the ramblings of my journey through life, following my passion and enjoying the adventure

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Drop swirl challenge

sunshine~n~breezy is my entry for the monthly Soap Challenge Club. Hosted by Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks, this months drop swirl challenge is a technique that many talented soap makers use with great effect, each cut bar revealing its unique beauty.

After watching Amy's tutorial over and over so many times, making notes, planning, deciding, changing my mind just as many times as the weather, I eventually got on with it.

The recipe I used is my standard recipe of olive, palm, coconut, rice bran and castor oils with avocado butter, fragranced with lemongrass, ylang ylang and patchouli essential oils, and I used yellow oxide, blue mica and titanium dioxide, plus the usual additives of kaolin clay, coconut milk and sodium lactate.

In the tutorial it is suggested to use a recipe that is slow to trace, to keep temperatures of oils and lye solution low (33 degrees Celsius) to allow maximum time to work and a fragrance that will not accelerate trace.

My normal temps for oils and lye solution are in the lower 30's (90° F)  and my recipe is reasonably quick to trace. So I upped the temps to 40° C (104° F) and hoped for some time to swirl.

Wanting to achieve a drop swirl that would go right to the bottom of the mold, I kept the batter at a light medium trace and poured a double pass of each colour from quite a height.

And that is where my challenge inside of a challenge started! You see, I am what you would call being challenged in the "aim and hit" department. I throw a ball, aiming straight ahead and it somehow ends up behind me. Going bowling, people in the next lane end up wishing I would just sit down and quit with this practice makes perfect motto. So pouring batter into tall skinny molds from a serious height, we're talking potential disaster here!

Now I don't mind that my lack of aiming skills provides family and friends with the rolling on the floor laughing knee-slapping kind of entertainment, but this is stepping up to the plate for the mother-of-all challenges, where the objective is to get more batter in the mold than outside of it. I need to score big time here, batter everywhere but in the mold will be taking the "drop" part of this challenge to a lengthy clean up - no laughing matter!

So for the record - with minor spillage - I aimed, I poured, I conquered!

I so enjoyed this challenge and am looking forward to participating again.
Best of luck to each entrant.

Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Colloidal oats and oatmeal milk - a favourite additive in my soap

The very distinct and medicinal fragrance of Tea Tree oil is softened with French Lavender essential oil, giving this soap a softer more powdery fragrance.

Kaolin clay, colloidal oats as well as substituting 50% water with oatmeal milk makes for a creamy, luxurious bathing experience.

pristine 2012
creamy, loads of cocoa butter

pristine 2012
love the top and the new slim size of the bars of soap

pristine 2012
new packaging, a few changes to come

pristine 2012
the new look of 'pristine'

Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Peter Rabbit, carrots and soap

Our parents warned us about going blind if we did not eat our carrots! Well mine had to constantly, I literally despised peas, carrots and broccoli, no matter in what form or in any disguise my Mom would dish it up. Not even Dad's take on the story of Peter Rabbit, desperately squeezing under Mr. McGregor’s fence to 'borrow' some eye sight saving carrots, moved me into eating carrots without me pumping my lips with enough air pressure to fully inflate the tractor tires of a carrot farmer. My Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail come in the form of two older brothers, and while I have many food related stories and fond childhood memories to divulge about them, none actually feature them also having to sit at the table and "finish those veggies or no pudding"! Either they were more adept at feeding their 'unwanted' vegetables under the cover of a tabletop to the pets; maybe they had wisened up to the fact that getting past Mom's rules was futile, wasted time that could of been spent playing (not to mention that sitting on your butt for ages is not good for your blood circulation or your mood); or food that was meant to be eaten hot tasted far better than when cold. Being boys, they were probably just constantly hungry!

yudhika soap
organic carrot puree for natural colour

I'm sure we have all heard of the numerous health benefits of carrots. Getting their name from the ingredient which gives them that beautiful orange colour - beta carotene, great for healthy .... yup... younger looking skin as beta carotene is an important antioxidant nutrient. Its antioxidant action helps to act against age accelerating free radicals, fighting cell damage in the body. These antioxidants, potassium, Vitamins A, C and K and other nutrients contained in carrots nourish the skin, preventing dry skin and other skin blemishes.

yudhika soap
blend of citrus and floral essential oils

Now I don't know if Mom, as a young mother 40 or 50 odd years ago, knew about antioxidants and free radicals, or had even heard of them, or if she even knew why they are so good for us, just as I don't know for certain if substituting carrot puree for the liquid part in soapmaking has any skin benefits. What I do know is that it makes a good bar of soap with a beautiful, natural colour.

rice milk and kaolin clay add to the silky feel

I've got to wonder if being a soapmaker herself, had she known that carrots are not only healthy but also can be used in soap, if I might have seen less of them on my plate!  
yudhika soap
...makes for a good soap

Bless all mothers who without even knowing, "just know it's good for you because I said so"!

 Greetings from Cape Town
x Cynthia x