Orange & Cranberry

April 1, 2014

Fragrance: Freshly squeezed oranges kissed with tart cranberry.

Technique: Embeds

I was less than pleased with this soap.  It just didn’t quite work the way I wanted.  I was playing around with a new way to do embeds.  I made a bunch of round embeds to start.

circles

Then I cut them in half or left them whole and placed them throughout the loaf.

loaf embeds

Pictures:

cranberry-orange2


Dusted Mica Top

February 22, 2014

I’ve seen soaps that have dusted their tops with a thin layer of mica.  I’ve tried multiple times to mimic the look and I’ve never quite been able to and in the process I make a massive mess (because it always involved me blowing…and blowing on mica…not the smartest idea!)

The other day I wanted to try and dust layers of mica on a batch I was making and couldn’t find the sifter tool I typically used.  So in a pinch I grabbed a bottle I had sitting around and filled it with some mica hoping it might work in a pinch.

It didn’t quite do what I wanted for the layers in the soap, but oh my word it gave me that shimmery mica top finished I’d tried and failed to do soooooo many times before!!

Find a bottle like this: (sorry picture is awful!)

Mica Squirt Bottle

I get my bottles at US Plastic (if you’re interested).

Fill it with some mica.  Gently squeeze puffs out of it over your wet soap and you will get a nice coating like this!  So simple! So pretty!  I love it when I randomly stumble upon ways to do things!

TIP: Do this outside (if you can).  I’m still cleaning up pink mica!  It gets in the air and it settles all over the place!

mica dust top

champagne6


More efficient work space…

August 20, 2013

I finally sacrificed my dining room to create a more efficient work space for myself.  After not having been able to USE my dining room for the past year because every chair had stuff on it and under it and not being able to see the top of the table there was so much stuff on it (oh and we won’t even mention trying to move around the table there were so many storage boxes) I decided it was time to just turn the space into a functioning work space.

Business has been growing, which is great, but it’s meant I’ve needed a much more efficient work space.  I ordered some heavy duty storage shelves and a stainless steel work table.  The dining room table is now taking up residence in my parents basement.  I miss my table!  But I love my new work space.  The plan is to one day be in a bigger space and have a dedicated work room, but for now this new space works well!

I didn’t get a picture of the space when everything was pulled off of shelves, boxes and what not and all dumped in the middle of the room.  I wish I had…it looked like a complete disaster zone!  But things started to get organized once my shelves arrived.  Here’s a look at the space with the two new shelves.

workspace

And here’s the new work space with the stainless steal table.  Yeah I’m a happy girl!  Can’t tell you how much happier I am working in this space.

work space

Oh and I had to add another dry rack ha!  Fall/winter is going to be busy!


“Oye Moment”

July 12, 2013

I buy my coconut oil in a 50lb tub.  In the summer it melts (and is a pain in my backside).  So I transfer it into Bramble Berry’s 7lb plastic bags.  LOVE THEM!  Makes it so much easier.  No mess (once I get the coconut oil into them).

Well was working on that and I kept telling myself DO NOT SET THE LADLE DOWN!  It will sink into the full tub of coconut oil. I was practically chanting this to myself because I swear I just had this premonition I was going to do it.

Well the funnel slipped on one of the bags and a little coconut spilled out and what do I do?  Panic, drop the ladle (into the coconut oil) and grab the funnel.  Down it went.  OYE!

coconut oil


Vinegar Infusions

June 30, 2013

It’s been my goal this past year to find ways to slowly replace all the “chemical” products I use in my house.  I’ve either been working on creating my own recipes for items or changed the brand of items I was buying (mainly my toothpaste!).  I’ve got a all natural deodorant I’ve been using and I really like (it’s almost ready to be launched!!).  I’ve changed my facial moisturizers.  And my next big change has been household cleaners.

