Circling Taiwan Swirl Soap Challenge

What do you do when it’s below zero and snowy outside? I can’t think of anything more fun than making soap! Well, actually, traveling to some exotic and WARM location might be more fun…but if I have to stay home, soap it is!! So this month’s Soap Challenge Club was a welcome activity. I’ve done the Taiwan Swirl many, many times, and the results are always beautiful. (You can see some previous Taiwan swirls here and here.) But I always free-hand pour the soap that I swirl, and I only pour the soap one layer thick in a slab mold. This Circling Taiwan Swirl soap really did present me with challenges!

First of all, I don’t have dividers for my soap molds. I made some dividers out of foam board and covered them with packing tape in hopes that the soap would easily slide off of them. I also made them to fit very tightly in my molds, with hopes that they’d stay put as I poured the soap. I was wrong on both accounts! And furthermore, because I had to cut the edges and tape them up, they weren’t perfectly straight edges that sat flush on the bottom of the mold, so some soap seeped through as I poured. In fact, nothing about the dividers was truly straight! Take a peak:


Clearly, these dividers are far from perfect!

Overall, the dividers were my nemesis in this challenge! I’m sure that the lovely (and straight!) dividers that you can purchase are probably well worth the cost if for no other reason than to avoid all the frustrations that I had.

My next challenge was the universal soap-making challenge: trace. I was testing out 3 new recipes (which I realize is not the brightest idea when making a challenge soap). I found that my recipes probably contained a bit too many hard oils and butters, and probably too much castor oil, so all 3 recipes set up really quickly. I was scrambling to get the soap colors mixed and poured quickly, and then I fought my silly dividers like crazy! Even with blending the oils and lye at 85 to 90 degrees and only blending to emulsification, the soaps were still thick by the time I finished pouring them.

Soap #1: Lavender Fleur fragrance oil from with titanium dioxide, lavender oxide, black oxide, and green mica as colorants. I also added lots of goodies like yogurt, colloidal oatmeal and silk to the batch.


Yikes! SO THICK!

By the time I poured the soap and fought the dividers, it was difficult to swirl the soap. I started out with a skewer to create the first swirl, but then switched to the handle of my plastic spoon to circle around the outside.


It was so thick that it didn’t swirl much.

Soap #2: Black Raspberry Vanilla fragrance oil from Nature’s Garden with titanium dioxide, red mica and lavender mica blended, and black oxide, also with yogurt, colloidal oatmeal and silk. This fragrance typically gives me lots of time to work with the soap, but I fought the dividers again and ended up with thick soap. I used my spoon handle to swirl the entire soap this time.


Another thick soap that didn’t swirl as much as I’d have liked.

Soap #3: Pixie Dust fragrance oil from with Mad Oils micas in blue, pink, yellow, and purple. I included milk and yogurt in this batch along with silk and colloidal oatmeal. I added extra liquid to this batch in hopes that it wouldn’t set up as quickly, but it did exactly the same as the first 2 batches.

This soap was thick too, but I liked the swirls more here.

This soap was thick too, but I liked the swirls more here.

After these 3 frustrating batches, I gave up for the day and came back fresh the next. I decided to go with the tried-and-true slow moving recipe that Amy gave us in several of her tutorials throughout the Soap Challenge Club years. It works like a charm every time! And I love the feel of the soap after a good long cure.

Soap #4: Satsuma from Wholesale Supplies Plus with Mad Oils micas in pink, orange, and yellow as well as an uncolored stripe. I included milk and yogurt in this batch with silk and colloidal oatmeal. I still fought my dividers, but this time the soap was nice and fluid the entire time I poured. This fragrance is so incredibly yummy, and I really think it slows down trace. It’s a soaper’s dream! I used a skewer to swirl this one nice and tightly, and I must admit, it was highly satisfying to finally get one “right!”


Raw Satsuma soap with lovely wispy swirls! Yay!

