Friday, June 22, 2012

News Flash!! News Flash!!  News Flash!!  News Flash!!  News Flash!!  News Flash!! News Flash!!

  For all of you in the Central United States or anyone looking for a fun and intensive soap making workshop,  Kenna from Amathia Soapworks   (you may know her from YouTube) is pulling together a two-day soaping workshop called Central Soapers Workshop  and it will take place in Kansas City, Kansas on March 9th and 10th, 2013 !!  She's just in the beginning stages of planning and has booked a venue that sounds ideal. Be sure to check it out !!   I'm really looking forward to meeting the fellow soap makers I chat, laugh and learn with online and hope you'll make the trip!   ~Suzy

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday June 16, 2012

My sweetie's at a conference in Chicago until Wednesday and it's been raining on and off today, so this seemed a good day to make some soap.  

I purchased the greatest acrylic slab mold from Steve at Soap Making Resources a few months ago, but hadn't used it yet.  It has a silicone mat on the bottom and dividers that fit smoothly in the mold. The lid is fitted to the mold and it's really well designed and produced.  I wouldn't hesitate to pick up more molds from Steve - they really put out a high quality product!

I've never tried a faux funnel pour (am I the last one to try this technique?), so mixed up eight colors in total:   activated charcoal, titanium dioxide, Fizzy Lemonade, Green Chrome Oxide,  Melon Red Lab Color, Antique Blue (wow - what a gorgeous color in the jar), Bolero Mica and Magic Violet - all from Bramble Berry. The green and black seemed to overtake the mold, so I'm really anxious to see how it cures. It's darker than I would have liked (more yellow and orange next time), but I'm happy with the pattern for my first time.  I made a marbling tool from two layers of Friendly Plastic with some stick pins sandwiched in between and it worked pretty well.  

Here are the colors mixed - don't you wish they'd stay as bold and bright after they cure? If anyone knows how to make this happen, I'll pay you for the answer!!!  

Here's a closeup of the top of the slab.  I like the green and the darkness of this slab. It's so hard to wait to see how it turns out!!

This was photographed against my granite counter top which is dark so it's a bit hard to see, but this  is the fifteen bar acrylic mold from Soap Making Resources.  I popped it in the oven for a couple hours at 160 degrees and - so far, so good.  I'm just hoping the colors will stay bold and true.

These weren't ready to unmold until tonight (Sunday) and they're still a bit soft, but here they are:

(2) I guess one loaf of soap just wasn't enough today. Maybe it's because I haven't made soap in a few weeks and needed to get it out of my system.  I decided to try a beeswax and honey soap.  I have a friend who's sister and husband raise bees, so this loaf is for Karen and her sister Pam !

I used the technique of bubble wrap on the bottom and top of the loaf to give a honeycomb look to the soap.

My 4 lb loaf lined in bubble wrap on the bottom.

1 oz of Minnesota produced beeswax - grated, melted and added to the oils along with honey.  I fragranced this with Honey and Oatmeal and some honey flavor oil.  I took a risk with the flavor oil, but I love the smell so much that I just had to try it.  

Let's put the lid on and put this one to bed.  The person that came up 
with the bubble wrap technique is a genius!

I have a feeling this will darken with time as it has a lot of vanilla in it.

Yes, that's a little bee on the top of the soap. They're made from sugar, but I don't think I'll put one on each bar. Cute for a picture anyway!

I'm hoping the base will darken and the swirls will stand out more.

(3)  Nope, still more soap making energy left. I had to make a third.  This one is a faux funnel pour in bright oxide green, lemonade yellow and white.   It's fragranced with 10x orange - just a great summery soap!  Forgot to mention that this is a new recipe for me:  olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, palm kernel oil, almond oil and mango butter.  I should have run it through the calculator,but forgot in my excitement!  It unmolded this morning, but it's no where near ready to cut - super soft, but crumbly soft *gulp* uh oh...I hope it dries well.

Chrome Green, Fizzy  Lemonade and titanium dioxide

It doesn't look like much in the mold, but I have faith that it will be cool when I cut it !

