Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Been A Long Time

I haven't done a soap review in a long time. I have soap makers waiting for reviews but I have some problems with their submissions.

I have a baggie of two soaps on my window sill with no labels, nothing to identify who they belong to. Now, I run a business and have two kids so I am busy and I try really hard to be organized, but sometimes I will open a package and throw away the outer package to eliminate clutter. This is why a soap band or sticker is important to affix on the soap. These window sill soaps are now anonymous. They could be yours and you'll never know if I liked them or not. Maybe you should email me.

I also received a bag of three soaps from a lovely woman. None of the soaps were labeled so I don't know which one is which. If I loved the purple one, I wouldn't be able to elaborate on it. Also, They all ended up smelling alike. I don't know if they smelled alike when they were put in there to begin with or they ended up smelling similar, but it made me re-think my own packaging. I just sent out my three soap gift set in a cello bag with the soaps each only separated by a card. Hmm.

Please let me be clear about how you need to send your soap so I can get the best shot at smelling the true scent of your soap and that I know it's from you. If you send soap to me, please make sure that each soap is individually wrapped or labeled with its own scent and/or name and your company name so that if it gets removed from the group of your soaps it can still be identified.

Also, if you want me to review your soap and you want me to try multiple soaps, you only need to send one full sized bar and quarter bar samples of the others (also labeled with scent and company name!) I do not need a full bar of each scent. It is costly for you to mail them and it certainly isn't necessary. The full size bar shows packaging, size and weight. That's all I need. Everything else is scent and feel and I can use the samples for that.

If any of you have any questions about soap you have sent or soap you would like to send please do not hesitate to email me. jo (at) productbody (dot) com

I loved doing the soap reviews and I am ready to do them.

The list of fragrances that my head can not deal with has grown. Now migraines are spiked from:

"Champagne" and "Energy" fragrance oils

Other than that lavender is not a favorite of mine.


s o a p s o a p s o a p s o a p s o a p s o a p s o a p s o a p s o a p s o a p s o a p

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Frankincense and Myrrh Holiday Soap Porn

Without getting religious on you, which I don't ever do, frankincense and myrrh happens
to be a part of Christmas stories, and happens to be a part of a lot of Christmas offerings
so I thought I'd include some very pretty soaps I found this morning since I woke up for no
reason at 5:00 am.

Gifts Of The Magi Bath Bar by Scubology Soap
Green, blue and golden gem-like shapes glisten in an amber-colored matrix
scented with Frankincense and Myrrh

Kings Soap by Elegant Rose Boutique
Frankincense, myrhh, and sandalwood

Flaming Heart by Panhandle Girl
frankincense and myrrh
(loving the label design!)

Hope you enjoyed the holiday soap porn. Back to work, my holiday soap addicts.... :) Love!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow Falls Here

Snow Falls in North America...
Here are some pretty soaps I found while sipping on warm coffee.

scent of fresh snow, festive lights, cozy winter spices and caramelized fruits.

The 3" snowflake sits on a bed of snow (also made soap,unscented) inside a lovely transparent boutonniere box.

There is a homegrown nasturtium flower pressed in the top of the bar.

Basmati Rice is aromatic, sweet, a little earthy.

A crisp essential oil blend of Peppermint, Spearmint and Pine, Lavender, Sweet Basil,
Rosemary and Lime add a smoothness that makes this the ideal holiday blend.

Thank you to the artists for their creativity so that we could rest our eyes on something unique and beautiful today.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Epic Fail


I tried the cold process oven processing method (CPOP) yesterday and I think I failed miserably at it. I guess no matter how many years you soap, when you try a new process, it's like getting on a bike for the first time and falling off, scraping all the skin off your knees and feeling the burn. O.O

I am announcing Gift Sets on my website today and I really was hoping to add soap to them because my soaps have flown out of my shop and every time I have replenished them a wholesale customer has swept them up. Oh it's great news, but not so great for my poor retail customers who want them. My plan was to whip up CPOP soap and have it be included in the sets and all would be right in the world for them.

And so.

But no.

This is what I found after 2 hours of cooking and 12 hours of remaining in the oven.

I pushed down the freezer paper so you can see the excess oil (black and white shows the oil more clearly):

excess oil pool on top of the 3rd loaf pan

I wiped the soaps down with paper towel so they weren't as slippery as a freshly bathed infant and I am letting them sit. This picture was AFTER I sucked all of the oil away. The crispy-like effect it created on top is nice. It did exactly what I had hoped. I sprinkled brown sugar on top before I stuck the soap in the oven hoping to get a crunch or crisp on top and that's what it looks like to me (and smells like). Sadly the whole soap was oily and soft.

Any idea why they are so oily? They went into the pans in perfect trace harmony. I would love your feedback. I can take constructive criticism. People should learn from my mistakes.

And so should I.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Smart Soapmaking

I got slammed this year with last minute wholesale customers who want hundreds of bars of soap cured...ummm. yesterday and now and chop chop.... so I try to accommodate as much as I can, of course. In the tornado of formulating and keeping p with my retail and wholesale orders in addition, Gift Sets fell to the way side this year for the holidays. O.O

Yesterday I was racking my brain about what I should offer and I came up with some great ideas, but none of them had a soap inclusion because we only have a few of each scent of soap. There isn't one bar we have tons of except the chai soap that just looks marbled and turned out too cinnamon-y spicy. (there is a point to this story, hang in there)

So as I finished pouring soap for a customer, I had a lye mixture set aside for 2 batches just waiting there for me to use. Perfectly measured and waiting for me to add fat and make the magic soap with. Oh the fantasy...

my glowing magical stick blender

I picked up one of my books, Smart Soapmaking by Anne L. Watson, which I always have lying around, but rarely pick up anymore. Read the whole book in 20 minutes. Great book. If you haven't read it or haven't read it in a while, pick it up and re-read it. It's a great overall look at the art of soap making. She is refreshing and not so rigid as so many pros are. Anyway, I looked at her CPOP (cold process-oven processing) description where one makes cold process soap and then cooks the loaf molds in the oven (covered) for two hours in 170-200 degree heat and then stays in the oven with the oven off for 12 hours. Now Dreaming Works Soap recommended that the soap cure for 2 weeks after that. This author mentioned that the soap was ready for use after it was unmolded but also mentioned that it would get harder with time so depending on its hardness depends on when you want to serve it up. So my lack of soaps in my gift set got me to trying the CPOP process. I didn't want to do the hot process this time. I wanted a new thing. I also find hot process too waxy for me to work with. But that is me. Other people love it. I can see all the benefits. And I love them! I just have a hard time physically maneuvering the glop. AND I burn myself every time. What's that about?

I suppose we need to check. I have two batched in the oven now. Covered with a wooden cutting board which is now completely warped. I might have to find something else to cover CPOP molds in the future that work better than that. Good thing they were cheap (Ikea).


I'll keep you updated on my CPOP batched. Pics to come.