Aloha again, everyone!
Today I shall be writing about a very special soap I am doing for a very special little lady - one of my very best friend's daughter, Emma. Emma is seven, and is into Paw Patrol, dinosaurs, space, Batman, cheetahs, sharks, and wants to save the ocean, maybe even the planet. She is a kid after my own heart, and reminds me so much of myself as a kid at her age. Though I wanted to be an archaeologist veterinarian astronaut. You know, because reasons.
For those of you who don't know me, I'm not really a huge fan of kids. They're okay, I guess, when they're older and become small people, so for me to say I super duper dig Emma is a huge deal. I've known her since my friend was pregnant with her, and being able to watch her grow up (if from a distance, cuz she and my friend are halfway across the country) into the interesting little person she is has been really fucking cool. Someday I think I'll kidnap her and take her shark's tooth hunting and snorkeling and teach her all the ways that cats and dogs make awesome children (what is being an auntie worth if you can't corrupt the small ones in your ways? MWAHAHAHAHAHA!)!
Recently, my friend asked me if I could help her out and make Emma a special soap. Not only does she evidently have Eczema, she also has recently developed a condition known as "Molluscum Contagiosum" (say it out loud, it sounds like a bad Harry Potter spell, doesn't it?). Apparently, this skin condition is related to Chicken Pox, but isn't pox itself. It's a viral infection (so no antibiotics), and according to the CDC, it can take six to 12 months to resolve. In some instances it can take up to 4 years. It presents as little pox-like lesions and, like chicken pox, are very itchy for the patient. It can be spread and transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, so it's extremely contagious.
Needless to say, little Emma is not having a good time of it at the moment. She is soldiering on like the awesome kid that she is, but her mom is having a hard time treating her. Nothing they have tried so far has worked, except tea tree oil. The problem with that is that the smell is overpowering and both mom and Emma have a hard time using it topically. That's where I come in! I was approached by my friend to make her some soap with tea tree to try to help her out! It has to be as mild and gentle as possible, and be able to fit in a wee child's hand.
So, off we went to brainstorm land, where we came up with a formula that will hopefully offer some relief to the poor kid. I have that calendula and lavender that I grew and dried this summer, so we started there. I decided to make her a sensitive skin formula with mostly olive oil and shea butter. I decided to steep the oil in the calendula, lavender, and mint for a few hours to get all that healing goodness. I also decided to add coconut milk, aloe juice (from the aloe vera plants I've been growing out back), and colloidal oatmeal to the mix. In addition, I cut the tea tree oil a little bit with lavender essential oil, just to try to tone back the smell for mom & kid. I used Bramble Berry's 12 bar silicone mold, as we decided that would probably be a good size for a kid's palm. If not, mom can always cut the bars in half to little squares. :)
Since CP takes 4-6 weeks to cure, and little Emma could use some soap, well...now...I also made her some melt and pour soap in her favorite color (blue), and used a small paw print silicone mold I had to make her "paw patrol" soap. I used hemp & aloe vera MP bases, and added colloidal oatmeal with the lavender & tea tree oil. Hopefully those will help her out and last a bit while I have her "actual" soap curing. I hope very much that the soap helps her feel better and gets her life back to "normal" (or as normal as it can be until the condition is gone).
Overall, I am looking forward to seeing results, and desperately hoping it can help her. I know I'd feel helpless were I in her mom's shoes and nothing worked, so I am hopeful that I can at least provide SOME form of relief for the poor kid. If nothing else, at least she'll feel special that she has her own "special" soap, just for her. And that will make her feel awesome. Plus, what kid wouldn't be eager about their favorite color "Pat Patrol" soap, yeah?
Hello again, everyone!
Have any of you ever been in one of those moods - a mood where you feel restless and like you need to DO something but you aren't quite sure what that something is? That describes my mood today. Occasionally, I am struck with random bouts of wanderlust, wherein I have a strong desire to run to my car, get in, and just go. I never know where I'd go, how long I'd be, or what I'd do once I got to where ever it was I was going (I imagine I'd know once I got there). I am feeling like that today. It always seems to be accentuated with the turning of the seasons, especially in the fall. It probably also has something to do with the fact that one of my best friends is leaving next week to go to England for two weeks, and I won't fit in the suitcase to tag along. Bah humbug!
