Thursday, February 27, 2014

Peach Pie Soap

Peach Pie Soap
This was a multiple step process.  This soap has embeds and I used cold process soap to make them.  To start with I needed to have peach slices for the soap. I am not a fan of melt & pour so I decided to go with cold process.

Peach slices
I started with a small recipe using the same oils for my main recipe that I mixed, coloring the entire batch with paprika oil.  I poured this into 2 lined 2 inch PVC pipe sections.  This was allowed to sit for 2 days before I un-molded it.  PVC can be difficult to un-mold even with being lined with freezer paper.  After un-molding, I sliced each round log in half before slicing.  These slices were set aside to cure for a day or two.

Top of the swirl
After getting my peach slices finished, I made the soap for the base soap.  After getting the soap to trace and adding my peach fragrance oil, I split the batch into 4 parts.  One part was only about a cup and a half.  This I reserved for the piped lattice on top.  The other three parts I kept pretty close to even.  I colored one with paprika oil, one with turmeric oil and the last one with titanium dioxide.  These parts were layered into the mold white on the bottom then peach and then yellow.  I made three layers in this order.  This minus my samples used all of my three parts of soap.

I got all of this soap in the mold and tapped it firmly on the counter to get any bubbles out.  There is little more frustrating than ending up with a bunch of bubble through your soap.  After tapping the mold, I used a skewer and swirled the soap in a horizontal circular pattern doing one end and then the other.  I really like to swirl this way because I usually get a nice feathery swirl.
Finished top detail

Once the soap was swirled, I added the peach embeds.  I laid them down one side of the mold and then went back up the other side.  This gave me a nice tight pattern.  After I had both rows in the mold, I pressed lightly down on them to be sure that they were fully in contact with the main soap batch.  Since my bars are tall and fairly thin I didn't want to have to worry about my embeds falling off of the soap when I cut my bars.

Now I was ready for the little bit that I had set aside for doing the lattice on top.  To color this soap I added just a touch of vanilla fragrance oil, as well as adding a touch of brown oxide.  Vanilla fragrance oil is well known for coloring soap brown and it also adds a wonderful warmth to the peach fragrance.  After using my stick blender to make sure that I didn't have any clumps of oxide, I decided  that the soap was thick enough to pipe with.  I used a disposable piping bag with an 1/8th inch hole cut in the tip.  I piped one direction and then the other making sure to fill in the spaces left by the peach slices.  I tried to make sure that the surface of the piping was pretty even.

This soap went pretty well all things considered.  I was really happy with the end result.  The only thing I am not happy with is that the turmeric colored part has already faded more than I expected.  I guess that next time I just need to make sure that I add a good bit more than seems necessary.

Have a great weekend everybody!

I am linking with the following blogs:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Monday, February 24, 2014

Green Tea with Jasmine Soap

Green Tea with Jasmine
 This soap is a new one for me.  I had never used a floral fragrance oil before and I wasn't sure how it was going to behave in this batch of soap.  However it behaved itself very well.
Top detail

I started by measuring out my water/tea, adding a small amount of silk fibers, and measuring and adding the lye to the water.  After measuring out the oils, I started by mixing the oils to break up any lumps.  Next I added the lye water to the oils.  Before mixing though I added the fragrance oil to the oils.

After reaching trace, I separated the soap into three portions.  One portion I colored with beet powder, I was hoping for a pink, but the tea color was too strong.  One portion I colored with comfrey oil and a pinch of green pigment.  The last portion I colored with titanium dioxide.

After all of my colors were mixed, I started layering the colors.  I did two layers of each color.  Then I used a skewer to do a circular swirl to swirl the layers.  This gives a nice swirl through the layers that is beautifully visible when the bars are cut.  After swirling the layers I put down a solid layer of white and then topped with a thin layer of green.  After I had the layers in the mold, I mixed a little bit of ivory mica with a little bit of vitamin E oil.  I dripped the mica mixture over the top of the soap and started swirling the very top layer of the soap with the sharp end of a skewer.  I swirled it in little 3/4" circles back and forth across the soap mold.  I tried to keep from swirling the white in to a bare minimum.

