Bliss made beautifully simple

This fragrance oil, Black Cashmere, if no one has heard of it before is an enigmatic one.  It has to grow on me over time, I have to admit.  At first I was not a fan even after allowing it to mature on a test strip.  But that was then.  This is now.    I had my Fall Fragrances all lined up and test strips attached to the bottles. as usual, but the one that kept tickling my nose all week was Black Cashmere.  The review of how it performs on the site Fragrance Laboratory states a discolouration to yellow initially then tan as time passes and the soap firms up.  The tester’s soap is also shown and it’s definitely tan.  Still, I didn’t want tan.  Despite it being a fall scent, I wanted a white, a pearly white actually so I used a Pearl White mica from TKB Trading. The other two colours are Sweet Tea, also from TKB and Metallica from Mad Oils.  These two warm earthy tones were the perfect offset to the white and brings to mind fallen leaves, warm days spent fireside with wine and a really absorbing book. Which is exactly the way it’s described in the Facebook page.

If you are also a soap maker, you’ve got to give this fragrance oil a try.  It might not strike you as one you’d like initially, but it will definitely intrigue you after some time has passed and haunt you until you give it a chance.  It’s completely worth it!


The soap has Kaolin White clay incorporated into the rest of my usual goodies to add some slip for men who’d like to use this for shaving, though it’s not really formulated for shaving.  Still, it has enough lathering potential to create a nice lather, give superior slip, plenty of sexy scent over the oils I use that are touted as non-clogging, light, easily absorbed (though since it’s a soap and will wash away, that doesn’t factor in this case) and moisturizing.  If I come up with an actual shaving soap formulation that meets my standards for performance then I’ll definitely add this fragrance to the line.  It’s a winner for either gender.

So here’s Sweater Weather.  Stay warm everybody!


A Silk & Milk Soap

A Silk & Milk Soap

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Neecy's Necessities:

A terrific explanation of the reasons bars of real good old-fashioned soap are far better every possible way to the liquid soaps from store shelves.

Originally posted on Go Green Hong Kong:

I remember as a child, my whole family used the same bar of soap. Gradually though the bar of soap seemed to disappear and was replaced by liquid hand and body wash. Using bar soap had come to be considered to be unhygienic and a source of bacteria. The strange thing is even though we shared soap, we seldom got sick and had no diseases. In the last five years, I’ve switched back to bar soap again and am still reasonably healthy. So I am just incredibly lucky or have makers of personal care products been masterfully manipulating of our fear of germs?

The switch from bar soap to liquid has been driven by a fear of bacteria lurking on bar soap. Companies encouraged the notion that using liquid soap was more hygienic.

This NY Times article which asked “does each member of the family need an individual bar of…

View original 708 more words

Champagne Pear is cut

Not quite as swirly as I’d like for my bars to be.  I like lots of swoops, sweeping flowing lines, but the speed at which this FO accelerates is prohibitive to sweeping or swooping. *sigh* Still, it doesn’t change the scent at all, still that decadently juicy, sumptuous ripe pear fragrance!  Love the way this one just fills the room with sweet fruitiness!  These are listed on my main web site, and on the Etsy site -  These 9 bars are currently in Pre-Order status, to be shipped out after October 15.  Great time to start your Christmas shopping started!
Here we go -

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3rd time’s the charm

Or so the saying goes.  I’ve made Champagne Pear soap three times now with varying degrees of success as it tends to accelerate trace and can easily become soap-on-a-stick or as we like to call it SOS.  I believe the worst run of this one I had was the one in which I tried using pureed pears.  That was awful.  Just awful.  Disaster doesn’t begin to cover it.  It accelerated to an impossible to work with texture and density that concrete would envy.  The scent all but disappeared because of the heat generated by the inclusion of the pears and the sugars they naturally had.  I still shake my head in shame over that one, but well, it was a lesson learned.  It was a lesson well-learned, too!  No food in the soap.  Maybe someday I’ll try pureed aloe or cucumbers, but no more pears.

This batch was made using the same fragrance oil from Fragrance Laboratory, Orchard Pear, which you really need to smell to believe.  You can practically feel the juice dribbling down your chin and the scent is just – oh my – breathtaking!  So realistic!  LOVE IT TOO MUCH!  If you’ve ever opened up a jar of fresh canned or jarred pears in their own syrup, then you know what it smells like.

