Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Journey Through S.O.A.P. Part 5

I am now in the home stretch testing Bramble Berry's S.O.A.P. fragrances in Cold Process soaps! I unmolded Scent #4 and was very pleased indeed! The yellow was a tad heavy and I was worried about discolored bubbles, but everything turned out fine and it kept the nice pinks and purples. Nice dark fall colors! The scent held up nicely, still smells like a nice floral baby lotion to me, especially now :) I really, really like the scent, and all things baby :)
Part 5: Scent 5
Scent Description: a deep berry scent with a touch of zap that I can't put my finger on. This one reminds me of the County Fair and all the jellies and jams :) REALLY hope that this one holds up well! This is a keeper!
Method Used: I am soaping the same way as the others and using a low temp CP, insulated for a Gel Phase. 1 batch only. I did not particularly like the texture of the no Gel soaps.
Recipe Used: Same again. This recipe has been a tried and true one for me for many years.
Performance: Since I tend to soap at low temps, add color, THEN add the scents, it is behaving fine. I did not notice any acceleration that I might have at higher temps. I pour at a light medium trace and put to bed :) Although I must note: As I am writing this, I have the bottle beside me so that I can sniff it and I got a tiny drop on my finger and didn't notice. It is presently eating away at the "y", "h", "b", "m" and "n" on the laptop. got it wiped off but BEWARE and try not to store in anything but glass bottles :)
Color Notes: For this one, I decided to color only 1.5 cups of the raw soap. I mixed in 1/4 tsp Bramble Berry Brick Red Oxide and added back to the main soap with an In The Pot Swirl. I DID NOT take pictures for this on purpose.... I want it to be a surprise :) I am hoping that the nice, deep reds and the natural color of the soap comes through!
I will be back tomorrow with the reveal! Please take a minute to visit the other soaper's blogs about their experiences as well! I know that we ALL are having a blast!

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Journey Through S.O.A.P. Part 4

I must say that I am absolutely having a BLAST doing testing for Bramble Berry! I have even managed to get my 14 year old daughter in on the designs and such. She has been a huge help with colors and helping do the funnel pours. In a word, AwEsOmE!
Upon cutting of Scent 7 that I covered yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised! The color rings held nicely and the scent did not diminish at all. The top did go a bit wonky, but my esteemed peers think that would have been caused by the layer of plastic wrap that I covered it with during insulation. I planed off the top and it turned out really nice and held the tiny swirls. Even though I was not a fan straight out of the bottle, I am beginning to rethink that.
Part 4: Scent 4
Scent Description: This one is very hard for me to pin down. It is delicate, yet strong. It has floral notes and something akin to baby lotion.
Method Used: Cold Process, Gel Phase, 1 batch, 3 Color Funnel Pour soaped at room temps
Recipe Used: I used the same recipe for this batch that I have used in the others and have found that it is a good recipe and size for testing. You can view it here.
Performance:  After a very light trace, I divided the batch into 3 parts and added my colors. When the colors were totally mixed I added the scent to the 3 parts. It did accelerate a little, but as I am used to working fast, this was not that big of a deal. I did stir it in by hand. I am sure that if I would have used the stick blender it would have been scoopable and not pourable :)
Color Notes: 1 Part was heavy on Yellow Oxide (I went a little overboard), 1 part Pink Ultramarine and 1 part Lavender Ultramarine. When the scent was added it looked like it would alter the colors a tiny bit, but once thoroughly mixed in it looked fine. I poured into the mold at a medium trace.
I am hoping that when I cut this one that the pinks will come through. Tomorrow I will have the pics of the cuts and maybe my take on another of the amazing scents I am testing!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Journey Through S.O.A.P Part 3

