Christmas 2015 Soaps

Last year I made just one batch of soap specifically for the holiday season.  I swapped the usual raffia for a seasonal ribbon, and it sold out within a couple of days.  I posted at the time that it was a case of bad planning, but by then it was too late to do anything about it, and I vowed to do better this year.

I was super-organised, and ordered my Christmas fragrances in August (!!). I decided to make four different Christmas soaps. Four different designs made with four different fragrances. If I’m totally honest, I have mixed feelings about this lot, but judge for yourselves:

First up was Candy Cane – a mouthwatering fragrance which blends peppermint and vanilla. I liked this one so much I made a second batch, and good thing too, as it’s proving very popular and the first batch is already sold out.

Candy Cane

Candy Cane

Next I had a plan to create a stylised Christmas Tree design, complete with baubles. My main disappointment with this one is that I somehow had a brain freeze while rolling the ‘baubles’ and I made them two small. To me they should be the same diameter as the baubles on the top of the soap. I also tried to get clever and create some variation in the colours/designs of the baubles themselves by rolling different colours together, but it didn’t work as well as I hoped. Perhaps they would have looked better had they been larger. Anyway, they may look a bit quirky, but they certainly smell like a Christmas tree – the fragrance oil has top notes of pine needles and and spicy, woodsy middle and base notes.

Christmas Trees

Christmas Tree

The third fragrance was called ‘Yule Log’ which, predictably, is a sweet chocolate scent, with notes of bitter almonds, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla. I planned to use this fragrance oil to make my ‘Clyde Slide’ entry for the September Greatcakes Soapworks challenge and used colours which are reminiscent of a Christmas Yule Log:

Yule Log

Yule Log

Sadly I was focusing so much on mastering the technique that I forgot to add the fragrance oil – arrrgghhhh! Never mind, I made it again and now have a scented and an unscented version 😀

My final Christmas design for 2015 is a second Clyde Slide – Moonlit Mistletoe – in grey, silver and green. It’s a true unisex fragrance, the top notes are herbal, green and fruity, balanced with spices, amber and patchouli.

Moonlit Mistletoe

Moonlit Mistletoe

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back again soon!

Soap Tops

I’m in full ‘Operation Christmas Fairs’ mode and have been for a good few weeks now. All my soapmaking has been restocks, and there is a LOT of time being spent packaging and labelling soap. Consequently there hasn’t been much opportunity for creativity so I’ve playing around with my soap tops and and trying out different styles and techniques. I mostly swirl the soap while it’s still fairly fluid, but I have tried letting the soap thicken up a bit and creating texture that way too.

I’ve tried mica in oil swirls:

Mica/Oil swirl

                       Mica/Oil swirl

Swirling the still very fluid soap with a chopstick/skewer (or similar):

Chopstick swirl

         ‘Chopstick’ swirl

Chopstick swirling at a slightly heavier trace:

Chopstick swirl

       Chopstick swirl

A more formal ‘mantra’ style chopstick swirl:

Mantra swirl

             Mantra swirl

Using a spoon to add texture to the top:

'Spoon' textured top

‘Spoon’ textured top

Adding grated soap to create some detail on the top:

Grated soap detail

Grated soap detail

A simple ‘splatter’ technique. This one looks really effective on the cut bars:

'Splatter' method

       ‘Splatter’ Method

Here’s one I made a few years back – Chocolate Cake – chocolate chocolate chunk embeds set amid piped ‘cream’ topping:

Piping  & Embeds

                      Piping & Embeds

There seems to be an infinite number of techniques and methods, and I’m looking forward to doing some more experimenting in the quieter post-holiday months ahead.

 

 

 

 

Anyone for Embeds?

This month’s challenge over at Amy Warden’s Great Cakes Soapworks was to make a soap with embeds, ie soap with different shaped/coloured soap embedded within in it. One of the examples Amy used in her tutorial was this beauty:

Rise-and-Shine-soap

Isn’t it gorgeous?

I wasn’t going to enter the challenge this month as we move next week (are you bored of hearing about it yet? 😉 ) but I do like getting involved so decided to whip up something simple at the last minute, just so that I could take part.  I’ve already taken a peek at some of the other entries and there are some absolutely stunning creations, I’m a little embarrassed to post my little simple soap, but hey ho – I might win the booby prize :0)

Back in 2012 I made a soap that was really popular, called Bubblicious:

Bubblicious

and I thought it would be a quick and easy one to replicate for this challenge.

So I made up two small batches of soap and coloured one pink and one lilac. After about 24 hours I unmoulded them and started to roll different sized balls out of both colours:

Soap balls

This soon became ridiculously laborious and I realised I could probably get exactly the same effect if I rolled lengths of soap like these:

Soap sticks

I then made up a larger batch of soap and added titanium dioxide to make it nice and white. I fragranced it with a lovely floral blend of Rosewood and Ylang Ylang essential oils.

I then simply poured a small amount of soap into the bottom of the mould, laid some balls in and covered them with the white batter, then repeated until the mould was full, making sure I kept enough balls back to decorate the top of the soap. Voila:

Bubbles in the mould

And here are the cut bars:

Bubbles!

Very simple, but a nice effect nevertheless.  There are so many ways to play about with this technique, I’ll definitely be making many more embed soaps in the future.

Thanks, as always, go to Amy Warden for organising the challenge and giving us all an opportunity to drool over each other’s creations :0)