It’s Competition Time Again

It got to Monday evening of this week before I even realised that I hadn’t written my weekly round up. It’s been incredibly busy again, lots of making and wrapping and dispatching, but nothing really new, so I’ll catch up next Sunday.  I’ve also got loads of different draft posts lined up, but am struggling to find the time to write them up properly. Ah well, first world problems…

In the meantime I’m running a prize draw all this week on my Facebook page. This is how it works: I post one photo a day for five days, Monday through to Friday, and all you need to do to be in with a chance of winning any FIVE different bars of luxury essential oil soap is to like the page, then like and comment on each of the five photos in the draw.  This is where we’re up to so far:

Clarity (Lemongrass & Clary Sage)

Clarity (Lemongrass & Clary Sage)

Botanica (Lavender, Lemon & Lime)

Botanica (Lavender, Lemon & Lime)

Serenity (Ylang ylang, Patchouli, Lemon & Orange

Serenity (Ylang ylang, Patchouli, Lemon & Orange

It doesn’t matter at all that we’re halfway through the week already, you can add likes and comments at any point up to Sunday, 19th March at 7pm GMT.

The winner will be chosen at random on Sunday evening from all those who have liked the page and liked and commented on each of the five prize draw photographs.

The draw is open worldwide, and I’ll even cover postage costs, but you’ve got to be in it to win it, so what are you waiting for? 😀  www.facebook.com/TheSoapMine 

Good luck!!

 

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We Have a Winner!

For those who haven’t seen the Facebook post, we have a winner of the soap naming competition.  The new lavender, lemon & lime bar will henceforth be known as (drum roll and long pause…………….)

Botanica

Botanica

Botanica

as put forward on the blog by Dylan.  I really like this name as it alludes to the ‘from nature’ aspects of both the fragrances and colours, and it’s also a really good fit with other bars in the essential oils range – Serenity, Clarity etc…

Thank you Dylan – let me know how I can get your soap to you and it’ll be on its way very soon.

A massive thank you to everyone who gave it a go – every comment is always hugely appreciated :-D.

If you missed out but would like another opportunity to win something gorgeous then follow me on Instagram where there’ll another chance to win soon(ish) As I write I have 4,761 followers, and when I hit the big 5K *crosses fingers* I’ll be doing another international giveaway.

Name that Soap! (Competition Time)

I have a brand new essential oil bar, and it needs a name… This bar is scented with lavender, lemon and lime EOs.  Heavier on the lavender and lemon, lighter on the lime, but it’s definitely discernible.

Give me a name!

Please give me a name 🙂

I’m offering a free bar to the person who comes up with the name that I eventually select, and you can either enter below in the comments field, or on the competition post on my FB page. It’s open to anyone, wherever you are in the world – I’ll cover postage costs too (last time I did this it the bar went over the pond to the US).  So don’t be shy – I know you’re a creative lot!!

FYI The other essential oil bars in my range are called Serenity, Clarity, Peace, Boho Baby, Flowers and Luscious Lavender.

PS – the winning name will be chosen on Saturday 29th October, 9pm UK time.

Go go go!!

The ‘Clyde Slide’ Challenge Soap

This month’s challenge for Amy Warden’s monthly Soap Challenge Club over at Great Cakes Soapworks is to create a soap using the  ‘Clyde Slide’ technique.  The Clyde Slide is named after Clyde of Vibrant Soaps, who uses this technique to create beautiful (and exquisitely coloured) soaps –  do check out his videos on YouTube if you get the opportunity.

As I’ve just started production of this year’s Christmas soaps, I decided to design my challenge soap around a fragrance oil called ‘Yule Log’. It’s a chocolately, almondy,  cakey fragrance, with notes of cinnamon, ginger, vanilla and musk and is delicious out of the bottle.  How does it smell in soap? I’d love to tell you but, um, well, I forgot to add it. Oh well, sensitive noses deserve pretty soap too don’t they?

I used a light brown mica as the base colour, to represent the sponge, and dark brown mica, titanium dioxide (white) and red liquid colourant for the cream, chocolate and holly berries elements. I did consider using a little green too for the holly leaves, but in the end I’m glad I didn’t.

I prepped the soap batter and added the colours, making sure I kept the batter at a light trace:

Coloured soap

Coloured soap

Then I poured the white, red and dark brown soap batters into the bowl containing the lighter brown soap.  I completely forgot to take a photo of this stage, but I used exactly this pattern (this was my second attempt):

Clyde Slide in the Pot

Clyde Slide in the Pot

Usually, when I use the ‘In the Pot’ technique, I would now give the pot a quick stir, just once or twice, but I always stir before pouring.  For a Clyde Slide, you DO NOT stir. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to stir!!

Here it is mid-pour:

Clyde Slide mid-pour

Clyde Slide mid-pour

Then I swirled the top:

Clyde Slide top swirl

Clyde Slide top swirl

And two days later, Ta Da!!  My unscented Yule Log Clyde Slide:

Clyde Slide, The Cut

Clyde Slide, The Cut

And here’s a close up to show the trademark ‘Clyde Slide’ feathering – it’s not a blurred photo, honest :-D:

Clyde Slide Close Up

Clyde Slide Close Up

Many thanks to Amy for her major feat of organisation (apparently there are over 180 entrants this month!), I’m really looking forward to seeing all the other entries. Good luck if you’ve entered!