I was almost dreading cutting into the soaps from the first 3 batches. I expected to find lots of air pockets since the soap had been so thick, and I didn’t know if the divider problems had wreaked havoc on the soap lines. Imagine my surprise when I cut into all the soaps and found very few bubbles and awesome results!


Lavender Fleur soap. This is the end cut with the lotus flower shape in mirroring bars.


Lavender Fleur bars from the inside of the log. The dividers did better than I thought they’d done. The stripes are very distinct!


Black Raspberry Vanilla mirrored end cuts.


These are cuts from the inside of the log. Love love love these swirls!


Pixie Dust end cuts.


The inside bars of Pixie Dust soap. These colors are so vibrant and beautiful, just like the fun and bright fragrance.


Satsuma soap end cuts. Because this soap was much more fluid, the swirls are more feathery and there are more petals to the flowers.

Even with all of the frustrations, I am so happy with how these soaps turned out. After cutting them, my challenge has been with which one to choose to enter! I’ve settled on this soap:


Black Raspberry Vanilla Lotus Soap Challenge Club entry!

Black Raspberry Vanilla Soap Challenge Club entry! It came down to the contrast of these soaps.

The contrast of these soaps was my final deciding factor. The colors really pop, and the white flower on the black background is just really pretty. 

Which one is your favorite? I made myself wait to look at everyone else’s soaps until I submitted my entry, so I’m excited to see the beautiful soaps! I’m guessing there will be lots of stunning results. I’ll definitely be making more soaps with this technique (after buying some good dividers, that is)! Thanks to Amy and everyone else who helped with this challenge technique. It was so much fun!!

Pumpkin Perfection Soap: The Clyde Slide Soap Challenge

I just love learning a new swirl technique, especially one that comes up with great results every time, even if you don’t get it exactly right! This month’s Soap Challenge Club delivered all that with the Clyde Slide, a technique created by Clyde Yoshida of Vibrant Soap. Check out some of his YouTube videos (like this one) for a fun time! And as a bonus, you might learn more about colors and a new technique too!!

Since the weather has been changing dramatically around here, I’m once again ready for all things pumpkin. I’ve tried my hand at making pumpkin soap before, but the recipe needed some tweaking. (And a few of the soaps were massacred, too. Haha!) So, new recipe, new design.

I began by making a lye solution with 30% less water than usual (10% less to account for the extra water in the pumpkin puree, and 20% addition of yogurt). I also added a bit of sugar (for extra bubbles in the final product) and cruelty-free silk to the hot lye. I melted my oils and added pumpkin puree, a bit of yogurt, and some colloidal oatmeal to the oils. I let everything cool to about 85 degrees, then I added the lye to the oils and blended just a bit to get to emulsion (not even thin trace yet). I divided up my soap as follows: 1.5 cups of soap into titanium dioxide (white), 1.5 cups into 1.5 tsp tangerine dream mica, 1.5 cups into red oxide with a pinch of tangerine dream mica, 1 cup into cocoa powder, and the remaining was left uncolored (it was a lovely yellow-orange color thanks to the pumpkin puree and yogurt). I added a delicious spicy pumpkin fragrance to each container except the white (to ensure it wouldn’t discolor), and I whisked it in to maintain a very fluid soap.

Because of some of the spicy notes in the fragrance, I thought the soap might begin to set up, so I moved very fast! I began pouring each color into a new bowl on the opposite side of the pour spout using the faux-funnel method, alternating light and dark colors.


Here’s a peak at the soap after pouring about half of it into the new bowl using the faux-funnel method.

As suspected, the soap began setting up. I used the whisk to loosen up the batter in each container so the pours would continue to be wispy, but I had to move even faster. I hesitated to stop to take a picture, but I did it for your sake!! 🙂


Here’s the faux-funnel bowl just before I began pouring it into the mold.

See how set up it was already? Oh, well. Onward! And HURRY!

I began at one end of the soap mold and poured about half of the soap in, then continued pouring by moving the bowl down the length of the mold a total of 3 times. It was too thick to only pour from one end. I had to get it spread out! This is a view before I tamped the mold to flatten it out.


