Spinning Swirl Soap Challenge

Where does the time go?

Oh, I know. To crying babies and messy toddlers and mounds of laundry and mouths that always seem to need to eat…! So, I skipped out on last month’s landscape Soap Challenge. The reality of sleep deprivation had set in hard core, and mama needed a break! But all the soaps were soooo awesome! I’m inspired to try a soapscape. Someday. It’s on my [neverending] list.

Now that sweet Violet is 2 months old, we’ve settled into a good routine. (She’s even already sleeping 8-10 hours a night!!! WAHOO!) And I simply could not miss this month’s Spinning Swirl Soap Challenge Club. These soaps look so cool, and I love learning new-to-me techniques. With this one, you make soap using at least a few colors, leave it in a nice fluid state, pour it in the mold, and then spin the mold. Sounds easy enough I suppose. I had no idea that you just spun the mold! No idea! How have I missed out on this technique? So clever and seemingly so simple.

The real challenge for me was the soap consistency. Let’s be completely honest here: soap consistency is always the biggest challenge, no matter what the design is. For me, at least. How about you, my fellow soapers? Getting the perfect trace for the perfect design, that’s the hardest part! Soap is so fickle. Temperatures, additives, fragrances, and oils all make such a huge difference in how quickly soap sets and changes.

I decided to use the slow-moving recipe that Amy has kindly shared for several of our challenges, one that I’ve used for several soaps now, like this one and this one. The recipe is 35% olive oil, 30% lard, 25% coconut oil, and 10% rice bran oil (or another light vegetable oil like avocado). It’s a lovely recipe, and I like to boost it’s bubbliness by adding 1 teaspoon of sugar per pound oils to my lye water, as well as 1 teaspoon of sodium lactate per pound oils to make a harder bar. To this batch, I also added some powdered goat’s milk, silk, and colloidal oatmeal. I also used a fragrance oil that I’m familiar with that doesn’t speed trace, one that just makes me laugh: Bite Me from Nature’s Garden. It’s fruity and fun, and it really does make you want to bite the soap! It kind of smells like citrusy chewy candy with a hint of strawberry and other yummy goodness. You know that smell that hits you when you walk into a candy store? Kind of like that. It’s playful and lends itself to using lots of bright colors.

Prep was really important for this technique as well. I had all of the colors, whisks and spatulas ready and waiting before I began making the soap. {For the other soapmakers out there: I used Bramble Berry’s 9-bar slab mold without its dividers since I wanted to cut the soap both vertically and horizontally. It took 46oz oils to make the soap 2 inches deep, and I actually cut it into 14 bars, 12 cut horizontally and 2 big end chunks.} I stole the lazy susan that I use for my spices from my cabinet, and I set my mold right on top of that.

With my workstation ready, I very carefully blended my lye and oils at low temperatures (around 80 degrees), and I slowly pulsed and stirred them to ensure a loose batter that was right at emulsification. I quickly divided the batter into 7 separate containers of about 3/4 cup soap each: blue mica, green mica, gold mica, coral mica, stained glass red pigment, lavender oxide, and titanium dioxide. Almost a rainbow!

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Nice fluid soap ready to pour!

I quickly poured different colors in 6 different spots in my mold using a faux-funnel technique. To get very thin lines of color, I only dropped in a very small amount with each pour, which took quite a bit of time. By the last few pours, the soap was starting to set up. I whisked each color before pouring it to try to keep it fluid, and I was working furiously fast to try to get it all in and spin it!

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Those last few pours were very messy!

I pounded the mold a few times to get out the air bubbles and settle the soap flat. Then I began spinning! So. much. fun! But to my great surprise, I realized that the spinning wasn’t really what made the soap move. It was the stopping. Duh. Abrupt stops. That’s the key! I spun several times and paused for a photo.

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Half way through spinning!

