Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lemon Chiffon...Soap?

Time to make more soap. The question is, what kind should I make? What are people going to want to look at? What are they interested in? What will spark their interest?

In these increasingly tough economic times, these are important questions to ask. I don't want to waste my time making something no one wants or is willing to purchase. Despite the artistic value of my craft, I still have to look at the financial aspect of things. That is what makes good business sense.

That being said, I chose to make this soap that you see in the picture approximately 20 hours ago. It turned out the way I hoped it would, which is a good thing. Sometimes things turn out quite differently than what I hope for and then I have to decide if it is still marketable or a fun little giveaway....or do I just hide it away in my own shower and tell no one? I have a lot of those "tell no one" soaps, by the way. I just don't tell anyone...until now.

This soap is an interesting combination of three different soaping methods. The bottom portion is a method called "cold process" soap making. It is the method that has been used for generations. The ingredients might be a bit different than they were a hundred years ago, but the method is essentially the same. The top portion (whipped cream look) is a method where the soap is whipped with a beater until it becomes frothy and merengue-looking. The ingredients are a tad different than the lower portion so that it whips better and has that light, whipped coloring. The "lemon shavings" on top are a very simple method of soap making called Melt and Pour, where I've taken an opaque, pre-made soap, then colored and shaped it to whatever I prefer.

All three methods are a blast to make and I enjoy them all. Here is a soap that combines all of them to make a soap that looks like something I would want to serve for dessert. It smells like lemons also. Since lemon fragrance doesn't always hold well in cold process soapmaking, I've cheated a bit by adding other essential oils that tend to mimic the lemon-like fragrance, and I've added real lemon juice to the mix.

Just an FYI, my work area smells like a lemon grove right now...ahhhhhhhhh!

Since these types of soaps take 6-8 weeks to cure enough so that they are gentle and lucious for your skin, they will not show up on Silkfair until the end of July. If you are interested in reserving some now, let me know. I've already pre-sold a large percentage of this batch.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Summer Joys and Woes

OK, I LIKE this picture, no crime in using it twice in a row.

Almost everyone looks forward to summer. There's a lot to look forward to; such as warm days, soaking in the sun, swimming, gardening, hiking, boating, camping and just generally getting out of doors. I love summer. Everyone and everything gets out and gets productive in one sense or another. Everything...including bugs.

Most of us don't consider bugs our favorite thing in the summer, yet they are a part of the summer season, like it or not. We have to put up with them.

Or, do we?

For those of you who aren't fond of the little creatures landing on your body and biting you, there are options, like bug repellent. Most of the commercial bug repellents out there are chemically enhanced to keep bugs away. Most of them work quite well, but there are some drawbacks...the spray-ons getting into your eyes and down your lungs, the less than attractive smells, and all the strange-sounding, unpronounceable chemical words that you're are slathering on your body, trusting they won't make you grow a third eye.

Or, will they?

OK,OK, I have a point here. There are more natural options (Drumroll, please).
There are NATURAL oils found in many plants that have repel buggy critters and they can be found in one of my soaps. I'm not the only soapmaker that has this, but I think mine is the prettiest and most fashionable looking. I also have a matching lotion stick available that goes hand in hand with the soap. During summer camping or general outdoor season, you use your Bug Be Gone soap and then enhance that with my lotion stick for natural bug repellent effect. I use only natural plant oils in this soap that are known to repel bugs, including catnip oil, so I guess you'll be real popular with the canine crowd while wearing this stuff too. Just an added benefit unless you're allergic to cats. Nevertheless, catnip oil is known to be one of the most effective natural ways to repel bugs. Cats aren't so dumb!

It certainly smells much nicer than any of those chemically enhanced bug repellent products out there and you are getting a natural product that doesn't make you grow a third eye either.

What a concept!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Dasselmom Loves my Soap

My Bug Be Gone Soap was included in her blog site with a theme towards camping. Tis' the season after all. My soap was grouped with a variety of other green camping themed items and it is a lovely grouping. Check it out at

Bug Be Gone Soap has been a real big seller for the past few weeks along with Bug Be Gone Lotion Stick. A great camping item to keep clean and keep bugs away.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Coconut Oil-Free Soap...Better Picture

Finally! A sunny day in Vancouver, WA. and I can take a better picture of my newest soap. By now it is cut up into individual bars and curing. Sometimes the colors change a bit from first adding the colors to after the soap has dried and I was hoping that none of colors would fade out or look nasty after drying...they didn't fade or turn colors. If anything, the colors became even brighter. The green in the picture is truly a VERY bright green, the orange stayed orange, the pale lavender swirl still seems more white than lavender, but it shows well against the darker lavender background.

Overall, I am satisfied.

Now, to the actual ingredients. I mentioned before that this soap was made using palm kernel oil instead of coconut oil. It is a formula that I have had laying around for quite awhile but have seldom used...only because coconut oil is such a versatile oil that I've stayed with it, a certain familiarity with how coconut oil responds has kept me using it and I've stayed in my "comfort zone".

Coconut oil contains a variety of fatty acids that give the properties that make it a good "soap oil" like large amounts of lauric acid which contribute to creating a hard bar of soap, great cleansing qualities and creates a wonderful lather. It also contains a fair amount of myristic acid, which have similar qualities to lauric acid. It then contains small amounts of palmitic acid, which stabilizes the lather, oleic acid (conditioning the skin), and stearic acid (lather stabilizer and contributes to hard bar).

Palm Kernel oil has many of the same qualities that coconut oil has, but in different quanities It contains lauric acid in almost the same amount as coconut oil, only about half the amount of stearic acid, almost the same amount of myristic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. So, probably the biggest difference between the two oils is hardness of the bar and the lather may be a bit less stable.

But here's a good thing with this formula, I increased the amount of olive oil content, which is almost all conditioning. This bar will caress your skin like crazy.
I also added some bentonite clay (a type of kaolin clay) to give a "slipperiness" that makes it an ideal shaving soap. Sometimes, an overabundance of clay can cause your skin to feel a bit dry intially. Clays do have astringent and cleansing properties too, but too much can sometimes cause your skin to feel a little dry. With this smaller batch of soap I added about 2 tablespoons to the soap batch.

Since soap takes over a month to cure, it will not be listed on Silkfair or etsy until next month. If you are interested in advance ordering, please let me know. I would be happy to save one for you. I made a very small batch, only nine bars came from this formula, so these may not last long.