Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Forgot the fragrance, was it a mistake or miracle???

Well at first i was very unhappy about this little discovery because i was working with a deadline for a customer and knew i would have to remake the batch immediately in order to make our delivery schedule.  Our almond biscotti soap is a big seller, it's great on the skin and the scent is just the best so i make it often.  On this particular day i measured everything out in advance as always and had everything ready to go.  I mixed my oils together and then added my lye/liquid solution and started stirring with ye olde hand blender.  It was starting to look perfect and i prepared to pour it into my molds.  Everything poured in smoothly and went according to plan......that is until i noticed a little container which had my vitamin E and almond oils.  YIKES!  I forgot them!!!  Now a couple of things ran through my head.
1. pour everything back into the pot and add the fragrance and hope it does not solidify on me or
2. leave it be, clean up and come back later.  I choose 2 and started to think what this unscented batch could do for me, after all it would still be great, just not almond scented.

The next day I unmolded the soap and was so happy i did not try to "fix" it.  It is the most beautiful, creamy looking bar of soap i have seen!  It has delicious oils in it and will be a great and welcome addition to our new collection which is in production, the "Nekked" collection.

This soap with it's delicious oils of almond, olive, coconut, coco butter and castor are the perfect combination of soothing, moisturizing and bubbly!  I love unscented hand crafted soap, it has this delicious and slightly nutty scent that is just heaven to me.

I cannot wait until it is done curing so that we can share it with the world!

here are my lovelies just un-molded and beginning their cure process

About the oils:
When I formulate a soap I have certain oils that I love to use regularly and others that I love to add to make each batch special.  The oils in this soap were chosen for the special properties each one can bring to the party.

Almond oil is a wonderful, light feeling oil to the skin, it absorbs quickly and helps battle dry winter skin.  I love to use almond oil just but itself if I am having especially dry skin issues (it's terribly windy here in the winter and chaps my cheeks sometimes).  Yes, I will put a light layer on my face before bed and always feel better in the morning, and it has not clogged my pores or caused breakouts.

Olive oil.  This is a favorite of mine in general, it is great in salad, pasta dishes, for cooking and of course, good for skin.  Having a pH that is almost the same as our own skin (5.5) it is a complimentary oil to our skin chemistry.  In soap, it is wonderful, some sources i have found state that it has anti-bacterial qualities.  It was one of the first oils i ever used and have found it a consistent companion to my other oil selections.

Coconut oil helps to create a nice hard bar of soap, it can also contribute to the bubble population.  This oil, like most is non-comdogenic meaning it will not clog pores.  It is a staple oil of mine because again, it behaves well in formulations and helps the bars to last longer.

Cocoa butter has been used for generations among African women as an all around healing ingredient.  It is rich in antioxidants and has been used to help moisturize and heal skin that has been exposed to the elements.  It also had a completely decadent choclate-y scent which sometimes comes through on finished soaps.

Last but certainly not least is Castor oil.  This oil has a wild and assorted past, from being used as a torture device by Benito Mussolini in Fascist Italy centuries ago, to being used as a lubricant in the first world war for rotary engines (it was preferred because it was natural and biodegradable) and now in my soaps for it's sexy bubbling powers!  Yes, while the other oils may bubble a bit, i believe the addition of this oil is really what kicks the bubbles into overdrive.

So there you have it, a new bar in our Nekked Collection.  With the holidays coming this collection may not make it's premier until January, but i assure you it will be worth the wait. ;)

Bubble on

~soapy smith

Jingle "Balls" ?

