I have been making soap again and am having a ball. Now we are settled into Bridgetown on a more permanent basis, I have been trying to build up my supply of soap ready for Christmas. Soap needs four weeks to cure and I am going away for the whole of September, therefore, I don’t have that much time to build up supplies.
Soaping is a wonderful hobby because there is so much to learn and I love learning new things. My long term plan is to get a range of soaps that I can make consistently. I am still at the very beginning of this stage but there are already some soaps I think will form part of this range.
The first is my Antique Rose soap. It is the third time I have made it. What makes this soap exceptionally tricky is the fragrance. Floral fragrances are notoriously difficult to work with. They cause the batter to heat up, accelerate (go really thick, really quickly), seize (go rock hard, instantly) and rice (separate and go all grainy). The trick with floral fragrances is to use a slow moving recipe, keep your batter cool and don’t try anything fancy.
The first time I made Antique Rose, I hit the jack pot. It must have been beginner’s luck. I managed a nice swirl in three colours. I was so excited with this soap.
I tried to find a photo of my second Antique Rose but I mustn’t have taken a photo of it. I do remember, however, that it had glycerine rivers. Glycerine rivers just means the glycerine in the soap separates out and you get transparent lines running through your soap. They are fine but, most times, soapers don’t want them. Glycerine rivers are caused by a number of factors including the batter getting too hot. As I mentioned, floral fragrances cause your soap to heat up.
This time I knew to keep my soap cool. Well, all great plans go astray. The day I made this soap was really, really cold. As soon as I added the fragrance, the soap seized (known as “soap on a stick”) and then riced (went all grainy). Clearly, the fragrance was too cold!!! I was amazed that I was even able to get the soap into the mould. The little bits of colour are the three colours I was going to swirl. I quite like the effect but it is not what I was seeking.
Next time, if it is a really cold day, I know to heat up the fragrance a bit. See what I mean? There is always something to learn.
I have already shown you my new cappuccino soap. This is a second try of a soap I loved the idea of.
In my first effort, I included a layer of plain soap and then a layer of soap with ground coffee beans. This time I decided to skip the ground coffee beans. I found them too coarse. I also decided to use a taller mould (I think it is more elegant) and I added a coffee bean and some white hearts to the cocoa on top. I am really happy with this design. It is a keeper. I won’t be making any changes to it.
This is my oatmeal, milk and honey soap. I have made an oatmeal and honey soap before but didn’t include milk. The soap was a bit crumbly when I cut it but I was glad to read in Milk Soapmaking, by Anne L Watson, that this is not unusual for milk soap. All is well now.
I nearly nailed this soap but not quite. I wanted the top honeycomb layer to be darker than the rest of the soap. I tried this on my first attempt but there was no great distinction between the top and the body of the soap. This time, I nailed the colour distinction but I didn’t wait long enough after pouring the first layer and I didn’t pour the second layer gently enough. For both reasons, I displaced the top layer. Lesson learned: be much more careful when pouring the second layer of soap. BTW: They smell absolutely divine. No wonder this is a very popular fragrance. Postscript: I tried a sample of this soap last night, love it, love it, love it.!
This is my second attempt at Fruit Tingle. The first time I made it, it looked lovely but I used too many soap shreds and they were way too big. This meant the cakes of soap were a bit crumbly.
This time, I was a bit smarter. I made the shreds smaller and used less, poured a layer of plain soap into the mould and then added the soap which included the shreds and then finished off with some plain soap. This version is a much finer soap.
In my first Fruit Tingle, I put soap shreds on top. In retrospect, I quite like that idea. I may revert to it next time.
This is a new soap.
My sister, Sandra, gave me some berry moulds last Christmas and I just bought these cute ball moulds. I have been playing making lots of balls and lots of berries. Now I have to find ways to use them in my soap. This design was born because I had some shreds left over, I wanted to try piping onto the top of the soap and I could use some of my cute balls. Win, win, win!
If I make this soap again, I will try to have three rosettes in a row for each bar of soap. This time, I went for a random look but I am sure it can be improved. The fragrance is Crisp Cotton. This is the first time I have used it. It is a very fresh fragrance but I am not sure if it is the right one for this design. I will certainly be playing more with my melt and pour balls. I just love them.
I have decided to call this soap The Bridesmaid. Weird, I know, but I couldn’t think of a better name. The name comes from the fact that the style of soap is confetti soap (that is what soap with shreds in it is called) which conjures up a wedding. Since the soap is coloured, I thought it more The Bridesmaid than The Bride. I am sticking with that name unless someone can come up with a better one.
Interestingly, I did not pour any plain soap into the mould before I added the shreds, as I did with Fruit Tingle. Next time, I will because it creates a smoother base.
This is a brand new soap and definitely not me for I am not a yellow girl. I bought the fragrance Love Spell which is lovely and fresh and citrusy but it turns your soap yellow. I decided to work with the yellow rather than against it, adding some yellow colouring. The black dots are poppy seeds and the black line is charcoal. The petals are Calendulas. I am calling this one Marigold Dancer. Why? Well, Marigolds are Calendulas and the poppy seeds do give the impression of dancing stars. That is my argument and I am sticking to it.
Even though it is not a design I have made before, it is the recipe I used in my Silk Road soaps, one of which we are using at the moment. I love the soap so much I used the same recipe on this soap. Slowly, I am working out which recipes I like the most. Eventually, I will use only a few formulae. The recipe turned out perfectly. Notice how lovely and smooth the soap is. I am sure it will be special. There is Tussah silk in the recipe.
BTW, if anyone is interested in any of these guys, they will appear under my Soap for Sale tab in a couple of weeks. They will be $5.00 each and make perfect small Christmas gifts. I will be making more over the next few weeks so stay turned.