I thought I'd show you my new video made today of the new soap I made using my new mould.
Paradise Found is a floral woody type fragrance and is described as a luscious fruity-wood fragrance with top notes of bergamot and rose. Sweet, rich blackberries, dry leaves, and an amber-cinnamon blend round out this gorgeous designer scent. It's really lovely and very unisex I think.
I wanted to do a faux funnel swirl and was told this fragrance oil worked fine and gives enough time to play around so I thought I'd go with it. I found it thickened up a bit but, hey ho, I can work with it.
Despite the soap being a little thick, I still managed to get the swirl ok .. at least on the bottom half of the soap anyway! I love the colours I choose, a nice bright blue with sparkle gold and white. I can't wait to cut this!
Hope you enjoy the video .. Titch and I are chattering all the way through, just as ever. I'll show a cutting video on Monday or so.
If you cannot see the video (subscribed by email etc) then just click "I wanna see your movie" and you'll be taken straight to You Tube.
I joined in with an Irish based soap swap recently - I've met two other soapers from Ireland (one in the East and the other in the South West) on a soaping forum and we decided to do a swap of our soaps! We eventually got round to it in January (after all the hard work we all put in over the Christmas period) and I received their soaps this week.
I have to apologise in advance if the photos aren't up to the usual standard .... they were taken on my mobile phone camera which isn't as good as my regular camera.
First up are soaps and a trial sugar scrub from Lí Ban Ireland - Rose has been soaping for quite a number of years (well, more than me!) and has huge experience. She uses essential oils in the main for her fragrances and is an expert blender. Below are pictures of her new Chai Latte and Mayan soaps and her trial sugar scrub (technically the Chai Latte isn't included in the swap, I'm buying that from her because I just loved the sound of the essential oil blend she used!).
Secondly, Hajni from Mianra Soaps sent me her Cedar & Patchouli soap and her Rose Clay as well. Her packaging was just lovely, but I sadly rushed in and opened them up before even thinking that I should take photos of the package.. stupid me!
I'm in the middle of testing them now - I always give things a long test, I don't believe in giving an opinion based on one or two uses but I will say that the soaps from both companies are just lovely and very lathery.
I also don't see my role as a public reviewer of other people's work ... there's more than just soap at stake but I know I won't be disappointed by either of these.
Hope you enjoyed the pics and I hope Rose and Hajni are both enjoying mine!
Picture 1: Lí Ban Ireland - Chai Latte soap and trial sugar scrub
Picture 2: Lí Ban Ireland - Chai Latte (left) and Mayan (right) cold process soaps
Picture 3: Mianra - Cedar & Patchouli (left) and Rose Clay soap (right)
Picture 4: Mianra Soaps
Picture 5: All the soaps together ready for testing
I've been using some boxes I got from a high street store as my moulds for the last 2 years or so and, whilst they have been absolutely fabulous, they are showing signs of wear and tear. Not last, when the dovetail joints almost gave way and raw soap began leaking out!!! Eeekkk!! I think I banged that mould once too often.
So I decided to take the plunge and get some moulds made for me. I wanted the same size as I really like my soap shape and size and I wanted to be able to put them in the fridge, if I needed.
I got in touch with a really excellent carpenter, Karl Kehoe, and gave him the dimensions I wanted and he said "No problem" which was great to hear! So, just one short week later, my new moulds arrived!
They are made with mahogany and are sturdy beyond sturdy, these babies are going to last a lifetime! They have hinged sides and ends so that it'll be really easy to take the soap loaf out. I just cannot wait to christen them!
This is a new fragrance I bought just after Christmas, with the Spring/Summer range in mind. When I opened the bottle, I thought "oh WOW, that's YUMMMM" and, after making it into a soap, I'm still thinking the same thought. This is just a lovely lovely fragrance, neither too fruity nor too floral but a hugely complimentary blend of both.
The fragrance is described as a fresh, fruity floral fragrance with orange and tangerine enhanced by mouthwatering fruits including apple, pear, pineapple and peach supported by a heart of freesia, rose, jasmine, osmanthus and plum all resting on a sensual base of white musk, precious woods and dry fruits. It is just delicious.
I worked with the faux funnel swirl again, I think I may be addicted! I wanted to get the colours of Spring/Summer in there but wanted to not use green again as I feel I've used it a lot lately. So I chose yellow, white and pink. The pink faded a little and turned into a peachy pink but that's ok, it's still beautiful.. actually maybe more suitable to the fragrance than a too bright pink.
I also changed up my formulation a little to include more cocoa butter (as I love it in everything) and more olive oil and take out the avocado ... I just fancied a change to be honest. Dying to see how it works out once fully cured but the suds test I do at the end of this video shows there's no problem with the lather, that's for sure.
So here is the cutting video of Asian Pear & Lily - I really hope you enjoy it!
