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It has been a busy summer so far!  Farmer’s market season here in upstate NY is well under way.  It has been fun so far, though surprisingly exhausting!  I didn’t think attending an outdoor market once a week could wear me out, but by the time I get home I’m so tired I fall asleep on the couch.   I think part of it is that I am spending so much time outdoors and whether it is cold or hot outside (both of which rotate turns up here  in the summer near the Adirondacks) wear me out.

My basic farmer's market display

My basic farmer’s market display

I enjoy the experience though.  I have learned so much!  I know when to push a sale, when to shut up, when to ask a question, and even when it’s best just to smile and nod and give a cheery wave.  I have also become more confident with my soaps and am more willing to talk about it.  Seems like basic, simple stuff, I know, but still I feel like I have learned so much.  This summer has been going by way too fast!

I also have created a few new soaps that have been quite a hit.  I created a Cucumber and Aloe soap using cucumber puree and aloe juice.  Such a gentle, cleansing soap and so bubbly!  I have already pretty much sold out of my first batch and will be making a new batch that should be available in August.

To view a video of the making of my Cucumber and Aloe soap, please visit my youtube channel, GVSoapCo or click here.

 

Here’s a pic of the cut Cucumber & Aloe soap.  It’s not the best lighting since I took it at night.  Usually I take some pics on a white background in natural light, but these sold quickly enough before I could do that and list them on etsy. Yay!

Cucumber & Aloe Soap bar with floral stamp

Cucumber & Aloe Soap bar with floral stamp

 

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I have joined a new challenge!  Sponsored by Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks, a new soaping challenge program has begun! Each month, a soaping technique will be demonstrated and those that are willing to register (for a small fee) can display their attempts on a link up post.  Those participating can then vote on a “winner.”  The winner will win a prize! (a different prize for each technique/challenge from what  I understand.)

Anyway, this month’s challenge is the peacock swirl.  My attempt I documented through video and have posted on youtube (here).

I made a small batch using a shoebox because I figured I would probably screw it up at least once– and I did!  If I would have used my regular wooden slab mold, the swirl may have been easier to do, but I didn’t want to waste all of the ingredients if I had to remake the soap over and over.

To start with, I used a slow moving recipe of Olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, soybean oil, and castor oil.   I blended to emulsion and divided my raw soap batter into 5 condiment bottles.  For colors I chose black oxide, electric bubble gum pink pigment, soft green mica, ultramarine violet, and titanium dioxide.  The fragrance was a lavender essential oil.

I added the colors and EO to the bottles.  After adding the lids, shook them up and tried to make sure they were thoroughly colored.  I had lined a shoebox to use as my mold so quickly zig zagged my soap into the mold alternating the colors.  Instead of putting a layer of uncolored soap on the bottom of the mold as a base, I just decided to swirl the whole thing!  Yay!

When I had emptied all of the bottles, I tamped down the mold (gently) and used a chopstick to create the “Peacock Swirl.”  Now, for my first batch, I did screw up the swirl a bit.  I did ok with the initial drawing the chopstick down through the soap, pulling out and starting at the top again for each row.  I screwed up at the “s” part.  Instead of starting at the top of the mold for each “s” row, I alternated from top to bottom.  It still looked pretty but not like a peacock swirl should.  Ultimately, it didn’t matter since I dropped the soap on the countertop the next day, ruining it.  BOOOOOO!

So I made another batch with the same recipe, EO, and colorants.  I videoed the cutting of that soap and have the finished photos of the second batch to show.  Overall, the soap came out good.  I love this technique and will use it again in the future!   Will definitely need a better mold though– I really stink at measuring and cutting my soaps using a ruler!

Peacock Swirl soap beveled and trimmed.

Peacock Swirl soap beveled and trimmed.

Love to see the variation in swirling with this technique

Love to see the variation in swirling with this technique

Another view of the variation of swirls

Another view of the variation of swirls

Love how the swirl goes through the entire soap

Love how the swirl goes through the entire soap

Love the pink in this one

Love the pink in this one

I love the lavender EO. I didn’t put in a lot so it’s a light fragrance of lavender. Also, there are a few tiny little beads of glycerin on the tops which I washed away after taking the photos. I used glycerin to mix my colors and that often happens when I do that. The soaps are still fairly soft– partially due to the recipe and partially due to the high humidity up here. I was afraid to wash them prior to taking pics and ruin them!

