Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Secrete Swirl

Or so called the Mantra Swirl.  The excitement of this is you never know what you gonna get, it's a secrete, until you reveal it!
This loaf is milk soap scented with Chamomile Lavender essential oil blend and a dab of dark patchouli.  Smells very fresh, soothing and spa like.
I forgot to mention, this time instead of using Annatto Seed powder straight for coloring, I infused it in olive oil first.  This time, not much specks, yay!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

100 Celebration!

My #100 post!  Let's see what wordle says about my blog!
Drop me a comment!  I want to hear from YOU!

Soap Soap Soap!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Prairie Mist - a Glance Back While Reaching Forward

For some reason more than often I don't use single fragrance oil or essential oil blend by any suppliers anymore, I always have to blend again.  I don't know why, maybe it's more fun this way?!  The hardest part is always to make up a new name for the Emily concoctions!  The new name Prairie Mist was created with help from another soaper friend, Tamra, really like this new name.  It is a blend of 2 marine spa type fragrance oils.  I had done variation blues with a dark pencil line style more than a year ago.  I don't normally repeat my design, but this time I actually WANT to, strange... 
Well, this Prarie Mist did not want to cooperate, riced on me, had to use stick blender (now I know why we can't live without it, lol) to break the lumps up as much as I can.  Still, there are tiny white specks in the entire loaf.  Oh well, can I say it's white sand under the Caribbean coral reef?!

This is my #99 blog post since I started my blog back in April.  Let's looked back at history before I make the milestone.  I want to show you the original version of this soap style more than a year ago.  This is my Coastal Line soap scented with Beach Breeze mixed with Champaign.  Very yummy scent, but unfortunately, it did not last, faded away in 2 months mark...

What do you think?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Soaps got Studio Grade Makeover!

If you are a soaper like me you probably also religiously follow Soaperstar's blog: Soaperstar Blog and you would know all her soaps (oh and now videos) are photographed by her honorary daughter, Miss Geraldine Holland, and they all look professionally done!  She now has a Facebook fan page: Taken by Titch  Go visit her page, she constantly upload beautiful photos (not just soaps, lol), show her some love, would you?!
Anyway, I had the honor for Miss Titch to take some photos of the soaps I sent to Soaperstar for exchange of her soap I eager to get my fingers on (oh my~).  My soaps got a makeover!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Forgotten Annatto Seed Powder

If you follow my blog you would know I have an episode with fading yellow natural colorant - turmeric powder.  See my previous post Fading Natural Colorant.  I got a few very good suggestions since, like using Annatto seed, paprika, red palm oil, carrot juice, tomato paste... etc.  Among all, Annatto seed sounds like the most versatile and economical way to try.  Just as I was getting my mind ready to place an order online just so I can also purchase some Annatoo seed to try, guess what I dogged out from my soaping drawer?!  I didn't even know I had already bought a small spice bottle of Annatto seed powder!  When did that happen?!  I tend to surprise myself from time to time like this.  Ok, my soap drawer is trying to tell me something here!  I HAVE to use the Annatto seed powder. I got all my oil/butter and lye ready, and oh, turned on Dr. Who Season 6 Episode 6 The Vampires of Venice.  Ok, don't laugh, but what I planned to soap was going to take FOREVER (yup, spoon swirl), so I need entertainment.  I probably can't watch it, but I can listen to it!
This batch is named Refresh, my concoction of Orange, Lavender, Eucalyptus, and a little Geranium & Bergomet.  The green is from French green clay, pink from French pink clay, white is TD, and golden yellow (I used too much, more orange now) from Annatto seed powder!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Soap for Rabbits

Not that I'm suggesting using this soap to wash rabbits...  
This is just my new soap made with 2 lovely ingredients: fresh carrot and coconut milk.  when I make carrot soap in the past I always just grind up some fresh carrot in the food processor with some water and use it as it is.  This time I want more smooth look without speckles, so I used the coffee filter to separate the juice from solid.  I used half of the fresh cold carrot juice to dissolved my lye and the other half mixed into the coconut milk I would add to the soap mixture later.  Since I can't avoid partial gelling for my milk soap lately, I decided to just let this one fully gelled up by itself.  For visual effect, I chose to do faux funnel swirl (meaning funnel swirl without using a fennel, just pour on the same spot by hand).  Faux funnel pour if done right looks exactly like the real funnel pour, but it's easier to perform when raw soap is less than ideal thin trace.  The brown is colored by dark cocoa powder and the red is by red clay.  Fresh carrot juice, dark cocoa powder and red clay are strong in color in making cold process soap, gelling it intensified the depth even some more!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Clay Clay, and More Clay!

Pink clay, red clay, brown clay, and my favorite, dead sea mud (and not the dried out powder kind, the real mud)!
Definitely weird soaping mud, kind of sticky. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fading Natural Colorant

Natural coloration using herbs for cold process soap has been popular recently and seems to be the latest trend.  I'm disappointed to say that not all natural colorants hold up to the test in time.  Just look at my Dark Star soap before and after shots.  I used Turmeric powder for that golden yellow, cocoa powder for brown and activated charcoal for black.  While cocoa powder and activated charcoal hold up to it's strength in color, the golden yellow is now totally gone.  And it has only been about 4 weeks out.  Is there a way to achieve that rich golden yellow by using natural colorant?  I would LOVE to know.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Frankincense & Myrrh

I'm not sure yet if I like or dislike this scent.  But since it seems to be popular, I made a loaf, using LCP (low sweat like CP) melt and pour clear soap base to accent.  I also used dark cocoa powder to make it even darker brown to bring out the gold colored LCP.  I don't know... maybe I'm not Frankincense Myrrh kind of gal!