I used the regular amount of water, no discount, though the lye was discounted a bit.  About 6%.  The usual additives were also included- coconut milk, Tussah silk, colloidal oatmeal.  I used the following products and have included links to their sites:

Celery and Enchanted Forest mica colours from Mad Oils.

From TKB Trading I used Passion Orange and Pearl Basics micas,

plus a glitter from them called Champagne glitter.  I also used a bit of the Mermaid Collection glitter mixed with the Champagne glitter in a bit of the oil from the soap batch to do a top swirl.

The champagne glitter alone just didn’t grab me the way I wanted it to, so I mixed in some of the Gold from the Mermaid collection from TKB as well and that worked very well alongside the champagne colour.

The oils were a nice mix of mostly soft ones, though they firm up to make a nice hard bar over a standard cure time of about 4 weeks.  I used the following:

1)  Olive Oil, light golden

2) Sweet Almond Oil

3) Coconut Oil, 76 °

4) Avocado Oil

5) Pumpkin Seed Oil

I’ve used this blend before with excellent results.  It yields a nice, firm bar that holds onto the fragrance very well, is easy to blend and work with without the soap firming up too quickly unless it’s due to the FO causing it to accelerate.  And it moisturizes to beat the band!  I love a moisturizing bar of soap.  One that doesn’t make me feel like I can’t get to a bottle of lotion fast enough.  Soap shouldn’t make you feel dried out, stripped and tight.  It should just leave you feeling clean.  Maybe even a bit softer than before.  That’s always nice, too, but to cleanse with some nice, creamy densely packed bubbles that work into a generous rich lather, now that’s the one thing I always shoot for in our bars.  I go for the higher number in the moisturizing.  Bubbles are nice, sure, but they aren’t the lead singer in my band.  It’s all in how the soap makes my skin feel afterwards that matters most.  That number that says it’s a moisturizing bar  is what I aim for every time unless it’s a specialty bar for oily faces.  That’s a different issue altogether.

So how did this batch turn out?  Here’s a hint:

Champagne Pear September 2014 Ready Oct. 13 2014

Champagne Pear September 2014
Ready Oct. 13 2014

So why post on a soap batch I’ve done before?  The swirl inside is a bit new to me and since this batch accelerated so much, I’ not sure it’ll turn out at all, though I did try to whip it into submission numerous times, but not with the stick blender.  That would have made matters worse.  Still the top is also different and I  hope you can see that golden swirl on these images.  I’ll include a few more below in hopes that you can see the colours better.  Meantime, we’ll wait for this one to come out of the mold and be cut in a day or two.  When it is, I’ll update.  IMG_1958 (768x1024)

Make It Fizz

Make It Fizz,  by Holly Port, is a gold mine!  Plain and simple.  If you’re stuck in a rut making soaps, liquid, clear, or solid, goat milk or coconut milk based, yet still hungerMake It Fizz to try something else far and away different from what you’ve made so far, grab your own copy of this book and read it cover to cover.  You’ll be thoroughly tutored and informed on how to make bath bombs, bath fizzes, bubble bars and more for your customers with confidence.

Holly will guide your through what various types of oils are available to use and what they’ll bring to your recipe.  If you want one that soothes, or one that doesn’t leave behind too much oil in your tub, or one that sinks in quickly, she’ lists a very comprehensive list of oils on pg 5.   Pages 2-3 also give you a wealth of suggestions for ingredients to add to your recipe to give it  greater bubbles, purification of toxins from your skin, additives for psoriasis.

She’s also generously offered several recipes for you to try based on her many years of experimentation, trial and error so you can gain the confidence to branch out, spread those bath bomb wings and let the fizzies fly on your own recipes.  

I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking to spread their product line out further into the bath & body lines beyond bars and liquid soaps.  

If you’re a tag gawker, you already know what the alternative to water is, but if you pay them no mind at all, then this will all be new to you.

I’ve covered alternatives to water before, but it’s been a while, and thought that perhaps you’d like to see a soap that actually has something other than plain ol’ water in it to see what it does.

Highgarden, the name of the soap, though not the name of the fragrance oil, was made using coconut water.  Why?  Why use coconut water in a soap?  One simple word – sugar.  No matter whether you find one that says it’s unsweetened or not, it’s going to have some natural sugars in it and those will be just enough to enhance the bubbles in your soap, making them more abundant just like everyone loves them to be.

