Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Another update,

this time on the tree blossom soap. It has darkened to a light brown, quite a lovely sort of caramel shade. Not sure whether it will darken any further, I was expecting it to from the FO description. Doesnt matter though, I am quite happy with this colour, even though its lighter than expected.

Update on the soap experiment

I was being a very good, patient girl this morning, I didn't jump out of bed when Andy got up at 5am this morning, I didn't even get up to check the soap when I got my cup of tea, mostly really because the two doggies were lying across my legs and I wouldn't have been able to move even if I had wanted to, lol. But 7am is a respectable getting up time ( I know, JJ would dispute that and argue very hotly ), but it just had to be done.

Both soaps had ashed, was the FO responsible for that perhaps? I don't often get ash, hmmm. Actually mine had ashed more than hers did. I took the soaps out of the mould, and peeled off the liner. Big difference there, mine came off cleanly, hers was sticky and left residue on the liner, more on the bottom than on the sides. It wasn't really bad though, and the difference was probably due to her using full water at 38 and me dropping mine to 35. Her soap felt stickier and was therefore more awkward to cut, i got the heavy drag on the knife, but despite that, it was a fairly clean cut. Because my soap didn't have that stickiness, it was easier and cleaner to cut.

Colourwise there isn't much in it anymore, mine is still a wee bit lighter and yellower than hers, which is slightly darker and more beige. We'll see how that will change over the course of the day.

So, quite frankly, I am a bit stumped now, making allowances for the full water, her recipe itself didn't turn out too badly after all, although it requires more patience, lol. I NEED PATIENCE now to see how the soaps develop over the next days and weeks, arrgghh, this is the really hard part of the experiment, lol. In the meantime, I think perhaps her mould and lining has something to do with her problems of getting the soaps out in the first place. Perhaps a little tweak of the recipe, together with a decent wooden mould and a liner would solve her problems.

Another thought just occurred to me. I believe that usually she doesn't take temps of the oils and the lye water, this time she did, and soaped at around 90F, that might have something to do with it as well. I am totally anal about taking temps, I have to admit, I always check the temps of both the oils and the lye water, and usually soap at around 85 or 90F.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Wet Monkey Farts

Honestly, its not what you might think, and it sounds much worse than it really is. I suppose I oughta explain really.

A dear friend of mine who shall remain nameless ( see, JJ, I can be trusted after all ), keeps complaining about her soaps not coming out of her moulds, being soft, bla bla bla, you know the sort of thing. So, as I knew she was coming over to visit, I proposed a little experiment - we would make soap together, she would use her recipe, the way she always does her CP soaping, I would use my recipe, and make it the way I always do. We would both use the same FO, the same appliances, ie stick blender, and also the same mould. I made a partition in my wooden mould for that, so that the conditions would be exactly the same for the both of us. Oh, apropos FO, thats where the title of this post comes from, lol, the FO is actually called Monkey Farts, lol, and we thought we put a little twist on it, twisted broads that we are, and use some coloured shreds to simulate, errmm, well, wet ( or follow through, as Joy called them ) monkey farts.

It was great fun weighing out our oils, lye etc together, all dressed up in the proper gear of course with hairnets, gloves, sleeves, looking oh so pretty pretty, teeheeee. Ain't gonna post no pics though, sorry, I have VERY strict instruction to keep those well and truly off the net, lol.

We both poured our soaps at the same time, well within seconds of each other anyway, and she thought she could already detect a difference, she was convinced my soap looked smoother in the mould than hers, her surface was slightly uneven, couldn't really call it lumpy. We covered both halves of the mould with same weight towels, and then waited................ all of half hour, lol, before we had to check the progress of the soaps. We were immediately struck by the difference in colour, my soap had gone quite yellow, hers ( sorry, can't use her name, I promised ) had gone beige. Also mine was getting quite warm, hers was cold. The difference in colour is much more pronounced than in the photos, darned flash washed out the colours a bit.

We checked again an hour later, my soap was nicely warm, so was hers. Yay. Looked fine so far. A while later we checked again, my soap was still quite warm, hers had gone cold again. Hmm, that was slightly odd. Checked again an hour or so ago, and my soap had cooled down, and hers, well hers was hot hot hot, lol, and perspiring like mad! That was really weird, seeing all that condensation on her side of the mould. I think you may to click on the pic to enlarge it, to see the condensation properly, taking pics with a flash at night is a bitch, lol.

