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 :P.

bundt (11)

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

mix (1)


Testing: Lip Scrubs

May 4, 2015

I was back at it experimenting in February!  I wanted to make a lip scrub in November when the temps started to drop and I felt like my lips could use a little “extra something.” Of course NOTHING gets done between October and December. I’m too busy just trying to keep up with my shows and restocking product to have two minutes to play around with something new.

I did a bunch of research looking into lip scrubs.  I came to the conclusion that I basically had three options:

  • Oil and butter mix
  • All oil
  • All butter

I then created recipes from that.  I decided which butters/oils I wanted to use and at what percentage and set about testing.

I ended up creating 4 recipes.  Two were oil/butter mixes.  I was testing out different combinations of oil to butter ratios. Then I tried one all oil and one all butter.  I definitely like the mixed ones best.  Still waiting on feedback from some my testers to see where their preference lies, but on the whole the butter/oil combo was the favorite.

Oil and Butter Combo: I like this best because it’s semi-solid. Solid enough to stay in place in the jar but easy to scoop out.

lipscrub3

All Oil: Too messy for me.  It works great, but harder to apply and more messy all around.

lipscrub2

All Butter: There was absolutely nothing wrong with this version I just didn’t like it.  It was easy to scoop out, easy to put on, no mess, but it just lacked something to me. (Still hardening in this picture.)

lipscrub5

Interested in trying out the lip scrubs?  Check them out here!

            lip


Landscape Challenge: Field of Sunflowers

March 18, 2015

I love sunflowers.  My mom plants them in her yard every year.  As I was looking for some new fragrances to try I came across one called sunflower.  I thought it’s the dead of winter (and we were in the middle of our THIRD massive snow storm here in New England).  I was ready for spring to come. So I purchased the fragrance.

I didn’t know what to do with it though so I went online and searched “sunflower” hoping to come up with some ideas.  Came across this photo:

field_of_sunflowers_kentucky

And I thought it’s be really cool if I could create a field of sunflowers!  The only way I could figure out how to do it realistically was to pipe them (so much work, but so worth it).

The first layer is brown with coffee grinds in it to create the speckled dirt layer.  Then I created the field of “grass” and “stems” and “leaves” by using three different greens and swirling them.  Then I piped the sunflowers on top.

This was the result: Field of Sunflowers

FieldSunflowerssunflower5

sunflower16

sunflower8

sunflower20

sunflower2

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Alternate Field of Sunflowers

The first layer is brown with coffee grinds in it to create the speckled dirt layer.  The difference in this one is I only swirled two greens and made actually “stems” and “leaves” in the dark green.

It’s a little more realistic.  I like the first version better.  There’s something about the abstractness of it I just love, but this one is still really pretty too.  I’m not as happy with the yellow on this one.  It got a little too dark for my liking, but if you didn’t have it to compare to the first I probably would have been happy ha!

SunflowerField1

SunflowerField3

SunflowerField6

 

 


Under Eye Balm

March 14, 2015

Last summer I started playing around with an under eye balm recipe.  I’d gotten a couple sample oils from the soap conference that were more exotic and too nice to (I thought) use in soap.  I was reading one of the blogs I followed that had posted a recipe that used one of those oils and I got inspired to try and create my own “eye butter.”

The first batch worked well enough, but it was not what I was going for. I tried to whip the butter but that ended up no working and it didn’t cool evenly so it was a little grainy and just overall it worked but I wasn’t happy.

I adjusted my recipe a bit and I liked it, but it wasn’t what I wanted.  I set it aside when the holidays came (there was no time to do much of anything outside of restocks!).  I started playing around again with it in January.

I had narrowed down my trial recipes to one (with two variations).  One contained beeswax while the other didn’t.  I loved the final results.  I’m having some people test it and so far results have been good.  Always excited when I create a new recipe to my satisfaction!

eye cream

The beeswax is a balm (and I really like it…it should hold up well in the summer).  The other which has no beeswax I whipped it.  And I actually LOVE this one.  I’ve noticed that it’s really not greasy either.  I’ve been using it on my entire face not just under the eyes.


Petal Top Soap Technique

March 10, 2015

Kenna from Modern Soap Making first posted a tutorial on this technique last year —  TUTORIAL.  It’s not hard, but it created a cool looking soap.  I wanted to try it out, but I wasn’t making much soap then (I’d pretty much made all my soap for the holiday season) and I didn’t have time to just play around.

Two other things had me holding off too:

  1. I knew it would be time consuming to make.
  2. I HATE using squirt bottles. They are the biggest pain to clean up and you waste so much soap.

I finally sat down and started to play around with the technique.  I used squirt bottles the first time to make.  All my frustrations with them came back ha!  So, I decided to try make the drops free hand to see if that worked.  Then it dawned on me I could just used a piping bag!  Free hand and piping bags both worked just as well, and clean up was so much easier!

