Monday, 30 August 2010

Bubbles Soap with Leftover Soap Balls

I had some fun last week making soap balls with left over soap bits, then incorporating them into a soap randomly. I really like the way this one turned out.

No matter what experimental batch I do, I always learn something... and this time my experiment reinforced what I believe about colour in goat milk soaps - heat affects colour. The liquid in this soap is 100% goat milk. I worked with it frozen and kept the temperatures low... except that I FORGOT about not incubating it. I remember for my "Love" soap with the heart inserts, I got such a nice white by not putting a blanket over it when I left it in the mould. This time, using the same recipe and soaping at about the same temperatures, the final product is much darker - more tan. It must be because I incubated it (wrapped the mould). Now I know!

Happy soaping everyone!!!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Beautiful Gift - Los Jabones de Atenea – Precioso Regalo

I found someone who lives less than an hour away from me who came to pick up the Palm Oil I was giving away... Inma at Atenea Soaps or Los Jabones de Atenea or So we met yesterday morning and I handed over the palm oil. First we had a coffee together with Inma’s husband and we got along so easily... Not too difficult to imagine with the soaping passion we share! The sweetest thing was that she brought me a gift of several of her soaps as well as a beautiful soap dish and a lip balm. It was hard to choose which one to try first... but as I am currently on a Honey soap kick and I just LOVE honey soaps I started there. I love the fabulously rustic and natural look of Inma’s honey soap for sensitive skin. Trying it out, it has very nice lather and is wonderfully mild and softening. It leaves my hands feeling like baby skin. Thank you so much Inma! I look forward to meeting up again.

Encontré alguien que vive a menos de una hora de mi casa y vino para recoger el Aceite de Palma que estaba regalando – Inma de Los Jabones de Atenea o Nos reunimos ayer por la mañana y le di el aceite. Primero tomamos un café juntas con su marido y nos llevamos de maravilla… no era muy difícil dado que compartimos la misma pasión para hacer jabones! ¡Que precioso regalo me trajo! – varios jabones suyos, un bálsamo labial y una jabonera muy bonita. Fue difícil elegir que jabón probar primero… pero como estoy obsesionada últimamente con los jabones de miel, empecé con ese. Me encanta la pinta maravillosamente rustica y natural de su jabón de miel para pieles sensibles. Probándolo, tiene espuma muy rica y es super suave para la piel. Me ha dejado las manos como piel de bebe. Muchísimas gracias Inma! Tengo ganas de vernos de nuevo y compartir mas ideas! Besos Jen

Friday, 27 August 2010

Heirloom Soapworks Shaving Soap – Magic Lather

OH MY GOD! The suds are out of this world! This is another soap from Heirloom Soapworks that I received on our recent soap swap. The smell is lovely lemongrass & it lingers... The soap is mild enough for the area I shave (under my arms) but the most wonderful thing about this soap is the incredible lather. Please see for yourself in the photo... just a few swirls with the shaving brush and the mug is almost full! The suds are not like the dense suds in my shaving or shampoo bar but light, fluffy and abundant! Awesome shaving soap. Thank you Becky!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Palm Oil Giveaway

Hello all!

As I am no longer using palm oil in my soaps, I do not need the 12,5 kilos that I ordered a while back. There are probably about 10 kilos left, and I wouldn't want it to go rancid.

Anybody want it? I am willing to give it away but would prefer not to pay the shipping. If anyone can sort out a way to prepay the shipping, let me know and I I will send the palm oil to you. Let me know if you want it!


Friday, 20 August 2010

Happy Birthday Mum

Mum, I wish we could be there with you on your fabulous birthday trip to Maine. Hope you indulge in walks by the beach, sun, photography & good wine.... gorge on lobster, laugh till your tummy hurts, enjoy your friends and celebrate your years. Blowing you a huge birthday kiss from across the ocean.... Happy Birthday to the most special woman I know. I love you, Jen

Honey Colour & Alkanet Follow Up

I post another picture of my experiments in my quest for a great Mediterranean Honey soap.

The three soaps in this picture are similar but different recipes. The new one in the foreground looks like peanut butter colour. It is the same recipe as the one in the middle except I added Lanolin and it has no Essential Oils or Cornstarch.

