Oh, The Pretty Colors!

This week’s challenge was super fun!  In the previous weeks, I’d attempted a 2 color swirl, then 3 colors, and now I’m up to a whopping FOUR! Though I’ve still only made a handful of batches of soap, I’m feeling more accomplished by the minute!

I think I’ll call it Seaside Garden!

This soap was made with a fragrance called Awapuhi Seaberry.  The scent description includes notes of white ginger, florals, melon and berries (among other things).  It’s very sweet, but I can’t quite put my finger on what I smell the most.  So I went with melon pink, soft yellow, lavender, and a sage green to represent all the different scents in their feminine glory.  It certainly smells divine!

Here’s a peak at the creative process!

Since every batch I’ve made so far has traced faster than I expected or wanted, I got smart and changed my base oil recipe for this batch.  I had much more time to work with it, and the fragrance behaved perfectly giving me lots of play time!

Pouring the first layer was so exciting!

I started the pour in 2 spots inside my smallest one-pound mold, then changed the positioning of the pour when it was half-full.  I love the results!  Even my hubby called it “beautiful!”  I would never have dreamed he would call a soap beautiful!  Goes to show that my excitement is starting to rub off!  I’m so glad he’s supportive of my new addiction…er…hobby!

Don’t forget to take a look at everyone else’s colorful creations here.

Scent Adventures

Week 5 of the Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge was to create our own new scent.  Well, last week I attempted to blend my own essential oils, and it turned out not-so-great.  So my first attempt this week was to try adding an essential oil to a fragrance oil that I love.  I’m a sucker for bakery scents, so I chose a vanilla cupcake fragrance as my basic scent, then added a lemon twist to it.  I also wanted to keep practicing my piping skills, so Lemon Frosted Cupcakes were born!

The prettiest of the Lemon Frosted Cupcakes!

I used 2 parts of the cupcake scent with 1 part lemon essential oil.  Because the cupcake fragrance will discolor a bit, I only used it in the base of the cupcake with some lemon.  Then I added only lemon essential oil to the “icing” along with yellow oxide.  I measured carefully so it would all equal out to be 2 parts cupcake to 1 part lemon.  I piped a few regular-sized cupcakes, a few mini cupcakes, and a few sample-size flowers using a fun new silicone mold.

I loved the way the cupcakes looked before popping them into the oven! Yes, I used the CPOP method for these, so my house even smelled like lemon cupcakes! Delicious! My daughters have tried to eat these several times already.

Notice the deep yellow of the cupcakes before baking. Yum!

I did, however, forget to set the timer and left the oven on too long.  Who knew I could overbake soap just like I often overbake cookies, bread, real cupcakes…?!  The small flowers swelled and stuck to the mold.  I’m thinking that I may have baked the glycerin out to the edges of them.  The same thing happened to the mini cupcakes, but only on their bases.  Very odd.  Since I’m so new at this, it’s another first for me!  The outer edges have a soft, transparent soap on them.  It still lathers and actually leaves my hands feeling super moisturized, but it sure looks ugly!  I guess I’ll have to try another first: rebatching.

On the left is a flower from my second batch, the way they should look! On the right is the odd first batch that was overcooked. Weird, right?

The final yellow came out much more muted than I hoped it would.  I used 2 different tips to ice the cupcakes, and these tops ended up looking like a pile of dijon mustard mudpies.

The ugly dijon dung cupcakes!

Definitely not appealing.  Must try to rebatch those along with the crazy flowers.  And I most certainly need to find a brighter yellow to use!

After having fun with the cupcakes, I wanted to try my hand at blending only essential oils again.  I was still feeling in a lemony mood, so I chose to blend all citrus scents.  I used 3 parts grapefruit, 2 parts sweet orange, and 2 parts lemon essential oils.  I realize that there’s not much differentiation here, but it sure smells great!  So refreshing!  I also wanted to practice for the upcoming week’s faux funnel pouring, so I used 3 different colors to represent each of the fruits: yellow, orange, and pink.  It doesn’t follow the contrasting opposites on the color wheel, but I had to go with the colors to match the scents.  Just didn’t make sense otherwise!  I used a round silicone mold to practice different swirls in each space.  I also wanted to attempt using the flower molds again.  There was still a small bit of soft, transparent soap on the final flowers, but I could easily trim it off.  Unfortunately, my soap reached a heavy trace really quickly, so I ended up with some air pockets in the soaps.  Does that always happen with citrus essential oils?  Or is it the oxides that I’m using as colorants?  So much to learn!  Overall, I’m happy with the fun swirls that I got, and these smell great!

Lots of fun swirls!

Creating new scents really wasn’t scary at all!  I used the paper towel method that Amy suggested to decide on how many parts and scents to use.  I’ll definitely be stepping out further to try new combinations in the future!  Check out what the other challengers created here!  I’m so looking forward to seeing what everyone creates for this week’s challenge as well!  I’ve already made one batch, and I can’t wait to cut into it tomorrow!

Soaping with Beer = Success!

Well, I now officially have 10 batches of soap under my belt! This week’s Great Cakes Soapworks challenge was to use alcohol in our soap, so I decided to go with beer for my first attempts.  I watched Amy’s video at around 1am, so needless to say, I think I forgot some of the things she said… And when I was planning out my recipe, my internet was down, so I couldn’t refresh my memory! I went for it anyway.  Why not?! I’m finding that I’m much braver than I thought.

