Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Soap Scents- Pt. 1 The Good

Hello again, everybody :)

I guess you've already figured out that I was not selected by BrambleBerry to test out their new fall fragrance oils. That's alright, though, because I still get to read the test results of the soapers who were chosen! Just as much fun, and much less stress ^_~

Today I have decided to have some fun of my own and go back through a bunch of soaps that I made back in April to see how the scents have behaved! Most of the soaps are M&P with a few CP thrown in there as well, and all scents unless otherwise noted are from BrambleBerry! I have decided to break this up into 3 sections: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, so stay tuned over the next couple days as I go over each of the scents I have previously used!

Let's start off with The Good:
Celestial Waters Cybilla FO

Still smells as strong as the day I made this soap! It has a unique smell all of its own that's kind of hard to describe. It reminds me of sweet water and honeysuckle... almost a clean scent with a couple of heavier sweeter notes to it. I also don't see any signs of discoloration!

Lavender Bouquet Cybilla FO

No discoloration is noted once again and it stills smells lovely. A deep floral lavender (as opposed to herbal lavender) with other very subtle floral notes. It does kind of remind me of grandma type perfumes, though.

Energy FO

A fun and strong fragrance. I detect just a hint of citrus, some light powder, and something a bit sparkly. The colors in my soap are still bright as ever with this one!

Apricot Freesia FO

A beautiful light scent that has stayed strong with minimal fading. It's definitely a bit heavier on the floral Freesia right now but the Apricot fruit is still coming through nicely. And once again, I am not seeing any discoloration :)

Eden's Garden Cybilla FO

The floral notes in this scent has really stuck around, although, I would have to say that the top notes of citrus have faded just a bit transforming this scent ever so slightly. It's still a pretty scent that's not overpowering and doesn't discolor.

Black Tea FO

This scent isn't for everyone. It's really heavy and musky... but I guess that's one reason why I like it, hehe. Personally I think it smells awesome! And it sure has stuck in my soap and a little bit goes a long long way. I believe this was soaped at less than 1/4 oz per pound of M&P... it does discolor to a light tan and all those dark blotches on top of the soap is simply the black tea leaves I had added to the soap, so no worries about that!

Chocolate Espresso Cybilla FO

Ok... this was my first ever CP batch of soap. And I am so happy that this scent has kept! I actually use it as a deterent for eating chocolate! I'm a chocoholic, so I get these cravings, you see... so, instead of reaching for the nearest chocolate bar, I reach for this chocolate soap! The scent it leaves on my hands is delicious enough to stave off my craving! Woot! Love love love this scent and just put in my order for more ^_^ And yes, this will discolor, but I don't know how much seeing as I colored this bar with... you guessed it! Hershey cocoa powder ^_^ Yum yum yum!

and my last FO review for today is
Oatmeal, Milk, and Honey FO (not the Cybilla type)

Yet another yum scent that has lasted :) I'm sad that I'm already on my last bar! Smells of cookies and sweet things to me, which it should. This scent has discolored ever so slightly a very light tan which surprised me... I thought it would go much darker than it did!

So there you have it... part 1 of my Good, Bad, and Ugly Series pertaining to the FOs I have currently tried! Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The wonders of a failed experiment

You just can't win them all... to date I have yet had an unsuccessful batch- unsuccessful meaning something went terribly wrong with my soap experiment... so today I have the pleasure of sharing with you my first very unsuccessful batch! Lucky you!

So, I tried my first Mariner's Soap. What is that, you ask? Simply put, it's a salt bar with 100% coconut oil superfatted at around 20% so that it is less drying to your skin and it's supposed to be a very bubbly exfoliating bar that works even under hard water. Everything was going pretty well, I was able to soap at around 104 degrees since that's how hot it was outside yesterday... very simple- I stuck my lye solution and my coconut oil outside and let the temperatures regulate to the outside temp! Woo, this heat is good for something! Mixed my soap up, added the coloring and fragrance (a very piney fragrance called Mistletoe from WSP), mixed in my Epsom salts at a 1.5:1 ratio (I've seen recipes that added up to 2:1 salts!), and poured it all into my silicon soap mold that got bent out of shape during shipping, grr! I even tried doing a pencil line that my friend Emily over at ShiehDesigns is so good at!

I then covered my lovely soap and left it alone for many many hours. I had heard that salt bar soaps need to be watched and cut at the exact correct time or else they become too hard to cut... Finally, after many checking ins, my soap felt hard enough to cut. So I uncovered the soap and to my dismay I found pools of water sitting on top of it! No- literally, I could have gone swimming in it! O.O!! See?

