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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Wonderfully Fun SOAP Testing

My adventure in SOAP testing continues with Mystery fragrance #3. 

The Idea:  I need more swirling practice..love swirling.  I am going to do a regular 2 color swirl, nothing exciting, just a chance to practice my swirling skills.

The Fragrance:  My first impression of this fragrance was mulberry, plum, tart cranberry, and just a whisper of spice.  My husbands first impression was grape and plum.  It is very fruity and one of my FAVORITES!!  This is a fragrance that if Bramble Berry decides to keep it, it would become a regular part of my Purely Indulgence line year round, yes it's really that good!!

The Color:  Continuing with the Fall/Holiday theme, I decided to do a puple and black swirl.  I wasn't sure I would like using Black Oxide in soap...but I love it!  It really goes with any color/theme and makes the other colors really stand out.  I went with Ultramarine Violet mixed with Red Oxide for the purple part, both from Bramble Berry of course.

The Recipe
Olive oil-30%
Coconut oil-30%
Palm oil-20%
Grapeseed oil-6.67%
Castor oil-5%
Shea Butter-5%
Sweet Almond oil-3.33%

Becaue I used Extra Virgin Olive oil instead of Pomace, the Purple turned a bit muddy.  I noticed no color change when adding the fragrance oil.  I like it though, it's more of an earthy purple.  I was going for a plum color, which I think I managed to get.


I practiced a different sort of swirl, instead of a pattern I just looped it with a flick of my wrist to give it a more contemporary/elegant look.  I have been struggling with my swirling abilities, so with all this testing I figured it was the perfect time to get in some swirling practice!

The Result:  This one turned out GREAT.  The fragrance was fantastic to work with and didn't accelerate or discolor at all.  The tartness came through in the soap a lot more than out of the bottle, and it's a bright fragrance that I really like.  It is on the light side, so if using again I would increase my fragrance usage just a little, maybe up to 4.5-5% (I used 3% fo).

The color combination turned out super pretty!



As always I will keep my eye on it and watch as it cures.  I am looking for any color discoloration, and scent retention.  I decided to call it Blackberry Marmalade, this Limited Edition Fall/Holiday soap will sell out fast I think!!

Success #2 This one goes to ME!!
Monica: 2 Fragrances: 1

Keep on checking back, next post is going to be numbers 4 and 8.
Make sure you check out my favorite blog The Soap Queen, if you are looking for more soapy inspiration, and instructions for making your own wonderful soap.

Monday, August 29, 2011

SOAP Testing Continued...

Mystery S.O.A.P Fragrance # 2
I am having quite the experience testing these fragrances for Bramble Berry.  I can not believe how much fun this is!

The Idea:  I love the Column Pour method, and have been wanting to try it again.  I put it on my list for a technique that I should NOT use with a new Fragrance, and then of course totally disregarded my own advice!  If you want to see this method in detail, here is a tutorial from Lovin Soap.  You can also check out soap fantastic Column pour soaps at The Soap Queen Blog.

The Fragrance:  OOB (out of bottle) this fragrance smelled like ginger, some sort of musky base like patchouli, and a sweetness that was not candy sweet, but rather floral/earthy sweet.  It's a hard fragrance to explain, and has proven even harder to name.  I figured it would be a perfect canidate for 6 color column pour since it had so many different notes in it.  In the soap the fragrance turned a little more sweet, and lost that ginger note that I had detected. 

The Color:  Since we are doing fall I decided to go with reds, oranges, and a green.  I had the most fantastic helper when mixing up all the colors:  my 5 year old Trenton loves to help Mom as much as he can.  We used:  Burgundy oxide, Ultramarine violet, Ultramarine pink, Coral Mica (which turned orange), and Green Chrome Mica.

