Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Tick-or-treat! Have a fun and safe Halloween weekend everyone!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Learn it All!

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, we had the pleasure of teaching Sophie from San Francisco everything she wanted to learn about making soap and other bath and body products. Here's what was made with instructors Anne-Marie, Erik, and Kat: liquid soap in two stages, cold process beginning and advanced, lotion making, bath bombs, and melt-and-pour techniques beginning and advanced. Sophie is sensitive to fragrance oils, so we used pure essential oils for all of her products and had a lot of fun experimenting with scent blending.

Thank you Sophie, we had so much fun and wish you the very best on your future soaping endeavors!

Interested in taking a private class? Sign up here or give us a call at the store at (360) 676-1030 to schedule a session. Plus, we have Early Bird registration for Soap Weekend Intensive 2011 at a discounted price through March 1st, where soapmaking is taken to the next level and taught by an all-star cast of instructors. Hurry, this event fills fast!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

'Tis the Time for Gift Making!

Last night was our first Gift Givers Class of the season, and it was a blast! We made lip balm from scratch, bath fizzies, and salt and sugar scrubs. Each person created unique gifts for four people, with personalized scent, color, and additives such as rose petals, lavender buds, apricot seed powder and ground loofah. Above are some other examples of handmade holiday presents, including soy candles and the ever-popular gingerbread man soap. If you can't make it to one of our classes, here's a fun little bath fizzy tutorial inspired by student Jeanine who created beautiful blue snowflake fizzies in last night's Gift Givers group. Our next class will be on Tuesday November 30th at 6pm, $30.

Here's what you'll need:
Witch hazel in a spritzer bottle
Baking Soda
Citric Acid

Step 1.
Combine 1/2 cup citric acid and 1 full cup baking soda. Blend well and add 2 ml fragrance. I used Peppermint 2nd Distillation Essential Oil.

Step 2:
Add color and blend. Just the tip of a teaspoon is all you need! I used Cellini Blue Mica pigment. Blending everything together is key so that you don't end up with little bumps in the end.

Step 3:
While hand-mixing, spritz with witch hazel. This will bind the batch together so it holds shape in the mold. Too little witch hazel creates a loose and crumbly fizzy, and too much be too wet and set off the fizzy process.

Step 4:
When you can squeeze the mix in your hand and it holds its shape, you are ready to fill the mold!

Step 5:
The harder you compact the mixture into the mold, the firmer and longer-lasting your bath fizzy.

That's it! Now turn over your mold to pop them out and set them on the table to dry for a few hours. Careful, they will drop out really quickly and if you are holding your mold up high, they could fall and break on the counter. Also, keep in mind that if you spray them with witch hazel as a final touch to add hardness, it will set off the fizzy process on the surface and blur those gorgeous details.

Wasn't that easy? Bath fizzies are really fun and make great gifts, plus the kids will be begging for bath time. For a bigger batch (this made 8 fizzies), simply follow the basic recipe of 1 part citric acid to two parts baking soda. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lavender Test Batch

Testing, testing! I'm really excited about this new lavender fragrance oil we're trying out. So far it has performed beautifully in cold process soap and the fragrance is incredible-- I can't tell it apart from the real thing! I used ultramarine violet oxide and left the rest of the soap uncolored (notice how white without the use of titanium dioxide!).

Many customers have come to me asking for help with the ultramarine violet pigment, saying it won't change colors or that it goes gray. I have experienced that as well, but only when I hand-mix the color in. I really recommend stick-blending the pigment in the raw soap to activate the color. It needs a little extra force to break it up, but then you'll see it burst into violet.

Quick Swirl Tip!
For a basic yet striking swirl pattern, I only colored about 1/4 of the batch and left the rest neutral (if you have a fragrance with vanilla in it, you will need to add titanium dioxide to lighten it, otherwise the soap will brown). Begin by pouring a layer of white, then pour a small amount of violet in an "S" pattern from one end to the other, go back with a layer of white, and repeat with the violet pattern until the mold is full. Leave it or do a figure-eight with a spoon or knife for further detail.

Above is a shot of the cold process batch going through "gel phase." You can tell by the darker center that has a transparent appearance. This happens when you insulate your soap and the heat rises, which quickens the saponification process. Many soapmakers prefer un-gelled soap for its silky and velvety texture. Also, keep in mind not to insulate milk soap because the high temperatures will burn the milk. The soap was about 120F degrees at this point.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pumpkin Lager Halloween Soap

This beer scent is a favorite in the Bramble Berry warehouse. Fall in love with the magical and warm blend of Pumpkin Puree, Fresh Ginger, Crushed Nutmeg, Warm Cinnamon, Vanilla Sugar and Sparkling Rum. It accelerates trace in cold process soap and discolors to a dark brown. Recommended usage rates in cold process are 1/2 oz. per pound of soap. Now at Otion!

The Flexible Skull mold is my favorite for this time of year. I love mixing in a little antique blue mica and black oxide pigment to pop out the amazing details. For all your Halloween soap project needs, click here!