Soaping Saturday – Snow Days

Last weekend I made a new winter soap called Snow Days.  I get my supplies from a few different awesome soap suppliers – and am very loyal to whom I purchase from, once you know the quality together with great customer service you stick with that.  So I am pretty reluctant to try someone new (burned once or twice – it’s hard to step out of my ‘loyal’ box).  But I have been hearing such good things about a company called Mad Oils in Florida, that I had to give them a try.  Well I gotta say – I AM MAD FOR Mad Oils.  These ladies and their crew are dedicated to making and keeping their customers happy.  I could do a whole blog post about this little fledgling company, but right now we’ll get back to the Snow Days soap. Other than my base recipe, I decided to do use only Mad Oils micas and fragrance oils, and walk my non-soaping friends through the process.

weighing out the solid oils
weighing out the solid oils

Once I’ve decided on my design, I choose the size of mold I want to use and then run my favorite soap recipe through a soap calculator to make sure all my measurements are right on and I get the best skin benefits from the ingredients I use.  I then weigh out my ‘hard’ oils and butters (shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil)  I then melt my palm oil (sustainable of course) and add it to the butters

melted palm oil and butters
melted palm oil and butters

I then add the remaining room temp liquid oils and give them all a little jussh with a stick blender. To make sure there are no little bits of butters left.

additional ingredients ready to go in the batter tub
additional ingredients ready to go in the batter tub

I have already pre-mixed my micas (that’s Vanna White mica and Silverfin blue mica from MadOils), mixed and weighed my fragrance oils (that’s Snow Witch sooo yummy from MadOils) and other ingredients, this is when I add my dry ingredients (clays, colloidal oats etc) and give the oils another jussh with the stick blender to dissolve the powders.

Once all my ready oils are at a low temp (I like to soap when my oils are at less than 90 degrees), it’s now time to goggle-up and add the sodium hydroxide (NaOH) that I mixed the night before with a little distilled water (this mixture is ideally within 10 degrees of my oils).  I carefully pour the NaOH mixture into the oils and slowly start to stick blend in short bursts until I reach a light trace (no more separation between the oils and NaOh mix, but still thin liquid). Now it’s time to add my organic heavy cream, followed by the fragrance oil and blend well with the spatula, stick blend a tad if needed (don’t want to thicken my trace too much or it will be too thick to do any design work).  Once all the ingredients are mixed I pour the batter out into separate containers to add different colors.

micas ready to ITP swirl into yellow base
this pic is NOT from this batch of soap, just a pic to show the separating of colors (forgot to get pic of colors for Snow Days….)

Once the colorant is mixed in, I added chopped blue/green/purple soap bits into the white soap and mixed well)  I have my blue and white mixtures ready to pour into the mold.  My plan for this soap is a nice blue bottom – let that set a little, then carefully spoon on the white with soap bits to cover and then drop-swirl thin streams of blue into the white.

Silverfin blue bottom layer
Silverfin blue bottom layer

I save a tad of the blue to decorate the top, once all the batter has been poured into the mold,I  bang the mold pretty hard several times on the floor to get any air bubbles out of the batter.  Then I drizzle on the remaining blue batter and give it a bunch of swirly – scoopy turns with a small spoon.  Once I like it, time for pictures – then I slide the wooden lid onto the mold, cover well with heavy towels and let it gel overnight (the gel process heats up the batter and makes the color much more vibrant)

blue and white soap poured into the mold with remaining blue spoon-swirled on toq
blue and white soap poured into the mold with remaining blue spoon-swirled on toq

The oils react with the sodium hydroxide in this first 24 hours and soaponify, there is no trace of the sodium hydroxide left, just a beautiful hard log of glycerin filled soap.  The next morning I remove the pink silicone liner from the wooden mold and pull the sides away to let the soap log air out a little for another hour or so, then I remove it carefully from the silicone and let it sit out for several hours to dry.  Usually that evening or next morning I put the log on my cutter and cut each slice – every single time I marvel at what a fun process this is and how awesome each slice turns out.  Such a fun hobby/job/business I have.

Snow Days soap log
Snow Days soap log
Snow Days the final cut
Snow Days the final cut – MadOils colorant and fragrance oil – perfect!

After about 3-5 days I trim the soap bars and place them on my drying racks to cure for the next 4-5 weeks.  They then get labels and bagged and go to Valley Fort Farmers Market (or some other fun venue I may have joined) to be purchased by some cool customer that appreciates the joy of homemade artisan soaps!

Give Thanks – Soap for the Holiday ahead

I don’t do a lot of holiday soaps per say, because the actual days are over before we know it and then you have Christmas or Halloween soaps and the holiday if so over.  This year I decided  to do one especially for Thanksgiving and all the get togethers we attend between now and New Years.  It would be nice to have a little something to take to the host or hostess – we all need to get clean, so soap is a good unisex/ageless gift.

Give Thanks as single bars
Give Thanks as single bars

The little pumpkins, fall leaves and owls (again, hooo doesn’t love a cute little owl soap 🙂 ) are all scented with a fragrance oil mix I call Home for the Holidays – a little spicy, a little sweet, very warm and just yummy.  I used cosmetic micas as colorants – in purple, butterscotch, and cream.

Hillside Soapworks - Give Thanks
Hillside Soapworks – Give Thanks

These will be ready for sale on November 1st – the owls will be sold individually, but the fall leaves and pumpkins will be exclusive in a set, wrapped in a cute little gift box – ready for giving to someone you may want to Give Thanks to!

Give Thanks - Gift Set
Give Thanks – Gift Set

Stay tuned for the boxed gift set of these cute little soaps – they smell like the holidays to me.

October Soap Challenge

So it’s time for another Great Cakes Soap Challenge – I love joining in these because it forces (not in a bad way…) me to try things I might not otherwise EVER do.   This month’s challenge is the petal technique.  I have seen several petal soap cakes and soap cupcakes  (like this awesome one and this one too) and I think they are so cool, but just not my thing to make myself.  BUT now I am challenged to try it out – so instead of flowery petals I decided to incorporate it into my holiday soaping

tree soaps B4 petals
tree soaps B4 petals

First I made these adorable little tree soaps, scented with Christmas Forest fragrance oil – trimmed them after a few days of cure and then used the petal technique as ‘branches’ on my trees

Holiday Trees - petal technique
Holiday Trees – petal technique

pretty cute, but not my best work.  I mixed 3 different green micas, one white pearl mica and a red mix mica – all in squeeze bottles, then squeezed out little round mounds for each ‘branch’ .  Then using a tiny spatula (you know like for cake decorating) I pressed in the center of each mound and dragged to make the petal shape.  I really had to concentrate on breathing and relaxing  (or better yet, I should have had a glass of wine before the decorating of the tree!) because it was a little intense.

All in all I think they came out pretty cute – but not a technique I will use often.

Petal Technique Holiday Tree
Petal Technique Holiday Tree

Can’t wait for the next Challenge