30 September 2011

Final Thoughts on the Fall Bramble Berry S.O.A.P. Panel

First of all, I want to give a huge ThAnK yOu to Bramble Berry for selecting me to choose the fall fragrances. It has been a blast and an amazing experience!

Soaps are in scent order from #1 (red & beige in the front) to #8 (the last soap on the right).

What I learned:
You may end up liking a fragrance even if you don't like it initially. That's how I felt about #2. My initial reaction was not so lovely, but it is now my second favorite! It fragrance has developed wonderfully in the soap and I think my customers will love it.  

Yes, you can make cp soap pops! If you want to swirl, you need to pour at a thick trace or the depth of the mold blends the colors together. Also, I did cpop the soap pops. This made unmolding easy, but you do need to be careful not to leave the oven on too long or you end up with dimpled soaps like the blue one or pink one.

Soaping is like a box of chocolates because you never know what you're gonna' get!

Happy Soaping!

16 September 2011

The Bold and the Not So Beautiful

Making amazing, innovative soaps and beauty products involves an extensive trail and error process. Many products require several tries before they are perfected. I went through at least 20 lip balm formulations before I came up with the perfect, lip smoothing recipe. Here are a few examples that evolved into amazing products eventually...

Cupcake Soap 

As you can see, soap icing takes some practice to master.

Felted Soap

My early attempts resembled soaps with appendages, but the practice paid off.

Cold Process Handmade Soap

Every once in awhile, a fragrance makes my soap look rough around the edges. The scent in the above picture made the top of the soap brown and all of the tan in the soap was supposed to be white. This soap smells amazing, but it looks like something only a mother could love :). All the trail and error is worth it, though, when I end up with some really incredible looking soap.

Practice and patience does pay off.

Calise Soapworks & Such- making the ordinary extraordinary!

08 September 2011

Testing, Testing S.O.A.P. Fragrances 7 & 8

The third time is the charm! Since I CPOP (cold process oven process) most all of my soap I figured whipping up these Soap Pops for Bramble Berry's Fall S.O.A.P. Panel would be a breeze. Well, there is a bit of a learning curve for CPOPing single cavity molds (tips below).  First, the good part- thoughts on the last two Bramble Berry Fragrances.

Scent #7-  Evergreen Boughs

Initial Reaction- inviting and full bodied. Full of spruce, juniper and fir and maybe just a hint of citrus (bergamot?). #7 brings back childhood memories of hiking through the snow on a crisp, wintry day to find the family Christmas tree. 

After Thoughts- This scent soaped beautifully. It did set up a bit fast after pouring, so it may speed trace a bit with warm oils. So far, there is no noticeable discoloration. Colored with chromium green oxide.

Scent #8-  Hearthside

Initial Reaction- this reminds me of a campfire, fireplace- smoke and leather. Warm & intriguing.

After Thoughts-  I was worried that this fragrance would be lost in the soap. It actually disappeared when I first mixed it into the soap batter. Surprisingly, after unmolding, the fragrance is holding strong. This fragrance had a long play time. I had to wait about 10 minutes after pouring before the soap was firm enough to hold up the craft sticks. The uncolored soap has turned a nice light cream color so far. Colored with gold mica.

I'll update in a few weeks on how the scents and colors are behaving. I'm also going to play around with my leftover fragrances in some other goodies. I am having a blast so far. Thanks, Bramble Berry!

Tips for CPOPing Single Cavity Silicone Molds

11 minutes seems to be the magical number to leave the oven on at 170 degrees for molds about 3 ounces in size. Then, turn the oven off and let soaps sit in the oven overnight or several hours until cool.

For more noticeable swirls, pour at a thicker trace into deep molds.

03 September 2011

Don't Play With Your Food

I just walked in the door from the Newport Farmer's Market and I'm so proud of my haul I have to share.

I love that I am set for produce for the week and I didn't have to step a foot in the grocery store.The salad mix- including the edible flowers- was picked this morning by Pioneer Mountain Farms. No salad in the bag or plastic box for me!

The lovely pastry is a Baker's Lunch from Pacific Sourdough. Simply fab-o heated and topped with fresh greens and some Greek Feta Dressing. This is my favorite after-market meal. I'm usually starving by the time I get home and it is lovely having a fast, delicious meal ready in just a few minutes.

The tomatillos are for Enchiladas Verde. I have some jalapenos in the freezer from a week ago that will top mine- I have a hot mouth :) The yellow thing is some sort of melon. It has a white flesh and it has a softer feel than a honeydew or cantaloupe. I can't wait to try it.

And, I couldn't forget the berries or the frosted brownie from Bojomama's. The brownie had no photo opportunities. It was my market snack.

Why do I love buying local? I see the hands that tended or made these amazing foods. Most foods are organically grown or are grown pesticide free. No matter what, I have to buy food to live and I would rather give my money to someone I know and care about. It is also faster and way more fun than a trip to the grocery store ;)

Calise Soapworks & Such

02 September 2011

Thoughts on S.O.A.P. Scents 4-6

Keeping with the Soap Pop theme, I’m ready to test the next three Bramble Berry S.O.A.P. Fall Panel fragrances. This time, I’m using clays for color. Oh, I have been adding the fragrance before coloring to be sure I have the same amount throughout the soap and to give it more opportunity to act up.

Scent #4- Groovy Geranium

Initial reaction- geranium! This is a deeper, earthier floral compared to #3. There is some sweetness, but that’s on the back burner.

I was thinking this fragrance would also accelerate trace, but not really. It did turn the soap almost day-glo orange when I initially mixed it in. Colored with Sea Clay.

After thoughts- So far, the scent seems to be staying pretty true. The soap has discolored to more of a khaki tan.

Scent #5- A Few of My Favorite Things

Initial Reaction- Out of the bottle, this is one of my favorites. It is similar to #1, but a little less sweet and a little more spice with maybe some fir.

I noticed maybe the slightest acceleration with my room temp. oils & lye solution, so this one may be a bit of a stinker sometimes. There was a slight yellowing of the soap in the pot. Colored with Australian Red Clay.

After thoughts- I'm still getting a few (very few) spices notes, but floral notes predominate now which is peculiar because I didn't smell any floral initially. A lot of the sweetness is gone and the scent is flatter now. There is some yellowing, but I think that may be more operator error somehow as it is inconsistent.

Scent #6- Breezy Day

Initial reaction- similar to #2, but fewer floral notes. I akin this scent to a fresh linen or cotton.

This fragrance had a huge amount of play time. I had to wait on it to thicken a bit and I should have even waited longer. No noticeable color change in the pot. Colored with French Yellow Clay.

After thoughts- #6 has mellowed quite a bit. It seems to have lost some of the top notes so far, but the scent is still pleasant. Yep, all the white, white color is ash. I think it is because this soap cooled too quickly. Notice there is no ash on the side of the soap pop that is laying down or on the colored clay parts. I took all three of these batches out of the oven because I was worried about the soaps getting too hot. Now, they cooled too quickly! Lesson learned.

I can't wait to see how #7 & #8 turn out!