Then I kept spinning and stopping some more. I was pleasantly surprised at how fluid the soap still was in the mold. When the lines were very thin, swirled, and starting to look kind of like a crazy-colored marble, I decided to stop. No sense in making a muddy mess of those pretty colors. But I tell ya, I could have kept spinning! It really was fun.

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Spinning complete!

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Especially around the edges, you can see the marbling effect. I was worried if I went any further, those fine lines would start to get muddy, so I made myself stop. Just pretend there are no air bubbles…

After impatiently waiting for a day (I looked at the clock constantly and forced myself to wait 24 hours), I unmolded. The glory of unmolding and cutting fresh soap!

This is the first vertical cut.

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Look at the pretty swirls!!! I’m smiling (even though I messed up my cut a bit)!

And here are the horizontal cuts.

Bite Me Soap

Bite Me soap made with the spinning swirl technique.

Bite Me soap

Does the spinning make you dizzy? 😀

I’m surprised that the soap didn’t swirl more in circles since I poured in 6 different places in the mold. I expected a few more swirls. But I love the thin lines throughout each bar. So much visual interest all around. And the smell. Yum!

Bite Me soap

So much visual interest all around every bar!

 

Once again, Soap Challenge Club success! Learned a new technique. Had fun. Met more awesome soapy friends. I’m a happy girl! Thanks, Amy! 😀

For the Love of Violet: February Soap Challenge

I have a confession to make. There’s a new love in my life.

Her name is Violet.

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Violet Rae, our sixth baby girl

She’s less than 2 weeks old, under 10 pounds, and is delectably squishy. You can see some more totally adorable photos here. 😉

Seeing as I’m so enamored with Miss Violet, she’s my inspiration for February’s Soap Challenge Club! And because she’s part of my very DNA, what better technique to use than this month’s challenge, the DNA Helix swirl!?!

I chose to use Nature’s Garden Loving Spell fragrance oil since I seem to be under her spell! It’s sweet, juicy, sparkly, fresh, and intoxicating, just like my Violet. And of course, I used shades of violet to create the soap. Because she’s got the softest, most sensitive skin, I added nourishing ingredients to the soap like tussah silk and colloidal oatmeal. I also added 2 teaspoons of sugar to my lye solution (in the form of a simple syrup) to add bubbles, as well as 2 teaspoons of sodium lactate to add hardness to the soap. Amy’s slow-moving recipe of 35% olive oil, 30% lard, 25% coconut oil, and 10% rice bran oil proved to be ever-so-slow-moving indeed! And the fragrance oil was a breeze to work with; no acceleration or ricing at all. I mixed my lye solution to my oils and fragrance at around 110 degrees, and I had well over half an hour of very fluid soap to play with.

After emulsifying the lye solution and oils, I split the batter into 4 equal parts and colored them with the following: 0.5 tsp lavender oxide, 0.5 tsp lavender oxide and 0.25 tsp black oxide, 2 tsp titanium dioxide, and 2 tsp sparkle gold mica, all dispersed in water.

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Left to right: deep purple, sparkly gold, lavender, and white soaps

After mixing in the colorants, I poured each color in long s-shaped curves down the length of my smallest slab mold. I filled the entire mold with soap this way, so there should be interesting details throughout each bar. As I neared the final pours, I was sure to carefully make lines to reveal all 4 colors.

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All soap poured into the mold and ready for swirling

I then inserted a skewer to the bottom of the mold and made very tight s-curves perpendicular to the stripes.

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The first round of swirling was so beautiful that it was difficult to make myself keep going!

Finally, I made the DNA Helix curve design, again going perpendicular to the stripes I’d just made.

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DNA Helix swirl design in Love Spell soap. Can you see the helix? Pretty awesome!

The results are stunning! This is a beautiful design technique that I will definitely use again.

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Love Spell soap in the raw

Since Miss Violet made her appearance, I’m busy trying to find a new normal. I haven’t made any soap until now. In fact, I cut this challenge very close and made this soap late last night! It’ll be in the mold for another day, and I’ll have to post pictures of the bars sometime next week.

