Saturday, July 13, 2013

July 2013 Soap Challenge is the Mantra Swirl

This months soap challenge was making an advanced mantra swirl or the simple mantra swirl.    I opted to make both and determine which one was the best to enter.   Thank you Amy for the challenge.   I believe we are all winners.  We learned how to create these techniques or do them better and overcome our challenges.

After making both the original and advanced mantra swirl, I decided to enter the original mantra swirl soap.   True to my nature I made the advanced one first....not a good idea.   You will learn why........

I used the suggested challenge recipe to make the advanced mantra swirl.   I followed the recipe and used a FO, Sweet Pea and Rhubarb, which is easy to work with, no discoloration and no accelerating.   I had my molds ready for both soaps.

I emulsified the oil and lye water then poured into separate containers that had the colorants in them, red made of BB's electric bubblegum and merlot mica, hydrated green chromium oxide and titanium dioxide.   By the time I mixed the soap into the colorants, the soap was at a medium trace.   I got the white and green almost completely poured and then it almost froze.   I had to stir and pour.   I did the same for the red center and then had to spoon it in and keep banging it on the counter to keep it settled down.   I ended up getting it poured in the mold.  I have documented the process in more detail and hope to figure out what happened to accelerate the trace.

I used a hanger with straw on it to swirl beneath the surface, but it was really hard to move it through the soap.   By the time I finished that step the soap was pretty set.   I went ahead and swirled the top, but it was more like dragging a stick thru thick mud.   So to say the least, I wasn't pleased with the appearance. (By the way, I love the Brambleberry silicone mold.   I was concerned about getting the soap out of it, but I loosened the sides and the soap slipped right out.)    Here is the cut soap, I forgot to take a picture of it in the mold.  

The colors came out darker than I wanted, but I will accept it.   Someone said it looked like Christmas, I tend to agree.   It smells wonderful, lathers beautifully and feels great.  


After having a problem with the soap trace accelerating in the advanced swirl soap experience, I used a recipe that a friend recommended.   I used the same colors, FO and mold as noted in the Advanced Swirl Experience  except I only used one divider in the mold.   Roberta, a soap friend in Claremore,  recommended the recipe used and it worked great.   It did not accelerate in trace and worked perfectly.   I used white and teal green on the major sections and red to high light and swirl.   I used a yorker bottle to force the red into the soap and then placed it on top of the line between the teal and white.   I used the "S" swirls to swirl the top.   Here is the soap before putting in oven at 170 F.

This look is what I was trying to achieve.   I can't wait to cut it.   I will say the Sweet Pea and Rhubarb from smells wonderful and it soaped great.   No acceleration or discoloration.  This is my entry to the Mantra Swirl Soap Challenge.   I learned how to create the mantra swirl and advanced mantra swirl.   They won't intimidate me anymore.   It feels great when you have overcome a challenge, no matter what it is.   Here is my cut original mantra swirl soap entry.   Can you tell I forgot to cut it horizontally vs vertically?    That is what happens when I do something before drinking my first cup of coffee.

This was a great challenge and a lot was learned and accomplished.  Thanks for sharing it with me.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Soap Challenge - Peacock Swirl

Today is the day of the Soap Challenge BIG reveal.   I planned the color design of my peacock swirl soap around the fragrance used which is Cranberry Fig from Brambleberry.   I used an inspiration by Design Seeds color palette.  I love these books.  They are extremely inspirational for determining color combinations for decorating, painting soaping, etc.

Colors in the palette were dark green, dark purple, light purple, white, light green and cranberry red, in that order.

This is the organized items to make the soap.  My hair picks comb must be hiding behind my rooster.

Here is the first layer pour.
This is after the soap has been swirled.

The following is the Peacock Swirl Soap.

Another picture.   As you can tell photography is not one of my strengths.  : ) 

This was a great soap challenge and my first time to make the peacock swirl and to participate in a soap challenge.   Thank you Amy for breaking me out of my shell.

I can't wait to see all the other entries.   I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.   

Have a blessed week.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Greetings from the Heartland of Oklahoma

Early Memories of Making Soap:
My Mom and I use to make soap outside in a big round iron potbelly pot. Almost like the "witches brew" type after Dad butchered the hog, Mom would take the skin, cut it in smaller pieces and cook it to make pork rinds and to render the lard.  She would then take the lard from cooking all the skin and use it for soap.

Mom and Dad took the ashes from fireplace and placed them in a trough and ran water thru it.   Mom would collect the lye mixture from the trough and strain it until she had what she wanted.   Dad then built a fire outside and placed the pot on it and Mom put the rendered lard in it.    (We made the soap in the big iron pot too.)   Momma poured the strained lye water in the warm lard and we took turns stirring the mixture until it "traced".    Mom dipped the soap into big pans.   The pot was way too big and heavy to pour from.   The soap had to cure for a couple of weeks.  We used it primarily for laundry soap. I was always afraid of the lye.  Mom put the fear in me about being careful.

I have the old big iron pot on my side porch area with flowers planted in it and it is precious to me; it brings back the old memories.   Mom went with me to one soap gathering in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2000 before she passed away.   She loved the “new” modern method of making soap and she loved my soap.    Much easier than what we did in the 50’s and so much more conditioning and milder.  

After giving my soap, lotions, creams and salves as gifts to friends and family.   I have been asked many times to start a business so they could buy them.   So I am now in process of setting up my business, Nature’s Secret Blessings, to provide the creations to everyone.   

Amy Warden from Great Cakes Soapworks encouraged me to set up a blog.   She has been extremely helpful.   I love her blog and her Soap Challenge which I just signed up for.   Pressure, Pressure.   LOL     Thank you Amy for your input.

My Personal Story:
My Dad was a rancher, farmer and preacher in SE Oklahoma.  Mom and Dad married right before Mom’s 16th birthday.  They were married 49 years when Dad passed away in 1991.  Mom passed in 2005….in my bed.  Haunted me for years.

I have a sister 4 ½ years older who is a retired school teacher.  She lives in Dallas (Plano).  She is the dainty, small, very graceful and indoorsy one.  She and both my parents look Cherokee; dark brown/black straight hair and dark brown eyes.   I am not dainty or graceful.  I look like my Irish paternal grandmother; blue eyes and reddish brown extremely curly hair.    I was the tomboy entertaining one and usually outside helping Dad.  

I have two sons and a daughter:    Eight grandchildren of which five are still living; 18, 14, 13, 10 and 9.   Lost three granddaughters from genetic issues.  My children live within 15 minutes of me.  My daughter developed breast cancer and had mastectomy at age 21.  They discovered 6 weeks after her first daughter died.  She lost two additional little girls, the last one two years ago.  She and hubby have one very healthy (spoiled) little girl age 9.   She is our little miracle.  Her name is Faith.  Her baby sister’s name who passed 2 years ago was Hope. 

I originally majored in premed when I started college, but got married, then pregnant and dropped out of school.   I went back and changed major to Accounting and Business Administration after I had my children.  I retired from accounting (auditing and consulting), system implementations, etc. in May, 2008.   I love retirement!!!

My favorite hobbies are making soap (bar and liquid) lotions, creams and salves and growing medicinal herbs and plants in garden.  I love researching and creating herbal creams, lotions, infusions.  Anything medicinal. 

I also enjoy working with teenage girls and young adults from church.   Every other Thursday night the young adults come over to my house for dinner, games and just great conversations.

God has blessed me and I am so thankful and humbled by His blessings. 

I will be changing the blog presentation and look as I figure this out.   So please check back and see the new changes.