I also will bevel and trim the remaining soaps when they have sufficiently hardened. Right now, I’ve put them all back on the curing rack and I won’t touch them for another 4-6 weeks! Do not want to ruin another batch!

New sugar scrub

I have been working on my sugar scrub recipe.  There’s nothing wrong with my original, basic recipe but I liked the idea of creating an emulsified sugar scrub.

“Emulsified?  What the heck is that?” you may ask, but it’s pretty simple.  A sugar scrub is basically made with oils and sugar, maybe a scent if you want.  That’s nice and all, but kind of messy and I realized since a lot of my business is online sales, I didn’t want my oily scrubs leaking all over the place.  So, I learned about emulsified scrubs and researched all I could about them.  An emulsified scrub is basically taking the basic oils and butters used in a regular scrub and adding emulsifying agent and other ingredients to bring the oils/butters along with the sugar into a thick, creamy, lotion-like product.

Loved the idea!  Emulsified scrubs look so rich and inviting!  Often times they remind me of a thick frosting or creamy gelato.  Yuum!  I found a recipe I liked, then tweaked it until i loved it!

Here are 2 scrubs I was able to make:

Passionfruit Rose scented sugar scrub

Passionfruit Rose scented sugar scrub

Pineapple Cilantro sugar scrub.  Smells like fresh, juicy pineapple!

Pineapple Cilantro sugar scrub. Smells like fresh, juicy pineapple!

They both smell great and I hope everyone who tries them likes them too!  I like how the scrub is creamy and leaves a lotiony feel to my skin after the shower.  Perfect for my ridiculously dry skin!

Here are some great links with emulsified sugar scrub recipes:

http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com/2013/01/facial-scrubs-emulsified-scrubs.html

http://www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com/RecipeDetail.aspx?RecipeID=345

http://www.naturesgardencandles.com/mas_assets/pdf/emulsiscrub.pdf

All of these sites give a fairly basic recipe but you could make own more tailored to your needs by changing up the type of oils and butters used and the percentages. Experiment!  Have fun!

I really enjoyed participating in the soap challenge sponsored by Great Cakes Soapworks.  For more info about the challenge, please read my last few posts starting here.  Anyway, I decided to try and do the last technique, the leopard spot, using the hot process technique of making soap.

I mainly make my soaps through the cold process technique because there is a lot more variety in design.  I do like the efficiency of hot process though and have made a bunch of batches using it.  Now hot process soaps come out looking a bit more rustic looking, but still they are lovely bars of soap.

I like the look of hot process but I figured there had to be some way to “jazz” it up a bit.  At first I tried handstamping my hot process soaps:

Lavender Patchouli hand stamped hot process soap

Lavender Patchouli hand stamped hot process soap

hotpepeucetsy2

Peppermint Eucalyptus hand stamped hot process soap

Not too bad. I like the look of hand stamped soap, but I didn’t feel like investing in a ton of different stamps to change up my hot process soaps.

I decided to try adding more than one color to my soaps.  By plopping different colored hot process soap into a mold, I was able to at least get an intriguing variation of color that was pretty.  For example:

Yuzu scented hot process with two colors- pink and yellow

Yuzu scented hot process with two colors- pink and yellow

Then I tried three colors:

Tri colored Berry scented HP

Tri colored Berry scented HP

Not too bad. I did attempt a full fledged swirl with another hot process soap, but managed to misplace the photos, so I’ll have to get back to you all on that. After these experiments, I tried combining the two, stamping and two colors. I love how this soap came out and I used a yummy Buttercream Snickerdoodle fragrance oil to scent it.

Hot process soap colored with kaolin clay and cocoa powder
Hot process soap colored with kaolin clay and cocoa powder

I was pleasantly surprised. The more I worked with hot process, the more confident I felt I could make it somewhat less “rustic” and more “pretty.” I decided to try making a leopard spot hot process soap. Pretty ammbitious, I know, but fun!

It took a lot of pre-planning and I know the first attempt is not perfect, but it really did come out much better than I thought. I will try this technique again with HP and plan on videotaping it so I can post to my youtube channel. Just one more reason to make soap!

Here’s my latest HP creation:

My attempt at Leopard spotted HP soap, scented with Plumeria FO.

My attempt at Leopard spotted HP soap, scented with Plumeria FO.

Hope I’ve inspired a few folks into trying hot process. It may not be as old of a technique as cold process, but has it’s own unique benefits and style!