I’ve been working on infusing different vinegar blends to create different scented vinegar cleaners.  My first blend was “Orange, Grapefruit, Cloves, and Cinnamon.”  It’s currently infusing.

infusion

Then at one of my events I was RIGHT across from a “Fresh Lemonade” stand.  I saw them going through soooooooo many lemons so about half way through the day I went over and asked them what they were going to do with the rinds.  They said “throw them out” so I was like can I have a box?  They gladly gave me one (and would have given me more if I wanted).

lemons

This box had about 75 lemons in it and I spent hours removing the skins from the rind. I got three crammed pack bags of rinds!  I used one bag to start four jars of infusions.  The rest went in the freezer to use throughout the summer to make more infusions.

lemon peels

Then my friend has given me free access to her “fields of mint” (and I really meant fields of mint!!!!) whenever I need it.

mint field

So lemon-mint infusions are made!  Now it’s just a matter of waiting four weeks for them to be ready!

Next on the list are to get more oranges and limes (which I have a “source” for those too).  Woohoo for resourcefulness!  Between getting the rinds from people, the herbs/mint from friends and family all I’ve had to buy to make these are the spices (cloves and cinnamon sticks), vinegar and bottles.  All in all not bad! Can’t wait to use these!

lemon-mint infusion


Fruit Punch Soap

June 18, 2013

Fruit Punch soap (or as I like to more fondly call it: Color Explosion).  Every now and then I get the urge to use BRIGHT and BOLD colors and lots of them.  When I got this fragrance it seemed to just call to me “use bold colors” so I did. (The only color I wasn’t 100% happy with was my pink. I wish now I’d gone with my electric bubblegum, but it still looks cool.)

Early this year I found some new fruit molds (to go with my already extensive collection).  So I made a bunch of embeds:

pie embeds

Aren’t the prrrrrrrrrrretty!!

Here’s the top!

fruit punch 3

fruit top

Then I just did a multi-colored in the post swirl, put the embeds on top, and WOW :D

fruit punch (10)

fruit punch (23)

fruit punch (28)

fruit punch (9)


150lbs of Soap in 10 Days

June 14, 2013

I go in spurts it seems.  Massive soap making then no soap making (while I’m usually working on other bath products).  My markets and fairs are in full swing and I had to restock on about 10 of my standard soaps.  Plus I was working on a couple of new soaps for this summer (as I’m running low on the specialty spring soaps).  So between the restocks and new soaps I’ve made 150lbs of soap over the past ten days!  I’m ready to crash now :D  The good news I’m restocked and should be good to go for a couple months…next up will be starting the winter soaps come mid-July so they’re ready come September! (CRAZY!!!!)

Shelf 1:

soap shelf

Shelf 2:

soap rack

(Some of the cupcakes are from a few weeks ago and some of the soaps are not part of this round (those are the ones in the grayed out portion of the picture.))


Embedded Heart Tutorial

May 2, 2013

This really isn’t a hard soap to make.  It just takes two days to do.  I love embeds.  I have a patience for them that not everyone does.  I plan out my soaps in advance and then make the “parts” I’ll need to create the whole.

STEP 1: The first step in this soap is making the heart embeds.  I use this heart mold from Wholesale Supplies Plus: Heart Mold.

8022

If you fill all 8 of the small hearts it takes about 12-14 ounces.  This mold can be a pain to unmold.  I have a recipe I love to use for embeds because the bulk of the rcipe are solid oils/butters and so it makes for harder embeds, which in turn makes it easier to unmold.  I usually leave the hearts in the mold for a full 24 hours and then before I try unmolding them I stick them in the freezer for about an hour or so.

Oil(s) Selected

2lb Batch

Castor Oil

2.25 oz

Shea Butter

9 oz

Coconut Oil (76 Degrees)

6.75 oz

Olive Oil

9 oz

Palm Oil

9 oz

5% Lye Amount

4.90 oz

Water

11.88 oz

Yields

36 oz

This is a 2lb recipe.  You can shrink it to a 1lb batch if you’re just going to do heart embeds.  I am always making embeds so I use the 2lb batch.   I’ll use the leftover soap to create embeds for another project.  It just saves me time in the long run.

I don’t add a fragrance to these hearts and I use titanium dioxide to color them.  Not adding fragrance doesn’t affect the overall batch.  By not adding fragrance it ensures that I don’t get any discoloration in my nice white hearts.  Feel free though to add fragrance if you’d like.

