Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Cooked The Beasts

My third attempt at making cold process soap was a total disaster, which, if you haven't read about it, you can go here to do so. Well, to make a long and boring story short, I totally screwed it up and made a quadruple superfatted soap. Aka: TRASH. Gracefruit, the queen of hot process was kind enough to give me some tips which you can read here if you want. Her suggestion was to cook it in a crock pot with some lye solution until it mixed in. So I did.

It took almost two hours with occasional stirring to mix the water into the fatty soap. It was like (duh) oil and water, but with the heat and the mixing and the time, it finally joined hands and became a mushy mess. The next morning, I am happy to announce, they hardened. Here are the freaky bad boys. They look like hard oatmeal, don't they?

I hope they are useable, because I will be doling them out to anyone who will have one. Now let's move on to other things. I'm done with these beasts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I'm sorry, every time I see that name I think of Stallone screaming "Stelllaaaaa!" You know the movie, and if you don't, you were born way after me, so HUSH!

Kim Gonzaga of Stella Marie Soap is a talented soap maker indeed. First, I'd like to say that I think this woman has style, humor and an all around umph that many do not possess. The style of her soaps, her packaging and website are perfect. Love the rubber duckies on the website, Kim! The packaging is minimal but that does not equal boring. The soap wraps are colorful and simple and displaying the Stella Marie logo, which I like.

Big Poppy

Mild mango. Poppy seeds. This soap was a lovely addition to my shower. I imagined the poppy seeds being rough on my skin (which I actually like sometimes), but they were sprinkled ever so gently into the soap mix. Soft exfoliation and possessing a wistful scent of a mango flower, if one actually existed. It wasn't mango-like in a fruity way and it wasn't floral either. It had a combination of scents that was nose pleasing. Great soapy lather, too.

Butter Me Up

I wish I had taken pictures of this one (I pulled this photo from Kim's site). It was cut in an unusual way. It was long, perhaps, 5 or 6 inches long and cut on the thin side. Loved it. The smell was a creamy buttercream with a touch of honey. Very mild, lathered well and is lasting quite a long time in my shower.

Coconut (Rockaway)

Similar in creaminess as the Butter Me Up, but with an added coconut vibe. The top is embedded with shredded coconut, which I use as an exfoliant. It is a creamy coconut butter me up, yummy to use scent.

So check out Kim's Stella Marie Soap and read her blog. She is a soap making guru. Love the Joan Jett soap from a distance, as you may have read in my previous post. Can't wait to try that one, too!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Gracefruit, Hot Process Queen

Oh my botched batch has everyone all working in their brains to save the beasts.

Well, I asked the queen of Hot Process, Ms. Gracefruit herself. This was our conversation.

Elizabeth, I need help! Could you go to my soap blog and tell me if my botched batch is trash or can be rescued.... any words of wisdom other than I added WAY too much oil? I think I must have copied the recipe off the internet incorrectly.... me = big dummy

Thanks...humbly and sadly, Joanna
The Soap Bar

This was her response (so sweet!)
gracefruit said...

Thanks, Joanna.

I had a look at your Bad Boy and it appears the lye discount was much too low. It looks like you've got way too much 'free' oil in the soap.

I have never tried to rescue a soap like this, and I'm not sure what the best way forward might be, but I have an idea.

You seem to be short about one ounce of lye in your recipe. Here is what I'd suggest. I've never tried this before, so I can't promise you anything, but the cost of that meadowfoam seed is making me cringe. ;) We have to try something!

I think it's time for the crock pot. Grate or chop the Bad Boy batch into tiny pieces and put it in the crock pot. Then add a solution of 1.1 oz of lye dissolved in 2 oz of water to the pot. Stir as best you can and let it cook on low heat until it's all melted. You'll want it to look like thick petroleum jelly.

My hope is that the active lye will further saponify the free oils in the soap. You'll need to be careful that no active lye is left over, though. After you've cooked the soap for about 45 minutes, do a zap test.

Take a tiny amount of soap out of the pot and let it cool, then rub it between your fingers. If it's gritty, leave it alone to cook more. If it feels waxy and smooth, tap your soapy finger to the tip of your tongue. If it doesn't 'zap', the soap is safe. If it does, you'll need to keep cooking it.

I don't know if this will work, but I think it's worth a try. Your end result soap probably won't be pretty, but it will be mild!

Please let me know how you get on. And good luck!

Elizabeth x


Can I share with you her amazing talent?? Here are some beautiful soaps she has made.....

Buttermilk and Cucumber Soap

Spiced Umeshu

Left: Rose, Right: Amberwood

Pomegranate Noir soap with black/green mica

And, of course, another talented soap maker who is across the world. She is in rural Scotland. I just need to watch to see the talent, maybe be a fly on the wall for a few days - I think I must be in the wrong place!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Colorful Beautiful Soaps By Platypus Dreams

Sharon of Platypus Dreams has done it again!! They are a dream. You must give this woman a badge! Check out her blog too, to see what she is up to.