Well, unfortunately I do not have pH strips here at home with which to test the pH levels of the clear liquid (bad me, I know) to see if my batch had separated underneath the pretty green color. So what else was a girl to do but take the soap next to the sink turn on the water and then stick her finger into the offending substance? It tingled a bit when I left it on my finger, but didn't burn and felt a little slippery. (I should probably put in a disclaimer about not trying this at home or yadda yadda, but if you're already making or thinking about making soap you already know the dangers entailed and are old enough to make your own decision on whether you choose the possibility of maiming yourself!)
Anyway, I let the soap log sit for a while to see if the water would seep back into the soap while I did a quick search on the internet to find out what happened or if I should be worried... I found some information that I will divulge shortly.

I went back over to my soap and was very happy to see that the liquid had dissipated (woo! yay! hooray!) and proceeded to unmold it. Ummm... it sorta fell apart on the bottom in some places...
And this happened when I cut into it...

Looks interesting... but doesn't look or feel like any soap I've ever seen o.O!
So erm...
A couple things went wrong here:
#1- I used Epsom salts. Apparently salt bars don't do so well when Epsom or Dead Sea Salts are used... I just found that out here (hint: look at the very last post that was made)
2) I used waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much salt!

I don't mind that it turned into a failed batch technically 'cause colorwise, it looks more like a watermelon than a sprig of mistletoe... my color ratios were completely off!

My lessons are learned. I now know what not to do... so hopefully my next try at a Mariner's bar will be more... try-umphant! (and yes, I went there... I'm in a silly mood today!)

I am going to save today's experiment and throw a bit under some bath water in a couple of weeks to see if it will make a bubbly salt bath (sounds nice, doesn't it?). I will let you know how that goes! And thanks for reading ^_^

Castile with Coconut Milk

Here's another soap I made a while back, well, a couple days after I made the Castile in the Nude soap. I decided to try the 100% virgin olive oil with coconut milk as part of my liquid for the lye solution. Coconut Milk is pretty big in the cosmetic world with claims of it containing anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties (because it has a high count of fatty acids) and that it contains vitamins A and C, Calcium, Iron, and natural proteins and is a wonderful additive for sensitive skin-types.

However, when I tried this soap a couple days after it was made, I found that I just could not get it to lather any bubbles. "How could this be?!" I thought. "Coconut milk is supposed to be high in fat and sugar content which should lead to a bubblier bar of soap than the castile I had previously made with just water!" So, I did some research and I found out that I need to find an organic store around here... the coconut milk I had bought at the local grocery store has added water and guar gum to it which may be affecting the lather. Plus, I soaped at a high 38% liquid content with only the 8% being the coconut milk (the other 30% was distilled water). So, tonight, I gave it another go. And I got bubbles! And a decent lather! Yay!

Hopefully, as the soap cures longer and longer it will get bubblier and bubblier *fingers crossed* Apparently, a soap bar gets much better with age as long as that pesky DOS doesn't settle in to ruin it all. I am really happy to announce that none of my soaps since I've started have come down any type of DOS *knock on wood!* And most of the scents I have used have stuck around nicely.

Anyway, I digress... back to the Coconut Milk Castile.
Again, I added no fragrance or coloring and stuck with a simple decorative swirl on the top. What do you think?

I love the cream color this soap turned out to have and once again, that lovely aromatic nutty scent from the olive oil is beautiful (well, to my nose, anyway, hehe!) Still, it does make my hands feel really nice and smooth. It just needs a bit more tweaking to get it where I would like it :)

I do want to try this again using only coconut milk for my liquid... And now that I have found the wonderfulness of honey- I think my next castile batch will be made with true coconut milk (if found) and a bit of honey... maybe I should just go for it and add some ground oats to make a natural oatmeal, milk, and honey bar... or maybe I should try a mix of chamomile tea and coconut milk for my liquid content and still add in the honey so I can have a tea, milk, and honey bar? Both sound yummy good to me, how about you? Maybe I should just make both types and see how they fair against each other! For now, it's off I go hunting for organic 100% coconut milk. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Spa Tonic Chamomile Bastile Soap

Hi everyone!
So, I made this soap a couple weeks ago... but ended up hating what the fragrance morphed into and how the swirls turned out... so, I thought it was not going to be worthy of a post. That is until I actually used it! I'm in love with this recipe!

So, we'll start off with the recipe- it's called a bastile because it's mainly olive oil but has other oils introduced so it can't be called a castile soap (which is 100% olive oil).
85% olive oil
10% coconut oil
5% shea butter
chamomile tea for my liquid
1 TBS honey per pound of oil

Look at how lovely this thing lathers up! It bubbles right away and the feeling of my skin afterward is pure silk! It must be the honey :) I just can't stop touching my hands!

