Monday, October 05, 2009

Soap of late (while I'm on hold on the phone with the ATO!)

Rhubarb al Fresco is a great scent, but I think I'd be better off using it in shampoo/conditioners/melt and pour...

My first time with Rhubarb al Fresco in CP went quite well but turned an awful yellow colour. It also traced very quickly and I had to slop it in the moulds quick! Only later did I realise it was a fast-tracer and super-heater (sometimes I think of looking up that information, sometimes I don't)! The colour was awful, I stuffed it in the cupboard and a month later I had a fairly nice soap, and it smelled wonderful, no ash but a few bubbles as it was thick when poured (check pics in this blog post, the 2nd set of dragons to see the change in colour). Then I've remade it, and it looked fine, I only used the whisk, no stick blender but as you can see from pics below, it's got some brown spots (probably FO or something, not sure, not zappy either - but ugly!!)

I'm rather hoping the brown spots are the FO which has already discoloured, as the colour ressembles the first batch I made, but I really thought I had blended in the FO very well... I can only wait and hope that when the curing period is over, my ugly duckling will be a beautiful soap! (well, it's fun to believe in fairy tales!)

Then there's my vanilla soap experiments! Yikes, a tested recipe which worked really well as a log didn't go so well in my dragon mould... I think my problem is that I unmoulded it too early, it ashed like mad! -- my coffee and mango lassi soaps are made with that recipe, and they are beautiful soaps. The coffee soap has even darkened a bit more since the picture on that post was taken.

This time it really ashed, as you can see from this picture:
I even lost chunks of the dragon, though this might have to do with the fact that I tried to unmould too quickly, but I didn't want a repeat scenario from when the soap would NOT come out of the mould even after a month of waiting! But not a single dragon was unharmed, they were all missing chunks!! I'm thinking too that perhaps cocoa butter in moulds is not a good combination, I seem to remember the "stay in the mould" soap was also made with cocoa butter.

The baubles I made at the same time also ashed: but the fish (below), which I made in a Ikea ice mould, and which I didn't unmould until a few days later seem to not have ashed So I'm still not sure what causes ash, why it is some people never get it, but I'm looking for ideas of what to do with this soap, rebatch? chunk? grate?

So as this Vanilla Dragon soap was a special favour for a friend of mine, I had to make some more. Her son doesn't like soaps that smell too strong and he also loves dragons, so I'm making her a slab for her to give him at Chrismas (she's a mum from school who helps me out often, like, oh, let's say, when my car refuses to start!!! LOL!!!) so this is the 2nd attempt at this dragon slab:

This time it's curing very nicely, no ash (different recipe) and also turning a beautiful brown with time. Very very pleased with this batch.


This is a soap I made using my new colours (from Heirloom Body Care) and some fragrance I was lucky enough to get from Erin when she had a de-stashing moment. I had mica (Aussie Pure Glow) in there, but I have had no luck at all with mica. I'm starting to think too that maybe that mica is not meant to be used that way but just used in make up (oh how I'd love to formulate my own mineral foundation!!!). I was going to use the mica in the swirls but it became very-traced VERY quickly so I poured it with the rest of the soap and mixed a bit with the whisk... I am now, two days later, noticing some white flecks in the soap, which is preplexing as I didn't use any titanium dioxide, I gather they could be the mica (could very well be), but they aren't shiny and they aren't zappy either! Pictures will have to follow in a few days, in case anyone has comments or suggestions about what the white flecks are.

So it hasn't been a great soaping week for me, though my calendula orange and yellow soap made with oat milk did make me happy

*phew* anyone still reading???

I also had a bit of MELT AND POUR fun the other night

using the double pour method. I'm quite taken by that method. I also tried to make baubles with a strip of a different colour in the middle, it worked well, but not well enough (need to experiment again with that one). So those baubles not making me happy, I cut them up, and put anything with a bit of colour in the colour pot, and the clear bits in the clear pot, tried to re-melt to do another double pour, and I just could not get the soap to stay at the proper temperature so I put everything in a pot, added some more Merlot Mica (ASS) and poured straight baubles, they are quite nice, translucent, and the Pure Glow Mica (ASS) and the soap glitter really add dimension to the glycerine base.

I got the base from Range and I like it quite a bit, I have a feeling it doesn't sweat (testing a bar right now) and I think the problems I had with the 2nd double pour could be because I lost some humidity in the soap reheating it (or it was too cold in the house!). I got some more of that base today, as well as a large quantity of various oils to make more soap.

for those who wonder about my ATO comment, well, I edited most of this post (and added the title) during my 45 minute wait at the ATO's help line, to get a different BAS form for my hubby's business, only to be told that I wasn't authorised to request that on his behalf and could he please call back later! Well, at least I got a blog post out of it!

If you've read all this, please thank yourself from me!!


Heather T. said...

Fascinating, but some of the terms are very technical =) I guess "ash" is when the soap turns white on the outside, but I didn't understand "fast tracer" and "zappy" and "FO"... *lol* I hope you're selling some of these and making a lot of money!

Julie H said...

Murphy's Law says that as soon as you need the soap to work it won't LOL. that said i love the scent of the rhubarb soap so I don't mind what it looks like!

Erin Napier said...

Busy girl! For your ones with soap ash, maybe consider getting some soap paint (from Aussie Soap Supplies I think) and painting them pretty colours? They would make great stocking stuffers. BTW Tidal Wave looks great :)

France said...

Ah Heather, too true. I'll post a little lexicon of terms I use I think, in the meantime ash is the white stuff on top of soap, which looks like a layer of ash. Fast tracer means turning from liquid to solid too quickly (a process that ought to happen, but not too fast, in soap making), zappy means "too much lye, or lye not incorporated properly", the lye is caustic soda, also known as something else I can't think of right now! and we mix that with water, then mix that lye water with the oils. When the lye is not in the right concentration, you get a very harsh soap, and it feels like a zap if you lick your finger, rub it on the soap, and touch it to your tongue (a way to test it - feels like a 9v battery!). If your soap "zaps" you have a potentially harmful soap on your hands. FO is "Fragrance Oils" (it's like in rubber stamping when we talk of UM, EP, UTEE, etc!)

Julie, I'll keep you posted as to whether or not the rhubarb bars are usable, and you are right about Murphy!

Erin, thank you so much! Your soaps are so gorgeous! I'm not sure my painting talents are up to salvaging those soaps!! Wouldn't have done Tidal Wave without you!

Christina said...

Wow - looks like major production France, even if some of it hasn't quite turned out as you would have liked. Missed you the other night

Ann G. said...

The tidal wave looks nice - what mould did you use? I empathise about the ATO.........

France said...

Ann, it's a silicone brownie pan, I bought it mostly for MP projects but had to try it for CP too! It was the only one at my local IGA, it was very dusty, they must've found it somewhere in the storage room!!

Fashionable Earth said...

Love this !! Also check out our post on calendula soap -

Gabbie said...

France, l did read somewhere that ash is caused by the soap being allowed to cool down too quickly. l have no idea if this is true or not though. l very rarely get it (sorry LOL) but l honestly couldn't explain why.
And now l have probably jinxed myself LOLOL

Anonymous said...

wow! those dragon soaps are so pretty I wouldn't want to use them! stunning!