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Here it is with dividers in place. Every bar will be so unique!

I’m excited to take a peak at all of the other soapy entries this month. (I made myself wait to look until after I’d made my own!) I’m certain we’ll have some incredible works of art like usual. Thanks, Amy, for another great tutorial! 🙂

Oatmeal Stout Beer Soap

Lately, I’ve really been into making soap using different liquids instead of just plain water. I do love a good water-based bar of soap, but there’s something intriguing about adding in different milks, beer, yogurt, champagne (like this soap), wine, green tea (check this soap out), coffee, or other liquids. The lather often changes (for the better), as well as the colors and texture of the soap. It’s a bit risky to experiment with, but it’s very rewarding and fun. After making a black lager soap about this time last year, I wanted to try something similar but new. This is my latest creation!

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Oatmeal Stout Beer Soap made with beer and finely ground oatmeal

This soap was inspired by an incredible fragrance that I recently purchased from Bramble Berry called Oatmeal Stout. You can’t use that fragrance and NOT use beer as the liquid, right? I opened up a bottle of beer, poured it into my lye pitcher and let it sit open and in the cold for a few days, stirring it every so often, letting it get flat. Then, I made the lye solution by adding in about a tablespoon of lye at a time very slowly. No lye solution volcanoes for me!

I let it cool as I prepped the other ingredients, then carefully poured the beer lye solution into my oils and pulsed the stick blender for about 30 seconds just to emulsify them. After pouring off a few cups of soap to make a frothy white “head” for the soap, I whisked in my fragrance as well as some finely ground oatmeal to the rest of the batter. As expected, the soap got to a thick trace pretty quickly due to the sugars in the beer. The white “froth” on top looked good enough to eat, like a lovely whipped frosting.

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The “head” of Oatmeal Stout Beer Soap in the raw

Within 12 hours of making it, this soap was ready to be cut.

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Freshly cut, you can see the outside rim of the soap that was most exposed to oxygen already starting to darken.

The base color of the freshly cut soap was a light tan, but I knew that the color would change rapidly due to vanilla content in the fragrance. Just a few days after slicing this soap, it already had a deep brown “stout” appearance.  Pretty cool!

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Oatmeal Stout Beer Soap

This scent is very complex with notes of rich vanilla and butterscotch, oranges, milky oatmeal, and nutty almond. I literally want to eat this one! Totally delectable. It’ll be ready in just a few weeks, and I’m excited to use it. This is one beer soap that I truly believe will appeal to both men and women. The lather should be super fluffy and luxurious, and with the addition of ground oatmeal, it should also provide a great moisture protection for the skin. Just the thing we need during these cold winter months!

Psychedelic Green Tea Soap

I’ve written several posts about my adventures in the Soap Crafting Club through Bramble Berry. It’s been super fun and I’ve learned so much. (You can check out this beautiful funnel pour soap, this wild avocado soap, a cool tie-dye soap here, a delectable oatmeal cookie layered soap here, and this gorgeous linear swirl soap if you’d like to see them all!)

Way back at the end of September, I received another kit that I have FINALLY gotten around to making!! I watched the live online soap making presentation by Anne-Marie Faiola (the Soap Queen and author of the fabulous Soap Crafting book), read through the recipe several times, and watched as everyone else made their soaps. It just took me a while to actually make it myself!

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Psychedelic Green Tea Soap

This soap is appropriately named Psychedelic Green Tea, as it calls for freshly brewed green tea in place of water, has green tea extract as an awesome additive, uses an array of green colorants, and of course uses Green Tea fragrance oil. This is a very interesting and unique soap, and I must say it was a rather difficult one for me to make! (This proved to be a very similar experience to when I made avocado soap.)

