Archive for March, 2011

Coconut Cream

Mar 30 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff

Forgive me, l can’t stop blogging.

I think it has something to do with procrastination, l have quite enough other work to do, but the soap is calling. And l’m not in the mood to resist. This is my Mother’s Day Coconut Cream soap. On reflection l am probably a little too late to be planning on selling it for Mother’s Day, but oh well, the idea was stuck in my head and l decided to go ahead with it regardless.

I’ve never soaped with this particular fragrance, if it discolours on me l won’t be happy. It will serve me right for not doing a test batch.

But right here, right now, those glittery creamy white peaks of fresh coconut scented soap batter are making me so very happy!

3 responses so far

Taking Soap Photos (pomegranate ones!)

Mar 29 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff,soap photos

A few days ago l made a big batch of Pomegranate & Sage soap, and decided to try something a little different with it. The resulting bars are a lovely deep red, and l’ve also hot processed the batch due to some issues with my favourite fragrance that wasn’t behaving well in cold process soap. Anyway, l took a bucketfull of the soap outside today and started to take photos of it.

But no matter what l did, l couldn’t get the nice red colour of the soap to come out in the photos. It was so frustrating. I normally photoshop my photos a little bit after taking them – just things like sharpening them up, a tiny bit of colour correction etc. But there’s only so much you can do before it all starts to look a bit fake, and l like my soaps to look real in their photos!

I did my usual thing of moving the bucket around into different areas of the patio & garden – trying dappled sunlight…semi shade…warm shade…a wooden chair…

Even the pebbled tiles, but none of them were doing it for me. The bars kept coming out insipid & pale. Sure the backgrounds looked kind of okay, but l want the soap to look pretty dammit.

So then l had a bit of a think, and decided it might be time to actually read the manual that came with my Nikon D80. Ha ha…all one inch thick of it has been sitting on the shelf waiting for ‘one of those days’ when l am going to find time to read it.

So l grabbed it, and looked up ‘setting the white balance’. l remembered back from my one term of photography lessons at uni about 300 years ago that you are supposed to set the white balance on your camera before taking any pics – it adjusts the camera settings to the current lighting situations and supposedly makes the colours more true to life. I’d read about it again on the Young House Love decorating blog just a few days ago and it had once again lodged in my mind as something l really should learn to do.

l tentatively turned the dial away from ‘automatic’ on my camera…

pressed some more buttons…

and lo and behold…

it worked! All l have done to this photo is sharpen it slightly and crop out the background. Nothing else.

See! It pays to read the manual LOL!

l then played around with other lighting presets, just to see what happened. This blueish one was from semi shade. There is a preset for flouroescent lighting, bright sunshine, semi shade, full shade, flash and a few others. l think from memory this was semi shade (obviously incorrect.) It was quite interesting. l will be setting the white balance on everything from now on.

Of course, you also have to remember to turn it off once you’re finished ;-)

No responses yet

Soap Packaging Dilemma

Mar 28 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff

Please help!

I’m torn between my soap packaging options and would love some opinions. It doesn’t help that l can’t decide a thing at the moment, it must have something to do with moving house twice in the last couple of months and not having places for all my ‘stuff’ yet. l’m feeling a little homesick and out of place. Or maybe l’m just indecisive!

What l’ve been doing currently with my soap orders is wrapping each labelled bar haphazardly in white tissue, stacking them together and wrapping it all in bubblewrap. Then using a thin plastic Australia Post satchel for postage, which is very convenient because they can be popped in the nearest letterbox instead of me needing to take a trip to the post office. Using satchels does mean though that the soaps need to be well wrapped for their own protection. For bigger orders l will be using cardboard boxes with the soaps stacked neatly inside.

But it just looks a bit ‘meh’…there’s nothing pretty or special about it. Blah.

So l’ve been playing with these three options:

  1. wrapping the bar in tissue more carefully (like a gift) and putting the label on the outside, which holds it all together and looks more presentable. I like this idea because it’s neater, more polished, and the soap is still protected for postage. It will also help preserve the scent, and the soap won’t sweat while wrapped in tissue. However l’m sad that you can’t see the soap immediately when you open your parcel. I really want it all, don’t l?
  2. My second option looks lovely but it’s my least favourite in terms of practicality – the labelled soap bar inside a cello bag, and tied with white raffia. I love the look, but the effort involved in getting it inside the bag without smearing it…scrunching the tops neatly…cutting the raffia…then tying it prettily…it’s more than l think l can bear especially since there’s about 500 bars of soap here. And when it is parcelled up the cello tops have to be bent down anyway…but still…it is an option.
  3. Lastly, is the naked soap inserted in a cello bag, but with the top of the bag folded down and taped instead of being scrunched and tied. The paper label is then wrapped around the outside, holding it all together. I do like this, a lot. It bothers me slightly that the cello isn’t as much protection as tissue paper. It’s also not recyclable or as eco friendly. But you can see the soap!

What do you think?

18 responses so far

Iced Lemon Breakfastscotti

Mar 20 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff

oh my goodness…

I MUST go and eat breakfast, right now.

This new batch of iced lemon biscotti soap is begging me to take a bite. Especially that creamy rich bit on the top left corner, just past the white chocolate goats milk soap curl…mmmmmm!

5 responses so far

We have a winner!

Mar 20 2011 Published by under soap competitions

l’ve just printed out all the comments from the Soap Giveaway…duplicated the ones that facebooked/shared etc (boy was that time consuming, l should have thought harder before promising that!), folded them into little squares, popped them in an old tupperware jug (all l could find quickly)

He wiped his hands dry, scruffed up the contents of the jug, and handed me this one:

Congratulations Adele!!! Let me know your address, and l will post your soaps to you pronto :-)


3 responses so far

Let’s re-create it then…

Mar 17 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff

Hahaha as Lou from Little Britain’s Lou and Andy would say – this experiment was a ‘right kerfuffle’. The mission to reproduce my Ugly Duckling soap bar from the last post began bright and early yesterday morning.