I must say I am rather in love with the rich golden honey colour of the middle soap so now I just have to wait to try these out! Maybe experiment a little more with the colour. Remove the EO's, the cornstarch and see if I get the same glorious colour.

Another interesting colour anecdote... I am now into the phase of trying out the cured soaps from my Alkanet experiments! Fun fun fun. Alkanet 1 (8% SF) is a super soap, great lather, soft, moisturising but the scent is not strong. Alkanet 2 (15% SF) is an even nicer, softer, more luxurious soap, (scent not strong enough either...) however, with the increased superfat, I have noticed that it is harder to get off my hands. Do you know that feeling, when you just keep washing and washing, like with soft water, and the soap just won't come off? Alkanet 3 (8% SF but reduced water. Scent still not strong enough...) is a lovely soap just like Alkanet 1 and the only difference I can feel with the reduced water is creamier, less bubbly lather.

Now for the photo... remember I was in search of a lovely lavender colour? And I kept getting grays...? Well, in using them, the first 3 soaps have turned a nice lavender purple! Look at the almost used up Alkanet 2 soap. I like the colour.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Brainstorm - Essential Oil Anchors

I suppose we are all looking for ways to get our Essential Oils scents to stick in soaps... I have found some oils are better than others. Some don't hang around long... I would love to gather ideas from other soapers!

Some of my findings so far:

- Lemon Essential Oil is quite difficult to get to stay in soap - so a combination of similar smelling Essential Oils works pretty well for me - for example - lemon, lemongrass, may chang/litsea cubeba. Maybe Melissa as well? I have not tried Melissa
- I have found Lavender to be fleeting as well, would love ideas on keeping a strong lavender Essential Oil scent in soap
- Patchouli has been the best Essential Oil in soap for me so far. The scent sticks, lasts and even lasts on my skin
- Geranium has helped anchor Orange Essential Oil for me somewhat but Orange remains to be rather fleeting

I have heard the following suggestions but have not fully tested them yet...

- Cornstarch is said to help keep citrus Essential Oils in soaps. I have done 1 experiment with it so far and haven't really noticed much other than the odour is rather odd. I think I used too much
- My blog friend at Between Friends said that she freezes soaps, then lets them cure for longer (months) and the Essential Oil scents really stay!
- some Essential Oils anchor others
- I have been recommended 10 fold Orange Essential Oil but have yet to find it here in Europe, so I am currently using 5-fold

Can we pool our ideas? Anyone wish to contribute any tips on getting Essential Oil scents stronger and to stick in soaps?

Look forward to your ideas!


Monday, 16 August 2010

Mediterranean Honey...

I continue experimenting with Honey. I love the golden carmamel colour I got the other day with the Coconut Milk Honey Shampoo but not the sudden set...

So now I am tweaking my normal honey soap recipe (not shampoo) to perfect my Mediterranean Honey Soap. And look at the colour difference between two very similar recipes!?

Both of these soaps have an orangy tinge... but I added nothing to colour these deliberately. The colour must simply come from the Essential Oils. I used 5-fold Orange & Bitter Orange in both of these soaps, both have the same quantity of honey & the liquid in both is 100% Goat Milk.

The only differences are 1) The rich golden orangy one in the foreground has 60% Olive Oil (no Almond Oil), the light one in the background 45% Olive Oil and 15% Sweet Almond Oil 2) The foreground soap has 1/2 teaspoon Cornstarch 3) The foreground soap has Cocoa Butter as well and 4) The foreground soap has 2 additional Essential Oils in the blend.

I really like the look and feel of the latest batch, the one in the foreground. The only thing is that strange whitey streak at the top... but I am guessing it is the remains of the soap that gets stuck on the bottom of the pot, and not properly mixed with the honey or Essential Oils, that I scrape out and pour on the top. Also the scent is odd. I thought cornstarch would anchor the scent... but it just smells rather odd... maybe I added too much cornstarch?

My Mediterranean Honey soap will most likely not have any scent. It will be for sensitive skin. Let's see how the next one turns out... very similar to this latest batch except I included Lanolin and excluded Essential Oils. Will unveil tomorrow...