So instead, I'm channeling my need to do something into writing a few blogs and working more on my policies. I am also cleaning out my closet. It's sort of a weird thing to do, but it's necessary. :) I tend to hoard things. "But I might need this someday!" I tell myself, stashing it yet again for a few more years. Yeah, it's time to get over that, put on my big girl panties, and really make an effort to de-clutter.
Anyway, on to the point of this blog! My co-worker's sister's bridal shower was last weekend, and she texted me that evening to say:
"The soap favors were a huge hit! Everyone loved them and my sister was so excited! And I used one tonight and am in love! It's so lathery and soft and smells incredible. I want to try all of your soaps haha. You are extremely talented!"
THAT MADE MY WHOLE FREAKING WEEKEND, YOU GUYS!! I was so incredibly flattered and it made me feel awesome! I love being able to help people and make things that make people happy..it was the best feeling!
She sent me a couple of pictures, which I've included below (with her permission) to show how she wrapped them as the final product. I also included some of the preliminary test photos from when I was helping her pick out color schemes, frosting decoration, and fragrances. Her sister's bridal shower was a Kate Spade "Southern" themed shower, and the colors were black, gold, pink and white. She had originally told me lime green and pink, which I believe were the bridal colors, but ultimately decided on a black/white/gold/pink scheme for the cupcakes. I made fifty in total, and one half was vanilla & honey fragrance while the other half was white tea & ginger and peach fragrance. I made her little spade embeds to put on each of the cupcakes, and did a gold mica dusting on the "frosting." The vanilla and honey cupcakes sported a brown base, white "frosting" and of course the gold dusting with a pink spade. The white tea & ginger and peach cupcakes had a white base with pink frosting, gold dusting, and a black spade. Here is an Instagram photo I posted (for some reason my other photos didn't get backed up, waaah!) of the final product for each:
I did a lot of test work to make sure she'd be happy with the end result, and tried to communicate with her throughout the entire process. As I move forward towards formally taking custom orders, communication and informing my customer of each step of the project, explaining how things work (like vanillin in soaps turning the end result brown, for instance!), and making sure to get the utmost benefit out of the end soap for my customer are goals I am going to strive for very hard. Being able to work with Heather, as well as a couple other customers (I've done three other custom orders in the last few months and am setting out to do a fourth here in the next couple weeks) has been a really good benchmark and learning experience for me. I am really looking forward to doing more of this for people!
In the end, I am sooooooooooo pleased that Heather and the bridal shower guests enjoyed their cupcakes. I hope that everyone loves them as much as she did! I am both humbled and proud of how they turned out! And I absolutely LOVE how she wrapped and decorated them for her final favor. I know from having done my Sister-In-Law's that it was probably a LOT of work!! What an awesome sister Heather's sister has in her! And what an awesome thing for me to be even a very small part of!
That is it for now, I am off to do more closet cleaning! Enjoy the photos, and have a wonderfully soapy day!
Well hey again, you guys! :)
I could get used to this whole more blogging thing (at least for the next two weeks - school starts again Sept. 13! EEEEEEK!)! I come to you today bearing updates and happiness. And, of course, a follow-up on my soapy catastrophe.
First thing is first - the catastrophe! I made my soap again, and this time, only used Red Apple FO. Performed beautifully, like a champ. I made the mistake of forcing gel, which was stupid given that I use coconut milk and had spice fragrance oils (which heat up the soap), and got a lovely crack down the middle. I shoved it in the chest freezer to cool the soap down, and it did very well. The crack down the middle basically faded, and the soap itself turned out beautifully. I even got a cool swoopy swirl on a few pieces. Yay me! I haven't had time to take artsy glamour photos, but you can see where it came out pretty damn good. And it smells amazing! I love it. SOOO pleased. There must have just been something crazy going on in that pear & apple combination from the first attempt. Lesson learned.
Second thing on the agenda today is a big announcement: I am going to be starting to accept custom soap orders soon! I am really excited! Currently, I am building the form necessary to accept custom orders, tailoring payment and return policies, and all of that other sundry mumbo-jumbo. I am very excited to start doing this! So far, I have made things for family and friends, or sold a few bars of soap here and there to people I know, and everyone has really loved it. I am hoping I can continue this trend, and bring my soaps to new people. Specifically, I anticipate doing soaps for events (such as cupcake soaps for bridal showers, baby showers, Christmas, etc.), or tailoring soaps specifically to suit the needs of the customer (eg: eczema, sensitive skin, allergies to ingredients like coconut oil, and the like). I am happy to do regular orders as well, however!