Can you say THICK?!! And is that a bit of ricing I see??

Despite setting up so quickly, this soap clearly has some pretty awesome striations. (Nice word, huh?)


Marbly… yeah, baby!

I prettied up the top of the soap, then put it to bed. I couldn’t wait to cut into it to see what cool stripes might emerge.


More striations. Woohoo!

Just unmolding the soap was fun! Check out the awesome underbelly. And as a bonus, my husband passed by, inhaled long and hard, and commented that now he needs a slice of pumpkin pie. Success! Hence the name Pumpkin Perfection. Yum!


Mesmerizing. Pumpkin Perfection Soap.

This soap is really beautiful, and it was really fun to make. My only disappointment is that the red-orange color turned out very close to the same color as the cocoa powder brown. In person, you can still see the slight variation, but it’s hard to capture in the pictures. Next time, I’ll try for a deeper red for a bit more contrast. Still… love, love, love the results.


Every bar is completely unique.

I’m definitely going to have to make some more of this; I know it will quickly be spoken for!

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I like the slight feathering on these bars, and you can see some crackling white lines in there. The pumpkin and sugar probably made it get a bit hotter than usual, and I love the effect it created!

Cheers for pumpkin season!!


Gotta love the zigzag stripes in this bar!

Thanks for stopping by! I’ve been participating in the soap challenges behind the scenes these last few months, and I’m happy to actually submit an entry this time around. [Maybe someday I’ll get around to posting about my soaping MIS-adventures from the previous few months. The techniques were awesome, but my creations were… less than awesome. 😀 ]

Thanks for another great Challenge Club assignment, Amy! And thanks, Clyde, for sharing your fun creations with the soaping community at large! We all appreciate both of you!!!

Drop Swirls Galore

Once again, it’s time for the Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge Club! The challenge for March was the drop swirl technique, one that I’ve actually done many times in the past. Every bar of soap turns out unique and usually beautiful, and the possibilities for colors and fragrances are endless. That being said, choosing fragrance and color was truly my challenge this time around!

I threw caution to the wind and made lots and lots of soap! Seven batches this week to be exact (which is quite a lot of soap for this busy mama). SO. MUCH. FUN!

Here’s one of my favorites.

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Candy Shop Soap made with yogurt

The scent is a blend of Fresh Fruit Slices and Bite Me fragrance oils from Nature’s Garden, making it reminiscent of Mike & Ike candies, Fruit Loops, and Now & Later candy chews. That’s why I chose the bright orange base color with yellow, pink, green, and purple accents. Candy! It reminds me of some scent from my childhood that I can’t quite put my finger on.

The raw soap was so beautiful!

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Candy Shop raw soap in the mold

It got very hot, very fast. During gel phase, the soap was almost transparent.


Candy Shop soap in gel phase

The colors did turn out nice and bright, but I’m disappointed with the large amount of tiny air bubbles that are throughout this one. Darn it!

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Candy Shop Soap

My next favorite is Pears & Berries soap. Here’s a peak at it!

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Pears & Berries Soap made with yogurt

This is a Majestic Mountain Sage fragrance oil that I truly love. It’s a sweet, bright scent that just smells happy! And I included yogurt in this soap to make your skin just as happy as your nose! The main soap batter is uncolored, then I dropped in swirls colored with gold mica and green oxide to represent the pear peels and flesh, plus a hint of cranberry red color.


This raw soap was beautiful, too!

I love how several bars came out with drops that actually look like pears!


This cut revealed pears complete with stems (far left and far right)!

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The bottom bars looks like a green pear and a gold pear to me as well! Can you see it, or am I trying too hard? Haha!

Now we pause for a brief intermission.


Miss Lydia. How could that sweet face not brighten your day!?!?

Just making sure you’re still here, and giving you a dose of happy!  🙂

My final “favorite” drop swirl is this one:


Intense Almond Triple Milk Soap made with milk, buttermilk, and goat milk

Intense Almond fragrance (also from Majestic Mountain Sage) is one of my favorite scents of all time. I want to eat it. Not just sniff it incessantly. EAT IT. It’s that good! It smells just like almond extract. Sweet. Yummy. Like The Pioneer Woman’s favorite sugar cookies (which, yes, I have actually made).

