Thursday, July 31, 2014

Just Cut and On the Curing Rack

Today we cut one of the goat milk soaps we made on Tuesday. Our Chai Tea fragrance has a fair amount of vanilla and you can see the soap is darkening because of it. Knowing this before hand, I separated out a bit of soap prior to adding the fragrance. I left the white soap unfragranced. I wanted to convey what a cup of Chai Tea would look like if you were drinking it from a clear glass coffee cup. Before adding the white top, I blew lots of air bubbles into it with the emmersion blender. That added a foamier look to the white on top, just like my favorite latte. I then topped it of with a very light dusting of pumpkin spice glitter. Oooh I can't wait for fall!

About the Fragrance

We are going back to the Chai Tea fragrance we had in 2012 because it was liked best by our customers. It is enhanced with clove buds and cinnamon bark with a hint of coconut milk, sweetened with vanilla and maple syrup. Truly a spicy blend of Chinese wisdom. 

About the Soap

Our goat milk soap is loaded with skin loving oils, such as; Shea butter, olive, rice bran, safflower, palm and coconut. We use raw goat milk from a local dairy, St. John Creamery from Lake Stevens, Washington so it has all of the enzymatic goodness the pasteurized milk cooks out. For an added bonus we then added a generous portion of colloidal oats which adds a wonderful creaminess to the lather.   Please note this is not a complete ingredients list

Our bars typically weigh between 4-4.5 oz each but we advertise 4oz so our customers get a little more. Why? Because we think you're worth it!

Available for sale on: August 19, 2014.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Color Challenge

I participated in another of Amy Warden's soap design challenges and this month, we were given two paint swatches with a theme of colors and we were to match those colors with either natural colorants only or synthetic colorants only. The design was up to the artisan.

I chose the autumn colors and natural colorants. Here is what I used to accomplish each color:

White: Australian Ivory Clay
Yellow: Annatto seeds infused in a smidgeon of oil
Red: Australian Red Clay
Grayish-Brown: A combination of charcoal and walnut powder

The yellow in the soap turned out a little brighter than I would have liked and the brown in the soap is only a tad off from the swatch which was a challenge to achieve. The white and the red I'm very happy with as they match well.

This was an interesting challenge and I think that the next time I'm in the paint section of the hardware store, I just may pick up some paint swatches.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mantra Swirl

I participated in another of Amy Warden's fun swirl challenges. This month's challenge is the mantra swirl. There were two techniques and I decided to do the modified mantra because I wanted to cut my soap the way I usually do. This technique took two tries to get it right.

Here's my first attempt.

I wasn't horribly disappointed with the first attempt but I wanted to achieve more movement and the soap started setting up faster than I expected.  To keep this post shorter, I will detail the technique with my 2nd attempt.

First off, I'm partial to whiter soaps. Amy's instructions was a 3-color I decided to do two colors in the middle instead of one. I planned on using a fresh raspberry fragrance and thought a red and black would work nice.

So I divided my mold like so. I then mixed up the soap. I stopped blending and started separating the soap when I had the soap emulsified. Enough to have the lye, water and oils mixed but not enough to trace.

Then I separated out my soap and blended them to a light trace. One of the problems I had with the first batch was that I didn't measure out the soap so I would have equal parts in each section. So this time, I weighed out each color so I didn't have more of one than the other.

 This is a pic after the soap was poured but before the dividers were pulled:

Then I GENTLY removed the dividers. A few drips but not too bad.

Now we're going to begin the swirl. I wish I had someone to take pics while I was working but I only have two hands.  This is the implement I made to swirl. 

I used a square dowel because I thought it would move a little more soap. Now what I did was place this dowel down the side (where the white is) and pulled the dowel back and forth through the colors while also lifting it up. The goal is to make a sort of zig zag where the colors will zig and zag into the white.  Then I did figure 8's with a skewer, like this:

I was very pleased with the top but as usual, I'm dying to see what the inside looks like but I have to wait. After unmolding 24hours later, I decided to wait another 24 because the soap was very soft. So 24 hours later, I cut. Still a bit too soft BUT I wasn't going to wait any longer :).

Here is the final product. I was very happy with the surprise inside! Lots of movement and the two center colors played very well together.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Making of a Peacock Swirl Soap

Recently I entered an Artisan Soap Swirling Challenge hosted by Amy Warden of Great Cakes Soapworks. This was such a fun challenge that I look forward to entering more in the future.

The Peacock Swirl is a swirling technique that needs to be done in a slab mold. With a slab mold, the swirling is done on the top of the soap instead of imbedded throughout the soap. We took several pictures so you could follow along to see how it was done.

First, I'd like to say that prep work prior to mixing the soap is key in many of these more complex soap swirls. The more you can visualize the steps you'll take, the tools you'll need to accomplish those steps and having it all out and ready to go is a big part of being successful. Here you'll see we have all of our supplies organized and ready to go.

I needed to make a seasonal soap for one of our accounts so I thought I'd do something special for the guys for a change. I chose a clary sage essential oil and earth tone micas of orange, sage, yellow, and brown.

First step was of course to mix the soap.  I then filled each squeeze bottle and added one color to each of them. The remaining soap was poured into the mold. the fun (or the stress) begins!  Mixing up the colors took a bit of time but we used a recipe that doesn't thicken quickly so we still have plenty of time, so long as we move quickly that is.  First step is to squeeze one color in a zig zag motion all the way across the slab. Then repeat with each color, in order, over and over until you run out.  It should look something like this:

Then we'll take our home made soap comb and comb through the swirls from top to bottom. See how neat that looks? That's really nice enough to stop right there:

Here's what the comb looks like:

So now we need to finish the technique by taking a pick and running squiggly lines down the soap to form the peacock fan. Believe it or not, that was the most difficult part of the swirl.

This is the finished swirl. Admittedly this is a technique that needs some practice to get perfect but for my first try, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out!  I have not yet cut the soap into bars but I'll post a follow up when I do.

A great big thank you to Amy Warden for hosting this challenge, it was a lot of fun!

Friday, May 18, 2012

On the Curing Rack!

We have several soaps on the curing rack but I can't wait for this one to be ready to use! Our Hawaiian Ginger beer soap was resurrected by customer request. She found a bar she didn't know she had and said it was the first time she smiled in the shower in along time.  We couldn't refuse that request and since our Hawaiian Ginger fragrance is almost gone for good, we thought this soap would be a perfect way to say goodbye. 

We used a rich spiced chai ale in this soap which is a dark ale that was brewed with actual chai tea. When I was mixing the soap together it was a beautiful honey brown so I topped it with a little bit of bronze sparkle and calendula petals.  It has lightened a bit but oh does it smell so good!  This soap will be ready for sale on May 29th and we'll announce when it's on our website.