Archive for May, 2012

Ashing on soap

May 30 2012 Published by under daily soap stuff

I’ve been asked quite often recently how l stop my soaps from getting the ‘ash’ on top that often happens.

Truthfully, l don’t have a clue. Sometimes l do get it, and sometimes l don’t. There’s nothing l do to prevent it, it’s just the luck of the draw for me. And it does happen occasionally, although thankfully not too badly. The soap above – there’s a little bit on the top left hand side.

The middle lavender topped soap in this picture has it too. Again, not too badly.

And this lime soap has some ashing also. This is probably the worst it’s ever been.

Probably my only non-ashing technique is to NOT photograph it LOL!!! Just remember that what you see here in the blog is not always what goes on behind the scenes. For every pretty, posed and photoshopped photo l post, there are probably about 50 crappy, out of focus soap shots that got dumped in the recycling bin for a multitude of reasons. Anything from a breakfast crumb on the corner of the soap to a badly placed fingerprint. And there are plenty of ashed soaps in my soaping history ;-)

If there’s anyone out there who can assist with some non-ashing techniques, post them here in the comments, enquiring minds want to know LOL!


3 responses so far

Coconut & Lime soap

May 24 2012 Published by under new soaps

I’ve been wanting to blog this post for about 3 days now…but l couldn’t get a nice photo of my new Coconut and Lime soap and it has been irritating the heck out of me.

The photography course is going really well, but one thing l have noticed – OMG l am getting sooooo fussy when it comes to photos LOL. I’ve taken about 100 shots of these three bars of soap, and edited about 15 of those…and although l’m still not happy with the one above, it is just going to have to be good enough because l am sick of looking at it! I’ve tried evey room in the house…tried different bowls and soap dishes and teatowels and angles and lighting…you name it, l’ve tried it.

Here’s (a small sample of!) the gallery of contenders. Too dark, too light, too bright, too shadowy, too yellow, too green, too cropped, too grey too fuzzy too sharp, too big too small l’m starting to sound like a Dr Suess story LOL.

Annnnnnnyway…it’s really nice soap. Trust me LOL.

Actually…l think l like this shot better (shoot me I’m going crazy :P)

4 responses so far

Monkey Farts!

May 12 2012 Published by under new soaps

Hahaha l love Monkey Farts soap, it must be the immature kid in me but l still get a laugh out of reading the label and scent description every single time. Last night l made 3 batches of soap, and this was one of them. I am still terrified of crackling, but yet again l kept it cool, soaped more s.l.o.w.l.y…reduced the water, and banned too much titanium dioxide. I’m paranoid.

But we were rewarded with three beautifully smooth logs of chocolate coloured Monkey Farts scented soapy goodness. In the background of this shot you can see the green Hello Myrtle soap batch.

Doesn’t it look YUM :-)

Is it just me being hungry, or do these look like chocolate brownies?

Hope you are having a good weekend! I’ve got a to-do list as long as my arm and have managed to achieve none of it, but at least l got to faff around and post soap pics LOL.

4 responses so far

You wouldn’t read about it…

May 05 2012 Published by under daily soap stuff,hot process soap

After my last post talking about my soap crackling, l took on board every single comment and suggestion. I narrowed my issues down to a combination of all of the following possibilities:

  • too much water – l normally soap at a 20% water discount, and had stopped doing this so that l had a better chance of swirling.
  • soaping too hot – my inability to wait for things to cool down long enough is the reason why things go badly and also why l generally do terrible swirls – even a 20% water discount should still leave me long enough to swirl, except that l need to soap cooler to stop everything from taking off on me and setting in the bucket. I’m sure l’ve mentioned this about a gazillion times here before, you think l’d have learned by now.
  • a new fragrance that l hadn’t tried before (so it was bound to misbehave and l really shouldn’t beat myself up too much about it), combined with soaping too hot.
  • possibly – just possibly, the Rice Bran Oil. I’m going to make some non swirled soap with it today and see what happens. One of the crackled batches is my ‘meditate’ soap so l am going to try a new batch of it…soap it cooler, use the RBO and see what eventuates.
  • still being unsure about how long and hard to let the soap gel. I watched last night’s batch like a hawk. I normally let it go for the full on ‘hot translucent gel’ effect, where you can actually see the gel forming from the centre of the soap and spreading outwards to the edge of the mould. I suspect this may be a bit too hot? Last night this batch of hippy chick (above and below) was very hot, in fact still warm this morning, but l didn’t let it gel to the point where l got that ‘hot patch’ that spreads. I think just underneath the top surface of the soap it had still fully gelled, but l uncovered it before it got any hotter. Of course then l was scared of incomplete gelling and the ‘bullseye effect’ which l also dislike. l just can’t win!

