Monday, November 9, 2015

Natural Dyeing withTurmeric

Turmeric Dyed wraps
The twins in turmeric dyed wraps
I love experimenting with natural dyes.  I have had a lot of fun with indigo, but recently I experimented with turmeric (yes the spice in your cabinet.)  It was an incredible experience and very educational.
I was getting ready for a photo shoot with a set a 2 week old twin girls and I wanted some naturally dyed wraps. I actually prefer a 50 grade cheesecloth, but I only had local access to the 10 grade (from Hobby Lobby.)  I got quite a bit of cheesecloth while it was on sale.  Yea!
Of course, before I could do anything with it I had to wash and prep the cloth.  I started by boiling the cloth with vinegar and washing soda.  I let the fabric soak for an hour, rinsed it and added it to a pot of turmeric boiled with water and a little vinegar.  I simmered it for several hours before rinsing and washing the fabric.  That was when things got interesting.
I started washing it with my homemade soap after the rinse water started to run mostly clear.  I draped the cheesecloth over my hand and when it touched the soap to it.  The fabric went from a bright yellow to a brick red in the shape of my hand.  I rinsed the soap out and the cheesecloth had turned a orangy gold.
Progression after Dyeing
I was a bit worried by this point because this was not the color I was looking for this time.  I remembered the vinegar that I had used when simmering it.  So I poured a bit of apple cider vinegar in the container with the rinse water.  The fabric where I poured the vinegar immediately turned back to the beautiful gold.
natural dyed wraps
Also turmeric dyed wraps 

The first piece that I dyed I left out on my porch on the line.  After 24 hours, this piece had faded to a pale yellow.  The second piece I hung up inside, and it stayed a beautiful bright yellow.  I love it when you get what you are looking for in an idea.

 I am considering adding these wraps to my shop.  Tell me what you think.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Changes, changes, changes

My new soaps
So things are changing somewhat in my soap line-up.  I was trying to get ready for a craft show, and I was looking at the sheer number of soaps that I had to pack up to be ready to go.  I have about thirty different soaps!  It was stunned.  I couldn't believe that I had that many varieties. 

I finally came to the realization that I need to cut down on the number of soaps that I keep in stock.  I had such large quantities of my ingredients tied up in all my fun soaps.  I have had a hard time keeping my most requested soaps in good supply.  There have been several times that I have gotten down to one or two of my most requested soaps.  This is a problem for me so I am discounting all the soaps that are not going to be remaining in my stock line.  I am going to take it down to about 12 - 15 soaps and then 2-3 soaps for the seasons. 

I have four soaps that I will be adding.  I will be adding a simple goat milk soap, a Gardener's Friend soap and an Acne Relief soap.  The goat milk soap is simple, only three oils and no scents and only a little mica on top.  The Gardener's Friend soap will have fine coffee grounds for scrubbing and scent removal.  I live in the volunteer state (Tennessee) and I have found that the volunteer soaps sell well.  I have scented these bars with a combination of citrus oils.  The Acne Relief contains activated charcoal, zinc oxide and indigo.  Activated charcoal is good for pulling impurities from your skin.  Indigo is also reputed to excellent for helping to improve your skin and help with acne.  Zinc Oxide helps to heal irritated skin.  This soap will also have tea tree, lavender and rosemary essential oils. 

I have also ventured, after a ton of research, into making salves.  I will be posting on this soon.  I have also added milk baths and masques for my local customers and I may do a post on that also.  I am also working on adding a baby product line as well. 

Now that we have settled into a routine with homeschooling I am going to try to get back to posting at least once a month.  Now that things have settled out with school my time is a bit more available.  I will be posting these soaps soon so keep in touch for updates on my site.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Valentine Truffles

Finished Soap Truffles
This year for valentines I decided that the perfect valentines soap would be truffles.  I think that the perfect gift is something that won't require a diet after enjoying.   ;)
Formed centers

I started by making a 3 lb batch of soap and split it in 6 parts.  Each part was about 12 ounces each.  I scented and colored each part differently.

I chose a variety of scents.  I went with mocha, espresso,  raspberry, peppermint, hazelnut toffee, and vanilla.  This gives a nice variety for people to choose from.  I plan to sell these in a pack of four or six.

Ready to coat   
After getting all of the centers ready and giving them two days to make sure that they are good and solid before handling further.  I wanted to be sure that they did not get crushed accidentally.  After getting the centers laid out for the first two scents I realized that the paper liners were not going to work.  The paper liner would stick to the sides of the truffle and make them look unattractive.

The soap for coating ready to mix.  I use cocoa for colorant.
Once I got the batch of coating made, not a simple task, I started trying to coat the centers.  The task was made more difficult because I had taken the coconut oil into the house so that I could start doing inventory and I had fits trying to remember where it had gotten put.  On top of that, my space is only heated with space heaters, and it takes a while to get the area warmed up.

Anyway, after the soap thickened up enough to actually coat the soap centers, I started covering the centers.  I used two spoons to completely cover the centers.  This allowed me to get the centers completely covered without ending up with excess soap on the truffles.  This ensures a neat and finished appearance.  Unfortunately if you try to use the soap before it is thick enough, you can see the color of the soap center right through the soap coating, as you can see below.
When the soap is too thin you can see
the color of the center through the
coating soap.  

Mocha truffles
I went through the centers on scent at a time and put the topping to identify each one separately.  For the mocha truffles, I went with simple cocoa powder.  For the espresso, I went with a finely ground coffee.  For the peppermint, I used a green mica sprinkled on top.  For the raspberry, I sprinkled the top with a dark pink cupcake sugar.  For the vanilla I used a gold mica sprinkled over the top.  Last but not least I added gold mica to a little bit of the brown soap while it was still thin and drizzled it over the top.  Since the outside scent is the same, this will allow me to get the correct scents without having any confusion.