Funny story… only my soap peeps would understand. I was at Sam’s Club this morning, because I needed OO, of course. My phone starts dinging over, and over, and over. Ten times. It’s alerts from Fed Ex for packages delivered. I can’t imagine what it would be… I hadn’t ordered THAT much. I’m feeling a little giddy… like a kid at Christmas… as I drive home. I get here and there are ten boxes, 8′ long each. WTF? Pardon my French. Oh… I know before I open the first box. I had ordered ten 6′ long steel rods to make hanger tools. I finally found a bargain at $3.47 on Amazon Prime, shipping included. So, a $35 order generates ten boxes each with a heavy duty cardboard tube inside that presumably contains ONE steel rod. I can’t figure out how to open the cardboard tube. My hubby might have to use the table saw, I guess. Not sure what Amazon was thinking or how they made any profit on this transaction, but I’ve got cardboard if anyone needs more cardboard… call me. I’ll hook you up.
Over the last year, I’ve participated in three soap swaps through Brambleberry. There are a few rules for the swap. 1) Only two participants each per Brambleberry Fragrance. 2) Submit twelve bars that are fully labeled and weighing a minimum of four ounces each. 3) Pay $12.60 or something like that to cover the return flat rate postage.
I generally enjoy soap swaps as an opportunity to look at other soaper’s packaging. Each time, I’ve discovered a new fragrance that I’ve ordered for my own use. Generally I find at least one obscure ingredient that is of interest. Unfortunately, with all of the soaps being sent to their warehouse, many will lose their fragrance as they sit next to other soaps of competing fragrances. So, many just come out smelling like “soap,” not the lovely fragrance oil that had been planned.
I’m including pictures of some of my favorites that I received today
From Keauhou Hawaii, the Hawaii Soap Company submitted a Spa Sea Salt Soap with Relaxation Fragrance Oil that I look forward to trying. And from Wasilla Alaska, the Meadow Creek Boutique submitted Blackberry sage. Both soaps were wrapped nicely in plastic which preserved the fragrances. I am delighted to have received soaps from far away places. I know it is much more expensive for soapers overseas or in remote areas to receive their supplies… particularly lye. So, I’m honored that I’ve received these two soaps.
Next up, from Beth Case Scenario in Portland Oregon, came a lovely vegan Sandalwood Soap with Calendula petals. I love calendula soaps. And, Sing in the Shower Soaps in Lake Elmo Minnesota, sent a potent Lemongrass Rosemary soap with Rosemary Leaves and made with essential oils. That one smelled the strongest of the bunch and will keep it for my own enjoyment.
From Bucklepenny in Quincy Washington, submitted a shrink wrapped and band labeled Trinity Soap with Shea Butter fragranced with Coconut Lemongrass. I love Lemongrass and can still smell this one… It’s a keeper! And, the most creative layered soap that I received was from Erin with Raven and Rain Soap in Simi Valley, California. The lovely rainbow design is called Unicorn Poop though I have no idea what the fragrance is.
There were two other notable entries with goat’s milk. One was from Whitetail Lane Farm (location unknown) featuring a Lavender Rosemary Soap, nicely shrink wrapped and smells good. I personally dislike Lavender, but the combination with Rosemary made this one likeable to me. So, I learned something from this soap. Thank you Whitetail Lane Farm. Your hanger swirl was lovely too. And, Holly’s Goat Milk Soap (again, location unknown) using a fragrance oil combination that she calls Honeycomb with Oatmeal Milk & Honey with Hot Cocoa. It’s a unique fragrance combination that gets my attention. I love the oatmeal additive and will keep this one.
There were some other soaps that seem to have lost their fragrances. One (name withheld) is a very large bar of soap that is quite thin. I’ll probably cut it in half as it will break in the shower being so large while still so thin. Likewise, in past soap swaps, I’ve received soaps that were so block-like that they were uncomfortable in my hand. So, I learn something from so many the soaps that I receive… that can be good or just learning from someone else’s “mistakes.” Of course, it all comes down to personal preference and opinion. There really is no right or wrong.
There was one last soap in the box from Brambleberry’s Anne-Marie Faiola. Labeled as 3.5 ounces, it only weighs 2.1 ounces. They might need to check their scale. It is fragranced with Sunny Herb Garden (sample included), but I can’t smell it in this soap. Often it seems that fragrances are lost when soaps are shipped, stored in a box with other competing fragrances and fragrances often return when the soap is wetted in the shower. I do have this fragrance oil in my inventory and like it very much for a Gardener’s Soap. AM’s would have been a lovely if it had been large enough to appreciate the talented design. I’ll look forward to trying the Neon Blue Raspberry mica shortly. It was a nice size sample and I do appreciate it.
I’ve only been soaping for a year now, so I’m certainly no expert, but I want to make a few suggestions that may apply to some of the soaps mentioned here or to other soaps not mentioned as pertains to labeling. If you read Marie Gale’s book Soap & Cosmetic Labeling, you will learn that there are very specific requirements for how a soap should be labeled. Many of the soaps did not list the weight of the soap. Many did not include their address, city or phone number. Some listed a portion but not all of their ingredients. Remember, if you list one of the ingredients in the name of the soap, then you are required to list ALL of the ingredients. Though not required, many did not list a website address or Facebook address (opportunities lost for self-promotion).
