Mad photog skills…..not

Those quirky little clear soaps with a tiny red heart embedded within and all scented with what else - Rose Garden. Just like a big red rose in full bloom! The Celtic Knot is also a clear soap base scented with Green Aloe & Clover and brushed with the pearlizer for a pretty silvery shimmer. The far right is a Hot Process Olive Oil soap batch with English Rose Garden superfatted soap hearts. These are all about 4.2 oz bars.
The Conch shell and Nautilus Shell molds were used with a standard coconut oil, olive oil, castor oil & lard soap recipe, then after curing was done, lightly brushed with a pearlizing dust to make them shimmer silvery white in the sunlight. The scent used is a discontinued one from WholesaleSuppliesPlus that I loved – Beachcomber. I was devastated when it disappeared from their selections list.
This is a shot of the back stock I have from Ghosts of Batches Past. They include Rosemary-Mint, Asian Plum, Lavender Breeze, Peach Jubilee and Clean Cotton all in a standard 4.2 - 4.95 oz. bar. All are also superfatted for skin moisturizing qualities not found in store bought deoderant bars.

Today, I tried a practice shot or three with scene props, lighting, and perspective changes for the soaps, lotion and got three fairly decent pictures as a result.  With any luck at all, my products will look more presentable and will be pretty enough to find a new home.

I also did a second try at getting the shampoo to take the pink grapefruit fragrance and not turn into water.  I used a thickener and kept the amount lighter than yesterday’s effort, which resulted in grapefruit scented tapioca.  Urg!  I heated up the base first, separated out a portion to be thickened, added the fo to the bottle, added the unscented tepid base to the thickened portion of base and combined thoroughly, then poured it all into the bottle with the fo.  This been stirs and shaken up a bit to blend it all together.  So far, it hasn’t turned runny again.  Fingers crossed…..it’ll be nice and shampooey thick tomorrow.

Poke me with a fork, I’m done for the day.

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Yikes! Watery shampoo!

Shampoo was bottled up this evening making the whole room smell fabulous, so I blissed while I worked.  (Did I mention that this work is perpetual aromatherapy and I love it?)  The shampoo was fragranced with Grapefruit Ruby Red from Natures Garden and Candles  then set aside while I went to fix supper for my dear hubby who’s feeling puny today.  Head colds should be illegal or at least build immunities so we’d never get one again after the first one.  I digress.  So I totter back into the work room, go back to look at the shampoo in its pretty labeled bottle, tilt it a bit on its side and it’s like water!  Pearly translucent, grapefruity water!  Agh!!!!!   I go to the web site for some help and sure enough it states right on the page for the FO used that it can cause thinning in shampoos and body washes.  So, here’s my chance to try out something else that was recently purchased.  Xanthum Gum.  It’s touted as a natural thickener, so after seeing the watery shampoo gurgling around in that bottle, I’m willing to give it a shot.  1/2 tsp in 1/4 c. of liquid doesn’t seem like much but it worked miracles.  The thickness is back to pre-FO addition levels.  Yay!  What a scare!

That should be put directly on bottles of citrusy FOs.  This product may cause thinning of hair care and body wash products as well as seizing in cp or hp soaps.  Why don’t they put that on the bottles of FOs that do that so we could avoid the heart attack we nearly have when our goodies turn into a watery mess?  Yes, it still smells nice, but that’s just part of the attraction!  It’s got to perform well too.

I should try this shampoo sometime.  Add a bit of peach to it and see how well it works.  Peach has become my signature scent since William fell in love with it.  Sometimes I get tired of it and wear something else – mainly when he’s out of town – because it can get a bit old after a while, but I always go back to the peach.  I like variety in fragrances, but peach is the mainstay.  Others around my workplace like it, too apparently because folks are always saying “What’s that wonderful smell?  Kinda fruity!”  Guess I’ll try that out tonight and if it thins I’ll be prepared with thickener.  Here goes nothin’!

The newest scents are in and they are fabulous!

These are just the first three of six that were ordered and every single one so far is a little bit of heaven.  I definitely have my own favorites already among these, one of them being Torrential Rains with its crisp, clean, green scent.  Beach Bum is a bit more floral than beachy, and a bit deeper than Torrential RainsPatchouli is a classic and this one is all Patchouli, no blend here!  I really love each of these new choices, though admittedly one more than the rest, but still they all are great additions to an ever-growing collection of fragrance oils.

The next step now that the fragrance oils have reached a level of supply and diversity that I’m comfortable with, is to add on some new molds and pick out some colours.  I have no idea how to choose from the colours that are out there.  There’s too many to choose from without feeling like smacking yourself and asking ‘Why didn’t I get ____?”  I’ve seen quite a few molds of bars that I know I’ll add in first, with pretty floral and Celtic designs to keep things interesting at least for a little while.

So here’s the first few.  With any luck at all, maybe there’ll be time tomorrow to add a few bars with some of the other scents I have tried in any of the bases yet  like Baby Clean, The Perfect Man, White Peach & Silk Blossoms,  White Tea & Ginger and Deb’s Flower Shoppe.  Baby Clean was a bit of a surprise when I finally was able to smell it.  Not like the baby lotions, shampoos, bathing liquids you smell in stores.  This is a far more sophisticated scent than that, though there is that slight underlying hint of lavender to sooth little ones off to sleep after bath time.  This one’s nice enough for even the grownups!  The Perfect Man is an amazingly sexy fragrance with hints of pepper and the earthy tones of bergamot to draw you in and you’ll easily get lost in its complexity.  Many elements contribute to the layers in this one.  It’s certain to be a hit with the women out there who’d all love to catch their guys wearing this one.  It’s aptly named!  White Tea & Ginger is a sweet gingery fragrance that would be very nice in a body lotion.  White Peach & Silk Blossoms has just a touch of peach, not the syrupy juicy type of peach either, plus a bold stroke of floral, namely mimosa. Very nice.  What a wonderful shampoo this one would make!

