Saturday, 31 August 2013

The Half Baked Plans of Mice and Men

Oh wait, that's not the saying is it. I'm blaming it on Oil & Butter and Soapjam for their delicious looking soaps. And with a name like soapjam, how can I not be thinking of food all the time?

So in keeping with that theme, and the season, I thought I would make a late summer picnic soap. This was also due to seeing Brambleberry's email on embedding and who doesn't like embeds?

This was a great example of what works in theory doesn't necessarily work in real life. I thought I could cut up stripes, and layer them to make a picnic blanket look. Foreshadowing of things to come - my red soap didn't want to come out of the mould. No problem, I thought, I'll just pop out the white soap, cut it up into strips and place it on top of the red. That'll give the right look, right? Wrong.
Looking at the bottom of the soap
The supposed clear layer isn't as clear as it needs to be for the "blanket" to show up either. But the embed is cute, isn't it?

No problem, let's try it again. But this time, I'll make cut the red and white pieces the same sizes so that it can all fit back into the mould properly. That again is great in theory and would probably work, if the mould wasn't contoured ever so slightly. I squished the squares of soap in, working as fast as I could so the clear base wouldn't complete solidify before all the squares were in. It almost worked, but as you can see it's not a pretty finish.

And then, to add insult to injury, the clear soap wasn't clear at all. 

At that point, I gave up to go find a "life of the party" and I don't mean a soap making kit either.

Thinking about it later though, it's all a matter of advertising it right? I can market these "one of" soaps as haute savon and the rest that I've made several of, as laver a pret. Sounds better in a foreign language, doesn't it?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


No, I'm not giving anything away, not yet anyway.

I had a very nice email asking if I'd blog about a giveaway to help launch a new book. The prize is a $75 gift basket from The Charming Frog full of soaps and other goodies. So if you're into winning stuff (and who isn't) check out Jessica Dotta's new book and her contest.

Good luck! 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Cast offs

A friend of mine gave me a soap making kit. She had gotten it from her sister who didn't want it, and she thought I could use it since I made soaps. It's been sitting in the bottom cupboard for a long time now, but since the craft room has been moved, I want to focus on making good soaps. However, being my mother's daughter, I can't just toss anything or give away something someone has given me.

Have any of you tried a soap kit like this before?

Do you see what it says on the top left hand corner?

Honey, it ain't the life of the party unless there's a pitcher of margarita in that box, and much to my dismay, there wasn't.

It does come with all sorts of nifty things though: the mould, 3 bottles of FO (all unlabelled, but at least the write up tells you what they are), apricot seed, rose mica and a loofah.

I decided not to use the rose mica this time, instead using the colours I already had and just try out the basic colour and soap.

It's nice the soaps come with lines to help you cut same sized squares. Great for people like me who have trouble with cutting evenly.

Although it looks like white chocolate. Better get it used up before hubby thinks it is chocolate.
I made the first two just using the soap with some green colouring and scent. Then I thought I'd try to fill in the details in a different colour.
Maybe I should post the blue and reddish pink ones on craftfail.
The grooves aren't as deep as I'd like so the detailing sucks, to put it bluntly. Trying to get the soaps out of the mould was not easy either because the plastic mould is quite flimsy.

I was skimming TeachSoap the other day and someone had mentioned getting a soap making kit from Michael's was liable to turn anyone off of trying it again. I have to agree; this kit is okay, but it would not have made me want to continue. I'm grateful to my sister for having given me high quality materials to start with, so I wouldn't become discouraged right away.

Oh and for those who might not have seen my post on Twitter and Facebook, I got into both the craft fairs I had applied for. Very happy about that.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

I've moved

my craft room that is.

For months now, both my sister and my hubby have been telling me to move my craft room upstairs. I think they were tired of listening to me complain about the bad lighting in the basement, how cold it is down there, lack of space, etc. etc. But inertia and me, we're *this* close, so it took a long time to even think about it.

You all know how it is, how many people enjoy moving, even in your work cubicle? I doubt too many and when you have to move a ton of little bits and pieces, it's that much worse.

We started by buying bins to store all the made soaps. This is partly so I can transport them to craft fairs more efficiently (and less set up time) and also to try and reduce the glycerin dew that was taking place in the basement.

Large bins for holding gift box sets
Smaller bins for individual soaps

Then it was off to Costco to buy more racks and that was it. I had to move at that point. I'm definitely happier being in a brighter, more well lit room and having a room dedicated to my soaps and other crafts. I'm still in moving mode, so you'll have to pardon the mess. :)

First set of boxes moved in

Sunday, 11 August 2013

We'll return to our regularly scheduled program next week

I think we can all agree that weekends are just too short. If every weekend was a 3 day weekend, that would be ideal. 

Although it was a canning/baking weekend again, it didn't mean I wasn't thinking about soaping. Every time I saw air bubbles in my jam, I was tempted to grab my bottle of rubbing alcohol and spritz them. 

So what did you get up to these last couple of days? Hope you all had a lovely weekend.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Summertime and the canning is (not so) easy

Costco already has Christmas stuff on out display, can you believe it? I can't, and I refuse to think about Christmas, especially when we're having nice sunny weather.

I enjoy summers because of all the fresh fruits and veggies in season. I haven't done any canning in a few years, so this year I decided I would pick up some fruit and make some jam again.

I met a woman at work who has 5 acres and grows fruit in the organic manner. In other words, she is not certified, but she doesn't use sprays or pesticides. She had some lovely berries, so after I unloaded a good chunk of my wallet at her house, we came home with raspberries, blueberries and white currants.

Jam making is a lot like soap making. It takes patience, a sense of timing and one should always start with the lightest colour and work towards the darkest colour if one doesn't want to wash out the pot every time. :)

White currant jelly
White currant and raspberry jelly
White currant jelly on bottom, white currant and raspberry on top. Waste not, want not, right?

 White currant juice with Perrier
Mango blueberry jam

Last but not least some basil from her garden

Do you grow your own fruits and vegetables? Do you do any canning during the summer?