After giving the soap 24 hours to gel and solidify, I unmolded it.  I love the swirl.  I haven't seen anyone else use it that I can remember, so I may have to come up with a name for it just to make it easier to blog the soaps I use it in.  I am not a huge fan of florals, and this one is still a little strong for me, but I expect that it will probable fade a bit over the next month.

I am linking with the following blogs:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Friday, February 21, 2014

Soap Mold Remodel

Differences - New & Old
Unfortunately, I have been super busy this last week. My daughter is in American Heritage Girls.  The girls     are starting their spring fundraiser on Monday.  Since they are using my soap for their fundraiser I have been frantically scrambling to get everything ready for that.  Among other things I had a couple of soaps to get       made so that I can include them.  As a result of all of this extra soap making I decided to go ahead and finish my mold changes.                                                                                                                                        

Side by Side
I decided I wanted to make them wider so that I could get 2 bars out of each width of the mold.  The new    measurements for the small mold are 5" wide by 5" deep by 10" long.  It will hold a 5 lb batch allowing for about 8 ounces for cupcakes or samples.  I also changed my closure from gate hooks to strapping with         velcro on the ends and the hooks piece on the ends.  After making a couple of batches of soap I changed to using a bungee cord hooked to eye hooks.                                                                                                   

Eye hook for attaching the bungee cord
The bungee cord definitely works better.  Even with using industrial strength velcro I found that it was not enough to hold in the weight of a batch of soap.  As an added plus the bungee cord allows me to take one end off and check to see if  the soap is starting to gel from the side.  If I am trying for a complete gel this allows me to adjust the amount of heat or insulation I am using appropriately.  Since I usually try to gel my soap (yes I am impatient) this is a big advantage.

Of course, as you will know if you read my post on Lady Grey soap, velcro melts as does a bungee cord.  So I have been dealing with scratchy melted velcro on the ends of one of the molds and I am tired of it.

New and Improved
After cutting several batches of soap I realized that I needed to make some changes.  Since I am also frustrated with trying to cut the loaf into two halves so that I can cut bars, I decided that it was time for a change.  My new mold design is 2 3/4" wide by 17" long.  This holds about the same amount of soap, but it means that I don't have as much frustration in cutting the bars.  After having cut one batch of soap, I have found that it does make a difference.

I am linking with the following blogs:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Making Soap Dishes

If you didn't already know this, bar soap needs to be kept out of standing water if you want your bar to last as long as possible.  However you don't need to spend a ton of money for a fancy soap dish to accomplish this.  I will show you how I made these and why they work.

To start with I went to Goodwill for the saucers.  Goodwill or Salvation Army is a good place to start looking for these at a very reasonable price.  You might even be able to find antique or unusual pieces as well.  Most of these were found at Goodwill.

The saucer with rocks works because the soap rests on top of the rocks.  All of the water runs down between the rocks and evaporates.  This means that the soap stays solid instead of softening prematurely.
Sealant in the center of the saucer
I started with 10 saucers and 5 pounds of river stones.  I tried to find some aquarium sealant to use to adhere the stones to the saucers, but I was unable to find any.  Instead I turned to 100% silicone sealant.  This allows the rocks to be adhered to the saucers for ease of use.  It is also waterproof which in this case is a very good thing.

Stone placement
I started by sorting out the stones that I wanted and made sure that I had enough in the color I was looking for to fill the center of the saucer.  I poured the stones out on my surface.   I squirted a half dollar sized blob into the center of the saucer and spread it out a bit.  I started to place the stones in the saucer on one side working my way across.  After the first saucer I used less sealant and started by placing it just on one side of the saucer spreading it out a little at a time with a toothpick.  This also allowed me to add a little bit to the bottom of a rock if needed.

Stones to the side ready for application
I added rocks until the center was all filled.  I completed seven saucers before calling it quits for the night.  Now I just have to figure out how much to charge for the ones that I sell.  Since I have found several saucers that are unique I will be offering them for sale.  The ones that I will be placing for sale are for those that either don't have time to make one for themselves or who don't want to do it themselves.  For those of you with the adventurous spirit or the desire to make things for your self I have offered this tutorial.

