Monday, December 30, 2013

Peppermint Wake-Up Soap

peppermint wake-up handmade soap
Peppermint Wake-Up Soap
I made this soap with some help from one of my nieces while they were here for Christmas.  I started with the same recipe that I used for the Peppermint Stripe.  Of course, before I could start making soap I had to gather all of my supplies from the shed and my bedroom.  All of my soap making oils were put in the shed which at this time of year means that the olive oil had solidified and the coconut oil was extremely hard. The olive oil liquefied fairly quickly.  However I had to soften the coconut oil in the microwave.

swirls on top of handmade peppermint soap
Top swirls
I started by brewing peppermint tea.  Then I added the tea to my pitcher for my water and then I added enough ice and water to make my soap.  After measuring the lye I added it to my liquids.  It surprised me by turning orange.  I measured out my oils then added the lye water to my oils.  Of course, since my lye water was orange it made my soap mixture somewhat orange as well.  Since I was looking for white and green, this didn't really suit my plans.  I poured off a little less than half of my soap and added zinc oxide mixed with oil to the smaller half.  To the large half I added a little extra comfrey infused oil.  When this did not help turn the larger half any more green I added just a little bit of green pigment mixed with a little oil to the mixture.
side view peppermint wake-up handmade soap
side view

Once I had everything mixed so that there were no noticeable lumps.  I started by filling my sample mold.  I do this first so that I know that all of the remaining soap can go toward filling my mold.  I started with a layer of green, then white, then green, then white, then green, then white.  Next I used a skewer to vertically mix the layers.  After I was satisfied with the swirl, I layered another layer of green then white.  After that I let it sit for about 30 minutes in order to thicken up before swirling the top with a spoon.

I let the soap sit for about 20 hours to set up and finish saponifying.  When I pulled the soap out of the mold, I was very pleased with the colors and the swirl that I found.  I think that my customers will be pleased as well.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Making Korker Bows

bright silver lined mini korker bow
4" lengths of ribbon
I started my shop with hair bows.  I started making them as a favor to my sisters-in-laws.  And of course, since I love anything little I just had to make some corkers that were made from skinny ribbon.

small burgundy korker bow
Combining patterns
I started by researching how to curl ribbon.  I found two methods.  One method involves painting ribbon that is wrapped around a dowel with fabric stiffener.  The second involves wrapping ribbon around a dowel and baking it for 20 minutes at 200*.  I don't like the fact that grosgrain ribbon is stiff and scratchy when heat sealed.  So I decided to go with satin ribbon.  Satin ribbon will only get stiff and scratchy if over melted.  

Christmas mini korker bow
3" ribbon lengths
I started by curing my ribbon on the same size dowel as the ribbon width.  I clamped the ends with alligator clips to keep the ribbon fastened to the dowel during baking before placing the dowels in the oven on a baking sheet.  I didn't want to put the ribbon directly on the oven rack to prevent the ribbon from getting stained by anything on the racks.  After 20 minutes I pulled the ribbon out of the oven and left it to cool.  If you remove the ribbon before it has cooled it will not hold as tight of a curl.  

After removing the ribbon from the dowels it must be cut to the proper length for the hair clips.  The size of the ribbon governs the lengths that it needs to be cut into.  I have a guideline that I use personally for making clips.  

side view christmas mini korker
I use a loop of ribbon through the clip to mount the bow.
For 1/8th inch ribbon I cut into 3 or 3 1/2 inch lengths.  The 3 1/2 will give a more "leggy" clip.
For 3/8th inch ribbon I cut into 3 1/2 or 4 inch lengths.  The 3 1/2 will give you a very tight clip.

I haven't tried any wider ribbon than 3/8ths although I am sure that it would be possible. I have used both sizes of ribbon in the same clip in which case I cut both sizes to the same length.

Christmas ggld rimed mini korker bow

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My Plans for this Weekend

My ornament and hair bow table

Last weekend I did my first Christmas show.  It was rainy and nasty weather wise, but we were inside and it could have been a whole lot worse.  We have a small but fairly steady stream of people through.  I had really nice vendor around me to chat with when it got slow too.  All in all it was a worthwhile weekend.

My soap table
This is where I will be this weekend.  It looks like it will be a great show.  Come out and have a look.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Lady Grey

lady grey all natural handmade tea soap
Lady Grey
This soap did not go as planned.  To start with I tried to fill my mold with squirt bottles.  Let me just say, NEVER again.  It took forever and all of my soap thickened way too quickly.

making lady grey soap
Adding the soap coloring
I made a nice recipe and separated the soap into 2 medium containers and 1 large.  In the large I added madder oil to make a pink.  To the mediums I added titanium dioxide and activated charcoal respectively.  I mixed everything by hand so as to not accelerate trace.  After filling my squirt bottles, I started filling my mold.

I started with a layer of pink, followed by alternating black, pink, white, pink and so forth.  I finally gave up on using the squirt bottles when the soap got too thick to squeeze out of the bottles.  At this point I just made thin layers with a spatula.

After getting all of my soap in my molds, I insulated the whole thing.  After checking on it I found that I had some water pooling from adding water to the squeeze bottles to get as much of the soap out as possible.  This water was added after the soap had been at trace for about half an hour so I wasn't worried about lye being in the liquid.  I put the soap in the oven at 170* for about a half hour.  After an hour it still looked like it had too much liquid so I did another half hour @ 170*.  Then I left the soap in the oven without opening it for the night.  I got busy and forgot to take it out.  BIG mistake!

lady grey all natural handmade tea soap
All trimmed neat & tidy
I made this soap on Saturday.  Sunday morning I woke up with a migraine.  My husband came home from church and started pre-heating the oven for biscuits, at 475*.   And yes my soap was still in the oven!  Yikes!!!!  He had asked me to come help him in the kitchen for a minute, and I was wondering what I was smelling.  I decided to check the oven.   I found the soap.  I had lined my mold with a small trash liner and it had melted.  So did the bungee cord that I had used to secure the mold closed.  Not only did it effect my soap, but my oven was a mess also.

We promptly carried the soap outside to cool.  After the soap had cooled completely, I started unmolding it.  I started by cutting the bungee cord off.  Next I took the soap out of the mold.  The liner had melted to the soap.  I cut all six of the sides off of the soap.  I took about a half inch off of each side.  I sliced the remaining soap in half length wise, before slicing it into bars.

I know that I will do a different design next time, and hopefully I won't loose any soap.

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