Embeds…

April 30, 2013

This is quite the collection of embeds!  About to be used in a variety of different soaps!

embeds


Thank you Bramble Berry!

April 29, 2013

In case you missed the awesome news!  Last week I was picked as the “Facebook Photo of the Week” on Bramble Berry‘s Facebook page.  It was totally cool!  It felt so awesome to have my work recognized.  I love what I do and I love sharing it with everyone, and let me just say: It’s so cool when you can share it with a large audience!  My stats went from about 200 a day to 600 that week!

This was the photo:

teal

I love this design and apparently so do a lot of others. I’ve been asked to create a tutorial for it.  I listened!!  A tutorial is coming this week.  It’s really quite a simple technique that results in a beautiful bar of soap.

For being picked as Facebook Photo of the week Bramble Berry sent me a little good packet!  I got some fragrance oils to try and a labcolor sample.  I also got some Aloe Vera Liquid!  I’ve never used it before so I’m excited to come up with a soap where I can use it!  Will blog about it!  And best of all I got the cutest Bramble Berry notebook and some note pads.  For the ever sketching out ideas me this is an awesome gift!  I’m in love with it!

Anyway just wanted to say thank you to Bramble Berry.  They are one of my favorite companies. They carry a great, high quality, line of products and are all super sweet and helpful.  Thank you Team Bramble Berry!!


Soap Challenge #4: Leopard Spots

April 27, 2013

I tried two different batches of this soap.  Neither one was really a success, but I learned what to do for next time I try this technique.

The first batch I did was Berrywine & Moroccan Mint.  The fragrance is awesome.  I did the body of the soap in berrywine and the spots in mint.  The problem was (even with a relatively slow moving berrywine) the mint would not thicken! I didn’t matter how much I stick blended.  So as you can see in the pics the white section just flatten out as I tried to carefully cover the spots.  It’s actually a cool looking soap.  I do like it…it’s just not what I was going for.

berrywine (6)

I dusted the top of this soap with merlot mica (which is what I used to color the base).  I like the effect.

berrywine (9)

Attempt two: Clove bud and orange. I needed to restock on this.  It’s from my standard essential oil line. I wanted to use colors that were a bit more fun, but had to stick with natural colorants.  I’m surprised the center spot isn’t darker. I did mix it with the white, but it’s got clove bud and orange EO in it! Those two are dark and always discolor!  This one I did get “spots” but I think they’re not thick enough.  They look more like two-toned clouds floating in my soap than spots!

clove-orange (1)

I love these challenges. They force me to try new things or come up with new variations on techniques I use. It’s like exercising the mind and my creativity! I hope we get more in the future!


“Heart Soaps”

April 24, 2013

Sometimes I get “obsessed” with a technique and lately it’s been my “Embedded Heart” soap with mica tops.  I just love the look of these.  After finishing the Blackberry-Sage one for the Bramble Berry swap I decided to make a couple other batches of it.  I’ll also do a tutorial for those that have asked at some point in the near future.  It’s really not a hard soap to make it just takes two days to do it and a few little tips and tricks along the way!

Here’s Black Amber & Lavender:

blackamber5

And (my favorite fragrance ever!) Cherry Almond (from BB):

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And the three soaps together:

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Mica Top Obsession

April 22, 2013

I’ve becoming slightly addicted to the whole mica top technique!  Did another two soaps with the technique this week.

Black Amber & Lavender (purple-black-white color scheme)

purple-black1

purple-black

Cherry Almond (pink-brown-white color scheme)

pink-brown

pink-brown-white


More molds…

April 16, 2013

I decided I wanted a couple more 5lb molds.  And then I needed a new circle size for this idea I have for a new soap design :D  I think it’s going to be really cute if it works!  Stay tuned!

wood


Soap Challenge #3: Mica Tops

April 13, 2013

I’ve never done this method before…though I’d been hearing a lot about it and would probably have been tempted to try it sooner or later.  Amy’s challenge just made it sooner!  I tried it on two soaps this week.  I had to make a soap for Bramble Berry’s soap swap.  I already knew what I wanted to do for that soap design and it just happened that it actually worked out perfectly with experimenting with a mica top.

I was just going to use one colors but decided it needed to be two (two match the inside).  I’m glad I went with two! (Who needs to play it safe first attempt???).  Ha, luckily I knew the fragrance I was working with wouldn’t set up too quickly so it all worked out.  Lesson learned: A little bit goes a long way!  I used a bit too much.  The oil does “spread” out as it starts to settled and I ended up losing some of the swirls I had because of it.

Batch 1: Blackberry-Sage Fragrance / Teal-White-Gray Color Scheme

Wet Top:

micatop1

micatop2

micatop4

Here you can see the oils moving and messing up the nice swirl (too much oil).  I also learned don’t spritz with alcohol.  It also affected the swirl making it kind of shift the oils together.

toomuchoil2

Dry Top:

dried-teal

You can see where the spritzing it with alcohol ruined the swirls…kind of made it all blur together.

notquite perfect

Cut Bars:

blackberry-sage

IMG_3485

teal

tops

This soap is going to be submitted to Bramble Berry as part of the Soap Swap…but don’t worry!  I made a 10lb batch!  So I’ll have plenty of bars left over. They’ll be listed on my webpage in about 6 weeks time!

Attempt #2

Then I made a pineapple-mango batch…this was supposed to be a kids soap…but the initial embeds I was making were NOT working so I ended up just dumping it into some of my individual rectangular silicon molds.  The color them was black and pink (not exactly “pineapple-mango” colors, but like I said it was supposed to be a kids soap that I ended up turning into a normal batch).  Love the fragrance.  And I love the design/colors even if they don’t make me thing “fruit.”

