Saturday, June 30, 2012

Evaporated Milk Soap - Midnight Woods

Normally I soap with items I find in my kitchen but since I don't cook with evaporated milk I wouldn't go out of my way to get it.  A couple weeks back I was shown how to make Malaysian Laksa noodle soup which uses both coconut milk and evaporated milk.  I got one extra little can to spare, so guess what?!  Into the soap it went!
I freeze the milk into ice cubes then dissolve lye slowly with the ice cube I made.  It was all going well until I got distracted by the photo stealing incident, see this blog post: Truth about Watermarking My Works
Then I totally forgot about the evaporated milk lye solution in the ice bath!!!  By the time I saw it again it was after dinner... and the lye milk had gone to very thick and burned a little to tan.  I didn't want to waste the milk, melted my oil and butter really quick and proceeded to soap making as planned.  Since now the lye milk is looking tan in color I'm not sure if my color scheme would still work.  I took out my titanium dioxide to lighten up part of the batter and add some tan mica to the other portion trying to increase the contrast.  This batch moved fast because of the thicken milk lye.  I couldn't do the intricate swirl I originally planned to do because by the time all 4 color batter poured into the mold it was not moving at all.  I told a thick stick and swirled it anyway thinking it couldn't be worse.
I was pleasantly surprised the next day when I cut the log.  I took a normal cut and it looks the way I expected to get.
Then I tried to cut it the other way and found an interesting pattern I've never thought of making!
Now let's see the top
I named this one Midnight Woods.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Truth about Watermarking My Works

I never thought one day it would come to this but it did the past weekend.

I was informed by a soap group on FaceBook that one of my soap photos I published on my blog in July, 2011 had been digitally 'stolen'.  It had been watermarked with someone else business name and being used on Etsy to promote and sell her own products.

I had been resisting to recognize the need to watermark my works to protect my intellectual property.  Watermarking to me is compromising the integrity of my soap photos and very distracting in my opinion.  All I want is to provide a simple undisturbed little spot online where I can share my interest and passion without drama, without advertisement, just a good read with eye candies.  I had been acting like an ostrich hiding it's head in the sand thinking if I can't see it, must not happen to me.  But guess what, it finally found its way to kick me on my butt!

Look at this photo she took from my blog post Happy Birthday Honey:
 And she dare put her watermark on my photo?!

I was disturbed and shocked more than angry.  The funny thing is the photo she stole from me wasn't even the finish product, but a progress photo only.  My solution?  I wrote a brief Etsy message to the shop owner that it is my soap photo she stole.  Just because you download it from the web and put your watermark on it doesn't make it yours.  And if you don't take it down ASAP I will proceed to report you through the Etsy proper channel.  Oh yeah, no hi, no hello how are you, no my name is blah blah blah...  just simple and straight to the point.

I have no problem showing you how to make certain style of soap, but don't take my work, make your own!  Where is your artist dignity?!  Or do you have any?

Sure enough she replied in no time claiming that she MADE the soap and it's HER PHOTO and she's not backing down.  And further trying to explain to me that maybe our kitchens have very similar decorating style and materials, and also maybe we have very similar taste in photographing soap.  REALLY?!  That's the excuse you are giving me?!  Is that the best you can do?!  Oh she even tried to tell me how she made that soap cake (my soap cake) step by step.  Well, except her story does not hold up, not even matching the photo.  So I wrote her back and told her I still have the exact equipment I used to make the soap cakes and I have proof that I published my blog post last July.

Oh yeah, she took it down alright, together with the other cupcake soap photos she stole from some other soapers.  And her last struggle was writing me another 2 LONG messages about she was doing this for good measure because she had absolutely no idea why there's a mix up.  She said she makes bakery soap but she's old and not good with online social networking, and that her nephew was the one taking the photos and posting them on Etsy and FaceBook for her.  She also said she will get down to the bottom of this mess by talking to her nephew and MAKE THINGS RIGHT AGAIN.  I don't know what disturbed me more, the fact that she's such a great writer and smooth talker (she almost made me feel bad that I was accusing her for stealing my photo), or that on the last message she was using her religion to duck out!  (She told me she's a true Christian and she's not allowed to lie and cheat... etc.)

The conclusion is, from now on I have no choice but to put watermark on every single photo ever going public on the web!  And this watermark has to be right at a spot on the photo where it cannot be cropped out without damaging the focal point.  I will do my best to put it in a way that would make the least impact on the photo composition and integrity.  This means it will take more time for me to publish each post, I'm not liking it, I would rather spend time creating than protecting.  But you do what you have to do to make it work!
The question is, which one do you like?  Logo or name spelled out straight?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Time for V8 Vitamin Boost!

