Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back To Work!

Are you like me? On December 26th, I am officially in "Christmas is over mode." I'm ready to move on. It's kind of a sad sentiment, but the hype is over, and I'm ready to start the new year, and a new life so-to-speak. With that being said, I'm ready to get back to doing what I love, and that's making soap! I have so many new things in the pipeline that I can hardly contain myself. I've got many new glycerin soaps in the works. While I love and appreciate the artistic skills of a glycerin soap crafter, I am not a glycerin soap crafter. I love working with glycerin (or melt and pour) soaps, but only if I have a really fun mold to use. I don't have the patience or skills of say a Milk and Cookeez, a Soapylove, or a Sunbasil Garden. They make fabulous glycerin soaps, and I will leave that to the experts! So where the heck I'm I going with all of this??? I'm rambling as usual, but the point is, I MADE SOME SOAP, lol!

I decided to use my silicone loaf mold for this batch, and it's scented in a dupe of Jo Malone's (the best dang perfumer in the world in my opinion) Black Vetyver Cafe. It's very spicy, some would even say incense-y, so dudes will dig it too. I love the long slices you get when using this mold. It sorta reminds me of biscotti (After much debating, I ended up cutting the "wings" off the soap. They just looked too weird for me.) I CPOP'ed it because it's now my preferred method of making soap now. So, stay tuned as I bring you more ramblings and of course, more soap!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

P Is For...

Perfect gifts! I had a wonderful Christmas yesterday, and I hope you all did too. I just wanted to show off a little bit:) I didn't ask for anything in particular because I don't need anything (but I want EVERYTHING!) There were a lot of surprises under my tree this year like a Garmin GPS (Somehow I think this will be both a blessing and a curse....), and a

Flip Video Camcorder (That means more videos-good ones though!)

But the ones that meant more to me than anything were all the monogram (ok, single-letter) doodads my sister bought me. I l-o-v-e these washcloths. I absolutely needed some dedicated face cloths, and these came at just the right moment! You can never go wrong with note cards and sticky notes. I'm famous for writing notes-just because....

I look forward to playing with all my gadgets. I have a feeling I'll be doing a lot of traveling now-just because...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

It's the most won-der-ful time of the year! Merry Christmas to all my friends who celebrate Christmas! I hope you spend this time with those you love and who love you back. Eat lots of good food and drink lots of good drink.

I'm looking forward to spending the day with my family getting stuffed and tanked while singing bad karaoke and talking about our best gift and the gift most likely to be re-gifted (yes, I do re-gift.) I'll be seeing you....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

You Can't Judge A Soap By It's Cover

(The soap looks real jagged because I haven't yet trimmed it.)

You know if I'm saying this that the soap is jacked up right? This aint the prettiest soap, but it smells like a slice of sweet cake just baked from the oven. I scented it in Vanilla Bean, and I wanted it to have some white swirls because you know it's going to get darker as it cures. It reminds me of a tiramisu almost. I want to bite into it-seriously!

I used an old wooden box that I got a few years back from the White Barn Candle Co. My regular recipe is only about 3.5 pounds, and this box could easily hold about 5 pounds. CPOP'ed again. Can't wait to use this one....

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Reason For The Season

Sometimes we lose sight of what Christmas is all about. It's about celebrating the life of Jesus Christ, but somehow it's turned into this mass media frenzy, and I usually get caught up in the hype. I don't know what happened to me this year, but my perspective has changed considerably. While I love receiving gifts (and not just at Christmas, but all year round!), I love giving them even more. I cannot imagine not having basic necessities like enough food to eat or clean water to drink. I always ask myself "What can I do to make a difference" or "I'm just one person. My efforts would be futile."

Then I thought that a lot of people must have these same thoughts, but if we all pool our resources together, we can really make a difference. I found this site called Kiva. Kiva's mission is "to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty." How it works is you make loans for as little as $25.00 to low-income entrepreneurs all over the world. Most of these aspiring business owners aren't in it to get rich. They're in business to feed their communities, to save them from disease, or to just be able to live a safe and comfortable life. How profound is that? There was no way I could not get involved, and I tell you that my heart is bursting in just knowing that I've contributed in some way-however small.

I made my first loan to a woman named Suli who lives in Uganda. She runs a small grocery store in her community, and she's using her loan to purchase food and supplies. She has five children (whew!) and hopes to be able to grow her business and educate her children. Now what hardworking mother anywhere doesn't want that for their family?

Remember, tis the season for giving-no matter how large or how small. I wish I could give of my time and money to every worthy cause....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

No Cookies For Santa

This year, I'm leaving jolly ole St. Nick some soap. He's jumping down dirty chimneys, and you know he's probably stinking all to be damned from wearing that heavy, felted wool suit. Just kidding, I just wanted a cheeky intro for my latest soap and to show a piece of my tree. Yeah, it's hot pink. I love this little tree. My sister bought it for me two years ago in an effort to cheer me up. It didn't help at the time, but it's doing the job nicely now:)

My latest soap is cpop again and, it's made with all essential oils-patchouli, sweet orange, lime, and a pinch of peppermint. I don't have a name yet, but I love the pattern of the orange. They remind me of flames for some reason...

Now that I'm cpop-ing up a storm, I'll be making lots and lots of soap. Til next time...