The Recipe:  Again I kept it simple, I wanted a recipe that wouldn't trace fast so I would have time to pour all of the colors and get clean lines.  I used:
Olive oil-35%
Coconut oil-30%
Palm oil-20%
Castor oil-5%
Avocado oil-5%
Lard-5%

The Results:  This fragrance traced way too fast on me and because the soap was too thick it did not pour well at all.  The top came out lumpy rather than smooth, and some of the colors disapered entirely.  The orange came out bright as did the green.  I will be sure and remind myself to use a fragrance oil that I KNOW will not accelerate next time I try to do a column pour.  Lesson Learned.
As you can see the top is not satin smooth, and there are no nice clean lines.
Cut it looks like this:

As they cure I will of course be looking for any color changes, and scent retention. 
I'm giving this one to the fragrance, since it didn't come out perfect (even though I am still happy with the results).
So Monica: 1  Mystery Fragrances: 1
Stay tuned for Fragrance #3

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mystery SOAP Fragrance #1

Hurray for the Fall S.O.A.P Testing Panel!!  I am having so much fun coming up with ideas, and playing with these fantastic fragrances from Bramble Berry.  I am so honored to be a part of this panel, and I can hardly believe they chose me out of all the applicants, it's like winning the lottery!

***Warning:  If you are a fellow SOAP panel member and have NOT received your fragrances yet...DO NOT read any further as it will spoil all of your fun!***

The Idea:  I've been wanting to try the thin black line in between layers that I found here.  I think the line in the middle of the layers gives such definition and interest to a technique (layers) that can sometimes be a little boring.  I decided to do the same color on each layer, making the bottom layer on the dark side and the top layer on the lighter side.

The Fragrance:  Mystery Fragrance #1 smells delicious.  To me it smells like grape with a green note that I can't quite place.  In my opinion it doesn't smell like a Fall fragrance exactly, more like a nice fruity smell that would be great year round.  It reminds me of wine and vineyards, with the green note giving it a nice briskness.

The Color:  Since wine and vineyards come to mind I decided to try the Burgundy Oxide Pigment I just got from Bramble Berry.  For the line I will use Black Oxide.


The Recipe:  I kept it simple, since this is a testing fragrance that I was not sure would behave well.  I used a recipe of mine that has a high percentage of olive oil.  Olive oil is my favorite oil in soap, it's so gentle and fantastic for your skin.

Olive Oil: 35%
Coconut Oil: 30%
Palm Oil: 25%
Grape seed Oil: 5%
Castor Oil: 3%
Avocado Oil: 2%

Since I used EVOO instead of Pomace the burgundy turned a bit muddy, this was from the oils not the fragrance.  I split my 2lb batch in half and did one pound at a time so each layer would set up nice and firm and give me a clean line.  This is the darker bottom layer. 

The Results:  This fragrance oil was FANTASTIC to work with.  It behaved beautifully, no acceleration what so ever, and so far no discoloration to speak of.  The scent remained true and did not loose any of it's notes and I'm happy that it retained that Green note (which I still can't place).  I don't know if I Love the line in between, I like the look just not sure about the loose pigment.  I guess we will see once it's cured and ready to use, who knows, maybe it will grow on me.  As they cure I will keep my eye out for any discoloration and fragrance staying power. 



So Success #1 for my first SOAP testing.  Monica: 1 Soap: 0  I look forward to the next project.
Stay tuned for mystery fragrance project #2...I think I'm going to do a 6 color column pour because I just Love that technique, it's beautiful and it's fun to do!!

Hope everyone has a fantastic day, I'm off to go work on sugar scrubs.  On a side note I am thinking about those of you who are on the East Coast and are dealing with Hurricane Irene.. Be Safe.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lets talk Books today!

One of my favorite things to do (besides making candles and soap) is to read.  There is nothing better than curling up in my favorite comfy chair and getting lost in a world of pure imagination.
It seems like forever since I've been able to take the time to read a good book.  I'm one of those readers that cant start a book without finishing it, so with the beginning of my busy season looming near it's been hard to set aside enough time to properly absorb a good book.  That's why this week I am at least partially (OK only a tiny bit) thankful for surgery and recovery time.  Since getting my gallbladder removed and having to relax I have had a ton of time to read a few really great books.  So lets talk books.

(photo from amazon.com)
This is the first book I downloaded to my kindle (I LOVE my kindle by the way).  I enjoyed this book's smart collision of vampires, witches, history, magic, and science.  It had me engrossed for days.  It did have some parts that I found myself wanting a little something more and realized I was a bit bored, but it didn't take very long before the author had me reeled back in.  It is a pretty scientific heavy book and it's clear that a lot of research went in to the writing of this book.  I for one really like scientific heavy books so it was right up my alley, however, if you are not into that sort of thing it may not be the book for you.  I recommend this book to anyone looking for a smarter more grown up vampire storyline. 

