Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Swirl Soap

I tried this soap swirling method from the Ellen's Essential website

Slab Swirl Slab Swirl
It looks a bit like mille-feuilles my mum used to make (without the pink, and the black was chocolate! LOL!). It didn't quite turn out like I expected it to, but if I don't think about it too much I can love this soap!! Here are the cut bars:
cut bars close up cut bars
It looks like cheesecake on the inside (though, not too sure what flavour the black stuff would be)


I used the lid of an A4 box of paper which I lined with freezer paper. I undid the lid so the flaps would be on the outside. Which also makes it easier to line.
I think next time I'll try a simple two colour swirl. This one (though you wouldn't know) had three colours added to the cream base.

For the first time I used macadamia oil in a soap! It's considered a luxury oil! I can't wait to see if I see a difference!!

Other than that I'm signing up for a third month of boot camp training with Fit For Health it's been hard but fun. My plantar fasciitis is behaving itself, which is wonderful news after so many years of feet pain and not really knowing what it was. I had my cortizone shots almost two years ago (21 months) and it's still good, but I do have shin splints at the moment, mainly in my right leg, but while I walk while others jog and I shuffle (jog as impactlessly as I can) while others run, I figure doing what I'm doing is better than not doing anyting at all. I had a nice surprise yesterday when the lab coat I wear once in a blue moon at work (mostly during Winter months) buttoned around the hips! It had never buttoned up and the one time it did, it snapped as soon as I sat down! Now, the scales may not show much progress, but buttoning up a lab coat, that's exciting!!! (well to me anyway!)

I'm trying the Flock browser at the moment, and while it's a bit over my head with all the "social networking" aspects of it, I find it's great to add pictures to this blog, or to forums, really handy. I really love Maxthon as a browser as some of the add-ons are just fantastic, but it doesn't co-exist very well with Vista (I love some parts of vista, but there's other that make me cringe!!).

It's been almost a year since I've done any serious rubber stamping, and a bit less since I've done any serious polymer clay. Time just flies. I want to do stuff, but with everything else going on (just regular life stuff) and this soap making, and making my own shampoo, and not wanting to do takeout more than once a week -- it's our Friday treat, the girls get Maccas and Hubby and I get Subway (I get the healthy veggie one!) but the bonus is that one of the Woolworth's I go to (Woolworth in Australia is a food chain, btw, as is Coles, nope, not a bookstore chain here!! though they do sell magazines!!)... anyway, one of the Woolies here has coupons for Subway on the back of their receipts, so when I'm lucky and I buy enough stuff (read: Groceries for the week) I get one, sometimes two coupons for Subway. The coupon is "buy one 12" sub and a drink, get one 12" sub free" so, even though we never drink the whole drink, it's still a 2nd sub for the price of the drink, which is less than $3, so that's a really neat savings, and I don't have to make dinner, which is always very much appreciated on a Friday... they also have coupons for pizza and other things, but the Subway coupons is what we like!!!

Well, here you go, my soap progress, boot camp progress, and how to live frugally tip all in one!!

Oh, btw, Sulea, you won that soap a few months ago and I just remembered you never emailed me back, I'll go pester you on your blog, I have a nice selection to pick from now!!! :)

Images in this post shared with Flock - The Social Web Browser

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Colour changes

Well, the leaves don't change much here in fall (we're actually in Winter since the 1st of June, but it's really hit last week, cold wet weather, and the leaves rarely turn red! I do miss that about the cold crisp air of the morning, seeing those beautiful colour changes in the leaves...). Well, doesn't matter as my soap is doing a little colour changing of its own. It's not fully cured yet, but I thought I'd show you the colour changes in this soap, in which I used a Pink Ultramarine.
This is the soap when I made it (from yesterday's post) on the left, and on the right, the soap now three weeks old. (Click on photo to see full size versions)

Possible MWMoulds Success
Karma soap after 3 weeks

I tried to neutralise the background to a true grey so you get the real colour of the soap (well, for the first picture I did have a square of white to neutralise the colours, but I cropped it out! Irfanview does that very well, btw, both colour balancing and cropping!)

This soap is the Rhubarb al Fresco, it went really yellow (no other colour added to the soap, just the Fragrance Oil (FO).
Again, soap I showed yesterday on the left, and on the right is the soap today, now two weeks old:

Another batch of dragons
Rhubarb al Fresco two weeks later

Well, whether that is interesting to others or not, I now have this fact documented :)

I'd better go get ready, it's 16°C outside, possibly raining today, and we're off to a picnic, the fitness club with which I have been doing a boot camp style training, FOR SIX WEEKS (*bow* *thank you!* *bow* no, I know, I can hardly believe it myself... problem is I can't run these days as I gave it my all in the first two weeks and gave myself a nice case of shin splints... but still, doing something is better than doing nothing!! and shin splints is better than the plantar fasciitis and heel spurs I've managed to not aggravate... yet! Fingers crossed...)

