Saturday, January 16, 2010

What's your weakness?

I'm a fragrance junkie and I've got the few dozen bottles of fragrance oils to prove it.  I've also got the family who will hold an intervention if I try to buy more.  An intervention was already held when I went on a soap buying binge a few years back - but with scents like "Planets Cosmic Spice", "Osage Orangewood", and "Silken Rosewood" I couldn't resist. (This was before I started soaping on my own...not that that has stopped me from buying a bar of deliciously scented handmade soap now and then.  I just don't buy a dozen bars at a time anymore..)   Add a heavenly fragrance to luscious lather and I'm in the shower for as long as the hot water lasts.

I also love texture...and am willing to potentially pass up a smooth but scented bar if  it means I can get honey and oatmeal.

Of course, the idea of beer in soap still intrigues me.  (Doesn't matter if I've done a couple batches.)  Add herbs to it and I'm in love.  (This batch used a seasonal spiced pumpkin beer with Yucca Root and Comfrey.  Sad to say, the spiced scent did not last through the curing phase.)

I've bought pretty bars of handmade soap in the past where the only thing going for it was that it was pretty.  I don't want that for my soaps...

That doesn't mean I don't want to play with swirls ...........

Or semi dramatic attempts in contrast ...

But that's not my main focus.

So, what do you look for when buying handmade soaps?  Do you look for all natural?  Fun or funky ingredients?  Luxury oils?  Or is it the color and scent that draws you like a magnet?

Friday, January 15, 2010

I know, you've heard it before...

So, yeah... I've been away for a bit.

New year, new commitments, new soapy goodness.  I'm full of new ideas and eager to revisit some old ones.

Which means that you'll be seeing more posts and more pictures (limited to cell phone snap shots for the time being... new digital camera is on the wish list.)

In the meantime, here are some creations from over the New Year holiday:

This is a batch of hot process almost castile soap.  "Almost castile" because it's not quite 100% olive oil - I used about 7% Castor oil in the hopes it would negate the almost slimy feel that folks complain about in true castile soaps.  Then I added some skin loving honey.   Even though hot processed soaps are ready to use immediately (and trust me, I have a tiny sample of this batch in the shower) these bars are up on the curing racks for the next few months.  Due to the oils used, they came out very very soft, but they'll become nice, hard, long lasting bars in time.  No added fragrance since at least half the batch is going to my eagerly awaited new 2nd cousin.  (Should be fully cured by his April due date.)

These bars are a slight spin on the Break the Rules Soap on the Anne-Marie Faiola's Teach Soap website.  I couldn't find my powdered goats milk, didn't want to run to the store on New Year's Eve, so I pulled out the regular, every day 2% milk from the fridge.  I also hot processed this batch so I could get the oval bars to my friends Justin and Stacy without telling them they'd have to wait at least a month.  :-D  Scented with Pepperberry Fragrance Oil, the swirl is from red sandalwood powder.

These wood bars are my spin on the Engraved Wood Grain Soap Tutorial from the June 2009 edition of Let's Get Soapy eMagazine.  Got some ohhh's and aaahs on these, but I think my technique needs some work.  Glycerin soap - clear top layer scented with English rose, bottom layer scented with Dragon's Blood.

What should have been an easy embed project turned into a minor hassle.  Layers didn't adhere and while the bars looked nice enough, I wasn't happy with the quality at all.  So I chopped em up, dusted the chunks with a pearly white mica, and turned em into this:

Much  better!  All layers adhered, more textural appeal, and when looked at through sunlight?

Now I need to do a batch in fire colors and a citrus fragrance to balance out these icy Moroccan Mint bars.

More projects to come!


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