I am beyond excited at how the cookie sandwich soaps have turned out so far. I was shooting for a chocolate brown color, but the brown pigment I have wasn’t looking overly chocolatey, so I added the tiniest dash of black matte powder. I had never used powder coloring before, but of course I had researched and knew that a tiny bit goes a long way. I didn’t realize that a sixteenth of a teaspoon was a lot in this situation. Lol. I was kind of upset when I was whisking the batch and saw how dark the soap was turning, but you know me and waste…I decided to pour them and I could remelt for something else later, but they’d be in handy wafers instead of a massive clump. As they began to set I noticed that they continued to darken (I think it was actually the settling of everything from all of that whisking since it took awhile to incorporate the powder). I’m so happy with them now though! They look like chocolate grasshopper cookies or York miniatures. I can’t believe it. I still need to make the frosting to sandwich and I’m going to let that look rather whimsical so that these don’t look too realistic. In the picture they’re a little glossy, but that will dull in a bit. I had a lot of trouble getting them to release from the molds and popped them in the freezer to contract, to unmold. Yeah, um…*blush and suddenly looking all around* I popped them in as I prepared the supplies to paint the trees and I lost all track of the entire world once I started painting. After I was down I was on cloud 9 and got on SL for a couple of hours. I came out to make my tea and was tidying up when I saw an empty mold sitting on the counter. *facepalm* I ran over and yanked the wafer molds out of the freezer. I had left the tree mold on the counter since I was going to add the wafer ones after the ten minute cool down, so I’d only do one round of equipment washing (I take extra measures for that, so it’s a real pain to do it in multiple rounds). Thankfully these soaps won’t be ruined, but I need to let them slowly return to room temperature. If the condensation stays on them I run the risk of the fuzz popping up on them. It’s a common issue that occurs because glycerin is a humectant, so it draws water from the air, and then whatever itty bitty particles are in the air stick to the moisture, making the soaps look fuzzy. The fuzz can sometimes be wiped off carefully with a damp towel, but that can leave a mess too, and I’d rather write off a soap’s cost than sell something that I’m not proud to have my name attached to. So, I’m going to set an alarm next time I have to use the last resort of freezing a mold. Lol. Anyway, I think they’re adorable and can’t wait to make (and post) Part 2. *grin* Let’s hope that part turns out well too!
Monthly Archives: October 2012
I have to admit that I’m really happy with these soaps. It took awhile to get the hand painting down, but I loved every moment of it. *cheesy smile* For once I even like that they’re not perfect – it adds to that happy, homemade vibe I think. I will try to darken the tree color in the next batch though. When I started the pour I noticed that because the molds are so shallow the soaps are lighter than it looked when it was in the measuring cup. Some days I have big brain farts. Lol. I also think that I’ll trim off the tree stumps. They’re actually where lollipop sticks should be placed for making lollipops (it’s really a candy mold) and since it’s so shallow I’m having a problem with them breaking off. I think that it might work out better if I just take them off and not worry about it. They’d be a LOT easier to package too! Lol. I’m still stumped over that part. They’re really big, so they don’t fit in any crafter bags and I really don’t think a gallon size ziploc would look overly professional. *grin* I may end up with that holiday colored Saran Wrap I guess. I’m always up to hearing ideas if you want to share. *smile* Anyway, I hope you like these too.
I’ve been playing with the idea of experimenting at cookie sandwich soaps. I’d make two guest rounds as cookies (flat shape like an Oreo instead of regular chocolate chip) and adding a bath whip as the filling. I would probably then package in little gift bags. I thought of making different cream colors and even doing a few macaroon-like coloring, so a few pink, etc. I have a Ho Ho FO which I thought might be good for this, tying in the cookie and cream concept.
I also have been debating on snowmen being my key promotion at the craft event. I thought of doing red and white peppermint swirl snowmen and other wild little combos like that.
Sadly my glitter soaps aren’t as sparkly as I hoped. There is a hint of shimmer as I move them under the light. It was definitely a worthwhile experiment and I realize that part of it is because it was a solid soap base instead of clear. For the outer layer I planned on a clear pour, so I’ll just add some of the iridescent glitter to those too. It was the first time using this flower mold and I was impressed. They have a little detail and are much better than the candy molds I used to use – thicker and massively easier to un-mold. The *cough* lavender of the glitter embeds lightened even more as they set it seems.