Of course, coconut water has much more than natural sugars going for it.  It also contains natural antioxidants, vitamins and other vital nutrients to hydrate your body, feed your hair, skin, nails, vital organs, and skin all the nutrients it needs to fight off the assault waged on your body through the air we breathe, the process foods we eat, and those sodas we gulp down every day.  Let’s face it, living is hard on you and we rarely have the time to eat a well-balanced diet, do we?  Is there really time to wash, chop, mince, stir, cook, boil, sear, grill, then still have the energy to eat after a long grueling work day?  I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty fried by the end of the day and really don’t feel at all like cooking or even eating in some cases.  It’s so much easier to pick up something on the way home, or stop bu the store and grab something we can throw into a pot and warm up slowly or just nuke in the microwave.  But honestly, is the price we pay worth the ease? It’s a cumulative thing, and eventually it will take its toll on your body, giving you lots of big head-smacking reality checks like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease and a host of others that develop over time.

HIghgarden Coconut Water Soap

HIghgarden Coconut Water Soap

The sugar can also caramelize thanks to the heat of the lye water, so I found out quickly enough that it’s far better to add just enough water with the lye to dissolve it, then add the balance of the water in the coconut water, but do it later, perhaps as late as after the initial stick blending is over  I get it just to the emulsification stage, then add the coconut water in and stick blend it in to the light trace stage.  The later addition prevents the discoloring of the soap batter due to the caramelization so less titanium dioxide is needed to overcome the discoloring.

Some aren’t big fans of the use of Titanium dioxide, and it can cause other problems, like glycerin rivers, or as we affectionately call them – glivers.  In some soaps though, they’ll bring out a textural effect that works great with the design of the soap’s final look.  It’s all a matter of perspective I suppose in whether TD use is good or not.

Another small warning should be offered here if you’re planning to try making a soap with coconut water.  The sugars are great for bubbles but they’ll also add something else to the soap – heat!  It will heat up your soap, causing small cracks as you can see from the picture  above.  If you can, try putting the soap, mold and all, in the refrigerator to prevent the cracks from becoming too  extreme.  It will allow the soap to cool quicker and give them a chance to close up on their own as much as possible.  The ones that appeared in this batch are barely there at all now, though this one was the worst of the bunch.  It had quite a few all over the middle section of the soap when it was 30 or 50 minutes into the mold, but as it chilled down in the fridge, they closed up and once the mod came out of the fridge about 3-4 hrs later, they were all but gone.  From the side you’ll see where they had been, but they’re certainly not detrimental to the soap at all.

The wispy lines were done with a mic in oil swirl done over the various layers poured into the mold of the base white soap.  There’s a bit of two greens, and two reds, but they don’t show up as much more than just a green and a red since the soap pressed much of it out to the sides.  This technique is a bit of a chance from the ones I usually do, but it’s always fun to try new things, change things up a bit.  Wouldn’t you agree?


If I haven’t succeeded in convincing you to give coconut water a try in your soap-making adventures yet, then I’ve failed utterly.  If you don’t make soap, then you really need to get some coconut water soaps and give them a try!  They’re amazingly creamy, bubbly, give you the perfect balance of cleansing and skin-softening to make your skin feel the best it’s ever felt.

Real, natural, handcrafted soap is the best way to wash, bathe, shampoo, or shower.  There are NO harsh chemicals, NO artificial additives to enhance the bubbles or create more abundant lather, our colours are naturally derived in the natural lines or created with micas, of which many are made with actual natural elements, our fragrances are either from fragrances oils, which are synthetic, or essential oils which are created with natural plants, flowers and other botanicals.  We use natural clays, grains like colloidal oatmeal, natural exfoliants like lemon peel, camu camu fruit powder or jojoba beads.  When you use a REAL bar of soap, you’re not putting a lab experiment, packed with carcinogens, chemicals, surfactants, or detergents on your skin.  You’re replacing the natural oils your skin needs to be healthy and defend itself against the toxins found in our everyday world.