And this next picture shows the swirl in the soap after it's been used... looks a bit better than the just cut soaps, but it's still not what I was looking for for the swirl.

I was looking for a much bigger and spread out swirl... I poured in my colors (the base is uncolored, part colored with ultramarine blue that turned green, and part colored with black oxide which turned dark green) at a barely there light trace... I mean, the soap was barely making any marks on itself when I lifted my stick blender out of the soap to check for trace. And the scent I used was WSP's Spa Tonic which is a blend of green tea, aloe, and lemon. It smells amazing out of the bottle- nice and soothing- but for some reason it turned into a really bad (to me) citrus smell and none of the green tea scent comes through :( I do have to say that it does take on a more pleasant scent on my skin, though... perhaps the 0.9 oz/ppo I used is way too much for this scent. Next time I try this, I'll nudge it down more to 0.5-0.6 oz/ppo and see if I prefer it better as a lighter scent for CP... otherwise it just may find itself going into bath bombs or lotion! Who knows... I will not give up on this OOB scent :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bramble Berry's SOAP Panel- Fall 2011

Hi everyone!
It's that time of the year for Bramble Berry to pick out a small panel of soapers to test out their new fragrances for their shop! This past spring my good friend, Emily over at Shieh Designs, was picked to participate on the SOAP Panel and she had so much fun! Check out her final results by clicking on the following image!

Bramble Berry is the first soap store I have ever used for soaping supplies. My very first purchase included their Swirl Soap Kit and a two pound batch of their Oatmeal Melt and Pour (I really wish they would bring this product back!!). I recently have been stepping out and trying other supply stores but these other stores just can't compete with the quality of products and customer service over at Bramble Berry. I always highly recommend Bramble Berry to any new soapers on the various forums I belong to and here's a couple reasons why:

I absolutely love their Melt and Pour bases! I would have to say that their Aloe Vera and Shea butter M&P bases are just top notch. They have great lather, lots of bubbles, and leave my hands feeling silky smooth. The best part about these bases is that they don't contain many of the chemicals that bases from other soap suppliers do!

Aloe Vera M&P...............Shea Butter M&P

I'm also in love with their fragrances (though I haven't been able to try their essential oils, yet). All of the fragrances that I have bought from Bramble Berry are super strong smelling out of the bottle which is something that I prefer! Bramble Berry may not have quite the fragrance oil list as some other suppliers but because they test their products through their customers first (ie. SOAP panel), they are able to pick and choose the best fragrances to add to their product line! This also allows them to put down information as to discoloration, acceleration, fading, etc. for each of their fragrance products- something very useful when deciding which fragrance to buy!

However, I think my most favorite thing from Bramble Berry (and most helpful) is their blog SoapQueen, forum teachsoap.com, and their internet videos at SoapQueen TV. These sites are stuffed full of invaluable information for business-makers, new recipes and techniques to try out, and if it weren't for Anne-Marie and her wonderful instructive videos I probably wouldn't have had the guts to even try M&P soaping let alone CP soaping!!

I may be new to the soap-making community (my first M&P batch was in April and my first CP batch was in May) and, like many soapers, it was love at first batch but I've spent every day since then learning new tips, tricks, and techniques that aid in this new addiction -er, hobby with which I hope turn into a business some day. However, I would definitely had not gotten as far as I have without the help and great products from Bramble Berry. I will be a customer of theirs for life and wish to give something back by helping them pick out the best fragrances in this SOAP panel! Thank you Bramble Berry!

Uranus M&P Soap..................Goat's Milk CP Soap

Monday, August 8, 2011

Soap Displays... found!

I had a very lovely long weekend with my mother-in-law who came to visit! I must say she was a godsend in helping to entertain the little man while I got some extra cleaning done, yay! We somehow ended up at Hobby Lobby on Saturday and I ended up finding and picking up a couple of awesome pieces that I think will look great for showcasing soap whenever I start going to craft fairs/shows! What do you think?

With some soap, just to show the size of the pieces. I'm definitely going to have to fiddle around to find a way to display my soaps:

As you can see, the tower on the left isn't wide enough to fit my soaps! Oh no! I'm going to have to shave my display soaps down about 1/4" so that they fit properly into it ^_^;;

And my favorite find! Miniature bath tub! Isn't it cute?!