STEP 2: Unmold hearts!

supplies

STEP 3: After I’ve made and unmolded these soaps I’m ready to make the actual loaf.  I use a five pound mold and I need four and a half hearts to get them to go the entire length.

I use this recipe for the loaf.  It’s one of my favorite moisturizing recipes, but you can use any recipe you want.  This is for a five pound batch of soap (you’ll need 4 and half hearts to fill the loaf).  In this tutorial just did a 2.5 lb batch (where I only needed two hearts).

Oil(s) Selected

5lb 

Avocado Oil

5.4 oz

Meadowfoam Oil

1.35 oz

Coconut Oil (76 Degrees)

10.75 oz

Olive Oil

21.50 oz

Palm Oil

10.75 oz

Shea Butter

5.4 oz

5% Lye Amount

7.5 oz

Water

18.15 oz

Yields

80.65 oz

STEP 4: Once you’ve mixed the oils and lye and the batch has reached a very light trace it’s time to split the batch up.  I split about a quarter of the batter out and set it aside for the top.

TIP: Unless I know I’m working with a slow moving fragrance I do not add it to the soap before I split the batch.  I’ve found by not adding the fragrance to the part I set aside it gives me more time to work with it and it makes for a more fluid soap which in return makes it easier to create nice crisp and clean lines between the two layers.

STEP 5: In the bottom layer (which should be about three-quarters of your soap) mix your color and fragrance together.  Pour it into your mold.

first layer

(I did a side view, instead of a top view) so you could see that you’ll fill approximately 3/4 of the mold.)

You can use any color you want.  The first batch I did I used a teal and gray.  I love this soap!  I didn’t have any more blackberry-sage fragrance oil on hand though so the batch you’re seeing pictures of is Orange & Amber.  I went with orange as the base color and black as the top (a little Halloween-y, but hey I like it!)

STEP 6: I let this set up a bit before I add my hearts in (unless it’s setting up fast then I put them in right away).  Next I go back to my top layer and add my fragrance and color.  Once it’s mixed together I go back to the base and add the hearts and then pour the second layer over them.

hearts embedded

I used Orange Peel in this batch.  First time I’ve used it.  If you want a slowwwwww moving fragrance this one’s for you.  I had to wait and wait and wait (despite a lot of stick blending) for this soap to set up enough to hold the heart embeds on top!

poured soap

STEP 7: If you want you can add a mica top.  I love the look of the mica tops with these soaps.  My mica top didn’t quite work out as planned.

TIP: Here’s some free advice from my trial and errors!  Don’t spritz your soap with alcohol right after doing your mica top.  And don’t spritz your top and then try and do your mica top!  The first time I tried the mica top I had a lovely swirl pattern.  Out of habit I spritzed the top and it caused the micas to migrate and mix together.  The second time I made soap with a mica top I did my mica top and then came back about 30 minutes later AFTER the oil had absorbed into the soap and spritzed.  Worked great.  No smudging…but I did get a small amount of ash on one of my tops.

So this time I decided to try spritzing it before I did the mica top in hopes of no ash.  Well, the alcohol kind creates a layer over the soap and while I was able to pour the mica on top (see pic below) when I went to swirl it it did not work!  Moral of all this, if you’re going to spritz do so only after the oil has absorbed into the soap.

mica top

Here’s the kind of sort of salvaged top.  It’s not an elegant one, but I think it kind of actually works for the orange/black theme I’ve got going!

salvage

STEP 8: I insulate my soaps. I like them to go through gel phase, but you don’t have to.  After 24 hours I unmold and cut and admire the pretty bars!

orange (1)

orange (2)


Embeds…

April 30, 2013

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

embeds


Nature’s Garden Interview

March 24, 2013

It’s kind (alright REALLY) cool to be asked to do an interview about your soap. Nature’s Garden has been doing a series of blog posts featuring soap and candle makers over the past couple weeks and asked if I’d be interested.  Of course, I said yes!

You can see the interview HERE.

And check out Nature’s Garden HERE.


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