The living room is a tad warm from an overly efficient woodstove, so it was a perfect time to get some work done while avoiding that room. Lol. I am slowly getting stuff ready for next month’s craft fair and although I really should make some more lotions I decided to focus solely on soaps tonight. I tend to get restless and lose interest when I’m not creating new things, so soaps work perfectly since it isn’t unusual for each soap to be a bit different. The obsessive part of my personality freaks over that, but I’ve finally realized how much the restless part of me loves working at fixing that, and knowing it’ll never fully work. Lol.
I worked on the ice cream cone soap for awhile, but then got the urge to make some embeds while it cooled. I got a small flower silicone mold over the summer and decided that would be really cute embedded in a clear bar or round. The first batch I made another pour of the strawberry used in the cone, but then I decided to totally explore one of my untested ingredients. *struggling to control the excited squirming* I went unscented and will scent the outer soap, instead of a two scent layer soap like the first batch, and made them a super soft lavender. Okay, okay, I’ll be honest. I was shooting for a darker shade, near violet, but after 5 drops I decided a lavender was a better option than running the risk of turning someone’s skin purple. Lol. Anyway, I pulled out the untested iridescent soap safe sparkles and mixed it into the soap. I saw the fantastic shimmer when the soap caught the light as I poured into the flower mold. I really hope that the sparkles stay suspended in the soap instead of sinking, but it might be really cool if they do sink to the front. My biggest hope is that the soap sparkles catch the light as well when set as while they were being poured. I can just see a little girl in my mind’s eye lifting her two-toned soap up to the light and smiling as it shimmers. I had to fight the urge to pop the mold into the freezer for a quick set, but I did the right thing and will let them set properly. It’s still a bit like being five and waiting for Eve to finally become Christmas morning though. *grin*
Lastly I decided to make a big batch of the improved mechanic soaps. Larry tested the experimental batches awhile back and said that the guest rounds actually worked better, so I stuck with those molds this time. He said at the time that guys would probably like a pine scent to them better than Pop a Wheelie, although that isn’t bad. I truly tried to make a woodsy scent, but I’m not too sure what this will smell like once the set. Lol. I had added a tiny percentage of Musk FO and then a ml of Christmas Wreath FO, since it has an awesome mixture of balsam and other notes, and then whisked in my additives. I noticed that the scent was a little odd at that point and figured that it was just too soft, so after I reheated the mixture (it drops temp quickly when lots of additives are added, especially when whisking) I added another ml of Wreath. I still didn’t think it was overly impressive and added a tad more musk. That helped, but I tell you it was still a really odd smell. I’m not sure if it’s the oatmeal, pumice, ground flax, or ground apricot seeds, but one of those is really altering the FOs. I reheated the mixture again and knew I needed to try to save the batch since it isn’t the best idea to reheat yet again. I reached into my flat and grabbed for Sand Dunes, which is part of what I use for Pop a Wheelie, but it turns out that I grabbed Sands of Morocco. I added a ml of that and it gave a nice, spicy twist to the mixture. It’ll be interesting to see what it smells like after it sets, since I’m not sure if the culprit will continue to change things while the soaps cool. After thinking over comments Larry has made in the past about the soaps I decided to not worry unless they smell horrible, since he said most guys don’t care what stuff smells like – just that it works as advertised. Lol. I need to make them smell masculine enough for women to think it’d be a good scent for their guy apparently. *grin* I’m crossing my fingers!
