Breaking In My New Mold: Taiwan Swirl Challenge

It’s amazing to me how excited I get when time for the Soap Challenge Club rolls around each month! I rather impatiently awaited the opening of January’s soap challenge, signed up right away, and eagerly planned out my batch using this month’s Taiwan Swirl technique.

My excitement this time around had a lot to do with this:


My new slab mold!

Thanks to this (and my handy husband):


My hubby’s newest toy!

Matt’s Christmas gift of a new miter saw really worked out in my favor! (Wink, wink, nod, nod.) He loves his new saw and was honestly excited to make me some new soap molds, and to my specifications. Awesome, right?!

Anyway, on to the challenge!

In hopes of getting a very slow-moving, fluid soap to work with, I used a basic recipe of 68% olive oil, 25% coconut oil, and 7% castor oil with 7% superfat. To make an even more moisturizing soap, I replaced about a third of the water in the lye solution with yogurt and whey (added to the melted oils). I worked with my oils right around 90 degrees and my lye solution at room temperature. Satsuma was my fragrance du jour because it has always behaved very well, and because I completely sold out of that soap just before Christmas. I adore this scent. It’s so fresh and bright and invigorating. I just feel happy when I smell it!

After blending my oils and lye just to emulsification, I split off one cup of soap into neon citrus colorant and another cup into a beautiful blend of neon mango, coral mica, and neon pink. I was going for a gentle shade of orange and a brighter tangerine orange to match the sweet citrus smell of the fragrance.

Much to my disappointment, in the short time it took me to mix the colors, the main batter was already setting up! Should I blame it on the castor oil? Or were my temperatures too high? Could it be the addition of yogurt and whey? Hmmm. I worked as quickly as I could to pour the uncolored batter into the mold. Then I frantically poured alternating stripes down the length of the mold.    


I had to run my spatula down the stripes to try to get the colored soap all the way to the bottom.

Next came the swirls.


First, horizontal swirls.


And then vertical lines back and forth.


I love the look of this raw soap (despite my inability to make straight lines). The Taiwan Swirl is very pretty!

Then a spritz of alcohol, and the soap was put to bed in a 170 degree oven.


This is what it looked like in full gel. So cool! See the color change of the darker orange already?

And here it is! The final product!


Satsuma Soap made with the Taiwan Swirl. As evidenced by the sides and bottom of the soap, several of the colored stripes did make it all the way to through!

Even after much banging and pounding, the soap never did get flat. But I rather like the textured top! It adds a lot of interest to this soap.


Here’s a good shot of the ridges of the textured tops.

Despite my (once again) quickly tracing soap, I really love my results. I’ll definitely keep this technique in my regular rotation!


The colors turned out to be a perfect match with the fragrance!

And did I mention that I absolutely LOVE my new slab mold? So many awesome techniques to try now! And Matt even made me some real, legitimate columns to use for more column pour soaps!

I’m really looking forward to seeing all of the beautiful, artistic soaps made for this challenge. Thanks for stopping by for a peak at mine! Happy Soaping! 🙂

A Little Wall Art and Some Corn Muffin Mix

Hey there! Been a while since I’ve talked with you lately.

Here’s just one little reason why:

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Beautiful Wall Art

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And it even wraps around and flows down onto the crib slats!

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We can’t forget those closet doors and adjacent walls, right?!

These beautiful blue designs were created during nap time. Well, the girls were supposed to be napping. I heard some movement and laughter about 15 minutes after I put them in their bedroom. Hmmm… When I peaked in and saw the scribbles, I immediately asked who did it. Madelynn was quick to confess, especially since Chloe and Annabelle simultaneously yelled, “Madi did it! Madi did it!” Hysterical! They all jumped right back under their covers and tried to be as quiet and still as possible as I cleaned it all up!

At least this lovely masterpiece was created using washable crayon, evidenced by one tiny remnant left on the floor. I am so glad that daddy and I chose to pay the extra dollar a box to get the washable ones for their stockings! Worth. every. penny.

The girls have really been living up to their Five Messy Babies name recently, especially the 3 three-year-olds. Let me tell you about one day in particular.