I received all of the necessary oils, additives, colorants and fragrance, whipped out my lye, scale, and 9-bar slab mold, then brewed some tea. I let the tea cool in my cold garage for most of the day, then I made the lye solution as directed, adding the lye very slowly to the green tea. It turned a deep brown color as expected. Here’s a look at the ingredients and lye solution just before I got started making the soap.

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Melted oils (that I received pre-measured 😀 ), deep brown green tea lye solution, fragrance, green tea extract, colorants and oil to prep them in, and my book laid out for reference

As the lye and oils cooled, I prepped the colorants, got my soaping station all ready, and reread the recipe to be sure I remembered the steps. I added 96 degree lye solution to 108 degree oils, and to my great shock, it was at a medium trace within about 30 seconds of pulsing my stick blender. I did NOT expect that! Especially since I still had fragrance, colors, and additive to add! I was hoping for a nice fluid soap (as pictured in the book) so I could make the lovely intricate swirl design called for. Instead, I ended up with pudding.

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After splitting off the soap and adding in everything, you can clearly see how thick the soap is.

Despite my pudding soap, I kept whisking and stirring to try to keep it workable. I used spoons and spatulas to plop soap into the mold in s-shapes and stripes, and I pounded to my heart’s content, hoping for no major air pockets.

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Wow. That’s some thick soap. It’s so much easier to work with when it’s fluid!

I still swirled using the pattern shown in the book. Rather than having a wispy (and flat) soap, I ended up with this lovely textured top! (I’m going for that lemonade from lemons attitude.)

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I was either brave or stupid, but I swirled it as shown in the book!

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I had to work hard to push the dividers into the soap, and I see a few air pockets on top. Fingers crossed that it’s only on top and not through the entire soap!

Though my soap looks very different than the examples, I think it’s still pretty psychedelic! I had to let it sit in the mold for a full week as it was super wet. Even after a week, I had to carefully release the silicone liner and still peeled off a bit of soap. I let it sit in the open air for 2 more days before I removed the dividers.

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Psychedelic Green Tea Soap. It’s interesting to see the drag marks down every side of this one, and both the top and bottom of the bar have cool designs.

This is certainly an interesting soap (both to make and to look at). It’s a fresh, invigorating scent, and it should be extra nourishing. I’m going to let this one cure for at least 6 more weeks, maybe longer. And I may even cut some of these giant cakes in half, some horizontal cuts and some vertical cuts, to peak at the swirl pattern inside them!

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Did you notice? No major air pockets in the soap!!! I’m thrilled! 😀

I’ve really had a blast making all the soaps in the 2 sessions of Soap Crafting Club that I joined. Every experience has helped me to learn, for which I am very grateful. I hopped onto the Bramble Berry website this morning and see that the current Winter Crafting Club session is full, but I’m seriously contemplating joining in the Spring Club that starts in May, the one that covers the 3 most difficult techniques in the book. Makes me a bit nervous, but I think I can handle it now that I’ve had so much practice with this club (and with the Soap Challenge Club). It’s so much fun to interact with other soapers and to have the personalized touches and online support that Bramble Berry offers.

Thanks for stopping by! And just FYI, I’ve scheduled a few posts for these next few weeks since (I’m hoping) I’ll be very busy. I’ll let you know when messy baby #6 arrives!

Thank you, Majestic Mountain Sage!

So, I’ve been waiting to share something that is both humbling and super exciting for me in the soaping realm. The Soap Challenge technique in December was the spoon swirl, and…

I WON Sponsor’s Choice!!!

Can you believe it?!?! I really couldn’t!

Here’s the soap I made that won:

spoon swirl soap entry

Champagne Sugar Soap made with real champagne using the spoon swirl technique

You can check out all of the other amazing spoon swirl soaps entered into the challenge here.

Tina from Majestic Mountain Sage contacted me after the holidays and graciously gifted me an Amazing Dozen sampler set from thesage.com. She told me that my soap reminded her of handmade paper with leaves and petals and seeds, and it made her want to whip out her stationery and write some notes! Too funny!

