Sultry Orange

After the first batch didn’t work out – personal sidebar: never stop soaping if hubby asks what kids are up to right now – so, I pulled out the recipe, pulled out the ingredients, reached for my new swirling tool (see below), pulled up my big girl pants and went at it one more time.

My new soaping swirler –

Swirly tool
the new swirling tool

Don’t know what they’re actually called – spraw, stroon?  No clue, but the long tube of the straw, which is very rigid, is perfect for dipping down into the soap and getting to the bottom of the loaf without risking getting too close the the soap’s surface and messing it up.  Once this comes out in a day or two, we’ll see how good it worked.

I didn’t use many hard oils at all in this one – actually just the coconut, so it stayed nice and loose the entire time I was working with it.  I thought it might move a bit faster with the citrus notes being such a heavy percentage of the fragrance, but it was very loose for a surprisingly long time.  Maybe a bit too long.  Hmmm….   But it gave me time to clean up a bit and get things cleared off the table so another onerous task could take the place of this very fun one.  Taxes.  Yes, that inevitable duty that’s as ongoing as death.  Fortunately – or maybe not so fortunately – my biz is still very small, so not much to report there, so it was very quick work.  Filed and paid online and done for another 3 months.  😀

Anywho, back to the soap….

The first batch had far too high a percentage of hard oils/butters for the amount of swirling and texturizing I wanted to do, so now we’ll have more than a dozen slightly orange scented soaps to use up in coming months/years.  The batch heated up quite a bit too, so much of the fragrance is gone, sorry to say, except for along the outside surfaces and edges, and the colours, well, they’re much too pale.  Since it started firming up in the pot before I could get back to it to stir it, thanks to the long conversation with the hubby, it was too far advanced in the setting up process for me to do anything pretty with it, even if it would’ve shown up, so I suppose it’s just as well, that the colours aren’t there all that much.  I started to snap a picture, but didn’t want to leave a trail of disasters to be used against me one day, so it’ll go quietly into the annals of time and be lost to obscurity eventually.

This batch from today had fewer of the hard oils, upped the amounts of the soft oils, to make the batch big enough to fill the 3 lb mold nicely, coloured it with a Peach Sunset Mica from The Conservatorie, a small part of it with Hydrated Chrome Green from Bramble Berry, and another part lightened with Titanium Dioxide.  It wouldn’t have needed much TD at all if I hadn’t used coconut water,  but it turns orange when mixed with lye, and I had also added a light sprinkling of Orange Peel Powder from Nature’s Garden for some light exfoliation.  The FO Indian Sandalwood gave the fragrance the deeper, mellower note and this FO is from Nature’s Garden and Candles, too.  The FO/EO Blend of Valencia is from WSP as is the Sweet Orange FO, and the essential oil of Tangerine was bought in a Whole Foods near my home.  The ratio was about 3:1 orange to sandalwood.  Just mellow, not dusky or dark, or too smoky, just mellower.

I added in the usual added goodies of colloidal oatmeal and coconut milk in addition to the coconut water, and added a bit of buttermilk powder as well, plus Tussah silk, which I use from a supplier that sells sustainably gathered silk. There’s Apricot Kernel, Avocado, Coconut, and Almond oils in this as well, so you can see why it was slow to thicken!  But oh the fun I had!  As thin as it was, I wonder how the swirls will turn out.  It’s kind of strange though that some colours thicken up faster than others.  The green was still very thin, but the white was right where it should be for texturizing, swirling, etc.  The Peach was somewhere in the middle of them.  The results should be interesting when it’s finally at a cuttable firmness in oh about 3 weeks.  No,  not really!  Just kidding.  Sultry Orange (768x1024) Sultry Orange Macro (768x1024)

