Friday, March 30, 2012

Seriously, Is Summer Here Yet?!

I kept on making Spring and Summer related soaps but there's no sign of the harsh cold winter leaving!!!  The brief couple days of temperature hike is such a tease.  Anyway, my birthday is coming up and I gave myself a present of traveling to exotic country for a short vacation.  I will have no internet or phone available, which is great, so work won't be able to catch up with me.  All hell will have to be dealt with afterward!  This will be my last post before I go MIA (missing in action) for 2 weeks.  This batch is to respond to Great Cakes Soapworks milk soap challenge, I challenged myself to make 100% soy milk soap because I don't make much soap with 100% milk, my favorite milk soap method is 1/2 water to dissolve lye then 1/2 milk added at emulsified stage.

Half half method is great, it gives me more time to play with color and style.  Full milk method is more time consuming and typically gives you no time for fancy design.  After carefully thought through my game plan, I decided to use well behaved fragrance and prepared for simplified design.  With no surprise to me, the frozen soy milk still turned a little orange after melting it with lye.  Just to be on the safe side I also kept the milk lye low temperature by sitting it in an ice bath.  All that precaution paid off, the soap batter did not accelerate a bit.  But that's the problem, I over compensated, ^0^.  With no water discount, way well behaved fragrance oil,  and cool (almost cold) lye milk, soap batter stayed thin when I'm ready to pour into my mold.  I was going for the layering style and ended up with some kind of swirl... oh gosh I just have to laugh about it.  Let me tell you, the chance of going to plan B in my soaping world is 99%!  LOL  I should just have no plan A ever, waste of my time!  Anyhoo, I scented this batch with Bamboo Sugar Cane, it's a fresh summery blend of lemongrass, lime, musk and vanilla.  To stay with the theme, I sprinkled mica colored sugar grains on the top.  I can almost imagine myself sitting on a field with warm breeze brushing over my face and sipping a tall glass full of fresh sugar cane juice!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mermaid's Tear

This is the FIRST time I actually achieved beautiful delicate hanger swirl with soap that's over traced!  I'm so happy with what I got, it's as precious as a Mermaid's Tear!
This batch is scented with an aquatic spa like fragrance notes of tarragon leaves, bergamot and citrus, light floral of jasmine and lotus blossom, and all rounded up with bamboo and oakmoss.  The sparkles and tiny sugar pearls add that perfect finishing touch on the top.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Twilight - Breaking Dawn

I know, it's cheesy, but after you see the soap you will agree with me that this is so fitting!  It's a remake of my old Twilight soap.  It's Bella fragrance I used, light sweet floral, very innocent and girly.

This is the color scheme inspired me:

Now let me show you the dark side inside of Bella!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Blueberry is not Blue?

Don't ask me why I chose the colors I did, I scratched my head too...  For some reason that night it didn't occur to me that I should use blue for blueberry scented soap?!  To make the matter worse the fragrance I used discolored my perfectly planned color scheme (hey, I already said I don't know why it's not blue!) to yellow.  That yellow tint had turned the pumice bottom layer a baby puke green.

Wouldn't it be nice if it was not discolored like when I just took the loaf out?!

But this is what I got instead... sigh...  But hey, it smells really good!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Middle Child

It is very easily gotten lost in all these other exciting and color projects I've been doing.  This quite child of mine, Eucalyptus Spearmint soap, almost disappeared and blended into the background except the occasional release of it's refreshing scent.  This is a typical middle child story.
This soap is packed with wholesome ground organic oat for its anti-itch and gentle scrubbing power, and scented with refreshing Eucalyptus and Spearmint essential oils.  Sometimes you just need that little itch scratched but you don't like the roughness, that's where ground oat is good for.  Forgot to mention that it also contains pure menthol oil for that wake me up sensation you might need in the shower every morning!  This is not for everyone for sure.  I hope my hubby appreciates what I have to make for him!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Soap for Spanish Soap Swap

I recently signed up for this international soap swap project hosted by Soap Artists.  Basically a number of Spanish soapers will one to one swap their creations with soapers outside of Spain.  By random pairing, my match is Teresa Corral Valero, unfortunately she is not into the online social media so I cannot post a link for you to check out.  Anyway, I made a batch of soap especially for her according to her description of personal preferences.  The fragrance I chose and the recipe I used gave me grief.  What's new?!  Nothing surprises me in my soaping anymore!  It is indeed Soap & Restless, is it not?  Ok, I'll show you my failed first try.  BUT first, let's see the good one!  This is a photo when it's just cut, for those of you who cannot watch the You Tube video (nicer photos will follow in future blog post when it's all nice and firm):

    And, here's the making video, it's under 9 minutes, I promise it's quick and painless!

