Friday, May 25, 2012

WEEK 10 SOAP CHALLENGE landscape



Moon over Minnesota


Okay, so it didn't turn out exactly as I'd imagined, but I knew going in that this challenge would be just that ....a challenge!  I spent hours looking at photographs on the internet and trying to figure out which ones would translate to soap. Then I actually sketched a design and printed out recipes, colors and thoughts for making the two layers and the moon embed.


This photo was my inspiration for this week's soap:




These palm trees just aren't Minnesotan, so I changed them to ...snow!  And I made the moon a full moon because I'd watched several videos on pvc piping and creating embeds, so wanted to give it a try.  It took me three trips to different hardware stores, but I finally found 1" diameter pvc piping and the clerk was nice enough to cut it to a 7" length for me.  I couldn't wait to get home and give it a try.  I lined the pipe with freezer paper because I'd read it's a pain to get the soap out. It worked like a charm-- the paper (and soap) slid right out of the piping. 


 My bottom layer had a LOT of titanium oxide. My attempt to make it look as much like white snow as possible.  My allergies went into high gear and I was out a day between making the layer and lost some time, so my first layer sat in the mold a lot longer than it should have. Those two things combined, the massive amount of TD and a lot wait time, turned my poor snowy bottom layer into a crumbly, brittle,  chalky mess.  I was able to salvage a few bars (at least on the sides I photographed,  you don't want to see the other sides!!).


I used organic palm, coconut, olive, cocoa butter and castor oils.  My fragrance is Cedar and Saffron from Brambleberry and for this two pound mold I used only half an ounce of fragrance because I wasn't sure how it would react. I needed as much time as possible.  My top layer was slow to trace and I was able to do an in-the-pot swirl using titanium dioxide, activated charcoal with a bit of blue/black mica and blue oxide (all Brambleberry) with no problems at all.


Be sure to check out all of the soap makers participating in Amy's Week 10 Challenge !!





Getting ready to cut...so far, so good!


Can you see how the bottom layer just crumbled? I had to try to pull it from the wires of the cutter and then attempt to cut it with a knife and level it. 



Photographed from their "good sides", these are the six bars I was able to get from the two pound loaf.  I'll try this again for sure, but know what not to do the next time.


 One of the better bars from the loaf sans beveled edges.   All that's missing is a snowman!
As a point of reference, I'd roll the embed in cocoa powder or nutmeg next time for some edge definition.  


I added some "snow" to the top of this bar in the spirit of it all!  




 


Thanks for visiting !!!    ~Suzy

18 comments:

Katie White said...

Just stunning! I just absolutely love this design! Fabulous Job!

Jenny said...

Beautiful, Suzy! The ITP swirl is gorgeous. It's too bad that some of the bars crumbled, but I'm glad that you were able to save most of the batch. Great job!

Tina said...

Oh my word! This is great! I love your sky!!! Next time I want to see the snowman, since I know you can do it. I have a scent called Fresh Snow that I was going to make for Christmas, now I have it sketched out in my mind somewhat with a snowman too.

Traci R @ Savon Arts said...

Hi Suzy - that night sky is absolutely beautiful.

Suzy Whitten said...

Thank you, Katie! I appreciate the kind words. I was kicking myself over the brittle base, but only made this in a two pound so didn't have that "Oh man, I wasted all that product!" feeling.

Suzy Whitten said...

I struggle with color big time, so was happy with the ITP overall. Thanks, Jenny !

Suzy Whitten said...

Hey, thanks Tina!! I'll think on that snowman idea, you too. Let me know if you come up with anything super fun. I can usually think of a one bar idea, but a whole loaf stumps me because I don't know where the cuts will fall and what I'll end up with....my brain just doesn't seem to think that way. I've learned that I need to lay everything out on paper and really give it some thought - even that doesn't guarantee success, but it sure helps! Fresh Snow would have been great for this bar...I can almost smell it. xx

Suzy Whitten said...

Thank you, Traci !! My husband and I were just looking at the Week 10 soap bars and we both loved your loaf. This was truly a challenge and I think most of us agreed we'd tweak it the next time. Live and learn though, and I can say I've learned so much from all the soaping blogs I've read. I love it when you guys call out what you'd do differently and why - it saves me, a beginner, from making those same mistakes. I also really benefit from your successes. I'm trying to take notes on it all and keep them in some kind of order for reference. Thank you again!!

jennifersoap said...

That came out really nice! Love the night sky!

Simple Pleasures Handmade Soap said...

I love your night sky too, and I think your idea of rolling the embed in cocoa would look great - that's something I've never done before. But I have done snowmen - so fun.

Suzy Whitten said...

Thank you! We always come up with "shoulda woulda coulda's" after the fact. Although I'm a true beginner, I can't imagine ever reaching a place where I feel I know everything there is to know. It's an open ended craft and I haven't even scratched the surface. I'm sure having fun !

Suzy Whitten said...

Thanks, Jennifer! I know what I'd do differently, and I guess for me that's the main thing - it's a learning process. I started soaping 8 weeks ago (my first olive oil bars were ready this past week!!), so I have a LOT to learn. Don't know what I'd do without YouTube, blogging and the soaping community in general. There's no better resource!! I appreciate you checking my blog post out. ~Suzy

Louisa McFarland said...

These bars are stunning, no one would ever believe you are a beginner. I have to agree with every one else the night sky is amazing, and the contrast with the snow is beautiful. But I do know how you feel when you struggle to keep it in tact. Well done.

Suzy Whitten said...

Thank you, Louisa - I appreciate the kind words. This really was a great challenge and I'm sorry that next week is the last one. I only got in on the last three (late to the game) but had a blast doing them.

Amy Warden said...

Your night sky reminds me of the Starry Night video - so good!! Sorry you had crumbling issues, but I think you're spot on the cause of it. Such a lovely snowscape, and I'm sure you can do the snowmen too! I'm envisioning 3 different sizes of tubing...

Pam said...

Suzy I absolutely love the photo inspiration you chose! Your rendition had issues, but it is still beautiful looking in your photos. This will be a good platform for any future landscape you take on! Like Traci I think forgot fragrance, my first I forgot the shea! So you overdid the TD, well we've all done that too just longer ago than you. Beautiful soap!

Suzy Whitten said...

Oh no, I hope Catherine doesn't think I was copying her, nah she knows me better!! Thanks, Amy! You're right, I know not to use so much titanium dioxide next time. All in all, this was a great challenge and learning is part of it. YES! I was thinking the same thing about three tubes for the snowman. I'm adding that to my "gotta try this" list. I'm sad that there's only one more challenge :-( This has been so much fun for me. THANK YOU!!!

Suzy Whitten said...

It really is a gorgeous photograph, isn't it? I didn't hit it spot on, but it wasn't a total failure either - so I'm okay with that. If you constantly aim for the target and hit it, it's time to move the target further back. This was a stretch for me, but a lot of fun too. Thank you for your comment and support - it's really appreciated! ~Suzy