Friday, May 28, 2010

Learn Liquid Soapmaking with Anne-Marie!

Join Anne-Marie and Erik on June 5th at 2pm as they teach you the basics behind Liquid Soapmaking. They will cover the basic ingredients, equipment, safety concerns, fragrance, colorant and additive options. Have you ever wanted to make your own liquid soap, shampoo or cleansers and not be stuck with whatever you can find at the store? It’s time to take control of your skincare and household cleaning and learn how to make your own liquid soap from scratch! Come with safety goggles and an apron – we’ll provide the rest. Participants will leave with homemade liquid soap, scented and colored to their preference, in class.

Cost: $30 - includes all materials

We have lots of spots in the class available!! Sign up online, call (360) 676-1030, or visit the store!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Swirls and Scents

I love any opportunity to make soap at the store and when we get new scents, they need testing! These particular fragrances already went through their first stage of cold process testing for bad behavior in smaller sample "rounds." Now they are put to the test in larger batches and are beautified so they can join the other bulk soaps to be sold after curing. A lot of great feedback from our customers is super helpful in determining if the scent is something that appeals to the public, which I think is just as important as how well it reacts in soap.

Testing scents in loaves is also the perfect chance to try different colors together and practice swirling techniques. I'm having lots of fun mixing colors together so that I get even more options from starting with just a few pigments. Think about what you can do with only the primaries: red, yellow, and blue. Dig out that color chart and mix away! Rule of thumb is red and yellow= orange, blue and red= purple, blue and yellow= green. These results are your secondaries. Take it another step and see what you get! Try blue and green to get teal, for example. Remember that it takes less blue in the combination with red to get purple. With this in mind, you can achieve many different values of the same color by simply adding more of one color than another in the mixture (a warmer orange has much more red than yellow).

Make sure to do your color experimentation with scents that have been tested and will not discolor in cold process, or have fun trying it with melt-and-pour!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fortune Cookie Project

I tried my hand at making those adorable melt-and-pour fortune cookie soaps that Anne-Marie did a tutorial on last year. Mine are a little scruffy looking and the shape kind of resembles dumplings rather than sweet little cookies, but hey, I've been wanting to try this for a year and had a lot of fun.

What I learned: liquid glycerin amount is very important! If you don't put enough in, they'll crack when you shape them. I'm not sure I like how transparent my soap is because you can read your fortune through the soap. Make sure to check out her tutorial so you can try it too!

Friday, May 21, 2010

New Boss at Otion ;-)

Well, looks like Toby has everything under control at the store and I can get a jump on my weekend. Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mondo Bath Bomb!

With the new stainless steel bath bomb mold, you will end up with a fizzy so big you'll have to save some for later. No joke, this weighs a good 7.5 ounces!

To make bath bombs, you need 1 part citric acid and 2 parts baking soda, witch hazel in a spritzer bottle, color (dried pigment or La Bomb colorant), fragrance 0.5 oz for 2 pounds, and a mold. In this example, I used cellini blue mica, ocean blue jojoba beads, and Celestial Waters fragrance.

Once the baking soda and citric acid have been thoroughly mixed together and you have added color, spritz with witch hazel as you mix until it holds its shape when you squeeze the mixture.

To create the 3D bomb, fill both sides and compact it really well (the harder you compact it into the mold, the denser and longer-lasting the fizzy), then overfill both sides and push them together. Let them harden in the mold for ten minutes or so before setting it on the table to avoid getting flat spots. That's it! Super easy and a great addition to your product line.

Mallard Ice Cream: Food of the Gods

As temperatures get higher, more and more people are flocking to Bellingham's best ice cream stop. For me, going to Mallard Ice Cream is an extra special treat because it's like being able to actually taste some of the scents we have at Otion. I know that sounds weird, but trust me, there are some soaps that you just want to take a bite out of because they smell so delicious, and Mallard's is a much better option.

They make their ice cream with fresh, local, organic ingredients and churn it using the ice and salt method-- the salt lowers the freezing temperature of the ice, and the small ice crystals from slow churning give it an extra smooth texture.

My favorite combination is a scoop of chocolate lavender and a scoop of cardamom. Yum!

(Photo courtesy of Mallard Ice Cream's website)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cold Process Class Soap

Saturday's class was so much fun-- everyone jumped right in and had lots of great questions. Each group is a little different and you can tell by their soaps. There have been many classes where students used bright, vibrant color and crazy swirl patterns, and this class used mostly earth tones and fun natural additives like apricot seed powder, ground loofah and dried calendula.

