Monday, October 31, 2011

Christmas Soap...On Halloween

So I'm reading some of my favorite soap blogs, and everyone is revealing their holiday offerings! I am so late-as usual. I have to start thinking and planning more like a business. Although it's only October (okay, tomorrow's Nov 1), retailers are already unveiling and debuting their Christmas stuff, so why shouldn't I? I am a retailer, after all. Sidebar: I am always hesitant to call a new soap a "holiday" soap because I don't want to be left with a lot of "holiday" stuff after the holidays have passed. That's just me...

Anyway, here is the soap, and I don't have an official name for it yet. It can be called a real "Palmolive" soap because it has just 2 oils: olive and palm. Sidebar #2: It wasn't until last year that I put 2+2 together to realize that Palmolive soap was named so because it was made with palm and olive oils. Duh...The main scent is a blend of balsam and pine-like a newly-chopped Christmas tree. This would make a great candle or tart scent (hint, hint). I was a little hesitant to use it in a soap because who would want to smell like a Christmas tree so I softened it a little with a few droplets of pomegranate for a bit of sweetness. The "Christmas bulbs" on top are scented in a delicate floral to further help balance out the pine-y aroma.

Sadly though the white part of the soap has morphed into a dark tan. I am completely out of titanium dioxide, but I still think it will be a cute soap in the end. Now I think I'll make some tarts in this scent. I really like it when my space smells like Christmas-even in the springtime!

Edit: Since it is Halloween, it's only fair that I share of picture of me looking absolutely ridiculous at the office party. Can you guess who I am?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Appearances Can Be Deceiving


I am convinced that that Dingleberry soap I made last month is cursed. I made some soap balls out of the trimmings and decided to use them in my newest batch of The Seduction Soap, and they are literally popping out of the soap. I had to “glue” them back in with some clear M&P soap. The soap itself is scented in Black Vetiver Café-a Jo Malone duplication. By the way, Jo Malone is the truth! My favorite scent by her is Nectarine Blossom Honey, and Sweetcakes carries a dead-on replication of it. It might be time to do something with that scent too…

Anyhoo, I added some coconut milk powder to the mix, and I didn’t incorporate it very well as you can see by the speckles throughout. It does give the soap character-yeah, right...

This scent is very woodsy and incense-y. I don’t smell any “café” at all. I smell pure mystery and sophistication (if you asked me what mystery and sophistication smelled like.) It’s definitely a grown-up scent and for those who don’t like floral, food-y, or sweet scents. Your guy could definitely use this soap, but I haven't decided if I'm going to list it or not. One oops soap is okay, but soon, I'm going to have to create a new category: JACKED UP SOAPS. We've already got a Soap Queen. I don't want to be the Soap Jester...teehee...

Friday, October 14, 2011

I Am Obsessed With Soap Molds!

My last post kinda hinted at my borderline addiction, but it's becoming a bit of an illness-this obsession I have with soap molds. Don't ask me why because I can't explain it. Ever since I started making cold processed (handmade from scratch) soap, it's always been more about the mold than the end result. Yes, yet another one of my many quirks. I'm really enamored of wooden soap molds. I just think they are the creme de la creme of soap molds. Every soap maker should own at least one wooden mold in my opinion. They're sturdy, rigid, and last forever, and they don't have to be "soap" molds per se.

Yes, it's stained and dirty, but I do line it before each use. Trust me, no dirty soap...
Above is a wooden box that I scored at White Barn Candle Co. about 5 years ago. It came with a candle set I bought, and I just happened to hang on to it after I used up all the candles. Making soap was the last thing on my mind at the time, but I am SOOOOOOOO glad I kept it. This is my official "slab" mold. I use this one for bulk soap orders mostly. Here are a few soaps I've made with this mold:

Vanilla Cake-This one looked so real and smelled like straight vanilla and butter. I can't duplicate it for the life of me!

Spellbound-A Vicky's Secret dupe

Okay, a beat up soap mold means it gets the job done!
This next mold is used in probably about 80% of my soap making. I got this one from Candles and Woodcrafts about 3 years ago, and sadly, they've closed shop indefinitely. This is a 3 or 4 pound mold (I can't remember), and it's the perfect size. I can get about 11,  5+ oz bars when I cut the loaf. If I had to buy this one over again, I would have chosen the hinged version as opposed to the pegged one because I'm always losing the pegs! Here are a few of my personal faves made with this mold, and again, can't duplicate them. It's always the experimental soaps that I never take notes on (duh!) and they turn out perfectly only never to be made again...

