Jasmine cut, image added Saturday March 21st, 2015
Jasmine cut, image added Saturday March 21st, 2015

Spring is now here as of 6:45 this morning and I’m sure everyone has been awaiting its arrival and the hopes of brighter, warmer days ahead.  Surely they’re not so far off now, are they?

I breathe deep over the soap and close my eyes.  Other senses take over.  Hearing becomes keener, smell becomes sharper.

Jasmine, sweet yet sensual, evocative yet innocent walks hand in hand with ethereal orange blossoms and the crisp green notes of bamboo.  It’s the scent of summertime.  An evening in late spring or early summer.  You know the ones I mean.

Windows are flung wide. The curtains lift and fall with the gentle evening breeze that comes through.  You can still hear some distant lawnmower humming, a dog barking as it romps with the young boy who plays with him in their backyard fortress.  Soon enough it will be time to go inside, get his bath and settle in for the night, the faithful family dog watching over his young charge.

There’s a quiet hesitation in the air just before the sun slips further beyond the horizon, the soil beneath our feet is still a bit cool, still awaiting that day when the burgeoning bounty of new growth reveals itself and we all smile when we see the tiny fragile shoots threading their way upward, reaching for the sun.

A mother rocks her baby to sleep as the evening deepens and she smiles as she lays her baby down for a night of restful sleep as some of the more precocious spring flowers already in bloom perfume the air. That moment is held in our minds, in our hearts for all time as the scent of summer.  Freshly cut grass – green, dewy, and clean.  Florals – light, calming yet uplifting and that scent we all know as night.  It’s dewy, cool, but promises much more.  This lovely fragrance is all of that, the stuff of memories and far more than all of that, it’s a genuine scent that brings all we hold dear to mind.

This gorgeous fragrance is available from Fragrance Laboratory,  along with so many other outstanding fragrance oils.  You’ll simply have to experience this scent for yourself to get the best it has to offer.  It’s a yellow oil and slightly discolours the soap, but barely to a very pale yellow, which can easily be overcome with enough white to lighten it.  I prefered to keep some of that pale sunwashed colour by adding a bit of Extra Bright from TKB Trading plus some Silver White (also TKB) that’s an bit iridescent, shiny and evening makes the bars sparkle in the right light.  This scent really needed to shine and the Silver White gives just the right amount of shimmer.  Unlike so many other floral FOs, this one does NOT accelerate at all.  I had plenty of time for swirling and decorating the top in any way I wanted to, so the top was improvised a bit from a technique I’d seen done with a cake decoration.  It would work better if I’d waited a bit longer to do the designing of the top, but it still turned out pretty enough to please me.   Tomorrow, I’ll check to see if it’s firm enough to be cut and if so, I’ll post some pics of what I find inside.  Fingers crossed there because I tried something I’m not very well-practiced in yet, so it’s anyone’s guess what in there!

Green Tea & Nectarine

Once there was a quiet, unassuming tea leaf, green and summery, subtle and soft, but she wanted more.  She wanted a moment in the limelight where everyone’s eyes were firmly fixed on her and no other.  Yet being the soft-spoken type, this would not happen without a bit of help, so she went in search of a friend to call her own.   One that would walk hand-in-hand with her on those halcyon days of summer when the birds sing and the bees hum all in harmony whilst she savors the sunshine in good company.  As luck would have it, a lonely Nectarine happened by in search of someone who’d be there for him as well.  Being so similar to peach, poor lonely Nectarine was often overlooked or suffered from frequent episodes of mistaken identity.  He struck a chord with this gentle verdant Green Tea upon proper introduction and walked softly towards that summer sunset, happily together, speaking in notes that perfectly matched and complemented one another and they’re forever friends for all time.

IMG_2224 (768x1024)

Well, that’s the story anyway.  A scent blended from two Fragrance Laboratory fragrance oils is a sure winner.  It’s just a given.  Green Tea, a new one to FL’s selection is soft, subtle, mild yet  welcoming part of any spring & summer collection.  If you are a soap maker, this is one you’ll simply have to try to see just what a soothing yet elegant scent it is and how reliably it soaps in the often-befuddling, gremlin-riddled world of cold process.  It’s a dreamboat!  No discolouration whatsoever, no acceleration, just pure luxury and the scent is in a category of its own.

IMG_2227 (1024x768)

The Nectarine is not your mama’s Nectarine.  This one’s more sophisticated, modern, clean, with a green crisp edge that satisfies and evokes a time of sandals, sunshine, and juicy gratifying drinks that the grown-ups only can appreciate.  Leafy green notes from this marry perfectly with the Green Tea to make it a match made in heaven.

With these two, it seemed inevitable they’d go together, though when I bought them that was not the plan.  I’d thought to use them separately, once I had them all out on sniffy strips and had these two close together it hit me in a wave of scent that had my sense reeling, mind drifting, nearly fainting with the headiness of it.  With the help of a lovely lady, Joene Lasky, in a Facebook group we both belong to that’s company run by Cindy Gooding of Fragrance Laboratory,  base notes were added and the fragrance soared into a whole new level of depth and body.