Have you noticed that all of my favorites have a theme? I must have been very hungry this past week! Food and candy, candy and food! I made 7 different drop swirl soaps, and 6 of them are food scented. Cookie, anyone?


Intense Almond Triple Milk Soap

This soap really isn’t all that exciting or interesting in color profile, but I just love the way the swirls dropped in. The main batter was uncolored, then I dropped in some white soap (made with titanium dioxide) and some brown soap (colored with cocoa powder). I like the soft beige as well as the light and dark contrast. And…did I mention how delicious this scent is?!


See how every bar is so different?

Though it’s been a difficult decision, I’ve decided to enter Pears & Berries Soap for the Soap Challenge this month. Here’s another look in case my crazy long post has made you forget!

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Pears & Berries Soap

I’m so excited to see all the entries since this technique always produces such fantastic results. There are so many talented soapers from around the world participating in these challenges, and I’m very grateful to be a part of such fun! Thanks, Amy!!! And thanks to everyone for stopping by! I hope you’re having a happy day!

Soap Embed Challenge

It’s that time again: Soap Challenge Club time! This month’s creation was to include embeds in cold process soap. After nearly two years of soap making, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’ve NEVER added embeds into any soap! I’ve been collecting different silicone molds for quite some time, planning out lovely soaps with embeds all the while in my head. There are just so many different techniques to try and only so many hours in a day!!! Thank goodness for Amy and her challenges, or I might never try some of those things that I’ve intended to do. Deadlines and group accountability are two things that motivate me well!!!

So here’s the result.


Pixie Dust Soap

Pixie Dust soap (version 2.0) was born simply because I needed to restock that scent! (Here’s what version 1.0 looked like, also from a club challenge!) I have several young girls who love it, and I wanted to make a new design that was specifically for them. I bought some star ice cube silicone molds just after the 4th of July on clearance, and I thought they’d be perfect on top of a magical fairy wand.

I began by making embeds using the microwave hot process method that Amy showed in her awesome-as-usual tutorial. I used a one-pound recipe and a tall plastic container, carefully stirring the soap after 2 minutes of half-power heating, and then after another 2 minutes of heating. I’m glad that I didn’t walk away, because the soap started to volcano after just one more minute of heating! I stirred it down just before it bubbled out all over my microwave, then heated it for about 45 more seconds when it bubbled up again. At that point, it looked like soupy applesauce, so I continued to stir it until it cooled and began to come back together.


Microwave hot process soap

After about 7 minutes of stirring and at about 160 degrees, I split off half of the soap, stirred in neon yellow colorant with gold mica, and added some fragrance. It was messy, but I pushed the yellow soap down into the star molds, filling them as best as I could. Then, I colored the remaining soap white and mushed it into the bottom of a long wooden mold, the same one that I would later use to make the final soap.


Once this piece hardened, I trimmed it up a bit and used it turned vertically to create the handle of the fairy wand.

After only a few hours, the hot process soap was cooled and hardened enough to remove it from the molds. The silicone star molds worked amazingly well!


The stars popped right out!

I made a few soap curls from the white trimmings, and I also chose some pink, orange, and yellow scraps out of various recent soap trimmings to use in the final soap.


Soap curls to embed for some added whimsy.

Later in the same day, I made the remainder of the soap using my regular nourishing recipe and adding in yogurt. I turned the soap a lovely shade of deep lavender. I thought the bright pinks, oranges, and yellows would really stand out, creating some fun “pixie dust” colors! After adding a bit of purple soap to the bottom of my mold, I put in the white wand, then began adding soap scraps and curls followed by more purple soap and repeating.


When the new soap reached the top of the wand, I stacked the stars down the length of the mold along the top of the white column.


Stacking the stars was pretty difficult!


