Thursday, August 29, 2013

Multi Coloured Gradient

It seems that the only time I am making soap lately is for these challenges. Which is a great thing considering we are coming up to our summer market season. This months challenge is a multi coloured gradient soap. I have done the single colour gradient, with my turkish mocha soap and loved the effect. so I was really looking forward to doing this one.

I pondered what colours to do and one day when my daughter and I were coming home from a day in town the sunset over the mountains was so spectacular, with the snow and clouds over the blue green of the mountains and going up into the pinks of the sunset. I thought that is what I am going to do.

I was a bit worried about the green as I thought I was out of green, but it turned out that I had some green mica, and blue mica then I used fuchsia for the pink. Well I didn't disperse the micas well enough and the mix of both the green and blue looked blah. so I added a bit of blue ultramarine to the blue and the green just had to stay the way it was. I scented with a mix of lemon, lime, rosemary, peppermint and juniper EO's.

Colours all mixed and ready, well almost mixed as I found out too late.

For a change my soap mix behaved perfectly, a tad thin at the start and a tad thick at the end but both were easily workable. I poured and mixed just how I watched in the video. I mucked up the quantities but that is what individual moulds ready on the side are for. Then put it in the oven for the night  

The finished soap just before cutting. I am very happy with it, I just have to pretend that the mica dots are trees on the hills.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Another month, another soap club challenge. Amy I really don't know where you get the time and inspiration to keep these amazing challenges coming. I sometimes think to myself how many ways can there be to swirl colours in soap, well I guess the answer to that is the limit of every soap makers imagination. Each one of these challenges has pushed my soaping ability.

 When I saw the Holly Swirl I thought I can cope with this one, I mean it is just an ITP in a base colour. I had four attempts at this one. The first batch stayed too thin, and my ITP colours were not contrasting enough. The second batch again the base color stayed too thin, but the swirled colours were perfect, although again not contrasting enough. But I was happy with the result as it was a deer hunter camo look that I was after, and it is pretty well what I got.

Aussie Bush, scented with EO's of eucalyptus, lemon eucalyptus, peppermint and cedar wood. Deer hunter camo inspired by using venison tallow. The second batch was the same scent and similar colours.

The third attempt was Lavender and Lemongrass Buttermilk soap. I had recently made a big batch of butter as my cows are giving lots of cream and I had to use it up, so I thought to put some buttermilk into soap. I put chilli infused oil into the whole batch, last time I did that it really made a pretty hot pink, but the chilli mustn't have been strong enough. I added pink and yellow clays for the ITP. Again not quite the "holly swirl" but I am still happy with the end result.

Lavender Lemongrass Buttermilk.

Finally I needed to make a new batch of one of my best sellers "Summer Garden" scented with EO's of rose geranium, lavender and lime. I thought what a perfect time to do a colour make over.

Summer Garden coloured with green clay, ultra violet blue, fizzy lemonade, fired up fuchsia.
I was hoping to speed up the trace a tad as I had too many batches that moved too slowly. Of course Rose Geranium sped it up. So it still does not look anything like Holly's swirl, but I really like the effect of it for a fun summery soap. I am not giving up, I will master this technique, maybe next time. But now I can't wait to see what every body elses soaps look like.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mantra Swirl Callenge

I am determined not to miss this months link up, although with internet issues today anything was possible. The challenge Amy from Great Cakes Soap Works set this month was called the mantra swirl. I have seen this done on soap queen, but had never thought to attempt it. Well after paying my fee, I was stuck. I did a trial run the photo is on my facebook page. I scented it with Brambleberry's Apple Jack Peel, the first time I had used that fragrance, it wont be the last, it is so yummy, just like apple pie. I was happy with the end result but knew I could do better. So I spent time thinking and planning, and setting up.

I was inspired by the fact that we are almost at mid winter, and while it has been quite mild, the last few days have turned cold, and it has been snowing on the mountains. So my natural thought for scent was Brambleberry's Fresh Snow, I had a "snow scape" in mind, so I kept one layer white, and had the next two layers in different shades of blue. Then I squirted brite orange and fried up fuchsia in between each of the layers to give a sunset look. After I swirled it  put drinking straws randomly in the blue/orange/pink. After it had set I pulled the straws out and filled the holes with yellow M&P, to give the appearance of stars. Now I know that stars don't come out at sunset, but that is my artistic licence, and it is just something I wanted to try.