I have to start out with my round up of Scent #3: The scent does seem to diminish in both Gel CP and Non Gel CP, but help up better in the Gel. The color did the same. It went from a nice lavender to a very pale (almost invisible) lilac in the non gelled soap. I used a Lavender Ultramarine for it and colored it heavier than normal to really get a nice purpleish color.
The gelled soap soap has a much better texture and color than the non gelled one. I must admit, I never really forgo gelling. I am a huge fan of the Gel Phase and fee

l that it makes a better bar. I don't know that that white weirdness is, but it is disheartening for such a nice scent. NOTE: We have determined that it "migrated" a little in the finished product and now think that it resembles a grape scent... still nice though.
Part 3: Scent 7
I know that I skipped a few, but this is one of the ones that are not on my "Preferred List" so please bear with me.
Scent 7 Description: To me, this one shouted out "Potpourri". It had heavy "tree" notes and reminded all of us of Christmas Potpourri. Strong out of the bottle and in the mold as well.
Method Used: I did this one in 1 batch, Cold Process Gel Phase only.
Recipe Used: Same as the others. See full recipe here.
Performance/ Color Note: I did a 3 color funnel swirl on this one, due to the Christmas reminder. I used Titanium Dioxide, Seafoam Green Ultamarine and Brick Red Oxide alternating each color in the funnel and finally swirling with a skewer. The scent was added after the colors were poured and mixed into individual containers. It performed well and I made it through the pours without incident. I poured at light trace.
I am hoping that it turns out nice. I am pleased with the swirls on this one and am anxious to see what it looks like cut. Check back tomorrow for the reveal and a test of another of Bramble Berry's S.O.A.P test scents!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Journey Through S.O.A.P. Part 2

I promised that I would show the pictures of the unmold of scents 1 and 2 for the Bramble Berry Fall S.O.A.P testing. Here they are. To the left is the Gelled Soaps and the right is the No Gel Phase soaps. You can't really tell by the pictures, but the NO GEL soaps absolutely did not want to release from the mold, even after freezing for a while. They remained soft and squishy but are trying to firm up after cutting. The gelled soaps on Scent 2 did go a tad bit darker than the non gelled, maybe due to the heat.
Notes on Scent: After unmolding, both scents 1 & 2 help up nice in both methods.
Part 2: Scent 3
I decided that tonight I would only soap one scent. 
Scent 3 Description: It has given us fits trying to describe the smell. I have all ages between 14 and 83 helping and we have all cone up with the same thing: Sugared Raspberries (or Berries in general). The 83 year old even said Cotton Candy :) A very nice scent that I think will carry well into a large line of products. (I think that my 83 year old Mother in Law is having as much fun as I am with this!)
Method Used: Cold Process Soap, 26 oz batch, 1/2 batch Gel Phase, 1/2 batch, no Gel Phase
Recipe Used: 10.4 oz Olive Oil, 7.8 oz Coconut Oil, 6.5 oz Palm Oil, 1.3 oz Shea Butter, 3.6 oz Lye, 8 Fl oz Distilled Water and 1/2 oz Scent
All mixed and soaped at room temperature. Molded in 9" Silicone Loaf Pans.

Performance: This scent did not accelerate trace at these temperatures and behaved rather nicely. I had plenty of time to do an in the pot swirl. No ricing or seizing noted.
Color Note: For this scent I used a Purple Mica. I tinted 1.5 cups of the soap and returned it into the pot and did a swirl and poured. Hopefully it will turn out :) For some reason, scents come through as colors to me and this one practically screamed PURPLE!

Here are pics of the soaps in the molds, No Gel in my mini fridge again and the Gelled getting tucked in with the trusty old towels.

Tomorrow I will cut and see how the scent and color holds up! I really like the purple swirls in this one. I hope that you have as much enjoyment reading and following me on this journey as I am having taking it!

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Journey Through S.O.A.P. Part 1

The Arrival
Today my Bramble Berry box arrived containing my S.O.A.P. scents. The moment that I opened it, a medley of scents filled the air! It smelled
heavenly and I could not wait to start. In fact, in preparation of the arrival today, I went ahead and measured out my lye water and oils and left them to cool to room temps so I could begin just as soon as the box came in! I just had to smell them all, but for purposes of testing, I am doing this in stages. I will be testing 2 scents at a time with notes and pics in CP soap. After the soaps are all tested, I will be testing other mediums (maybe scrubs and bath fizzies). Let the fun begin!

