Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lye Safety and New Soaps!

My former set up for soap making was in a room with a cement floor using a relatively flimsy wooden base with a door on top laid flat for the working surface.  It was mostly level and mostly sturdy, and it was nice and wide so I had room for all of the dishes needed for my soap.  I knew I needed a better set up, but I had been dragging my feet on building something different.

I say that in the past tense, because recently I had a pretty scary lye spill that forced me to be more proactive on building a sturdy soap work bench for myself.  I set the container with my lye solution on the part of the table where the hinge of the door was on accident, and it spilled EVERYWHERE!  What's worse is that Hobbes was also with me, and when I yelled at him to get out of the room, he got so scared and curled up into a little ball.  So, I took gloves off and brought him out of the room, and went back to control the damage. As everyone hopefully knows by now, lye solution is very dangerous - the lye solution completely ate the paint on the floor where it spilled!  For anyone who has been feeling lax about lye safety - let this accident be a warning to everyone to continue to exercise good caution around lye and raw soap.

So, luckily I (and Hobbes) were unharmed, and the only real damage was to the floor paint.  I researched and found this work bench plan, and bought the hardware to make it.  I enlisted the help of my husband and dad to build this "two hour" bench.  Probably an experienced carpenter could make this bench in two hours, but not me.  I cannot tell you how many trips I had to make to the hardware stores nearby.  I kept going to different ones so that the employees would't recognize me :)  I powered through, though, and got it done!  I feel so good about myself now that this is built and level!

Here is the final product - I can't wait to start creating again!!  This bench is great - it has a 6" long work surface with 2 shelves, it's really sturdy and can hold a significant amount of weight, and I have a cool hanging light that I was able to attach right to the bench for plenty of light as I'm creating.  Best of all, the design created nearly no waste of wood!

My favorite part is the counter top I found for the workbench surface.  It raises the bench up another inch, which makes it more comfortable for me.  The bench is 30" deep and has 4" wide ledge in the back, but the counter top is only 24" deep and has a ridge in the back.  This makes it a perfect place for me to put the containers with lye or fragrances out of the way so they don't get bumped and spill everywhere.  Love it!

Before The Spill, I was playing around with some more design ideas for the Pinkberry Mimosa FO that I've really loved lately, and here is a Tiger Stripe version with heart embeds:

I'm glad the Tiger Stripe came out well - I want to make a signature soap for Hannah and for Hobbes, and I thought it'd be fun to have something tiger-related (either color or pattern) for him.

Happy Thursday, everyone!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Equality Soap 2.0

I'm sorry it's taken so long to post pictures of my two newest soaps, but I've been working on making my own light box (blog post on that to come...) and simply haven't gotten around to it.

For the Equality Soap, I was disappointed that the green color morphed in the cold process soap.  Even though the site where I purchased the colorant said it was safe in high PH products like cold process soap, it just didn't do what I wanted.  I have had good luck with BB's Green Chrome pigment, and I had previously made a number of small Christmas tree guest soaps using that pigment that were a perfect green for the rainbow color scheme.

I chose my 3 least favorite Equality bars and shredded them down and separated the colors (and excluded the gross maroon color that was supposed to be green.  I'm sure that it will be lovely embedded in a different soap, though!).  I also shredded 2 of the small tree guests soaps for the green color I needed in the rainbow color pattern I wanted.

I really love the confetti look of this soap!  

I scented it with WSP's Pure Rain fragrance oil, because I was looking for a clean, ozone-y scent for this rainbow soap.  I mixed a white batter to a medium trace and poured 1/6 of the white batter with the shredded red color.  I did the same with the other 5 colors, ending up with the violet color on the top.

This made a HUGE bar - it will be over 6 oz when cured!!  Here's another photo:

I also ordered the heart tube mold at WSP, because I was inspired by the adorable soaps that Jennifer has been making with the mold.  I have been really loving the Pinkberry Mimosa fragrance oil from WSP also, and I made this batch with pink kaolin clay for the bottom part (and the top) and BB's Gold Mica for the top portion.  I am so happy with how this turned out! 

I'm sure I say this after most of my soaps, but this may be my new favorite :) I even am loving the halo effect that the cocoa powder is creating around the heart and throughout the pencil line.

{When I was looking at these pictures with my chin in my hand, I swore I could smell the fragrance.  Then I realized I WAS smelling the fragrance - since I just finished photographing these soaps, the smell was still there...  Maybe it's time to call it a night!}

Hope you all enjoy the weekend!  It feels like it's been raining every day since it stopped snowing in May, but tomorrow afternoon is supposed to be gorgeous, so I plan to be outside, celebrating with friends!