My only issue was that I didn’t quite  make enough new soap! I ran out of purple and had to pile it up around the stars to get them to stay put. Plus, the purple soap was extremely set up at that point. Simply put, I made a magical mess! I spent a long time tamping the mold and pushing soap down, trying to eliminate as many air bubbles as possible. I finally gave up and sprinkled on some glitter. Can’t have a pixie dust soap without glitter! 


Not so pretty from here!!

Boy, that top looked messy. Unmolding the soap the next morning was a bit scary. I did find many air pockets, but mostly small ones.


The big reveal…Rather underwhelming.


The first few cuts weren’t too shabby! A few air pockets, but nothing major.

This is certainly not the prettiest soap I’ve ever made, but it’s not the worst either! The soap scraps and swirls make this whimsical and fun, and the color combination is quite girly. My triplets were ooh-ing and aah-ing over the stars and glitter as I was cutting it. It was hard to explain to them why they couldn’t use the soap yet! That curing time is such a kicker!!! I completely understand their disappointment. Don’t all of us soap makers feel that way?! Waiting for soap to cure is probably the hardest part of the job!


Pixie Dust Soap

Overall, this soap came out reasonably well. I figured out that next time, I’ll mix the soap scraps directly into the new soap before adding it to the mold. I’ll also make more soap than I think I’ll need just to be sure I have enough!


Pixie Dust Soap. (I’ll clean up those rough edges once the soap has had more time to harden.)

Now that I’ve finally made a soap with embeds, I’ve got to get on with it! I have so many cute molds to try out, and so many ideas. And did I mention the piles and piles of ends, scraps, shavings, and uglies that I’ve been storing? So many possibilities. So little time. Thanks, Amy, for another great challenge!

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! 🙂

Dandelion Zebra Swirl Challenge

This month’s Soap Challenge Club was most definitely a challenge for me! First of all, my five kids passed around a cold virus during the last month. Yes, it took a full 3 weeks to hit all 5 kids, and a total of 5 weeks for everyone to get well. It was a doozy! Everyone had high fevers with terrible coughing and runny noses. Lots of all-nighters pulled around here, and we’re still not back into a good sleep schedule!

Because of all that, I took a couple of weeks off from soapmaking. I’ve been itching to get back to it after seeing the beautiful soap created by Vinvela Ebony on her blog Dandelion SeiFee, as well as the examples made by Amy Warden, creator of the Soap Challenge Club.

The Dandelion Zebra Swirl is October’s challenge technique. After watching Amy’s great tutorial, I really didn’t expect it to be that hard. But alas, I found this one to be very difficult! To make this soap, I was simply to pour one color of soap into the mold, insert a flexible cutting mat into the mold, pour different colors down the mat to form stripes, and then remove the mat and pour the remaining soap batter to fill the mold. My problem didn’t come with the actual pouring technique, but with the consistency of the soap that I was trying to pour.

Amy suggested using a recipe that was slow to trace as well as a fragrance that isn’t too floral or too spicy. I altered the slow-moving recipe a bit to accommodate the oils that I had on hand, using 35% olive oil, 30% palm oil, 25% coconut oil, 7% sunflower oil, and I also added 3% castor oil because I really love how it boosts lather. I’ve never used this recipe before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I also added yogurt to the oils as 50% of my liquid.

My first problem: I was making a total of 3 batches that day. Result: I accidentally used the wrong bowl of oils to make my first attempt at the challenge soap! It was my regular soap recipe which has more castor oil as well as avocado oil and shea butter, and it tends to trace pretty quickly. I blended the lye solution and oils (both at room temperature) for just a hair too long and everything got hot and thick really fast! The scent I used was Pixie Dust, and I think it may be a hint too floral as well, perhaps aiding the quick trace. And of course, I didn’t realize I’d used the wrong bowl until I’d already added the fragrance and started coloring the soap.

Here’s a look at pouring my first attempt of the Dandelion Zebra Swirl.

Pixie Dust

See how the soap is too thick already!? And it’s only the first pour… Uh oh.

Pixie Dust

Half way through my “zebra” stripes, and the soap was beginning to pile up. I like the colors, though!

