As I take the evening in, after a long day at work, I sip my cheap wine (which promptly gives me heartburn, but it's so good) and ponder the happenings of L.H. Soaps & Sundries. If you haven't noticed, I gathered pretty much every bar of soap I had- except for 2 each of the gemstone soaps with Saturn and IO- and brought them to my consignment store in Chesterfield, Missouri. I therefore, have removed them from the website and added them to the new tab in the menu bar entitled "Gallery". Since I started this website, I made batches of soap as design ideas popped in my head (and really to test fragrances), which is what spawned the "Artisan Line" of soaps. From there, I was inspired by a game (yes, a... game) to create the "Gemstone Line" of soaps, which have turned out to be a big hit! Because of that, I have decided to immortalize the Gemstone Line by re-creating it every year. I may tweak some soaps, such as Garnet and Amethyst, but I personally am pretty happy with how these are turning out. Diamond was my fastest seller, with Emerald and Pearl being close seconds. I am in LOVE with the fragrance of Peridot (pictured above), and I'm excited to come up with the idea for Sapphire (my birthstone, yay!). My plan was to come up with a gemstone set, but to my amazement, I have sold certain bars too fast to finish an entire year's worth of gems! SO, hence my continuation of this line. I was originally going to release each gem during it's month, but I got too excited and I'm already on September~ but that's not a bad thing, right?
I continue to make Artisan Soaps as the inspiration strikes. I'm telling you... it strikes every minute of the day! But I am only one person, and I have to pick and choose. I have been fascinated with natural colors lately, which was the ultimate inspiration for the bar to the right, Split Personality (now on the Curing Rack with Peridot). I wanted to do this type of swirling so bad, but in my mind, I only wanted to do the swirl with two colors. And... I couldn't make up my mind as to WHICH colors to use. So, I did what any other rational left-brainer would do and did all four colors split down the middle. It wasn't easy, but definitely fun! Both soaps depicted here were fragrances that I have never used before, but relied on reviews to determine how well behaved they were in soap. To my delight, the reviews were accurate. Speaking of testing fragrances and reviews....
I love this soap. I love it so much it hurts. Because it turned brown. You can see it going brown in the picture, but on the rack at this very moment, it is brown-brown. I had hopes for this soap~ my husband picked the fragrance and the colors (after his favorite hockey team, the St. Louis Blues of course). The fragrance reviews said it behaved well in soap, etc, same story, etc.... well, it behaved wonderfully! Then it turned brown. So, I named him "Rusty", and he's not for sale! He's my husband's baby and he loves him so. I guess all is not lost if the husband approves. I will make Rusty again.... reincarnated into a soap that does not turn brown. Gotta have the blue, gold, and white for the Blues. I love you, Rusty... I'm sorry I failed you! Here is a preview of next week's blog post:
Hey all! This post is going to be a little short just because I'm running late for some things today. The third challenge in the Great Cakes Soapworks challenge is mica swirled tops! I was a excited, but a little worried about this one because my camera is a cheap little thing that doesn't have great resolution to see the swirling. As you can see, this was the best I could get (click for larger image). Anyway, I didn't have a "making of" post because I actually tried this one 4 times! They all turned out great, but not exactly as I wanted. This one has silver and bronze swirls on top and it really sparkles in the sun!
Here is a piece that is cut. I did a "spoon swirl" split down the middle with 4 colors: white (titanium dioxide), pink (madder root), black (activated charcoal), and green (alfalfa) I think it turned out pretty neat, but I can't cut the rest of the loaf because it felt a little too soft yet for me. The log is unmolded and chillin' on the rack to harden up a little more. Anyway, visit Great Cakes Soapworks for more great results!