The colours used were from two sources.  The Enchanted Forest (darker green) is from Mad Oils as is the main base soap colour, Celery.  The silvery white is Silver White mixed with Extra Bright from TKB Trading, a reliable, non-crackling white that I’ve begun to use more and more in place of titanium dioxide.  The Silver White makes a sparkling, eye-catching oil/mica swirl for soap tops, too!   The peachy colour is Peach Sunset from The Conservatorie.  These are some of my favorite places to order the micas in soaps of all sorts and my favorite colours used in many, so you see these names frequently linked to their supply sites in here and I add them over and over in case you don’t want to have to dig through the earlier posts to find the link again and again.  These suppliers are ones that many soap makers rely on for excellent stock, customer service, and extensive colour ranges.  In the case of the micas, many are easy to work with but some can be temperamental about changing colour in the high pH of soap making and in most cases each colour from TKB and Conservatorie is tested for CP soap stability.  There are a few exceptions, but over all, they’re pretty good about giving you all the information you need to make a spectacular soap.  I’ve personally found a few that were those exceptions, so one day soon, I’ll gather those together and make a list to let you know which ones were genuine demons in cp soap.  Meantime, here’s to Spring, which begins on Friday of this week and all that it brings with it! Namely warmth & sunshine!

A quick add-in for the sliced images from this morning’s cutting of Green Tea & Nectarine –

IMG_2228 (1024x768)

Hana No Kaori

A while back I made some embeds, lovely pearly white flowers that would be perfect for use on an exotic fragrance, but I left them unfragranced so they could be used in any soap.  They were tinted with mica, a thin brush and quietly tucked away to wait patiently for their turn to step into the limelight.  Today turned out to be that day after all.  It originally was not planned to be so, but the lightning speed of the white portion of my soap batch today changed the original plan to “just get it in there and do the best you can”  It was a loose soap until the FO was added but as with most florals, you can expect something like warp speed, and this was no exception.  But it’s too beautiful a scent to skip because of a little thing like acceleration.  Onward and upward!

This FO has notes of lilies, osmanthus, blush rose, Japanese wisteria, fern, ozone, blue delphinium, baby’s breath, pink freezia, over a light delicate musk.  You open the bottle, breathe gently inward and you cannot stop the sigh that escapes.  It’s as inevitable as a sunrise.  Some might even moan just a bit, but in lady-like fashion of course. It’s elegance, sophistication and innocence in one unforgettable scent.  This FO, called Hana No Kaori defies description as no words truly do it justice.  You just have to sample it for yourself and one sniff is all it will take. It’s available from Fragrance Laboratory.  Get at least a pound because you know once you’ve gotten it into your fragrance cabinet you’ll want it in body scrub, body souffle, lotion, shampoo and bar soaps!  Put it in everything, like Grandma says.  It’s absolutely gorgeous!

I’d really wanted a mostly white bar with just the lightest trails of colour done by hanger swirling & something really simple yet elegant on the top, but the soap was much too thick to do such work neatly, so I really have no idea how this came out inside.  I’ll try the plans on another batch one day using a different FO, a fruity one, for the design I’d wanted to do.  But this one is still ideally suited to the flowers topping this loaf.  It’s an excellent plan B design and a top notch FO!  Just remember to keep it simple!

This soap is not yet named.  Hana is the fragrance oil's name only.
This soap is not yet named. Hana is the fragrance oil’s name only.

Hibiscus Tea Soaping today

With a name like that, you’ll automatically start getting a hint of that wonderfully warm, sweet, fruity scent of a freshly brewed cup of tea sitting before you and this scent is exactly that!  It’s very reminiscent of the scent of the White Tea with Peach & Mango tea we have here that is made with white tea and hibiscus flowers.  Frankly, I think the tea manufacturer needs to change the name, but that’s a discussion for another time and place.  The tea was brewed especially for this soap and today it was finally made after many delays due to family, work- & weather-related reasons. None of which I’m resentful of, just couldn’t find time to play.  *sigh*

I used babassu, olive, coconut, avocado, and almond oils for this soap, coconut milk, colloidal oatmeal, Tussah silk in the lye water, and the brewed tea. I split the batch into four colours – with the mauvey-pink being the base.  For this colour used Colorona Bordeaux from TKB Trading, which works beautifully in CP soap, never morphs, but was a bit darker than planned so I added a bit of TD to it.  Tempest from Mad Oils, Enchanted Forest, also from Mad Oils, and TD mixed with Pearl Basics from TKB was used for the colours in this batch with the Colorona being the base colour for the soap itself.  The swirl was done with a milkshake spoon swirling the Enchanted Forest, Tempest and the white inside.

The lye was dissolved in straight water, chilled in the fridge, then added to the soap, after which the tea was added.  FO was added at this point and that’s when the curdling took place, so I’m quite sure it was due to the tea and perhaps also due to the babassu oil.  It’s a very hard oil, but provide great lather! I stick blended again even though it might speed up the trace too much but it was necessary.  The raw soap was divided at this point and the micas added with the Colorona being the largest portion.

The scent, a new one from Fragrance Laboratory this year, is Hibiscus Tea.  If you’ve never tried Fragrance Labs’s oils and shopping with Cindy, you’re in for a real treat!  There are several new fragrances for Spring 2015 as well as the long-awaited return of Mineral Salt Spa, which was a classic for many years for many a soap maker, so pop in, say hi sometime.  You won’t regret it!

With the used of the tea and the babassu, I’m quite sure that’s why I had a bit of curdling once I added the FO into the raw soap.  The fragrance did NOT do this, it was what I used in the batch. I truly hope the swirls are good in this with these colours!  I don’t think they’re too close together, so there should be reasonably good definition between each one.  We will so tomorrow when the loaf is cut.  It’s chilling out in the fridge right now because I prefer NOT to gel my soaps.  I don’t want to risk a partial gel or lose any of the fragrance from the heat generated by gel.  To hold you over until the cut, here’s what the soap looks like in the mold.  (The dark on the top is Hibiscus Flower petals.) IMG_2189 (960x1280)

IMG_2190 (960x1280)


and the cut pic……

Hibiscus Cut 4 bar shot (1024x768)