This weekend was not the beehive of activity that I was hoping for, although to be fair, Fixer Guy got alot of stuff done around the place. We staked out the first lavender planting, figured out where we’re going to put the driveway, he trimmed most of the trees (it looks great) and we (he) had a big bonfire with the neighbors around the pruned branches. Somebody’s going to have to go deal with all of those beer cans.
I near caught my buns on fire trying to warm up. The temperature sure drops fast in the evenings around here this time of year.
It was beautiful this weekend with temps waaaay up in the 40s. So even though I had a gassy little baby who wouldn’t nap, I decided I would make soap. Not that soap making has a direct relationship with good weather, but it does make me feel all productive. In hindsight, soaping with fussy baby probably wasn’t the smartest choice… Earlier this week, I got a package in the mail from Brambleberry that had some new colors and goodies that I was all excited to use. And then another soaper on Soaper’s Retreat made a lavender lime soap that made me all sweaty and inspired, so really, I was compelled. Forced, really.
The plan was lavender lime soap with a hanger swirl topped by a Celine swirl. I was going to use my new ultramarine violet oxide and a green oxide to color the soap. That’s where the problem started. The first rule of soaping or really any science project is to only change one variable at a time. I changed my recipe, used new colorants and at least one fragrance oil that I’ve not used before. Since fragrance oils are famous for speeding trace in soap, I should have been more careful. The net result was a split batch accelerating on me while I was working with two fragrances and two colors that I was having trouble blending. I suspect that the most aggravating circumstance was the crying baby starting up just as I hit the point of no stopping so I mixed with lye solution that was too hot. Whoops.
So things were just blasting right along until I got here. While I was working on the green half, I turned my back on the lavender half which had moved past trace and was starting to seize and I hadn’t even blended the essential oil in yet. And then it was gray. That’s right. Gray. My beautiful, supposed to be violet batter was gray. And that’s when I panicked. Oh my God, what do I have around here that’s going to make this soap purple? I don’t have time to mix more oxide. Panic, panic, panic. Alkanet infused oil in the pantry. Yeah, let’s grab the alkanet. Alkanet is a funny thing. Depending on the pH of the soap you can get anything from KSU Wildcat purple to pale gray blue. I haven’t figure out what’s going to get me to the consistently pale purple, so I just dumped some in. Shoot. Now it’s really gray. My hanger swirl is now an impossibility. I can’t just waste all these materials. We’re committed now. OK, so let’s layer. And I start plopping it into the mold. (Please ignore the nasty grout in the background. I hope to remodel eventually so we can be one of those posh lifestyle blogs.)
By this time, things are starting to look a little curdy. So I slapped the rest in and tried for my first Celine Swirl.
And it smells like a Lavender Lime Lifesaver. So yay for me. This should be available on my Etsy shop in a few weeks.
I’ll try again later this week with another batch. Last week’s mid week project was a two bar test batch using coconut, palm and olive oils with some shea butter. It gave me a super hard, super white batch. Just a little bit of soda ash. I think I’ll tweak it a little bit more to get a fluffier lather and a little more slip. I have some liquid silk to play with too…