Just like the title says, there are new soaps on the Curing Rack. I have also decided to add the ability to add these soaps to your cart. These soaps are in "pre-order" status and can be added like usual, but are recommended for use on or after the date listed by each soap's picture. I have added this feature because I get so many requests for soaps shortly after I make them, that I want them to be available to you. However, I really want to emphasize that it is important to not use the soap before it's cure date. The reason behind that is because curing is a very important process for a soap to become super hard. It also brings the soap to a milder state, which is much better for you. If a pre-order soap is used before it's cure date, not only will it not be as delicate as it should be, but it can melt really fast! So anyway, keep this in mind when ordering :)
In other news, I've been working on Challenge #3 for the Great Cakes Soapworks challenges, and I'm just not getting the results I want. The funny thing is, I've done this technique so many times before! I'm glad we have 2 weeks to do this one, because it's just not working right LOL! That's ok, because as you can see, both soaps pictured were my attempts at the challenge, and they still turned out great! I'm going to do something a little different next time though... I may still use the madder root natural colorant for the new attempt because I LOVE how it looks (the pink swirl in the Eucalyptus Spearmint bar). Anyway, I'll keep you posted on new things to come~ and there is a lot! Think... haircare! :)
Well, here it is everyone! GROOOVY is cut and curing :) If you wanted to see the making of Grooovy, check it out HERE. Elemental Swirling is an "In The Pot swirl" within an "In The Pot swirl" (like a dream within a dream?). I'm really happy with the way it turned out, as I had never done this swirl before, and rather than do the basics of the challenge, I just HAD to push myself even further with 3 layers! I also "dropped" the layers to break the line definition between them to get a more interesting pattern. As you can see, there is a circular "plop" in the pink layer where I dropped my second layer and I think it looks pretty cool. Other soaps had a more fluid look to them....
See how neat that turned out? The third layer on this soap almost touched the bottom! (the green and purple). Anyway, I've already had a preorder on this one before I even listed it. I scented it with a fragrance called "God's Love", which at first smelled a lot like Twizzlers. Now that it's mellowing, it's more of a baby soft fragrance with a hint of fruitiness. I used a high olive recipe so that I would have plenty of time to play around and mix my individual colors.
So, for the third challenge, it will be mica swirl tops, which will be exciting because I love that look! Check out the Great Cakes Soapworks challenge blog to see everyone's fantastic work!
For the second week of challenges, we are tasked with the Elemental Swirl technique. I personally have never done an elemental swirl before, but it's as simple as a couple of in-the-pot swirls. I have done quite a few in the pot swirls, and honestly I'm not a huge fan. Maybe because my batter is too thin when I do it and it just turns out muddy. This IS a "challenge" however, and I will accept it :)
First I've got my oils all weighed and ready. This is only a 1.5-lb batch. It is suggested to have a larger batch to compensate for the technique, but well... challenge, right? My biggest mold is 2 lbs, so I made do. This is another high olive recipe so I can be assured that it will move slowly and I have time to work with it.
Here is my initial setup. As you can see, I prefer to take my challenges to extremes. I am using 7 colors for this project! I am also using a fragrance that I am unsure of. You can see the fragrance is individually measured in the smaller cups. The measuring cup on the far right is my silver mica for making the pencil lines between layers.
Here are all my colors with the soap batter poured in. since I had to split it 7 ways, I had to do some math. The pink, orange, and green are the main colors, while the yellow, blue, and purple are secondary. The left has white, because it's going to be a "secondary" in all three layers. Oh yeah, did I mention I'm doing three layers instead of only 2? Challenging? You bet.
For my first layer, I had pink, yellow, and white. You can barely see the yellow in there because the trace is still so thin. I also added one little measuring cup of the fragrance to this. Since I wasn't sure how it would react, I added it a little at a time to make sure I could pour a layer and still be able to work with the other layers. Well, the fragrance worked great! I think it even made the batter thinner initially...
For my next layer, I had the orange, blue, and white. I would have made all layers complimentary colors, but for some reason my eyes have a strong aversion to the red-green combination. I wanted every color in there, so I just kinda mixed them up. This is the only one that uses complimentary colors. You can see the pink layer chilling in the mold with mica sprinkled on top.