This is the last week for the The Great Cakes Soapworks soap challenge!  I wish it weren’t over but I had a lot of fun learning new techniques.  I need to practice them some more but it was great to participate and learn about some new techniques I wasn’t familiar with.

For my leopard spot soap, I decided to use the Loving Spell FO I had just received from Nature’s Garden.  It smelled so delicious!  Such a bright, sweet, citrusy blend.  I thought it would be a great summery scent.  As for coloring my leopard soap I used a neon pink colorant from NG as a main color and for the spots I used cocoa powder.

I had fun doing this challenge, but the spots didn’t come out the way I had planned.  My son was trying to talk to me while I was creating the soap pattern and I got totally ditracted!  Thankfully I think everything eventually came out ok.

Loaf prior to cutting

Loaf prior to cutting

The cocoa powder in the soap was a bit strong initially and I was a little concerned it would overpower the FO, but now it seems to have settled down.

Leopard print soap immediately after cutting

Leopard print soap immediately after cutting

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The leopard print soap a few days after cutting

The leopard print soap a few days after cutting

For future soaps using the leopard print, I need to make the soap for the “spots” to be at a thicker trace, while the main base of the soap is fairly thin.  At least, I think so.  Not sure until I try again!  Also, I got quite a bit of titanium dioxide spots in my light brown.  I used a small amount of cocoa powder to color the middle part of the spots, but it still seemed to be too dark so I added a bit of TD to lighten and ended up with spots.  Oh, well.  I’ll need to plan differently next time!  They smell great and it’s an interesting soap technique.  Can’t wait until I can use the soap!

Thanks for all that participated in the April giveaway!  Sharing my facebook page brings more exposure to my business and that’s great!  For this giveaway I planned on adding some examples of new products I want to add for the spring and I hope you all enjoy them!

To start off with, the products will be contained in a cute new crocheted tote!  I love totes especially in the spring and summer to quickly toss a few items in and use as a small purse.  In the tote some new items I have been working on: lotion bar and hand soap!  As many of you know I have been working on my liquid soap and I think I have finally managed to create a product I feel confident selling to you all!  Also, I plan on adding a soap bar, lip balm and whatever else fits.

Here’s a photo of some potential items– no labels in these pics yet, but I plan on adding them prior to shipping!

New body lotion bars and body wash

New body lotion bars and body wash

Enough suspense! The winner of the April giveaway is —–> Lydia Holcomb!

Thanks to all who participated!  I hope the winner enjoys her gift and I hope those who did not win will participate for the next giveaway!  Don’t forget, all orders made in my etsy shop will receive a 15% coupon code toward their next purchase!  Don’t forget about your mother for Mother’s Day in May!

I’m a little late posting for the Great Cakes Soapworks challenge this week, but we a break this week anyway so I made my soap last night and cut it this morning.  It was still a bit soft, but I think it came out looking great.  This week’s challenge was the mica swirl.

Here’s my lovely soap!

My mica swirl top scented with BB's Grapefruit Lily-yum!

My mica swirl top scented with BB’s Grapefruit Lily-yum!

I just received an order of fragrances from Brambleberry and had a hard time deciding which to use, but settled on the Grapefruit Lily because I think it’s my fave out of the ones I ordered.

I wanted to put some kind of swirl in the middle and did a modified hanger swirl using ultramarine violet and electric bubblegum pink pigment.  For the top of my soap I chose Violaceous Violet and Copper Sparkle Mica with a hint of Merlot Red which blended in with the purple and didn’t show up too much.  For the main part of the base of the soap, I added some titanium dioxide but it’s still a bit creamier than I would like.  It may brighten as it cures so I’ll have to wait and see I guess!

Here are some more pics of my soap:

Buttercream Snickerdoodle hot process soap I made at the same time as the mica swirl.  Smells so good!

Buttercream Snickerdoodle hot process soap I made at the same time as the mica swirl. Smells so good!

The loaf uncut

The loaf uncut

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Now for some more about the giveaway! The giveaway for April requires for anyone interested to share my business facebook page on their  personal facebook page.  Then please  let me know on my page wall or through messaging so that you can be added to the participant list! It’s that simple!  The giveaway will run until April 26th at 6pm.  At 6pm I will draw a name from a hat of one of the participants and if I don’t already have your address, I will request it to ship you your soapy giveaway!  I will be posting photos of parts of the giveaway throughout the week, so stay tuned!  If you don’t want the gift for yourself, it would make a great Mother’s Day gift!