Maybe I should rename this, any idea?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Milk Soap Line Up

Let me show you my naked milk (different kind of milk of course) soap line up:
I don't seem to be able to avoid partial gel... sigh.  Well, except the cow milk soap, I insulated it to force gel and it got dark on me...

Coconut Milk Soap
Cow Milk Soap
Soy Milk Soap

I have to say, soy milk soap is the creamiest, love it!
PS. My free hand model is no longer available, he is a natural!  I tried to use his brother (my husband) but... sigh.  You would think it's in their same gene.  He only complaint to me... oh about 100 times in the duration of 5 minutes!  Why do you think you are looking at my hands this time?!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hot Flash Drama Queen - Shells

If you have not seen the original version, you can read it here first: Hot Flash Drama Queen
Well, this is the earthy version of the same fascinating scent.
Don't you wish all spa you go to would provide you a basket full of these fabulous scented shells for your shower?!

Monday, August 15, 2011

In The Mold Swirling

Typically you do a ITP swirl meaning In The Pot swirl when the raw soap mixture is at the right trace.  But what do you do when you have the mixture over traced but you still want that similar look?

As I'm still in the stage of adjusting myself to get used to using a stick blender to soap, all my batches are over traced these days.  Plus, I poured too hard on the flaxseed oil jug, and ended up having to readjust my double batch recipe into triple batch!  Oh my~  Original plan was only to make a loaf of naked cow milk soap and some Hot Flash Drama Queen shell version.  Well, now I have to quickly think of 3rd loaf idea.  I was not worried because I have so many fragrance oil I have not yet used.  Anyway, milk soap over traced... sigh.  Poured the naked loaf, that was easy, piece of cake.  Moved on to do 4 color shells using those cheap plastic shell sheet molds.  I globed colors into each cavity and swirled each shell with a stick.  And it only took me... forever!  I'll take photos and show you next blog post.
By the time I'm done with those shells (10 total) the remaining raw soap mixture had gone really thick, like gooey taffy or cold cream cheese.  I quickly poured some cold milk into the pot and stirred it down to thinner paste then mixed in the fragrance oil (Blackberry Amber) and colors.  The mixture is thinner but still too thick to do any sort of swirling.  But I wasn't going to give in.  If it's too late to do an ITP swirl, why not modify it to an ITM swirl?!  After random globs of colors at various spots in the mold, I stumped the mold pretty hard against the counter a few times to compact the paste together then used a chopstick to draw random patterns vertically across the mold a few times.  Stumped the mold against the counter again to even out the top, and finally sprayed a shinny layer of rubbing alcohol, done!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Soy Milk Venture

I've heard about people making soy milk soap and how silky it is.  But soy milk is not something I normally have in stock in my kitchen.  I've been putting it off because I would forget to get soy milk every time I go grocery shopping.  Tuesday night I finally got to soap with soy milk, the first time.  And you know what's also the first time?  Me using a stick blender to soap.  That's right, you heard me.  I never own one till 2 days ago.  I'm totally not used to this, it makes the mixture move too fast!  Oh well, next time I'll adjust.  I guess no swirl this time...
Back to soy milk soap, it is like creamy pudding!  I was a little disappointed that soy milk is not as white as I expected.  Soap mixture looks kind of tan when I poured, heated up fast so I had to pop it in the freezer.  The next morning I took it out and the color lighten up to lovely creamy beige!
 Here I present you, my power oval!  Yes, it got partially gelled... even after being in the freezer to prevent gelling...  I tell you, soy milk soap heats up FAST!

I split the batch into 2, one naked, an the other scented with Euphoria EO blend.  It's mainly Jasmine, Rose and Sandalwood, very feminine, might be perfume-ish to someone, but I'm a fan of floral scents.  I tell you, this scent really sticks, I can smell myself hours after shower.  And of course this EO blend accelerated on me, on top of the acceleration due to the stick blender.  That totally culprit my swirling plan I have for this lovely loaf.
 The naked one is power oval, and this one... I got smiley face!  How cool is that?!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Exciting News

Almost 3 months back I found this fairly new market that sells practically anything natural (or organic in some cases) and eco-friendly, but online only.  You can read their story here: The Story of Abe's Market
I've only been selling on Etsy ever and running a one-person-business.  I only sell what I can make, one small batch at a time.  But anyway I applied to join the market team just to try out.  I filled out their seller application and sent them samples of my product together with my proposed product listing.  Nervously waiting and finally got my approval email!  I'm still in shock a little, I thought I was going to be rejected.  This is about 3 weeks ago.  I had to put this whole Abe's Market planning on hold as I also received a custom order of desert soaps from this local salon's grand opening (see blog Cupcakes Going Out) and also I was hosting my maid of honor's co-ed baby shower (see blog Army Full of Rabbits!).

Anyway, good news is, I'm officially an Abe's Market seller.  I finally have time dedicated to set up my shop online with Abe's Market.  Bad news is they rejected all soap with artificial fragrance oil.  I knew this is coming as the objective of Abe's Market is to be natural and eco-friendly.  I revised my product list and finally penciled out a line of goodies that fit into the niche.  All the ground work and planning has been "cooking" in my head since the day I applied, from recipe to scenting  to packaging to shipping... etc.  Oh my head is exploding.  I need to roll into production ASAP.  This is the time I say I wish there are 48 hours a day!

Here comes the good stuff, I'm offering 20% off store wide sale (Etsy shop) to celebrate.  Go to my Etsy shop Shieh Deisgn Studio and buy whatever listed, just put in coupon code CELEBRATE20 at check out. I will replenish stock frequently until everything runs out which I doubt.  Sale good till end of August.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cupcakes going out

All cupcakes packaged in their little box with color coordinated liner and ribbon ready to be shipped!

Summer Fig

Prairie Mist

 Coconut Lime Verbena

Cherry Blossom

 Red Currant & Thyme