Crazy looking top, but there is a faux funnel pour underneath.  

Out of the mold.  That shine on the counter is from the oils in the soap!

Not a great picture, but here's the side - I did the funnel pour at a light trace to get a blurred, soft look. I just hope it's blurred and not muddy looking!  Man, is it hard to wait to see what's inside!  

I love the colors, but as you can see this was a SUPER crumbly loaf. About an 1/8 of the end totally cracked right off.  So disappointing!!  Maybe someone can give me some insight as to what might have caused this. Too much TD?  Too much mixing at trace?  I've read a dozen opinions and would be happy to narrow it down to a couple things I can avoid next time!!

So, I crossed a few "gotta try this" 's  off my list today.  I also filled a single silicone mold of a turtle for my boss - "Turtle" is his nickname and his office is filled with glass, ceramic, stone, paper and wooden painted turtles, so I'm hoping he'll add the turtle soap to his collection.

Comment and let me know what you've been working on or what your next soap loaf will be. Any great fragrances you've tried and love?  Any that weren't what you'd expected?  Any colors you're leaning towards more than others this Summer?  

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Thank you for visiting and I hope you'll help me become a better soap maker by leaving a comment, suggestion or advice - it's much appreciated!   ~Suzy

I  joined this challenge during week 7 and regret not knowing about it sooner. The challenges have pushed me to try new techniques, colorants and essential oils that I may not have tried otherwise.  AND, they've introduced me to a great group of soap makers with talent galore!  I don't think there's a better motivator than watching someone else, who loves soap making,  create.

Again, a big thank you goes out to Amy Warden from Great Cakes Soapworks  for pulling this together.  I know I'll continue to use what I've learned in all my future soap loafs and stay in contact with some of the talented and fun women I've met!

This week's challenge was to create a natural soap.  There seem to be several ideas as to what that means, but I interpreted it to mean natural plant based colorants,  fragrances and additives in addition to the lye and oils - nothing more.  

To see more natural soaps from those who participated, please take a look at:
  Amy's link for the final week, Week 11 !!

I used a favorite slow trace recipe of olive, canola, organic palm, coconut, cocoa butter, and castor oil. Someone let me know if any of these ingredients aren't considered organic...I wasn't totally sure and read conflicting information online. I'd like to know for any future soaps.

For colorants I used activated charcoal and then ground some calendula petals in my coffee grinder to create a golden yellowish powder that I hope will hold up in the soap.

My fragrance was a combination of Chinese Star Anise essential oil and Peppermint 2nd distill essential oil in a ratio of 2:1  (total 1.5 ounces) and I used a 4 lb wooden silicone lined loaf mold.

I mixed the ground calendula with about a cup of batter and did the same with the activated charcoal, then did a two color pour into a non-colored base. Not being able to leave well enough alone, I did some swirling on the top.  My original game plan was to make a goat's milk soap - I even had the frozen goat's milk ready - but I decided to save that for another day when I had more time.  Simplicity has it's own appeal, right?!

(colorants and essential oils from Bramble Berry, all oils from Soap Making Resource )

Soap loaf in silicone mold

...and another shot of the top of the mold

closeup -  top of the loaf with some basic swirls

I really like the way this two color pour came out. Each piece is a bit different, and the calendula and charcoal mixed well together. I just hope the color holds after it cures.

 Another close up.  I'd definitely try the ground calendula and charcoal again...maybe adding a brown and a deep orange natural colorants. The calendula adds a grainy texture which I kind of like!

Seven of my favorites from this loaf.  I'm so happy when things just turn out as planned !!

Just for fun:  I had a bit of extra soap, so poured it in a plastic mold I've used in the past for honey based M&P.  I think it's just the cutest bee/hive mold and would love to use it for a CP honey/beeswax soap sometime.  Not the clearest picture, but there's a bee on top that you can detail with colored M&P (or CP soap) prior to pouring the rest. This mold came from Bramble Berry a few years back, but I'm sure it's available out there somewhere if not at Bramble Berry.