Friday, 26 March 2010

Soaps & Bubbles – Strawberry Milkshake – Soap Review

Very recently, I was the lucky winner of a contest for 2 free soaps from a very generous, talented and creative Belgian Soap Maker at Soaps & Bubbles (! This week I received them in the mail - Strawberry Milkshake & Lime Twist.

I just love the logo – classic, classy and original. I will begin with Strawberry Milkshake as it was the first I unwrapped and was addicted to the sweet fruity scent right away! I love the colour and the uniqueness of poppy seeds with Strawberry! I have seen poppy seeds with lemon or peppermint, but Strawberry Poppyseed? Creative! Just the right amount of poppyseeds as well - not an overdose. I began with washing my hands and from the first moment this soap hit water, I have loved it. My daughter as well. Big, bubbly suds froth-up almost immediately, even before the water gets really warm (makes me wonder why the delay on the suds in some of my soaps?). Then the suds get smaller, creamier and richer and so many!! Suds! Suds! Suds! Next I did the shower test and again loved it! I had never tried soap with the rippled cut before and I really like the feel on my body, almost adding to the exfoliating feel from the poppyseeds. Third test was on my face. I usually have a hard time finding a soap that works well on my face because I have combination skin. Either soap gives me pimples on my forehead or it really dries out the areas around my nose. Strawberry Milkshake soap has left my face feeling soft and clean, even after a dry-nose pollen-filled sneezy day. Wow! It has also stayed really hard after using it several times. So, in summary – a fabulous all-around mildly-exfoliating hand, shower and facial soap. Questions for Soaps & Bubbles – Can you give any tips on how to get such a beautiful lather & how to get the bar to stay so hard?

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Scent Help.... Mediterranean

I am formulating in my mind a "Mediterranean Soap Bar".... with sand and salt for exfoliation... as I live right next to the sea and many have requested it. I do not use synthetic fragrance oils..... Can you help with some scent ideas? What Essential Oils could I use to come up with a Mediterranean Sea scent....????

Remake but prettier

This is a remake of my most popular soap - Green Tea & Goat Milk. But as I have been into making my soaps prettier lately, I tried the bottom part with Green Tea, the top part with Goat Milk (100% of the liquid in the top part is goat milk) and chunks. Loving the fresh goat milk! Wish I had a goat! My next special ingredient to hunt down is Sheep milk....

Friday, 19 March 2010

Batch 104

My first attempt with chunks! And also my first attempt with real fresh goat milk. It has been a challenge finding ingredients in this little part of southern Spain. Some are plentiful - lavender grows in the fields here... fresh hand-picked oranges... olive oil is abundant and inexpensive... beeswax... honey... but most of the rest I have to import. I thought that fresh Goat milk would be easy to find as there are so many shepherds around but it wasn't! I had been using partly skim goat milk from the supermarket (the only one they had). But using the fresh stuff? Wow. It is gorgeous and creamy. Can't wait for 4 weeks to go by so that I can try using it!! This soap has half distilled water and half fresh Goat Milk. Hope you like it!!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Batch 103

Same basic recipe as 102, but slightly less Castor Oil and the colour is entirely different with the Alkanet! More blue than purple. Can anyone tell me what the little white specks are? I do not think they are lye specs. They are very tiny and plentiful... I think it is something to do with the Alkanet.... mixing? The smell of this one is such a nice girly flowery mix that I can't get enough of. This essential oil blend is a keeper! Flowery & Femenine...Flowery Girl

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Batch 102

I like the way this one turned out... the smell is fresh, maybe a little too much lemongrass... as you can tell, I am on an Alkanet (natural blue & purple) kick...

Saturday, 6 March 2010

100 Falls….100 Batches

100 FALLS:
Reaching what felt like a milestone for me in making 100 Experimental Batches of soap, I was reminded of a skiing trip to Vermont with my Dad, step-mum and step-sis during 2nd year university. We drove down in Dad’s car and the closer we got to the resort, the harder it snowed. By the time we reached the resort, the visibility was bad and we almost couldn’t get the car up to the Chalet we were staying at because of the ice. We all chanted “I think I can….I think I can….I think I can….” willing the car up the icy incline, laughed so hard when it seemed to have worked and rejoiced when the car finally arrived at the Chalet. We were staying with Paul, a Ski-Instructor friend of ours.