Finally, in case you haven't noticed, I did add a "Reviews" page to my site! I recently sold a loaf of soap to a friend and she wanted to leave a review. It occurred to me that with having given away many soaps, as well as done custom orders, I should probably have done that sooner! Whoops!! So, I searched high and low this evening and worked out building the review page. I am looking forward to receiving feedback on the things that I make, and I am also looking forward to being able to share my creations with all of you.
For now, that is everything! Stay tuned for a blog post about a sweet little girl who I am creating a special soap for!
Have a wonderfully soapy day!
It happens to everyone, doesn't it? That one soapy catastrophe that makes us all pout and cry on our loved ones...
Maybe it's just me that cries on my loved one (my husband, who I am sure thinks I'm insane). Just kidding! There was no crying. There was, however, an immense amount of moping.
With the autumn season just around the corner, I decided to make some nice fall inspired soaps. Cue the ever-traditional pumpkin spice soap, which I made last week, that is currently making my basement smell amazing! Pumpkin spice by itself just wasn't enough for me, though. I wanted something else...Maybe some kind of mulled cider. Yes! Mulled cider soap! That would be awesome, I said to myself!
I came up with my fragrance combination, going with Cinnamon Sticks and Arabian Spice for my "mulled spices" and Crisp Anjou Pear & Red Apple for my cider part. The pear has a really nice deep, sweet fragrance to it, which perfectly complimented the tartness of the apple fragrance. I used the Maniacal Pea from Mad Oils (which is a fantabulous mica name, by the way, just have to throw that out there!) and of course the ever-trusty brown oxide. All of my fragrances are from Brambleberry, which I normally have zero trouble with as far as FOs are concerned - The website tells you what to expect, and I appreciate that. The plan was for the pear & apple to go into my green with the spices going into brown since they'll discolor from the vanillin anyway. I soaped at near-room temp, approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and everything was going great. Until it was time to add the apple & pear fragrance combo.
Catastrophe. Utter and complete failure. I feel like at some point in every soap maker's journey to perfect their craft, a failure is inevitable. A right of passage, even. Everyone has a failure story, right? Everyone has had something go awry at one point or another. For me, it was this damn pear and apple fragrance combo. On their own, each fragrance oil performs absolutely beautifully. No acceleration, no ricing, no seizing, nothing. Just beautiful. Together, though? Like the fiery bowels of Hell opened up and took a shit in my soap. I have no idea what it is between the two fragrances that when combined causes them to 100% separate my soap batter and laugh in my face.
Suddenly, I found myself dealing with gritty water. You know that texture when you freeze milk, and as it's thawing out in your fridge and you go to pour yourself a glass, you get that nice gritty milk-water with ice crystals floating in it? Yeah, that was my soap. Only it wasn't milk. It was just green grit water. I stick blended for five minutes straight. Grit water. I stick blended more. Grit water. I tried Soap Queen's Hot Process Hero method and dumped it all into a stock pot together. That shit came to a BOIL. Since I'd added the brown to the mix (which behaved 100% perfectly and as expected - no complaints there), I ended up with brownish black watery gritty clumpy looks-like-sewage in a pot. The fragrance was AWFUL on the heat, and we had to open the windows on an 80 degree summer night.
Needless to say - I let it cool a bit, stuffed paper towels in the pot to absorb any oil that had slicked to the top (the green's portion slicked to the top, the brown sank), and dumped it right in the garbage. That was my first failure resulting in a total loss. I don't know what happened! I made two test batches, and individually, the fragrance oils are wonderful. But something about that combo just wasn't working and ruined my soap.
So anyone who might like to combine these fragrances - DON'T!
Tomorrow I will be making the soap again - only this time I'm only using Red Apple FO and putting the pear fragrance back in my cabinet for another time. ;)
Elizabeth is a new to soap making, and wishes to share her journey in learning to make cold process soap with the hope that it will help other newbies who may stumble upon this site as a resource. From swirl techniques, choosing colors, combining fragrances, embeds, toppers, and textures, she chronicles her lessons and stories here.