Makeovers (1: Serenity)

Quite a few of my soaps have had a makeover recently. No matter that I have (more or less) a set range of fragrances & designs, there’s always room to improve and to flex those creative muscles.

One of the most popular essential oil soaps that I sell is Serenity. The fragrance is a blend of Bergamot, Patchouli, Orange and Ylang Ylang essential oils.  The very first time I made a full batch of this one I carefully weighed out the appropriate amount of essential oil blend for the amount of soaping oils used, then put it to one side.  I then split my batter into three, coloured one white and two different shades of blue, then poured the soap into the mold, creating what I fully expected to be an awesome drop swirl. Except I’d forgotten to the add the fragrance. Argghhhh! There was nothing to do but scoop it all out, thoroughly mix in the essential oils, and put the whole lot back into the mould. Of course I ended up with a very plain, pale blue bar of soap which smelled amazing but looked nothing like my original plan:

Serenity Take 1

First incarnation of Serenity

The next few times I made Serenity, I decided to go with a single colour drop in a paler background.  Most of my drop swirls up to this point had been a white soap with coloured drops, but I wanted to try something a little different.  Here I used Icelandic Blue mica for the base colour and Denim Blue mica for the drop:

The second incarnation of Serenity

Second incarnation of Serenity

I used that design for a while, and it sold well enough, but it didn’t wow me, and last year I decided it needed updating.  The current Serenity has a base of Icelandic Blue mica, and drops coloured with Titanium Dioxide and Blue Dragon mica. I think it’s rather pretty and goes well with the name, so this design will be staying (for now anyway :-D)

Third incarnation of Serenity

Third incarnation of Serenity

 

 

 

 

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And The Winner Is…

A MASSIVE thank you to everyone who came up with suggestions for a name for my poor nameless orange & ylang ylang soap (as posted here) Facebook in particular turned out to be a particularly fertile creative arena and I do appreciate everyone who took the time to have a ponder and post something.

It wasn’t an easy decision – ‘Pheonix’ & ‘Desert Sands’ were serious contenders, but in the end I plumped for something a little more descriptive of the fragrance. And so, without further delay, I give you, ‘Orange Bliss’:

Orange & Ylang Ylang EOs

Orange Bliss – fragranced with Orange & Ylang Ylang Essential Oils

Orange Bliss was the suggestion of Candice Bond, who posted on our Facebook page here. Thank you and congratulations Candice – please message the FB page with your address and a bar will be winging its way to you!

Name That Soap…

Right folks, I need your help.

This recent addition to the range will be ready for sale in a very short while but remains nameless. It’s vegan friendly, palm free, is coloured with micas, fragranced with a blend of Ylang Ylang and x5 fold Orange Essential Oils and is made using the Drop Swirl technique.

Orange & Ylang Ylang EOs

Orange & Ylang Ylang EOs

If you’d like to try a bar for free, simply suggest a great name for it, and I’ll post a bar out to the person who comes up with the name I decide to go with. (Oh and I’ll be really, really grateful too – totally mental block on this one :-D)

It’s open to anyone worldwide, so don’t be shy – get those ideas in (either here or on the Soap Mine FB page where I’ll post this as well) by 8pm GMT on Friday 8th August and I’ll announce the winner later on that evening.

Thanks – I’m excited to see what you creative lot come up with!

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)

Ooops…

I made this soap a couple of months ago and it’s been a surprisingly good seller, despite its rather ‘plain jane’ looks:

CP Soap - Serenity

Ordinarily I love my colours and swirls, and in my head this one was going to be a beautiful drop swirl design in shades of blue, a bit like this green one I made not so long ago…

Green drop

but it wasn’t to be…

I usually soap at room temperature. To that end I generally mix up my lye solution and melt my hard oils and butters during the baby’s midday nap, so that they’ve cooled down nicely by the time both kids are asleep in the evening. I also weigh out my liquid oils and add them to the melted oils as well – this starts the cooling process and also makes the ‘hard’ oils and butters less likely to re-solidify as they cool.

So on this occasion I prepped everything as normal, and once the bedtime routine was finished I eagerly set to work.  I combined the oils with the lye, added the essential oils (a blend of Bergamot, Patchouli, Orange and Ylang Ylang) then portioned out the batter and mixed in the colours (titanium dioxide, denim blue mica and ultramarine blue pigment). It was only after I’d poured all of the white portion into the mould that I realised that, even when I dropped in the two blues, I wouldn’t have anywhere near enough soap to fill the mould.

It only took a second or two for the penny to drop.   For some reason I had skipped a step at lunchtime, and hadn’t added the liquid oils to the melted oils.  My measured out liquid oils were still in a jug, put away safely to one side. Arrrgghhhhh! I couldn’t bear to waste a 3lb batch of soap, so did the only thing I could think of. All the mixed batter went back into a big bowl (oh the colours looked so pretty as I poured them in!) along with the liquid oils and I stick blended like crazy. The batter had originally behaved very well and traced beautifully (I’d had no indication that anything was amiss) so I had no idea whether it would work or not. I fully expected ricing, seizing or something equally frustrating but no, it all combined really well and I was able to pour my (by this stage) very plain, unicolour soap.

Despite everything, I’ve called it Serenity. The colour is very calming, and the fragrance blend is soothing and comforting. It’s funny how things turn out.