A new mould (and its christening)

This week my fab new mould arrived, and I LOVE it:

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To date I’ve been using a  wooden mould that my husband made for me.  It’s served me well BUT I have to line it with freezer paper each and every time I want to use it.  This not only takes up valuable soaping time (it always seems to take ages) but I never seemed to be able to get the corners of my soap square – here’s a particularly good (bad?!) example <blush>

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So what luxury to have a mould already furnished with a silicone liner!  I used it for the first time this week and it was such a pleasure to be relieved of the tedium of mould lining, not so mention the time saved (at least 20 minutes) – hooray!

It was christened with a batch of Wild Berries:

Wild Berries Mould

Cut pictures to follow soon

Coconut Swirliness

Finding time to make soap (and write about it!) isn’t easy with a 3 year old and a 3 month old in tow, so I’ve resolved to make a minimum of one batch a week – at least until stock is back up to a respectable level.

Last week’s soap was a black and white swirled soap with a vanilla coconut fragrance made with olive and coconut oils and loads of shea butter. After the challenge of the Mantra swirl I decided to go with a simpler design:

Black & White Coconut 005

It needs a good five weeks curing time to harden it up, and will be released for sale on 18th August.

Now the fun bit…….planning this week’s soap 🙂

Mantra Swirl Cut

Finally, as promised, here is my entry into the Soap Club Challenge hosted by Amy Warden of  Great Cakes Soapworks:

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It took three attempts to get to this stage (I’ve already written about my first two failures so I’m not going to dwell on them again :0) – suffice to say it really was a challenge!)

First I divided the mould into three lengthwise using cardboard. Then I divided my soap batter (made with olive, coconut, avocado, rice bran and castor oils plus shea butter)  into three equal portions and coloured one with titanium dioxide, one with hydrated green oxide and one with yellow CP soap colour.

Then one colour was poured into each section – I could have done with a third hand at this stage but just about managed it without too much mess!

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The carefully pulled out the cardboard dividers:

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and swirled the top:

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The soap is fragranced with a blend of Lemon and Peppermint essential oils, and smells wonderful – citrussy and fresh – just perfect for a Summer’s day!

I’ll end with a quick thank you to Amy for organising this challenge. This was my first time participating, but I’ve loved getting involved and seeing everyone else’s entries, so I’m sure it won’t be the last.

A second failure, but third time lucky

I’ve finally had some success with the Mantra Swirl for Amy Warden’s challenge here. It was third time lucky in the end – I’ve already blogged about my first failure, and my second failure was the very next day. It was (a little) better, but still nowhere near right. The mix thickened up too quickly again, so was difficult to pour into the mould, let alone swirl…

Here it is in the mould:

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And here it is cut – you can just about see some pattern within the soap, but it’s a very poor imitation of what I was hoping for!

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But, after some head scratching and giving myself a good talking to I got back on the horse and tried a third time. This time I used only natural essential oils to fragrance the mix, as I think the fragrance oils were contributing to the fast setting up of the soap. I was also really really careful to keep the soap batter nice and thin to make sure it would pour and swirl nicely. And……..it worked!!

I’m so pleased – and very excited to see what it looks like cut 😀 All will be revealed in my next post, but in the meantime here’s an advance peek at the freshly poured soap:

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Disaster Strikes

Sunday saw my first soapmaking in months, and my first disaster in a long time….

I was all excited to be making my entry into the Mantra Swirl competition mentioned in my first post,  but there was much more enthusiasm than skill on display as I played fast and loose with my temperatures 😦  I ended up with a soap that seized on me and basically turned to colourful cottage cheese in the pot before I’d even had a change to pour it, let along swirl it!

Nevertheless I managed to squish it into the mould:

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And here it is cut:

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Pretty ugly huh? To add insult to injury the scent doesn’t seem to have stuck either. It was fragranced with a lovely Thai Coconut fragrance oil but there’s precious little of that coming through at the moment. Ho hum…

On a more positive note I took delivery of two new spirit thermometers on Monday and soap making will resume this week – I still have a competition entry to make!!

(Oh, and this is what a Mantra swirl should look like – hope to have something similar to show you later this week…)

2nd Mantra Swirl