It was so much fun choosing which fragrances to get, and even though I know a dozen is a lot, I still had a difficult time picking! I’ve never received a scent that I didn’t like (or LOVE) from MMS! Their fragrances are simply fantastic. I typically only use just 0.25oz per pound of oils when scenting cold process soap, so a 1oz bottle goes a long way!

And this is what I received in the mail a few days ago:

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My handpicked Amazing Dozen sampler kit from thesage.com!

These scents are all so very yummy. I absolutely adore Apricot Freesia, Posh Petals, Napa Valley Vineyard (I feel a red wine soap coming soon), and Juicy Pear. Oh, and Lemon Sugar, and Bay Rum, and … They’re ALL FANTASTIC! I’m quite pleased with my choices, and I am so grateful to Tina and Majestic Mountain Sage for being so generous as the sponsor of the December Challenge Club. Thanks, Tina! It was wonderful to work with you! 🙂

If you’re looking to try out some new fragrances, I highly recommend thesage.com. (And by the way, I’m not an affiliate or anything. I’m just telling you this because I truly love them!) They’re a great company with excellent customer service, and I’ve never had a problem with any order I’ve placed, from supplies ordered to packaging to shipping; it’s just good service.

I would also, of course, be remiss if I didn’t thank Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks for hosting these challenges, working so hard on creating great tutorials, and arranging all of the sponsors and details. She is an awesome soaper that has blessed me and many other soapers all over the world! So, thanks Amy! I truly appreciate you, and I know so many others do as well.

WAHOO! Which fragrance should I use first?!

Mastering…er….Attempting the Butterfly Swirl

It’s that time again: Soap Challenge Club! The January 2015 club brings about a new technique to many of us soapers, and I must say, WOW! This one is difficult, yet so much fun!!! Around the middle of last year, Zahida of Handmade in Florida began sharing her “butterfly swirl” soaps and even a few videos of their makings. Her creativity is astounding, and the resulting swirls are just gorgeous. I’ve been admiring her work from afar, watching her videos, and dreaming of trying it, and this challenge was my push to finally do it! Once again, Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks has given us an excellent tutorial on how to create this Butterfly Swirl. But because of the nature of dropping in soap and all the variables that go with it (texture, trace, fragrance, colorants, type of mold, etc.), I can only imagine the beautiful different results that await our viewing. And over 150 soapers joining in on this one?! Incredible!

Because this is such a new (and most would say DIFFICULT) technique, I decided to get started super early this time around! (Plus…I kind of have some extra motivation to get things done seeing as I’m mere weeks away from the due date of baby girl #6!) I’ve been soaping up a storm this month, and I managed to crank out 5 batches of butterfly swirl attempts in the last two weeks (along with 9 other batches of restocks and new spring soaps)! It was fun to try a batch, cut it, make a few observations and modifications, and try, try again.

I used my favorite 8-oil soap recipe since I am familiar with how much time it gives me. For the first few batches, I used fragrances that I have already used, knowing that they wouldn’t speed up trace. As I got more comfortable with the technique, I did try a few new scents, but I read reviews from many soapers who said they were very workable. For molds, I simply used the same loaf molds that I typically use, and they are all wider, shorter “traditional” loaf molds. I don’t have a tall skinny mold, but I’ve made a honey-do list for my hubby with dimensions so he can make me one. 😉

Furthermore, I didn’t even have a hanger swirl tool! Can you believe it? I’ve done tons of swirls in soaps, but I always use a spoon or a skewer, even for the hanger-type look. So for the challenge, I found a few wire hangers, used needlenose pliers to untwist and straighten them out, strung a few drinking straws in the middle, and used the pliers to bend the hangers in a U-shape to the correct length to fit my molds. It was much easier than I anticipated…I don’t know why I hadn’t done it before now. The challenge club really does motivate me to get things done!