The top has two mica trails – one in Diamond Dust from NG and also an orange mica I bought from another soaper who was doing a bit of spring cleaning of her supplies cabinet.    The swirl is the new one that I like to do so much now for cp soaping.  It was also done in Sweet Tea and in the Hot Stuff soaps recently if you want to refer back to those for what this swirl looks like, go  to my posts for Hot Stuff or Sweet Tea.  When done, the tops looks close to a mantra swirl, though that was just serendipitous but it’s a nice little plus.  This batch is now chillaxin’ in the fridge to prevent gel or overheating that could cause cracks.   The coconut water  has some sugars in it, as does the coconut milk does too, though not quite as much. In addition, I added a small amount of confectioner’s sugar to this soap to boost the bubble factor a bit.  I don’t think it will crack considering how soft it was, but I’m keeping an eye on it for a while until it’s firm enough and cooled in there long enough that a hovering hand doesn’t detect any heat from it.  It has a very nice, warm, slightly smoky, or slightly earthy-orangey fragrance to it, so it might be even nicer once it’s out of the mold and drying on the curing rack.   This is going to be categorized as a Specialty soap in my web site due to the addition of the coconut water.  Look for it soon here  or here.   Yes, I do have a Facebook store front, but it’s VERY limited, and I don’t push many items through there since space is limited by forces outside of my control.  This is why I don’t provide links to the Facebook Store.  Use my NCSM or Neecy’s sites for your Bath & Body needs, Christmas shopping, baby or bridal showers, and you will not regret it.


Orange- finally!

For a couple of months I’ve been wanting to make an orange or orangey soap, but just had too many other things to do, some of which weren’t even soaping but the paper work that is the bane of my existence. Now that Quicken is installed, labels are done for all that have been made thus far, and the bars on the curing rack have all been nicely beveled, it’s time to ponder the possibilities of orange.

I’ve bought a fabulous-smelling essential oil from a rep that supplied me with Blood Orange Essential oil from Lillian Newman’s stock, so you know it was a good one! Everyone knows about her essential oils being top of the line, yet affordable. And orange is a bright, fresh fragrance, that brings sunshine to mind, orange groves, the hum of bees in the air somewhere just out of sight, and light breezes fragranced with orange blossoms and green grass.

This is the image I see in my head when I thing of orange fragranced anything. There’s a swap group that I joined some time back but I rarely ever make enough bars in a batch to be able to swap with a group of people, so I worked up a blend of Blood Orange, a bit of Sweet Orange, a splash of Valencia Orange, and the warmth of sandalwood beneath to keep it down to earth for a soap. I’ve planned to try a different method of incorporating the coconut water to prevent the discoloration that’s so common with using anything that contains some sugars. I’m going to add it later, after the lye water has already been blended into the oils and reached a very light trace or just before. Coconut milk will also be used but at the regular time in the process. I’ve adjusted the water requirements to allow for these additional liquids as well as the fragrance near the end.

Colour – I’m using titanium dioxide, some Kaolin Clay, Peach Sunset Mica from Conservatorie, and a bit of Hydrated Chrome Green from Bramble Berry. They’re all reliable colours that stick, never morph, though sometimes it seems like titanium dioxide speeds things up a bit, while at others it seems to be the other colours that speed it up. The fragrance will go in dead last to prevent anything from accelerating too much.

My flower beds are a diasaster and desperately need weeding, so I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to make this huge stash of orangey soaps, but hopefully this Sunday will be a good day to try. It’s supposed to be rainy, so that’ll prevent us from doing any sort of yard work. Thought it is my twins’ birthday – their 25th – they’ll be spending it with siblings at the zoo and I’m counting on hearing lots of stories about what a great time they all had together.

This is my crew –

L-R: Brent (33), Ashley(28), Kyle & Joshua (25)
L-R: Brent (33), Ashley(28), Kyle & Joshua (25)


What a fun bunch of young people they are.  They’ve kept my life filled with laughter for decades!  The boys are the real cutups in the bunch, but Ashley sets them all straight with The Look – a technique honed by her mommy that she’s inherited and honed to perfection.  This was from a huge collection of photos done by a very talented photographer in Durham, NC.  His name, if you want to look him up for your next big event in need of capturing for posterity, is Timothy Fields.   You can find him here    This was my Mother’s Day gift from my children in 2012.  What a wonderful gift it was, too!  I’m still finding more ways to enjoy them.  



Life’s a Beach

Life's a Beach - close up (768x1024)


This one had a slightly different formulation, replacing the olive oil with apricot kernel oil, and no other hard waxes, butters, or oils since I was not sure if the FO would speed up on me while I tried to do a swirl in the mold, but it really doesn’t speed up at all.  IF you use a whisk or spatula to blend the FO into the soap, it will speed up less than it will if stick blended.  Its incredibly soothing as scents go,  like a suntan lotion, not too heavy on the coconut end but still enough to elicit an “mmmmm” when you catch a whiff on a light breeze.  I had the chance to get close in in the photo as well, so this was a learning curve in the photography skills as well.  The same colour  was used throughout – Peacock Blue Mica from The Conservatorie, a huge favorite with me, and seemed appropriate to use with this FO.  The top had a mica swirl, then the surface was dusted with Bramble Berry’s Fine Iridescent Glitter – you can buy this here:, another personal favorite.  Thank you. Bramble Berry for carrying such a wonderful glitter!  It really pops on bright coloured soaps!

