It has been a while since I posted and this has constantly been on my mind. After all, this blog and soapmaking are my babies – born one month apart. It’s just that it is much faster for me to post pictures and updates primarily on Instagram, and secondarily on Facebook. I hope you follow me there!
Last Sunday was my last day to make soap for the year. It’s nice to see my kitchen free of soapmaking clutter! There’s still a lot of things to do and finish before my husband and I leave for Tokyo, where we will be spending the New Year. I am really looking forward to this break and to see Maya again!
For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I have a beloved shih-tzu named Chewie. He is currently in doggie hospital for ehrlichia, a serious bacterial infection transmitted by ticks. Not only that, he needs his gallbladder removed for stones, but I am still hoping that the reading is wrong, or that the stones would miraculously dissolve, so that he would not require surgery. He is staying in the hospital until we come back. Please send him prayers and healing energy.
To close the year, I leave you with these holiday soaps I made. See you again in 2016! Wishing you all a Joyful Christmas and a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful New Year!
Red Currant and Pine
Citrus Cypress – This is the same as the Japanese Indigo Soap I made earlier this year, minus the indigo, and with the addition of Australian red clay and bamboo charcoal for a new look. I still plan on doing more experiments with indigo but using clear-colored essential oils. This soap has cypress, petitgrain, lemon 5-fold, orange 5-fold, cajeput, and basil – too yellow to use in an indigo soap, but perfect with the current look. I really love the smell – so fresh and uplifting!
Orange Ylang Ylang – I was a little bit apprehensive when I made this. Ylang ylang is known to accelerate trace or even seize soap. Luckily, everything went smoothly. Pure ylang ylang is so strong that a little goes a long way. I blended it with lavender, orange 5-fold, copaiba balsam and ginger, and anchored them with kaolin and French pink clays. This soap has olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter, orange wax, fresh yogurt, and goat’s milk. If this soap were a woman, she would be someone confident and sexy, yet down to earth. 🙂
Orange Ylang Ylang
Shikon and Bamboo Charcoal – This is a remake of the one I made last February. The only difference is that I lessened the amount of shikon. I found the first batch too dark; I think this new batch looks better. But knowing me, I will probably continue to tinker with the recipe. This has lavender, rosemary, cajeput and patchouli for their restorative properties. The smell is herbal, a bit camphoraceous, and earthy.
Shikon and Bamboo Charcoal
I love all things minty. Inhaled, I find it soothing, comforting and at the same time energising. My taste buds have a thing for it, too. I was in mint heaven when I visited Australia a few years ago. They have a mint version of almost all their chocolates! Have you seen mint KitKat before? I was so thrilled to discover it, and of course, I had to have my stash to take home. 🙂
I already make several soaps with mint, but I am always thinking of more variations. This latest one is a Dead Sea Mud soap, aimed at acne-prone skin, yet none-drying. It contains more than 50% olive oil, with coconut oil, cocoa butter, and castor oil making up the rest. It also has fresh yogurt for its skin refining qualities. For a spa-like scent, I used essential oils of Japanese Mint (mentha arvensis), spearmint (mentha spicata), peppermint (mentha piperita), cajeput (melaleuca cajeputi – a cousin of Tea Tree), Siberian fir (abies siberica), and dark patchouli (pogostemon cablin).
Since I’ve known my my mother-in-law (nearly 8 years), her all-time favorite scent has always been lavender. But ever since I gave her Honeysuckle soap last year, she has declared it as her new favorite. Poor lavender. She hasn’t given it a second glance since she fell in love with the heady and sexy honeysuckle.
I have never smelled the real flower, so I don’t know if what I have is the real deal. I bought several honeysuckle fragrances from various suppliers, and they all smell different. I made a blend of the ones that I like and added a little bit of other floral elements to bring everything together.
I think this is my 4th time to make Honeysuckle, and so far this is the best looking. I love the bright colors and the soap batter was behaved enough for me to make hanger swirls. Typical of most florals, this usually becomes thick quite fast, and in the past, the yellowish fragrance oil had a tendency to turn pink into peach.
I thought I was not into florals, but it is becoming apparent that I am wrong. To my surprise, many of my top picks are florals, including honeysuckle. What’s your favourite floral? 🙂
Looking at my empty racks, I jumped right back to soaping on January 2. But this time, it was at a leisurely pace. When I don’t soap for a couple of weeks, I feel rusty and my hands and arms seem heavier! And it’s the same with blogging for me. Consider this my New Year blogging warm-up. 🙂
Here is Black Vetiver, a dupe of Jo Malone’s Black Vetyver Cafe, described as “a bitter coffee bean steeped in earthy notes of vetiver and temple incense.” I have not smelled the original, but I mighty love the way this one came out in soap. I don’t smell coffee, but I detect woods, vanilla, and incense – making for a complex, sensual and mysterious scent.
I made 3 batches late last year, all using the hanger swirl technique, each with its own unique look. I had a hard time parting with them, but since my stock was running low, I eventually just kept 2 bars for myself. I will definitely be making a new batch soon.
Even though we don’t have Black Friday sales here in the Philippines, I still get excited to check out the deals online. I was behaved and made just one purchase, which will take 2-3 months to reach me. It’s quite a wait – a good practice in delayed gratification. 😛
I hope you all had a fun Thanksgiving weekend! Did you snag some good bargains? 🙂
No soap making for me over the weekend, just a lot of packing. One of them was Lavender Mist – a big, bold and beautiful lavender scent. The first time I made this, i used 2 tones of violet mica. I changed it up to blue and violet, and I must say I really like this new combo.
I’ve had this stamp since February, but it was only end of last month that I started giving more time to creating an all-natural line. I think the stamp adds a nice touch to the simplicity of the soaps. I also decided to go for a texturised top to make it look less plain – and to have fun playing with the surface design!
My dilemma now is the packaging. My current kraft paper wrap would go perfectly with the all-natural theme, but the uneven top makes it impractical. I am thinking of trying out plastic packaging. I know it seems contradictory, but I am interested to find out too if people will be more drawn to soap that they can see immediately.
Below is a beer soap I made a month ago. I used my standard recipe of olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, rice bran oil, and cocoa butter. It is exceptionally smooth, and I am surprised at how light the colour is. I did not use T.D., only kaolin clay at 1% of my oils by weight. I don’t know how to describe the scent, but that it is mild and pleasant. It contains 7 essential oils: bergamot, orange, peppermint, petit grain, cedar atlas, benzoin, and star anise.
The next one is a yogurt soap scented with palmarosa, lavender, orange and grapefruit. I used white rice flour at 1% of oil weight to anchor the scent. Right now I am not quite understanding the scent. But I don’t want to judge yet until it has fully cured in two weeks.
Palmarosa Lavender Soap