Category Archives: New Stuff in Soapland

Mixin’ It Up!

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They say there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

I’m not a big fan of skinless cats, and it can’t be terribly comfortable for them either, so let’s have none of that.

There’s also more than one way to make soap!  My main method is cold process.  It allows me to use my slab mold and play with design and texture on the largest surface of the soap.  It makes for very fluid swirls and all manner of yummy looks.

Peep, if you will, the following examples:

 

ChristmasRosemaryVanillachocolateSpiced Apple

The only down side to the cold process method is the time it takes for these beauties to be cured and ready.  After I get ’em looking like what you just peeped, I must wait 4 to 6 weeks before they’ve reached a full cure!  Since 4 to 6 weeks is not now, and I’m a big, BIG fan of now,  I’m glad to say there’s a quicker method!

Hot process soapmaking is a different way to get the same product.  The lather, the fragrance, the cleansing qualities are all the same.  The look, however, is different!  I do hot process in a log or loaf mold, which makes a big ol’ hunk o’ soap that gets sliced into bars.  With this process, I can play with the design on the INSIDE of the soap, rather than the large surface area!  Peep on:

RosyCheekHPManly Grunting Man SoapDSCN1020[1]CocoNuts 

Number one awesomeness about the hot process method is the speed.  Once it’s cut and trimmed, it can be used immediately!  I like to give it a few days to firm up a bit, but it’s completely saponified during “the cook”.  I actually cook the soap through the cure before I add the color and scent, coconut milk or oatmeal or any other fun stuff.  I can even wash my pot with what’s left in it when I’m done!

There’s an element of mystery and fun involved too, because I never REALLY know what it’s going to look like until the next day, when I unmold and slice it!

Thanks to the hot process method, I’ve been able to keep my stock going through the mad holiday rush!  I plan to make both hot and cold process soaps for all or most of my recipes from here on out, rush or no rush!

You can see all the different “versions” of each soap in the product gallery on each item’s page, and take comfort in the fact that if something sells out, it won’t be a month or more before you see it again!

I love this stuff…

 

 

I’m a Scent Rebel

RosemaryVanilla

Now, some folks have questioned me on my use of scents like patchouli, pine and herbal extracts in my soaps.  That’s cool…they certainly don’t represent the kind of thing you see in the supermarket’s soap aisle on a regular basis.  Even with an adventurous spirit, this can take some getting used to!

For the record, I’m used to it!  I’m playing with essential oils I’d never heard of before, and combining scents I would never have DREAMED of combining!

It.  Is.  Fun.

The first real confidence-booster was Rosy Cheek.  I had played it pretty safe up to that point, but I was making that soap with my friend Bridget, and I wanted something really special and unusual for her.  Plus…I was probably showing off a bit.

That soap had a blend of rose, rosemary, and a leeeetle bit of eucalyptus.  It quickly became a best seller, and yes, it is cheeky.

KoalaMeme

In talking with other soapers last week, Rosemary essential oil was discussed more than one would think.  Apparently, rosemary plays very well with others!  Soapers seem to blend rosemary with everything!  Well…I hadn’t come up with anything tremendously new in a while, so I started thinking about rosemary.  I decided that I would plunge my hand into my big box of aroma-happinesses and blend whatever came out with rosemary somehow.

What did I pull out?

Rosemary.

I should’ve taken that out before plunging.  So I plunged again and came out with Vanilla.

Rosemary and vanilla?  Fresh/herbal/spicy combined with warm, mellow and autumnal?  “Hrmmm…,” I thought, “I sure hope they don’t cancel each other out and end up smelling like distilled water.”

Then I laughed a little because I crack myself up.

Whellll, I’d made an agreement with myself so I got to work.  I used 3 parts rosemary with 1 part vanilla, and the blended oils hit me like a ton of bricks.  Intriguing…different…yet familiar…just wonderful!  It’s invigorating and warm at the same time.

How NEAT is that??

In the finished soap at 24 hours, I got mostly that refreshing, snappy rosemary, but now, four days later, the bar gives off a comfortable undertone of vanilla.  I can’t wait until it’s fully cured so I can see what happens when it lathers up!  Here it is:

RosemaryVanilla

(Update: We are temporarily out of stock–go figure!)

I’ll admit, the thought of plunging in like that and just going for it was scary…and a teensy bit against my nature…after all, I, like everyone else, know what I like!  I gotta tell you though…this might not be the last time I take the plunge!

In other news, I’ve recently discovered that St. Florian is the patron saint of soapmakers (among other things)!  Perhaps he was watching out for me when I took the plunge and got this great scent blend!

St. Florian, pray for us!

StFlorian