For my first try, I replaced the water with cold, flat light beer that I had on hand and used my normal recipe with a 33% lye solution.  Other than the beer causing the lye solution to smell, there really was not much difference at all between this batch and the others I’ve made.  It may have traced a little bit sooner, but certainly not much.  Maybe this is because it was light beer with fewer sugars?  I even separated a bit out to whiten, then layer and swirl for contrast.  It was thicker than I’d like when I poured, but the final product turned out smooth and creamy.  I used the cold process oven process method with this one, cooking the soap at 170 degrees for a full 2 hours and watching it closely to make sure it didn’t volcano.  I left it overnight, then cut into it the next morning.  Success!

Here’s the only problem: I didn’t have any fragrances on hand that I thought lent themselves well to a beer smell, so I decided to make my own essential oil blend (another first) using peppermint, spearmint, and lemon eucalyptus oils.  BIG MISTAKE! I thought that the lemon would bring out the beer smell, not realizing that the beer smell completely disappears!  Plus I didn’t have straight lemon, so I chose lemon eucalyptus, thinking it would be mellow.  SO. NOT. MELLOW.  I only used about one part lemon eucalyptus to two parts each of the mints, but it is so much stronger than the mints.  It actually makes my stomach turn!  It might even repel bugs!  After a few days of curing, the lemon eucalyptus is dissipating.  Maybe I’ll be able to use this after all.

Since I was so disappointed with the smell of my first beer soap and feeling a bit dejected, I had to try again!  My internet was back up and running, so I reviewed the video and other posts about alcohol soaping.  Realizing that I’d done a few things that weren’t recommended, I changed up my recipe a bit and increased my liquids to 38% beer as a percentage of oils (especially since I was doing hot process).  Now knowing that the beer smell goes away, I chose a lovely strawberries and champagne fragrance.  Looking back, I wish I’d tried using champagne instead!  Maybe next time!

Hot processing the beer batter was fun! It certainly didn’t have to cook very long.  I watched carefully to make sure I didn’t get a crock volcano, but never had any signs of one.  After the cook, I added red mica to part of the soap and glopped the two colors in the mold. There are a few small air pockets, but I like the final result!  Smells lovely and has a creamy, bubbly lather.

Strawberries and Champagne Soap, hot processed and made with Beer. Haha! Poor man’s champagne, I suppose!

Now I’ll have to venture into making some other alcohol soaps!  This, like all of the other challenges, was super fun!  I love seeing the beautiful creations of everyone else involved in the challenge.  Check out the other participants’ results here!

Hello world!

Welcome! Thanks so much for joining me in my soap making adventures! I only started making soap one month ago, and I’m already totally addicted. I’m hoping to be able to share my experiences as I attempt to make something with my own two hands.

A huge thank you to Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks for starting a weekly soap making challenge. Prior to this challenge, I’d only made 4 batches of soap! Yep, you heard me right! FOUR! I ran across Amy’s blog while researching different methods and recipes, and I instantly felt at home with her and the other soapers that I’ve “met” there. I’m continually inspired by all of their beautiful work and blogs, so much so that I’ve started my own!

I’m up to eight batches of soap now, and we’ve just finished Week 3 of the challenge: piping cold process soap. You can see what I did and what so many others have done here. I’m having a blast trying out different techniques and ingredients, learning and laughing, pondering and occasionally being frustrated. And I especially love to see the beautiful creations of the other soapmakers from around the world! This week’s challenge: using alcohol to make soap. Hmmm…trying to plan out my first batch of alcohol soap. I think I’ll stick with beer to start, and perhaps I’ll try to make my hubby some good shaving soap.

Please check out my About page to meet me!

Here are some pictures of my first attempts at soap.

My very first loaf of soap! 100% Lard for use in laundry detergent

My very first loaf of soap! 100% Lard for use in laundry detergent.

Week 1 Challenge: My first in the pot color swirl. In fact, the first time I'd ever used any color at all!  It's Café Latté soap using cocoa and titanium dioxide to add swirls and "froth" to the top.

Week 1 Challenge: My first in the pot color swirl. In fact, the first time I’d ever used any color at all! It’s Café Latté soap using cocoa and titanium dioxide to add swirls and “froth” to the top.

Week 2 Challenge: milk soap. I made homemade almond milk and added Intense Almond fragrance. I attempted to swirl a bit of white into the batch.  Not super pretty, but smells incredible and has a fantastic lather!

Week 2 Challenge: milk soap. I made homemade almond milk and added Intense Almond fragrance. I attempted to swirl a bit of white into the batch. Not super pretty, but smells incredible and has a fantastic lather!

After seeing all of the awesome milk soaps in the challenge, I felt inspired and wanted to make another! Here’s Oatmeal, Milk & Honey soap made with almond milk and honey with another attempt at in the mold swirling. Turned out delicious!

Week 3 Challenge: piping cold process soap.  These are Blowing Bubbles cupcakes.  I wanted to make something that my four-year-old girly girl would love to use in the bathtub.  Success!

Week 3 Challenge: piping cold process soap. These are Blowing Bubbles cupcakes. I wanted to make something that my four-year-old girly girl would love to use in the bathtub. Success!

A view from above! They certainly aren't perfect, but I had such fun piping soap for the first time!

A view from above! They certainly aren’t perfect, but I had such fun piping soap for the first time!

Thanks for joining me! Stay tuned for more in the weeks to come!