So now, the towels are off both soaps, I am hoping that the moisture will get absorbed by her soap again. Having just looked at the soaps again, mine is now developing a slight case of ash in the middle only, and hers, well hers is still sweating. Hmm.

I so wish I could unmould the soaps tonight and cut them, to see whether HERS ( sorry, dear, really hate having to say hers all the time instead of JJ's ) is really as problematic as she says they sometimes are. I hate having to wait, waahh, bit I guess I can't jeopardise our fabulous little experiment, lol. It is really strange seeing how differently our soaps are behaving, and it can only be the recipe, everything else was exactly the same.

I'll update tomorrow morning, as soon as I have unmoulded and cut the soaps. Darn, I wish Madam was here as well to witness it, sigh, its such a heavy responsibility, lol.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Royal Visit

Omg, I have to dust off the red carpet, shampoo it and fragrance it, the Queen is coming for a visit on Tuesday!! Yes, you read that correctly, the Queen is coming in person to visit my humble abode. Now before you get too excited and start camping outside my front door with your cameras at the ready, I had better tell you that it is the Croap Queen who is coming for a visit, lol. Still, She does warrant the red carpet treatment, because She is of course a right Royal .... in the .... ( you may insert whatever first springs to mind, lol ) at times. When she moans and groans about her croapings, for example, or her croilies, or the dozen other things she is trying out and won't even tell about, because they may not work out.

Just in case you cannot resist the lure of Royalty in any shape or form, here is a sneakily snuck photograph of the Queen in all her finery. What a magnificent croap crown!

Trees in blossom

Whenever I step outside the house, I see trees in blossom everywhere. Isn't it just the prettiest sight? Tiny bits of the lightest spring greens and bunches and bunches of the most gorgeous shades of pink, anything from almost white to a deep deep pink. And on a glorious day like today, with the sky a deep and rich blue and everything bathed in warm sunshine, it is also a very inspiring sight.

I was sniffing my way through my smellies collection when I came across a bottle of Sapmoss from Gracefruit. It is a wonderful, unisex sort of fragrance, really lovely and fresh, not too floral, not too spicy, to me it is like a fresh warm breath of wind blowing through the woods. It is supposed to discolour to a woody brown, so I thought it would make a great base for a tree blossom soap, with very light green and pink cubes scattered through and on top of the soap. Here it is, just poured, and looking very pale still, so please keep your fingers crossed for me that it really will darken to a woody brown.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Had to happen sooner or later

Sigh, I had a bit of a soaping disaster yesterday. All my own fault, I should have known better. You see, I have this love/hate relationship with FOs, and in particular this one, I adore the scent but its a bitch to soap. I had used it once before and it was instant soap on a stick. It did hold its fragrance through the rebatching, so all was not lost. But, it went to the back of the cupboard as a soaping no-no.

Yesterday I thought I would try and reduce my stash of FOs, and picked this one, the fragrance was just too irresistible. I remembered that it didn't discolour too badly, only to a sort of cream/light tan. I thought that perhaps by soaping at room temperature and with full water, it might behave itself a bit better. No such luck, sigh, even though I only stirred the fragrance in by hand, not with a stick blender. As I poured, it started to rice, and by the time the last bit of soap was in the mould, it had set rock hard. So much for doing a pretty swirl on top along the middle. It was heating up as I was still trying to get some sort of pattern onto the top, and just a few mins after putting it to bed, it was gelling like crazy. And thats when the trouble really started. It started splitting and cracking all over the place, and oozing the fragrance oil. I just left it in disgust and resigned myself to the fact that a rebatch was pretty imminent.

My soaping room smelled so good this morning, and I was so hoping that overnight the FO might have been reabsorbed into the soap................. NOPE, it was still sitting on top in little puddles. Well, I decided to cut it anyway, it would have to be chopped up for rebatching or for shredding/cubing, anyway, so it didn't really matter what I did to it. Surprisingly, the soap is actually quite smooth inside, the two halves are holding together very nicely, and the cracks seem to have mostly closed up. What a real bummer about the puddles though, eh? I have decided to wait another day before I take drastic action, I am forever hopeful, the FO might still get absorbed back in the soap, lol.

This is it, just after pouring it, you can see the ricing, cracking and splitting quite well -

And this is it just cut, you can see the FO still puddling on top, in what was supposed to be a graceful, delicate little white swirl, hahahaha -

The offending FO has been put back into the cupboard with a firm note attached to it, only to use it for scrubs and bath melts and such like. No more soap, ever, humph.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Natalie has a new frock!