So, there’s the list for today and hopefully there’ll be more to follow on Friday.

Tomorrow, tomorrow, etc..

Supplies are due to arrive tomorrow for a couple of other requests recently received – thank you Facebook! – so it looks like Thursday will be a soapy fun day.  Wish it could be tomorrow after everything arrives, but the timing is bad.  UPS is rarely consistant in their arrival time.  Sometimes it’s 9:30 am, while other days it’s as late as 7:30 at night!   So, tomorrow will be a receiving day, and household tasks.  But there are some wonderful fragrance oils in one of these orders.  In addition to  a straight forward patchouli fo, there also White Tea & Ginger, White Peach and Silk Blossoms, Torrential Rains, and Beach Bum.  This last one is an attempt at finding a suitable replacement for my long time favorite, Beachcomber.  I don’t have any info on the notes that were in Beachcomber, so I don’t know if it’s a good swap or not.  I’m still mouring the loss.  Painful!  That one smelled fabulous!  Made me weak in the knees.

White Tea & Ginger has some wonderful layers to it including one of my favorites – bergamot.  Then there’s White Peach & Silk Blossoms which has the sweet subtle notes of peony.    Beach Bum is my candidate for replacing Beachcomber with notes of jasmine, and last but not least the Torrential Rains with jasmine.   These are not all of the notes they have, just the ones that strike my fancy strongest and leaves their proprietary blends composition safe.  If you’re interested in these fragrances, please feel free to visit their site at www.naturesgardencandles.com where you’ll find these plus of host of hundreds of other items to make the most glorious soaps your skin’s ever had the pleasure of experiencing, candles, diffusers, and so much more.  A wonderful site!  While we’re talking shopping sites, there’s another one that I found before any other site for soap making supplies – Wholesale Supplies Plus.   www.wholesalesuppliesplus.com carries everything you need to get started from the ground up including loads of links and helpful guidance to start your own business or protect the one you’ve already started.  Their forum is one of the best and friendliest you’ll ever find.  I love spending time in there discussing all different methods of soap making from Melt & Pour, Hot Process, Cold Process, CPOP,  to other bath & body items like lotions, lip balms, body butter, lotion bars, etc.  There’ s something in there for every soaper or bath & body crafter.

Smack upside my head

Remind me to never, ever again have my orders shipped to work.  When they arrive, they usually arrive at the wrong spot rather than my office, even though the UPS guy is there every single day!  Explain to me why my stuff goes someplace else while work’s goes directly to them!  I have to wait for it all to get sorted out then pass it around from department to department.  I still haven’t laid eyes or hands on the order than allegedly arrive yesterday morning bright and early.  So, where did it end up?  Maybe today will be my lucky day.  One can only hope.  This order includes the pH testing equipment to check newly made or cured soaps for lye presence.  I still haven’t been able to test my Cottonseed bars because they testing supplies haven’t gotten through to me!  Grrrr! So, you wonder why I have things sent there instead of home…I worry about packages arriving while I’m at work and they’ll be stolen from my porch.  I live in the city, so stuff just sits on my porch if it arrives in the morning.  It’s never a consistent arrival time either.   But I guess I’ll have to risk it and have things sent there anyway so they’ll show up when they say they have. (Unless of course they grow feet and walk away)  Just smack me upside my head if I ever get the crazy notion to have it sent to work, ever again.   I give you permission.

Last night was a bit productive and I had an ‘Aha!’ moment when a friend suggested I get a Facebook page for my business.  So, without waiting another second, I set it up.  I’ve uploaded a crop of pictures of the soaps I currently have, but will also load up everything else that isn’t soaps too, to make it a full roster of goodies.  The nightgowns will come in sometime very soon, though I’m not sure when as life goes on here at home and other things require my attention.   I really need to get going on getting in the supplies for the shampoos and conditioners, plus make a batch of lip balm to have ready for sending and photographing.  There are two expectant mothers that I really want to get gift baskets to, but haven’t had the time to pull them together.  Soon.  Very soon.  One ‘girl’ basket and one ‘boy’ basket.

Cottonseed Oil Soaps update

Cottonseed Oil soap as of today

These little creamy-coloured beauties are curing a bit since they’re still a bit soft, despite using the hot process method for their production.  They smell fabulous though, making the entire back half of the house smell like Clean Cotton (aka Febreeze, according to my dear hubby).  Washing out the little Gladware tubs I use as soap molds was a wonderful aromatherapy session.  It smelled sort of like ironing day for a moment.

Those little inexpensive plastic storage containers are invaluable for this use!  They last for quite a few batches, but if one ever meets an early demise, it’s not huge loss and it’s just that one piece, not the entire 25 dollar mold!  I didn’t grease or oil them with anything to prevent sticking.  Just poured in the soap and let it set up until it was firm enough to push out, which was actually only around 2-3 hours.  According to most information, the oils used should make for a hard bar, but I guess that’s after it’s fully cured or was cooked longer than I cooked it.  I poured at the light trace stage.  It probably could have/should have gone longer, but that’s ok.  Soap can be a bit forgiving in this stage.  I’ll get the testing material tomorrow or the next day and I’ll test it then to see if it’s safe to try in a hand washing.    No hurry as it still needs to cure a bit more anyway.  I don’t want it to wash down the drain too quickly.