Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Cubist phase?

It seems I am having a love affair with cubes in soaps at the moment, the three latest ones all seem to feature cubes. I have even made a plain orange soap ( with annatto seed infusion ) so that I could make more cubes in yet another colour. The rebatch with the salmon coloured cubes I have already shown you in the last post, here are the other two soaps, which I have made this week -

I am quite fond of these soaps, they are kinda modern and funky and they also smell rather good, lol. It seems once I get started, I can't stop making soap, so I am planning another one for this afternoon/evening. Cubes again? Well, lets see, perhaps not this time, one can have too much of a good thing. Maybe a nice plain soap, just subtly coloured with clay would be nice for a change.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

And here we go again,

another rebatch, sigh. It is so frustrating, you sniff your way through your cupboard, pick a fragrance which you think is ideal for the soap you had in mind, and your notes say that this FO is meant to behave well and discolour to brown. Great! Layered soap, with brown main part and cream top layer with pink cubes, should be a doddle.

I used my normal recipe, prepared for the two different batches, added the FO to the main batch and gently stirred. And it started ricing. And clumping. Terrific, this is behaving well??? So I stickblended it like mad to beat it into submission and ended up with something almost resembling fairly normal soap batter. Scooped it into the mould and went to get the small batch for the top layer ready. Ok, the bottom layer had set, no changes that I could see, it looked ok-ish, if not totally smooth. Poured on the top layer, added the pretty pink cubes, and put it to sleep.

The next morning I was greeted with............ a soap loaf sitting in a huge puddle of fragrance oil, which of course went everywhere as soon as I had undone the mould. I had to spend ages cleaning up, mopping up ££ of FO and throwing it away. And of course the soap was holy, and lumpy, and ugly. Nothing for it but to try and rescue that lot by rebatching it. And sooner rather than later.

Fortunately, the soap was still quite soft, so chopping it up was easy. Into the cooking pot it went with a little bit of water, and it melted down quite easily with some rigorous and continuous stirring -

The cubes, which were from an older soap specifically made for cubing and shredding didn't melt, which was a bonus, and perhaps there was a glimmer of hope that the rebatch wouldn't turn out totally butt ugly. Well, that was two days ago, the rebatch has been cut, and is sitting on the drying rack, and is still looking very creamy. No sign of any brownness creeping in yet. Wonder why that is, I would have expected it to discolour at least a little bit by now. Ah well, I'd be quite happy if it stayed this pretty creamy toffee colour with pink cubes. All in all, I think it was a successful rebatch, could have been worse.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Love Lavender?

It seems everybody really loves lavender, and there is no question of it being an elderly lady's fragrance, as people used to think. I had another craft fair on the weekend, and once again, the lavender soap was selling really well, to customers of all ages. For example, I had a lovely young girl tell me that she REALLY loved lavender, and used a lavender room spray all the time.

So here I am, having just made yet another batch of lavender soap, and I will probably make a few more this week. This is the current one, just starting to gel in the mould -

The house is filled with the gorgeous lavender scent now. Sigh, I love soapmaking.

Monday, 1 June 2009

All the fun of the fair

I had a couple of very interesting days at the craft fair. The setting was stunning, Bewl Water is a superb location, and the weather was beautiful -

The visitor centre was packed with a really good mixture of craft stalls, manned by the nicest people you could wish for. Opposite me was Helen from www.leaftradingpost.co.uk. She had the most wonderfully soft fleeces on her stall, as well as antlers, jewellery made from bone and semi precious stones, natural dye stuff and a variety of other cool things

Next to her was Suzanne's stall, which very much appealed to me. It was full of delightful vintage bits and pieces and beautifully sewn handbags, made with fab vintage fabrics

Space was very tight so I couldn't spread and also had to restrict what I put out, but somehow that was quite nice actually, because as people bought things, we had to refill the empty spaces, and that felt really good.

The new soaps went down really well, and so many people commented on the Art Nouveau style labels. That really surprised me, and it certainly made my son happy, as he spends so much time designing the labels with me.

Overall, it was a pretty good weekend for me, although I heard from other traders that not everybody was so lucky. I am looking forward to the next fairs now, although have to make more stock for those, as a couple of soaps nearly sold out.