Friday, July 26, 2013

Soaping Indian Amber Resin

My knowledge of the amber resin (for scenting) before I had the chance of getting some was some kind of harden thousand year old piece of stone like jewelry.  I was wondering how perfumist uses it to make those warm sexy exotic base note in the upscale perfume, grind it into powder???
Last month I had joined an online co-op and got some to try.  Boy is it expensive!  It's sold by gram, GRAM, singular digit!  This is the information I got from the coordinator of this co-op about amber resin:
"Amber is a composite of many natural resins and herbs, created in India by one of several master formulators.  Each has their own secret recipe which is handed down through the generations and is guarded as a family trade secrete."

When I first open the little zip bag I received I was very very impressed with the intense exotic incense like scent.  Makes me want to rub it all over my skin.  It is very hard to explain how it smells like, it has many different notes of spice and musk and woods and so much more!  And it does not look like jewelry... surprise!  This is the photo taken by the co-op coordinator:
I was not sure if all the lovely complex notes would survive cold process soap saponification, I desperately hope it does!  I tried 2 different method, 1st time I directly melted the resin with a small portion of my soaping oil and added into the soap; 2nd time I melted the resin with soaping oil and let it infused in warm heat for 3 hours before soaping the whole pot. 

First try: Dare Me Soap
I mixed a duplication of Truth or Dare perfume with the amber resin.  This is a white floral amber musk blend sweeten by vanilla, classic yet modern and sexy.

Second try: Mayan Gold Soap
I mixed a fragrance oil called Mayan Gold and the amber resin.  This is an oriental type scent with rare woods, spices, amber, musk, chocolate, with a kick of vibrant citrus.
They are both warm and sensual blends, preparing for the Autumn season, it's never too early!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Photo Inspiration - Glass Pavilion

Inspiration can come from anywhere, sometimes it starts with a new fragrance I bought, sometimes it starts with an image I saw, sometimes it starts with a color scheme I want to achieve.  This one all started when I bought a new fragrance from a reputable supplier.  It is one of their new summer collection scents, fresh, crisp and marine type.  For awhile I didn't know what I'm going to design, nothing came to my mind.  I really like this scent, but a soaper's block hit me while I was tangled in new packaging making machine drama.  Let's not go there, it was a mess and a long story.  Nevertheless, I was able to dig myself out of the frustration and came back to what I'm really passionate about: making soap.  I know I wanted a blue soap, something related to words like summer, cool, refresh, spa, crisp... etc.  I saw this stained glass design picture on line and that is it, my inspiration!
This is my interpretation in soap:

What do you think?  A success?!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Journey to my New Soap Box

My packaging for the longest time has been wrapping each bar of soap one by one with white dry wax paper, colorful ribbon then sticker tags front and back.  It is very economical but very time consuming.  I've always been searching for a more exciting, professional look new packaging idea.
I could order a whole bunch of custom made boxes from suppliers, but that needs a rather LARGE minimum order to get the price economical.  I do like the idea of soap in a box.  That would give the soap a more uniform look.  But as restless as me, I probably change my design way too often to make the pre-order worth awhile.
One day one of my soaping friends introduced me to this crafting machine that connects to any computer to design, print from any printer then send it back to cut.  It is a little pricey but I totally got excited by the flexibility this will give to my packaging need.  I can change my design anytime I want with no minimum order to worry about!
I started sketching my first box idea:
 Using a graphic program to draw and print, cut with plain old pair of scissors for prototype study #1:
Yes, it is very colorful, LOL, doing it so I can see how different planes come together.

I sent the design to cut with my new toy to test prototype #2: text choice is not good for cutouts... sigh.

Testing more fonts for cutouts and found the one that works pretty well:

Now thanks to my honey, I got some professional looking product photos!