Aloe Vera!

August 22, 2016

Aloe, oh aloe!  I’d read about aloe.  I’d watched some videos about using aloe.  I figured I was ready to try it.  My mom has had this HUGE aloe plant for I don’t know how many years and I’ve always said I was going to make some soap and use some of that aloe in it.  I don’t know how many years I’ve been saying that, but I finally did it.

aloe (2)

Quite the aloe plant isn’t it?

Took some aloe, sliced it up, and then pureed it.  No matter how much I pureed I still had some small bits of the skin.  No one had ever said anything about the skin and so I figured it would be ok.  Well after I made the soap and cut it I was no longer sure that it would be okay.  Those tiny flecks grew in the soap and I didn’t trust that.  I had a feeling that they would be cause for concern. The last thing I wanted was moldy soap!

aloe (4)

Can I make a random comment? Aloe has a very distinct smell when cut and I can’t say I like it very much!

aloe (5)

No amount of blending completely pureed it. Might be I need a different (better) blender.

Thank goodness for FB Soap Groups.  After posting my soap and the process I got a lot of feedback on how to make aloe soap and that this batch probably was probably going to be a lost.

2016-08-03 12.02.44

Here’s a small piece of the soap. You can see the small specs of aloe practically tripled in size.

I’ve been watching the soap as it cures and the green spots have slowly kind of morphed to a brown color.  I’ll keep watching it and probably test out a bar using it and seeing how the water affects it over time.

Second batch I took my new found knowledge (advice) and didn’t use the leaf, but just scoped out the aloe and blended that with a little bit of water.  This soap is void of the troubling green specs and I’m excited to try it.

Look at this yummy, messy process😉

2016-08-10 12.14.23

Sliced off the top of the leaf and scoped out the aloe center. Quite a messy process.

 

2016-08-10 12.26.24

Then I blended the aloe with some water. Lovely looking! Not a green spec insight! Now to make some soap with it!

No green specs.  No worries this batch.  I’m excited to use this soap. Not sure if I’ll notice a difference between it and my normal soap, but I’ll know it’s got all the aloe-y goodness in it.

As a side note:  You may laugh at me; it’s okay.  I never knew that I could just cut the leaf/stem off the aloe and leave it be (the plant that is) and it would “heal” itself. I felt so bad looking at the oozing stem where I’d cut it, but I needed my aloe!  Well a few days later I went back to look at the plant and it had closed itself right up! Haha. I know; I’m silly.  I found that quite fascinating to see.  And now I don’t fee so bad about cutting pieces from the aloe plant.


Avocado!

August 15, 2016

Avocado soap has been on my “to make” list for over a year now. I meant to make some last summer and time just ran out…which tends to happen on a regular basis for me.  That’s the one down side of your hobby being a full time business (with no one to do the work but you): you (as in I) have little time for experimenting.  Most of the time I’m just keeping up with making what I’m selling and there’s not a whole lot of extra time to play around.

Avocado (2)

I was in the store and walked by the avocados and they were having a special on them and I stopped and picked up a couple.  I figured if I HAD the avocados I’d have to make time to make the soap because I wouldn’t waste the avocados.

I’ve never cut an avocado before. That was interesting experience.  My friend told me the best way, which is not how I’d probably have gone about it ha, but her way was definitely less messy and worked like a charm.

I pureed the avocados and then went about making soap as normal.  I discounted some of my water to account for the avocado.  The soap behaved nicely and the end product looks good.  Can’t wait to test the soap in a week or two once it’s finished curing.  I’m sure the avocados added some yummy goodness to the soap, but I don’t expect it to affect the lather or anything else.

Avocado (1)

Will I make soap with avocado and sell it in the future…not sure.  Avocados add an extra expense to the soap, but it was fun to finally play around with some avocado in my soap.

2016-08-07 16.45.37

I put salt on the top of the bar and separating the layers…hence the slight discoloration between the layers and the salt sweats a little in this heat.


Dancing Funnel Technique: Challenge

August 12, 2016

This month’s challenged fascinated me and I knew I’d have a bit of time to actually attempt some soaps with it so I signed up.  The design is cool, my attempts—not so much.

