Vanilla Verbena

February 6, 2013

*super big sigh*

Once again vanilla ruins my plans. I really do like this fragrance.  I’m not a fan of vanilla but this scent had more to it…there’s an earthiness in it.

Vanilla Verbena: Bright Verbena, Sicilian Lemon, Orange Zest, Jasmine, Creamy Helitrope, Amber, White Musk, Precious Woods

I thought the embeds would be fun and a great contrast to a pretty blue…while the fragrance didn’t affect the pink much (it’s a little darker than the original color) it completely morphed the blue.  (I didn’t add any fragrance to the white hearts).

vanilla-verbena (6)

Nothing is technically “wrong” with this soap, but it’s not quite as pretty as I was going for (and after doing all that work for the embeds!)

Will be available in the store about mid-February.

Accidents Happen (and so does stupidity)

September 24, 2012

Sometimes I wonder where my brain goes…

Quite the impressive bandage huh?  That’s the result of six stitches and three hours in the emergency last night.  I can’t tell you how frustrated I am with myself right now.  I was cleaning up from making soap last night.  I ALWAYS unplug my stick blender, remove the bottom, and then start to clean the excess soap out of it.  Last night I picked it up (still plugged in and attached) and started to clean it and my hand went right to the button (as is habit when the stick blender is together) and yup you got it I pressed the button.

I won’t be making any soap for a week or so.  Or writing or doing much of anything that involves my right index finger.  I can’t tell you how mad I am at myself.  I’ve never been quite this stupid before and I still don’t know what I was thinking (or not) last night. SIGH!

PS: Typing without your right index finger is hard!

Your advice?

September 5, 2012

I need your advice.  I screwed up a recipe.

It was originally:

    • Avocado Oil 18.2%
    • Coconut Oil 18.2%
    • Sunflower Oil 27.3%
    • Sweet Almond 27.3%
    • Palm 9.1%

It’s made with Goat’s Milk (in place of water) and fresh pumpkin puree.

Well, I screwed up and instead of adding the coconut I added palm twice.  So the new recipe was:

  • Avocado Oil 18.2%
  • Sunflower Oil 27.3%
  • Sweet Almond 27.3%
  • Palm 27.3%.

Ran it thru the lye calculator and the lye/water is the same as my original recipe.  So it’s not lye heavy and still usable.  My question.  With the extra palm and no coconut how do you think the properties of the bar will be?  It’s super hard and I know I’ll lack some lather…but I think with the other oils in it it shouldn’t be too drying and should still be ok.  Your thoughts.

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!


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!

Semi-Failed Coconut-Vanilla Soap

July 11, 2011

I typically use a 50-50 ratio of coconut and vanilla FO when I make my Coco-Vanilla soap.  Because the coconut scent seems to fade a bit in the soap I decided to try a different coconut FO that was a little bit stronger.  The soap definitely had a more of a coconut fragrance but the new FO caused my soap to start to “curdle” basically parts of it was starting to solidify within the mixture.  I did some quick pouring into the molds and hoped the the gel phase would help “cook” the soap and bit and remelt the parts that had curdled.

This is what I had 24 hours after the pour:

My first reaction was disappointment.  It still looked like there were little worms throughout the soap.  Then I unmolded it and realized that some of it had remelted and all mixed together.

When I cut it you could see that the top looked a little more wormy than the bottom.

The soap feels just like any other soap I’ve made and it completely solidified and came out of the mold nicely. So I think this soap is still perfectly fine.  I’ll of course test it before I decide to do anything with it, but it looks (mostly) like a normal bar of soap.

Sort of a Failure

June 24, 2011

I wanted RED, white, and blue soaps…instead I got ORANGE, cream, and blue.  It’s so hard to get white and the red didn’t come anywhere near to what I wanted.  Also, I tried to separate one layer with white color powder and another with blue.  Should not have tried to use the blue.  I think it might run the water blue a bit but it should wash off without any problems…but still just all around not a successful batch.

I’m bummed though cause I used my Ginger “Sparkle” Fish on it (I know the name still makes me go eww too so I thought adding “sparkle” might help a bit :)).  The fragrance is heavenly in the soap and every time I smell it I swear my nose tingles like I were smelling a fresh opened bottle of ginger ale.  Love this scent.

