Dairy Goats 

Rags on the Fence

What's In Your Shower? #1

Posted on December 31, 2017 at 4:20 AM Comments comments (38)

Most soapmakers have a pile of soaps at their sinks and in their showers and bathtubs. We simply have to try out new scents, try new oils and butters in our recipes, check out new coloring techniques, and experiment in dozens of ways. After we make, we must try out the results! Recently, one of my packaged soaps had an accident with liquid...the labels were ruined, and since there was a hole in the shrink wrap, the soap got wet...what a perfect time to revisit that soap in the shower!

So this bar of Italian Sunrise (featured in an entry from Feb. 2016) has been my favorite soap for the last two weeks! The scent is a citrus-herbaceous blend of essential oils that is still strong and lovely. There is nothing like citrus to lift and cheer my mood! The lather is bubbly but still creamy and the soap has matured nicely. The recipe was never one of my favorites, since I didn't think it long lasting enough, but this soap is lasting well and it is not harsh at all.

I decided that every few weeks I would enjoy sharing an update of what soaps are hanging out in our shower...

Except for the Italian Sunrise (which has a place of honor on a different rack- this is our current soap stash. From left to right:

First off is a tiny sliver of vibrant pink, turquoise, and white that Phoebe got in her bag at the 2017 ADGA Convention in Atlanta, GA. It came from Nikki Chenail at Tiny Dreams Farm in Montgomery, AL. I think it was Raspberry Lemonade...I do love the scent! The mica use is enough that there is a lovely sparkle to the bar, but the white is a tad rough on the skin...I think she may have used a cosmetic glitter in that portion. In all, it is a soap I would be willing to buy to use myself!

Next up is the orange-ish bar. It is an old bar left over from a soap swap from about 8 years ago! Soap makers often join swaps, sometimes with a theme, and send enough soaps (or lotion samples, lip balms, or?) for each person in the swap to a central person with their shipping money, and the central person divies up boxes of goodies, one per participant, and you get a box of stuff to try! This soap has no scent remaining, but it still has a very nice creamy lather. It came from Panjora in CA. I do not remember what this soap was called...but she also sent a stunning vibrant fushia to yellow ombre that I loved- some kind of a grapefruit type note- perhaps her Do You Yuzu? I haven't done a swap in years...it was a lot of fun.

The last bar on the left dish is part of a bar that was purchased from a fellow goat milk soaper in Kansas several years ago so I could smell a fragrance that many people were raving about at the time. It was fig something...which it turns out we didn't like, then or now! The soaper gave up her craft to adopt several children and my favorite fragrance supplier no longer carries the scent. To us it is cloying and gives us headaches...and since it really sticks on your skin...yuck! That small piece of soap will be in the shower forever!

The right dish is all Goat Harmony Soap! The large bar is Simple Calendula (also damaged in the liquid spill with Italian Sunrise) and since we gravitate to the scented soap, it will last a long time. The tiny bits on top are the final remnants of the last bar of Cocoa Butter and Vanilla Salt bars. It was made several years ago and contains ground vanilla beans for a nice light exfoliation and has no scent added. It is Phoebe's favorite plain soap...I will need to make more for her soon.

Finally on the right- I use a nylon soap sack to put the tiny bits in...the salt bar pieces and the Raspberry Lemonade will head that way soon, but certainly not the fig something!

Do you have one favorite soap you use in the shower or at your sink, or do you have a selection, too?

Tall & Skinny- But Not Much Shimmy

Posted on February 9, 2016 at 5:15 AM Comments comments (0)
The Soapy Challenge between myself and Erin Healy for January was the Tall & Skinny Shimmy... and it turned out to be much harder for me than I thought it would be! Amy Warden's Great Cakes Soap Works Soap Challenge had fantastic entries for this challenge last year, and the designs from the guest teacher from that challenge, Tatiana Serko are breathtaking... check them out!

After looking at those links, you may just want to not read any further here, because mine is only a humble attempt in comparison. The dreary weather in northern CA during this El Nino year inspired me to use bright, sunny colors and an essential oil blend that is heavy in bright, citrus notes. The colors and scent remind me of some of my time living outside of Naples- hence Italian Sunrise was born!

Here are the colors I used in the first batch- Yellow Vibrance, Mango Tango, Firecracker, & Lemon Chiffon are from Nurture Soap Supplies and Gold Sparkle and Super Pearly White are from Brambleberry. On the left you see the colors (mixed in oil) when they were first added to the divided soap batter- the girls call those soap brains...

