Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Week one of Amy's Soap Challenge 2013 - Tiger Stripe

This is the first week of this years soap challenge being hosted by Amy at Great Cakes Soapworks. The challenge is to do a tiger swirl or method. It didn't look too complicated. Just had to figure out what colors to use and make time to try it out.

First I chose a Bastille recipe to soap with. I figured the high olive oil content would give me lots of time to play. I then chose a fragrance that, in the past, behaved well. I picked Coconut Lime Verbena. Then I chose the colors. I decided on yellow and black. I have never soaped with black and didn't get much feedback on how much to use in order to get a nice black soap without having too much black bubbles. I decided to just wing it and hope for the best. I had black mica and activated charcoal to choose from in my supplies. I chose mica.

I measured all my ingredients and melted my oils. I measured 1 tsp of yellow oxide into one container and 1 tsp of black mica into another. I added a bit of my melted oils to each and used my frother to mix them really good. I then added my FO to my oils. When my lye was about 108 F and my oils were 105 F, I poured my lye mixture into the oils and gave it a quick stick blend. I stirred it for a bit and gave it a couple more bursts. When I was sure it was just emulsified I split the batter into each of the containers with the colors. I noticed that my soap batter was accelerating!! OH NO!! I grabbed my wisk and mixed the colors and soap batter and it was getting thicker and thicker. I started pouring. I had to stir before each pour because it was pretty thick. So I just kept on going. Stirring, pouring and slamming my mold on the counter until the mold was full. I added gold mica oil to the top and added a bit of texture and put it to bed. Not sure how it's going to look but I am hoping for the best. I think the black is going bleed and give black bubbles :(

Here is a picture of it in the mold...

I think I played with the top too much and made a little bit of a muddy mess but it still looks pretty. I am a little disappointed in the FO. It was a new bottle but it was from the same supplier that I had used before without issue. It's the only thing I can think of that would of caused it to thicken up so fast. My recipe was almost 75% olive oil. I used 33% water instead of 38% but it's more than my usual 29%. I didn't get soap on a stick but it was thicker than I had planned on. Maybe it will be ok.

Ta da!! Here it is. I think it came out pretty good.. what do you think?

Oh.. and regarding the black and colored bubbles. Yup it makes colored bubbles. Kind of a greenish light gray color. Not too bad. Maybe it will lessen when it cures more. Or maybe it will get worse... not sure... hmmm.

Thank you Amy for putting on this challenge again. I'm so excited for the next one :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Palm Free Soap Recipe #2

Onward we go with my obsession with the "perfect" palm free soap recipe. My poor printer is worn out and my notebook is getting fat with all my research. After a while all the numbers start looking the same... lol

While I was going through my soap files I found a soap recipe I used last year, during Amy's Soap Challenge, for a faux funnel design. It turns out that I was delving into the palm free realm a lot longer than I realized. 

I remember this batch of soap. It was one of my favorite bars of soap and it didn't even dawn on me that it was palm free. I went to my soap room and found one bar of that wonderful soap. It's nice and hard and still smells great. I then went to my blog and located that bar of soap. If you want to check it out, click here.  It's been almost a year since I made that soap so I decided to revisit this recipe today and it behaved just as well as I remember. 
Last years soap challenge

So, my friends, I am going to share this recipe with you. I wish I had written, in my notes, where it came from. I honestly can't say if I conjured it up myself or if I found it on another site. I would definitely give credit to anyone who shared it with me. If I had to guess I would say it probably started as a recipe from our very own Soap Queen, Ann Marie, at Brambleberry. She uses rice bran oil more than anyone I know. So with that said, here are the ingredients...

Distilled Water - 5.28 ounces
Lye (NaOH) - 2.2 ounces

Coconut Oil - 4 ounces - 25 %
Cocoa Butter - 2 ounces - 12.5%
Olive Oil - 6 ounces - 37.5%
Rice Bran Oil - 3 ounces - 18.75%
Castor Oil - 1 ounce - 6.25%

Please remember to observe all rules of safety when soap making. Do not attempt to make soap with lye until you have learned the basics. 

I will post pictures after I unmold this in a couple days. I just put it to bed :)


Oh.. I almost forgot... If you want to participate in Amy's Soap Challenge this year, it is starting this weekend. Check it out here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Palm Free Soap Recipe and Ramblings.. I'm Back :)


So I know I have been MIA for a bit. I have graduated from school and have since been working a full time job. Unfortunately life has gotten in the way of my soaping. It really sucks when that happens but it is what it is. In a dream world I wouldn't have to go to work and I would soap everyday. 

I know, I know... now you are saying, "Why don't you just sell your soap so you CAN make soap everyday?"
Well.. here is the thing.. I make soap to relax and have fun. If I screw up a batch of soap it's not that big of a deal because it's just for fun and I am learning what works and what doesn't. 
If I decide to sell my soap it will no longer be something to relax with. It will become a JOB. Because I know me, I know it will lose it's appeal when I make soap because I HAVE to instead of because I WANT to. 

Don't get me wrong. Many people make soap for a living and have a blast at it. They love making tons of soap and going to the farmers markets to sell their wares. They love to do YouTube videos to get fans and to get people to go to their website to buy their soap. I am in awe of all of those who can make a business of it. I can only speak for myself because I know myself. I will be all crazy trying to make the "perfect" soap (as if I'm not already).  There is a ton of competition. It seems like everyone is making soap now. I will lose tons of sleep wondering if my soap will sell.

So. That my friends is the reason I do not sell soap... today :)

On to the Palm Free Soap Recipe I promised...

This batch is for one pound of soap. I have these really cute little silicone molds that make 5 perfect size bars. I will give percentages for those who need a bigger batch. Hope you enjoy. Oh, always remember to run your recipe through a lye calculator if you change any of the ingredients. 

Coconut Oil, 76 degree - 4 ounces - 25%
Cocoa Butter - 2 ounces - 12.5%
Olive Oil - 8 ounces - 50%
Castor Oil - 1 ounce - 6.25 %
Shea Butter - 1 ounce - 6.25%

Distilled Water - 6 ounces
Lye - 2.2 ounces

This is calculated at 5% superfat.

1 ounce FO - I used Rainbow Sherbet from Natures Garden (love it!!)

I used full water on this recipe because I wanted to split my batch up into 3 colors and do a pretty swirl. This recipe was slow to trace so it worked great for what I wanted to do. You can discount the water if you want it to thicken up faster.

I covered my soap with plastic wrap and put it in my preheated oven at 170 F and then turned the oven off and left it to sit (no peeking). I like to force gel. Just my own preference. I have found when I use silicone it is better to not keep the oven on because it starts to bubble around the edges because it gets too hot and it leaves ugly air bubble marks all around the soap.
After 24 hours it was still pretty soft so I gave it another day. It was still lye reactive to my tongue test. Like I said, very slow moving recipe. After 48 hours it was ready to come out of the mold and cut.
It has been sitting on the drying rack for a few days and it looks great. 

A note about the FO. It did not rice, excel, or discolor my soap and it smells wonderful!

I will put up some pictures as soon as the battery charges on my camera. So, the camera didn't want to cooperate. I guess it's time for a new one. So I took this pic with my camera phone. Notice I don't clean up my soaps much because they are for personal use. I don't bevel the edges or cut off anything. I use it all.. lol

I have another palm free recipe I am going to try. I will let you all know how it goes :)