If you want the saucer to be easier to clean you could always leave the rocks loose and wash them separately.  However all you will need to clean these is some hot water and maybe an old clean toothbrush.

 Enjoy and have a wonderful day!

I am linking with the following blogs:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Blending Oils

Roll On bottles of blended oils
I don't know how much you know about essential oils and how to use them.  I didn't start researching them until a little over a year ago.  Before that I was very skeptical of the whole subject.  However since then I have seen how well they work.

All of the supplies at the ready.
In this particular case, I am making a batch of my blend for headaches.  I have found them to be very helpful.  This particular blend has changed over the past several months.  I started with a basic recipe and have since tweeked it to make it more effective for me personally.  Since every person is different, essential oils will not have exactly the same effect on every body.  Some oils will work better for one person than another.

All of the essential oils
I always start with clean implements of course.  I use a separate glass dropper for each essential oil so that I don't accidentally mix them.  Since I need this blend to be easy to apply, I mix it in roller bottles for ease of use.    I start always with the essential oils, before adding a carrier oil to fill the bottle the remainder of the way.

This recipe consists of the following:
60 drops Lavender essential oil
30 drops Peppermint essential oil
20 drops Frankincense essential oil
20 drops of Sweet Birch essential oil
10 drops Wintergreen essential oil
15 drops Clary Sage essential oil
Sweet Almond oil to fill 1/3 oz bottle

Lavender oil - analgesic, soothing, calming, sedative, very safe
Peppermint oil - cooling, analgesic, refreshing, can irritate some migraine sufferers
Frankincense oil - Calming, traditionally used for meditation
Sweet Birch oil - analgesic, cooling, smells like wintergreen, can be sensitizing
Wintergreen oil - analgesic, cooling, not for use by  pregnant women or those taking aspirin
Clary Sage oil - analgesic, hormone regulator, not for use by pregnant woman
Since the wintergreen scent is so strong that is mostly what this blend smells like..

Clary sage is a new addition to this blend.  Since my migraines are partially hormone triggered I thought this might be helpful.   I have suffered from migraines since I got pregnant with my first child almost 13 years ago.  Since then I have tried several medications including several preventatives.  I have not liked the side effects of any of the prescriptions.  In addition I am trying to live more naturally.  This is a great addition to my arsenal for pain.

I am linking with the following blogs:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Beautiful Lip Balm

2 batches of lip balm
I am running out of my tinted lip balm and so I decided that it was time to make some of my own.  I really like the idea of saving money and a healthier solution.  I have made lip balm before, but this was a  bit different because of the tinting.
The base with zinc oxide

I started by measuring out my oils and butters.  I actually prefer using mango butter but I am currently out of stock, so I used shea butter instead.  This recipe is one that I found on Pinterest (don't you just love it) from Frugally Sustainable.  I really like this recipe because it is simple and customizable.

The mica has to be mixed into the oils
I used beeswax, shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil and vitamin E.  I melted them down in the microwave in one  minute.  I used a small glass bowl to melt the oil and as soon as I pulled it out of the microwave.  Once my oils were mostly melted I put the small glass bowl on a jar warmer to keep the oils melted.  I added the vitamin E oil after everything was melted as well as the essential oils.

I used peppermint essential oil and lavender essential oil.  The peppermint give a nice little bit of a tingle to the balm which I have found that I really like.  The lavender oil is great for helping the lips to heal and with the winter we are having this is a good thing.  These really don't add much in the way of flavor to the balm, but that isn't the reason that I use them after all.

The arrows show how the balm will form holes as it cools
For my base color I used alkanet powder infused in olive oil.  I also use this colorant in my soaps, although it colors much differently in an alkaline environment.   I added a bit of zinc oxide to give the color more coverage.  Zinc oxide is also healing and provides just a little bit of sun protection as well.    I added mica to the mixture after filling about 10 tubes for people like my mom that don't want any noticeable color left behind.  I however have replaced lipstick with tinted balm.  I  really like the way that my lips have improved in the way that they feel.  I continued to add colored mica until I was satisfied with the color that was given when applied.

