Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Minted Swan

Last Friday, I decided to make a new cold process soap.  I wanted this for some presents and wanted a totally essential oil based soap too.  I also wanted to try out my new Olive Pomace oil that a friend of mine kindly brought back from the UK for me (he was paid in soap, of course!) and I wanted to do some type of swirl pattern in it.  I mostly make glycerine soaps and I love love love doing swirls with them (it's my "thing") so I thought it was high time I tried a cold process swirl too. 

I used a blend of Olive Pomace, Coconut, Palm (from a sustainable source of course) and Castor oils, added pure silk into the lye water and some water based titanium dioxide as I wanted a nice white colour in the swirl too.  I melted the coconut and palm and then added them to my liquid oils.  I mixed up some green liquid colour in a cup, and some green mica in another cup.  Measured out my essential oil blend of Peppermint, Spearmint, Eucalyptus and Rosemary and kept that close by on the work surface. 

I blended the lye water into the oils and stick blended until I reached trace.  However, I was somewhat worried that I needed to keep the batter more fluid to allow me to do an In The Pot (or ITP) swirl.  I poured a third of the batter into the cup with the green colour, a third into the green mica and left a third in my original bowl.  I mixed up both the colours and then poured them, from a height, into the white soap base.. gave one or two turns of the spatula in the bowl and then poured it into the waiting mould.

At the end of the bowl, however, there were some bits that seemed to look a little curdled - like the way your milk goes in tea if it's a little off.  Not all of it, just some.  I was worried then that I hadn't stick blended it sufficiently well to have the lye fully incorporated.  I tried to do a dusting of mica on the top but that didn't work out so well (a little clumpy if truth be told). 

So I left it in the mould and popped it in the fridge (I always do).  I got online and asked the experts on the various forums I'm on about the curdling.  After much whining by me (I'm a little OCD when things go wrong because I have to dissect what happened into tiny little bits so I can fully understand WHY so it won't happen again).  The advice given to me was leave it for a week and see.  Now, anyone who knows me knows that patience is not one of my virtues.. in fact, if I found a store that stocks it, I'd probably still not buy any! The thoughts of leaving it for a full week drove me nuts!

So, I poked and prodded at it the rest of the day (you knew I would didn't you?!) and then left it alone.  Next day I decided I'd take it out of the mould and, at least, it stayed whole.  That's a good thing.  Then, later on, I got all curious again and went and cut it in half! I did a zap test and ZING, ZAP! Eeeekkk the thing nearly electrocuted me! I thought it was a goner.  Went and reported my dead tongue to the forum regulars and they said, again, LEAVE IT ALONE AND STOP MESSSING WITH IT.  Ok, ok.. I'll leave it.. grumble, grumble, grumble.

So, now I decided I hated it anyway cos it obviously hated me and so I left it.  Fine, sit in the corner for all I care.  I hate you now cos you hate me.  Fine.  And so it sat, under a piece of kitchen paper .. lonely, zinging and zapping away.  Even though it hated me, I still thought it smelt pretty good. 

So, I left it.  For a week.  A week is a long time in my head, I forget lots of things in a week.  I forgot the ugly soap.  But, tonight, I remembered.  And I checked on it.  And it had grown into a swan!

I did a zap test, no zing, no zap, I still had a tongue.  I took it downstairs and made my husband (who was quite happily relaxing in his armchair watching TV) get up and look at it, made him do a zap test (yeah, that's love, a man who'll taste your soap to see if it electrocutes him!) and nothing, no zing, no zap.  He did it three times, I did it twice.  I was all excited, it was Christmas come early.  So he cut it for me ... and then I took over cos he made some pretty crooked slices of soap! And I cut it nicely into eight and tidied it up a bit (he'd done something odd when he took the blade away from the soap and it had taken tiny chunks away with it... men!).  And I looked at it.. and it was, indeed, beautiful! What a soap! What a save! My lovely Minted Swan. 

I present her beauty to you:

Soaping tornado!

I hope you like my Minted Swan as much as I do!


  1. What a funny story - but I know what you mean about leaving things along. I can barely stand to let my soap sit in the mold for 12 hours. I can't imagine having to wait an entire week! I'm so glad that your soap turned out well though =)

  2. I could have sworn I just tried to post a comment but then just lost internet connection so forgive me if this ends up a duplicate.

    Great job waiting on that soap; I can barely wait a day to get my soap out of the mold (LOL!) so a week takes a serious case of will-power.

    And I agree, what a sweetie of a husband you have.

  3. Oh I love this soap and I love the story behind it! You sound about as patient as I am, when waiting for a new soap... The EO scent blend sounds awesome! xo Jen

  4. The reason I'm such a fan of HP soap is because I can't bear the hanging around weeks and WEEKS for CP to cure, so I know just what you mean about being impatient! And can I have your husband please? Mine backs away in alarm if I even ask him to smell it! According to him all my soaps are, 'mm, nice'. Nice? What's nice all about? I want him to inhale deeply and shout 'Gorgeous'!! Fab soap by the way :))

  5. Jennifer - this whole soaping process has taught me great patience, I'm a whole lot better than I was before this.. still really really impatient, but better!

    Lilli - I made my first HP today, new blog post about it above and new cut pics tomorrow!

  6. Very Pretty. It was well worth the wait though! Beautiful. I am learning patience with my soap as well. ;)


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