But…it turned out perfectly. Like the title of this post says, you just wouldn’t read about it. I was SO NERVOUS last night, and almost too scared to get out of bed this morning and slice it.

But l am totally in awe of the smoothness of colour…and complete lack of crackling. Not one little crack, anywhere. Maybe the soap fairies were just feeling sorry for me.

Before l made the Hippy Chick last night, l also made this lovely yellow Passionfruit soap. It’s hot process, ie: cooked in the crockpot. Yes, l was so nervous of making cold process soap last night that l resorted to the failsafe and trusty crockpot to make a batch. l guess l really needed the reassurance of knowing *something* would work, and hot process is pretty bulletproof. This one has rice bran oil in it. I think there might be a couple of HP batches coming up, because l have a heck of a lot of RBO to get rid of, and if this is the only way l can do it safely without risking the crackles, then so be it.

It smells so good, and if l had a bigger crockpot, and three arms to help me empty hot heavy soap into the mould, l would be very, very tempted right now to only ever make HP soap. I’ve always loved it. Might go and make another batch now!

6 responses so far


May 03 2012 Published by under new soaps,soap photos

It’s probably only been about a week since l blogged, but it feels like a decade LOL. You know how when you have heaps to say…and no time to type it out…and then suddenly it doesn’t really seem that important anymore. That’s where l’ve been at. Oh, and terribly sick, without trying to sound like a drama queen.

Somewhere in all of this SIXTEEN new fragrance oils arrived for me to play with, and l made two of the worst batches of soap l’ve ever made. Great for the confidence – not! There was Pink Chardonnay which went in the bin yesterday, and then Grapefruit and Lime which l was sure l was going to love, but god help me it turned out awful – what was meant to be a pretty swirl turned out a disgusting muddy mess of orange, yellow and green. I healf heartedly took a few photos but they just made me feel even more depressed LOL.

Thankfully the Pomegranate and Sage turned out beautifully, because otherwise all of my soapmaking equipment was going in the bin l was so grumpy with it all.

And l made some lemon scented goats milk soap too which thankfully must have known it HAD to turn out acceptably:

Something strange has been going on recently and l am tearing my hair out over it.

Many of my soaps lately have been ‘crackling’, quite badly. Not just crackling either though – there are definite ‘clear’ lines in the soap where you can see attempts at swirling. See the top left one below? That was the first.

This soap below is the Pink Chardonnay that went in the bin, and it had big streaks all though it, but no swirls to speak of.

I am doing the same things with my soap that I’ve always done – the same amount of titanium dioxide, mixed the same way…in fact it’s probably the same batch that l’ve used for the last 6 months, l try not to use too much.

The only things l can think of are:

  • that while experimenting with non-palm oil recipes, l’ve started using Rice Bran Oil a bit. Could it be that? I guess it’s the one consistent change, but surely just swapping one oil wouldn’t do all this? It’s only ever a third of my recipe.
  • maybe l am using too much colour/clays in the batch (but it’s never been an issue in the past)…
  • that l am overheating the soap (but again, my soap has gotten way hotter than these ones before without this crackling)…I’ve even forced it in the oven without all of this happening…
  • that l just need to give up LOL.

I would love some advice. I thought l was experienced, but l am not feeling that way at the moment. Just very frustrated and annoyed at how even after more than 5 years of soapmaking l can still get it so wrong.

16 responses so far

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