Being a nettle soap, the last batch of Natalie had a very spiky top to represent the sting of the nettle. This time round, Natalie has gone all soft and is wearing a golden frock! The sharp spikes were very awkward when storing or transporting the soap, so I opted for a softer look. The top is now gently sculpted and the " posh frock " is a little bit of gold mica brushed on.

I love natural colours. Now, green is notoriously difficult to get and most greens tend to fade to a sludgy browny grey, but this nettle soap keeps its colour astonishingly well. It does lighten a little over the months, but thats all, the lovely green colour is still very much in evidence. Unrefined avocado and unrefined hemp oil help enormously with the lovely deep green colour, and brewing the organic nettles ( from Gracefruit ) in the lye water does the rest. I have used a mostly herbal blend of essential oils for this soap, with just a hint of a sweet floral to soften it.

Friday, 17 April 2009

GIGI cut

This is such a very girlie soap, white with a delicate light pink swirl, and with that divine smell of rose geranium. I love that crackle effect you get when you use rather more TD than necessary really, it adds such an interesting feature to the soapies. Because I used the full water amount, the soap is still quite soft and I haven't cleaned it up yet, so it does look rather raggedy round the edges. Ah well, patience, Lizzie, a few more days and then I can deal with it properly.

Whats next on the agenda? Nettle soap, I think, I need something green on the drying rack to go with all the yellows, pinks and lilacs. Dark green oils like unrefined avocado and unrefined hemp, together with organic dried nettle from Gracefruit should do the trick nicely. The last batch sold really well at the fairs.

PS - I am beginning to miss my beads, I might just have to take a day off from soaping tomorrow and play with them for a wee while. Need to work on a couple of requests, thats my excuse anyway, lol.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

La vie en rose - GIGI

This is another single scent soap, this time rose geranium. Of course I had to use pink in that soap, the geraniums I had in my hanging baskets last summer were a lovely shade of rose pink. I hope that this pink turns out to be a similar shade of gentle rose pink. Rose geranium is an awesome scent, I love it pure and I love it in essential oil blends. Maybe the next soap will be a new blend, hmmm.

My darling son has just reminded me that I am supposed to make new batches of soaps which I am running out of, not lots of new ones, lol. He is worried that he will have to help me with the design of labels for the new soapies, teehee. Mind you, it always costs me dearly, I have to take him out to Cosmo for an oriental buffet in return for his help.

Lavendine cut

The temptation was too great, I had to cut it first thing this morning. Fortunately, I had reduced the water, so the the soap cut very nicely. I am pleased with the two shades of lavender, they are pretty much what I was hoping for. Of course I have no idea how much of each UM I had used to achieve those colours, lol, it was more a case of - a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and that looks about right -

Anyway, here is the cut soap, it does smell rather good, I had forgotten how nice Lavender on its own really is.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009


It seems I can't stop soaping at the moment, must be the beautiful spring weather! People keep asking me for single scent soaps at craft fairs, so I made a lavender soap today. I have to admit that I much prefer blending essential oils, it is so very fascinating, but I don't mind making a few with just one essential oil. Rose geranium next, yum, I love that gorgeous fragrance, so I am quite looking forward to making that one. Now, what other essential oils would be good for a single scent bar? It is really difficult for me to pick just one essential oil, I just wanna grab a few of my bottles and blend, blend, blend.

As I couldn't be creative with the scent, I decided to be creative with the look, blended the colours ( blue, pink and purple UMs ) to produce a (hopefully ) lavender colour, and used plain shredded soap to liven things up a bit as well. Fingers crossed, I hope it turns out ok.

Here is the Lavendine soap, just poured. It is now sleeping under its blanket, and I have to practice being patient again, sigh, I suppose there is no way I can unmould it until tomorrow.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Midnight flower garden

I found this absolutely gorgeous vintage necklace the other day at a boot fair. The beads are firepolished AB crystals in a very dark blue, and they sparkle like crazy. I couldn't bring myself to take it apart and use the beads for something else, so I decided to embellish it with lucite flowers and leaves. It is one of my favourites so far.

Heaven or Hell?