The next morning was any skiers dream. After a solid day and night of snow, the morning dawned sunny and just cold enough for the snow to stay perfect… Paul was very excited… POWDER! Fresh Tracks… Now, being from Ontario, we were well versed in the art of skiing on ice, but POWDER? This would be new….

From the Chalet, we actually had to ski down to the bottom of the mountain to get our ski passes. We trekked through the snow a few meters in our ski boots while Paul led us to the start of the route down. We emerged through a few trees to a beautiful open slope full of virgin snow and Paul advised we could put our skis on now. He was going on ahead as he had to get to work. I said “Um Paul, I know you are the expert here…but we don’t know ANYTHING about skiing powder! Can you give us a few tips on how to get down?” “Sure!” he advised, “There are 2 fundamental rules to skiing Powder.” Rule 1 is the 100 fall rule. You cannot say that you know how to ski Powder until you have fallen 100 times in powder.” We oooohed…. We aaaaahed…. We chuckled…. He then set himself up in a ready position, and said, well hooted really, with a huge smile on his face…. “Rule 2 is – ALWAYS GO FIRST!” and he took off and left us behind! That was it. That was our lesson on Powder. We rolled around laughing for a while and they began the adventure of making it down the slope …

100 Batches:
So, somehow after 100 experimental batches of soap I feel now like I know what I am doing. I know I know… the actual number 100 is purely symbolic. I am not superstitious. Simply, I think there is a point you reach in anything new you are learning where you go from feeling like a beginner to feeling like you know how. In learning a language, I call it the “embarrassment point” where suddenly you don’t mind sounding like an idiot if you make a mistake. You attempt saying it anyway. I never got there in French – I always felt like I sounded like an idiot. I got there in Spanish. In Yoga, the other night, after about a year of going to Yoga class (well a Yoga/ Pilates combo), I finally felt like I could keep my eyes closed as the teacher guided us through the next move. I didn’t have to peek at the position she was in. I didn’t have to ask her about the breathing. NOT saying I am an expert…. I just didn’t feel like a beginner any more.

With my soap-making, I have a confidence now that I definitely didn’t have when I started. I know how to make soap and I am making some great soap!! I still have a LOT to learn, but I am ready to proudly call myself an Artisan Soap-Maker.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Batch 101

Bath 101 came out very nice, except I would have liked the purple colour to be stronger. The Essential Oil mix is enticing and eye-opening! I like it.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Batch 100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Batch 100 "Cloudy Dreams" - was so perfect as a concept in my head.... then when I actually got down to doing it, it siezed up on me... and got so thick that even separating out the mix for colouring was a challenge. No pouring, just SCOOPING, which I am not used to yet. Other soap makers use a really thick trace to an advantage... layering etc. But I just got nervous.... scooped, attempted swirls and sprinkled some left-over soap shavings on top. The scent was a very new mix for me. Lavender with a bunch of other stuff.... can I say it smells smoky? Like a hint of camp-fire? Misty...smoky....cloudy... I wish the blue had come through stronger. More Alkanet next time. So in my attempt at scooping, I got some serious bubbles/ holes as you can see. Hey - it's all learning! And I reached 100!!!

Monday, 1 March 2010

Batch 99

Another black line soap (thank you Tiggy!!) variation. Lovin' this one as well! This one's got pink clay. Again, need a great name....

Sometimes I think of the amazing things I could create with synthetic colours or scents, but I still feel strongly that I want to stick to all natural ingredients... pure essential oils, natural additives & colours. Tomorrow I unveil Batch 100.....

Back to work tomorrow after a wonderfully soap-filled long weekend (Andalucia Day). Good-night!

Batch 98

Oh Thank you Thank you Thank you to Tiggy at Future Primitive (beautiful soaps!) for her tutorial on her beautiful black line in soaps..... I tried it and have created my most beautiful soap so far! It is my Aloe Green Clay soap, but with two types of clay. I'm Lovin' it. Just need a great name....