There’s not thing wrong with these soaps so I’ll probably just end up selling them in the reject pile for $2 after they’ve cured.

Tea Tree Soap Failure and Lesson Learned

June 4, 2011

I was so excited to make my soap with silk and almond milk in it only to have it fail!  Four pounds of soap!  My soap was extremely brittle.  So hard I couldn’t even slice it it just split into pieces.  I wasn’t sure what I’d done wrong.  So I did some research and discovered that brittle soap means too much lye.  This is a first for me.  I’ve had grainy soap, liquid goop soap that never turned into anything (I had too much water in it) and all other variations of failed soap.

These pieces are big enough that they can probably be used for something...not sure what. They're lye heavy so you can't use them on the skin and I'd wear gloves when using them for whatever else.

I think I’ve just about had experienced it all now.  Anyway I went back to my recipe and reran it through the lye calculator and realized that somehow my lye calculations were off.  By over 2 oz!!!! No idea how I messed that up, but I did.  I will probably give the soap another go cause I was so excited about this facial soap!

The soap just flaked whenever I tried to cut it.

Shaving Soap Update

March 24, 2011

I don’t know if you all remember back to two weeks ago (I can barely remember what I did two days ago usually!) but I was trying out a new shaving soap recipe!

It seemed like everything was working great until I poured and the oils started to separate. After getting frustrated that yet another batch of shaving soap was failing on me I decided to be stubborn. I kept mixing the oils back together every 30 minutes or so until I went to bed that night.

Woke up and the oils were still separated. In one last effort I mixed them back together before I headed to work. I expected to come home to find the oils separated again and was prepared to dump the batch, but surprise, surprise they hadn’t separated! I didn’t know what to expect at this point…but figured I’d leave it in the mold and see what happened…well two weeks later and it’s starting to harden! It’s almost to the point where I can probably attempt to take it out of the mold, but it’s still super soft.

Last night I attempted to pull the sides away from the mold to see if it came away cleanly (or crumbled like my previous failed batch did). The sides seemed to remove cleanly! I’m going to give it a few more days in the mold but I’m crossing my fingers that maybe my stubbornness saved this batch…

Sides of the mold removed cleanly...this is a good sign!

It’s so soft that I image it’s going to take months (if it does remove from the mold) to completely cure before this soap is usable…but I’ll wait months if it means the batch didn’t fail on me!

If the batch worked (that’s still a big “IF”) the first three people to comment on this post can be a tester for this soap (a couple months from now probably…but sign up it you want to :))

Failure #2 (sort of)

February 24, 2011

Remember yesterday’s post on my embedded shamrocks?  Well the first recipe I was going to use hit trace in like 60 sections and started to harden before I could even get it out of the pan!  It resulted in the following mess:

This is what you get when your soap solidifies on you before you can pour it into the molds!

However all is not lost.  I’m going to let it solidify for a couple weeks then I’m going to hand-mill it.  (Hopefully that works and salvages the soap).  I hate losing a batch of soap.  Apparently the Melon Cucumber Fragrance oil accelerates trace big time!

I admit defeat!

February 19, 2011

There’s a reason they tell soap makers not to use the Oatmeal Milk and Honey (OMH) Fragrance oil in cold process soap…it’s because it just doesn’t work!

I’ve come to accept that and will just use it in Melt & Pour soaps now.  (Next week I’m going to talk about the difference between Melt & Pour and Cold Process soap making so stay tuned!)

The FO makes the soap very soft.  I used one of my hardest producing bar recipes and even after five days the soap, while solid, it still soft.  It will harden.  But it’ll take about 4 weeks.

I’ve also learned (now after this happening three times to me) that if I’m going to use oatmeal I have to complete grind it up.   I left a few small pieces in this mixture (most of it was ground).  Those pieces are causing my soap to expand and crack.  Only time will tell if those cracks will remain small (and hence produce a usable soap) or if they’ll expand and make the soap fall apart.  Here’s to hoping the latter!

Click onthe picture to enlarge and see the cracks.


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