Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cora the Cow

After yesterday's long post, I'll keep this one short.

I love animals.  I also love living in Iowa.  When driving around Iowa, you can't go too far without seeing cows grazing in fields.  With so many farms in Iowa, I thought it would be fun to make some cow soaps.  I named the soaps Cora the Cow just for kicks.  Each soap is made by hand individually, so each Cora the Cow is similar to the others, but not exactly the same.  That’s one of the things I love about making them individually.   The picture below shows how they look similar but have little differences too.

To make Cora the Cow, I start by filling in the black or brown spots with soap.  I wait for that to set up.  Then I pour the white soap at just the right temperature.  If the white soap is too hot it will melt the black soap that is already in place.  Once the soap hardens, I take it out of the mold and let it sit for a bit.  Then I paint the pink parts with paint made just for soap.  Cora is scented with a fresh outdoorsy fragrance.  Each Cora the Cow soap is individually wrapped in shrink wrap to help her stay fresh and beautiful.

Monday, January 30, 2012

On the Curing Rack and a Science Lesson Too

If you have checked out my website (www.soapartonline.com) or my Etsy Shop (www.Etsy.com/shop/SoapArt), you may have noticed that i make two different kinds of soap.  The glycerin designer soaps are made by adding things to a premade glycerin base.  The soaps from scratch are just like they sound.  They are made by me with high quality oils (lots of olive oil), water and lye.  This post focuses on the soaps from scratch.

I make soaps from scratch in small batches using the cold process method.  I can combine the ingredients at room temperature, and then wait for saponification to turn the concoction into soap.  Here’s what Word Web (www.wordweb.com) says about saponification.  “A chemical reaction in which an ester is heated with an alkali (especially the alkaline hydrolysis of a fat or oil to make soap)”.  In my words, it means that the oils and lye work together to create soap.  Pretty technical, I know.  The lye is what gives the soap its cleansing power. 

The saponification process takes time.  The soaps from scratch need to sit out in the open with air circulation all around them (this is curing) for about a month.  This allows the soap to completely saponify, and also allows some of the water to evaporate.  Curing makes the soap milder and longer lasting.

You made it through the scientific stuff, and are still reading!  You don't know how much I appreciate that.

When I walked into the soap room this morning, the first fragrance to reach my nose was the lemongrass/rosemary essential oil combination in the gardener’s soap.  It will be ready in about two weeks.  I can hardly wait! 

Here are some of the other soaps that are curing.  It’s so hard to wait for the soaps to be ready, but they are so much better after they have cured for a month or more. 

Top Left: Clove All Natural Soap
This is one I try to always keep in stock.  It’s one that I use daily, and one that customers come back for time and time again.

Top Right: Raspberry Bliss
This is a customer favorite that I also like to keep in stock.  The fragrance is very sweet and long lasting.

Middle: Sherbet Soap
This one was a bit of an experiment.  The colors aren’t quite as vibrant as I had intended, but the delicious fragrance is hard to resist.  This one literally makes my mouth water.

Bottom: Feel Good Spa Soap
This is one I have made before, but I did it a bit different this time.  This is scented with a variety of essential oils, with the strongest being ylang ylang.  It also has a touch of vanilla fragrance. The tan color comes from the vanilla fragrance.  Vanilla tends to discolor soap from white to anywhere from off-white to brown.  I love the color this one turned.  The red comes from Moroccan clay, and the black comes from activated charcoal, which has detoxifying properties that are wonderful for all types of skin.

Standing Soaps:
The one on the left is the Sherbet Soap. 
The one on the right is Feel Good Spa Soap

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Horizon Blue Green Glycerin Soap

Horizon Blue Green Glycerin Soap

To make this soap, I started with skin safe glitter mixed with glycerin soap base.  Next came a base of green followed by a layer of white soap.  I positioned the glittery soap in the white soap and then added a layer of blue. 

