Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cold Process White Tea & Ginger Swirl Soap

I wish I had filled just one mold with all of the batter because these bars came out pretty thin. I can tell they are going to be nice, hard bars of soap, though.  I used Bramble Berry's Ultramarine Blue and Liquid Orange for the swirls, although the orange swirls look more red to me. Funny, because when I try to make a red soap using Liquid Red it comes out pink! I just used 1/2 of a Capri Sun box for my molds.

Christmas Holiday Soaps

I'm finally soaping again. It was a long, hot summer and I just couldn't bear the thought of suiting up with gloves, long sleeves and goggles in the heat. Here are the first two I've made, which should be fully cured by Christmas!

Cranberry Fig:

Almond Biscotti:

I lightly dusted the top of the cranberry fig with copper mica powder and the top of the almond biscotti with gold mica powder. The almond biscotti fragrance (from Bramble Berry) really turned the color of the soap a yellow, which I don't mind. I was expecting off-white and then for it to turn to  light brown color because of the vanilla in the fragrance. I used vanilla stabilizer, and I do still expect the color to change over time. We'll see. I sprinkled cocoa powder between the layers for the thin line, and then topped with plain, unscented soap on top. I like how it looks now and I think I will like it as it morphs, too. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"Have I Lost My Marbles? No, I Fried Them!" Soap

This is a Fullamoon original I dreamt up in honor of Tamra of DelightfulU who nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. I figured I'd better come up with something original and fabulous to live up to this award.

Ladies and gentleman (that's you, Kevin, I think you're the only gentleman who follows me) I give you (drum roll)...Fried Marble Soap!

Okay now first let me explain I've never actually fried marbles myself, but I do recall hearing that jewelers make crackled marbles by frying them in a pan and then dumping them into freezing cold water, which crackles the marbles from the inside out. Here's a photo I found of the real McCoy:

From these beautiful fried marbles, you can make earrings, slides and bangles by bending wire cages around the marbles.  Now here is my melt and pour soapy interpretation:

And here they are embedded in a solid color bar:

Like gemstone soaps, these were quite time consuming but worth it. I documented each stage so I can post a tutorial. I am delighted to share this with you! 

For this project I used Bramble Berry's:

White Ginger Tea fragrance
Copper Sparkle Mica
Liquid Orange color
Clear soap base
Goats milk white soap base

12-bar soap mold from Bramble Berry
Melon baller
Spritzer with rubbing alcohol
Glass container to melt soap base in microwave

Here are blocks of opaque orange, copper sparkle mica and clear. 

To make the ribbons, slicc the copper and orange into thin strips.

Give each strip a twist and set aside. This will form the "glass" ribbon inside the marbles.

 Chop up the clear block this way and that. These small cubes will form the cracks inside the marbles that give them a crackle appearance. See where I'm going with this?

I like marbles with more than one color inside them so I also made orange ribbons to complement the copper. I could have used solid white or some other color as well.

I layered the embeds in the following order - clear chunks, mica ribbon, orange ribbon, then clear chunks again. This ensures that the ribbons will appear in the center of your marbles.  Spritz with alcohol and then pour melted clear with the fragrance in it to fill the rest of the mold.

Get your melon baller ready!

I used the larger side of the melon baller but smaller marbles would have been cool as well. I think the bigger they are the more dramatic they are. I was able to scoop out 5 marbles per square using the melon baller.  The soap was a little soft, so I could really dig deep and get a full sphere.

I plopped them into colored soap and as I use the bar the marbles will appear from within. Of course once I unmolded the soap I wondered why I didn't just use clear to fill the bar. Oh well. Next time.

So there you have it. Soap marbles. Pretty cool, eh? I think next time I will skip the crackle part, use two colors for the ribbons and sink them in clear soap base.

  Thank you for looking!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

I am delighted to announce that I was nominated for a very special award, The Versatile Blogger Award! It's an award from bloggers to fellow bloggers. Thank you so much Tamra of DelightfulU, a handmade boutique of soaps, bath soaks, scrubs and jewelry. Please do check out her site - it's chock full of neat projects like crochet, the coolest quilts, adorable costumes and, of course, SOAP!

Recipients of The Versatile Blogger Award are requested to:

1 – Make a post and link it back to the person who gave you the award (and include their website address).
2 – Share 7 random things about yourself.
3 – Award 7 recently discovered bloggers with this award and contact them to let them know they have won.

How fun is that! Here are seven random facts about myself:

1. I like to play the keyboard. Although I think I'm pretty good, I absolutely cannot play in front of people other than my two boys and my husband. But I also like to make soap, and I share that with anyone who shows any interest what-so-ever. I give it away, I explain how I made it, I e-mail pictures, I post pics on Facebook, etc. I think the gemstones are my favorites so far, but I am working on a special soap in honor of my nominator, Tamra, who is very crafty and might like something that looks like glass, and that's the only clue I'll give. Stay tuned...

2. I'm in an arranged marriage. Well, not really. But our moms did introduce us! And we've been happily married for 21 years. I am C-R-A-Z-Y about my husband!

3. I live very close to the beach, but I hate going there. Yes, I really do. I get sticky, sandy, windblown, chewed by sand fleas and the water is freezing! The only condition I will agree to go is if it's after supper so I don't get sunburned, the tide is low so the seashells are visible and there is at least one tide pool to wade through. If the sun, moon and all the planets are in alignment, like maybe once a year, I'll go. But that's it.

4. I can juggle. Yes I know all moms can juggle things - work, kids, relationships - but I mean balls. Or apples. Or oranges. But not eggs. Because I'm allergic to eggs.

5. I love to decorate. It takes me a while to get it right but the whole process fires me up. I've been decorating this house for three years now. I've only made a small dent, but the process of "becoming" is fun.

6. I'm a night owl. Most of my blog entries are created between 11 PM and 2 AM. Who-o-o, who-o-o!

7. I am a Maxxonista. I love shopping for clothes and home goods at T. J. Maxx.

Without further ado, here are 7 other blogs that I think deserve this award! And the nominees are:

Lindsey of Five Healthy Hearts - Lindsey blogs about her life, her family and her crafty projects like knitting, quilting and she's even sewn dolls. Seriously, do check out her Starry night quilt. It's beautiful. Thank you for putting things into perspective for us. Life is fragile. But I still don't like the beach. lol

Cindy of Scherenschnitter - Cindy is a papercutting designer. Hers are the most sophisticated and artsy designs I have ever seen. Way cool. She has a papercutting design for every occasion. You've got to check it out.

DeShawn Marie of DeShawn Marie's Handcrafted Soap Blog - Mint Julep Handmade Soap. Need I say more?

Eliz of Tatknot -  I never knew what tatting was until I visited this site. Beautiful handmade lace projects from jewelry to bookmarks. Beaded and buttoned, they are beautiful!

Lyndsey of The Stationery Place - a California girl who loves funky handmade invitations (check out her inflatable invites!) and theme parties. This is a fun site for ideas!

Wendy of Ganksmom is about my age (well, a little younger). She has two children and is a stay-at-home mom. Wendy recently lost her mom and hasn't been blogging very much lately. I think she could use a lift to get her back into her blog. She writes as if she's talking to you. Her blog speaks to me. Say hello to her. I'm going to.

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On is not a blog, but a YouTube video. It deserves an award. It's hysterical. If you have three minutes to spare I guarantee Marcel will make you smile.

t.s. poppy of Frankly Esoteric has the most beautiful photographs of fashion, decor, nature, food. Just visit the site and you'll see what I mean.

So there you have it. Thank you again Tamra of DelightfulU, for nominating me. I was having blogger brain freeze and now I'm back into the swing of it. Have a beautiful summer.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cold Process and Hot Process Soap Photos

I've been busy making some soap - here are some photos!

Melt & Pour:

Melt & Pour:

Rebatched (granite rocks!):

Cold process, forced gel. I am finding that my forced gel soaps have tiny cracks in the color:


Rebatch (sorry for the blurry pic!) scented with orange essential oil with a teaspoon of coffee grounds:

Poured at thick trace, cold process, partial gel (oops!):

Cold process slab swirl, ungelled:

Hot process:

Hot process:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Creamsicle Soapsicles - Soap on a Stick Melt & Pour Project

I've been dying to make these cute soapsicles for months now.  I found a smallish size popsicle mold at Target this morning for $1.00 - perfect!

Orange color. Check. Orange essential oil. Check. Clear soap. Goats milk melt & pour. Popsicle sticks. Check. Check. Check.

They are so cute, but how on earth do you get these sweet treats out of the mold? I tried freezing for 5 minutes, then immersed in warm water. Nope. They wouldn't budge. I was afraid to pull too hard because the stick might slip out! I'm thinking maybe I should have sprayed a little oil in the molds before filling them. But I wouldn't want an oily little soap.

I finally got them out. I placed them in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then dipped in very hot water for about 30 seconds. I tugged a little more aggressively than before, and voila! They slid right out. This is a simple, fun project. I'll be making more flavors of these for sure. And @ $1.00 per 8-cavity mold, I will go back and purchase a few more. Can't beat that price!

I made these for my son to give to his teachers on his last day of school Tuesday.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Embedding Water Soluble Paper in MP Soap - FAIL!

Just a few days ago I highlighted my beautiful melt and pour soaps made with water soluble paper. Here's what can happen in just a few short days. I believe I did everything right but look at this cloudy mess! And it appears the paper has started to bleed. It's blurry!

Why did my clear soap get so cloudy? Maybe I heated it too much? I don't know. It looked perfect just a couple days ago and now this! 

I think I will try one more time, but here's what I'm going to do:

  • Wait one full week after printing my water soluble paper to use it.
  • Mix a tad more blue color into the clear base.
  • Use a much THINNER layer of clear. 

I embedded the paper in the center of the soap hoping the image would last longer, but now I see it just makes it more difficult to view the image.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Melt and Pour Soap Method Using Water Soluble Paper Images!

It was just too hot today to don my CP garb (goggles, mask, gloves, long sleeves) so I made some fun melt and pour soaps!

This is the first time I've used water soluble paper. I printed my images a few days ago and sprayed them very lightly with aerosol hairspray.  I added just a very small touch of blue to the clear base (this is called "bluing" so the clear layer doesn't look so yellow) and once a thin layer of skin formed, placed the picture face down.  Once that hardened, I spritzed ever-so-lightly- with alcohol so that my layers would bond but the soluble paper wouldn't dissolve. Goats milk white soap base over that layer and voila! 

(The ripples on the surface are caused by saran wrap so my soaps don't sweat in this humidity!)


How FUN are these soaps - and the sky is the limit as to what you can embed! I embedded a photo printed on water soluble paper of my brother and his wife and I am planning to sneak it onto their sink this week.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wonderful Daisy Flexible Mold from Bramble Berry

Here is a photo of my sweet daisies made with Bramble Berry's Daisy Flexible Mold. You can purchase this mold here.

It doesn't get any cuter!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Soap Queen's Aloha Contest

I was a winner of Soap Queen's Aloha Contest!

I was so excited to have been chosen, as I don't seem to have much luck with contests.  I got to choose FOUR of Bramble Berry's hottest flexible summer soap molds as my prize!  Here's what I chose and a link to where you can purchase them.

Aren't they the coolest? I found they work easier with melt and pour base than CP soap, so I've ordered some melt and pour from Bramble Berry to make some more!  And as if winning the four molds wasn't enough, they even threw in some sample fragrances - Sea Shore Cybilla and Tropical Vacation! Mmmmmmm...

Thank you, Soap Queen. And thank you Bramble Berry for the excellent products and service you provide! I love reading Soap Queen's blog and Teach Soap!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Gorgeous CP Soap, But Camera is Broken!

Sorry camera has not been working for a while now and it seems so boring to post without a pic. I'm sure there are great articles in all these blogs but I love to look at the pics.

I made a nice creamy CP soap yesterday in my new Soapies 12-bar silicone mold (4 oz.) and swirled black and red on top, but I have no photo to upload!

For red I used liquid red oxide but it came out pink. Still nice, but I was going for a masculine bar of soap. Does anyone know how to get a nice rich RED color in CP soap?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Melt & Pour Bleeding Colors - DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!

When I first started soaping, I only used the melt and pour method. Being green, I began with the soap base, fragrance and colors available at my local craft store.  I was hooked. My creations were beautiful and it kept me busy throughout the winter months. 

I am waiting for material orders from Soapies and Bramble Berry, so instead of making soap today I decided to clean and organize my cabinet of inventory. 

I just threw away 20 lbs. of my melt & pour creations...yes, 20 lbs!!!  All of the colors bled together. My layers were not crisp lines. Colors blurred and turned to a brownish-yellow where they met. I am so disappointed. All that hard work down the drain. It filled 1/2 a trash bag!

So the lesson for today is be sure to use NON-BLEEDING colorants!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hot Process Soap Stones

Here's what I'm working on now. Can you build a wall with soap stones?

Same Soap Recipe, Different Process. Here Are the Results:

Here is a recipe I used to make three identical batches of soap:
2 oz. Canola Oil
6 oz. Coconut Oil
10.5 oz. Olive Oil
2 oz. Shortening
2.86 oz. Lye
6.77 oz. Water

Top left is HP in the crockpot. Top right is forced gel, and bottom left is ungelled. The ungelled, though very pretty, is very light in color. It will need to cure for several weeks before it's ready. The forced gel is beautiful and the swirls are nice. It was easy to swirl.  The top left HP soap was a little difficult to swirl in that it was a thick applesauce consistency and the swirls aren't smooth. I didn't like that one at first. But now that I've cut a sliver and tried it out I LOVE it! (See the bottom right photo). I think it looks like stone and it's now my very favorite! I can't wait to try other colors.

HP in the crockpot:

HP in the crockpot - my favorite! Doesn't it look like granite? I couldn't wait to try it, but I will still need to cure it for a few weeks before using.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Crumbly Cold Process Soap

I just couldn't wait another day to cut my soap. I should have. Look at how crumbly it is. It feels like wet chalk. I should have left it alone for one more day in the refrigerator.  It's still creamy-looking, and the colors are very pretty. Onto the curing rack they go for several weeks. It should harden up as it cures.

BUT...look at all that soap that broke off. It's just under 3 ounces. Nothing goes to waste here! I am going to melt it down in the microwave with a tiny bit of water and re-pour it into small sample-sized soap molds. This is called re-batching, and the finished soap product is lumpy like mashed potatoes (well, lumpy like my mashed potatoes).

These will be good to give out as samples, even though we lost the lovely swirl when stirring the heated soap. That was quick!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cold Process Soap - Let's Do It!

The scary difference between making MP soap and CP soap is that you have to handle lye. Lye is 100% sodium hydroxide and is poisonous. You cannot let it touch your skin because it will burn your skin. You must wear goggles, gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when making CP soap. I don't care how hot it is out or how experienced a soaper you are. Accidents happen.  I have read that if you splash lye on your skin,  pour vinegar over it.  I hope I never have to find out if this works. My instinct would be to run it under water to dilute the chemical and call the poison emergency line at 1-800-222-1222.

So are your glasses on now? Okay let's get on with making soap!

Here's a list of materials you will need:
  Quick access to a sink
  A large plastic container/bowl or stainless steel to mix your soap "batter" in
  Two candy thermometers
  Silicone or stainless spatula/spoon for stirring and scraping
  Digital food scale that measures ounces
  Several glass or heat-resistant plastic bowls/beakers
  Bowl of ice water
  Stick blender (thank God for stick blenders!)
  Protective gloves
  Long-sleeved shirt
  100% Lye
  Distilled water
  Oils of your choice
  Fragrance (I use essential oils)
  Coloring, if desired (NOT food coloring)
  Soap mold (wooden mold, silicone mold or heat-resistant plastic container in a pleasing
  Parchment paper

You will need some fatty acids. The term "fatty acid" sounds harsh doesn't it? It's not. Fatty acids are the oils you choose to make your soap. I use vegetable shortening, olive oil, canola oil and coconut oil. If I could find different ones locally I'd try using castor oil, palm oil, sweet almond oil, etc. But I'm very new to soaping and I don't want to pay to ship oil that might result in a failed batch. Let's get a few batches of soap under our belt and then we can branch out and experiment with other fatty acids.

You will need 100% lye (100% sodium hydroxide). I found mine at a local True Value Hardware store. It's not easy to find, and word on the street is drug dealers use it to make methamphetamine. Many stores have pulled it from the shelves for that reason. I suggest calling around before you travel to purchase your lye. I went to 5 stores before finding it.

Line your mold with parchment paper if using a wooden mold. I found this little cheese crate at a yard sale yesterday for $2.00!  The hardest part of lining my mold was getting the masking tape to stick to the parchment paper. If you have a better idea, please let me know!

Do you see my hoosier cabinet in the background? I just organized it so my soaping supplies are all in one area. I love the slide-out work surface. You can find these for short money in antique stores. I found this one many years ago in Essex, MA.

Back to the soap...

The amount of lye, water/liquid and fatty acid/oils you need to make a batch of soap depends on your recipe. You may follow recipes listed online if you have the ingredients or you can follow along with mine.  The amount and type of each oil you choose dictates how much lye and water you must use. There are many lye calculators on the web to help you determine how much to use. I use Brambleberry's Lye Calculator for Soapmakers.  It's simple and straightforward.

Here are my ingredients - your recipe might be different, but I made this one up myself to see what happens:

Vegetable shortening (Crisco) - 10 oz.
Olive Oil (any brand) -4 oz.
Canola Oil - 2 oz.
Coconut Oil - 4 oz.

According to the lye calculator we will need 2.70 oz. of lye and 6.60 oz. of distilled water to mix it into. Use distilled water so you know it's pure and there won't be any surprises when you mix your lye into it. Also, remember to always stir your lye into the water and not the other way around. DO NOT substitute different oils during the soap process. The lye/fatty acid ratio is calculated specifically for this recipe. If you want to use a different oil, you must recalculate using the lye calculator before starting your recipe.

Measure your distilled water on the scale. Set it aside.

Measure your lye in a separate container on the scale.

Carefully pour the lye into the water (never the other way around!) and stir as you pour. Stir until all the crystals have dissolved. It will still look cloudy for a bit. The water will get extremely hot once the lye goes into it. Be careful not to inhale this or breathe the vapor. Do this part near an open window or well-ventilated area. Some people do it with the oven fan on. I do it right in my kitchen sink with the window open. I place the beaker of water and lye into a bowl of ice water and cool it until it reaches about 90 - 100 degrees. You will notice the solution looks clearer now.

While your lye solution is set aside and cooling, measure your fatty acids - your oils.  If the oil is solid like coconut oil or shortening, melt and soften it quick in the microwave, but don't make it too hot. You are shooting for the combined oils to be between 90 and 100 degrees, just like the lye solution.

Here I am slowly pouring the melted shortening and coconut oil into my canola and olive oils. Gently stir together.

Check your lye solution. Is it cool enough yet?

If it is, then it's time to combine it into your oils and stir together. This is when the lye and oil molecules combine to make soap! Saponification begins!
 Now your stick blender comes into play. Pulse in 5 or 10 second spurts, stopping to stir intermittently with the stick until you reach "trace". Trace is when the mixture has thickened enough to leave a trail of batter when you drag the blender across the top of the mixture. The photo below is when I was just starting to mix. No trace yet.

 It's getting a little thicker, and the color is more of a creamy cloudy consistency. No trace yet...
 A couple of minutes later it's really looking like pudding but no trace...
 A couple spurts later and voila! Trace! See the difference?
 Now it's time to add your fragrance and color. Sorry I didn't get photos of this process but my gloves were slippery and I couldn't get the essential oil (Ylang Ylang) open, let alone snap a photo. I was trying to work quickly and the liquid color wouldn't drip out of the bottle. So I had to drop everything and look for a pin to poke through the opening. Geesh!  Note to self: measure the essential oil/ fragrance and soap colorant beforehand and have it ready to go!

Anyway...I poured about a cup of the soap batter into a separate container and squirted a few drops of turquoise color into it. I scented the natural-colored batter with about 1.5 tablespoons of Ylang Ylang essential oil and poured it into my soap mold. Then I poured two rows lengthwise of the turquoise colored batter. Then I just dragged my spoon up and down and back and forth until I was happy with the design on top.

I PROMISE you I will make a video of what I missed in photos to show you how I got this lovely top.

I popped this right into my refrigerator until tomorrow. This way, the soap will not "gel" and will keep its creamy appearance. This is a small batch of soap, so we can easily skip the gel phase. Once I remove it from the mold and cut it in a couple of days, I will then place it on a rack in my hoosier to cure for several weeks. This soap cannot be used for at least 5 or 6 weeks, because it needs to harden. As it hardens, the moisture evaporates and it becomes a milder bar of soap.

I will cover gelling in another post, and we will make a larger batch of soap and see it through the gel stage.

I will update you as I learn more, and show some examples of my progress. I'd love to see what you come up with too. Thanks for following me!