I hope I haven’t seemed critical of any of the lovely soaps and participants that I’ve mentioned. My packages aren’t “perfect” according to the regulations. For my safety, I REFUSE to put my physical address on the label. I don’t operate a physical store and must protect my privacy at home. So, it just ain’t happenin’! Overall, if you are a newer soaper and have never participated in a soap swap, I would encourage it. You’ll get some great ideas in looking at other soaper’s products.
This is my second month participating in the Great Cakes Soap Challenge. I understand that this month has the highest number of participants to date with many more international submissions. Drop Swirls are an easy technique but difficult to actually duplicate from one batch to the next as the consistency of the soap batter will have such an impact on the final outcome. In any case, they are each unique and beautiful.
I’ve been inspired to use this technique more this week in selecting a submission for this month’s challenge. This is one of my creations this week using a basic Bastile recipe (Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Castor) with combination of WSP’s Pinkberry Mimosa with BrambleBerry’s Mangosteen fragrance oils. I didn’t insulate this soap, but oven processed at 170 for 15 minutes and got the anomaly of Alien Brains… I actually like it when I get the really noodley (as opposed to wrinkley) Alien Brains as it makes a nice texture for scrubbing my feet and resembles Brain Coral.
This is my one of my previous swirls with noodley Alien Brains:
This week I’ve also made a White Tea & Ginger drop swirl using a harder base soap with a combination of Oils: Olive, Coconut, Palm, Hemp Seed, Castor and Hydrogenated Soybean. I use various micas for most of my colorants and generally favor a thin consistency for drop swirls. This makes every bar completely unique:
For this month’s soap challenge, Amy has given the guidelines that we could use all cold process or a combination of cold process with Melt & Pour. I’ve never used MP in a drop swirl but have seen some great examples of this combination. To this I am using a clear Detergent Free Melt & Pour with a combination of black oxide and gold / yellow micas to celebrate the phenomenal season our local Wichita State Shockers men’s basketball team. As I was unsure of how the MP and Cold Process base would mix, I brought the CP (white) base to a thicker consistency with concern that the warmer MP might sink right to the bottom. I thought I should change my habit of oven processing and put this soap in the refrigerator to prevent gel in hopes of not disturbing the Melt & Pour swirl as the CP saponified. Since the micas were in MP, not cold process, gelling didn’t seem as important for making the micas “pop.” But, this of course means it takes longer before the soap was ready to cut… and I’m not a woman of patience. It looks a little rough on the edges, but I like the MP as a medium. Going to try again. LOL.
By now you’ve noticed that I really like to use one particular mold when I’m drop swirling. This silicone buche mold can be found on BakeDeco.com I use the larger of the two molds they offer which yields a 3.5 oz soap when cut at 1″.
This is my second Shocker Soap of this week using MP for the swirl into CP. On this one, I swirled some CP with black and gold mica into the white base and let the base be at a much thinner trace when dropping in the gold and black MP. The outside of the loaf took on a very weird giraffe pattern.
So, I think I’ve done enough MP / CP combo now. I’ll have to wait six weeks to see if I like the texture of the combination (I suspect I won’t) before trying that again. Thank you to the Soap Club Challenge members for reading my blog. As I’m writing this, I’m still not sure which soap I’ll submit for the Challenge… I haven’t seen too many drop swirls I didn’t like. LOL. But I had a lot of fun experimenting.
Well, I’m determined to do something productive with my day for the soaping community. There’s been a lot of discussion lately on how to make, or where to get a Bath Bomb Press. We have made these in the past, but honestly, we’re on to other things now. So, I wanted to take a few minutes to give some easy instructions on how to make your own: cheap, easy and local. You might have noticed that I prefer to use the term Bath Fizzy. Since the Boston Marathon bombing last year, it just seems more politically correct to avoid inflammatory language.
In this picture, you will see four items. On the left are two pieces connected. One is a 2″ PVC pipe cut into a 4″ piece. This is fit into a 2″ plumbing flange of some sort to stabilize the base. In the middle is a silicone Ball Canning Funnel which can be found at your local Wal Mart. On the right is a 2″ dowel rod, cut into a 6″ long piece. I bought mine at Menards. If you don’t find these items in your local stores, everything can be bought on Amazon these days.
If you attach the canning funnel to the pipe contraption, then you can cleanly pour your fizzy powder into the tube. Then use the 2″ dowel rod to tamp the powder down to a nice tight puck. As you push down on the dowel, GENTLY raise and twist your tube contraption. Of course, you’ll want to do all of this on a piece of freezer or wax paper laid on a baking sheet to catch your crumbs. If one falls apart, simply dump that powder back into the mix and tamp it down again.
Let me be the first to admit, I don’t sell a lot of bath bombs in this area. My son and family likes them, but I don’t make them very often. So, I’m not expert on recipes. But, here’s what your pucks might look like…
Thank you for visiting my blog today. I hope this entry has given you some ideas for how to make a easy fizzy press that will really give you good compression on your bath fizzies.