As I created it, I was thinking of grass, clouds and sky.  I also thought it might look like a lake horizon.  So the fragrance is a seashore type that is fresh and salty.  When I unmolded and cut the soap, I decided that the soap made me think more of a mountain horizon than of a lake or ocean horizon.  I really like the way it turned out, though, and I especially like the glittery pieces in the middle.

Here’s a picture of the loaf before I cut it, and a picture of some slices. 

You can find it for sale at www.soapartonline.com and at http://www.etsy.com/shop/SoapArt. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Valentine Candy Heart Glycerin Soap

I tried to resist buying the mold for these soaps.  I really did.  In fact, I resisted for at least two years.  I have way too many molds and seem to keep collecting more.  A while back, I was on a “mold moratorium”, but I still managed to find some molds I couldn’t resist.  I think the moratorium has been lifted due to constant infractions.  At any rate, more molds keep showing up in my soap room.

These little candy heart soaps turned out so cute.  And there are so many different combinations of color and fragrance that will go with them.  The soaps are designed for Valentine ’s Day, but who couldn’t use a “hugs” soap any time of year?  There.  That’s my justification for buying the mold J

The soaps are offered at www.soapartonline.com and at www.etsy.com/shop/soapart  and they come individually or in groups. 

These soaps are about 2.5” x 2.5”.  I saw molds that can be used to make soaps similar to these, but at the real-life size of the candy hearts of about a half inch across.  I think those are really cute, but they seem kind of small to me for using as soap.  I just might have to get that mold some day and try it out.

Here are pictures of some of the heart soaps I made.  The pastel ones smell like cotton candy and the red ones have a long lasting cinnamon fragrance.

Friday, January 27, 2012

State Soaps Iowa and Nebraska

I saw some state shaped cookie cutters a while back.  Guess what?  They can also be soap cutters J

The cutters don’t always stand up the best to soap, but with a little finessing, I can get them to work. 

I like that I can make endless color combinations or these, or even just “float” the state in clear soap.  I started with Iowa because that’s my state.  I don’t have cutters for all 50 states yet, and there may be some that just won’t work.  But I look forward to working with as whatever states customers want. 

I made Iowa shaped soaps in red and gold and in black and gold.  I need to do one in purple and gold too.  I also did one in red and white because red is my favorite color.  I’m also thinking green and yellow or green and white would be good to go along with the state slogan of “fields of opportunity”.

I also made some Nebraska soaps because I have a few friends who are from there or live there.

What state would you like to see?  What color combination would you choose?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Primary Circles

When I started working on this loaf of soap, I made lots of red, blue and yellow “bubbles”.  Then I set them in a white base. 

As the soap is used, new patterns will continually emerge.  That’s part of the fun.  The fragrance is a strawberry-kiwi-berry combination that is sweet and mild.  I was able to cut 11 bars from the loaf, and each bar looks similar to the others, but has unique characteristics in it. 

The idea came from a book called "SoapyLove" by Debbie Chialtis.  It’s a fun book with lots of ideas and beautiful pictures.  Thank you, Debbie, for the idea! 

You can find the book here http://www.soapylove.com/product/soapy-love-squeaky-clean-projects-using-melt-and-pour-soap and on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Soapylove-Squeaky-Clean-Projects-Melt---Pour/dp/1600611702/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327592723&sr=8-1

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gardener's Soap Update

I cut and stamped the gardener’s soap today.  The texture was perfect and it was fun to work with.  Here’s a picture of it.  It will be another couple of weeks before it will be ready.  In the meantime, I’ll enjoy its wonderful fragrance every time I walk by the curing rack.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bramble Berry S.O.A.P. Panel Fragrance Testing

I just found out that I got selected to be a member of Bramble Berry's S.O.A.P. fragrance testing panel.  I'm so excited and honored!

I can't wait to get started.  Already I'm planning what products I want to make - but I won't know for sure until I get to smell the fragrances. 

Please check back to see what I make and to hear what my thoughts are on the various fragrances.

