Sunday, August 26, 2012

A short hiatus!

My husband and I will be in Canada visiting my family for the next week, there will be a new soapy post when I return home the week after next!  Please poke my poll so I can get a little post-vacation inspiration! <3

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pondering soap designs.

Ever wonder how soapers come up with such neat designs?  Inspiration is the key!  It can come from anywhere, a picture, a creature, a smell, a dream... you name it and I'd bet you money that it has been an inspiration!  The problem comes when you get a bunch of inspirations and can't decide what to do, a soapers block or sorts. Like authors get only for soap!  This is me right now.  My brain is full of ideas but I can't come up with just 1 cohesive plan!

I have plenty of fragrances and colours to chose from, and plenty of ingredients.  I think my poor brain is overloading with all of the options!  There are a few I have to make for Christmas, but not yet, I have plenty of time for those.  No birthdays anytime soon, so no solid inspiration there.  I suppose I could do something for Canadian Thanksgiving which is in October.  Hrm.  Gah!!!  So many soaps so little space!  I need my workshop, STAT!

Anyone else ever have this problem?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Its not soap but.....

My husband took me to the local aquarium today... and I got to pet a shark, a bunch of stingrays, a sea anemone, and a big ole shrimp!  

The shark felt like sandpaper, and I broke the rules!  We were only supposed to pet him with 2 fingers, I cupped my hand and he rolled so his back ran against my palm and swam all the way through my hand, head to tail.  I think he liked me!  Same with the rays, I stroked them with my palm.  I know, I know... bad me!  But, they were so cute!  The rays were almost like slightly slimy rubber, they felt neat!  What I imagine a whale would feel like.

The anemone felt slightly sticky!  Its tentacles were covered with hundreds of teeny tiny little barbs, so your skin got stuck a bit.  It didn't hurt or anything.  But I didn't expect it!

The shrimp just felt like a shrimp, only huge.  And he ran away. =(

It was a great day!  The aquarium has lots of sharks... and 2 HIPPOS!  I absolutely love hippos!  But they were in the middle of their tank, underwater, and sound asleep.  I'd have liked to see more of them, but they were out cold.   They were still awesome though!  I got a stuffed hippo from the gift shop, my souvenir for the day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mmm NG fragrances!

I put in an order for a bunch of new fragrance oils from NG (Nature's Garden, see links) and, because they are only over in Ohio, they always arrive in 2 days!  

I got 3 samples that were suggested to me by friends over at the teach soap forum; rocking the stars (rockstar dupe), pink sugar type (pink sugar dupe; Holly from Missouri River Soaps is addicted to this one, so I HAD to try it), and honey bunny (honey I washed the kids dupe).  They all smell amazing!!!!!  Can't wait to soap with them!

I also picked up 6 16oz bottles.  3 are from the clearance section of discontinued fragrances; "pomegranate cream" (it smells a bit like extra sweet fake fruit in the bottle, might change in soap), "oriental citrus sorbet" (smells like a citrus explosion with some sweet undertone), and "black currant vanilla" (the vanilla is super strong, but the black currant adds a nice pop of fruit, should be really nice in soap!).  

I picked up more "fresh fallen leaves", I had tried a 1oz sample size and really love it.  It doesn't smell exactly like fresh fallen leaves do, it is a bit perfumey,  but it smells really nice and fall like.  The next scent is" earl grey tea" which is supposed to smell like tea with lemon.  Out of the bottle it smells quite lemony, but not much like tea.  I've seen a review of it that indicates it will smell more like tea after it cures... we'll see!!!  The third regular priced fragrance is called "hot fudge brownie".   It literally made my mouth water, it smells like a fresh pan of brownies, just waiting to be devoured!  I can't wait to soap it!!!  Maybe tonight if I'm feeling up to it!

NG always sends a free "aroma bud", a little rose made out of wood flakes that they scent with fragrance.  Today's is "pumpkin eggnog" which I will now be purchasing for candles, it smells DELICIOUS!  It has joined my small collected of scented aroma buds over my stairs.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sometimes misbehaviour can be rewarding!

I unmolded and cut last nights' problem batch.  It has a few air pockets along the sides, but other than that and a very slight overheat... it turned out remarkably well!  The colours stayed nice and bright, and the scent stayed nice and strong.  Very pleased with how it turned out, all things considered.

Rainbow Butterfly soap:

The slightly darker circle in the middle is a "wet" spot, cause by the soap getting a little bit too warm, it is purely cosmetic.

Hooray for happy soap endings!

When good fragrances go bad

I picked up a 1 litre bottle of "rainbow sherbet old" from the Nature's Garden clearance sale.  It smells really nice, like cherries with an under tone of citrus and vanilla.  I decided to use it in my inspiration soap yesterday because it discolours to a nice brown and rainbow was just perfect.

My inspiration for yesterday's batch was a butterfly.  I didn't have my phone to get a picture of him, so here is one from Google:

I decided that a nice discolouring fragrance with light blue, dark blue. and bright orange would look super nice.

I got my batter to an emulsified stage, separated for my colours and scented the uncoloured portion.  I had been told it had very mild acceleration, so I mixed my colours and poured them into squeeze bottles.  Then I turned back to my scented portion....

OMG.  Its as hard as rock.  Son of a *****!!!  I grabbed my spatula to beat it back into submission, pushed it through the soap and SPLASH!  Liquid soap squirts up from underneath.  It sprays across my arm, neck and face.  Raw soap batter REALLY burns when it hits your lips.  Didn't burn anywhere else, just my lips.  It did splash onto my glasses though, SO glad I had eye protection, I don't even want to think of what it would have felt like in my eye!

I eventually beat the batter into as much submission as I'm going to get.  I glop 1/2 in the mold and then do some stripes with the colours, there is no way to possibly swirl anymore.  I glop in the other 1/2 and do some more stripes.  When I was done the mold was really warm, probably 120*F, but I covered it with the towel anyhow and put it to bed for the night.  We'll see how it turns out later hopefully, the scented portion still feels a little bit soft.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Ahh the workshop!

Every soaper has a dream; their own workshop!  A place dedicated to soaping!  I get to be one of the lucky few to actually get one, eventually.  We've decided to take the "back room" where the washer and dryer were housed by the previous owner and turn it into a workshop for my upcoming business.  Sounds easy enough, right?  Wrong.  We had to prime and paint, that part was easy.  Then we had to rip out the old baseboards so we could pull up the dingy old carpet and the nasty old vinyl.  Also, not so hard.  But what was under that vinyl, that's the hard part!  There was a thick layer of whatever adhesive the old home owners' "handyman" had slathered on the floor, but it had reacted with whatever he'd used to fill/cover the nails to form a sticky soft goo.  We had to repair the floor with wood putty in several spots, and sand, and do a lot of sweeping and vacuuming!

Once we had the floor in a condition to lay the new vinyl tiles we started along the exposed wall (the opposite wall will have cabinets, hopefully).  This really wasn't any trouble, until we got to the areas with that old adhesive.  We tried primer that Lowes sells to help the tiles adhere, nope, they still peel up.  So we had to buy adhesive and glue them down.... glad we paid extra for the pre-adhesive tiles.  We only work on the room around 1 day per week, on one of my husbands' days off.  It took around a month to lay the entire floor, and we do have a couple tiles that we will need to apply adhesive to.

The next step: figuring out the exact cabinet configuration so we can purchase them and get the plumbing started.  At least its an existing wet wall, right?  *knocks on wood* I still anticipate some kind of issue which will require the attentions of an over priced plumber.  

The plan is to have the room finished before my parents come to visit this fall, here's to hoping we can do it!!!