Well done ladies and good luck on your future soapmaking experiences!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Summer Fling Swirl

Kat here, happy end of the week! It's Friday and 70 degrees out-- can't beat that. So, summer officially starts in 38 days and I'm already sunburned and making summer inspired soap projects. This quadruple color swirl cold process batch has Summer Fling fragrance oil and smells amazing! It's the kind of scent that just keeps getting better and better over time.

I used the Baltic Birch 18 bar mold and can't stop talking it up. It is simply the best mold for swirling because you have so much surface area to work with to get really interesting patterns.

Colors used:

Alkanet root for the deep purple
Ultramarine blue
Yellow mica
A mix of coral mica and yellow oxide for an orange
Lastly, there's a thin layer of white on the base of the bars created with titanium dioxide.

I'm looking forward to a full Cold Process Class tomorrow afternoon. If you are interested in signing up for the June 19th CP soap class, or for Jill's next lotion class on June 26th, or Anne-Marie's liquid soap class on June 5th, or our 3rd annual Soap Weekend Intensive in August, click here.

Have a wonderful weekend and don't forget to wear sunscreen if you decide to nap in the grass with the dog (I learned my lesson).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lime Wave Soap with Calendula

All this sunshine calls for a refreshing and crisp bar of soap! Lathering up with lime essential oil is so awakening with its zesty punch-- it's the perfect scent for this time of year. I teamed it up with some dried calendula flowers for an extra pop of color, along with lime and brilliant blue labcolors for the perfect green gradation.

The Domed Wave mold works great for this project. I ended up using a discontinued mold that I pulled from the Soap Bar stash, but it gives the same effect.
Your soap will be created by a series of layers. To begin, pour a thin clear layer scented with lime essential oil (4ml per pound) on the bottom of the mold and spray with rubbing alcohol. Now sprinkle a pinch of calendula on the surface. Here comes the color. We're going to build up a darker color with each layer so that when it's popped out of the mold, the base of the bar is a beautiful deep green and the top is bright lime. Add one drop of the lime labcolor, mix and pour over the hardened clear layer with calendula.

With each new layer of color, add another pinch of calendula and spray rubbing alcohol between layers. Make sure to hold your spritzer high above the calendula when spritzing, otherwise it will blow off all the pedals. For the next layer of green, add one to two drops of brilliant blue labcolor to one drop of lime labcolor.
Your final layer of green is the darkest-- up to five drops of brilliant blue to two drops of lime labcolor. You'll be able to see the layers build up and the gradation from light to dark as more blue is added to the lime.

Let it harden up in the freezer for 10 minutes, de-mold and enjoy!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Digital Soaps for the Nerd in You

If you haven't been to Digital Soaps on Etsy yet, go now! Her creations truly are a work of art and you can tell she must love what she does simply by the level of detail that is put into each custom bar.

Chrystal is the original inventor of Digital Soaps video game controller and gadget soap, and she's a really cool person-- I had the pleasure of meeting her a few times when she stopped in Otion. To no surprise, her products have absolutely taken off. Check out my favorites:

And hey, if you're into giving oddball gifts, why not try her Pepsi or Mountain Dew shampoo?

Friday, May 7, 2010

10th Annual Children's Art Walk

It's going to be a beautiful evening to stroll around town and check out Whatcom County student art in downtown Bellingham tonight from 6-9pm. Otion is proud to display artwork from St. Paul's Academy, along with 60 other venues displaying art from local schools. Other things to do while you're out include drop-in arts activities and play, music and special exhibits. For more information, visit Allied Arts online and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Beautiful Spring Swirls!

On Monday I had the privilege of teaching Dyanna who came all the way up from Arizona to learn cold process swirling. It's always interesting to share stories with people who are used to soaping in different climates-- my jaw dropped when she told me it's already 90 degrees down there and all she has to do to melt her oils is leave them in the garage over night!

We had a lot of fun, Dyanna had a great attitude and was a real pleasure to spend the time with. We made a six pound batch and used the ever so popular 18 bar birch mold (my favorite!) and a two pound wooden mold. I like to fill the birch mold up with only about 4 pounds of soap even though it holds six, just because it is easier for me to get the bars out with it slightly under-filled. She chose Sea Shore Cybilla fragrance (an amazing scent which unfortunately accelerates trace a little-- not the best to use for swirling because it cuts down your time to add detail, but perfect if you are taking a class where you have the opportunity to learn what to do in that situation!), green chrome oxide, yellow mica, and titanium dioxide for our triple-color swirl.

The soap turned out great; I love the colors and the scent she picked-- it's the perfect combo for this time of year. Thanks Dyanna! I hope you have fun trying out these new techniques at home!