I started with a bowl full of all the little bits and pieces l decided to throw into the mix. Red clay, white clay, yellow clay, a few poppyseeds, rosemary leaves, and a teaspoon of coffee grounds. And then decided to add a tiny pinch of lavender buds…

and dropped the 2kg container all over the floor :-(

ouch! Kerfuffle Central!

Anyway, from then on it wasn’t actually too bad…l had got the mix of ‘bits’ fairly accurate, although there wasn’t enough colour from the clay, so l added some more. Oh, and realised at the last minute (while at thick trace, when else do these things happen?) that l had forgotten the grated goats milk soap that l wanted to stir through it. l raced to the kitchen & grabbed the grater, raced to the soap room & grabbed a bar of goats milk soap, and grated frantically. (who was it that said soapmaking was relaxing?!)

It all made it into the mould with no further dramas – l even remembered to line it beforehand ;-)

And here are the sliced bars next to the original inspiration. Not too shabby hey! (l think a touch more yellow is called for next time.) I wish l could say that the scent is the same as the original but l have a shocking cold and can’t smell a thing.

The batch straight after was Black Raspberry – and another play with soap sculpting. I’m seriously in love with the purple colour, although l ‘sculpted’ rather too haphazardly along the sides of the mould and made a few air pockets. Oh well…it’s just soap, it will all come out in the wash!

2 responses so far

Ugly Duckling soap…

Mar 15 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff,limited edition soaps

Meet my sweet little Ugly Duckling soap bar.

It all started with a big tub full of soap scraps. l try not to waste anything soap related – all of the offcuts, bar trimmings, dented bars, squashed soap curls etc get religiously hoarded away for a rainy day. You never know when you’re going to need them!

A few days ago l looked in the tub and it was full to the brim, so l decided to do a big rebatch – everything got grated down, soaked in goats milk, and reheated in the oven. There were a multitude of scents already used in the trimmings, but they tend to be mostly cooked out by the heat, so l scented it with a blend of Pomegranate & Grapefruit. Did my usual pouring into the mould, and then cut the cooled soap into bars for our own personal use.

Except, my goodness, they are DIVINE. I can’t stop looking at them and smelling them. The scent is amazing, a perfect blend of my favourite pomegranate with my other favourite citrus smell. l have no idea how l’m going to do it, but l need to recreate this bar as a new soap. l guess if l just stand at my soap shelf with a spoon and add a little bit of this and a little bit of that l might end up with something that resembles the bar above! From what l can remember, it currently contains:

  • goats milk
  • coffee grounds
  • a lavender bud or two
  • pink clay
  • cocoa
  • rosemary pieces
  • oatmeal
  • yellow clay
  • red clay
  • beer
  • white clay
  • thickened cream (yes, cream, l remembered someone somewhere adding a big dollop of cream to their soap batter, so thought ‘what the heck l may as well try it’)

Hahaha l really don’t like my chances of re-creating it!

2 responses so far

Free Soap – Simply Soap Competition

Mar 14 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff,soap competitions

As a little opening competition, l’ve decided to give away a prize pack of three beautiful bars of handmade vegetable oil soap.

Included are:

  • Tea Rose – with Rose Geranium & Pink Rose fragrance oils, plus toning pink clay & real rose petals
  • Honey & Oatmeal – chock full of gently exfoliating oatmeal with a gorgeous milky almond scent
  • Orange & Grapefruit – infused with essential oils of sweet orange and grapefruit – a refreshing way to start the day!

Your prize will be gift wrapped and include complimentary postage to you. To enter, you need to leave a comment for me on this post, letting me know which is your favourite soap on the website. I’ll give you a bonus entry for liking the Simply Soap facebook page and sharing this post.

The competition ends at midnight on Friday 18th March, and the winner will be selected randomly – check back here to see who the lucky recipient is!

28 responses so far

Raspberry Rose

Mar 10 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff,soap photos

I thought l might get organised for Mother’s Day, so made a batch of soap yesterday…l wanted something pretty and pink, but without rosebuds…because my Tea Rose soap has rosebuds on top, and l am thinking that a set of 3 soaps might be nice, packaged in a bag of some sort. So they have to be a little bit different! Like the Tea Rose, this one has pink clay throughout, and a custom blend of fragrance oils for a really pretty Raspberry & Rose smell. I also tried my hand at soap sculpting to get more rounded tops. Not perfect yet, but not bad for a first effort either!

Thankyou everyone who voted for me in the Great Cakes Soapworks blog competition – l didn’t win, but was so thrilled to be nominated!

And also…thanks for the feedback on the goats milk soap colour. l think l really like the uncoloured one too, so will work on making more of it :-)

No responses yet

I’m not sure…what do you think?

Mar 06 2011 Published by under daily soap stuff,goats milk soap,soap photos

Here’s the sliced goats milk soap. No whitener, full strength goats milk, full gel, no mollycoddling at all. I think l like it…but part of me is mourning the all white look. Gee it was nice though not having to worry about partial gelling or overheating, or the titanium dioxide (whitener) crackling. They are just nice, uniform, solid bars, with a lovely milky smell.

I’m going to pop them on the curing rack and have a think about it for the next 4 weeks. Lucky l only made a small batch because my goats milk soap collection is growing daily LOL.

The other soap from yesterday – my old favourite, Lavender Swirl.

2 responses so far

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