Dirty Sexy Soap. I blended patchouli essential oil and nectarine blossom. Fan-freaking-tastic!
Royal Soap-English tea rose

Lastly, is the score of the year! The Upland Soap Factory and Southern Soapers both closed shop this year (I was genuinely upset when SS closed), and Kelly, Southern Soapers' owner, announced on her Yahoo Group that she was selling off the last of her equipment including her prized Upland Soap molds. Some consider these the gold standard of wooden molds. The craftsmanship was said to be impeccable and top-notch, and I've always wanted one, but I am a tightwad in every aspect of my life. These molds started at around $60.00 and zoomed from there. So this is a major score because I copped this bad boy for 30 bucks! I guestimate this one to be around 2.5 pounds-maybe 3? Someone, lemme know if you know. I have yet to make any soap with it yet. I just received it the other day, and I'm going to use it to make my first holiday soap of the season.  What I love most about this mold? The silicone liner! No more lining with wax paper. YAY. No, double YAY!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

It's Time For The Percolator

‘Memba that club song from the 90’s? Oh well…I do. It was one of those annoying songs where it was just a club beat and the only lyrics were the hook: “It’s time for the percolator. It’s time for the percolator…” Out of the blue that damn song popped into my head, and to this day, I can’t get rid of it! I decided to channel my frustration into my latest soap project, but I think I only made it worse because all I can say now is “It’s time for the percolator…” With all that being said, here is my latest soap. I’ll give you 3 guesses what the name of it is. Yes, you are correct. It’s scented purely in sweet and blood orange essential oils. I went overboard with the coffee and what should have been a sprinkling turned into a splattering, but it’s all good. 

What I’m most excited about is these cubed shapes. I have been fiend-ing for a cube-shaped mold forever, and I finally found one at Brambleberry. I am in love with this thing! It has 25 cavities and holds up to 10 pounds of soap! I have never made 10 pounds of soap at once. One, I’m a small batch kinda gal, and two, I do not have the room to store finished soap as it is. My living room has a tower of plastic shoe boxes filled with finished soaps. That’s a post for another day…The only minor issue I have with it is I had to put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes so I could easily release the soap. It's suggested that you use sodium lactate in your formula to aid in un-molding, but you know how I feel about that…aint happ’nin-even if I don’t have to slice it. 

Can you guess how many ounces this soap is? It looks kinda small in comparison to say a slice or a bar doesn’t it? Well this bad boy weighs in at a whopping 6.05 ounces! I was shocked because I really thought these would be about 4 oz.  This would make a nice kitchen soap. Or hand soap. Or guess bathroom soap. Or housewarming gift. Or I need-some-good-soap soap. Sadly, there are only 5 of these bars because I wasn’t sure what to expect. And I practically used the kitchen sink to formulate the recipe: olive oil, soybean oil, coconut oil, palm (organic) oil, mango butter, and shea butter. You know, I just realized that I forgot to add castor oil. Damn! Oh well, it’s still fabulous…

Swirling your soap with this mold is not really feasible unless you do the in the pot swirl because the cavities are separated. I guess you could do a linear swirl with multiple colors, but you’d have to work super fast, and I can almost guarantee that every single bar will look completely different. No thanks. I’m still playing around with this mold, but I’m thinking of reserving it just for my Castile soaps-simple and easy. Oh yeah, don’t drop this soap on your foot. It will hurt. Bad. Ask me how do I know.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Crafty Bastards 2K11

It was cold. It was wet. It was nasty. It was delightfully unpleasant. It was the annual Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair (that sounds so Jr. High School-ish to me) hosted by the Washington City Paper and sponsored by none other than Etsy. Of all the days to rain, it would be the day of the festival, and it would be on the first of the month. Don't they know I have rent to pay?! We only stayed about an hour. It was just too wet and gross for my liking. My hair was a hot mess, and my patience was thinner than Naomi Campbell's hairline. Here are a few pics I snapped with my iPod. Hopefully next year, we'll have nicer weather...and nicer vendors. I'll blame it on the rain, but when you're trying to sell your wares, a smile and a hello will get you a lot farther and quite possibly a sale. Just sayin....

Real festive, huh?

Cool purses made from actual leather-bound books

Junkprints-One of my fave Etsy shops.

These were cool. Don't ask whom the vendor was...

Yes, thee Jay McCarroll from Season 1 of Project Runway. And yes, he really is a diva...

Bunny Butt Soaps...nice scents

Cool leather cuffs. They're local, so I can score anytime.

Soap from Herban Lifestyle...local and on Etsy

Soap from Biggs & Featherbelle out of Baltimore.