On to the soap! [If you don’t want to read through the LONG list of all of my trials and experiments, just scroll to the bottom to see my final pick for the challenge!]

Batch #1: Pears & Berries

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Pears & Berries Soap. First attempt at the butterfly swirl technique!

I used 24K gold sparkle mica, red sparkle mica, green mica, and berry bunch neon purple with a bit of red mica for the drop swirls added to white base soap. I poured off just over half a cup of soap into each of the 4 colors and did very thin layers of drop colors down the length of my 17-inch long mold. The result was very thin and wispy swirls without much defined color. Perhaps I poured at too thin a trace as well. I also think that I used the hanger tool to swirl more in the dead white space of soap than in the colors. But I did get a few pretty butterflies! Here’s another good one:

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Kind of looks like a butterfly, yes?

Note to self: reach deeper into where I poured the drops of color! I don’t see much of a butterfly in many other bars, but I do love the beautiful swirls anyway! Lots of good observations and take-aways from this batch.

Batch #2: Sweet Pea

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Sweet Pea Soap. Second attempt at the butterfly swirl! This one has a butterfly right in the middle with long wispy swirls surrounding it. Not really what I was going for, but still very pretty!

The colors here are green mica, sparkle pink mica, lavender oxide, and titanium dioxide in a base of lighter green soap. I used 3/4 cup of soap for each of the colors and tried to pour at a slightly thicker trace. I also peaked the top of this soap, so it looks pretty cool when I turn the soaps on their side for the mirror images. The space made on top looks like the shape of the inner wings.

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Turned on their sides, these create the outer shape of a butterfly (kinda), but there isn’t much detail inside those wings.

Verdict: still not enough colored soap for my liking. I want more color in those wings. I do like the wispy swirls again, though! Very pretty, and a lovely spring fragrance!

Batch #3: Bedtime Bath

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Bedtime Bath Soap. Third attempt at the butterfly swirl.

With the strong notes of lavender in the scent, I tried for purples and blues in this soap. (And due to the slight vanilla content, I only added fragrance oil to the main uncolored soap batter, not to the colors). I poured off just under one cup of soap into lavender oxide, blue oxide with a bit of pink mica, a blend of blue and black oxide for a nice navy color, and titanium dioxide for white. I again tried to pour at a slightly thicker trace, and I made sure to reach all the way to the bottom of the mold, deep into the colors. I even tried doing a few figure-8 patterns with my hanger tool to add some more detail to what I hoped would be the wings of the butterflies.

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Bedtime Bath butterfly swirl soap

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Same soap as above, just outside moved to the inside! So cool, right?!

Result: I love this soap! The trace seemed to be spot on. It is a bit difficult to differentiate between the blue colors, but there is a slight variation, and the swirls are ever-so-whimsical. There are several different beautiful butterflies throughout the batch.

Batch #4: Jasper (a discontinued fragrance from the Twilight Series at thesage.com)

This time I wasn’t going for anything better, per se, than the previous batch. Just wanted to play some more!!! At this point, I am LOVING this swirl technique. Every bar is just so beautiful and unique! I used just under a cup of soap for each color: electric bubble gum pink, lavender oxide, bright blue mica, and yellow oxide with gold mica. I used a bit of green mica to color the base soap a pale green. Here’s a look at the raw soap:

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Raw soap scented with Jasper. Note the beautiful turquoise blue color.

I was really surprised when I cut into this batch.

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I see a butterfly, but where did the beautiful turquoise blue go?! It was supposed to be between those pink and yellow lines on the bottom wings. And what about the pale green base color?! Big changes from raw to hard soap!

The colors faded and morphed a lot! Both the bright turquoise-blue color and the pale green are almost completely gone! I clearly needed to use more mica to color the soap (and this shows why I need to get Kenna’s More Swatch Mania! book before the end of the month!). The swirls are very pretty.

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Here’s one pair turned on its side to achieve the butterfly. So pretty!