I love the way it forms beads on the top.
Once I achieved the desired color, I started filling lip balm tubes.  I start by filling to just past the little screw piece in the middle.  I allow this to cool so that I get the best finish on my fill.  Since the base contracts some as it cools You have to allow it to cool and then finish filling.  I fill them until the surface tension is the only thing keeping it from overflowing.  This means that I get a slightly mounded finished fill.  I also fill them individually with a disposable pipette.  I have used the glass droppers, but they are a royal pain to clean.

I love the fact that I can make my own lip balm for about a dollar a tube and this includes the price of the tubes.  Granted I do buy some of my supplies in greater quantity than most people.  I also enjoy being able to supply my family and friends with quality health & beauty products.

I am linking with the following blogs:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Floating "Peeps" Soap

Finished "Peep" Bars
I was trying to decide what kind of soaps to make for spring.  I wanted to have at least one that would be fun for the kids in my life and those of my customers.  I finally settled on making something that would be appealing to the child in everyone.  After all who can refuse a marshmallow peep.  I can't and I am not a marshmallow fan to begin with.   I also wanted to make the bar somewhat substantial.    

As you can see it is pretty stiff.
I started by measuring out ice and water to the full amount in my recipe.  The ice helps to keep the lye water's temperature low so that it can be used more quickly.  When making whipped soap the key is to keep your oils COLD.  Warm oils are soft and liquid, but cold oils will hold the air bubbles that you are going to beat into this soap.  Because lye will heat up your water considerably due to the chemical reaction, you want to start with mixing this first and using a good bit of ice to keep the temperature down.  You don't want to get your oils all whipped and have to sit around waiting for your lye water to get cool.

4 "Peeps" on a bar
After my lye water was mixed and set aside in the sink I started measuring my oils.  Since my space is normally unheated, I had turned on the space heater a couple of hours ahead so that it would warm up a bit and placed my coconut and olive oils on top to melt.  Unfortunately, they took forever to cool.  I was able to measure both in a liquid state and I ended up beating them in my bucket inside a bucket with ice water to get them cool enough to start holding the air.  As you can see the batter is very yellow orange.  This comes from using turmeric infused sunflower oil.  I knew from reading up on whipped soap that the batter would be much lighter after whipping so I wanted to make sure that the color would not disappear.

Rows of individually piped bars
After whipping the oils with the orange essential oil I was using for fragrance for what seemed like an eternity it finally got to the point of holding a firm peak.  Most of my research had said to get to the stiff peak stage before adding the lye, but at this point I was dealing with very cold feet and was getting pretty tired.  ( After all I started on the soap at 8:45 after I had put the kiddos to bed for the night. )  I added my lye water, which was almost completely cool by this point, in stages.  Then I started beating the batch again after each addition.

I made the mistake of making this batch too large and my batter was too high in my widest container.  This prevented me from being able to whip as much air as I wanted into the batter.   The soap will still float it just won't float as high in the water.  It took a while but I got the soap stiff enough that it would stay in the piping bag without pouring out.

It really does float although not as well as I would like.
Once the soap was stiff enough to work with I filled my piping bag and started to pipe the bars. I piped each one onto a separate cupcake liner.  I piped two layers of 1 1/2" x 3".  Next I piped the body of the peep, then the head.  I realized also about 2/3 of the way through that I had a problem.  The soap was stiffening up and getting very difficult to pipe.  It was hard to make the peeps look presentable at this point.  I finished up what I could with piping.

I brought everything into the house so that I could work in the warmth.  I neatened up the bars that had ended up looking a little too rough for my taste.  I also pulled out the sugar.  I coated the top and sides of each bar with sugar to get the same appearance as peeps.  These should be ready for purchase from my Etsy shop by March 3rd in plenty of time for Easter baskets.

It is so nice to work on something for spring when it is cold and nasty outside.  I hope that you are all staying warm and cozy where ever you are.

I am linking with the following blogs:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Soapy Valentines Packaged

Ready to add names
I have created a printable that I am using for the tops of the bags that I am using to close the bags. And I am using small treat bags with a couple of small holes for packaging.  Now I just need lists of all of the kids names.

