Tuesday, May 31, 2011

S.O.A.P. Opera - Episode 3

Recap from last episode: forced gel group ended up CPOP (cold process oven process), 6 out 8 made it, 2 missing.  So what happened to the ones that didn't get sent to the oven?!

Here we go:
The reason this photo is taken way later is because #2 took so long to get hard enough to pop, more than 60 hours plus refrigerating it for another couple hours to get it out without chipping, will put *** next to my notes for #2.  Unlike #2, #1 sets up relatively quick, but it still managed to get chipped on the bottom after 24 hours.  The rest of them popped out like a piece of cake.

Tune in for Episode 4: jumping ahead to M&P before coming back to rescue the missing #7 & #8.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Back To Nature - Next Stage #2

My Back to Nature soaping journey is almost to the end as my supply of Pistachio nut oil is running out.  There will be one more after this and that would end this series, for now.  Fixed oil prices have been up and down drastically it's driving me crazy.  The cost for Jojoba oil is sky rocketing.  Some oil supplies are out of stock until further notice, including some I use regularly.  The next project will be finding a replacement recipe that carries the similar characteristics, and maybe better?!
Anyway, this is my own interpretation of Ginger Blossom, using mostly essential oils and mixed in Jasmine and Neroli fragrance oils simply because those 2 will cost me an arm and a leg, each, to purchase in essential oil.  To get into the scheme I also added some grated fresh ginger ( you can still see the bits and pieces in the soap) into the lye water.  The essential oil blend I used contains: Ginger, Sweet orange 10X, Ylang ylang, Vetiver and Vanilla.  I used paprika & turmeric powder to color, the dark line is made with dark cocoa powder BTW.
 Yes I did the LCP (low sweat melt & pour) embeds again and I'm having fun!  These embeds are done with Jasmine & Neroli fragrance oil.  Sh... (I cheated a little), not too loud, I used just a tiny sprinkle of purple mica.  Do you see the color pop?!  I'm glad I cheated...
Now available at my shop: Ginger Blossom

Friday, May 27, 2011

S.O.A.P. Opera - Episode 2

Recap from previous episode: scheduled to pour all 8 mystery fragrances for both CP gel and non-gel testing, took a turn on itself, only 6 survived, 2 casualties! 

It's only Episode 2 and this testing already took another turn...  Ready for the drama?!
... instead of forcing to gel in the oven... I actually CPOP them... accidentally...
I have never done forcing gel with these tiny amount so I thought I would heat up the oven to help them out.  And now look what happened!  I "baked" them!  Literally!  LOL  Dessert cheesecake anyone?!
As you can tell, after CPOP the control soap stays pretty much white but the colors of others with fragrance all changed.  #2 & #4 which had no color change when I poured are now beige &  ivory.  #3 did a color change yet again.  It was lemony yellow when I poured, then now same ivory as  #4!  What do you know?!  No surprise to me #1 & #6 turned brown.
When this test is over, I'm going to play dress up with these babies and add a little garnish on top for giveaway.  Tune in for season finale!
And, happy Memorial weekend USA soapers!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

S.O.A.P Opera - Episode 1

In order to conserve the 1 oz I have per mystery fragrance oil to use in more tests, I pulled out my little 2" round cupcake silicone cups for this testing.  Normally I do non-gel CP.  But I do always wonder if gelling the soap makes any difference in fragrance strength, morphing & discoloring.  To solve my own mystery question I decided to do both.  I'm using 5% super fat and 5% fragrance rate as usual.
I used teddy bear cupcake mold (isn't it cute?!) as control to compare.

What did I tell ya!  Instant tan!  It's tan, photo is not showing true color.

As expected, no color change.

I was not expecting my top choice to turn lemony yellow!

 Another berry winner well behaved.

 I start to wonder what's in #5 that makes it turn bright orangy yellow?!  Pineapple?!

Surprisingly it only turned beige, I thought it was going to be worse.

You probably wonder, what happened to #7 & #8?!  ... oops...  Test round 1 didn't go that smoothly...  I made boo boos... let's not go there.  Anyway, ended up not having enough.  Can't call it soap opera if it's without drama!!  
Oh BTW, another cup each identical now sitting in my oven being "cooked" to force gel.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bramble Berry S.O.A.P. Sniffying Notes