I did make a few nice deep swirls to form the bottom wings of the butterflies, but I see fewer butterflies in this batch. I did find some fun pictures like these:

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Looks like kissing fish to me!

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Put together on opposite sides, and it looks like an alien or a very funky Mardi Gras mask!

This scent: AMAZING! It smells fruity and fresh and deep and ripe. There are some tropical fruit notes and some fresh green meadow notes, and maybe even a hint of floral, as well as some water. It’s so hard to define! I need help renaming this soap. Any ideas? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Batch #5: Blackberry Sage

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Blackberry Sage butterfly swirl soap. Now THIS looks like a butterfly!

This time, I went for thicker trace and more colored soap, and boy, do I love the results! I poured off 1.5 cups of soap into 1.5 tsp red sparkle mica, 1.5 cups soap into 1tsp lavender oxide with .5 tsp red mica, and just over a cup of soap into .75 tsp green mica. The rest of the base is uncolored with a darker yellow hue thanks to the addition of milk and subsequent heat-up of the sugars. I poured each color twice down the length of the mold, and I really concentrated while using the hanger, trying to carefully place it in the shape of each wing. It was pure bliss to cut into this loaf of soap! Every single mirrored image looks like a butterfly, all 18 bars! Here are a few of my very favorites.

IMG_6036 (2) IMG_6038 (2) IMG_6044 (2) IMG_6045 (2)So this is the one I’ve chosen to enter into the challenge, this Blackberry Sage batch.

Blackberry Sage SCC entry

My January 2015 Soap Challenge Club Entry: Blackberry Sage butterfly soap

It’s hard to choose just one, but this one seems to be the most butterfly-like of them all. Which is your favorite batch?

As always, I’m so excited to see what everyone else has come up with. I anticipate so many gorgeous soaps with different color schemes and intricate swirl designs. Thank you a million times over, Amy, for putting this together and teaching so well! I think this has been the most fun challenge to date, and y’all know how much I LOVE the challenges! [And thanks for sticking with me to the end of this incredibly long post!!!]

Soap Challenge Club: Spoon Swirls

Here we go again with another round of Soap Challenge Club! Yippee! But, GUESS WHAT??? Finally, this is a technique that I’ve actually ALREADY practiced many, many times: the spoon swirl. Woohoo! As much as I love learning new techniques, it’s also really fun to revisit the familiar. 😉

I chose to use the new-to-me fragrance Champagne Sugar from thesage.com (this month’s sponsor) for this challenge soap. It smells divine! I especially love using fragrance oils from Majestic Mountain Sage because they are super concentrated (I typically only use .25oz per pound of oils), and seriously, every. single. oil. I’ve gotten from them has smelled fabulous! They stay strong and true in cold process soap every time.

Befitting the fragrance, I used 100% champagne as the liquid instead of water. I’ve used champagne in soap several times, so I knew it would speed up the reaction, causing a thick trace really quickly. Because the spoon swirl technique doesn’t require super fluid soap, I didn’t think it would be a problem. My only concern was getting air pockets in the middle of the loaf if it really set up too fast.

{Side note: What’s really cool is that I’m now able to combine many different things that I’ve learned with ease and even a bit of comfort, knowing what to most likely expect, and not being completely intimidated by the whole process! Don’t get me wrong; there are still hundreds of techniques and fragrances and oils and colorants and additives to try. I’ll NEVER get too comfortable with all this stuff, and I’ll ALWAYS be intrigued by the process! I’m just excited to have come so far since those first batches of soap!}

I began by adding a tiny bit of lye very slowly to super cold, flat champagne. I was hoping to keep the champagne from super-heating and turning deep brown, but that didn’t happen! Even in an ice bath. Check out the color morph as I continued to add the lye to the champagne:

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Champagne after adding just a few teaspoons of lye.

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A bit of boiling after adding about half of the lye, which made me move the pitcher to an ice bath!

