Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Long Overdue Soap Video - Berry Chocolate

It's not that I hate doing videos to show how I soap, I really do like to show everyone how.  It is my contribution to our soaping community as I think I've benefit a lot from other experts and I want to give back.  I don't believe in keeping secretes about soaping style and techniques, it is that personal touch and creativity that counts.  Even with the same techniques applied, each soap is still going to come out different and unique.  And that's the beauty of handmade, because we can put our personality into the making, it is really a form of art that no one can completely duplicate.
Ok, I totally got side tracked.  Anyway, it is a drag to me because I can't talk when I soap, that mean it is very heavy editing work involved in every video I put out.  I found myself soaping more and more complicated projects as time progressed.  Simple soaping does not interest me (or should I say not challenging) anymore.  Each carefully planned soap project now requires me over 40 minutes of soaping time!  This is just the soaping time you see on videos, does not include all the preparation and planning ahead!  Plus the clean up, the part I hate the most!  For a small batch of 8 bars, this is sure time consuming...

For those of you can't watch the video, here are some photos:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sea Glass Challenge

I made this soap in response to a soap challenge Majestic Mountain Sage posted on their blog: Sea Glass Inspired Soap Challenge  I'm afraid I went a bit too literally but I usually go with my gut feeling and this feels right!  Photos should be self explanatory, but just want to point out that the bottom is made with Dead Sea Mud to get that bottom of the ocean look and the sea glass portion is done by melt and pour glycerin soap.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Evily's Kitchen is Open for Soap Class!

First time ever!
I always encourage friends and family to participate what I love to do - soaping, but rarely would anyone take the challenge or be patient enough to actually be hands on every step of the process.  But, this passed weekend I had my first student!  We had a lot of fun!  It was a tight squeeze in my small kitchen but we managed to make a big batch (2 logs) of soap and lasagna from scratch!  Did I mention both in action at the same time?!  Don't worry, we didn't drop any vegies in the soap batter, nor did we drip any soap batter into the lasagna mistaken it for sauce!  Well, I'm alive here writing the post, am I not?!  LOL
My future sister in law is one of my loyal supporter for my hand made soap.  She had this idea of a nice gift bag full of B&B products to every girl who is attending her best friend's bridal shower that's happening next month.  I suggested her to push the boundary to make the package even more personal by making the bride-to-be the soap she would love from scenting to color choices.  I tried to let her be very hands on from mixing the fragrances of her choice to colors and swirl design.  The only thing I didn't let her do is mixing the lye solution.  She did all the butter scooping, the liquid oil and whole 9 yard.  I present your her version of Honey Oat Soap, made with colloidal oatmeal and local organic honey!

Not bad for a first timer!  Not bad at all!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Have Ombre Layer Bug in Me!

There are many ways to do ombre layering (or gradient) style in cold process soap, but I like the way I do it!  Again, if you are curious about how I do it with one bucket, 6 layers plus thin pencil line, you can watch my youtube video: Making Ombre Layer Soap

Now that I have done it with bleeding colors and non bleeding colors to get different effects on the layering look, I don't want to do the same old same old again.  Let's see the summary:
 Bleeding vs.Non-bleeding
Two Color Bleeding Layering
and last but not least, Two Color Bleeding Mirror Direction Layering
 In my previous post I put a twist to this style by bleeding 2 colors from dark to light then light back to dark in 8 layers, topped with melt & pour soap embeds and blueberry seed for texture.  That is one complicated batch to make and requires much planning ahead.  AND, I used one bucket only!  Like I said, I have this ombre bug in me and I need to flush it out of my system, LOL  What else can I do to have a new spin to the old style?!  I went from making 6 layers to 8 layers and now I present you the 11 layer hot mama zebra!  This one has 3 color gradient look, can you tell?!  This is Vesta (Goddess of sacred fire)!

Sorry this time I broke my one bucket rule, LOL, I used 2!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Battling with Soap Gremlins

Guess how long these ugly (I guess to a point you can call them cute) trouble makers had been occupying my soaping kitchen?!  TOO LONG!!!  Ever since I got back from my trip to Bhutan they had been messing with me!  The best way to combat those creatures is by making more soap than they can handle, LOL and not give up of course.  Eventually they'll get bored and leave!  And they left!  Woohoo~  Or maybe this awesome soap is just too awesome they can't stand living under the same roof?!
This is Ourea (the spirit or God of mountains), he is the one who ultimately kicked soap gremlins out of my house, for that, I LOVE him!  He's made with 7 color layers and topped with a thick layer of white.  I used lab colors to make him and hopefully in couple weeks all layers will be bleeding into each other seamlessly.  I did add some blueberry seeds for some exfoliation power and the embed is honey glycerin melt & pour soap.
If you want to try to make ombre soap, here's my video tutorial: Making Ombre Layer Soap

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Gone to Plan C

Just when you think soaping plan B is bad, wait until you need to jump to plan C!  With 1/2 of the time soaping not according the original plan because of the fragrance or color reaction, I'm almost always prepared to switch to plan B.  But what if plan B doesn't work either?!  This is my story...
I recently purchased some new fragrance oil from a new supplier (I slowly raise my hand and admit, I am a fragrance oil addict, I need to check myself into a rehab!).  I was specifically excited about this tropical marine fruity scent I got as a sample size.  After reading all the notes I can find online about this fragrance I proceeded to try it out.  I was ready for plan B alright, but I can't pull a rabbit out of my hat after that!  It seized on me so badly I had to add some cold water as an attempt to thin down the "batter" (it was more like solid almost), ditch the slab mold I was planning on using and went straight to globing into my silicone loaf molds and popping them right to the oven hoping to save the batch!  If you can call that plan C!
The next day I took them out of the oven.  Looked fine on the top but the extra water I put in at the end got separated out underneath like a paddle of yellow water...  And the rest of the soap, well, it's smurf poop!  ...speechless...
It left me no choice but to chop off the yellow layer, dice it up for embeds, then crock pot the rest into paste again with a little water to help thin it down to pourable stage.  I added a little more fragrance to the pot then globed it into the silicone mold again.  It is still a little soft and need to be dried out to a hard bar but it sure smells yummy!  I love this fragrance just don't know if I'm ever brave enough to soap it ever again!
Plan C isn't looking too bad after all!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Today I'm Princess Emily!!!

I feel like a princess, a maybe 9 year old princess who is still dreaming of a white horse prince...  Nah... forget prince, I got something better, a box of soap just for me!  All the way from Spain!  I had joined a soap swap project from Spain hosted by Soap Artists about 2 month ago, this is the original post: International Exchange - International Soap Swap  I had the honor to be paired up with Teresa from Barcelona.  Teresa is a hobby soaper who does not sell in public but is very active in bath & body forums in Spain.  To honor this swap, I had made a batch of soap with Teresa in mind: Soap for Spanish Soap Swap 
We exchange emails despite the language barrier, we talk about soaps, what we like and not like.  Then as   soon as my soaps were ready to travel, there they went, across the ocean to Barcelona, Spain.  And in return, I received a box made by Teresa!  I can see all the details she put into work, the teddy bear, the lace, my name... oh... can you see the bubbly pink hearts floating in the air?!

This photo is taken by Teresa before she wrapped them all up in the box: