Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Holidays One and All!

This time of year a lot, dare I say most, of us are celebrating one holiday or another.  I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season and a wonderful New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Wow, does time ever fly when you have a million things to do!!  Looks like I won't get in ANY more batches before Christmas!  

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Holiday season,  and I'd like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!  

I plan to have that snowfall batch done next week!

Cheers folks!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Salt Bars

Here are my salt bars!  They are made with 100% coconut oil with a 20% SF (super fat, the extra oils that don't get turned into soap... leaves your skin nice and soft!).  I scented them with "Pears and Berries" from The Sage.  The colours ended up more of a watermelon type combination, which is fine, as the fragrance definitely has a melon undertone.  Love this fragrance!

Sorry for the bad picture, my new phone case doesn't let me use the flash so you get to see the shadow of the phone in the picture!  Gah!  The pink is more of a watermelon pink than the orange it seems above.  I really need to take pictures during the day!

Next up: Snowfall restock!  And hopefully 1 more soap before Christmas!  

Is there a pictorial you'd like to see me post?  If so, leave me a comment here and I will do my best to make one for you!

Happy Holidays folks!!

EDIT:  Forgot to say that I made these in my Bramble Berry 9 bar birchwood mold, LOVE this mold!  One of my favorites by far!  They were unmolded after ~12 hours and were a little crumbly along the edges.

And I'm Back!

New posts coming soon!  Had a little issue with my google + account and couldn't get in to make posts!!!

Up tomorrow... salt bars!  My first go at these, and I think I love them!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Woven Facecloth Pictorial

I love including a facecloth with my soapy gifts, but I've yet to master the craft of crochet.  Learning to crochet the edges of these woven cloths is the extent of my knowledge!  

There are a few things you need to make these cloths, primarily a loom of some sort.  I have a Martha Stewart Knit and Weave Loom Kit (Walmart is the cheapest place to get it, 1/2 the price of what I paid at a craft store).  But you can use any SQUARE loom.  If you can;t find one you can make one!  You just need a wooden square with evenly spaced nails, 24 per side.

If you use the Martha Stewart loom you will need 4 corner pieces, 4 12 hole pieces, and 4 6 hole pieces as well as blue pegs for all of the holes (the starting corner needs 1 grey peg, and the other 3 corners can be left open as they are not used).

For a nice plush cloth you want to use a worsted weight 100% cotton, and you want 2 balls.  We will be doubling up the strands to increase the surface area of the cloth.

Tie a slip knot ~6 inches up from the tail of the strands and secure around the grey corner peg.  We will now start to lay the "warp", or vertical weave strands.  Go from the secured corner peg (upper right corner) to the first peg at the bottom right side of the loom, then up around the second peg from the right at the top and continue until you reach the last upper peg on the left.  Secure here with a slip knot and trim the tails ~6 inches.  I find it best to secure the last laid warp line with my thumb so the warp lines won't all come unwound if you slip or drop the line.

After the warp is laid it is time to start the "weft" or horizontal weave.  This is where the actual weaving starts!  

Pull out around 1 yard of cotton, the first weft line will use a good part of this.  Take a weaving hook (you can also use a long crochet hook, or a long knitting needle with one end bent into a hook) and weave it under 4 warp lines, then over 4, and under 4 until you reach the left side.  Take the middle of the yard of weft line you pulled from the balls and hook it, then pull the hook back through the warp lines and secure the loop over the first peg.  It's actually a lot easier than it sounds!  My example is done single stranded so you can see the technique a little better.

Here is the cloth with a few weft lines woven:

Can you see how the middle of the weft is starting to bow toward the bottom of the loom?  This is easy to fix!

If you have a weaving hook there is a notch on the non-hooked end to push the weft into place.  You can do this with almost anything; try 2 toothpicks taped together!  Push them back into straight lines then continue on with your weft.

**don't pull the warp or weft lines too tight!  You want them snug, but loose enough that casting off with crochet won't be next to impossible.  

Here is the completed weave!  At this point you will have 3 ~6 inch tails sticking out of your cloth.  Don't tie off the weft line, just leave it hanging, we'll get to it!

Now is the time to work the weave off the loom.  To do this we want to rotate the loom so that we start the crochet process at the corner with the weft tails.  We will be working counter clockwise, so those weft tails will be the last thing we work with.  To cast off the loom we will use a crochet hook, mine is a big large, but came with the loom kit.  Pick up the loop off the first peg, then the one off the second peg.  Pull the second peg loop through the first peg loop.  This will leave the second peg loop on the crochet hook.  Then pick up the third peg loop and pull it through the second peg loop.  Keep doing this until the corner.  You should be at the only corner with no tails, keep crocheting around the corner all the way to the 3rd corner.  Untie the warp line anchored here and use it to make a loop.  Crochet that loop just like it's another peg loop.  Do the same thing at the next corner, and again with the weft tails once you get back around to the beginning corner. You should be left with a loop on the crochet hook.

Take a large weaving needle (they are generally plastic) and thread the weft tails through the eye, pick up the loop from the crochet hook with the needle and use it to stitch the tails into the crocheted binding along the side of the cloth (you should always be sewing these in to the left).

Once all of these tails are woven into the cloth snip off any excess that you couldn't sew in.  Tada!!  You have a finished cloth!  Congratulations!!!

The first few will probably take you about an hour or so each, but after you get the technique down they only take around 20 minutes.  Fast and beautiful!  Great addition to any soapy gift!

Coming up:  restocking Snowfall, making salt bars, and oat milk lotion for my Husband.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The soaps....

Here are some pictures of what I've been working on!  As promised, although a little bit late. Wow Holidays and a cold together can be super tiring!!

Without further ado... the soaps!!

This one is "Figgy Pudding", the third and final Christmas soap!  The scent is figgy pudding and french vanilla both from WSP (I don't use them anymore, but will use what I have from them).  I piped the top with a wilton 2D tip, then sprinkled crystal sugar, iridescent glitter and candy pearls all over it.  This one got HOT around 200*F!  It ended up in the fridge overnight.

I didn't like the scent at first, it smelled almost grape-like.  It has changed some as it cures though and now smells a lot more like a Christmas pudding!  This one is mostly for my Mom, and our Christmas mouse who sings about how much she loves figgy pudding!

Next we have "Dragon's Blood", which I have yet to come up with a personal name for.. Draco something!  This scent is Dragon's Blood from BB.  As usual it went almost black for me (The colour in all 4 of these pictures is off, the paper in the background is a bright cerulean blue, for example).  There is a dilute green ITP swirl in this one because this soap is my Husband's favorite, and he loves green.  Bummed that that swirl is almost non-existent!  But it is a nice soap!

All of these photos have the exact same piece of cerulean blue paper for a background, but for some reason my iphone did NOT want to take nice pictures today!  But you can see the soaps at least!  The texture on the bars is from my wire cutter, I'm working on figuring out why it does that!

These next two are in my 'Aux Naturel' line; plant based colours and scents (essential oils) only.

I introduce to you "1972"; a blend of lavender, patchouli and orange essential oils.  I chose that particular year because it is the year my older brother was born (the next 70s soap will be for my sister!).  The purple side of this soap is coloured with an alkanet root infusion and the yellow side is coloured with an annatto seed infusion (the same seed they use to colour cheddar cheese, fun fact).  This one gave me a bit of a startle, the alkanet went in bright concentrated purple then proceeded to turn an icky blue-grey!  Luckily the purple came back with air exposure as the soap saponified (became soap). [lavender 40/42 essential oil and orange 10X essential oil from BB, alkanet and annato from BB via a soapy friend, and patchouli and lavandin essential oils from MMS].

The colours are actually more pastel than the brightness seen in the photo, darn you iphone!

I made this next, and last, soap yesterday.  I used the steamed and pureed 'guts' from my Thanksgiving pumpkins.  The colour is solely from the pumpkin!  The black flecks are poppy seeds for mild exfoliation.  For now this soap is called "Pumpkin Poppyseed".  This is an unscented soap for those folks who just want to smell clean, or those who are sensitive to fragrances.

The actual colour is more of a dark butter yellow.

That's all of the new soaps, for now!  

Coming up very very soon will be a woven face cloth pictorial!

Next soaps: Snowfall and some salt bars.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Coming soon....

Pictures of the last holiday soap, and my natural coloured essential oil soap.  Been a bit under the weather, so may take me a couple days to get everything up... sorry guys!  Also thinking about making some oat milk lotion for my Husband and I, boy has the winter dry skin come on quickly!  So itchy!!

Hope to be back more often soon!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New URL!

The new URL for the site is!  Woo hoo!  Looks like I will have to re-do my blog list though... oh well!  Just wanted to let everyone know!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Amy's challenge!!!

Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks issued a challenge; mix cold process soap and melt and pour soap in the same batch.  I took up her challenge and now present to you "Ocean Dreams"!  This is a combination of 2 colours of MP soap and CP soap with an in the pot swirl. Sadly the small white patches are air pockets that are appearing as the MP soap shrinks, but oh well!  It still looks awesome and I'm happy with it!

Here you go Amy!

In this batch I used sky blue mica and gold luster green mica, both from The Conservatorie.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Soy tarts and melts pictorial!

Alright folks, here it is!  The soy wax melts and tarts.  You can use this same technique for palm or paraffin wax too!

First I'd like to talk about wax for a minute.  I used soy wax for this pictorial but you can use paraffin or palm wax as well, or a mixture of waxes.  Soy wax gives you a pretty creamy finish, paraffin is the standard wax you'll find in store bought candles, and palm wax makes a beautiful crystalline finish.

And here we go!

Step 1:
Make sure your work space is clean and free of clutter!  Not having enough space could risk a spill of hot wax!  You'll also want to get your tools ready; a scale, spoons, and melting vessels.  I used anchor glass measuring cups today because I wanted to use the microwave for melting... and because my metal melting pot is in a box in Canada!

You'll also need wax (of course), colourant and scent, as well as molds of some sort.  You can use many things for molds; plastic egg cartons (NOT the foam ones!), plastic yogurt contains, ice cube trays, silicone "one bite" molds, tart molds, clam shell molds... pretty much anything heat safe!  I went with clam shell molds and a wilton "one bite" mold.

Step 2:
Decide how much wax you need to fill you vessels.  I wanted 6 clam shells and a handful of tarts with one scent, and some tarts with the other.  I need ~21 oz of wax for the apple cinnamon batch and ~5 oz of wax for the pumpkin.  Weigh your wax in your melting vessels, I use that big steel spoon to scoop the wax from the bag.  If you want to use your hands I would suggest wearing a glove.  I like to keep my materials as germ-free as possible!

Melt your wax.  You can either do this in a double boiler or the microwave.  If you chose the microwave, like I have you want to do 30-45 second bursts.  Melt the wax until it is around 90% melted, then stir until the rest melts.

Once your wax is melted take the temperature, if it is below the flash point of your fragrance then you can move on to the next step!

Step 3:
When your wax is cool enough you can add scent and colour!  I prefer liquid dyes but you can also buy them in a block form.  For those ones simply shave off small bits of the block and mix the wax until the dye melts.  If you use the liquid add a drop at a time until you get the colour you want.  Not sure if you're there yet?  There are two tricks for testing your colour; 1) drip a small amount of a piece on white paper and let it dry or 2) dip a refrigerated spoon into the wax and pull it out, the set wax on the spoon will show you your colour!  I went with the paper method.

If this is your first time making melts or tarts you should stick to 1 oz of fragrance per pound of wax.  After you have more experience you can increase this to 2 oz per pound.  I generally stick to 1.5 oz per pound myself.  Especially with this wax, which has a great scent throw.  Please DO NOT use more than 1 oz per pound until you know what you are doing!  Too much scent will ruin the wax causing it to become soft and grainy.

Step 4:
Fill your molds!  Fill clam shells to the top of the inside lip and tarts to the top of the cavity.  If you're using paraffin you will want the wax to form a bubble of sorts that is slightly raised above the mold surface.  Paraffin tends to get very convex (dipped in the middle) when it cools.  The "bubble" is extra wax that fills the dip!  After you fill your vessels you will need to wait for an hour (at least!) to move them.  Wait until they are completely cool!  Do not use the fridge or freezer as this can make your wax crack.  Let them cool slowly on the counter.

Step 5:
While waiting for the melts to solidify we need to clean up.  The faster you start this step, the easier it will be!  Take some clean paper towel and wipe the liquid wax out of the melting vessels.  After that wash them with a grease cutting dish soap, I recommend Dawn as it seems to work the best at dissolving the wax.  To clean your spoons simply wipe the hardened wax off them with your tester paper then wash them with the same dish soap.

Step 6:
Close the clam shells and pop the tarts out of the molds!  That's it!  Super easy right?  To package the tarts you can use cellophane baggies, organza baggies, boxes... pretty much anything!  For the clam shells you can add a label and decorations.  

This silicone mold is really great for tarts BUT as you can see the edges tend to break off.  You can use a spray mold release to help with this.  I simply didn't have any on hand, and these are also just for me!

**Some fragrances will cause what is called "frost" on the surface of soy wax.  The pumpkin scent I used did just that.  I like how it looks when I get frost, but not everyone does.  If you want to avoid this you can use other types of waxes or a mixture of waxes.  Not all fragrance does this!  Here is an example of wax frost:

Next up: the last Christmas soap!  
Next pictorial: making woven face cloths!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Conservatorie mica testing

I purchased 12 mica colours from The Conservatorie last month and I FINALLY got around to testing them!  11 are stable in cold process soap, and they look amazing!  The 12th, the one I wanted to work the most, is not CP stable.  It started a beautiful emerald green and came out an icky green-brown sludge colour.  Here they are freshly poured; from the top left to bottom right: violet mica, passionate purple mica, gold luster green mica, peacock blue mica, sky blue mica (it is a brighter blue than it looks in the pictures, sky blue is the perfect name), pansy mica, orange heaven mica, egyptian emerald mica (the non-stable one), cosmo martini mica, peak green mica (also a bit brighter than the picture shows and actually green rather than yellow.  It is a granny smith apple green), sapphire blue mica and ruby red mica (the one I used in my peppermint swirl soap).

Four stable purples!  Very exciting!  I'll definitely get the 3 blues, 4 purples, and the red again.  The orange is a little bit too neon for me and the 3 greens aren't quite what I was looking for, especially the emerald!  Overall I'm very pleased with this company, they were quick seemed great to deal with.  A good place to go for those brighter micas that you just can't get anywhere else!  Here are the colour testers all set:

I apparently missed a small clump of mica in that first cube.. oops!  Once I use a good portion of my 200+ colourants I'll be purchasing more from these folks!  I also got some surfactants for making shampoos.

Next up: wax melts pictorial!  Soy wax with clam shells and also with silicone tart molds.  Should be up Monday or Tuesday!  After that the 3rd Christmas soap!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Christmas soaps part 1!

Here are the first two soaps I've made for Christmas!  Posting them a little late because some silly hurricane decided to come through and mess up my timeline!  [Don't worry, there was no damage and we're all fine!].  Today I give you peppermint swirl and brownie swirl!  These were both made in my Bramble Berry Heavy Duty Column Molds which are absolutely fantastic and an extremely good price!  I just love them.  I used my shiny (well, not really!) new Multi-Bar Cutter also from Bramble Berry... which I got as an early birthday present from my parents!  LOVE this cutter!  Now all of my bars are perfect!

Here is the soap!
Peppermint swirl: made with goats' milk, titanium dioxide and ruby red mica (from The Conservatorie).  Scented with peppermint EO second distillation also from Bramble Berry!

Brownie swirl: made with goats' milk, titanium dioxide, dark brown mica and smokey xxx mica (both micas from TKB).  Scented with hot fudge brownies from Nature's Garden.

And with the left over batter from my batches I made these adorable chocolate peppermint stars!  I think a couple of them may make it into my Christmas Giveaway in a couple of weeks!

These smell SO yummy!!!  They literally make my mouth water!

Next up: A mica review of 12 colours from the Conservatorie.  Including 4 CP STABLE purples!!!  Exciting!!  After that a mini-pictorial of my 3rd Christmas soap; cranberry orange.  And maybe a pictorial on making apple cinnamon wax melts.  Would you folks like that?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Waste not!

Ever have an AWESOME soap that just didn't turn out as planned?  A while ago (5 months or so) I made a super nice 8 colour faux funnel swirl but part of it stuck to the mold.  I had a few nice bars but a lot of chipped up looking "sample" sized bars too.  They've just been sitting on the shelf while I thought about what to do with them.  I finally decided to shred them and make a confetti soap!  These are the "sample" sized chipped up bars:

As you can see the swirl is very nice, but the pieces themselves are not.  Even after months curing I found this one to be soft and sticky inside!  This made grating it a little harder, as the shreds just wanted to stick together in a clump!  But I managed to get this stack of shreds after only a few minutes of grating!  I have enough scraps for a second batch too!

Not sure why it keeps posting that sideways, but you get the idea!  Rainbow shreds!!  I also sliced up some rainbow soap chips for the tops of the bars:

Again, it wants to post the picture sideways.  Silly Blogger!  I love how the shreds and chips turned out!  I used my basic cold process recipe but substituted some of the water with heavy cream.  I put it in my new Bramble Berry (BB) 5lb soap mold with silicone liner.  LOVE the liner, don't like the sliding bottom mold though, it's hard to pull the bottom out once you have a heavy 5lb batch of soap in it.  I just upend the mold and let it slide out the top instead.  Think I will get my husband to help me make some same-sized molds and just get the silicone liners from BB.

Arg!!  Why is it turning my pictures?!  They are all horizontal in the picture file!  I think it's just doing it to annoy me now!  This is my batch in the mold, complete with pretty rainbow soap chips!  I used some titanium dioxide in the base but soaped a little hot and the lye burned my cream a little bit.  I actually kind of enjoy the creamy yellow colour it turned out though!

The finished bars!  I'm absolutely in LOVE with these!  They smelled a little like cheese when I cut them (guessing from the cream) but that has since faded.  8 colour rainbow confetti soap!  Woo-woo!  Very pleased with how my "wasted" soap became something new and exciting!

Next up: fudge brownie Christmas soap, orange cranberry Christmas soap, peppermint swirl... you guessed it!  Christmas soap!  And a lip balm pictorial!

Are there any other pictorials you guys would like to see?  Leave me a comment!  Thanks for stopping by folks!  <3

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cream Pictorial

As promised, a pictorial of how I make cream from scratch!  This cream turned out super thick and luxurious, it smells of fresh apples!  I find the scent a little bit strong, but my family thinks its perfect.  Next time I will use a lower percentage of fragrance.  On with the pictorial!

Step 1: Clean everything!  Every surface around the area you plan to make lotion in needs to be clean!  I use an eco-safe surface cleaner to clean my countertops and work surfaces.  I also clean my sink!

Step 2: "Degerming" or sanitizing.  One of the most important things with lotion making of any sort is to have clean -everything-.  Yes, I use a preservative, but it is important to reduce the "germ" contamination right from the beginning to ensure a good product with a decent shelf life.

Fill your sink with lots of hot water, enough to cover at least 1/2 of your largest container.  Add bleach to the water at approximately 5%.  Add your containers, mixing spoons, measuring devices etc to the bleachy water.  Even the shaft of the stick blender should be sanitized in this manner.  

Step 3: The gloves!  From this point on you will be wearing gloves to keep contamination from your hands to a minimum.  If you have to brush your hair out of your eyes, or pull up your pants (etc) you should put on a fresh pair of disposable gloves, or wash your gloves with antibacterial soap if they are the non-disposable kind.  

Using gloved hands roll any larger items over in the bleach water so all sides get cleaned (like my pot above).  I make sure each surface sits in the bleach water for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Once your "dishes" are clean, dry them.  Use either paper towels or a cloth towel that has just come out of a dryer set to HOT for ~15 minutes.  This helps keep "germ" contamination to a minimum!

Step 5: Get everything set up!  In order to work efficiently and with a minimum time (keeps those germs from the air away!) it is important to get your work area set up!  Here is mine, complete with freshly sanitized containers etc.

Step 6: The good stuff!  Now is the time to start making lotion!   Lotion making has 3 phases: the water phase, the oil phase and the cool down phase.  First comes the water and oil phases.

-water phase: measure your DISTILLED water into one pot.  You must use distilled water!  Tap water and bottled/filtered water still contain microscopic critters that can (and likely will) grow happily in your lotion.  Some may even enjoy the company of your preservative!

I add ~100 grams extra water to the pot to account for any lost to steam during heating and holding.  You will re-weigh your water after it is heated.

-oil phase: add all of your oils and waxes to the second pot, as well as any additives that need to be melted or can withstand high temperatures.  For my cream I used sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, shea butter, cetyl alcohol and emulsifying wax.  [If you are wondering what each ingredient does to the cream please google "Swift Crafty Monkey" and take a look at her tutorials and descriptions!]

Step 7:  Heating and holding.  Now we move our pots to the burners!  We need to raise the temperatures of the water and oils to 70* C (158* F) and hold them there for 20 minutes.  This is to help remove any "germs" that may have slipped into our pots!  I find a temperature gun to be especially handy for this! Mine was under $40 from Lowes.

Step 8:  Once the pots have been held at 70*C for 20 minutes its time to make cream (or lotion!  Lotion has ~70% water, cream has ~60%, that is the only difference!).

Measure the heated water in a sanitized container, I had about 20 grams extra after the heating phase.  

Step 9:  Add the water to the oils.  Whoa!!!  It goes milky white on contact!

See the oils on the surface?  Time to mix those in!  Use your stick blender to mix the lotion for 5-10 minutes, I always go for the full 10 minutes to assure a stable mixture that won't separate!

Step 10:  Resting.  Before we can add our temperature sensitive ingredients (vitamins, proteins, scents and preservatives).  Cover the pot with a paper towel and let the lotion sit until it is cool enough for your additives.  This temperature will depend on the specific additives you want to add, you'll need to check them to see what temperatures they can withstand.

Step 11: The cool down phase!  Add your additives and stick blend until thoroughly mixed.  I added vitamin E tocopherol, wheat protein, phenonip (a preservative), a tiny amount of lab colour and my fragrance oil.

Step 12:  Pour your cream into clean jars, add a sealing disk, screw on the lids... and ta-da!  Your cream is done!  You'll need to leave it for a while to cool down and solidify though!


**Disclaimer:  I am NOT a professional lotion maker!  This is how I make my lotions, there are plenty of other ways as well!  Do your research and make small experimental batches!**