The pink and orange didn't make it very far down the soap. And I could have made the yellow a bit brighter, but it is my very first time using M&P soap, so that is my excuse on that front.  I am happy with the end result, and will be doing the mantra swirl again. Cant wait to see all the other entries. I have seen a couple on FB and they are stunning.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Soap Challenge Club. Peacock Swirl.

The peacock swirl is something I have always been in awe of. So I was very excited to try it when Amy set up the new round of soap challenges. I am not sure what was more challenging making the soap which took me 3 goes to get right, or trying to find a little bit of time this week to take the last few photos and write a blog post. This afternoon the sun was shining so I dropped everything and grabbed some of the last batch of soap and went out to the wood pile to take some photos. I am too late to join in on the link up, which I am sad about. But I can't wait to find out who won the prize of a new soap mould.

All my soap mixes lately have been tracing pretty fast, which usually doesn't bother me too much, as I only seem to have time for simple colouring lately. My usual recipe isn't too different to that offered by Amy but I do discount the water, and mix a bit more to make sure it is good. So I added the full amount of water, only only added fragrance to the bottom layer. Everything is going great. I was organised and made my tool

I did try and look for roller pix but I couldn't find them so I just improvised with skewers.

My squirty bottles. I will use the ones with the long nozzles again, but the flat lidded bottles just didn't quite do the job as well. I used activated charcoal, yellow liquid dye, purple mica and green mica. Unfortunately I didn't put enough mica in and had to add extra.

But in the time it too to adjust the colours it started to set up. At this point I am pretty happy.

At this point I am not. The mix was just too thick to drag.
Set and cut. Pretty but no peacock.

Attempt #2 Same recipe, but I didn't muck around with the colours and it set up even quicker.

Attempt #3. Recipe change. I went with a castile this time, extra water, and soaped at 25 deg. Again I used the purple and green micas and charcoal and left one plain. Scented with Lemon Eucalyptus. YAY I got the swirl. I put it into the oven to hopefully get a gel, but a set I would be happy with. I then left it for 3 days. before I even peeked into the oven. I was happy when I went back and it had set. It was still a bit soft, but that is castile soap. The colour faded, but I am still happy that I got the swirl. I can't wait now to sit and check out every body else's entries. I have seen a few on face book and am in AWE. Amy you are a champ, thank you so much for working so hard to keep organising the challenges. 

Congratulations to Tanya who was the winner, and totally deserved to be. I really think voting would have been very hard, they were all beautiful soaps

Monday, April 8, 2013

Great Cakes Soap Challenge 2013

I had great intentions for taking part in each challenge that Amy had set this year, especially since there is only going to be 4 of them. I did actually get the tiger stripe soap done in time but to take photos and and post about it was just beyond me over the easter week. My excuse is that we had some very dear freinds come and stay, as well as having all the kids home, so my time was pretty streched. Well it still is, but I am forgetting about all the jobs that are calling my name for a little while and am going to get this post done, while I drink my cup of tea.

First up was the tiger stripe. I had already tried this after I saw Amys valentines day soaps. My daughters boyfreind is a deer hunter, and last time he shot a deer, we saved all the fat from the butchering, I rendered it down and the first soap I made with it was this "Vanilla Anise" I coloured the black with activated charcoal and put the vanilla in that part with the hope that the white would stay white, I think I'll keep dreaming. But I don't mind the little bit of discolouring from the vanilla. And would prefer to put up with the browning than use titanium dioxide after reading a news article about the dangers of it.
The mix was a bit thin, I think. And didn't quite "tiger stripe" as I had hoped. But I am still happy with the end result.

Vanilla Anise.
Next up I had offered to make party favours for my sisters baby shower, as she doesn't know the sex of her baby I got to make two lots of soap, a blue and a pink. The blue I coloured with a neon ultra blue violet. I was expecting a more blue colour, maybe I should have added a bit more. I scented this batch with fresh snow. I was a bit nervous about how it would turn out as I was using the base of cereal boxes to make smaller soaps, but I am happy with the end result.
Fresh Snow
Then I had to make the pink. I had the perfect scent. In my soap supplies order I was given a sample of Peach Mango, very girly. I added some orange EO to make up what I needed for the batch and coloured with neon fired up fuschia. The mix started setting up really quick so I scooped and glugged more than poured. Not sure if it was the recipe, or the fragrance, or the fact that I made these at 4am when I couldn't sleep.
 I wouldn't call these tiger stripes either, but I still think they look cute.
So if my sister happens to read this, I hope you like them.