Thank you, Bramble Berry, www.brambleberry.com for this exciting opportunity!

You can also follow Bramble Berry on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bramble-Berry/100412115503

And here's the blog post where I found out that I get to be a tester.


It will probably be a week before I receive the fragrances and start the testing.  I'll post pictures and thoughts once I have a chance to test the fragrances.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Soap On A Stick

Glycerin soap base offers endless possibilities for crafting and creating.  It's fun to work with and fun to try different things.  So far, I have made soap on a stick to resemble fudge bars, orange cream bars, semi-transparent popsicles, and swirled smoothie type bars.   

The name of this soap was inspired by the Iowa State Fair, where you can find all kinds of food on a stick.  Instead of food on a stick that you can eat, this is soap on a stick that your skin will love. 

The decorative and functional soap is made from a glycerin base that is full of lather and cleaning power.  With lots of natural goodness, this soap is sure to be a welcome treat for skin anytime of the year.  Soap on a Stick weighs 3 ounces and is the size of a regular Popsicle. 

You can see more about this fun soap at www.soapartonline.com.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


This weekend is a big one for football.  I’m looking forward to taking some time to watch the games tomorrow.  My teams are out, but I still enjoy watching the games.  It’s hard to believe that Super Bowl Sunday is almost here and there won’t be great football games to watch each weekend.  On the plus side, maybe I’ll get caught up on some things around the house.

Here’s a little soap I’ve wanted to make for a while.  It’s scented in a leather fragrance and of course is full of lather and quality ingredients that are excellent for our skin.

Want more details on the soap?  Check it out at www.soapartonline.com

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Snowy Day in Eastern Iowa

Well, the snow found its way from Seattle to Eastern Iowa. Most of the schools are closed in our area, and I'm looking out onto a blanket of white. Thankfully, it's warm inside.

Today I made gardener’s soap in preparation for spring.  It smells wonderful and has poppy seeds and corn meal for extra scrubbing power.  I’ll get to unmold and cut the soaps in a couple of days.  I have recently started stamping some of my soaps from scratch with my logo.  So there will be some of that going on in the near future as well.

Here’s a picture of the gardener’s soap in the mold all covered up with plastic wrap. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bramble Berry SOAP Fragrance Panel

So, it's been a while since I wrote. The last couple of months have been crazy-busy, which is wonderful! I had my best ever holiday season and have been working to get my stock built back up.

Yesterday I made several batches of Cold Process Soap From Scratch. It was a blast. Soon I get to check on them all and see if they are ready to cut. Some Bramble Berry fragrances I used yesterday include Cherry Blossom, Oatmeal, Milk and Honey, and Lilac. I also made some loaves using Bramble Berry's Clove Leaf Essential Oil and ground clove. These soaps will be ready for use in about a month.

Bramble Berry, www.brambleberry.com, (also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bramble-Berry/100412115503) is an awesome soap supplier! They are having a contest to choose a panel of soap and makers to test some new fragrances they are considering. I am a fragrance hound. I love trying new ones! And I love Bramble Berry’s high quality fragrances. They include lots of great information about their fragrance oils on their website. There’s lots of great information there that helps me choose which fragrances to try. I would be honored to get to be a tester for a few new fragrances that are under consideration.

It is really hard for me to narrow the field down and choose one fragrance as my favorite. There are so many that I just can’t live without. But if I had to, I would choose Brambleberry’s Oatmeal, Milk and Honey http://www.brambleberry.com/Oatmeal-Milk-And-Honey-Fragrance-Oil-P3931.aspx. For those of you who have used my Oatmeal soaps, this is the fragrance you love too! The oatmeal soaps, both cold process and melt and pour, are consistently my best sellers. Thanks to all of you who have sampled, purchased, and used them J 

And thanks to Bramble Berry, a wonderful supplier who provides high quality products, stellar customer service, and lots of projects, tips and support for their products and for business in general.
Oh, and one last thing. Dear Bramble Berry – Please pick me!