This is another layered soap, with different soap though!
I could just buy V8 juice from any supermarket, soap it and be done with it, but then what's the fun of that?!  Besides, market V8 has other additives for taste, not necessary what I want in soap.  V8 soap sounds good doesn't it?  It gives people an upscale perception that your skin is getting a multivitamin boost by showering.  No one needs to know the truth of the story behind creating this soap, wink wink*  The truth is, I bought too much produce and some of them are on the urge of going bad...  So, throw the them all into soap, that's the best way to 'dissolve' the 'left over'!
Stage 1, I pureed cucumber in soy milk and strained the pulp then freeze into little ice cubes.  Used that to dissolve lye and made a small batch of cucumber soy milk soap.  The next day I pureed the left over carrot, strained the pulp, mixed with left over tomato paste then freeze into ice cubes too.  Stage 2, I pureed over rippened banana in low fat buttermilk (also left over from weekend brunch party) and made a small batch of soap to pour into the bottom of my regular mold.  I sliced up the cucumber soy milk soap and embedded into the banana buttermilk soap.  Stage 3, used the tomato carrot ice cubes to make final small batch of soap to cover the embeds and top it up.
The third day I ended up 3 distinct color layer soap, scented individually with complimentary EO.  Cucumber soy milk layer was scented with Petitgrain & Fir Needle.  Banana buttermilk layer was scented with Anise Star, Cedarwood, & Cinnamon.  and the final layer carrot tomato soap was scented with Sweet Orange, Lavender, Litsea Cubeba, & Patchouli.
 I poured the left over into small individual mold and they came out so yummy like dense moist pieces of carrot banana cake!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vegie Fruit Punch

Who says being healthy has to be boring?!  Not in soap!  My version of Vegie Fruit Punch, refreshing for the hot summer to come.  It is made with fresh cucumber spinach puree in soy milk (strained pulp out).  I had to freeze the 'milk' into ice cube first to avoid lye burn.  It was a nice bright lime green when fresh, but turned into moss green when mixed with lye.  I'm not sure if the green color would stay in soap so I added some neon green colorant to the bottom layer anyway.  This batch is scented with my concoction of fragrance oil that included notes of jasmine, tart guava, juicy pear, berries, and warm sweet fig, anchored with a little dark patchouli, can very well be my V8 type soap!  This soap is made specifically for Savonnerie Mika in honor of the Japanese Soap Swap she's hosting.  If you are interested in the whole story about this soap swap see this post from her: Join "International Soap Swap with Japanese soapers " !!
  To achieve the total opposite color top, it took me some titanium dioxide to lighten it up first before I could color it purple again.  I used more colorant than usual to make this happen, hopefully everyone will like their bubbles purple!  :-p

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Most of the time I see the soap and smell the soap then I get a name in my head.  But this one is different, its scent is striking, alluring, the way I imagine a sexy man would smell like!  Ok, wipe off my drooling...
My point is, I struggled for days naming this soap to a point I had to do a poll on my Facebook page.  Why frustrate myself when I can get all other smart brain to work for me?!  LOL  Anyway, the winner is... obviously Compulsion.  This is my description of the scent:
Made with Blue Moon Beer (mixture of malted barley, white wheat, & oats), it has notes of blood orange, mandarin, bergamot, grapefruit, clary sage, lavender, white flowers, amber, musk, sandalwood, vetiver, myrrh and with hint of nutmeg & coriander.  It's deep, a bit mysterious, and totally complex.
The 2nd runner up is very close, only 3 votes behind, it is Midnight Woods.  Maybe I'll use it next time, why waste it when everyone seems to like it?!

I made beer soap before but didn't seem to get why every soap maker was so in love with it.  It has been a week since cut and it still has that lye beer smell I don't care for.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Legend of Mai-Coh

I let my inner wolf out!
"The Navajo word for wolf, "mai-coh," also means witch, and a person could transform if he or she donned a wolf skin."
This is Mai-Coh:
The idea of Mai-Coh started when I soaped Twilight inspired soap.  I really like Bella, so I went online searching for more related fragrance in the same series.  The aroma notes of Jacob are: Mandarin, Pepper, Cypress, Ebony wood, Leather, Amber, and Musk.  In my head, this soap screams to be wild and free spirit, like the inner wolf calling from the nature.  This soap recipe is very different from what I use to make.  It is totally new, designed just for Mai-Coh, definitely far far away from being vegetarian, how can it?!  Mai-Coh is made with high % of beef tallow and good 5% of lanolin wax.  This is the first time I used lanolin wax in soap.  Lanolin has this musky leather scent that is not pleasant to me, I was hoping it would mellow out a bit after soaping.  But it didn't, it's holding strong, just like a wolf!  However, the leathery musky scent of lanolin actually suits Mai-Coh very well.  
 Do you see a wolf face?!  I see it!

There's definitely wolf in here!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Searching For That Perfect Coconut

There's something about that warm sweet toasted coconut scent I like, maybe because it's always associated with beach and summer and vacation???  If you soap cold process you would know it is difficult to find that perfect coconut fragrance that would survive saponification and still smell like what it supposed to be.  Most of the coconut related fragrance on the market either totally disappeared after soaping or it came back as vanilla or sweet sugar instead.  Well, this is my #X attempt.  This time I paired coconut fragrance up with complimenting Honey & Shea thinking even if the coconut doesn't survive I would not be that disappointed.  This big batch contains loads of unrefined shea butter, colloidal oatmeal, mango extract, and local organic honey (can you tell I'm trying so hard to be in the scheme?!  LOL).  It is in more in line of light sweet scent, you can really smell the colloidal oatmeal in it.  This is my Coconut Shea:

This is also the first time I used a slab mold to make vertical bars, it produces a very square look slices, and they are chunky bars (I usually do bars between 4.5 to 4.8 oz)!  Every bar weights over 5.5 oz when cut, I'm pretty sure it will cure out more than 5 oz still.  After more than 2 weeks of cure, I'm satisfied with the light coconut vanilla like scent in this soap.  It is not as strong as the rest of my soap but it's surprisingly yummy and comforting.