Pixie Dust

Last “pour” of the main soap batter, and look how thick it was! I had to glop it on top and then use a spatula to scrape all the soap down the mat as I pulled it out of the mold.

Pixie Dust

The top turned out beautifully, even if I had no idea what the inside would look like! Of course I christened the soap with pixie dust, a.k.a. iridescent glitter. My girls love how sparkly it is!

Somehow, like usual, the soap turned into soap and the result isn’t nearly as terrible as I expected. Just because it didn’t go as planned doesn’t mean it isn’t a work of art!

Pixie Dust

Look at the picturesque mountain sunset depicted here. This cut of Pixie Dust scented soap is beautiful! The colors in person are quite striking.

Pixie Dust

Here’s another view showing the bright colors and shimmer on top of Pixie Dust soap.

After using the wrong oils as well as using up the fragrance that gave the color and scent combo I imagined, I had to rethink my plans and try again. My second attempt at the Zebra Swirl technique turned out better, but still not quite as easy as I’d have liked. Even with my version of the slow moving recipe, the soap still traced faster than I wanted, and I was unable to get the very fluid pour that Amy had in her video. I had to tamp my mold down after some pours to get the soap to slide down the mat, and at times I had to use a spatula to push it down.

This second attempt is made with Blowing Bubbles fragrance oil. Inspired by the iridescent qualities of bubbles, I chose to color the soap with aqua, blue, purple, pink, and yellow. Like the first soap, I used yogurt as half of the liquid in this recipe as well.

Blowing Bubbles

The first 2 stripes of Blowing Bubbles being poured onto the mat. Thinner than my first attempt, but still not as fluid as I’d like.

Blowing Bubbles

The first set of stripes are complete, and the colors are quite striking!

Blowing Bubbles

Soap’s getting thicker. Uh oh again.

Blowing Bubbles

Getting to the end of the zebra stripes, and I’ve begun tamping the mold and scraping soap down the mat again.

Blowing Bubbles

I really look forward to topping soap with pretty colors!

Blowing Bubbles

Is there anything more fun in life than making pretty swirls on top of soap? Ok, yes. But it really is fun!

Once again, it was difficult to let that soap set up in the mold. I couldn’t wait to see how the inside turned out! It doesn’t look as clean as the examples, but it turned out pretty. I have yet to figure out how Vinvela got her colored stripes all on one side of the soap! Maybe my cutting mat was just too flexible? Or maybe I didn’t pour enough soap in the bottom of the mold first? I’m thinking I didn’t pour enough main batter soap behind the mat before I removed it from the mold, but I’m not certain. Any suggestions you might have are very welcome!

Blowing Bubbles

Blowing Bubbles soap made with the Dandelion Zebra Swirl technique.

Blowing Bubbles Soap

Look, Ma! Two whales kissing! (I had no idea I could create such cool artwork in soap!)

All in all, this was a fun challenge again. I learned a lot, and I’ll keep trying to perfect this technique. I’m going to try some other slow moving recipes to see if I can get the correct consistency for this type of swirl. As usual, I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone else created! Thanks for stopping by!

Yogurt, Soap and Candy Apple Red

As promised, I’ve just completed my first yogurt soap! And as always, I got more than I bargained for in the process. Here’s a first look at Enchanted Apple Soap.

Enchanted Apple Soap

Enchanted Apple Soap made with yogurt

Silvia of SoapJam has been raving about how wonderful yogurt soap is, and her soaps look divine! When I saw her posts, I started looking around the web for more information about making yogurt at home and then using it in soap. Apparently I’ve been missing out on yogurt awesomeness for years by paying for it in stores! I had no idea it was so easy to make. Why would I do this, you ask? Well, first of all, it’s much cheaper to make it than to buy it. One of our local discount stores has milk on sale for $1.49/gallon! That’s less than 5 cents per serving compared to the typical 50 cents or more per serving for store-bought yogurt. Second, I have the pleasure of making something myself. That’s one of the main reasons I make soap. I find sheer joy and satisfaction in creating things. Plus, yogurt is quite useful; I can eat it and make soap with it! Yummy and healthy, inside the body and out. Last but not least, it’s really easy! So why not try making it at least once? No harm.