And for the final layer, green, purple, and white! I sort of did a drop swirl with the layers to see what I would get. I hope it doesn't turn out ugly. I think my orange layer made it to the bottom, so I'm a little worried about that. I was gentler with the green layer so that it wouldn't poke through all of the layers.
And here's the final log! I reserved some of the batter from each color to do the swirl on top, but I reserved more of the blue apparently. There is practically no green or orange in the top swirl, but it looks ok to me. I swirled this one the same way on top as I did with the Tiger Stripe challenge. Except I had 7 colors instead of 3 :)
Anyway, that's that! I will cut these and post pictures on Saturday when it's due! I have a fair on Saturday morning, so I will probably post later in the afternoon. Have a great day!
Here she is in her full glory! For my fellow soapers, she may look a little different than your typical tiger stripe technique. That is because I found (by accident) that using basically the same technique, but overlapping the stripes with a thicker batter yields a bar that looks more like authentic animal stripes. The pattern is a little more random, with slightly more organic lines.
I used a little white soap to swirl on top with the purple and peach. The fragrance is called "Peach Magnolia Raspberry"~ It's a very fresh fruity fragrance and it smells divine! I used this particular fragrance based on its reviews. I had never used it before, so I personally wasn't sure how it would behave, but I worked very nicely. I used this particular color combination simply because it fit with the fragrance and it was something I'd never used before!
I ultimately named this one TIGER MAMA! Mainly because tiger moms are bold and fierce, but so gentle with their young. Also, Mother's Day is coming up! I hope you liked my behind the scenes look at how I made this. Take a look at the Great Cakes Soapworks blog to see all the challenges I will be undertaking this month! I'm so excited for the next one... I've never done it before!
Ok, so this post is going to be a little different... it's part of a soap challenge hosted by the Great Cakes Soapworks maiden, Amy Warden. The challenge can be found HERE. The first challenge is a technique called "Tiger Stripe". I have actually done this one before, which you can see on the Emerald bar on the gemstone line page, so I was excited to do it again! The following is my semi-tutorial on how I made the latest tiger stripe, scented with Peach Magnolia Raspberry from Nature's Garden.
First of all, this is the mold I used. It is a custom built mold that will hold 25 ounces of oils (a little over 2 pounds of soap in total). I lined it with a first layer of wax paper, then parchment paper over that. Since the soap batter will be a little thinner, I wanted to make sure this mold didn't leak.
I then pre-mixed my colors while my oils *gently* melt in a double boiler. The lye is already mixed and cooling off (sorry I forgot to take pictures of these steps). I wanted to make one color a purple-pink color, and the other a peachy color. In the cup on the right, I have Ultramarine Violet mixed with a little water and neon pink in the little cup in front mixed with a little glycerin. I will add this after adding the soap to the purple to get the hue of pink I"m looking for. The peach is actually a neon citrus color that I will add a little at a time to get what I'm looking for.
Here I have mixed my oils and lye together with some silk and kaolin clay. This is very very thin trace, as I had to stop for a second to snap the picture. I did NOT add the fragrance yet, because despite the reviews of it behaving well, since I've never personally tried it, I like to add unknown fragrances after color to make sure it behaves. If not, it's easier to move to plan B when colors are already mixed. This recipe is high olive and a little coconut. That way, I have plenty of time to play (provided the fragrance behaves!)
Hey, it behaved! This is the picture after adding fragrance and blending color. The batter is still at very thin trace, so I stick blended a little more to make it a bit thicker. The purple is more purple than pink, which is fine and I think the combo looks pretty good! The peach turned out wonderful. I put aside a little white (little cup in front) to have some contrasting swirling on top.
Unfortunately, all the photos my husband took of me pouring the batter into the mold turned out bad... my hand and the cup were always in the way, so you couldn't see anything anyway. BUT, what I like to do with tiger stripe is, make the batter a little thicker, and rather than keep pouring a line over the last line, I kind of overlap each stripe across the mold. I don't do it methodically though, it's sort of random overlapping in order to achieve the random stripe effect on a tiger. I will find out how this one turned out once I cut it :) But again, I used the same technique on Emerald. In this picture, I was a little heavy-handed on the left side with the white, so there is a bigger blob on that side than I wanted.