For this design I actually had a plan sketched out on scrap paper...I wanted the layers to be dark at the bottom and lighter at the top, like the sunset fading into the clouds- I was hoping for the reddish color (firecracker) to be the S curve up through the bar... I was afraid that I was pouring too much soap in each layer and that the batter would thicken up too much before I got my layers poured. I shouldn't have been so rushed, because I had plenty of time and ended up with too many layers on the first try! These pictures are from pouring on the first batch~ you can see how each pour was made from the opposite side of the mold. I used a couple of small blocks from Peter and Mo's toys for my risers. 

The layers looked really cool when it was all poured!

The swirl on top reminds me of fire- at least on the first batch.

Then I cut it...and was so disappointed in how it turned out! It wasn't at all like I was hoping...but I had to laugh, because it reminded me of a volcano, and I did live so close to Vesuvius in Italy!

So it was back to the drawing board... and a second batch, with more soap in each pour and one less color (I cut the lemon chiffon in batch two.) I didn't have my picture helper for this one...so you only get a cut picture!

This version reminds me of an ink wash technique class I took in middle school, only that was black and white. I certainly like the second try better...though it looks like a pine tree in sunset colors :) I almost wish I had used shades of green! When you make soap, things don't always turn out the way you think they will, but they are still soap in the end!

You can grab your slice of an Italian Sunrise at the webstore now! The blend of cedarwood, lemon, citronella, rosemary, & Bulgarian lavender is bright with an earthy note, and the colors are bright and cheery. It is a great soap, too!

A Friendly Challenge

Posted on November 28, 2015 at 5:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Sometimes soap makers join in challenges to try new design techniques or ingredients. One of my former students and now friend, Erin Healy of Edenn Valley Soaps, and I agreed this past week to attempt a personal soap challenge face-off once a month, starting with a 'Clyde Slide', due Friday, November 27, 2015. For our first challenge I am using a dupe of Cool Citrus Basil and Erin is doing Tropical Vacation, both with a color scheme of aqua, green, yellow, and orange.

Our inspiration comes from Clyde Yoshida, the owner of Vibrant Soap in San Diego, CA. His deigns and mini lessons on color theory for soap are fantastic youtube adventures (if you are a soaper)! Clyde's variation on a 'In The Pot Swirl' that has been dubbed the 'Clyde Slide' creates some lovely designs... this video is one of the inspirations for this soap challenge:


I have to start with a picture of Phoebe's favorite part of soaping- the milk added into the oils. We don't use that technique for every soap, but when we do it does create some interesting designs, and Phoebe loves to try to capture them on film!

I went very bright for my colors- here they are mixed before being added to the soap. The micas are Green Vibrance, Orange Vibrance, and Yellow Vibrance from Nurture Soap Supplies, and Aqua Pearl Mica from Brambleberry (now discontinued):

And after they have been added to portions of the soap, about a cup of soap for each color out of the main batch:

The fragrance, a duplicate of Bath & Body Works' Cool Citrus Basil, was evenly divided between each of the four colors and the remainder of the batter, which had a bit of white enhancement added. That is when the pouring fun starts!

In an 'In The Pot Swirl', the soap colors are added to the main pot of soap, usually froma bit of height to send it to the bottom of the pot, on top of each other, one short stir is done, and the soap is poured into the mold- the combination of pouring techniques is what makes the designs in the soap. Clyde's technique uses a very fluid soap batter layered on top of each other and there is no stir before the pour, and the colors 'sliding' together leads to some differences in the final designs. My soap batter didn't stay as fluid as I would have liked, I probably should have poured fewer layers of color. I certainly can give myself a few tips on how to do this better next time!

Pouring into the mold:

And now that all of the soap batter is added to the mold...

Small amounts of each color of soap were saved back from pouring, and now it is time to add them to the top of the poured soap. Sometiems I do that Jackson Pollock style, but this time I went for rows that could be swirled in a bit of a mantra style:

Well, it started out as a mantra type swirl, but my chopstick wanted to keep swirling! It was ready to put to bed for a day!

The next day I was happy to see that the colors were even better than I expected! The green was more vibrant and not as dark, and the aqua was a bit more visible. Here is the log before it was cut:

We found a lot of different designs in there! It isn't quite like the inspiration, but we like the results!

Watch for this soap to join our line-up soon. This has been a great challenge- both Erin & I are looking forward to challenging each other next month! I hope you check out Edenn Valley Soap, too!