  1. Definitely vanilla!  A little fruity, like citrus, creamy, sugary, almost creamsicle.  Oh this one is going to discolor, I can see it coming!  I'm not a vanilla fan so we'll see about this one...
  2. Hum... first impression, kitchen cleaner, citrus, sage, eucalyptus type, sharp to nose, might mellow out.
  3. Oh fruity!  I actually really like it!  Not sickening sweet, really a summer fruity tropical smoothie kind.  Happy scent!
  4. Sweet berry type fruit scent, may have vanilla in it.  This one reminds me of Bramble Berry's Berrywine, without the alcohol smell.
  5. Citrus based fruity scent or pineapple, like fruit candy!
  6. This one smells so familiar... I'm drawing a blank right now.  Definitely autumn spice, apple cider, cinnamon, woody, vanilla, brown sugar...  Very warm and inviting, almost homey.
  7. Bakery type fragrance, very sweet, like banana bread, this one will discolor I bet.
  8. Oh this one is... hard to describe...  It has this woody spicy undertone, but fruity at the same time.  The fruitiness reminds me of artificial bubblegum, not those cheap one, the ones with a lot of fruit mix.  Very different from #3, this is definitely for Autumn.
Out of bottle favorite ranking:

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Bramble Berry S.O.A.P. Fragrance Arrived!

    I have been waiting for this box since the day I found out I'm selected for the panel!  It's finally at my front door!
    Here's my testing plan in sequence:
    Cold Process Soap, both gel and non gel to examine acceleration, morphing & discoloration
    M&P soap for discoloration and morphing
    Goat's milk hand cream for discoloration and morphing
    Perfume Spray with Cyclomethicone for discoloration, separation, morphing & staining
        So far this is my plan if I have enough to go through all these tests.  Remember to follow my blog so you can get the first hand notice when I update the tests!  Another reason for following my blog is for the result products giveaway.  This will be your chance to smell and test the products before becoming available online Bramble Berry!

      Monday, May 23, 2011

      Spring is for Birds!

      Aren't they adorable?!  True 3D Finch about 3" long from beak to tail, about half scale of a house Finch.  I used the same method as the owls to make these finch bird mold.  I love swirling these little ones, make them so colorful just like finches can be.  They are available in any color or color combination, I hand pour one by one: Pair Finch Birds
      These birdies got featured in one of the Etsy Treasury, check them out!

      Friday, May 20, 2011

      Back to Nature - Next Stage

      After 5 very different batches of Back to Nature soap "experiments" I felt I was ready for my next step.  I'm starting to find new possibilities of merging the 2 extremes: vibrant artificial coloring and fragrance VS. total natural colorant and scents.  There are lots of great artificial fragrance choices out there and I can't compete by mixing essential oils myself especially the prices are not permitted.  I love fragrance, I want to be able to use them.  Here's my first try, I called it the Arabian Nights (inspired by Bramble Berry's fragrance Ancient Sedona) , it's a mix of Lavender, Frankincense, Sweet Orange 10X, Anise Star, Geranium, Vanilla, and Vetiver essential oils and then mix in Jasmine fragrance oil.  It is now available at my shop: Arabian Nights Soap
      Did I mention I used Honeysuckle fragrance oil and turmeric powder to make these clear M&P soap embeds then dropped into my CP?!  So pretty under the sun.  One issue I always have mixing M&P with CP is the different wash rate they have under water.  CP lasts longer than M&P.  To prevent M&P embeds from falling off the soap and separating, I used LCP (low sweat like CP) M&P soap base, basically it contains less glycerin.
      For CP coloring I used dark cocoa powder and a little Australian red clay swirl.  Since I added vanilla essential oil, not much, I'm going to examine color change over time.  I do want a deeper brown.  Do come back and visit this blog entry a week or 2 later, I will edit the post and show another photo to see if there's any color change.

      Thursday, May 19, 2011

      Back to Nature No. 5

      I just realized I totally forgot about this bottle of olive oil which I soaked a hand full of dry comfrey flower few months ago.  I took it out of my pantry and pour some out. what a lovely red wine color.
      You would not believe what color I ended up with after CP.
      Weather has not been good here lately, always overcast, I did my best, it is just not the right lighting for this blueish purple.  Forgot to mention I used essential oil blend of Ylang Ylang, Geranium, and Clary Sage for this batch.

      Wednesday, May 18, 2011

      One Of a Kind Owls!

      These are really one of a kind, you cannot find it anywhere else.  I have created my own sleeve silicone mold by casting duplicates of a small but very detailed owl figurine.  Aren't they adorable?!  And they are 3D all around!  Each owl is only about 2" tall and 1.75" length from coffee mug to tip of its tail and weights 1.3 oz.
      If you areinterested, here's how you can purchase a pair of these in my Etsy store: Owl Soaps  These are ferect for party favors, I've done a couple event already.  Large custom order available with huge discount.

