Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Star Spangled Soap

I'm ready to celebrate Independence Day the soapy way. These awesome melt-and-pour American flag bars are perfect handouts for your friends and family this coming Monday. Everything you need to make your own patriotic party favors is in one easy kit.

Tip! If you prefer to use dry pigments and can't find a true red, try mixing equal parts brick red oxide and cellini red mica. The results are in the photo above. Have fun!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kat's Column Swirl Attempt #1

If you make cold process soap, you've probably already heard about the column swirl craze going on right now. Well, I am addicted to swirling and had to try it! I used activated charcoal for my black, yellow mica, hydrated green chrome oxide and Cellini blue (which should morph to a nice violet by tomorrow). My fragrance choice is a refreshing combination of lavender, lime and peppermint.

Notice my "column" is a rectangular box I found (thinking, heck, my mold is rectangular, this will work!). Next time I'll try something square to see the difference.

Is it just me, or is there a creature staring back at me in the pour below?

Pulling the colors through with a reed (and giggling with excitement).

I always tell my students in swirl classes to know when to stop manipulating the swirl or you get mud. I pretty much threw my own advice out the window at this point because I was so excited. I love the psychedelic spider web look and cannot wait to cuts bars tomorrow!! Keep an eye out for the finished product.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Learn Cold Process

The next basic cold process class with Kat is on Sunday June 26th at 2pm, $37.50. Reserve your spot here or call (360) 676-1030. There are currently five spots open!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Don't Miss Out!

Jill Heuser, lotion instructor at Soap Weekend Intensive and founder of Northwest Scents in Bellingham, will be doing another lotion class on Friday, June 24th at Otion, just in case you weren't able to make it to this year's packed Intensive Weekend event (starting this Friday!). Learn how to design your own luscious lotion recipe, the regulations surrounding labeling, and all about preservatives! The class includes all handouts and materials for you to make two 8 oz bottles of lotion to take home. Sign up online or give us a call at (360) 676-1030.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mother Earth News Fair

Hi everyone! Did you have a good weekend in the sun? I sure did. It was over 80 degrees in Puyallup at the Mother Earth News Fair on Saturday where I taught two cold process soap classes. There were tons of vendors, workshops, demonstrations, and even a tent full of farm animals. I loved watching a man with a team of Belgian horses pull a huge log around the arena with ease. Unfortunately, I missed out on the cheese-making classes because they were going on as I was setting up and while I was teaching. It's still on my list of things to learn! Notice in my interview above by Gina from Mother Earth News, there is an electric car passing in the background. There were so many wonderful natural alternatives for everything from your broomstick to the vehicle you drive.

I had a great time teaching and could have talked for hours on the subject. We were given 45 minute time slots, so I packed in as much as I could, including a soapmaking demonstration using Star Anise and Lavender Essential oils, with activated charcoal as my black pigment. Charcoal is a very smart choice for coloring your soap naturally, as it is a renewable resource and it doesn't lather black like other pigments. I was very pleased to see that all of our information packets were taken and the seats were packed for both sessions.

Here's a look at some of the finished bars from the demonstrations. The charcoal is gorgeous swirled in with the uncolored neutral soap. My recipe included palm, coconut, olive, sweet almond, shea butter, and palm kernel flakes. That's some happy skin!

There were some really good questions and concerns about making soap from scratch. Some worried about the expense of making soap, but keep in mind, you can make a long-lasting, luxuriously lathering bar with only three affordable oils (I do it all the time!): Palm oil, coconut oil, and canola oil. You only have to invest in a good mold once, and there are many essential oils that are as affordable as synthetics. Orange Valencia Essential oil is only about a dollar an ounce! For more pictures and information from the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, click here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Father's Day Mustache Wax

It's true, not all dads sport unruly facial hair. Still, this is a super easy project for Father's Day if the man in your life needs to tame those wild eyebrows or stylishly shape his cookie duster.

Father's Day 'Stache Wax Basic Recipe:

1/4 oz Castor Oil
1/2 oz Beeswax (white or yellow)
1 Stackable Clear Lip Pot (3 pots in one)
Add about ten drops of dad's favorite fragrance or essential oil to make it extra special. Or, split this little batch into three 1/4 oz sections and scent each one differently to customize each lip pot. Here are some great masculine scents. Warn dad not to eat the wax off his 'stache, or just put lip balm flavoring instead if that's a concern.


Melt the wax in a double boiler and slowly add the Castor oil and fragrance. Keep mixture warm-- beeswax cools fast, particularly in such a small quantity. Pour into lip pots and cleverly label.

That's it! Soooo easy and definitely a unique handmade gift.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Swirling on Sunday

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great extended weekend. I taught an advanced swirling class on Sunday as a refresher for Sharon, a participant from last year's Soap Weekend Intensive. She is an experienced cold process soapmaker and loves taking classes and learning more about the craft. We made two batches to show two methods of swirling-- in-the-pot and linear, which was just taught in Miami at the Soap Guild Conference earlier a few weeks ago.

Using burgundy, yellow and black oxides and Star Anise essential oil, we made this great linear swirl in the 18 bar Birch mold. Sharon typically shies away from using yellow... so we used yellow. I like to encourage students to try colors outside of their comfort zone. You just might surprise yourself by stepping outside the box. These colors worked so well together and the yellow actually made this bar work. It added the perfect pop of brightness.

For our in-the-pot swirl, we used her favorite scent, lavender, and paired it with ultramarine blue and violet pigments to go with the theme of the scent. This swirling technique is very gratifying because the swirl pattern is formed by the actual pour-- you really do very little to manipulate a design. Plus, waiting to cut into that loaf is, for me, equivalent to Christmas Eve giddiness.

We had a lot of fun and I always enjoy helping Sharon out with her projects. She is a great melt-and-pour soaper as well. The best part is that she generously gives her soap out to family and friends as gifts with no interest in making money off of them. Soaps from Sharon just got a bit fancier. Thanks for the enjoyable afternoon.