Happy soaping!

xo Jen

Saturday, 14 August 2010

More Honey Caramel Shampoo

Made two more experimental batches of the Honey Caramel Shampoo, with Coconut milk, and again they set suddenly and quickly. Too quickly to get the honey all mixed in. Too quickly to pour them into the moulds... had to pack them in. Didn't have anything do do with the water in the honey or quantities of honey I realized.

The first batch is the previous post - the one you all seemed to think looks like caramel we could eat! Second batch in the forefront of the photo - I had the temperatures just right with the water/honey mix but it set again on me even before I poured the water/honey mix in!

The third batch, in the background of the photo, I lowered the honey quantities, did not add water to the honey, and had the temperatures right but again is set too quickly. So, in the end I know there is something funky with this recipe... I believe it just heats up too quickly... maybe the coconut milk? If I repeat this recipe, I will do half water and half coconut milk.

Rather interesting colour experiment though, don't you think? What do you see in the white spot....? I see a sweet angel.......

xo Jen

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Ugly Soap

Here is so far, the ugliest soap I have ever made! Wow! Smells DEVINE, reminiscent of those lovely candies - Humbugs - but UGLY. I probably shouldn’t be posting ugly soap photos... but if it helps us learn I am willing to share.

This was going to be a Honey Coconut-Milk Shampoo bar, but 2 little things went wrong and I got this!

1) I miscalculated the honey and put in almost double what I should have...
2) I was trying The Soap Pixie’s advice on adding honey to water so that it is liquid when adding at trace... However I didn’t let the honey-water mix cool down enough so after all of my work getting the coconut milk and oils to the same brilliant temperature of 32º before mixing, then mixing and bringing it to trace nicely, when I added the honey-water mix it set so quickly that it almost froze and went bright orange! I had to scoop, pat, push, coerce the mix into the moulds... then thumped the moulds a little hoping the mix would settle but NO. I pushed & poked some more...

So, if this one cures nicely, I will have a bunch of UGLY but deliciously smelling Shampoo Bars LOADED with honey. ALL for my own personal consumption!!

I will make another attempt and maybe post pix so you can see the difference a little temperature can make!

PS. I have since cut this soap into bars and it crumbled at the bottom... can all this really be down to temperature & over doing the honey?

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Soap Swap – The Soap Sister

I was so excited to receive my soap-swap soaps the other day from The Soap Sister of Heirloom Soapworks! We have been blogging back and for a few months now and share similar soaping philosophies regarding what is important in a soap... so we decided on the exchange. I thought she was sending me 2 soaps... She sent 5!! Wow.

Love the packaging. Huge size bars – luxuriously thick and heavy! Personalized with the Heirloom Soapworks stamp...

The first one I absolutely tore into... the tea tree-eucalyptus facial soap. The smell is wonderfully fresh and cools me off just smelling it, which is fabulous in the depths of Southern Spain summer. Lovely natural white. Very very smooth. Super lather, which starts out with big bubbles then settles creamier.

But best of all, it is a fabulous facial soap for my difficult combination skin in the sweaty heat of the summer. I have been using it a few times a day as it SERIOUSLY cools me down and it leaves my face feeling fresh, clean and soft. I have to confess with the photo... that I used the soap a few times before snapping a naked soap picture... so you can’t see the beautiful Heirloom stamp that well, but you will when I try out the next one!

Thank you for this opportunity Becky!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Soap Gift from Soaps & Bubbles

My sweet, sweet blog-friend from Soaps & Bubbles sent me, as a gift, her wonderful Banana & Pistachio soap to try. She is currently off getting married right now!!!

What a uniquely beautiful soap. Look!

I like the colour split. I love the nuts on top. It is a little work of art!

In my usual experimental fashion, I tried it out first in the kitchen as hand soap and it is lovely. Lot’s of suds, not big ones but creamy, very creamy, and moisturising. I am not sure if it is the banana or small nut bits in the soap itself but it is mildly exfoliating. The scent is lovely, slightly sweet, like Grandma’s Banana Bread.

Next test – the shower. Showering with it has been wonderful - soft, creamy & luxuriously moisturizing.

All in all, the banana and nuts combo is an original & natural combination - a lovely unique luxurious soap that leaves my skin feeling nourished with no need for lotion or cream.

Thank you my dear friend for this awesome gift!