Taming the Vanilla

I’m going to quickly gloss over how long it’s been since I last posted and share a soapy pic – ‘cos that’s what you’re here for right? 😉

Soap fragrance oils containing vanilla are often considered tiresome because of their propensity to discolour and potentially ruin a carefully designed soap. But they smell so good! I absolutely love the smell of ‘Pink Kisses’ from Gracefruit, but my first attempt at using it was a complete disaster. It was early on in my soaping career, and discolouration wasn’t even on my radar.  I used a selection of pretty pink colours and was so excited to see what it would look like, so imagine my disappointment…

Looks ain't everything!

              Looks ain’t everything!

Every failure’s a learning opportunity eh? 😀

Four (!!) years on and I decided to give it another go – this time I was a little more careful with my design. Splitting the batter into two, I coloured one half with Orchid Pink Mica, and added the fragrance oil to the other other portion only, adding a little Titanium Dioxide to mitigate the effect of the vanilla. This was the result:

First Kiss Cold Process Soap

                 First Kiss

Needless to say I’m so much happier with this one. I think the browning effect of the vanilla actually improves the look of the bar and gives it some depth and interest.

I hope you’ll agree that my photography skills have improved a little too 😀 😀 😀

 

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Soap in the Mould

Freshly made soap, in the mould, has such a vibrancy and gloss about it, I can’t help but take a photograph every. Single. Time.  Here are some of my recent favourites:

‘Delicious’ is fragranced with a dupe of a DKNY fragrance and is described as ‘A fresh, green floral fragrance of crisp green apple, watermelon, cassis and a hint of cucumber’ and underneath those green waves is an In The Pot swirl.

'Delicious' Handmade Soap in the Mould'Delicious' Handmade Soap in the Mould

‘Delicious’ Handmade Soap in the Mould

I wrote about the redesign of Tutti Frutti in my last post here. It’s scented with a very fruity Jellybeans fragrance oil, and this time I’ve kept the same design but have tried to intensify the colours somewhat so that they’re brighter in the finished bars. The soap batter was very slow to trace this time (not sure why – same recipe, same fragrance :-s) so rather than attempt to texture the top I just swirled the colours together, and I love the effect it gives.

'Tutti Frutti' handmade Soap in the Mould

‘Tutti Frutti’ Handmade Soap in the Mould

And last (for now!) is a batch made with a new-to-me fragrance – a zingy, citrussy scent with pink grapefruit, kumquat, orange, and cranberry –  I’ll soon be running a little competition to come up with a fitting name so get your thinking caps on…

Cold Process Soap in the Mould

Soap in the Mould – name yet to be decided!

Cut pictures to follow just as soon as I get round to taking them 😀

 

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.

 

 

 

 

I missed one…

I don’t know about you, but I go daft for reading Soapy blogs. I use bloglovin, which I love because even though I don’t always get to read posts as soon, and as often, as I would like, it keeps me up to date with all my fellow soapy bloggers and I never miss a thing. In fact, it was fellow soaper’s blog that reminded me last week that I had actually missed something – I’d forgotten to post about my most recent Lavender soap.

Ruth Esteves over at The Sirona Springs Blog posted a great tutorial on creating Mica Oil Swirls on the top of soaps, and invited readers to link their own attempts in the comments section. So I though I would. Only I didn’t have anything to link to, ‘cos I’ve not blogged about it. <Ahem…>

So here it is – a reincarnation of Luscious Lavender, but with a mica oil swirl.  The soap itself is coloured with violet ultramarine, but the closest mica I had was ‘Patagonian Purple’, and it’s not really a good match colour-wise (at all, lol). Never mind – I love the effect anyway (and I’ve just placed an order for ‘Grape’ mica which I’m hoping will be closer to the ultramarine colour and more ‘lavender-like’ for future soaps 🙂

Pure Lavender Essential Oil with a Mica SwirlI didn’t take any photos of the process, but all I did was mix about half a teaspoon of mica in a small container with about a teaspoonful of olive oil, and then used a disposable pipette to drop the mixture all over the soap once it was in the mould. I then used a wooden skewer to create the swirls. Easy peasy 😀

If you have a soapy blog please feel free to share it in the comments below. If I don’t already follow you – I will!

Recent Makes

A very quick update with some recent creations.

First up is a restock of Luscious Lavender – an ‘In the Pot’ swirl fragranced with Lavender Essential Oil and coloured with Titanium Dioxide and Violet Ultramarine. It always surprises me how popular Lavender still is – this one’s already sold out!

Pictures 071

This next one is Orange Sherbert.  The batter thickened up VERY quickly but I still managed to do an ‘In the Pot’ swirl.  I really like the resulting folds, but I’m not sure I would ever be brave enough to try to replicate it as I was <this> close to getting the proverbial ‘Soap on a Stick’ :0) Fragranced with Orange Sherbet FO from Gracefruit and coloured with Titanium Dioxide and Orange Mica.

Pictures 264

Finally for today: Parisian Flowers.  A deliberately uneven layered soap, fragranced with a heady blend of Ylang Ylang, Rose Geranium and Lavender Essential Oils. Coloured with Titanium Dioxide and a range of pink micas, with a mica oil swirl on the top.

Pictures 270