Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What Does Egg Contribute To Soap?

After my holiday eggnog soap venture (if you have not read it yet, click here Eggnog Cheers), I started to wonder what egg really contribute to the soap.  It's not fat, I don't think.  Egg has lots of protein, and egg white is well known to help tighten and shrink our enlarged pores.  This time, I video myself making unscented egg soap, no other additives, well, except Annatto seed for coloring, :-P

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Plain White Soap, Really?!

Last week we took a quick trip to Cost Plus World Market to buy my favorite German Gummy Bear in 3 lb. bags (oh I feel so guilty but I can't stop!), my DH saw a soap named Rosemary Spearmint and shoveled up my nose and said, why you never make me this kind of soap?!  So I rolled my eyeballs and promised him I will.  Apparently he wants the exact same scent and pure white, no nothing or colors added.  Wait, and you married me?!  Something is not right here!  What you did to my husband?!  You are killing me (to be exact, my creativity) honey!  As I complaint to him loudly he replied, hey, listen to your customer, your customer, me, I want white soap that smells like Rosemary Spearmint, period!  I'm teaching you how to listen to what your customer wants!  Oh~ !&^)$@^%_#*^%#_*^%)&@^  Can I not have this kind of 'customer' who doesn't even pay?
Anyway, I heard that adding a little Bentonite clay may boosts lather in soap so I added 3/4 tsp to my 2 lb. log.  I totally forgot how Bentonite clay can swell up by absorbing all the water you add to mix it and puff up to be like jello!  I was not having fun mixing it smoothly back into the soap batter.  It literally made the batter jello-y.  Oh well, glade that I was not making anything fancy, just plain old white soap!

I'm also experimenting soap cutting time.  This came about when a few soap makers noticing bubble texture when they use wire cutters to cut fresh un mold soap logs.  They were all wondering the uneven texture was due to the wire cutting through soft soap that is freshly made.  I have that happen to me all the time, except I never thought the wire cutter was the cause.  My first reaction to the bubble texture was that I trapped too much air when mixing.  To prove right or wrong, I started cutting a slice every 12 hours after I took this log out of my mold.  Well, let's just say, it make absolutely...  no difference!  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Eggnog Cheers!

How literal can I get?  Oh you will be surprised...
Introducing my holiday treat: Eggnog Soap
Made with REAL egg (organic), spiced rum, and fresh full fat cow milk!  Yum!
 I used heavy vanilla fragrance oil mixed with some amber and almond fragrance oil, cassia and cinnamon EO, oh so yummy!  The majority portion turned dark brown because of the vanilla content.  I poured out a portion before scenting and add a little titanium dioxide to whiten the color a little to get the contrast I wanted and it worked pretty well I must say!  I'm always fascinated to see how fast the soap turned color because of the heavy vanilla content.  This was how it looked like right after pour:
Fascinating isn't it?!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peacock Swirl Challenge

Alright, this is my trial #3!!!  I think I'm stuck!  Am I going to get peacock swirl, EVER?!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

First Public Holiday Fair

Nervous and stressed out was all I felt for the past couple weeks before my show.  I only got 2 hours of sleep the night before the big day.  There were just so much to do!  Now I can finally say, Thank God it's OVER!  I slept for 12 hours straight that night!

Can you tell I looked tired?!  ...don't look too close!

Luxury Cocoa butter Dead Sea bath salt

Emu cream and body butter

Cute M&P finch bird display

Close up on my CP soap bar display

Friday, December 9, 2011

Feel The Holiday Rush

I know I've been pretty quiet these few weeks with very limited blog posts.  I've been in this 'machine' mode, massive producing products left and right to fill the holiday rush demand.  It shouldn't be an excuse, but I'm feeling exhausted...  Massive production is what I hate.  As I mentioned in my blog before, I do not repeat my design, it is just not me.  But when it comes to the holiday rush, I have no choice but to force myself into acting like a 'machine' reproducing one after another.  Trust me, I'm not liking myself so much right now.  I kept on telling myself it will be over soon!  I only have one show to attend and a big quantity novelty soap order to fill, but I feel so beat up, started to wonder how everyone can do so many shows and wholesales?