The fragrance, as mentioned earlier was a dupe of Bobbi Brown’s Beach, and is sold here:  It doesn’t accelerate, rice, discolour, or seize in CP soap.  If you plan to use multiple colours, I’d suggest adding the FO last after colours have been added, but before you’ve poured into the mold.  Stir the FO into the soap thoroughly with a whisk (careful not to incorporate air bubbles!) or long handles spoon, I have noticed that colours will sometimes start firming up in the pouring containers faster than the base colour.  Not sure why that is unless I’m stirring or stick blending longer to evenly blend the colours into the soap.  Still this fragrance is a wonderful beachy scent if you tend to lean toward those that smell more like suntan oils/lotions than the fragrance of tropical flowers or oceanic notes.

This batch has the additions of colloidal oatmeal, coconut milk for a really creamy lather and feel, Kaolin White Clay.  I meant to add in some Australian Washed Blue Clay but forgot to add it in.  Next time!

Life's a Beach - full shot (768x1024)


Soapmaker 3 gave me the following characteristics for this batch :

Hardness: 5.3

Fluffy Lather: 4.9

Stable Lather: 5.6

Moisturizing: 6.8

This figures are based on a scale of ten.  The soap was a bit on the soft side a bit longer than previous batches, so if/when I do this one again, I might consider adding a bit of sodium lactate to prevent stickiness or too long a soft stage.

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I’ve been switching it up in the formulation of various soaps recently just to see what else can be achieved as far as lathering, moisturizing, and firmness.  So far, the results have been very good, and there are a few more I’d like to try, one including a recent addition to my oils – peach kernel oil – and see how that turns out.  I’ve used it in one recent batch already, but it’s not ready for a wash test yet, so I’ll have to wait and see how this new oil works out.  The information sounds good.  It’s said to be great for aging skin, prematurely aging skin or sensitive skin.  It’s packed with antioxidants, Vitamin E & A, and also natural preservatives.  Using this oil, however, is never a substitute for using preservatives in your lotions, or other Bath & Body formulations that include water somewhere in their production.  If using water anywhere in your items, please use a separate preservative such as Optiphen.  Several suppliers sell preservatives in many different sizes, so please use them to prevent anything from developing in your lovely products that renders them unusable.  You’ve worked too hard on your products to have to toss them out because they went moldy.

You can find Peach Kernel Oil here:   It’s a golden yellow colour, but it doesn’t appear to be too strong a colour that it can’t be overcome with the addition of titanium dioxide or other colours.  Clays aren’t quite enough to conquer it, however, but that doesn’t mean you should leave them out.   Quite the contrary in fact.  I love adding clays to most of my soaps to give them a smooth glide when using it in the shower for shaving.

All in all, this is a wonderful fragrance to use, highly recommend it, and this batch will be ready for shipping out for orders placed by August 18th.  There are 10 bars available at present and will be sold for $6 each.  Check my web site by Monday evening, July 21st for their listing.  I accept pre-orders through email only, so if you are interested in purchasing this soap, please email me at the following address:




Some time ago, another soaper made a soap with an FO that intrigued me.  She said it smelled really sweet, lightly floral, with a bit of a citrus touch beneath the top notes.  It sounds really nice but I didn’t have it in my FO supplies stock nor did I want to buy anything new at the time.  Well, time passed, I used what I had and the cabinet was getting a bit bare, then I happened upon the Vendor Stuff for Sale group in Facebook, and found – how preordained was it? – another soaper was cleaning out her supplies and have several FOs fro sale, one of which was, Tah, Dah!  Pink Berry Mimosa.  I grabbed that baby up very quickly and tucked it away until I needed to replenish the curing rack.  I recently realized that I didn’t have a lot of full batches on my shelves anymore and it was time to restock things, preferably with some new fragrances, so I pulled out several and this was one of them.  I was really looking forward to trying this one out, the tester strip I use prior to soaping with them smelled sweet but oh so nice!  Like sugared flower petals.