The soap will be fully cured by the end of February 2012 and will be available on www.iamhandmade.com. Still photographs will be available on Facebook shortly and I'll post some here too. Enjoy!!!
Another new soap! This is made with my own blend of Peppermint, May Chang and Eucalyptus essential oils and it's just beautiful - fresh and lemony and delicious.
I coloured it with two greens and white and I think it really shows off the faux funnel technique really well. This is my own blend of soap oils including Sweet Almond, Avocado & Golden Olive with lashings of Cocoa Butter and, of course, wild silk (soap is just sooooooooooo much better with real silk in it).
Jupiter Fruit... odd name I hear you say? Well, it wasn't it's original name but I changed it after feedback on Facebook when I showed some rough "just cut" pictures. So many people said "it really reminds me of Jupiter" ... and, as it's fragranced with my own blend of dark blackberries, tangy tangerine and juicy yellow peach, what else could it be but Jupiter Fruit?!
This one went crazy on me and I almost had soap in a bucket ... it gelled almost before it got into the mould so it was a huge race to get the colours in and get everything in the mould to make sure it was a viable soap! But, I think, I managed it, again! Crazy fragrance oils, they can be such a challenge - but I love it when I win!!!
So here is Jupiter Fruit, enjoy!
This will be fully cured by 20 February and will be available online at http://www.iamhandmade.com so make sure to drop in and check us out.
I made a new soap the other day... actually a remake because I've used this fragrance again but new in that it's a redesign and I used a new technique (well, new to me) which I tried before on the Le Mint soap... the faux funnel swirl. I'm LOVING this!
Lime Basil Mandarin is a stunning fragrance - it's described as a combination of green citrus fresh limes and zesty mandarins leading to herbal notes of basil with warm accord of precious woods and amber; this description, however, doesn't do it justice... all I can say is that it's just yum! Clean, zesty, fresh, perfume-y ... it's soooooooo good, you just have to smell this!
Titch and I made a video of me cutting the soap and here it is ... hope you like it!
If you're a regular reader, you might have seen this before but I love this soap so much I'm showing off pictures of it again!
This is Cashmere, it's one of our best selling fragrances, it is described as a blend of essences of Moroccan jasmine, lily of the valley and bergamot with warm undertones of sandalwood, amber and musk. It is such a beautiful, elegant fragrance that is not too floral with a warm basenote.
We've used chocolate brown swirled with soft vintage pink and golden soap to recreate the luxurious feel of cashmere silk against your skin. This will be cured in February 2012 and will be available online at http://www.iamhandmade.com.
Another new soap ... Kismet is described as a blend of Patchouli, orange, lemongrass, lavendin, pine, gardenia, sandalwood and musk. It's a really lovely fragrance with a citrus zing and a deep base of patchouli.. I just love it!
I coloured it in purple and orange but the orange wasn't as bright as I wanted it. No matter, I still love it! This set up really quickly on me so I had to work fast.. that's why there are a few air bubbles but c'est la vie ... lets just say they help the soap breathe!
I thought you would like to see my Pink Sugar soap - you might have already seen the You Tube video that showed the browning of this from the time I made it to about 4 days into the process. Here you'll see the soap with almost it's full browning ... this, as you may know, is due to the natural vanillin in the fragrance which turns the soap a very dark brown. For this soap, to keep the pink, I didn't put fragrance in this portion - so I have a pink part with no fragrance, a dark brown with fragrance and the third part is the browny cream which does have fragrance but also has titanium dioxide to help whiten up the soap.
I can't tell you how GOOD this soap smells, I just adore it ... sweet yes (and I'm not overly fond of too sweet fragrances) but it's such a complex blend of fragrances. It's described as having base notes of candy floss, caramel, toffee, and vanilla mingling with middle notes of fig, strawberry jam and violet musk. The fragrance is rounded off with top notes of lemon drops and sweet brown sugar... it is just simply divine!!!
I thought I'd show you my new Cherry Blossom soap ... I made this last week and you might have already seen it on one of my recent videos. It's made with Sweet Almond, Avocado & Golden Olive oils with tons of Cocoa Butter and, of course, wild silk (can't be without it, as you know!).
Cherry Blossom's have huge significance for me ... they were my Mother's favourite trees and, when she passed, we planted one in the garden in her memory. We used to have a huge one in the garden of our old house and, when I was a kid, I used to play "wedding" in the shower of petals from it!
Anyway, here are the pictures of Cherry Blossom... I really hope you like it. The soap will be fully cured and available on www.iamhandmade.com from 13 February.
Well, we're into 2012 and I've decided that I want to try out some new techniques. Some I've tried, like the In The Pot (or ITP) swirl and others I hadn't ... but I did the other day! I fancied making a soap using the Faux Funnel Swirl I saw first on the Soap Queen blog and I've seen others making it and really liked the effect. So now it's my turn!
