Friday, September 24, 2010

Frolicking In The Woods

Oh, my first stop in the the woods will certainly be at the mossy mound where For Strange Women lives. I have been dying to try her perfumes, but there are just too many fragrances I absolutely adore, I just can't justify buying them all.

These photos are beautiful - - - Here are some of my favorite woodsy photos in her etsy shop:

Continue our walk in the woods and we will find Portland General Store:
wood, eau de toilette

Burnt Mill cranked out a lovely looking bar that I BET smells like winter. It's called
crackling firewood

Love this one because the label with the Sasquatch on it wins and there is no changing my mind. If we had a label with the Lochness Monster on it, maybe we'd have a tie, but, right now this one wins the gold.

I miss the North right now. I miss the chilly air and the smell of burning wood.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Magic Hands Soap Porn

Jackie, of Magic Hands Workshop, makes beautiful soap and has been since well before I started a couple of years ago. Sadly, I have never tried her soap even though I have been drooling over her salt bars for years. She is one soaper who always has a variety of salt bars available to her customers and they are always cut beautifully, never imperfect like many of mine and many others I have seen.

Magic Hands used to run their business out of California and now out of Pensacola, Florida. Too bad that is still like 8 hours away from me, or I'd go have a soapy pow wow with The Magics. A meeting of the soap pots. Oh what fun we'd have! Jackie writes a funny blog which I visit often, but is rarely about soap, which I like even more ;). She has a great sense of humor so I think we'd get along really really well. I get her.

I thought you'd like to see a small gallery of her soaps, so I bring some to you. It TIS my job as The Soap Bar lady. To see her entire collection, go to her Etsy shop here. You will see all her creations.

It's true that she makes other things like lotion and bath bombs and lip balm, but you have to forgive me for focusing on her lovely soap. They are just so lover-ly..... :O)

Hi Jackie!! (((((waves)))))
luvvvz the soap!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Black Pumpkin

My first "swirl in the pot" was not a total success, but I am really happy with the results, in both molds! I made a seven pound soap batter with no color. Now, usually I swirl in the molds. Good control, understandable outcome...etc. However, my swirls, never came close to the intricate ones I see in other soaps, so I needed to try the swirl in the pot swirl, so I did. Of course I had to try an activated charcoal in with a cream colored soap batter, you know, because that is the most contrasting kind of color you can get, and, let's be serious.... When I need to test something, I need to be waving my big inexperienced flag way up high for all to see. With my big fat training helmet on, too. That is the way I roll. You can spot me in a crowd with my helmet if we lived closer.

OK, so I have about one heaping teaspoon of charcoal powder and a cup of batter and mix that up separately, then right before I was ready to pour my soap into my two 3 1/2 pound loaf molds, I dumped the black batter in and gave it a one-two-three swirl (didn't want to make a grey batter). I then poured the soap into the first mold (looked very black as I poured). Then to the second mold, I poured and there was very little black... I mixed it well, how did it miss this section? Grrr.

So here it is. My Black Pumpkin in one mold and Not Black Pumpkin in the other, which I still think is beautiful. :) They both smell like pumpkin bread and every time I pass by them, I wonder what that amazing smell is. I must make more. I've only made 26 bars so far. These will go quickly.

tops of Black Pumpkin

tops of Black Cream Pumpkin

Black Cream Pumpkin and Black Pumpkin

oh look! I didn't make swirly tops. Crazy, I know.
Sometimes simple can be perfect when it's gone crazy inside. :O)

cured and ready for sale: October 5, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cold Cold Process Soap

I had a great new soap experience.

I've been told by experienced soapmakers that you could work with cold oils and cold lye solution. I thought to myself, "How could that be? I've left lye solution out and it partially crystalized and I soaped with it anyway to see what happens and it just plain failed and the soap failed and I bet you can guess where THAT soap went".

What I did start doing was premixing my oils in a large container ahead of time (which, by the way, saves about 20 minutes of time right there), making my lye solution 3 hours or so before I plan to make soap and wait until the solution is warm, weigh my premixed oils, add the lye and shazaam. Soap!

Before now, every soap I made had a different set of ingredients. It was very hard to streamline soapmaking. Not every soap now has the same ingredient list, but most of them share the premix.

So back to the process. So all summer, I was making cold process soap with cold oils, warm lye solution and my soaps were doing great. And I had no cracking issues. Pheww. Then... and here comes the "I am just not a stupid person, but sometimes it takes me longer to catch on and think past my face" conversation I have with myself occasionally. Perhaps the lye solution crystallizes because it evaporates! I must find a container with a sealed top. Off to the Dollar Store I go and return with containers that look similar to these:

I worried, but I was hopeful. I made a lye mixture, stirred it up and put it on the shelf until it was room temperature, then I screwed on the top and waited two days. Notice, I waited until it had stopped steaming before I closed it up. Safety first.

Two days later, the lye solution is at the same level as before, so there wasn't any evaporation. I opened up the container and peered in. No crystallization. Yes! OK, I was ready to soap. I got everything together, my oils, fragrance, blender.... zwhip zwhip zwhip. Perfection. No problems at all.

So in conclusion, your oils don't seem to need to be warmed. However, the winter is coming for some of us and the coconut and palm will get quite stiff, but here in Florida where it is warm almost always, my cold oil premix looks like soap at trace and it soaps beautifully for me.

If you try it, please make sure your oils aren't too thick. If they are take a portion of them and heat it up in the microwave and then incorporate into the premix. Then stir.

So what do we call it?

update: Room Temperature Soap Making

Do you have a process that you'd like to share?
Email me :) or comment about it

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Buggers Got Me

I feel like that girl except I feel sicker than she looks and I am not angry.

So get this... my children went to school two weeks ago, then each one gets sick, but not too bad. Then today, I suppose it was my turn to be ill because it slammed me. HARD.

Throat. Can't swallow without extreme pain. Tight upper chest which seizes and causes unwanted and unexpected coughing fits. This hurts my head. I think I am getting a fever. Aches. I have those all over, but mostly in my legs and back. I went from not sick to sick within two hours of feeling a tiny bit ill.

School is a sick pool. Of ick.

I have been kissing my kids on the lips since they were born. MY mistake. Cesspool goes right in the mouth. Oh, that and my daughter coughed directly in my face a few times without covering her mouth. Almost seemed on purpose. "Sorry Mom, it just came out of nowhere."


My daughter.


Halloween Time

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Poll Speaks

The poll I took a few days ago closed and showed an overwhelming 79.71% in favor of occasionally seeing video reviews or opinions on The Soap Bar blog.

It was nice to see that no one chose the "no, I can not stand to see your ugly mug!" answer. :)

I promise to behave and not make this into a vlog (video blog) partly because a) I love photographs, b) because I couldn't stand seeing my face that often, but c) mostly because I'd have to shoot myself if I'd have to call myself a vlogger.

Oh lordie. Then I'd look like this:

So, I'll behave and if I get too vloggy, call me on it!


Friday, September 3, 2010

Testing Testing... Crack, Popple

Oh, don't mind my unbrushed hair, no make-up and sleepy self. I am testing my computer video thing I didn't know I had which could be really cool when reviewing soaps or whatever. It could make this blog a lot more personable if you can stand my mug.