Peach Mango and Orange
Now for the second challenge, the Elemental Swirl. I love the effect of this, with the two layers of contrasting colours. I knew I could do it, but I also knew I needed to be quick and well prepared. so I planned. I looked at my list of what needs to be restocked and thought Rose castile. Castile recipe would give me plenty of time to work. I didn't have quite enough Rose Geranium EO so I added some May Chang and Cedarwood to try and hold the May Chang. I mixed up white, green and blue clays for the base,and white, yellow, red and pink clays for the top. I got my cocoa ready for the line, all is well. I mixed up the soap and it went straight to a thick trace, so I quickly divided it up. Did the ITP for the base, poured it, sprinkled the cocoa. looked back at the jugs with the top colours and they were starting to set, so I had an in the pot glug. I had to spoon it onto the base. Then I started stressing that maybe it was going to be lye heavy, but when I went back 2 days later to cut it. It was perfect. I was so happy with the result. And the scent is so nice and lemony and floraly. Now I just have to find a name for it.

Rose Geranium and May Chang.
Amy, thank you so much for setting up these challenges again. I really don't know how you can do it. But I really am glad that you are.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everybody out there. I hope the new year is good to you. This morning as we were driving to the dairy, (yes I know things are pretty rough when you have to get out of bed on new years day to milk somebody else's cows) we were greeted by an amazing cloud formation, and for a change I had the camera. Which in no way did justice to the early morning sun on this cloud. When the sun came up fully the clouds all disappeared and we are now getting a full summer blast with hot dry winds, which is good for the washing as long as there are no bush fires.

Now I just need to get my act into gear and take some photos of soap to post. Seeing that this blog is supposed to be about soap. I could make a mile long list of resolutions, but I think I will spend my time working on what I have in front of me. Which lately has been the renovations of our "Hut". This is a small cabin on our farm which we have been fixing up to make into a small shop. I need somewhere besides my kitchen to make and store soap, and we have always had a dream to have a farm shop where people can come and enjoy our little valley, and pick up some unique gifts and foods. The whole preparation has taken us heaps longer than we had planned as our budget has been so tight that almost everything has been recycled and done by us. It is so easy to think that we just need to buy this or that, but we had to keep coming back to what our original plan was, which is to have a rustic farm hut, and to use only what we had on hand. I am so proud of what we have achieved, although there is still a few finishing touches to do. I am hopeful that in the next couple of weeks we will be open for people to come and see. We have big plans but for now we are concentrating on soap. Hopefully I wont take too long in posting some pics, and more details.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

White Chocolate Truffles

I am just about to make these. They are our all time favourite christmas truffle recipe. I have lost the cookbook and I cant find them anywhere on line. Thankfully my girls put the recipe on the computer, but as this computer is about to be retired I thought I would put the recipe here, for safe keeping. And also to share because they are too good not to share.


200g White Chocolate
125g packet cream cheese
1 tbs Honey
1 tsp Vanilla essence
1/4 cup Roasted unsalted peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup Coconut
1 cup Coconut, extra.

Melt chocolate over hot water; cool. Beat chocolate, softened cream cheese, honey and essence in a small bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Stir in peanuts and coconut. Cover, refrigerate several hours or until firm. Roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls, toss balls in extra coconut. Refrigerate until firm.

To make a tree centrepiece:
125g White chocolate, melted
3 honey ice cream cones
60g dark chocolate

Mark a 6 cm circle on a foil covered tray, spread with a little of the white chocolate. Stack cones together using a small amount of the white chocolate and secure to base. Completely cover cone with a thin layer of white chocolate. Starting at base of cone, place truffles around edge of cone, securing with a small amount of white chocolate. Continue in layers to form tree. Refrigerate until set. Melt dark chocolate over hot water, drizzle over tree. Refrigerate until required.