In the mold Highgarden

In the mold Highgarden

My imagination has taken a turn for the fruity.  Fruit Splash is a deliciously juicy fragrance from, one of  only a couple FO suppliers I typically use and it’ has a fruity, juicy fragrance of several different fruits & berries.  Many soapers have used this one to make the first of their spring & summer lines, but you know me, I’m weird.  I like to use beachy and fruity scents all year round, so here I am doing fruity scents as fall starts to  show its head just above the horizon.  While it is still well off in the distance, I’m still reluctant to make anything that smacks of full-blown fall unless the scent really bowls me over, which is far too rare.  I fight the cooler temps,  the images of dying leaves on deciduous trees and the need to tuck away the tanks tops, flip-flops, and tanning oils of happier summer days with everything I’ve got, but despite my best efforts, it still comes around, followed quickly by its nasty-tempered neighbor, Old Man Winter.  Oh well.  It’s just inevitable. Until I win the lottery and buy that ocean-front property in Bimini, I guess I’m stuck here year round. But I can soap with the summer scents and keep that Bermuda high going indoors year round!

So Fruit Splash is a hearty fruity fragrance that really sticks, is strong and holds up very well in any application you use it in, even the high-alkaline atmosphere of CP soap making.  I thought of Fruit Loops, without the sugary overlaying layer when I first smelled it, then thought immediately of how I wanted this soap to appear as a finished soap bar.  The plan requires a lot of patience.  That I have, in spades, so I picked out the colours typical of the fruits in the fragrance, purple, red, orange, green, raspberry-pink and yellow.  I’d considered pouring it into chunks of the colours, no swirling, but couldn’t stand the thought of pouring a soap, slab or loaf, and not swirling.  What soaper in their right mind can fight that urge to swirl?  Not this one! So swirl, I did.  The tiny bubbles don’t matter and you’ll understand why later on when Phase 2 appears.

slab poured of Fruit Splash August 6th

slab poured of Fruit Splash August 6th

(So since we now know I’m weak and can’t resist certain urges.  Let’s tottle on.)

This will set up for a couple of days in the mold, then will be removed and then Phase 2 can commence.  I will not be going into any details of what Phase 2 is right now.  Just suffice it to say that this slab of soap will not resemble its former state in any way.  There is a Phase 3 as well –  ’nuff said.

This batch is a triple oil blend, with silk, colloidal oatmeal, coconut milk, coconut water, and I tried a different approach to the additives when blending this batch.  I mixed the oats, coconut milk, coconut water, FO together then added them after mixing the oils and the lye.  This prevented the soap from discolouring with the addition of the coconut water to a livid orange as it tends to do in my prior batches.

In previous batches using coconut water,  I added the coconut water to the water used to dissolve the lye and when the lye was added the heat it generated cause a caramelization of the sugars, causing it to discolour to a particularly ugly shade of orange.  So, I decided to change the order around a bit to see if it wouldn’t happen if added later on.  This turned out to be the better way to use coconut water.  If there was any discolouration, I didn’t see it.  So if you want to try using other waters, try coconut water!  The additional sugars will cause some discolouration if you added it to the lye water, but if you add it later, it works great and the sugars will enhance the bubbles in the finished soap!  Still I needed to add a bit of Titanium Dioxide to lighten up the soap enough to show the colours at their true best.

So there’s the latest and the next Phase will be appearing in a few more days.  See you then!

And here’s Phase 2, the soap has been shaped into balls and curls, done with a vegetable peeler, and                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        placed into the mold.  Can you guess what’s coming up next?  No, don’t scroll down yet.  Wait for it………

and here’s the next step (Phase 3)……

with clear soap poured over the embeds....

with clear soap poured over the embeds….

A clear soap using Everclear and sugar water, slightly tinted with peach food colour was poured over the embeds, misted with alcohol, and left to set up over night.  There was quite of bit of this, so I also poured some small molds of individual embeds for use in future batches of other soaps.  The clear isn’t scented, which was an accident to be honest, I’d meant to add a bit of the Fruit Splash to that too, but I got carried away in all the excitement of getting it poured and left it out.  The embeds have plenty of scent to them to it’s going to be terrific even without the clear being scented.  I’m determined to remember it next time though!  If I have to write it in Sharpie across the top of my hands I’ll remember it next time!


This isn’t quite the end of the road for this one, no no.  It’s now been cut and the look is nothing less than exactly what I’d hoped and aimed for!


I’m also running a bit of a contest to name this soap.  The best name wins and they receive a bar of this plus several others that are nearing their ready date.  Pop into my Facebook page, post your name suggestion in  the comment box and good luck!  (The post for the contest is pinned to the top of the page, so you’ll have no trouble finding it.  :)


And the cut bars, Phase 4….

Cut "Fruit Splash"

Cut “Fruit Splash”

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