Spinning Swirl Challenge Soap

Despite signing up for them at every opportunity, it’s been an awfully long time since I’ve managed to get round to make a soap for Amy Warden’s monthly Soap Challenge Club over at Great Cakes Soapworks.  This month’s challenge really piqued my interest though, and I was determined to give it a go.  The challenge was to create a soap using the Spinning Swirl technique (which I hadn’t come across before) and, after months of making nothing but restocks, I was keen to try something a bit different. This technique involves pouring very fluid soap batter into a slab mould and then spinning the mould itself. Amy provided a great video tutorial, and this one of the soaps that she made to illustrate the technique:

Amy's Spinning Swirl Soap

Amy’s Spinning Swirl Soap

One of the stipulations of the challenge was that the soap had to made in a slab mould, which I don’t own. So my first challenge was to improvise a slab mold. A shoe box did the trick:

Improvised Shoe Box Mould

Improvised Shoe Box Mould

I prepared my colourants. The fragrance oil is described as a creamy, powdery, honey fragrance, and I wanted warm colours to reflect that.  I used Radiant Gold mica, Sicilian Orange mica and Red iron oxide and mixed them with a little of the oils (to which I’d already added the fragrance).

Micas mixed with a little oil from the main batch

Colourants mixed with a little oil from the main batch

I added the lye to my usual oils and butters, and then poured the batter equally into the three jugs, stirred well then stick blended very VERY briefly (as I needed it to stay fluid for as long as possible):

Soap ready to pour

Soap ready to pour

I poured the soap into the mould, alternating colours in a faux-funnel type pour:

Soap mid-pour

Soap mid-pour

Once the soap was all poured, I gritted my teeth, gripped the mould with both hands, and started to rotate the mould as quickly and as firmly as I dared while praying that it wouldn’t all slosh out onto my table. After making probably about 20 full rotations, I swirled the top with a skewer and put it aside to firm up. A couple of days later I unmolded and found this left behind in the diy mould:

Leaked soap!

Leaked soap!

THAT is why I love my silicone moulds so much 😀 Anyway – the unmolded soap didn’t look too promising:

Unmoulded Spinning Swirl

Unmoulded Spinning Swirl

Not only do I not have a slab mould, I also don’t have a cutter that can cope with a big ole slab of soap, so I had to make the first cuts with a Very Big Knife. Needless to say, I wasn’t particularly accurate:

First cuts - spinning swirl

First cuts – Spinning Swirl

And THAT is why I love my single wire Bud cutter 😀 Anyway, I was able to use my beloved cutter for the rest of the cuts:

Final cuts - Spinning Swirl

Final cuts – Spinning Swirl

And, after a little love and attention, I’m really happy with the result:

Spinning Swirl Soap

Spinning Swirl Soap

Many thanks Amy for organising the challenge! It was a real pleasure to try something new and I’m looking forward to seeing what the other entrants come up with.

And the winner is….

Thank you so much to everyone who came up with wonderfully inventive names for my new soap, both here and on my Facebook page. It’s taken me a couple of hours of deliberation, but we have a winner. Now this is a little convoluted, so bear with me!

I was looking for a name that reflected both the fragrance (pink grapefruit, kumquat, orange and cranberry mingled with gardenia, jasmine, and freesia) AND the design, and I wasn’t entirely sure that any of the suggested names quite hit the mark.  However, three people made suggestions that led me to come up with the name I’ve finally gone with. Firstly, two people (Soap N’ StilettosEwenique) suggested names that included the word ‘Sunrise’ which I  think nicely reflects the design.  I also wanted to convey something of the fragrance, albeit indirectly, and Gunilla Stoll (who suggested Tuscan Summergarden) gave me the idea of including a place known the world over for growing citrus fruit (especially grapefruit and kumquat – happy days!) Florida.

I used Random.org to choose a winner from the three entrants above – numbering them 1 – 3 in the order in which they posted on the blog post, and the winner was… *drumroll* Soaps ‘N Stilettos!  Congratulations!! DM your postal address to my FB page here and I’ll send your soap out asap!

And finally, introducing: Florida Sunrise. Available now!

Florida Sunrise

Florida Sunrise

Thank you once again to everyone who took the time to enter – I really do appreciate it! Keep an eye out for more giveaways coming soon.

Name that Soap! (Competition time)

In my last post (so much longer ago than I realised – life is busy :-D) I shared a picture of an as yet unnamed soap in the mould.  Well, here it is, cut, fully cured, and STILL nameless – please help me name it!

Citrussy unnamed soap

Name me – please!!

The fragrance is described as pink grapefruit, kumquat, orange and cranberry mingled with gardenia, jasmine, and freesia.  To me it’s mostly citrussy – there’s a hint of background florals but the citrus notes are definitely dominant.  It’s coloured with titanium dioxide and yellow and tangerine micas.

I’m offering a free bar to the person who comes up with the name that I eventually choose, and you can either enter below in the comments field or on the competition post on my facebook page here. It’s open to anyone, wherever you are in the world – I’ll cover postage costs too. So don’t be shy – I know you’re a creative lot!!

PS – the winning name will be chosen on Easter Monday, 6th April, after 9pm UK time.