There are recipes all over the internet on how to make yogurt. Some ways look a bit complicated, but I chose the seriously simple crock pot method:

  1. Put 8 cups (a half gallon) of milk in the crock pot set on low for 2 hours 45 minutes.
  2. Turn off the pot and let it cool for 3 hours with the lid on.
  3. Stir in half a cup of yogurt that contains live and active cultures. I tempered it first, then whisked it gently into the milk in the crock pot.
  4. Put the lid back on, wrap it in a towel (this is so much like insulating a soap mold 🙂 ), and let it sit overnight.
  5. The next morning, transfer the crock into the fridge.

A few hours later, voila! Homemade yogurt. Pretty cool, huh?

To make soap with yogurt, I followed Silvia’s (and many other soapers’) advice and made a 50% lye solution with water, added yogurt to the oils, then added the cooled lye solution to the yogurt and oils. I was going to do another two-color Holly swirl of red and white into plain base, then finish it off with white on top. Unfortunately, my fragrance sped up the process dramatically! I poured the main uncolored soap into the mold then worked quickly to get the other colors swirled. To match the Enchanted Apple scent, I wanted a bright red pop of color, but it was muted when I swirled it with the white soap. In the short time it took me to mix the red and white, the soap was already completely set in the mold. Once again, I got layers more than swirls, but it actually looks kind of pretty.

Enchanted Apple Soap

Each bar is so different than the next!

Enchanted Apple Soap

There are a few little air pockets, but for the most part (to my great surprise) it turned out smooth.

Since the colors didn’t mix quite as I’d hoped, I thought I’d try to add some pizzazz to the top of the soap with some peaks and gold mica sprinkles. In my typical klutzy fashion, I spilled the gold mica right on top of one end of the loaf. A few bars will just be extra sparkly! My girls will love it, I’m sure.

Loaf of Enchanted Apple Soap

See that sparkly spill of gold mica? It’s not as noticeable now that it’s cut into bars.

Now, here’s the extra kicker that I wasn’t expecting. As I was cleaning up my soaping mess, the triplets woke up from their nap. And I was home alone with them. I had already put away the lye, the oils, and anything that I thought might be even slightly dangerous to leave out and about. But apparently I missed one little sample jar: the candy apple red dye powder. BIG. MISTAKE. While I had my back turned, Chloe must have sneaked in and stolen that little jar of horror. She also must have thought that it was some form of food, because she ate it! In a matter of seconds, she’d eaten some of the colorant, then tried to spit it out, wiping her tongue off with both hands, and spilling the remainder of the powder on my living room carpet. She came running into the kitchen with what looked like blood spilling out of her mouth! I panicked, ran water in her mouth and over her whole face. It was obviously not blood, but was staining everything red. So I ran into the living room looking for what might have caused this, saw the spill on the carpet and immediately knew what she’d done. I was so thankful that it wasn’t blood, but I was also so mad that I’d accidentally left that jar within her reach!

This was a monster of a mess. I put Chloe in the bath tub and scrubbed her down. After a long soak, the red stain finally disappeared. Then I had the task of attempting to clean my carpet. That’s still a work in progress. Candy Apple Red dye powder is as fine as dust, easily spreadable, and darkens upon contact with liquid. Oh my! Believe it or not, it’s only a very faint pink now! That Bissell carpet cleaner is the best tax refund money I’ve ever spent.

Candy Apple Red water from my carpet

After cleaning my carpet for the third time, this is what the water still looked like coming out of the cleaner! If I hadn’t been so mad, I might have thought to take a picture of the carpet before I started cleaning it!

It’s amazing what soaping has brought into my life. I now know how to make yogurt and how to clean red dye out of carpet! (#thingsineverthoughti’ddo) I’m hoping this yogurt soap will be as wonderful as everyone says, making this mess worth it!