And this is the first failed batch:
The 100% coconut milk and fragrance I used totally accelerated trace on me that back fired on my supposedly flowing flower swirl.  It looked more like a volcano explosion!  And these are the only 2 bars after cut that actually look decent... sigh.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sari - the Real and the Soap

If you have been following me on my Facebook page you would know that I recently posted a photo of a beautiful Indian Sari I received as a gift from my brother in law's fiancĂ©.  It is for me to wear to their upcoming wedding in September.  Oh I'm so looking forward to it as it is my very first Indian wedding!  The vibrant colors and weaving patterns really inspired me, in a soaping way, LOL.  I mixed up a very very limited fragrance for this special soap.  I said very very limited because I don't think I can duplicate it , it is that complicated.  It has notes of night blooming jasmine, red rose, lily, and spiced up with cardamon, cinnamon, clove and cassia with a touch of anise, then grounded with lots of sandalwood, teakwood, powdery amber, and musk.  Oh I forgot to mention the extra "sweetener" honey fragrance I added to sweeten this pot up!  And what kind of Indian inspired soap would be without mango lassi?!  Not mine!  If the scent I just described still not getting to you, this should, Sari is made with fresh mango and organic plain yogurt!  Oh so yummy and good!

This is the sari I received as a gift to wearing in the up coming wedding:

And this is the cut bars of soap inspired by this beautiful sari:

Monday, March 5, 2012

Aphrodite Failure

You are probably thinking why I called it failure because the photo I showed looks perfectly fine!

Well, the story started like this:
Last year I paid my very first visit to The Nova Studio in Richmond California when they held their annuversary  celebration.  As usual they had gathered numerous fabulous door prizes from various supply stores to give out.  I couldn't believe my luck (cuz I never win anything) but my name was drawn 3rd!  I was so excited as every one of us already eyed the prize we hope to get if we get lucky, and I did!  I quickly went up to the prize display tables and picked up my new won mold donated by Soap Equipment, here's a photos of the triple loaf mold:

Some soapers in the event claim that it really is no lining needed.  Oh I like that!  I meant to try this mold out sooner but never get the chance to last year.  It then had been sitting in my basement for months until couple weeks ago.  The loaf mold I use the most is the small 2 lb silicone mold that makes bar soap measuring 3.5"(wide)X2.5"(high)X1"(thick).  This mold is very different from my usual size, the wide of each loaf cavity is 2", the height (or depth) of the mold is 3.25".  In order to get about the same weight as my usual bar, I have to cut the soap each at 1.25" if I top off the mold.  You know what?  I really like this new size!  I think this is better fitting with people who have small hands, usually that's the women.

Anyway, let's get to the soap part!  Besides using the mold the very first time, I was also trying out a new recipe, one with lots of beef tallow.  This will be my very first time using a significant amount of animal fat in my soap.  In my mind I already had a name for this batch: Aphrodite.  It's very feminine but more towards the perfume style of scenting, very upscale and a little classic.  There's a lot of perfume rose, accompanied by lavender, violet, sweet tuberose, and chamomile, then anchored by warm wood and musk.  I thought it would accelerate the trace since it's a heavy floral, but it is still manageable since I wasn't planning on doing any fancy swirling.

Then 2 days later, it literally got stuck in the mold and refuse to come out!  I disassembled the nuts and bots and I just could not remove the HDPE boards away from the log of soap!  I tried pliers, hammer, and knife...  Oh don't forget my husband too, yes I tried using him.  Finally the 3rd day I plied the panels out of the log and spent hours troweling the soap from the panels back to where it belongs...  Look at the sides... yikes...

But the inside is not bad at all!  I actually like it!  And the scent is so Aphrodite!

Lesson learned, ALWAYS line your mold!