I know that right now these items don't seem to fit the colorful image of this blog... I've actually been working on a redesign... something that will prove to be a little bit more label-friendly and incorporating a more black, white, and red theme (but since tons of people are already doing those colors I am trying to take it to the next level). I'll have more updates on the theme change as I get closer to perfecting it and get closer to launching it officially on the blog ^_^

As always, thanks for looking!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Demon (Oni) Soap

So today I have for you the last batch of soap I made over the weekend and this is my trial run of what I will be calling my Oni Soap (Oni = Demon in Japanese). I tried to go for a specific look and my friends didn't see it until I told them about it... boo! But maybe you guys can see what I was going for! Do you see the Demon eyes in this?

It is scented with Dragon's Blood FO and has an added spicy kick of a super secret FO that only one other person knows about because, well, she's the one who gave the FO to me ^_^ Together they make this really nice deep spicy masculine scent that I just absolutely adore!

I accidentally added a bit too much black oxide into the mix and so my bubbles are coming out a very light grey color... not harmful, but I'll know next time that I don't need to add so much color. I'm really liking oxides though because they color the soap so easily! My red even looks red and not pink! Woot! I had separated the white part from the rest of the batch before adding the FO because the FO will discolor to a dark brown over time, so I'm expecting the red to become a deeper brown-red over time ^_^

This recipe is proving to be really nice and needs a little tweaking, though I may try upping my SF from 5% to 7% and see how that affects the moisturizing levels... right now it has a conditioning number of 56 which is one of my highest in the soaps I made :)

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pomegranate Lover soap

So, in trying to come up with a concept for a completely different soap which I knew I wanted to use Nature Garden's Champagne Pomegranate fragrance (I'm still working on designing that soap, though), I came across an idea for an all Pomegranate soap!

This was a mixture of Champagne Pomegranate FO and Bramble Berry's Pomegranate and Black Currant FO. I used 100% Pomegranate juice for my water content and some of my ingredients include deodorized cocoa butter, shea butter, and Walmart GV Shortening. I absolutely adore the soaps I've made with this Shortening! They feel lovely on the skin! And I believe it's the juice, but these soaps feel really silky smooth even when dry!

Anyway, I didn't use any colorant in this soap as I didn't know the end color result of the Pomegranate juice within the soap. So, I sprinkled some light gold mica on the top and gave it a pretty swirl. The juice turned the soap this weird brownish purple color and as you can see, the suds are also tinted this brown color:

At first, this soap smelled horrible! I was so disappointed :( But it's been a couple days now and the icky smell has been subsiding and letting the FO mixture smell come through and it's starting to smell nicely of sparkly pomegranate ^_^

So far, other than the weird color, I would definitely call this recipe a complete success and I can't wait for it to cure so I can start using it!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Castille in the Nude

In my college art history class (taken long ago) we learned my teacher's view on the difference between nude and naked. Yes, that's right, we had this sort of discussion in class, lol! Since then I have wholly adapted this view (to help sort art history out in my own head) and believe that nudists aren't actually nude, they are naked instead. This is because at one point in time or another, they had been clothed. With this thought in the back of my mind Botticelli's Venus in Birth of Venus is considered a nude painting because within her storyline she had never worn clothes before this point. Meanwhile, other paintings that may be called a "nude" painting, are actually "naked" paintings such as Titian's Danae series. Please be aware that the photos in the links are linked to these pictures which are NUDE and NAKED, so you may not want to click these while at work...

You must be asking yourself now, why in the heck am I talking about these things! Well, it's all for the good of one of the brand new soaps that I tried making this weekend. Plain old castille soap with nothing added to it. No fragrance, no colorant, no nothing. Just 100% virgin olive oil, water, and lye. It's my first naked soap... or so I thought... Since this is actually my very first Castille soap, as per my above explanation on naked vs. nude, this soap is technically a Nude soap ^_^ And hence the name "Castille in the Nude"

Now, before you go yawning on me and saying- oh, it's going to be boring soap, take a look and tell me if this is what you expected my plain castille to look like?

And the top may be a bit hard to see here...

Do you see the swirls?

And now I must answer THE question: How can this be a two-toned castille soap if absolutely nothing else was added to it?!

Well, the thing is that I actually made TWO batches of castille soap and swirled them together! In one batch I used the darkest colored olive oil I could get my hands on and the other batch was created with the lightest colored olive oil I could get my hands on! Wheee! *french accent* I am genius, no? *end french accent*

Actually, I'm sure I'm not the first to come up with this idea and it's far from perfect... I soaped at a 31% water/lye ratio so I could get to trace faster, but for some reason my soap got really hard and flaky and powdery on the outsides (top, sides, and bottom) but remained really soft on the inside. Plus, my swirl on the inside isn't as nice as I would like it to be... but on the whole I'm happy and can't stop smelling it! It has a nice lovely light olive oil/nutty scent to it. So, definitely one to try out again in the future!