Attempt 1: WAY to liquidy-runny

2016-08-06 16.38.02

They said you needed a really light trace…and that the soap shouldn’t be thick. I did super thin trace and well that was a disaster.  I ended up halfway through stopping the batch I was making going back to my liquids and stick blending them to thicken them up some and then starting a new loaf.  Still wasn’t thick enough and you can see how fluid this batch looks as everything just kind of ran into everything.

Attempt 1a: Left over soap…

2016-08-06 16.38.32I had some left over soap from some embeds I was making for a custom order so I decided to practice the technique some more.  Soap was still to runny though to make the technique work properly.

Attempt 2: *shakes my head* (That is all I can say…)

2016-08-07 16.46.12

I didn’t have any clean skirt bottles so I thought I’d use piping bags…You should have seen the mess I made…hence the head shaking.  This soap was better than the first but still didn’t turn out great.  First off the black got a little too thick and the white was still too runny.  It was not a fun combo to work with.

Attempt 3: Too thick

2016-08-06 16.37.37

After the previous failed attempts at a really like trace soap I finally tried a batch at a medium trace.  That ended up being too thick.  I just couldn’t win.  And oh my the glycerin rivers on this soap!  All I did was wrap it in a blanket to insulate this one and I got this craziness. I swear the fragrance had to affect it somehow because I’ve never quite seen rivers like this, though I do wonder if it could be the TD (different supplier than I normally use).

In the end I really wasn’t happy with any of the soaps.  This method is super time consuming and doesn’t work for my loaf soaps, so it’s not one I’m likely to do again, but I gave it a go!


Creating & Testing a New Product: Shower Tabs

March 3, 2016

Shower tabs have been on my “to do” list since last year.  There are never enough hours in the day or days in the week or weeks in the year for me to get to everything though!  This year I was determined to experiment with them so they went to the top of my list.

It’s been interesting!  I had one recipe I knew would work (a variation from Holly Port’s book Make it Fizz.)  Then started the research. Over the past year I’d had been book marking a bunch of different pages I’d come across on making shower tabs.  From there I did some reading/research and then came up with five different recipes (six technically…but it was very similar to one recipe so I didn’t count it.)

The results were quite interesting.

Test 1: Baking Soda
I didn’t believe in this method from the get go.  I just didn’t think it would get hard enough or stay hard enough to last any significant amount of time in a shower.

First, despite experimenting with different amounts of water I couldn’t get these to hard up.  I tried putting them in the oven too.  Nothing worked.  They just never harden up much.  I could get a couple out of the mold mostly intact, but many ended up like the picture below.  Plus it took very little pressure for me to break them.  I wasn’t convinced they last through even half a shower.  I didn’t even bother testing these.

They were so soft I just broke up the baking soda and reused it in other batches.

Test 1

Test1_in mold

Test 2: Baking Soda/Citric Acid
(Please disregard the misspelled “backing”…my brain apparently wasn’t working when I was making the pictures.)

I did a couple variations of baking soda and citric acid.  This batch I put in the oven (mostly because I was curious to how they respond).  I didn’t think it would work to put them in the oven with citric acid, but I’d read a lot about people doing that.  All I can say: Complete disaster!

They grew and grew and grew.  It was kind of funny actually.  They still work and they’re quite hard, but they do dissolve faster.  In part because I think they’re not dense and water just goes through the entire tab, hence it’s dissolving faster.

Test 2

For your amusement: You can see just how MUCH the tabs grew in the oven. I tried the same recipe (with one minor alteration in Test 3) and as you can see they turned out much better.

Comparison - Test 2 and 3

Test 2 - Oven

Test 3: Baking Soda/Citric Acid
These were essentially the same as Test 2 (one minor change to the recipe).  I didn’t not apply any heat to these.  These are probably my favorite of all the trial ones.  They work well. They seem to last a full ten minutes in the shower (if I control how much water hits them) and they release a good aroma.

Test 3

Test 4: Baking Soda/Citric Acid w/ Oils & Butters

These worked mostly ok.  They were much softer than test batch 3 though and didn’t unmold as well.  Testing wise they work as well as Batch 3 for me, but they are softer and I think they last maybe a tad being less than Test Batch 3…is so insignificant an amount of time that it probably doesn’t matter.  The oils make them more expensive and I’m not sold on them being worth it in a product that basically is being washed down the drain.