It had been such a long time since that other soaper had made hers that the statement she made about how it performed was long gone, so I went to the web site, looked it up and every reviewer said it soaped or performed beautifully.  I had to just trust that it was a plays-nicely-with-others sort of fragrance oil.  I knew that with this name it would be nice to have a pink, but the one I had faded out completely in CP soap (TC lists it as being unstable in CP soap and other soapers have had it disappear in their soaps as well), so I thought, well maybe a mica swirl on the top only might stick around, so it’s worth a shot anyway.  So, I set that up, blended together a bit of Red Shimmering Clay and a dash of Kaolin Clay for the colouring of the portion of the soap to a pinkish-mauve shade and tried a blend of two  micas for a custom green  It was a lovely minty green in the tub, but once added to the soap?  Ick!  A really hideous shade of Chartreuse!, so in went a bit of the hydrated Chrome Green from Bramble Berry to save the day, which it did in splendid fashion.  These weren’t vivid colours I’d started out with so there wasn’t any worries of having too much colour in the soap to cause tinted bubbles.

I’d originally thought of making a drop pattern on the top and drag them to create hearts, but changed my mind at the last minute – mainly because I didn’t colour a lot of the soap with the pink so there wasn’t any left to do that.  So the top got textured and now it’s chilling in the fridge, but it still got a bit warm and there’s a crack in the top.  I don’t know for sure if it’s from the FO or from the scant 1/2 tsp of confectioner’s sugar in it.  I’ll need to make a note about the heating issue for future batches, but aside from that one thing, it really does soap beautifully!  No ricing, no acceleration, no discoloration.  There’s no vanillin in it, but that doesn’t prevent it from discolouring a soap.  Other factor play a part if the alteration of colour in a soap batch.

Mimosa is made with mango butter, coconut milk, apricot kernel oil, colloidal oatmeal, silk, and the fragrance is from Wholesale Supplies Plus.  So, this little beautify will be ready for direct purchase August 17, but pre-order can be placed by email.  Drop me a note and I’ll send you an invoice close to the ready date, meantime the bars you request are locked in as yours!

Hot Stuff is cut – the name is certainly appropriate

IMG_0968 (1024x768)


The colour in the pics was not enhanced.  These bars are a mix of yellow, peachy orange, and a red with some brown undertones.  The swirls turned out just exactly the way I wanted them.  This technique is one I’m sticking with for any swirl of this sort.  It does the job perfectly, even with a hiccup near the beginning.  Just a bit of a blur in the first two and only on two sides, so it wasn’t even enough to effect the overall look of the bar.   These lovelies will be ready August 12.  The fragrance is light, but in the bath or shower it always comes back out again, so it’s good that while dry it’s on the light side.  It has a forenote of raspberry, to my nose, though the hubby doesn’t smell it.  He’s probably thrown by the bergamot blended with the raspberry.  Now to cure….

Hot Stuff!

Old schoolers would have the Donna Summer song running through their head by now.  Come on admit it, you loved it way back when.  The golden era of disco was livin’  large at the time.  Well, the title might bring it all rushing back like a bad episode of deja vu, but this has nothing to do with disco, Donna Summer, or living fast and loose like we did in the 80’s.  No, this is more C.E. – Current Era.  Think Couture.  Juicy.  Starting to clear away the cobwebs yet?  Well, this fragrance from NG is a type of scent  that is reminiscent of those lush, full-bodied perfumes from our local ritzy department stores.  Couture Hotness is the name of it with NG and carries the notes of  raspberries & bergamot at the topmost, sifting down to magnolia and jasmine around the heart and standing firm on a base of white musk and vetiver.    They say it’s feminine and sexy, and yes, it is, though it will have its followers in a select crowd of those who like it sweet and rich.  If not, well, we’ll have to see how the CP mellows over time.  The data sheet states it has a healthy amount of vanillin in the formulation – 1.35% – so I used the vanilla colour stabilizer to prevent the browning from becoming so bad.  Hopefully it won’t affect the swirls or colours.

I used a lot of very soft oils due to the desire to be able to swirl it a certain way and I hope it turns out okay.  Had a bit of a hiccup at the beginning, but it smoothed out, the top well, it was nicely swirled enough to just leave it alone and let the slight whisper of a mantra remain instead of working it up into peaks, valleys and dips.  The iridescent glitter is absolutely necessary.  I love that one and it played very nicely off the colours used – Red Shimmering Clay Mica, Peach Sunset Mica, and Lemon Drop Mica with a slight drop or 2 of TD since the yellow was a bit too close to the Peach Sunset.  Done in several layers of these colours then done in the same swirl technique as the Sweet Tea (except for the hiccup), this type of swirl naturally ends in a slightly mantra-like top pattern, so it stayed as is.