I made my usual formulation soap and decided to use some fab green micas as I was going to fragrance this with a blend of Peppermint, May Chang and Eucalyptus essential oils. What a blend, fresh and lemony and like a breath of fresh air! Lovin' it baby!
So I went ahead and made the soap the other day and, as I love ungelled soaps, I had it in the fridge for 24 hours and then out, demoulded for another 24 hours. And today, to celebrate Friday and the coming weekend, Titch and I made a video of me cutting the soap! It's still a little on the soft side but OH. MY. GOD. It's divine! The look, the colours, the fragrance... can you be in love with a soap?
Have a look see and tell me what you think.....
And, if you get this via email, you can click the link direct to the You Tube video http://youtu.be/XI_YAHfWwJ0.
My darling hubs, the love of my life, works as a film extra... he's been in three series of the Tudors and Camelot and movies such as Shadowdancer and Leap Year plus, last year, he filmed with Glenn Close and did a dialogue scene with Pauline Collins in Albert Nobbs.
Well, as anyone who works as a film extra, you'll know that, sometimes, they get treated as "meat props" (a term actually used on occasion and really a nasty one too). It basically means that they're living backgrounds and not to be be heard (cos then they have to pay you more). But, sometimes, they get a break and, in Albert Nobbs, my lovely hubs was asked to work on several scenes and was told by the Director and Producer that they loved his work so much they were going to upgrade him to an actor for his work.
We were thrilled but we figured, in the big world of show business, that he might not actually get his name on the credits ... but today we found a list from the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences aka The Oscars, of movies that are eligible to be voted for an Oscar... and hubs is listed!
Scroll down to Albert Nobbs (not far down the list) and you'll see Malcolm Blacow listed! We are totally chuffed... okay, you might say, so what? Well, film extras work really really hard, sometimes 16 hours on set, in rain or cold, or fierce heat, they often are called first and last to go home and can be that whole time on their feet (no idea why there are never enough chairs!) and might never get in front of the camera all day. So, for all that hard work, for all the scenes he's shot that he got no credit for, for all the days of sore legs and exhaustion and sweating buckets in a medieval costume and fur cape in the middle of Summer when they're shooting Christmas scenes beside a roaring fire... for all that work, it's just great that he gets that little acknowledgement, that the Director and Producer did what they said they'd do and that he received his due credit. For that, I am chuffed as a VERY chuffed thing on a biggest day of Chuffedness in the Chuffed Universe!!!
Malcolm Blacow, I love you, you Goddamn Movie Star you!!!
Now, I need to get my people to call his people to see who's making dinner tonight ....
I managed to get into the kitchen for long enough yesterday evening to cut the two loaves of soap you will have seen in the last video ... and then I made a video about them! So here are Cherry Blossom (a floral bouquet of cherry blossom, regal iris, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley & soft freesia on a base of musk & deep amber) coloured with pale pink, pale green and white and Kismet (a blend of patchouli, orange, lemongrass, lavendin, pine, gardenia, sandalwood and musk).
If you watched my other videos, you'll know I was worried that Kismet would be full of mega air holes as the soap set up so quickly on me - this one's a mover (and I didn't use any water discount or anything, full water, cool temperatures etc), but it worked out really well .. a couple of air holes here and there, but hey, don't they help the soap to breathe right?
For the cherry blossom, I wanted to make something that reminded me of my Mother ... not old fashioned or anything but as cherry blossoms were her favourite tree, I just wanted to make something that brought me the feelings I have when I remember her.. hope that doesn't sound to sappy!
Anyway, enough writing... here is the new video.. enjoy!
If you can't view the video directly here, the direct link is http://youtu.be/42Z5psWn2t4.
I've been in a soap making frenzy this last few days and, as I was finishing up my Pink Sugar/Vanilla & The Browning Effect video, I showed a few more soaps I'd made as well.. two lots already cut up and two lots just out of the fridge and waiting a day or two to be cut. I thought you'd like to see so here you go:
Enjoy! I'm hoping to cut the other two logs this afternoon (once the kitchen is free) and then I might take another video of them too. Here's the You Tube link if you can't see the video, for any reason http://youtu.be/Z19CDfau7MU.
I was in a soap making frenzy these last few days and I made a fabulous Pink Sugar soap. This fragrance is sweet and sexy at the same time, it's described as having base notes of candy floss, caramel, toffee, and vanilla that mingles with middle notes of fig, strawberry jam and violet musk. The fragrance is rounded off with top notes of lemon drops and sweet brown sugar. It's a stunning fragrance and I've so wanted to soap this for an age.
Plus, making this soap gave me an opportunity to make a video that I've been thinking about for a while... some vanilla based soaps can naturally turn the soap brown (due to the natural vanillin in the fragrance) and I thought I'd make a video that showed this progression from just made soap to the dark brown colour. So here it is, hope you like it...
For those who subscribe by email, I know you can't see the video, so here is the direct link to You Tube http://youtu.be/ZZ9Y9njpOS8.