Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Closer Look...

Here are some details and close-ups of the bars that I have curing right now.  You can click on any picture for a larger view.  First up is the White Ginger & Amber:

This bar smells warm and sweet and gentle, like a good friend that always listens and never judges.  The amber-colored swirl is done with turmeric powder.

Next up, Lime-Basil:

This bad boy is not so gentle!  It turns out that a little basil essential oil goes a long way, and I used more than a little.  This soap packs an olfactory punch, but it's the first bar I'll grab for our next camping trip.  Basil EO repels insects, soothes bug bites, stings, cuts, bruises and minor burns, quells motion sickness, and provides mental clarity.  However, it is contra-indicated for those who are pregnant or have liver disorders, so please lather responsibly.

Next, I made Lemongrass:

The lemongrass essential oil naturally gives the soap that warm, yellow hue.  This has always been one of my favorite soaps to make, the scent is so delicious and uplifting.  I considered adding chopped lemongrass from my garden, but even though it's lovely to look at, those blades are sharp!  I'll stick to using it for herbal tisanes; lemongrass is highly nutritious.

And the pièce de résistance, Lavender-Rosemary:

I've been making Lavender-Rosemary bars since I first learned to make soap -- it's just a classic, and everyone loves it.  I use pure essential oils, a bit of violet ultramarine for color (I do love to swirl), and rosemary needles from the garden for gentle exfoliation and visual interest.  I will try to keep some of this in stock at all times.

The soaps which are already cured are a bit harder to see in their packaging, but here's a peek:

That's the Hope Chest, a natural pale cream color with no bits or pieces in it.  It looks just like the Sandalwood-Rose, which is here:

And finally, the Creamy Cocoa:

I used actual cocoa powder to color it that rich, chocolate brown.  Next time I make it, I'll add cocoa butter to make it feel as decadently delicious as it smells!

Forty Pounds of Soap

Want to see what I made last week?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wish Me Luck

Well, this is it -- my first attempt at glory.  The owner at Paddiwhack Gallery has graciously agreed to give my wares a trial run, and this is what I'm bringing him tomorrow:

A great deal of my heart and soul went into that little basket, and I hope it appeals to someone.  There are three soaps and washcloths bundled together as a package deal, then three of each to be sold individually.

I have the invoice all printed out and ready to go.  I feel so legitimate!  ;)

Now I'm off to cut the White Ginger & Amber loaf into bars, then I'll cast on for a new washcloth.  Something red, I think.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Busy Busy

I've been working hard this week!  I have another four batches of soap to get ready for the Hen Party at Linda Blondheim's art loft at Paddiwhack Craft Gallery on August 6.  Check out the two varieties that I currently have curing:


The top shelf is Eucalyptus-Mint with mint leaves from my herb garden.  They're mostly peppermint, but a few leaves from my chocolate mint plant are mixed in.  I'm really delighted with the way it turned out.  Indeed, the results inspired me to see what other botanicals might work well in soap.

My Rosehip-Jasmine oil was patiently waiting to work its magic, so I went out to see what else the garden had to offer.

Tea roses smell lovely, but the shade of pink was too delicate for what I had in mind.  The hibiscus bushes, though...

Now we're talking!  I couldn't wait to see that vibrant color flecked throughout the soap.  Alas, though, it seems that hibiscus petals are not as sturdy as mint leaves:

They're an interesting rust color now, which is nice if you like earth tones (which I do) -- it's just not what I'd envisioned.  Oh, well!  The soap smells like heaven, and this batch should be particularly mild to the skin, due to an extra high percentage of olive oil in the base.  I could feel how silky it will be as I cut the bars.

What exactly is that cabinet, you ask?  Actually, it's an antique ice-box.  My mother acquired it when I was a child, and I've always loved it.  I've been Strongly Hinting for years about how much I'd like to have it one day.

"What would you do with it?" she asked.

"I'd cure soap in it!" was the ready reply.

So now it's mine.  :)

The left and bottom sections hold my supplies and ingredients.  The right section holds 2 batches of soap -- any more than that, and I have to cure it in the bathroom linen closet, which is not nearly as picturesque.