I switched out the mango butter for a bit of avocado oil to keep it liquid enough to play with and based on the figures from SM3’s calculations, it should be a highly moisturizing soap with very stable lather, some fluffy bubbles and definitely a firm bar once it reaches the full cure date.  This will be interesting to see, but who knows how long it will take. But I like it!  Hotness!

closeup of Hot Stuff
closeup of Hot Stuff



Sweet Tea, 2.0

I’ve treid a different way of swirling so I’m very excited about cutting up this batch in a couple of days!  I also had considered putting little lemon scented slices on the top of the loaf at measured interval so each bar would have a lemon wedge on the top, but the textured top was such a success, I changed my mind and left them off.  I’ll use them instead on a batch of lemon soap sometime.  They’ll keep.

I made this recipe once before but without the Lemon Butter, which you can buy here from Wholesale Supplies Plus-  and that version of this soap sold out, so it was time to replace it.  The fragrance oil  can be found  here at Nature’s Garden & Candles –

I used Tussah silk, Kaolin Clay, French Red Clay, a small amount of TD, and went lightly on the FO since some folks have headaches induced by too much fragrance.  Over time it may fade, but at least the soap remains and that alone feels wonderful.  I’ve tried every last one of my soaps and if it doesn’t cut it with me, it never sees the light of day.  You have no idea how many untimely demises you’ve been blissfully unaware of in the past five years, and it’s best that way.  Really.  I used just two colours in the main soap loaf – the Chocolate milk & Red Clay, swirled with a portion of the batter tinted with TD and the Kaolin Clay.  This swirl is a bit different too and rather difficult to describe.  I did a kind of figure eight but did it moving upwards through the batter and slightly at an angle, so the swirls will carry forward and upward through the loaf better.  There’s a tad more colour used in this batch, too so the contrast between the two will show up much more defined than the previous three batches.  The first batch used brewed tea, but I opted not to do that this time as I wanted a whiter white than the first batch had.  Here’s an image of what the top looks like and when you see it, you’ll understand why I chose not to use the lemon wedges.

close up of loaf with Lemon Drop Mica & oil swirl on top and dusting of Lemon Drop Mica.
close up of loaf with Lemon Drop Mica & oil swirl on top and dusting of Lemon Drop Mica.

I made the same size batch – a 3 lb loaf mold used, but these will be much better I think for the addition of the lemon butter since it will add that sweet, yet tart twang to the tea fragrance.  So, here’s the full loaf shot –

Full loaf shot
Full loaf shot

so you can see why I didn’t want to plop lemon wedges onto the top, now, can’t you?  I have no problem with M&P at all and love to use it for embeds and ornamentation, but this time, I just had to pass.  I love how this top looks, so it’ll stay this way and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that there’s no colour changes in store.  It’s chilling in the fridge to prevent gel and tomorrow I’ll check it to see if it’s at the right stage for cutting.  Who know maybe tomorrow, there’ll be cut pics to share.

This fragrance is a really nice one for cp soapmaking.  It doesn’t seem to have any known issues with ricing, acceleration, discoloration, seizing, or any other types of gremlins that plague many a soapmaker’s best intentions.  It’s described as being a freshly brewed tea with lemon fragrance, but my nose just isn’t picking up the lemony notes.  I smell freshly brewed tea.  Period.  Not a bad thing, though as it’s very nice, refreshing, and makes for a unique fragrance for a soap bar.  You could easily use this and add a lemonade or raspberry fragrance for a fresh summertime  twist or even the latest fad fruit – pomegranate.  NG states that in cp it discolours to yellow, so we’ll see if it does that since it might show up in this lighter batch.  The previous one was too dark due to the use of brewed tea with the lye to see a yellow discoloration.  I guess it might not matter since I used that lemon mica on the swirl.  We”ll see what happens as days pass.


As a follow-up to yesterday’s post of the making of the Sweet Tea, I thought I’d just add in the pics from this mornings cutting of the loaf and this is what I found when they were cut ~


All bars prior to web site posting
All bars prior to web site posting


I’ll definitely be doing that type of swirling motion again!  Love how it turned out!  🙂