Friday, April 27, 2012

Week 6 of the weekly "Soap Challenge".

This week's soap challenge is a technique called "Faux Funnel Pour". I have made a soap similar to this technique where you pour your lightly traced, colored soap base through a funnel held over your soap mold. In the faux funnel pour you are not using a funnel to pour into and instead are pouring a small amount of your soap base directly into your mold, then you pour the next color on top of the first color, and continue the same process with the other colors. You continue to alternate your colors until you have either used all your colors or filled your mold.

I decided to use 5 colors for my pour, yellow, blue, green, lavender, and white. I prepared my colors ahead for mixing in the soap base, then proceeded to make my soap. I fragranced this soap using Bramble Berries fragrance oil "Ginger Ale" (formally called Ginger Fish), this is an amazing fragrance.   

After mixing the soap base into the prepared colors and stick blending to get the colors completely blended, the soap started getting a bit thick. That is not good for a funnel pour, you want the soap base to be fluid enough to flow when poured. Well I had to "glob" the soap into the mold before it got too thick. I was afraid that I would have a lot of air pockets throughout the soap because of how thick it was getting, so I tapped the mold several times on the counter between layers to hopefully force out any trapped air pockets.
Maybe I should call this technique a "Glob Swirl" instead. It was very fun and can't wait to try it again and hopefully with a soap recipe that won't come to a thick trace as fast. I love how each bar has it's own character, and they smell so good.

I will post some pictures of the process and the finished soap. To see everyone else's beautiful creations check out this link: Great Cakes Soapworks.   I look forward to next weeks challenge. Be sure to check back and see what that will be!

Mixing the colors with the soap base.

Oh no the soap is starting to thicken.

Notice how thick the soap is and no flow at all.

Finished with the "Glob Pour", now to texture the top.
Finished top of soap.

Soap loaf out of the mold.

Cut bars.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Week 4 of the weekly "Soap Challenge"

This week's soap challenge was making a soap using alcohol. I have previously made a soap using beer so thought I would do something different and use wine. I don't drink wine so can't say I know a lot about it but decided on a Red Cabernet wine. The fragrance oil I used is called "Christmas Cabernet".  Here is the description from the vender: "Cabernet has a classically deep red color and displays a lovely bouquet of berries and oak. A full-bodied wine with good varietal character and power, it offers rich cherry flavors with excellent balance and a long finish. We have combined this lovely aroma with hints of Christmas time, and created our version of Christmas Cabernet. You will want to celebrate when you smell this fragrance!".  It is a really nice fragrance and I thought it would complement the wine soap I am making.
Well now on to the process....I first boiled the wine to get any carbonation out of it, then I let it cool in the refrigerator. After it had cooled I poured it into ice trays and froze it. I weighed out the frozen wine to required amount of ounces for my recipe on my scale, I then remember reading instructions on making my beer soap that I was to weigh the ounces by fluid ounce in a measuring cup, not by a weight. Oh well I was not wanting to wait to make my soap so decided to just use my measured amount by weight on the scale. I was a bit worried that when I added my lye to the wine ice cubes that I could get a "lye volcano" reaction so I put the ice cubes in a large plastic pitcher and slowly poured in my lye and kept stirring it to be sure it would dissolve. Well the lye and wine reacted  just fine, no volcano here. I wanted to add Tussah Silk to my soap, so I added a cotton ball size to the lye and wine mixture, well my lye mixture NEVER got hotter than 85 degrees and would not dissolve the silk. I took the un-dissolved silk out of the lye mixture and added it to my oils and stick blended the silk into the oils, most of the silk dissolved or pulverized in the oils. I then added my lye mixture to the oils and began to stick blend. I blended and blended and blended and nothing was even beginning to look like a light trace so I added the fragrance oil and stick blended some more and still no trace. I am thinking it might be because of the way I measured the amount of wine, but whatever it was I was getting a little concerned. I poured out a small amount of the soap mixture and added it to some titanium dioxide for the swirling and set it aside, then added burgundy oxide to the main soap batter and continued on with the stick blending. Well finally the soap got a very light trace so I went ahead and poured it into my mold, added the swirl color and finished the swirl. I used a heating pad to get the soap warm enough to gel. I am happy to say the soap turned out in spite of everything , and I am happy with it. Another great challenge . Be sure and check out Amy's blog here:  Great Cakes Soapworks  to see everyone's else's great soaps. Next week's challenge is mixing our own fragrance oils or essential oils.

Here is the lye mixing in with the wine ice cubes.

This is the soap batter mixed with the colors.
Looks like catsup and mustard to me.

Ready to swirl the bottom layer.

Now to do the swirl on the top of the soap.

Top swirl finished.

Soap out of the mold.

Cut bars finished.


"BEARly Cabernet"

A nourishing shea butter wine soap

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Week 3 of  the weekly "Soap Challenge".  

This week's soap challenge was piping soap, think of decorating cakes but using a soap instead of frosting. I told myself that it sounds pretty easy, I think I can manage this one. I watched Amy's video from Great Cakes Soapworks  and also watched some videos on YouTube. Now it was my turn.....after mixing my soap batter I separated it into 3 measuring cups, I colored one with a yellow mica, one with yellow oxide, and the last with titanium dioxide (for the frosting). The fragrance I used for the cake was lemongrass, and the frosting was fragranced with lime. For the bottom of the cake I poured the lemon mica colored soap, then I poured the yellow oxide colored soap, holding it up high as I poured around the mold, and I did the same with some of the white soap, then swirled the colors. I had enough yellow soap batter left to pour 5 cupcakes. Now for the frosting, took a long time for the soap to get thick enough to frost. I stick blended it, let it rest a long time, stirred it some more, let it rest, stirred it some more, and finally it was ready to start to pipe (over an hour later). The tip I used was Wilton's #2D. Took me a few tries practicing on a piece of wax paper to get the hang of piping the soap, then on to the cake. I went around the outside of the cake first, then continued in rounds until I got to the middle with one last dollop to finish the cake. Then to frost the cupcakes, this was a lot harder for me to get it tall enough and have it look like it was not leaning. Finally after the first 2 cupcakes they starting looking more even by the time I reached the top of the swirl. I still had a lot of frosting batter left and not knowing what to do with it I made 2 more rounds around the cake and a dollop in the center. I then added some of Wilton's Sugar Pearls on both the cake and the cupcake. A few days later I unmolded the cake and cut it into 6 pieces, they weigh 4.7 oz. to 5.2 oz each. I did not like the look of the frosting on mine as well after cutting, the dollop in the middle of course got cut 6 ways and was not at all attractive so I cut it down some. I want to try this again and have some other ideas for the piping where it won't look so busy.
For me this was a HUGH challenge and this is what I have learned from it:

#1: It is not as easy as it looks by watching people doing it on YouTube, and I have a new found respect for their talents.
#2: I need to take cake decorating lessons!!!!

#3: I need TONS of practice. Guess we will be eating a lot of cakes and cupcakes in the future.

Thank you Amy for the "Challenge" and I can't wait for next week's challenge, "Soaping with Alcohol". My first thought about that challenge is: I wonder if spraying the top of my soaps with 91% alcohol would count as soaping with alcohol? That's not much of a challenge is it, so guess I better get my thinking cap on and get to planning. Stay tuned for next week......

Swirling in the colors.

The frosting is not thick enough yet.

Finally thick enough to frost.

Here I go...wish me luck.

Almost done.

Now for the cupcakes.

Whew...all done.

Here they are out of the mold.

The cake soap cut.

The finished cupcakes.

Introducing my Lemon/Lime cupcakes.