Test 4

Test 4 Unmolding

 

Because these were much softer than Test 3 (with the only difference being the oils/butters) I did a second round adding more alcohol to them.  They were a little harder, but still softer than Test Batch 3.

Test 4a ADDED Alcohol

Test 5: Altered Recipe from Make it Fizz

These worked perfectly.  I like them, but I have one major problem with them. They’re SO EXPENSIVE to make (compared to the other four test batches).  I mean like 3-4x more expensive. And I have a hard time using such nice oils in a shower tab.  The oils just go down the drain…and to me that’s such a waste.

Test 5

There you have it.  I’ve got friends testing them for me now to see if they find the same results I do when they use them.  Overall, I think Test Batch 3 is my favorite of them all.


Double Embed Technique

June 2, 2015

This was the second soap I did for the Saponifier Challenge.  They call it am “Embedded Circle” technique, but I really think it should be called a double embed.  That’s really what it is.  You’re creating one embed and then embedding it into a batch then taking that new soap and embedding it AGAIN into another batch.

I’ve done double embeds many times before.  It’s a massive amount of work for a bar of soap!  That said I love the technique.  I will usually only do it on limited edition soaps (because it is so much work).  When I saw this as a challenge I knew right off I’d be adding my own twist. I had a fragrance called “Seaside Escape” that I had been sketching out different designs for, but hadn’t settled on one I really liked.  The only thing I knew was I wanted a nautical theme.  The challenge kind of solidified everything for me.

Step 1: First I had to make a batch of swirled soap in a circular mold.  I went for a subtle mix of blues/greens that made me think of the ocean.

cutters

Step 2: I had these mini ocean themed cookie cutters.  The problem was that they were only 1/2″ deep.  I had to take the circle embed I made and cut them in my soap cutter twice (so that they were 1/2″ deep and then I had to cookie cut EACH SOAP!  Tedious.

part 2b

Step 3: Next I embedded all the pieces into a cube mold I had and poured a white soap around the cut outs.

cut

(Sorry this isn’t the best picture.  I cut open one of the cubes, so you could see how the white soap filled in around my circles.)

Step 4: Once I unmolded the cubes I put them into a loaf mold and then made a new batch of teal soap to pour around the cubes. I had to do a mica top on it! You all know how much I love that technique.

mica top embeds

The end result:

Seashell (22)

Seashell (57)

Seashell (59)

Totally worth it, but a three day process to make this soap and a lot of work to prep each stage.


Inverted Stamp Technique

May 27, 2015

This technique had been on my to try list for about 6 months.  I even had all the supplies I needed for it, I just never got around to making it!  It was fun.  There are a lot of possibilities with this one and I’ll definitely play around more with it in the future.  I did two batches this go around.  One with a simple criss-cross pattern and one with a weird swirl pattern.

Tools:

wire

Ginger Patchouli:

wet reverse1

Ginger Patchouli (8)

ginger patchouli (26)

Garden Soap (Cool Citrus Basil):

wet reverse 2

Garden Soap (10)

Garden Soap (1)

 

 

Garden Soap (14)

 


Mini Soap Desserts

May 13, 2015

I’m less than thrilled with my work on these soaps.  I ran out of time and I rushed and when I rush…things just don’t go as I planned.  They’re okay, but by no means anything special.

Dessert 1: Coconut covered petit fours.  I think these are cute, but completely pointless as a soap.  I made my CP cubes then coated them in clear MP and dipped them in dried coconut.

coconut (6)

Dessert 2: Decorative petit fours.  If I’d done a better job at pipping I’d be happier with these.  The cubes are CP.  The decorative parts are mostly CP piped with MP soap fondant for the flowers. And a couple of them I used the sugar pearls on.

petitfour (11)

petitfour (5)

Dessert 3: Mini Cakes.  CP soap with MP soap fondant and sugar pearls.  Let’s just say getting all those sugar pearls on these was a pain in the backside :)!  Oh my word.  I do like the effect of these, but again it’s not really a “useful” soap and it took me WAY too long to accomplish these.

cake (32)

Dessert 4: Mini Bundt Cake.  Let’s just say this one was a complete disaster and leave it at that😛.

bundt (11)

There you have it…a less than stellar set of mini soap desserts *sigh*

mix (1)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 279 other followers