ve just never gotten around to it.  I finally did on Tuesday!  The bath fizzie part was easy.  I’ve made enough fizzies to know what to do and what to expect.  I was interested to see how they’d turn out being crammed into a paper cupcake holder.  I had a hard time really getting it packed.

The tops were interesting!  I made my mix and it was really thick!  I managed to pipe one cupcake before I broke my bag.   So I went back and added some water to the mixture to thin it up a bit.  It made it a little easier to pipe but because it wasn’t as stiff it kind of settled and the cupcakes aren’t as “big” as I’m used to.

The frosting makes good bubbles though!  At least it did when I cleaned up.  So I’m excited to see how it works after drying for 24 hours.

Just a few bubbles while cleaning! :D

I made the bottoms cherry-almond and the tops vanilla oak.  It’s not the sweet vanilla and I think it complements the cherry-almond pretty well.

Just after pipping. I'll be interested to see if they stick to the bottom.

Twenty-Four Hours Later

The tops are firmly attached to the bottoms :) – Yes this makes me happy.  I’ve heard so many people having problems getting the two to stick so I was worried.  The frosting did settle, but they still look cute.  I packaged them in my little clear boxes.  Just have to add labels.

I left the wrapper on most of them (except for one). I used cute wrappers and like how it looked.

Princess cupcake wrapper...if you know me you know why my mom bought me those ha!

Here they are in their boxes awaiting labels.


This is what FAILURE looks like…

April 17, 2012

I have not had the best of luck this past week with soap.  I tried two new things.  One, a soap with alcohol which seized in the pot in two seconds flat.  And the second was as I was trying to blend some fragrance oils.  The entire batch separated and went grainy on me.  NO amount of stick blending pulled it back together.  *sigh* I haven’t had a week like this in over a year.  It’s been slightly frustrating!

Disaster!

You can really see the separation here. Don't use a blend of peach-salsa, coconut, guava, and exotic fruit smoothie together. You'll get this!


Soap Challenge #4: Alcohol Soap

April 14, 2012

You win some you lose some and this is one I lost.  I’ve recently started making beer soap and didn’t have any problems with it.  So, I decided to try making some some with some coconut rum for this challenge.  I had to raid my parents’ liquor cabinet as I don’t drink and there was nothing to be found in my house.

I had the great idea to use a coconut rum and make it look like a drink and embed ice cubes on top.  That didn’t happen…but I did create the most amazingggggggggggggg fragrance oil blend. The soap might have been a disaster but it smells heavenly!

Mmm...coconut rum with a fragrance oil blend of mango-peach, pineapple-orange, and coconut.

I was expecting the soap to move fast.  I was not expecting it to seize.  I poured the lye solution into the oil stuck my stick blender in and literally pressed it fro 2 seconds and the entire mixture became SOLID in the pot.

It didn't work too well...

When it heated up over the gel phase I tried to mush it down and add my ice cubes…hoping to salvage it.

You can see it just flaking apart already.

It didn’t work.  The middle part was better than the ends but it was crumbling apart just picking up a piece.  And the fragrance oil was seeping out of it from all sides…complete disaster.

Tried slicing it and you can see it flaking apart.

The ice cubes turned out cute ha~

I can say I tried it.  But will I be doing it ever again? Nope.  Not worth the money or frustration.  It’s one more experience I’ve had though that will add to my knowledge of soapmaking, so despite the failure I’m glad I tried.


“Bug Off” Solid Lotion Bar

April 12, 2012

Mosquitoes love me!  And it seems no matter what I use to repel them it never works.  So I decided to try and come up with my own lotion bar “Bug Off” Insect repellant (that didn’t smell AWFUL and was also good for my skin).  I did a lot of research on different oils, butters, essential oils and other ingredients.  My research led me to the following list of good oils and butters:

Unrefined Shea Butter – The shell of the nuts is reputed to repel mosquitoes.  Shea butter is a great moisturizer on its own though and why it’s included in this recipe

Calendula Infused Sweet Almond Oil – Marigolds have a particular smell that many insects and humans find objectionable.  With this fact in mind I decided to infuse my oil with calendula.

Neem Oil – Described as having a “distinct smell”.  Um…yeah…understatement of the year.  This stuff stinks.  Neem oil is an excellent moisturizer, high in Vitamin E, rich in emollients and fatty acids, soothing to dry, cracked or otherwise stressed and damaged skin. (Sounds awesome doesn’t it!?) It is also used to deter bugs and mosquitoes.  So it’s a trade off…use neem oil and get all the awesome properties it provides, but have to deal with a not that pleasant smell or don’t use it? (That was the million dollar question for me when making my test batches)

Cocoa Butter – I used this oil for it’s moisturizing properties, and because I needed another solid oil/butter for this recipe.

After a lot of research on essential oils I’ve come up with a couple different combinations I’m going to try.  The six I’ll be using and experimenting with are: Eucalyptus Lemon, Citronella, Lavender, Basil, Rosemary and Cedarwood.

Test batch 1 and 2 (I made one batch then split it in two to try my different EO blends):  I had to open my windows (it was freezing outside) because the neem oil was so awful.  I have eight bottles of the stuff I don’t know what to do with.  Lesson Learned: Neem oil should be used sparingly in a lotion bar…it is quite powerful.