Space for the names & warning not to eat contents
I made this printable so that the names can be filled in by each child.  Of course, I have school and church  parties.  This will make it easier to assemble.  I printed them on 80 weight cardstock.  I cut and trimmed them on a paper cutter but you could easily do it with scissors.  Each child will get 2 soaps.  The boys will get a heart and a shell and the girls will get a heart and a rose.

Breathing holes for the soap
The teachers will be getting larger hearts and they aren't quite to the point of being able to package.  The soaps are packaged in 3 x 4 treat bags that I trimmed about an inch and a half off of the top so that the labels would not be overly bulky.  Cold process soap needs to be able to breath at least a little bit.  Sealed in plastic bags is not conducive to breath-ability so I used my 1/16 inch hole punch to punch holes in each side of the bag.  Because the holes are so small they are not really noticeable.  Also they allow you smell the soap as well as allowing the soap to have some air circulation.

If you are not ready to try to make homemade soap with lye there is no reason mot to go with a high quality Melt & Pour.  Any mold that can be used for candy should also work fine for soap.  The molds that I used for these are actually candy molds.  Do be aware that most easily available melt & pour soaps still have commercial detergents.  There are companies that make it without detergents you just have to hunt a little harder.

I have included the printable below.  It is entirely my artwork and you are more than welcome to use it.

Printable - feel free to use it.

I am linking with the following blogs:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Soapy Valentines for Kids

Hearts, Roses & Shells
I started looking at prices on valentines and realized very quickly that I would do better to make soap.  I also wanted to go with something besides over processed candy.   I picked up some heart candy molds at Hobby Lobby to go along with the rose candy molds that I already had from making lotion bars.  I also planned to make some larger hearts for the teachers.
My two colors 2nd time around

I started with working up my recipe on  This is my usual program for working up recipes and I have been really happy with the results.

I started by measuring out my water and lye and mixing them together.  I set this aside while I measures my oils.  This was my first batch made in my new space and let me just say that the cold makes a huge difference in how your mind works.  I finally got all of the oils measured out and blended up.  The oils were so cold that it looked like I was making a smoothy not soap.  I added the lye water to my congealed oils.  Now it really looked like a smoothy.  I almost didn't have to use the stick blender at all to achieve trace.

Molds all filled and you can see the
effects of putting them in the oven
on the one in the front corner
I separated it into 2 equal parts one to color white the other pink.  I added my colorant then realized that I had forgotten to add my fragrance oil.  I scraped all of the white back into the main bowl.  I mixed the fragrance oil in by hand - Blackberry & Southern Peach from Brambleberry.  Then I separated it back into 2 and tried to color the second part with a little more madder oil.  I poured the lighter color back in for an in the pot swirl.

Once I got it all together, I started to spoon the soap into the molds.  I started by filling the heart molds.  Next I moved to the Roses, the shells and the large heart mold.  After put all of the molds I had used all of the soap, I had to carry all of the molds into the house.  The cold will drastically slow down saponification.  I tried to put all of the molds in the oven at 170*.  I quickly discovered that candy molds DON'T like the heat.  My oven didn't even finish pre-heating before the connecting part of the molds started to shrivel.  Fortunately, the soap was still cold enough that none of the cavities warped.  I immediately pulled out the candy molds.

I forgot to take my camera out so I could take pictures.  I have to make another batch though so I will use the pictures from that one.
My clean up set up since I don't have
running water in my new space

The second batch went much more smoothly.  For one thing I put my fragrance oils into the oils before adding the lye.  For another I took my batch to a thicker trace and used a piping bag with just the very tip cut off to fill my molds.  In order to achieve any swirl with this method I layered the colors in my bag while filling.  As I filled my molds I got a light to medium swirl.  I actually think that I may use this for filling small molds more often.

As always you have to remember the cleanup aspect of soap.  I do let my soapy dishes sit for a day or two just so that all of the remnants of soap finish saponification.  This makes them much easier to clean and means that I don't need the quantity of detergent that I would need to clean them right away.  However I do wash all of my lye water dishes right away.  Since my new space has no running water I have come up with this solution.  I bring hot water from the house and this way I can wash my dishes without freezing my fingers off or having to worry about any germs,  It is actually a very nice solution and I like to think that I am also using a little bit less water as well.

Coming Monday - Printable and packaging for soapy valentines

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