Alright, enough venting, here are some soap I never officially show the photos:

Brown Sugar & Fig Coconut Milk Soap
Snow White (with the red poison apple)
First Peacock Swirl Trial

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Is Butter Better?

It's winter, it's getting cold and dry, I can feel it, well, my skin can feel it because I've been putting cream on my arms and legs more often nowadays.  Stores have started to offer luxurious thick body butter again in addition to year round body lotion.  All that buttery creamy talk makes my mouth watery (yes, my mouth... my brain thinks body butter = whipped cream).

Here's a list of what's going into my body butter:
Shea butter
Mango butter
Cocoa butter
Apricot kernel oil
Sesame oil
Rosehip oil
Meadowfoam oil
Camellia seed oil
Optiphen (preservative in case someone drop liquid)
ROE (Rosemary Oil Extract for preventing rancidity)

Phew~ that is a long list.  Majority of the body butter offerings out there are done with high % of Shea butter, which to me might be a bit too greasy.  I personally like more of a dry velvety feel.  Therefore I chose to use Mango butter, the driest feeling out of all 3 major butters.  Then I also chose all skin loving oils that are quick to medium absorbing (noticing all of them are targeting at mature & damaged skin type?  I am getting OLD...).  Anyway, I slowly melted the butters, added the liquid oils then popped the whole pot into the freezer.  When the mixture became semi transparent, I took the pot out, beat it with my electrical beater for a few minutes.  Popped into the fridge again for few minutes, beat it again, repeated for another couple times.  

Wow~ it's thick, not like whipped cream I was imagining, definitely whipped butter.  I scooped some up with my finger and it started to melt with my body heat.  I rubbed some all over my arms and legs.  It gave my skin this light shinny shine, took my skin good 10 minutes to absorb all that, then the shine went away.  I have to say, it does form a protective layer on my skin, and very resisting to wash off, and actually makes me feel warmer!  Go figure!  But on the other hand, I do feel more greasy and slippery, especially on my feet as I like to walk barefoot in my house, my feet don't like socks, they like to be free!  There are pros and cons in both traditional lotion and body butter.  I'm not sure at this point I feel butter is better, what's your preference?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Restless - Jewelry Section

It's fall it's winter, the blue and whites:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Music for the Holiday

Well, just the instrument I mean!
It took me a long time trying to figure out how to make the mold and I think I still failed.  The silicone I have in hand is the brushable kind, great for catching fine details as you can see from my 3D soaps, but it's terrible at holding straight lines and angles.  I would consider ordering a different strength of silicone if this is to make into my permanent production, but for now I have a dead line to meet, this is for my nephews' holiday concert and they play violin!  This is just one of 10 color schemes (yes, really, TEN different color scheme and scents).  This project is consuming most of my time (well, plus holiday preparation), and it is why I have been pretty quiet lately on my blog.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Revealing "Peacock"

The long waited peacock swirl slab is ready to come out!  This will be my first silence video with captions.  Due to late night working without coffee, well, typo is not unusual!  hehehe...  That's why it took so long, I decided to fix all the typo, and add background music.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Better than Dragon's Blood?!

Dragon's Blood has been very popular scent for toiletry and household fragrance.  Can anything be better than Dragon's Blood?!  Oh yes, I just found one!  Anyway, this is my 2nd attempt to make the peacock swirl.
If you haven't seen the newest swirl technique by Lovin' Soap, here's her original link:
I also watched a few youtube videos about marbling paper art with oil paint in water, very similar concept.  I made a quick cheap tool rake out of styrofoam and skewer sticks to do this swirl, you'll see it in my video.