These bars stink…they smell so bad that I think they’ll keep bugs away and people! Maybe they can be used for camping trips where people don’t care what they smell like so long as it keeps the bugs away… I’m not going to “test” these.  The recipe is not being used.  But I do have 6 really stinky bars and if you’d like one with your other test bar let me know.  Next time I make the bars I’ll use much less of the oil in the recipe.  I’ve also made a bug soap that uses neem oil.  Excited to see how that works as a bug replant as well.

Test batch 3 and 4: I left out the neem oil in this batch.  This batch was fine.  The only thing is that despite using a very small amount the Eucalyptus Lemon and Citronella both overpower the other fragrances.  It doesn’t smell bad.  It just has a more lemon scent than a rosemary or lavender.

Test batch 5,  6, and 7: I debated adding a dab of neem oil but didn’t.  I changed up my EO blend for these batches.

Test batch 8, 9, 10, and 11: These next couple batches are sprays.  I like the idea of the lotion bar.  If I’m going to try and keep bugs away I might as well condition my skin too.  But there are times where sprays are quicker and easier and I wanted to offer the option of having both.  The different between these batches are simply the essential oil blends.

Now the fun part! I need people who are willing to offer themselves up as guinea pigs and will be willing to test this.  I have six different versions.  The difference between each is the essential oil blend and amount of neem oil used (if any).  I need people who are outside and will really be able to test this.  I’m looking for the following information.

  • When you’re outside (time of day)
  • How bad the mosquitoes are?
  • How well did it work?
  • What did you think of the smell? (pleasant, bearable, didn’t like it, didn’t bother you…)
  • How did you like it as a lotion bar/spray?
  • Overall thoughts.

And of course I’ll always take any other opinions, suggestions you have.  If you’re willing to sacrifice yourself to the bugs (meaning you can’t use any other bug repellant with this) let me know.  Though hopefully it works and the bugs leave you alone!  If you’re interested email me at JenniferSoap [at] gmail [dot] com with your address. There are a limited number available for testing.  Also, let me know if you like/don’t mind:

  1. Lemon/Citronella smell
  2. Prefer lavender.
  3. Prefer rosemary.
  4. Prefer spray.
  5. Prefer lotion bar.

TESTING IS DONE!  Thank you to all who volunteered.  Look for future announcements on the results of the testing and availability of the bars for purchase!

 


Soap Challenge #3: Pipping

April 7, 2012

This isn’t really a challenge…and I wasn’t sure how to make it a challenge for me.  You see I’ve been piping soap for over a year now. I fell in love with a soap cupcake I saw when I first started making soap and I HAD to learn how to make my own.  A year of practice and to me piping is just fun!  It took me a lot of practice, but now I think I could do it in my sleep.

Cupcakes aren’t the most practical soap to use, but they can be used.  I typically separate the top from the bottom for use.  Most people who buy cupcakes do display them.  That’s part of why they paid more for them in the first place because they wanted to show them off.  Most people I talk with who buy them use the cupcakes eventually.  For me soap making isn’t just about making an awesome bar of soap.  Yes, I want a great bar of soap to use, but I also like to create soaps that make people smile, that fascinate them, that they proudly show off.

What I decided to do was finish up some Soap Sundaes I was working on (which just needed the whipped cream pipped and chocolate sauce added).

Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry Sundae with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, a cherry on top and of course sprinkles! All soap!

I’m also including pictures of my cupcakes I’ve worked on in the past couple months.  I don’t need more right now so I didn’t make a new batch for this challenge, but all of these are less than two month old cupcakes.

And to finish up the challenge I started working on another soap cake.  I did my first one about a month ago (see the picture below) and it turned out okay, but there was a lot of stuff I needed to improve on.

I had poured two soap bases this time.  I had my well sketched and planned out cakes.  And of course they turned out nothing like what I was planning.  I’m finding soap is much harder to pipe flowers with than icing is.  When I went to frost the cake my soap mixture seized.  I’ve decided that I’ll put a fragrance in the base, but I’m no longer adding vanilla to the frosting because it just makes it too hard to work with.

The one think about this, is that is easy to use this after you're done "displaying". I cut the layers between each cake so when you're read you can break off each later and asides from the last cake (bottom) being a little big the other two are a perfect fit for the hand.

I went with a deep pink and yellow.  Yes, the picture is orange right now :)  Micas and lye…this picture was taken just after I finished.  In twenty four hours the orange should change to yellow.

I tried two similar versions. The one on the right I did first. I liked it, but thought I should try another version where I added more flowers so it looked like they were climbing up the base of the cake and so that's how I got the two.

Here are some up close shots.  Still not happy with my pipping 100%.  I’ve gotta test all my tips I think.  See how they work…what I can do with them…and then try another cake.

After curing for 24 hours the yellow was still orange…but you could see it was changing.  I spritzed the heck out of them with rubbing alcohol in hopes that they wouldn’t pick up that little bit of white ash that the first cake got.  It still got some, but not as much. I also tried to pipe less “fine” detail in hopes that when the soap dried and “shrunk” I wouldn’t get breaks in some of the pipping like I did on the first one.  Overall, it was better than my first attempt, but still needs work.  These are so much work I’m not sure it’s worth making them, but they are fun and they do challenge me.  So I guess when there’s an occasion for it I might make them but for now…I’m done experimenting with these. They’re just not worth the effort.  And I don’t have a picture of the final one because as of Saturday morning (now) it’s still a mix of yellow and orange.


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