Part 1 : Scents #1 & #2
Scent 1 Description: Smells like a fruity bubblegum with light cinnamon notes. It is fresh and friendly. Smells like candy and I see kid's soaps with this one :)
Scent 2 Description: WONDERFUL! Smells like a really deep, clean water scent similar to Salty Mariner in a way, but with less of the salty scent, if that makes sense... a really nice men's scent. 
Method Used: Cold Process Soap, 26 oz batch, 1/2 batch Gel Phase, 1/2 batch, no Gel Phase
Recipe Used: 10.4 oz Olive Oil, 7.8 oz Coconut Oil, 6.5 oz Palm Oil, 1.3 oz Shea Butter, 3.6 oz Lye, 8 Fl oz Distilled Water and 1/2 oz Scent
All mixed and soaped at room temperature. Molded in re-usable containers from Mainstays (Wal-Mart).
Performance: I didn't notice any misbehavior in either of these scents. They blended nicely and did not accelerate trace for me. 
Color Notes Scent 1: For this scent, I decided to add Ultramarine Pink to 3/4 of the batch and Brick Red Oxide to the remaining 1/4. The pink turned out very light while the red was dark and beautiful. Scent did not seem to affect the coloring. After pouring the pink, I spooned the red and stirred and swirled with the spoon. 
Color Notes Scent 2: This being the one that reminded me of water, I used Ultramarine Blue on 1/4 batch and left the rest uncolored. The blue was nice and dark and the uncolored part was a nice egg cream color upon pouring. Same technique as above with the spoon.

To the right is  on half of the 26 oz batch of Scent #1 & #2 in my little mini fridge so there is no Gel Phase.
To the left is the other half getting ready to be nestled in to a nice comfy Gel with old towels that I use to insulate. I will unmold and cut tomorrow and post pics and my final notes on each of these two great scents.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Scents #3 & #4! 


Friday, August 19, 2011

My New Etsy! (and a shipment or 2!)

Today I opened my Etsy shop with 3 of my soaps, PearBerry, Delicate Rose and Egyptian Beauty. I am so excited about it! I find myself constantly checking and re-checking the page stats, spelling, wording and everything else. I think that I am obsessing way too much over this!

I also found a new shop today, don't you just love that! ;)

I have been searching for a supplier closer to me than the ones that I use. There are times that I need something a little faster and just can't wait a week or pay double in shipping to get it sooner. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE and ADORE my favorite suppliers, but there are times that the sooner the better (like a big order or a highly time sensitive one).

If you find yourself wanting to check out a new supplier, I would recommend ES Premium Products . I placed an order this morning and within 2 hours I had a shipping confirmation in my e-mail. They seem to be fast and reliable. I will post further when the package arrives. OH! They offer free shipping on a lot of items, like melt and pour bases and molds :)

I also got a confirmation from Courtney at Bramble Berry about the Fall S.O.A.P testing! My fragrances are out on the Fed/Ex truck and heading my way from Bellingham, WA! They should be here in a week and then the fun begins! The smelling, the testing, the surveys and finally learning which ones made the cut! September is going to be great!

I hope that you all will com along on my journey with me!
Blessings and Good Night,

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Our $12 Day :)

Today My Abbie and I went to Panama City (Florida) for a check up at my doctor's office. We got up and hurried to get ready and got into the Jeep and left. We get to Panama where I realize that I have forgotten my debit card at home and only had $12 left in my wallet... not the start that we were wanting as we were planning on going to the Mall after.

After the doctor's appointment, we decided that we would go to the Mall ad just window shop and hang out. We went into various stores and finally to the requisite visit to Bath and Body Works (we can NEVER go to the mall without a stop there). We were walking around and sniffing all the wonderful things there when I found the cutest little scent clip for my Jeep! It is the most adorable little fox holding a scent disc in Autumn Apple... very crisp and PERFECT for Fall! Only $6! (and refillable!)

Isn't this the most adorable thing? You can get your own here.

As we were walking around, the Food Court was drawing my attention and I just had to have Chic-Fil-A waffle fries, so a large was bought bringing our total spent to about $8. A Starbucks Frappucinno bottled drink was purchased by Abbie... total now about $10 (with tax, closer to $11).

After we left the Mall and on our way home, I spotted the Blood Mobile for Northwest Florida Blood Services I donate regularly so we thought we would pop in, but low and behold, they were just parked there, After that let down, we went to the main office since it was only about 1/4 mile away. I donated my blood and was gifted with a pretty neat t-shirt and a coupon for me and my Abbie a free smoothie at a shop called Crush. Having never been there, we did not know what to expect.