Color scheme is inspired by this Design Seeds pallet:

And here's the video:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin Chai

Fall and winter are my favorite seasons for drinking espresso blends.  Coffee shops always come out with seasonal blend like peppermint mocha, eggnog latte, or pumpkin spiced chai... total yum!  When I found out that Majestic Mountain Sage came out with essential oil blend of Chai I just have to get a bottle of that!  Unfortunately all that yummy sweet vanilla got lost in the making of cold process soap and all it's left is the spice and mostly anise.  It would be totally fine if I wasn't expecting chai, but I am!  I want my chai!  All I really need is a straight up vanilla fragrance oil to sweeten it up but I don't have any.  If you still don't know me yet, let me tell you one more time, I hate vanilla anything, don't even offer me vanilla ice-cream because I'll just give you a face!  I know, I'm weird, can't help it.  I'm fine with vanilla as an accent, but if I can tell it's vanilla, I don't want it.  The point is, I do not have vanilla fragrance oil in my territory, so what to do to sweeten up this chai essential oil blend, I did buy a big bottle?  I took out the box (yes, all my fragrance oils are in boxes cuz I ran out of cabinet space for all of them, I'm a fragrance oil junky) that contains all my foodie scents and I found Sweet Pumpkin Spice!  Yes, this will do!  I also used can pumpkin puree as an additive.
Now, I'm in season!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Secrete Inside Snow White

Ready to see what Snow White's secrete is?!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Snow White, the drama princess

Usually you make the soap then you give it a name.  This time is the opposite.  The name came first, inspired by soaperstar's Snow Angel, challenged by Celine (aka soaperstar) from I am handmade.  The story is, Celine's Snow Angel gave her such a hard time soaping but we all thought it is as beautiful as its name and so worth all the trouble.  My comment to her is all beauty in history has her own drama, just like Snow White.  Celine then turned that around and challenged me to make a Snow White.  Ok, sure, I like a challenge!  Surprisingly it did not give me any fuzz during soaping and filming, smooth sailing all the way!  Then after editing the recording for my youtube channel airing, it mysteriously 'disappeared', meaning I can see the file name in my drive, but no way to open it or copy it or upload it...   She's being such a drama princess!  She really knows to pick the timing!  Took me another night to edit the whole video from the original again and now she's finally ready to tell her side of the story.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Soap, 2 Way

In Asian cooking, there's a lot of dishes we call out same main ingredient (usually a protein) cook in 2 or 3 or even 7 ways.  Maybe later on when I feel like I'm up there with Iron Chefs I'll make a 5 course soap!  But for now, I'm not that ambitious, 2 way is fine for me.

Color inspiration: Design Seeds Color Fuse
Spoon Swirl Style
(see my previous blog post video I Am No Actor)
Scented with essential oil blend of lavender, rosemary, patchouli, rosewood, cedar wood, and rose geranium, which somehow mostly disappeared to nothing.

Funnel Swirl Style
EO & FO mix of Bergomat, orange 10x, pink grapefruit FO, little bit of patchouli, vetiver, and geranium rose

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ombre Soap Reveal

Now I can show you the cutting video:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ombre Layering

Since quit a few people asked me how in the world I make my Ombre layer style soap with just one color mixing bucket, I decided to make it into a video.  If I'm going to explain the process by writing, it would be a book long!  Watching me do it is definitely faster.  This batch I'm using
Obsession type fragrance oil mixed with Red Clover Tea type, oh you got to smell this, I'm totally obsessed!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Personal Request from my Husband

Few days ago my honey (who cares nothing about toiletry, typical male) personally asked me to make him bath bombs, cuz he wants to take baths.  OMG... I was speechless for a good minute.  I asked him, honey, do you know what a bath bomb is????  No seriously, do you?!  He rolled his eyeballs at me and told me, YES, I want one of those huge big ball thing I see on Etsy!  And make it smell good please!  I made some already, it's in the bath room, you can use them now if you want, I told him.  I don't want the ones you use, they are pink hearts and smell like flowers, he replied.  Normally I would just flip out and start arguing with him, but this time I actually didn't mind at all!  I was just excited that he actually showed a tiny little interest in what I do!  So I made him 2 different scents, Eucalyptus Orange (essential oil) and Brown Sugar & Fig (fragrance oil).  He rejected my Brown Sugar & Fig, that's fine, I'll use it!
 The aqua colorant I added in the bombs actually made the tub water that lagoon ocean blue, very nice and soothing to the eyes.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Now the fun part, the big reveal

As promised, the reveal of the spoon swirl milk soap.  I had to film this in 2 different days and you will see why, not telling you now, you have to watch the video!