Well, you have probably realised by now that I am MILDLY interested in beads, BEADS, sigh, those glorious, smooth, tactile, shiny, tiny little things which come in hundreds and hundreds of beautiful and totally irresistible colours. It was a lovely morning yesterday, so hubby and youngest son accompanied me ( somewhat under protest, and only with the promise of the pub afterwards to make it more palatable ) to a boot fair. I had my usual slow womble through, picking up an old necklace here and there for "recycling" and thoroughly enjoying the atmosphere. All was well until, nearly at the end of the womble, I came across a stall which made me gasp............. BEADS!! Glorious beads, hundreds of packets of beads in all the colours of the rainbow, and in all shapes and sizes! They had come from the workshop of a professional beader, who had worked on dresses for the stars for many many years.

It was heaven for a while, picking up bags and studying the contents, rummaging through boxes, piling up goodies which just had to be bought. The stall holder very thoughtfully provided me with a tray when my hands couldn't hold my treasures any longer, lol. And then I began to realise it wasn't heaven after all, it was sheer hell, because I had to leave so many gorgeous beads behind!!! I was very strict with myself and had set myself a limit on how much I would spend, so I constantly had to make heart wrenching decisions which baggie to put down again, because I had just found an absolute must-have. But in the end, I did walk away with a lovely stash of seed and bugle beads and a HUGE grin on my face. So here they are, in all their glory, I would say that was a fiver well spent ( and I am not trying to wind up JJ, honestly!!! )

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Amelie's secret revealed

Being the very patient person that I am, ahem, I actually lasted til about 6.30am this morning, but that was it, I just had to cut the soap to find out whether it was anywhere near what I was hoping for, before I set off to do the Craft Fair. I was pleasantly surprised, it is not far off what I had imagined, I am really quite pleased with the look. I had hoped for something similar to the crackle effect of the Mignonette soap, and it worked out well, the kind of crackle seems to surround the soap shreds in the blue. Also, the shade of blue is pretty much what I was hoping for as well.

The Fair went really well, but I have some serious soapmaking to do this week to restock, I almost sold out of at least 4 different soaps and most of the others are running quite low as well.
The "Lovliest Customer of the Day Award " has to go to a gentleman who stopped at the stand with his lady wife(?) and spent, oh probably half an hour, very enthusiastically sniffing his way through all the soaps, back and forth, and making the most wonderful comments. I have never seen a guy so happy to sniff soaps, and chatting with him was so much fun. He walked away very happy with with soap purchases. The nicest thing about doing a craft fair, or market for that matter, is that you can actually talk to your customers and explain about your soaps etc., and it makes me feel so good when people show a real interest in how soaps or serums are made, and what the various ingredients do etc.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Amelie's Secret

Spring is most definitely in the air and seems to have done a good job of getting me off my butt and soaping again. Two soaps in two days, woohoo! And another one already planned out for Monday ( would do it tomorrow, but I am doing an Easter Fair ). This one is called Amelie and does indeed harbour a little secret, but you ( and I, dangnabit ) will have to wait until tomorrow evening before I can reveal it. Maybe even longer, as I didn't reduce the water amount. I HATE WAITING, WAAHHH. And this one I am really curious about, I so wanna get it out of the mould and cut ASAP!

PS - I have been such a good girl, haven't touched any beads!!! Well, might have touched some, cos they are smooooooooooth and shiny, and luverly, but haven't spent ages making anything, so there.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Spring has sprung.......

the grass has ris,
I wonder where them oilies is


The lovely sunshine this morning had motivated me to make soap today. It had to be a new batch of Clementine, of course, a) because of the gorgeous sunshine yellow colour and fresh citrus scent, and b) because it is almost sold out, I only have one bar left!

This is it, freshly poured and swirled, hopefully I will be able to cut it tomorrow.

PS - Haven't touched my beads in days! See, not addicted at all.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Pretty in Pink

Yes, yes, alright, I know what you are going to say, this is a soap blog, so whats more jewellery doing on here? Thing is, I can do this sort of thing in the evening, sitting in the family room with my darlings, sort of watching telly, so it is not something I am doing INSTEAD of making soaps and all the other goodies, it is just something I am doing IN ADDITION to all that.

I had promised my almost-daughter-in-law to make her another "rattly"ring, this time in pretty pinks, and here it is, made with the sweetest little lucite flowers, imitation pearls rescued from a broken 1950s necklace, baby pink beads from broken 1960s necklace and various other little beauties -

Thats it for now, there are a few more pics of other bits of jewellery knocking about somewhere, but I'll leave those for another day.