      Monday, May 16, 2011

      Detour - Pumice Soap

      This weekend I had to take a detour from my Back to Nature soaping journey and get back to using mica and fragrance oil.  My husband had been complaining about me ignoring his disappearing soap inventory.  Yes, he only likes to use ONE type of soap I made... sigh.  He is very particular about scent but doesn't always know what he wants, though he's never shy on telling me what he doesn't like!  He got to be my most difficult 'customer' at all time!  The pumice sand I use is really fine, it's great for getting ready for the summer, you use the regular soap side to clean your body and turn around use the pumice side to scrub your feet.  Well, men have tougher skin, my husband uses the pumice side all over his body, in a way to increase blood circulation and scratch his itch.
      The recipe I used for this soap is gearing at higher lathering to compensate the pumice sand I have to mix in.  It is a very simple formula:
      Coconut oil 92
      Olive oil
      Palm oil
      Shea butter
      Castor oil
      Also it has to be relatively hard bar to prevent the pumice section being too crumbling when demolding. 
       I usually eyeball the amount of pumice, judging it from the thickness of the mixture, I would say like epoxy glue or very thick trace.  Anyway, I poured 1/3 soap mix with pumice into each cavity and 2/3 of regular soap mix.  Pumice soap is better made with individual mold.  You can do it in log, just remember to cut before it's too hard.  And clean your blade after every cut or you will carry pumice sand all over the soap surface.

      And then... he went, I don't want pink in my soap!  Ok, it's going to the for sale pile then... sigh: Pumice Milk Soap.
      Honey, you are killing me!

      Sunday, May 15, 2011

      Spicy Orange Shells

      This is considered Back to Nature also, except, it's the Melt & Pour version.  I use all natural bases: Honey, and Goat's milk.  Turmeric and papaya extract are used to get that yummy golden amber color.  I did put just a tab of dry calendula petals for a little visual interest and backed by a layer of white Goat's milk soap.  See the cloud swirl?
      The green one is done by adding nettle powder into Aloe soap base, just a simple jello looking shell.
      Both versions are done with essential oil blend of Sweet Orange, Litsea Cubeba, Cedarwood, and Cassai.  Little spicy, little woody, and lots of citrusy sweet, smell like a nice countryside kitchen.  If you are interested they are on sale in my Etsy shop: Shell soap duo

      Friday, May 13, 2011

      Bramble Berry Mega Soap Swap

      I blogged a month ago about entering my first mega soap swap hosted by Bramble Berry, see Soap Swap Blog.  My soap babies (2nd column from the left) made it to SoapQueen's blog with her new born baby!  
      After long waiting, I got my package today, and these are what I got!

      Bramble Berry blog for S.O.A.P. panel

      Bramble Berry is selecting their summer 2011 S.O.A.P. panel for new fragrance oils and I want in!  I love Bramble Berry's fragrance and flavor oils.  I have to say their quality is unbeatable.  One of my favorite fragrance from BB is called Red Currant & Thyme.  And I use it to make milk soap:
      I bought the fragrance oil one time by chance and fell in love with it.  It is surprisingly fresh yet fruity with herbal green notes.  And it holds up in CP really well, strong and long lasting.  Highly recommended for anyone to try.  It is currently under BB's limited edition section.  Hopefully they will put this fragrance oil under permanent stock.
      There are 2 flavor oils from BB I really love and keep on going back to: Bubblegum and Passionfruit Rose.  Bubblegum is presweetened and it's absolutely dead on the scent!  You will want to eat it when you smell it and it actually taste sweet!  I use it for my lip balm line:
      I use BB's Red Blue Mica to color the balm to give it a soft pink hue.
      If you like fruity and floral scent you got to try BB's Passionfruit Rose, it's fragrance and also flavor oil.  This has been women's favorite in my lip balm line.
      I use BB's Lavender Mica (which they discontinued) to give it a grape purple tint.
      I also submitted both lip balms for BB's Fair Ivy Contest
      Anyway, I really really want to be selected for their summer fragrance panel.  I have so many products to test it on.  It would be so much fun!

      Wednesday, May 11, 2011

      Candy Soap

      It seems like Christmas was just yesterday but we are in May already!  Maybe we need another Christmas in the middle of the year, what do you think?  Last holiday season I made these Candy Soap Jar series:

      Tuesday, May 10, 2011

      Back to Nature No. 4

      This is for the bunny lovers!  I chopped out some fresh carrot and threw into the blender with some water to extract carrot juice, plus some puree.  Mixed that with cold 2% fresh cow milk and use it for the entire count of water to dissolve lye.   It turned bright red orange, wow!  I also added some papaya and apple extract powder to spice it up.
       I'm making 'healthy' V8 type soap for this batch.  This round I want very light scenting so I used only 1/2 amount of what I usually use.  This is a blend of Ylang ylamg, geranium and Patouli essential oil, a little sweet and a little floral.
      I also used a little Australian red clay to deepen half of the batch and do alternating funnel pour.