Monday, December 14, 2009

CPOP Soap: Blackberry Sage

I have been dying to try this technique for so long, but being the creature of habit that I am, I live by the mantra "If it aint broke..." I am impatient in every aspect of my life. I constantly need instant gratification. Sad, but true. I'd love to try HP (hot process) soap making some day, but I'm just being lazy about it. Truthfully, I love cold process soap making-except I hate the long cure process. So, I discovered the best of both processes: CPOP-cold process, oven process soap making. What's that? I wanted to know too, so I went in search of some answers, and found them on the soapcrafters.com site:

In CPOP soap after the soap reaches trace and any colors, fragrance, or additives are mixed in, it is poured into an oven-safe mold and put in an oven that has been pre-heated to 170 degrees. The oven is left on for an hour. After that hour, the oven is turned off and the soap is left in the oven for another 11- 12 hours."

DISCLAIMER: I did not follow the recipe posted on the SoapCrafters site.

I used my own recipe using olive, palm, coconut, castor, and avocado oils. Here's a shot of the soap after letting it bake for an hour. Note that I'm using a wooden mold and I set it on an old baking sheet (which you can't see.) It goes without saying that if you try this, you must use an oven-safe, heat-safe mold. Silicone would work well also. It looked faded and pasty as if the life had been sucked out of it.

Here's a photo of the soap un-molded after more than 11 hours in the stove (I'm not basting a turkey here, so it just sat in the oven overnight.) So far, so good. The soap looks fantastic! It's as hard as a brick and looks ready to go! An added bonus to cpop-ing: It fills your home with delicious fragrance for hours!

And here's the final product-cut and nearly ready for use! I have to say that this is one fine looking soap! It's smooth and hard and show no signs of botchery (yeah, I made that word up, LOL.) I did the tongue zap test, and no zip, zap, or zing! By my calculations, this soap will be ready the 1st week of January. Now how's that for cp soap making!?

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Soap: Obsessed

Okay, I'm on the fence with this soap, but before I go there, my pictures have been sucking major ass lately. Sorry to be so unlady-like, but I'm slightly perturbed. I have adjusted and re-adjusted my lighting, white balance, yada, yada, and I just can't get the "perfect" picture anymore. Moving on...

I made this soap the other day, and it's scented in a Victoria's Secret dupe of Love Spell. I call it Obsessed because after watching that horrible Beyonce movie the other day, the word just stuck in my mind. I wanted to make this a very "visual" soap with the colors just bursting and popping all over the soap, but it didn't quite turn out that way. I used four different colors-I think, and I had to work really quickly. It smells nice, but I get a little bummed when the vision in my head doesn't translate into the finished product.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Meet Blush!

I call this soap blush because this is a naked soap. This is my first intentional unscented soap. Noticed how I stressed the word intentional. I've made a few batches that were supposed to be scented, but they faded during the curing process. This one has absolutely ZERO fragrance in it-a first for me. This soap was inspired by Nuria at Jabon Artesanal. I can't stress how much I love this chica:) Every time I read one of her posts, it inspires me to step my game up another notch. Nuria made a soap called Pink Clay Soap. I actually used the pink clay that I won in her giveaway back in June, but I never knew what to do with it until now.

Pink clay is great for normal and or sensitive skins because it does not draw oils from the skin. This would make the perfect "wash the day away" facial soap, and that's how I plan to personally use it. I wear bulletproof makeup during the week because my face is an oil slick, and this soap will be just the ticket to "prep" my skin for my normal skincare regime. Of course it can also be used as an allover body cleanser. I love how "pure" this soap smells. You don't know how I was just dying to put some kind of fragrance in this batch. Can't wait til this one's ready....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A New Lavender Soap

I have a confession to make: I don't like lavender. Well, I don't like straight lavender. When mixed with another fragrance, I can tolerate it. A very good friend of mine who's from Dominica (please don't call her Jamaican-she'll kill you!) is in love with lavender. She pronounces it la'venda. It brings a smile to my face each and every time. I decided to give lavender another shot, but I could not make a straight lavender soap. I'm going to catch hell for this, but it's too "grandmotherly" for me. I needed to punch it up a bit, so I added some orange and ginger essential oils to it. While it's still primarily lavender-scented, I don't get that EWW feeling when i smell it. I'm actually loving this one. I forgot to mention that the lavender is also an essential oil. I'll be reserving one of these for my la'venda-loving girlfriend.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Savon d'olive

Enough bitching, let's talk soap! I love, love, love the boutique L'Occitane. Every time I step foot inside of that store, I want to buy it all! My favorite product from them is the Shea Butter Hand Cream. It's like $25 a tube, but you know what? You only need a little bit, and it's worth every single penny in my book! Anyway, getting back to ME, I wanted to make something very L'Occitane-ish. I've searched high and low for a dupe of anything made by them, and it was under my nose the whole time at WSP!

I've never smelled "Olive" before, but after reading the description, "olive, lemon, lime, and lavender...", I was sold. When I opened the bottle, I was instantly transformed to Provence (ok, I've never been to France, but THIS is how I imagine it to smell!) The scent is so fresh and so clean making it perfect for women and men alike. I colored it lightly with green oxide, and I used my cylindrical mold. I finally got a clue and bought a Wilco silicone liner and cut it to size to insert into my mold. I got the soap out in two good pushes. One thing I didn't take into consideration were the markers on the liner. They left these nifty, unwanted imprints on my soap, but I think it gives the soap character.

Anyway, I've decided to use these soaps for a sample box I'm participating in for February. They're bigger than a typical sample, but not quite large enough to sell independently (I think.) Now that I've tested the waters and actually like this scent, I'll be making a larger batch but this time I think I'll make the olive color a little "dirtier" so that it's a brownish-green. I can't get martinis out of my head now...