Hmmmm......this was Dan's suggestion for a name of one of my new holiday soaps.  It's cute and little funny to me.  It was once again an MP/CP collaboration which has become a new obsession of mine.  I made red and green spheres and scented the green part a pine type of scent and the red part reminds me of hot apple cider (yum).  I left the CP soap the natural off-white that it is and it turned out really beautiful, the scents really compliment each other and are present but not over powering.  I cannot wait to get these little beauties into peoples hands for the holidays so they also can enjoy them.

the soap tower

Holiday soaps and other gifts

So the holiday season is upon us.  I am not a big mall shopping kind of person so I devised a neat kind of idea to help myself and others who would rather eat lightly grilled weasel than go out shopping in this madness.  We threw a Lazy Santa party!  What is that you ask?  Well myself and two other artists got together at our place in Brooklyn and brought our wares, invited a bunch of people, made food, had some beverages and sold holiday gifts!  It was a success, people loved the idea!

The other artists were my friend Kim, a very talented jewelry maker and Rick a cool eco-conscious candle maker.  The house was decked out, the food was great and the gifts flew off the shelf.  We will definitely be throwing more parties like this, we met some great people, had fun and made money.

holiday lotion bar

hangable soap ornaments

gingie 2.0

mint chocolate chip whipped shea and whipped sugar scrub

These are a few of my items which made it to the party, they all have heavenly scents, some holiday, some just delightful in general.  We kept the prices reasonable and even packaged them up so they could be given without any fuss.

Kim's jewelry is great, she has a cool mix of vintage and exotic, i ended up buying 3 pairs of earrings, a bracelet and a necklace to give as gifts (ok i kept a pair of earrings and the bracelet for myself, i just could not help it!)

Rick has a great concept of candle making, first, he uses soy wax which is produced in the U.S. in order to not be a contributor of the deforestation which is going on in some South American countries that are producing soy products.  Second he uses recycled bottles as his candle holders.  Very eco friendly.  They also have really long and slow burn times.

The food we prepared was simple and good.  I pressure cooked a whole turkey then broke it down so that people could make turkey sliders, kind of like day after thanksgiving left overs, it was a big hit, needless to say there was none left at the end of the party.

I wish all the artists the best of luck and everyone the happiest of holiday seasons!  Don't forget to support your local artists this holiday season!

from your local soapsmith

Sunday, November 7, 2010

MP/CP Soap? What? You're crazy!

Yes I am.  And totally excited about it.  I heard this could be done, then read an article in saponifier magazine AND later saw a picture on a soap forum i visit regurarly.

Here was my process:
I pre-made and scented mp soap.  I used a spherical mold and split each sphere into two scents 1/2 vanilla bean and 1/2 hot cocoa (omg! it's so spot on!) then i took those little balls, weighed them and subtracted that weight from the size of my mold so it would not spill over.  I devised a very basic soap recipe, unscented, since my mp spheres were scented with pure deliciousness and i colored it using a beautiful burgundy oxide which worked really well with the colors of the mp soaps.

I poured the cp into my mold about 1/3 full, stopped, then placed some of the spheres into the  mold, then i poured more cp.  I actually poured the rest of it in because i wanted to save some spheres for the top to have them peaking out.  I gently placed them on top and did some cute swirls around them.  The burgundy worked great with the cocoa and of white color that the mp spheres are.

I CANNOT WAIT to unmold and cut them to see how they turn out to be!

More to come.


your soapsmith

The creation, just poured......
The final product!

Bath and Body University with Marla Bosworth of Back Porch Soap Company

I recently went to bath and body university here in NYC and had a total blast!  Marla is awesome and patient and very knowledgeable, I enjoyed being a student of hers.  I took the 4 day session and am so GLAD that I did so.  We learned about scrubs, balms, salves, whipped lotions, not whipped lotions and the importance of preservatives, then we learned about cold process soap  making and advanced techniques in CP soap making (which I was totally jazzed about!)  There was also a business seminar which I missed but did get the information packet for and it was jam packed with useful information which I completely devoured.

Marla inspired me to experiment and really stretch my limits and during the time i was in class i could not wait to get home and try new things, i was able to order a few new items which will enhance and beautify my soaps and products with my new found knowledge on how to actually use them.  I am impatiently waiting for some colorants to come in as well as a few other items.....waiting.....waiting....oh geez, get here already!

And so I wait......and so another post is imminent.....

tata- i am off to stalk the mailman