The shop was nice and we soon realized that it was a Nutrition center. Cool Neon decorations using reclaimed tin roofing and hula hoops. The server handed us each a little paper and a pen to add our name, phone number and e-mail addresses and choose what we wanted. Our first course consisted of a demitasse cup of Aloe Juice that tasted of Mangos! We were instructed to "just shoot it" and obliged... very tasty. The second course was a 16 ounce choice of hot or cold Green Tea in one of five flavors. I am not a tea person, so I skipped this one. Abbie, who likes tea, went with Raspberry flavor. Not good reviews from her (she politely carried it to the car later and disposed of it). For our final course (smoothie time!), our server gave us our choice of about 45 flavors of Meal Replacement Smoothies. (She said that they would keep you full for 3 hours and contained protien and other things) I chose the Chocolate Caramel Cappucinno and Abbie chose Frech Vanilla Cappucinno. That first sip was amazing! A little "chalky" texture, but the flavor was totally unexpected!

The servers there were excellent, service was fast and friendly. We were asked several times (especially after each course) if we were pleased and if we would return as paying clients. We both gave enthusiastic YESes! The atmosphere of the shop was intimate and inviting with a bar, tables and chairs and benches throughout.

For all three courses was a total of $6.50, but we were spared the cost for the "price" of my donation. Even at the $6.50, I consider that a great deal.

We then headed home and were talking about our day, the fact that we went to the mall and spent under $10 and the free smoothie experience when Abbie looks at me and says "Mom, it's amazing what you can do with $12!" I lust replied "$12 and a pound of blood." I still have a dollar in my back pocket and am just now getting hungry 6 hours later :)

I'm S.O.A.P Excited!

Today was the day that Bramble Berry soapmaking Supplies announced it's Fall S.O.A.P {Soap Opinion (Awesome) Panel} Panel to test and choose fragrances that they want to carry. I was hoping that I would be chosen among all the great soapers out there that are truly deserving. Well... I WAS! I can't wait to get in the fragrances and play with them! I have plans to not only test them out in Cold Process soap but a couple of other body products as well. I will also be placing an order to Bramble Berry to stock up on a few things that I need to help me along the way. Be on the look out in the next couple of weeks for pics and details on my S.O.A.P.ing journey!

And once again, I would like to say Congrats to all my fellow participants and a very heartfelt Thank You for all the well wishes! I only pray that I can do justice to the wonderful scents that are soon to be coming my way!

Happy Soaping!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Brambles and Rambles

I have yet to take any photos of my soaps, so please forgive the primitive design of my blog as this will be my very first post!

I plan on making some new Fall/ Winter scents this weekend, in addition to the staples that I offer now. I will be making a ButterCream & Snickerdoodle that is just to DIE FOR! I have to bake cookies while I am making it because that it what it smells like... wonderful, gooey, over-fresh cookies! I instantly start craving them the moment I open the bottle! In addition to the BC&S, I am blending a very scandalous Dark Rich Chocolate and Peppermint! I got these fragrance oils and essential oils from Bramble Berry Soap Making Supplies. They have the highest quality ingredients and the best customer service around.

I also make soaps to give to two local woman's shelters for abused women and children. Right now I have 144 bars curing of another BB scent. Sage and Lemongrass done in a yellow with green swirl. I hope that the little soaps bring even a moments joy to deserving women.

OK... you have had the "Rambles"... now for the "Brambles".
 Bramble Berry Soap Making Supplies is hosting another S.O.A.P. Panel to test out some new fragrances for the Fall/ Winter line. I hereby place my name in the hat for this wonderful chance.
  IF I am chosen I plan to use the scents in my donation soaps to the woman's shelters. I know that this would make a difference in their everyday lives. Plus I just LOVE playing with new scents! IF I am chosen, I promise to use the powers given to me responsibly and wisely:)

Even if I am not chosen for the S.O.A.P. Panel, I have had many wonderful batches of soap using scents and supplies from Bramble Berry and will continue to be a loyal customer for many years to come!