My soaps are covered and cooling in the few higher spots that I can reach that my kitten can’t, and my cone soap is all wrapped up to finish setting, so I think it’s time to settle in with an episode of Once Upon a Time and hopefully fall asleep. I just need to keep my mind off of wanting to un-mold the flowers and embed them. *grin* I hope you are slumbering peacefully while I write this and that I am when you’re reading this. 😉
I had to take some time away from production, but I was tickled to be able to start getting back into it today. I am going to have a booth at a craft fair in November and have a lot of goals. I had three new things that I wanted to explore and got to do all three. *happy dance*
I’ve been thinking about discontinuing the Goat’s Milk Version 3 lotions for awhile due to issues with the silky emulsifying wax. I am absolutely delighted with a new lotion that I will be replacing it with – Evening Primrose! Evening Primrose is thought to be an anti inflammatory with antioxidant properties. To top it off it has mineral oil in it, which usually isn’t irritating and moisturizes well without feeling really thick on the surface of the skin. I’ve been working on ideas for a line that might help people suffering from Fibromyalgia and other joint/muscle ailments. It will take awhile of testing to see if I think it lives up to the anti inflammatory possibilities, but I am so excited. It was creamy and it didn’t irritate my picky skin. This looks like it may work well for people with chemical sensitivities. *oh yeah – another happy dance* I was kind of surprised by how much evaporated during the heating process. I scraped every little bit that I could out of the measuring cups and pan, but somehow lost an ounce from my 16 oz batch. It worked out well in some ways since it allowed me to use the 4 oz jars without being at the brim and sloppy. I’ve used every container that I have and honestly prefer the jars for lotions (thank you Aunt Ina for the buzz in my ear!). The icing on the cake is that the finished product is pretty affordable at $4.75 in the combination I made.
I’ve been researching techniques and ingredients for painting accents on soaps for quite awhile, but was honestly worried about totally ruining soaps. *grin* I had a carriage soap that didn’t turn out well enough for me to be comfortable selling, so it became my guinea pig. I admit that it took about half an hour of playing with brushes and dye formulas to get a hang of some basic skills. I also will not subject you to a picture of that train wreck of experimentation. *cracking up* Unfortunately I decided to learn on a soap that has very fine details. It ended up reminding me of when kids are coloring and go just outside the line consistently. Lol. So that I could easily see my results as I tried different pressures I of course chose to use Santa Red. *rolling eyes at myself* I know it was a learning piece, but seeing this incredibly odd looking resulting soap is a knock to the ego if I’m being honest. *grin* I still need to wash with it to make sure that even with an explosion of Santa Red no one will come out of the shower bright pink.
During my childhood and preteens I was fortunate enough to have several family members and teachers that nurtured my creative nature. I was blessed enough to explore a lot of mediums and developed quite an appreciation for art. If my nose wasn’t buried in a book or geeking out with video games (I was better than the boys in almost all – girl power lol), I would be entranced by Bob Ross on PBS. Not only was his stoner personality thoroughly soothing he had an absolutely inspiring appreciation for nature. One Christmas my grandparents and mom spent a pretty penny (bless you guys even though you aren’t reading this) on a full Bob Ross paint set, easel, two palettes, and other supplies. I admit that I’m seriously critical of myself and my artwork is not safe from it. However I loved it and wish that I had kept painting instead of letting my doubts get in the way. While experimenting on the soap I was hit by how much I still love painting in any fashion. With my involuntary movements / tremor I can’t make a straight line, but there is such joy in every stroke. I’m so blessed to have rediscovered painting and can incorporate it into my new medium.
To top things off I experimented with making the ice cream cone soaps. I’ve read a lot of crafter reviews and learned that the best technique is to pour the cone color for the entire mold. After it sets remove the soap and cut off the ice cream scoops, setting aside the cone colored scoops to melt and use in the next. Tomorrow I will then pour the scoops after treating the point of attachment. I’m really hoping this turns out well, so it’ll replace the dessert cake soaps. The brown dye came out an interesting color, but I happen to like it, so it stays. *grin* I could say that I’m going to do pretty scoops – one strawberry and the other vanilla, by following the same technique as for the cone, but I’m honest enough with myself to know that I won’t. Lol. I’ve decided to try to do them as chocolate, that way if the FO’s vanilla content causes the scented scoops to brown, it’ll actually work out to my benefit instead of having to take a loss. I may experiment on my Christmas gift ones (I can’t wait to see how the little ones respond) and paint little accents like chocolate sprinkles or something else fun.
Overall I’m so happy with today’s accomplishments, regardless of the results. Top it off with several bottles of Fruity Patootie Bubble Wash for the event (a really good seller actually). Hopefully this is the beginning to a streak of production and successes. *crossing fingers*