PS. the weird part is the essential oil blend I used to scent this batch is totally gone by now.  Cross my fingers it will return as the soap cures. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I Am no Actor!

It just seems so effortless and easy when I watch youtube videos of people making soap. But when it comes to me making it, oh boy... I'm no actor for sure, you be the judge.  And I just noticed that I recorded this vertically instead of horizontal... oops.
A little background first, this recipe came along when I saw my rosehip and evening primrose oil sitting quietly in my fridge, being forgotten. Rosehip and evening primrose oils are said to contain extremely high in essential fatty acids and known to help treat dry, irritated, weathered or problematic skin. They can help sooth the inflammation and treat scar and burns.  I have never soap with these 2 oils before, this will be first.  I scented this soap lightly with essential oil blend of lavender, rosemary, patchouli, rosewood, cedar wood, and rose geranium.

Last note before you hit that play button, is it just me or any of you think yourself sound funny on the recording?  Do I really talk like that (I wonder)?!

PS. I will do a really short clip of me cutting this loaf later.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New vs. Old

It is said that soap is like a good wine, the older you cure, the better it gets.  Now, is that really true?  As curious as I am, of course I have to do an experiment to prove it right, or wrong.  I dog out a bar of soap which I made back in 7/18/2010 according to my soap log.  As far as I can remember, that's probably the first batch I ventured into mixing different fragrances.  It is a mixture of Indian Sandalwood and Tuberose Moss, both from Bramble Berry.  I opened up my old file of that soap recipe and made an exact batch again, with the same % of fragrance and superfat.  Well, I can't tell you which one is new and which one is old.  I will line up some testers.  I want true honest answer without any existing perceptions of any kind.  We shell see.

Looking back at my old recipe, now I have no idea what I was thinking, what a strange recipe I made...
Olive oil
Rice bran oil
Apricot kernel oil
 Palm kernel oil
Palm oil
Shea butter
Coconut oil
Castor oil

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gift Set Packaging

I finally finished packaging all my milk soap sets, phew!  That is very time consuming!  Thank God there's TV, or I would be bored to death!  Here they are, what do you think?

The Floral set: Euphoria, Lavender & Chamomile

The Autumn set: Orange Carrot, Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, and Madagascar

There are 2 more sets coming.
The Clay set: Refresh, Mediterranean, and Chamomile Neroli
The Spice set: Dark Star, Lemongrass Tea, and Frankincense & Myrrh

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Red Palm Oil Trial

I've always been curious about red palm oil, not in cooking, but in soaping!  What we can find in the regular market is usually half red palm oil mixed with half canola oil, I'm guessing it's for the final product to stay in the liquid form (palm oil stays solid in room temperature)?!  It took me a while to adjust the new recipe as the more I want red palm oil in the recipe the more canola oil is also put into the equation at the same time and canola oil produces very soft soap.  Well, this new recipe certainly heats up fast, and this time I do not mind it gels, in fact, I kind of wish it would for the purpose of intensifying the colors.  I split some out to add active charcoal and copper penny mica and did an ITP ( in the pot) swirl.  This batch is scented with Frankincense & Kadota Fig plus Savannah Wind, kind of in season for the autumn, light fruity, warm, with a little citrus and spice, very yummy.

Oh I forgot to spray rubbing alcohol on top, look at the ash!  Can't even see the top swirl.

Let me show you how saturated the colors are under bright sunlight!

Update: washed off the ash on top

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

No More Power Oval!

How to not over heat my milk soap has been my biggest problem lately, though there's nothing wrong getting power oval all the time, it is certainly not perfect.  Oh I want creamy white bar of milk soap so badly!  So I finally decided to ditch my new stick blender, back to hand whisking.  And here it is, creamy white unscented soap, made with fresh cow milk!  Surprisingly smooth with no air bubbles, that's a first!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Color Inspiration Series - Twilight

Is anyone excited about the final Twilight movie like I do?!  I know, I'm far from being a teen, but I can't help it!  So, here's the final part of my experiment, made with mango butter instead of cocoa butter, scented with twilight inspired fragrance oil (light floral with white woods).
Under the bright sunlight, there's always the darkness, but it is so romantic!

Inspired by Design Seeds: berry bowl