Saturday, July 30, 2011

Again with the apples?

What Can I say?  I like apple scents...

Sweet mutha, I like this.  It apples, but unlike the Macintosh Apple scent I did recently, this is Granny Smith Apple and it has more of a green apple, crisp bite.  Seriously yummy.  Topped with lime and yellow chunks, green sugary goodness and some sparkles.  Of course, it has amazing ingredients and lather too. :)  Coming in a few weeks!  As with most soap, if you'd like a pre-order drop me an email :)

Enjoy the day!

Pahk The Cah In Hahvahd Yahd...

If you're in the Boston area, some of our select products will now be available at Bridgewater Art & Custom Framing!  A cool little store just a short walk from Bridgewater University.  Stop in and get your A Life Deliberate Soap Co. goodies in a week or so!


50 Central Square
Bridgewater, MA. 02324

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An Apple A Day....

'Afternoon.  :)  It's so nice outside today.  75 degrees.  Sunshiney....bird kinda makes a girl happy, ya know?  I've been all hummy and smiley for no good reason, other than that. :)  Maybe my underwear's riding up...

Are ya'll sick of my dessert-y soap frenzy yet?   I have been on a serious kick, huh?  Well, last night I started cracking into my fall scents.  It got down to 60-ish in the evening, the farmers are harvesting the wheat here, the night sky was lit up with stars and I just got into that mood.  Before ya know it, we'll be smelling the bite in the air and the leaves will be ready to fall.  My life  The summer is going by so. fast.  ...

This one is Macintosh Apple.  Hands down, my favorite.  On the rare occasion that I fork out money for Yankee Candles, I always get this scent.  It's pretty dead-on.  I've gotten fragrance oils in this scent, a coupla times, and once it smelled like chemicals, and the other time like a zippy combo of skittles and armpits.  Not cute.  This one, though, is awesome.

I'll be starting some Halloween stuff soon.  I have some ideas, but what would YOU like to see?  I'd love to hear. :)

Have an amazing day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Oh muh darlin'....

Ugh.  Blogger is on my one good nerve.  Too many hoops to jump through to comment on a blog, for me.  I need the quick version, Powers-That-Be!  I have crap to do...

Anyway -  I'm soaping again.  Wee.  I've been thinking of incorporating dried fruits into my creations for some time.  I'm not EATING them, mind you.  My seizing arteries still prefer chemical-laden junk food. 

This soap was supposed to be more orange-y in color, but we had a morph-situation's still in the ballpark.  The fragrance consists of orange sherbert, orange vanilla frosting, cake batter and orange smoothie.  That, I would totally eat.  I used sliced and dried clementines in the top and bedazzled the log within an inch of it's life.  I like how it came out, but I always forget that I'm not a fan of lemon pop mica.  Too muddy for me.  I'll forget again, the next time I need a yellow too.  I'm 43.  I forget pants, at times.


See ya next time!  Oh, and side note?  RIP, Amy Winehouse.  Within an industry of over-produced, homogenized, soulless music, you were a glimmer of light and depth.   Thanks for that.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Vanilla Monster....

If you're new to the Bath & Body game, you might be interested to know some things about vanilla content.  You may have made some gorgeous bath bombs that smelled like the gooiest chocolate cake on the planet, or maybe you spent hours planning a beautiful cold process soap, with that high priced fragrance oil, that included tons of carefully executed, colored swirls. Then the next day you run, excitedly, to your curing rack and (aghast) you notice ugly brown specks all over your masterpiece that you have all that time and energy invested in! Been there? Don't lie to me, you know you have. A few days more, and your beautiful creation is roughly the color of something Fido left for you in that shady corner of the yard.

Oh, the humanity.

What the heck is the deal?  I'll tell ya what the deal is - vanilla.  Vanilla, vanillin, and ethyl vanillin, to be more precise. Yep.  Oh, it may sound innocuous enough, like a fluffy bunny or a favorite childhood treat, perhaps - but it's a soapmaker's nemesis unless you learn some skills to deal with it.

See...all those sugary, confectionary, sweet scented fragrance oils that everyone loves so much, contain high percentages of vanilla.  There is a chemical component to vanilla that when exposed to sodium hydroxide, and then ultimately, to air; discolors soap and bath and body products.  Sometimes you'll see it right away.  Sometimes, weeks later.  Sometimes it's slight, other times significant. 

EVERY time, annoying.

As soapmakers, we learn to deal with it, and many times outwit the monster with technique and tools.  Let me show you an example:

If you remember my post from yesterday, you'll remember I made a high vanilla content soap called "Spiced Mocha Dolce".  Tons of vanilla in the FO.  The base containing the fragrance oil was left uncolored because I knew the color change would happen, and manipulated it to suit my design.  I left the portion of the batter to be used for the top "frothy" part of the soap, unscented, eliminating any worry of the fragrance oil wreaking havoc on my white layer.  Just one example of a trick you can use.  You can see by these two photos, that in just a few hours, the fragranced portion of my soap (the bottom layer) has taken the color from a light tan to a very dark brown. 

Now, had I added color to that layer and did some fancy shmancy swirl, they'd have completely disappeared in the dark brown color, I'd ultimately have had here.  Similarly, had I added the fragrance to the top layer of the soap, the white would be non-existent by now.  Show of hands - who's sh*tcanned or rebatched entire loaves of soap for just this reason?  Okay, hands down - I can't count that high.  :P  We all have.  And if you're new to soaping, you will too.  It's part of the learning curve.