Anyhow, Fit For Health is having a client appreciation luncheon, on the riverside, it's going to not be too toasty, I reckon!!! But it'll be fun, fun to see what is served at such a picnic (surely not those horrendous red sausages in a slice of white bread!), it'll be nice to see the trainers and other people in a more relaxed athmosphere and it'll be something to do on a Sunday afternoon (as if I didn't have enough to do already!)
(btw, if you are in the Fremantle/Hilton area, and you would like to join, just send me an email... you probably have my email if you are in this area and are reading this?? Or use the link at the bottom left of this blog! There's morning sessions or 5:30pm or 6:30 pm so you really have your pick, though, Boot Camp in July and August doesn't sound too dry or warm, does it??)

Where's my tuque and my mittens???
Wee little update, I tried the Pineapple Coconut soap in the shower this morning with a shower pouf, and WOW! Bubbles galore and my skin feels quite nice too, not dry. Smells sooo nice too (but I already knew that!)
I use a pouf when the soaps are new as the edges are a bit "straight" but I plan on getting a little gizmo to make them look nicer, next time I'm at the hardware store. I'll keep you posted ;) another tip gleaned from The Dish

Saturday, June 20, 2009

When you feel your craft is letting you down

Have a look at this funny blog where people post their craft failures. I probably have a half dozens I could add, if I remembered them. I try to forget about my failures (craft or cooking) but try to remember the lesson learned! :)

I made another batch of soap this week, with my own home made oat milk (milking those little flakes of oats takes patience and dexterity! LOL!) - more on this a bit below.

First off, the coconut soap from the previous post didn't really change much. The colours are a bit more uniform, and not such a big change from the pic below. So I won't bother posting a pic but you can see one here, the brown is a wee bit less brown, but really, not much of a difference.

A few days later I decided to shred all my bits of soap (the ones from the ends of the log, or leftover from when I thought it would be nice to cut small samples for people, etc) and make what is called "confetti" soap... I used a plant based colourant called Alkanet (it's a root, ground up) which is supposed to turn to purple/mauve but yeah, it looks mostly grey... doesn't matter, it'll still wash nicely:
Confetti Soap a month later
well, at least it's a not-so-girly looking soap!!! :) Funny thing though is the round one gelled and the crinkle cut one didn't, and I can't see a colour difference. Alkanet is supposed to react differently gelled or not.... this is the same recipe divided in two moulds. Strange. Maybe time will tell a different story!

Then a week or so after that I played with my Milky Way Moulds... the things which are impossible to unmould unless you use force!!! But there are other tips I've gleaned along the way... Sodium Lactate is your friend, and silicones too!!!
I've used Na Lactate in the soap, and I also sprayed the mould with the detangling spray I make for the girls, which consists of Cyclomethicone and Dimethicone. I was able to unmould my soaps after an hour... Much better than the last batch I'd made in the moulds where some soaps were impossible to unmould after two weeks (When I decided to use brute force!!)

These are my first successfully unmoulded soaps:
Possible MWMoulds Success Possible MWMoulds Success Possible MWMoulds Success
These are slowly turning into an "vieux rose" colour, old-fashioned pink, or think of slightly tea dyed pink... hmmm, I must learn to describe colours better!!! :) These will get a pic update at the end of the month I believe!! Colour IS changing! (oh, these are scented with a Karma Kazi FO which is similar to Lush's Karma! I just LOVE it, while some other noses don't... I think the Patchouli is the deciding factor here!)

I was so excited a few days later I tried another one, the soap is quite yellow, it's supposed to mellow (mellow yellow?) over time. I'll post another pic when it's cured if there is a difference (FO here is Rhubarb al Fresco!):
Another batch of dragons

This week I was highly inspired by a post on The Dish to try and make my own oat milk by soaking 'old fashioned' oats (imo the only oats worth buying!) in water, cook them a little to soften them, and collect the liquid... called "oat milk", and made soap with it. An interesting process, the oat milk when mixed with lye was quite thick, but it soaped really nicely. I also tried to swirl in some mica, went about it the wront way, so my soap looks as though it has bruises! The smell is Buttermilk and Honey from Big Tree Supplies (Karen there is really nice, great service! and she has all the Lush type fragrances you can think of!!! YUM! she also has candle supplies, and reed diffuser supplies too!)

Oh, yeah, so here's the soap:
Oat Milk Soap
and here's a close up of the grains, they are not lye (as far as I can tell, no "zap"), I believe they are the grains of oats that I squished through the sieve being a bit too enthusiastic in my quest for oat milk.
Oat Milk Soap

For my next batch I might try a really neat swirl method I've read about on Ellen's Essentials.