This is the first swirling pass I made. I used a basic chopstick and moved up and down against the stripes in the above picture. As you can see, the white blob is dominating the left side. Let's see if we can fix that....
Bah! Well, I tried. It still looks good though, and I got more of the peach to mingle with the swirl so that it's not so white. For this swirl, I just made several curly-q's from left to right on the top half, then from right to left on the bottom half.
It smells very very nice.... quite fruity!
Well, that's it! I have to let it rest for 24 hours, then I can cut it and take pictures. I have to work the day job tomorrow, so pictures may not happen until evening. Have a good night!
Today's post is going to be short... I've been working like crazy these past two days for the upcoming craft show AND stock to replenish the table at my consignment store. Sunday, I made 3 batches of soap, two of which are hot processed and will be ready in about a week. The other looks just like the other two batches that are marbled, except this batch is purple, white, yellow, and black. It smells like white tea, and looks amazing! I don't have a picture yet, I was in a bit of a rush yesterday, so I didn't have time to take one. The picture above is a batch of Cocoa Butter Cream... it made a LOT of cream, so I have plenty for the show and a big tester jar. Today, I was bookin' it making a gigantic batch of olive oil lotion. So, I'm a little tuckered, and my husband has been eager to remind me of how I've been neglecting him. LOL
I won't be able to make much or update much during this week because my day job is going to demand a lot of my time. And then... Easter! So anyway, more in the pipeline in the future!
Sorry, no picture today :( I've actually been quite busy making stuff. First of all, check out the updated BULK Discounts page. I've added two new categories~ Custom Soap and Special Occasion! I'm really excited about both options, because I'm always getting questions about custom items.
There are also two new soaps (no pictures though) that I have made. One being "Planet Earth", which is the new soap in the planetary line. It is white, with green, blue, and yellow swirls that smells like bright citrus. Very clean! The other soap is finally Ruby! It is burgundy and pink with gold veins and smells like Rosewood Musk. This fragrance is actually a tester that I received from one of my suppliers, and it is awesome so I hope they continue to carry it! It's surprisingly unisex despite the "rose" in the name. I do detect rose, but it is only a subtle compliment to the whole fragrance.
I am currently preparing for a craft show that I am in on April 6th. I've been printing labels all morning, updating the website, and having the HARDEST time choosing what soaps to include in the show. I've make a few more batches specifically for the show, but I'd like to have a vast variety. If you find yourself in the Herrick, Illinois area on April 6th, stop by the Catalyst Spring Bazaar at Christ Tabernacle Church (10 N. Main St., Herrick, IL) and come see me! It's open from 9am-1pm. I'm excited!
I've been busy these past couple of days... On Friday, I went to visit my consignment shop in Missouri and I was pleasantly surprised to see that my table was practically empty! The hostess told me she had just mailed out my check too LOL. However, an empty table means no more sales, so that means MORE SOAP! So, that's a good thing, right? Unless......
You're also preparing for a fundraiser in less than a month! Okay, so I have my plate full right now. It's a darn good thing I like to make soap! I *sort of* have some plans. I'd like to make several batches of African Black Soap in various scents and un-scents. I need to use up my remaining shea butter before my next batch arrives in the mail :) However, I'd like to make more artistic batches as well, as illustrated by Photo 1 above (JUPITER, scented with Lavender Palmarosa) and Photo 2 to the right (SATURN, scented with Almond). I love that swirl pattern so much, that I might make a black/white/purple/yellow batch the same way and call it Neptune! Although, the color array may be better suited for... well, I might change Jupiter and Neptune around (i.e. Neptune is up top now and Jupiter is to come). I have several fragrance oils on the way to me as well, which I'm waiting for to do RUBY. I have this one all planned, but can't execute yet.
Anyway, I also wanted to mention that I may be switching from coconut milk to oat milk in my soap. It's much, much cheaper, and lends such a creamier bar! More details to come....