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The final color of my champagne lye solution: like brown sludge! (Very similar to my Black Lager beer soap lye solution.)

I left the champagne lye solution in an ice bath while I prepped the oils and colorants. Since this fragrance is pretty feminine, I chose to use pink sparkle mica, lavender oxide, and gold sparkle mica to color the soap. I also added some white sparkle mica pencil lines between several layers to try to add some more champagne fizzy sparkle inside the soap. This recipe was almost 4 pounds of oils, making a 5-pound loaf of soap. When the lye solution was at 75 degrees and oils were at just over 100 degrees, I began mixing. I was careful not to stick blend too much or too long, using only very short bursts while stirring, and watching it like an hawk! I poured off just over half a cup of soap for pink and purple, just under half a cup for gold, and then added about 4 teaspoons of titanium dioxide to the main batter which was a deep tan color.

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The main soap batter just after adding the titanium dioxide. Super dark batter thanks to the brown sludge lye solution!

It was rapidly setting up as expected. I had to work quickly to whisk in the colors and fragrance. The consistency when I poured and spread it into the mold was very similar to royal icing! I layered in some of the main batter, then pink, then a white mica line, then purple with another white mica sprinkle.

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Believe it or not, this is the pink layer with white sparkle mica sprinkle on top. I was hoping the pink would lighten up as the soap did its thing.

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Here’s the purple layer with more white mica on top.

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A layer of gold soap added

Next came more main batter, some gold (which I literally had to plop and spread like icing), and another white mica line. Finally came the last of the pink and purple colors and the remaining main batter. Because the soap was so thick, these were most certainly messy layers!

I used a large soup spoon to make my swirls, reaching all the way to the bottom of the mold and pulling the soap in a figure 8 motion to the top of the mold. I did a figure 8 every few inches or so down the entire length of the mold. Then, I came back down the center of the mold for one final swirl. (No pictures for this step. Too messy!) And THEN, I beat the heck out of that soap! I tamped the mold on my counter until I almost knocked a picture off a shelf hanging on the adjacent wall! Then, I moved the mold to a (safer) rug on the floor and tamped it some more! I really didn’t want any big air pockets in this soap. Once I felt I’d beaten the soap into submission, I finished it off with a few dots of gold soap and white sparkle mica in olive oil. I used a skewer barely inserted into the soap to randomly swirl the top, and then I had to bang that mold some more! Yeesh! (I must note that I made this soap during my youngest’s naptime while the other kids were at school. I can’t believe it, but she slept through all the noise!) And just because fragrances like this one beg for more sparkle, I added irridescent glitter!

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Champagne Sugar soap in the raw. Such sparkly yumminess!

This is one soap that I did NOT put into a warm oven. Alcohol heats up so much that I left this one out in the cool air. After only about 12 hours, the soap was ready to cut! Take a look:

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Champagne Sugar soap

No major air pockets! All that beating and banging worked! I’m surprised at the final color of the soap. I was expecting the base to remain pretty tan, but it turned into a lovely creamy white.

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As usual, the swirls in the bars are all completely different!

The swirls turned out nice and wispy, and they aren’t too “strong” if you know what I mean. I was going for gentle, dreamy swirls with a bit of sparkle, and that’s what I got. Here’s an uber-close-up shot so you can see the sparkles a bit better.

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The white sparkle mica lines are more distinct here, especially between the lower pink and purple layers. You can also see the gold sparkles. So difficult to capture with a camera! In person, the sparkles are much more prevalent!

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Do I detect more hearts? Can you see them? Check out my previous post to see more soapy swirly surprises.

spoon swirl soap entry

Champagne Sugar soap

Love it when soap turns out like I hoped. This was a fun one to make. The scent is feminine and clean, and the sparkle micas add something fun and whimsical. Thanks, Amy, for another fun challenge! We’re sure to see lots of creativity and beautiful swirls!