The morning started out jerky. You know, those days that are just not smooth sailing out of the gate? Everyone was arguing over breakfast, leading to a large spill of cereal all over the kitchen floor. Chloe got a tiny spot of milk on her shirt in the process, so of course, she had to change clothes. She’s going through a major dress-up phase right now, so I see her in a minimum of a dozen outfits a day. Yes, you heard me correctly. Doesn’t seem to matter how close I keep her by my side, she can sneak away and change clothes in the blink of an eye!

On this particular day, I had a little mommy talk with her about keeping the same clothes on for the whole morning. She nodded and agreed and promised not to change clothes again. So while I was feeding baby Lydia, guess what Chloe did? Yep, she changed clothes. But not just that. She emptied every single dresser drawer onto the bedroom floor looking for that perfect outfit, flinging those clothes over her entire room! One large dresser houses all of the triplets’ clothes that don’t need to be hung. That’s A LOT of clothes! The floor was covered.

So, I brought Lydia into the triplets’ room with me while I put the clothes away. She loved rolling in the piles! Meanwhile, the triplets asked if they could jump on my bed. Our bedrooms share a wall, so I agreed since I was close by. (Yes, I just admitted to you that I let my children jump on my bed sometimes! It’s cold outside, and they have to get their energy out somehow, right?! And I did put pillows on the floor around the bed, attempting to make it safer.) They were jumping around, laughing and squealing with joy, having a grand old time while I was folding and putting away all those clothes for what had to take at least 15 to 20 minutes.

When I finished, I walked next door into my bedroom and gasped in horror.

Yellow powder covered every inch of my bedroom.

Every surface. Every ledge. Every shelf. Every sheet. Every blanket. Every pillow. Every nook, cranny, and crack. Even in Matt’s shoes, inside our tower fan, and smashed into a few pieces of clothing that had been on our cedar chest at the foot out bed. And ground into the carpet.

The triplets immediately stopped jumping and laughing. They slunk off the bed and quietly tried to sneak out of the room. Oh no! I stopped them and asked who did it. Again, Madi did it!

In the middle of the piles of yellow dust on my bed, my eyes were drawn to pieces of torn up cardboard. I picked up several pieces, enough to decipher that it had been a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix. When I asked Madi why she’d opened it, she said, “I wanted to eat it, Mommy,” and then she stuck out her lower lip, looked down, and sniffled. She was hungry. She must have snuck out using the other door to my bedroom, gone to the pantry, and picked up the box with pictures of “cupcakes” on it. Then she brought it back to share with her sisters, ripped open the box, and discovered that yellow powder is much more fun than cupcakes! No wonder they were squealing and laughing!

It’s really sweet and funny when you think about it, but my, oh my. What a mess! Amazing how one small box in the hands of one mischievous toddler caused such damage! I locked the doors to all the bedrooms, put a movie on in the living room for the triplets, put Lydia down for a nap and headed to my bedroom for an overhaul cleaning. After 45 minutes of vacuuming, moving furniture, vacuuming more, dusting, vacuuming more (plus four loads of laundry that day), my room was clean again.

Meanwhile, Madi was up to it again. She must have been needing an extra amount of attention that day. While I was running the vacuum (therefore couldn’t hear her), she had to potty, then she must have decided she’d like to find out what was behind the cabinet doors under the sink. I don’t keep any cleaners there, and the girls have never bothered it, so there are no child safety locks on those cabinets. What was I thinking?

Somewhere in the depths of the cabinet, she found an old bottle of manly body wash. And she opened it. And she dumped it out. All over the bottom of the cabinet. On the bathroom floor. In the toilet. In the sink. All over.

Am I sensing some deja-vu? Yeah. At least it wasn’t carpet, I suppose.

But the bubbles. Oh, the bubbles. They filled my sink and toilet for hours! And the masculine scent. It was so strong that it burned my nose! Took me another 15 minutes to clean up that mess, plus another load of laundry.

I could tell you about the rest of the day which follows the same pattern, or about the girls getting into Nesquik strawberry powder a few days later (very reminiscent of corn muffin mix, but pink, and in the living room), or about…

But instead, I’ll stop here. You see why I haven’t written a post in a month?!

Insanely Messy + Insanely Busy = Insane Mommy (with lots of funny stories to tell)

🙂 Hope you’ve had a great holiday season and you’re getting back to normal, whatever your normal may be! A little less messy than mine.

I’ll be back tomorrow to show you what I’ve been up to lately with soap, including my newest Soap Challenge Club creation!