Here are some pictures of my attempts as I practice this technique:

First Attempt: Forbidden Fruit – I tested out some new micas from Nurture Soap.  Love the colors. So bold!

petaltop6

petaltop5

Second Attempt: Pipping bags as opposed to squirt bottles. I think the results are the same for control and consistency and the beautiful part: I dumped the bags in the trash after completing! No cleaning bottles!

petalpink2

plumeria6

Third Attempt: Black Tie Affair (soap for the men!).  The insides didn’t quite do what I wanted, but the petal top is cool! I really like these colors together too.

blacktie1

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blacktie2


Field of Flowers

February 21, 2015

I always have have an idea in mind for my finished soap when I start a batch.  Most of the time it doesn’t quite come out as I pictured it, but it’s close enough and it looks good.  This time I had this idea in my head and I was really, really skeptical that it would work, but I gave it a shot.

It worked.  I was so surprised that the soap came out just like I envisioned!

Field of Flowers

Field of Flowers

Step 1: Pipe the grass.

Step 2: Pipe the flowers.

Step 3: Add the white center, because the flowers just needed a little something more.

fields of flowers1

Cut Bars:

sweetpea

sweetpea1

 

sweetpea5

sweetpea7


Brush Embroidery Technique: Painting your Soap Top

February 16, 2015

A while ago I saw a post with a soap that had created a brushed embroidery look top.  It was designed like a flower. I thought it was cool and wanted to try it.  Did some research online to see how it was done for cookie/cake decorating.  Gathered some pictures for inspiration and set about attempting to make my own.

I decided to make a black and white soap.  I knew I wanted something that contrasted so black and white seemed like the best choices.

tools

I didn’t put any fragrance in the white as I wanted to make sure it didn’t get too hard that I couldn’t brush it.  It ended up being too soft/liquid-y on me in the end ha.

What I learned: 1) I definitely need to work with the consistency on the next attempt.  You don’t want the soap too hard that a paint brush can’t spread it, but if it’s too soft you can’t get any definition.

2) Doing an intricate/small design on a batch that will be cut into bars is hard. I was trying to make the designs (flowers and hearts) small so that you see them or part of them on each bar.  It didn’t work.

brush top designs

3) You need very little soap to make it spread. I ended up have to remove a lot of soap build up from my brushes.  I kept creating dots that were too wide to spread.

4) Create little dots to spread out rather than one long line of soap.  It creates a prettier effect.

What I turned it into: You can see in the above picture the small designs weren’t working.  At that point I decided to just start covering the edges to see how it looked.  I found it was creating a REALLY cook textured top!  I decided to just cover over what I’d done and cover the whole top with brush strokes.

You can see that the bottom left hand corner has the nicest dot/brush strokes.  I need to work on that.  It’s really quite pretty and if the whole top had looked like it it would have been neat.

Final top: Here’s what it ended up like once I covered it all.

brush top1

And then I decided to try adding a hint of mica dusting.  I had a couple spots that got a little too much mica (oops).  Not the end of the world.  It’s kind of pretty. I want to see how it all looks when it’s cut.

brush top

The results: It’s actually quite pretty.  I like it enough that I’m going to continue to play with the technique.

brush top2

Attempt 2: I won’t even bother with pictures because it really doesn’t have anything that even looks like brush strokes. I couldn’t get the soap batter to thicken and I got impatient so I thought I’d try it as it was.  Bad idea.  You need your batter to be thick (the portion you’re going to “paint” on top of the soap.)  That revelation led to attempt 3.

Attempt 3: Here I was bored with one color so I tried to gradient the top (as I had did a gradient for the actually soap).  I let the soap I was going to brush get harder, but still not hard enough. I also realized that the past two batches my tops had still been rather soft and that was causing problems. I couldn’t get that brush definition (even with a thicker batter) because my paint brush kept poking through and pulling up the base soap’s batter.

brushtop1

gradient3

As you can see, it’s a pretty soap, but lacks the clear brush strokes that my first attempt had.

Attempt 4: I let the batch set up so that it had the thickness of my very first attempt (which just happened to be luck as I used a fragrance that moved quickly).  I also waited (and waited and waited) until the soap I needed to pipe was pretty darn thick.  It’s hard to be patient! I had to go off and do something else and come back to this soap almost an hour later before I could do the top.  It was worth waiting for everything to set up though! I was finally able to brush it.

gingertea5

gingertea2

One thing I realized is that if I go around the edge of the mold and work my way in I will end up having trouble getting the middle to have any sort of definition.  It’s definitely better and the bar look pretty overall.  After I finished this batch I thought about trying a cross stroke pattern.  I thought it might be easier and give me more of that brush look.  So, yup you guessed it that was attempt #5.

Attempt 5: This is the last one.  I’ve played around enough that I have a good idea what to do in any future attempts and at this point it’s just going to take practice to get it “perfect” (or at least to the point where I’m happy).  With that in mind I tried cross hatching this one to see how that turned out.

berrypunch3

berrypunch5

There are a lot of different options obviously.  It took me some time to figure things out.  I think from time to time using this as a change from my typical tops could be fun.  Now it’s time to move on to playing with a different technique!

 


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