Botched For Sure

Yes, my bad boys will have to go now. They are not hardening. See? Maybe a batch this weekend will make it all better.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bad Soap! Bad!

What happened? Why must you misbehave??

I have stuck you in the freezer because you were so evil. We'll see what you say then!

Batch recipe:

32 oz. H2O
11.2 lye
6 .5 oz Crisco
16 oz. Coconut oil 76 degrees
38 oz Almond Oil
4 oz. Avocado butter
29.5 oz. Meadowfoam Seed oil....any insight?

Crimson And Clover...Joan Jett Beauties!

Stella Marie Soap is by far the most wonderfully unique "alternative" (did I just say that??) soap company I have had the pleasure of trying. I am not even sure why I say that... hmm... maybe because I totally "get" her direction and focus, but assume not too many people even know who Joan Jett is....

On Kim's blog, she plans the soap. She writes ,"I am developing my saponified tribute to punk pioneer, Joan Jett."

Then, attempts her plan successfully....

And, voila!!

I gotta get my hands on these beauties! OK. How many of you actually plan soaps like this? True art.

Oh, here is a current picture of Joanie:

Joan Jett

Much cuter now, I think, but I loved her then.Joan Jett & The Blackhearts: Album/Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

My New Soap Box Mold

Guess what my hubby did while I was away for the day on Sunday? I was looking all around the web for the perfect mold and explaining to him the difference between cardboard boxes, plastic, and silicone, not really believing he was actually listening to my box woes. Well, lookie here...

The wax paper and electrical tape are holding my soap inside

Wasn't that so nice of him??

Thanks, baby!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ginger Lime Sesame Soap - Urban Forest

I had the pleasure to try a few soaps from Urban Forest and all of them were wonderful. The one that stands out the most was the Ginger Lime with sesame seeds and cucumber extract. Karen, the soap goddess of Urban Forest, explained to me why my bar looked so different from the one pictured here (this is her picture). Karen emailed me telling me she switched to BLACK sesame seeds instead of the white shown here. The photo really doesn't show how prominent the seeds were in the bar I tested. Can I just tell you how great of an exfoliator it was? I have a thing for highly exfoliating bars of soap, both light and strong exfoliating bars. But this wasn't a light exfoliant at all. These seeds didn't feel "sandy" ... It was more of a seriously "get your scrub on" bar. When I am in the shower, I often just stand there waiting to come to life sometimes remembering to rub my bod with a scrub I make or a scrubby type bar of soap that I have just to feel the nerve endings in my skin wake up. So when I grab a good exfoliating soap and rub rub rub away the tiredness, it helps my coffee shift into first gear. (Generally coffee doesn't even start taking any effect until the second cup.) The soap was not sprinkled with the seeds, but the seeds were abundant and well incorporated.

The smell was something out of a fairy tale....hard to describe, but light, nice, sweet- a natural sweet, not sugar sweet. It had the right mount of ginger, lime with a blend of botanicals thrown in there. Mellow.

The soaps Karen sent to me were on the slightly smaller side of the average sized soap. They cost $5.00 each and if you want to order some, you must email her. Check out her website. You can find her email address there.

Don't you love this photo of the bar stack? The back light is gorgeous.

Thank you Karen for sending me your creations and my apologies for not getting to this sooner!

Green Soap For St. Patrick

We are celebrating St. Patrick's Day with green soap today.
Green Jello Soap by Body & Spirit

Ogre Soap (made for kids by kids) Olive Branch Soap

Cote Bastide Fig Wrapped available at Vintage Weave

BE Soaps - Green

Paradise Valley - Peppermint Soap

Sappo Hill Aloe Vera Soap

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Discontinued Graham Cracker Fragrance

I am pretty sad. I bought this great smelling fragrance oil, called Graham Cracker fragrance oil from Majestic Mountain Sage sometime in November and didn't try it until batch #2, so I went back to MMS to buy a bunch of it, because I had a whole plan about doing a Graham Cracker themed gift set for the Summer (graham crackers are in Key Lime pie and in S'mores), but I couldn't find it on their website. This morning I called them. Well, apparently, it has been discontinued and it is their very own blend so the only way to get it back would be to purchase 25 or more lbs. of it. 25 pounds?!?! The closest I have come to the scent is Brambleberry's Carrot Cake, but it lacks the nutty butter smell.

Oh no! I just looked at their site and it is a Limited Edition too. I better try it in my next batch of soap to see if it compares and grab some before it goes to 10 pounds.

On the topic of discontinuing fragrances, Brambleberry discontinued a fragrance I was ready to get, too! It was Mango Lassi (I love lassi's at Indian restaurants on 6th St.) The nice thing is that they will make a 10 lb. jug for you. Better than MMS. I can not justify ordering 10-25 lbs. of one scent, though. What if people don't like it?

If anyone has a bunch of this Graham Cracker fragrance oil from MMS, I'd be happy to buy it from you!