One thing I learned is that this fragrance ACCELERATES! (It’s why I had to abandoned the first project).  I set aside a small amount that I didn’t add any fragrance to so I could pour it on top and still do a nice mica swirl.  Thank goodness I did!  It’d have never worked otherwise.  It was was too thick.  I had some left over and I poured it into a smaller 2lb batch. I tried the mica swirl just to see and it didn’t work!

Batch 2: Pineapple-Mango Fragrance / Pink-Black-White Color Theme

Wet Top:

pinkblack1

pinkblack2

Dry Top:

top3

top2

This is what happens when you try it on soap that’s super thick…not really very pretty!  These bars will be going to family member anyway as they’re less than perfect.  The main batch came out lovely though so I’m happy.

toothick

Here’s one cut with the top.

cutbartop

Cut Bars:

IMG_3516

IMG_3506

IMG_3509

Okay…that’s enough pictures.  I just couldn’t narrow down my choices this week!  I really like this technique.  You can fancy up a soap pretty easily!  You’ll be seeing more of it in the future from me!


Travel Size Soaps

April 11, 2013

I always bring my own soap with me when I travel.  I can’t use anything but handmade soap these days. I can feel my skin get tight and itchy after using commercial soap.  Sometimes bringing a WHOLE bar of soap is a pain in the backside.  Especially for short trips.  I started cutting up some of my large bars into smaller ones for traveling.  I gave some to a friend who also fell in love with the size (she travels quite a bit for work and is so excited about these bars)!

I figured if there are two us out there looking for travel size soap there had to be others!  So I now present to you my travel size soap bars available in a variety of fragrances!

  • Black raspberry-vanilla
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Oatmeal Milk & Honey
  • Basil Sage Mint
  • Cherry Almond
  • Lavender
  • Lilac
  • Vanilla Oak
  • Cranberry Chutney

Check them out here: Jennifer’s Travel Size Soap

travelsizze (4)


When I’m not making soap…

April 8, 2013

Or teaching…I’m writing. (Or in my case for the past couple months plotting).  The plotting is finally done! I typically write Middle Grade novels, but I needed a break from them after I finished my last novel.  I went back to a science fiction idea I had when I first started writing. I loved the concept and characters, but the original story sucked (that’s putting it nicely).  I decided to pull it out, do some world building, and completely replot the story.

(Side note: You’ve probably figured this post has nothing to do with soap this time :D Every now and then I need to mix it up!)

The novel always kind of (in my eyes) had two parts.  So I worked on the first part all of last year and got it well started (still has issues that need resolving, but the story is there).  I’d been putting off plotting out the second part because there was so much stuff I had “vague” ideas on but hadn’t figured out how to really make it work. Well I’ve finally finished the plotting!  Adult science fiction is much more complicated than Middle Grade fiction…and I (to keep everything straight) created a story board.

I won’t show you the initial notes I started with plotting. They’re a mess.  But I eventually got things figured out in the first run of a story board:

initial part2

The first squares are really detailed…towards the end it’s just the main idea of what needs to happen in each scene…the details will come later…too much will change as I write the earlier scenes to really plot out too much right now.

part2scenes

Once the above is done I create new squares that have each scene I’ll be writing.  You can see the right hand side of the sheets are all blank.  Those will get filled out as I start writing and figuring out the details.  They’ll eventually look like this: (my part 1 story board)

part1

And then there are all the small notes that ended up on index cards or other scraps of paper for scenes, dialogue, description, character motivation…you name it…that I need to organize with the scenes and work in:

notes-scenes

But, all the above means I’m ready to start writing!  Part 2 here I come.  I can’t wait to write it.  Especially since I’ve figured out what’s going to happen, what the characters need to experience, how they need to grow and change, and just how to work in the many intricacies a science fiction novel needs to have!  So I say: Bring it on!


Soap Challenge #2: Elemental Swirl

April 6, 2013

I saw this challenge and instantly knew I wanted to do a gray/black/white them and a bright shades of pink theme.  The problem was I couldn’t come up with a fragrance that seem to meet the color scheme and wouldn’t 1) discolor my white and 2) move to fast for me to work with.  I ended up using Green Tea and Cucumber.  I didn’t really need MORE bars of this soap (since I just made a batch, but it’s a pretty popular fragrance so I figured I’d be able to sell them).  This turned out to be a good soap to work with.  It did thicken up the soap a little, but not enough to make it too hard to swirl.  And it made it easy to pour a second layer without breaking through the first since it was pretty firm by the time I was ready to pour the second layer!

1) I MADE A MESS making this soap :)  eight different colors and pots gets very crowded on the workspace!  I broke down and used my dishwasher to clean everything (I NEVER do that!)

mess

2) I am in LOVE with the color scheme I went with.  I didn’t leave the base color uncolored.  I added some TD to it.  I wanted a crisper white than I would have gotten if I hadn’t used color.  I’m glad I added the white, makes for a good contrast.

3) It’s this a gorgeous top??? I think it is, but I have a slight obsession with pink! :)

top

4) Final results: (Warning: Many many many pictures to come was unable to narrow down to one!)

Cucumber8

I used Black, White, Dark Gray and Light Gray for the top layer.  The two darks and two lights were very similar in color but they came out and if you know what to look for you can see all four colors. I used two bright pinks, a light pink, and white for the bottom.  The colors for them stayed pretty distinct too.  I’m really happy with it.

greentea1

greentea14

greentea


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