Now, all is not lost if you just simply can't live without all those fragrances with vanilla in them.  Aside from crafting your designs around it, you can also implement a product into your recipes called "vanilla stabilizer".  Only a select few work in cold process, so read your labels.  What may work in melt & pour or bath treats, may be useless for your soap from scratch.

Vanilla Stabilizer is a product that, when added to your recipe, will mostly prevent browning in your goods.  I say "mostly" because even then, it can be a crapshoot.  The higher the vanilla content, the sketchier the potential outcome.  It also won't prevent it forever, but the product will generally keep the color change at bay long enough to have been used and enjoyed.

There are other techniques such as blind swirls that can add visual interest to your creations, and yet work with your vanilla monster too.  It's best to just make peace with it.  Life's too short to lose your mind over every soap batch that has a plan of it's own.  With a little research, lots of planning, good technique, and good information from supply companies - we can all continue to create artisan product.

Brown soap isn't so bad sometimes anyway. :)

Until my next post - have a great day!

I'd like to thank the academy....

Well how fun and sweet is this?

It seems some really cute bloggers, Holly at Sparklebrook, MichelleĆ¢€¨ from Two Blooms Design Studio ),  Amy from Tenth Avenue Soapworks, Patti (& Milla too!), Rebecca from Heirloom Soapworks, Leslie from Joyful Soaps LLC, and T from Tatiana's Dreamy Delights have nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award!  :)

Thank you so much.  I appreciate your sweet nominations and, frankly, am thankful anyone even reads this thing.  (Hee!)

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award are:
1 – Make a post and link it back to the person who gave you the award
(and include their website address)
2 – Share 7 random things about yourself
3 – Award 7 recently discovered bloggers with this award and
contact them to let them know they have won.

So here goes!  Seven random things about me:
1. - I mixed corn into my mashed potatoes before I eat them.
2. - I'm a bit of a word nerd.  I love words.
3. - I love my dog more than most people.
4. - I have a 22 year old son and a 19 year old daughter and they are the best "things" I ever did.  I've also been with my guy for roughly 147 years. 
Circa 1992 -
Seriously.  DIG on that hair.  And WTF am I wearing?  Is that Garanimals?

5. -I can wiggle my ears independently.
6. - I have a raging addiction to diet coke (Paging Dr. Drew...)
7. - I eat the foods on my plate one item at a time.

Now to pay it forward-because I think this is a fun way to learn interesting tidbits about my blogging buddies. I would like to nominate the following blogs:

Thanks again girls...lots of great reads out there.  I'm flattered. :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Just desserts...

I've fought the confectionary craze from the beginning of my soaping adventures.  I'd think "Who the hell wants to wash themselves with a freakin' cupcake?" but years into this, I've discovered that, indeed, SCORES of soap freaks wanna wash themselves with cupcakes.  And pie....and cake slices....and pointy odd soap...and on and on.  Who knew?!  How dull am I?!  I've also discovered through online reviewers and customers that many people get around the oddness of the shapes by cutting their soaps into chunks, or smaller slices as they go to use them.  Whack a piece off, and you're good to go.  Non-soap embeds are easily removed before showers and let's face's just a lot more fun sometimes.  So what the hell am I waiting for?  Time to start more experimenting!

I've been searching for a coffee blend for a long time.  Most all of them miss the mark for me.  They are often too bitter, too strong, too one-noted, too gross.  A soap trio of tea and coffee soaps would even be nice, (she says, digressing).  The blend I'm working with here is a rich, fresh brewed coffee, with really yummy back notes of chocolate, vanilla, and goosed even futher with some cinnamon stick embeds and coffee beans.  The cinnamon stands out in the unscented top layer, nicely.  My hubby had to break out the mitre saw to cut the sticks for me.  Those suckers are like rocks.

No offering up my soul to the alter of the vanilla stabilizer gods, this time.  I'm going for a dark, coffee-esque base with a frothy pure white piped top.  (Thank you, titanium dioxide.) After figuring out placement, I bedazzled with sparkles, coffee beans and the cinnamon sticks, in what I think turned out to be a cute end result.

It heated up BIG TIME in the mold, and I was sure I was going to have a crack situation on my hands.  The fact that it's hotter than the surface of the sun outside, the last few days, isn't helpful.  I wanted it to gel but this is ridiculous.   Luckily, it saponified without incident.  Whew.

So...this might be a fun range to get into after all.  Of course, like with most new undertakings, I realize that it starts a snowball effect and more changes need to be made.  I currently use soapboxes for packaging and they've always worked well for me.  I don't think these kinds of soaps are going to work with this packaging now, so I'll need to reconsider the options....again.  I need to consult my crafty customer greeniebeanie, maybe.  She could build a wing on my house with some constuction paper and a glue gun.  I SO didn't get that gene.

I guess it's what keeps it interesting, right?

Bye for now...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

One for the foodies....

Can you tell I'm trying to diet?

This is one of those times where you pray to the vanilla stabilizer Gods for mercy.  This soap is called "Lemon Buttercream Cannoli"

I know, right?

It smells of freshly baked pie, lemon zest, lemon custard, buttercream, vanilla, and flaky crust. 

It's topped with some sparkles and a little bit of pink and yellow sprinkles, for fun.  Coming in august!