After the first book I found myself in a witchy sort of mood so I downloaded:


Whisper of a Witch (The Savannah Coven series book #1)
by:  Suza Kates

And
Conviction of a Witch (The Savannah Coven Series book #2)
by: Suza Kates


These both where Fantastic books at a Fantastic price.  I read both of these books in a matter of days.  I couldn't put them down and found myself reading into the wee hours of the night.  Suza Kates has extraordinary talents and makes you feel like you are right there battling evil with the Sister Witches.  It's easy to relate to the characters and the place, and I loved the blending of suspense, magic, and romance.  Each book is the story of one of he extraordinary women that have found out they are witches and been summoned to Savannah to battle evil and save the world.  Each woman not only battles the demons of evil, but there own personal demons of life.  Combine that with some hunky guys and romance is sure to follow.  This was a fun storyline that takes you away and leaves you looking forward to the next witches story.  I personally can't wait for the next installment, and have found a new author to follow. 

On to the next book, Happy Reading everyone!

My S.O.A.P fragrances have arrived!


I was on high alert yesterday as I knew the FedEx truck was bringing me my mystery fragrances.  I didn't go anywhere and anxiously awaited the delivery time.  Of course I had to immediately get my "out of bottle" thoughts on each fragrance.  So far I like #3,4, & 6 the best. 
Of course when my darling husband came home I had to get him in the action too plus my 5 year old helper just couldn't be left out of the fun.  Hubby's favorite....#5 and my son's favorite was all of them except #8.
I can't wait to start playing with all of the fantastic fragrances from Bramble Berry.  I have some fantastic ideas for some super creative CP soap, plus I plan on putting a few of these in a sugar scrub.  Well back to my drawing board for more creative ideas!
Have a fantastic day!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Brambleberry's S.O.A.P Fall testing Team

I would love to be a part of this team.  What is a S.O.A.P team?  Well Brambleberry sends out new test fragrances to team members for product reviews.  I LOVE Brambleberry's products and would love a chance to put my super sniffer to work. 

My favorite item from Brambleberry right now (it changes with every order I get!) is the Lip Balm Base.  I have been working on lip balm for a while now, and just could not get it exactly the way I wanted.  I decided to order a pre-made base, but wanted one that was still very natural and did not contain any chemical fillers, and junk that a lip balm doesn't need.  I searched a lot of places, but the one that I liked the most was from http://www.brambleberry.com/

The day it arrived in the mail (which was extremely fast by the way) I just had to play!  So here is my Cucumber Melon Lip Balm made from a base that I got @Brambleberry.  It's made with Coconut oil (Cocos Nucifera oil), Cera Alba (Beeswax), Sweet Almond oil (prunus Amygdalus Dulcis), Avocado oil (Peresa Gratissima), flavor, and mica.  It's incredibly easy to use, leaves your lips kissably smooth, and lasts forever on your lips. 
My other favorite item right now is the MANGO BUTTER.  This is similar to shea butter(which I love also). I used it with Shea butter to make an amazing emusyfied scrub with their Almond Cybilla fragrance, and Oh My is it fantastic!  It makes your skin so smooth and smells heavenly.
And last but not least.  I purchased their Lotion from scratch kit.  I love the shea butter in this lotion, it gives it this fantastic thickness that screams luxury, but still absorbs well without the greasy afterfeel.  Brambleberry's kit made it so easy to make hand made lotion, and came with great instructions and ideas for making it yours.  I made this Shea Butter Lotion with Brambleberry's Tropical Vacation Fragrance oil.


In additon to the wonderful things here...there are a ton of other things that I LOVE from Brambleberry.  I only purchase from them for all of my oils and butters for my soapmaking needs.  They have high quality products as well as the best customer service in the industry.  So if anyone is thinking about trying out soapmaking for themselves...I highly recomend http://www.brambleberry.com/ for all of your soaping needs. 

All items shown here are in the testing phase of production and will be available soon on our website.

Happy Soaping!
The Green Lady

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Introductions

Hello and welcome to my blog.  I am Monica, but my friends call me The Green Lady.  I am a soaper/candlemaker and I LOVE my jobs.  Not only do I run my business, Green Lady Creations, I am also a mother, and a wife to the most amazing family.  If I'm not in the studio, or in the office, I'm outside playing with the kids or working in the garden.  I really love what I do and if it wasn't for the amazing soapers and candlemakers out there that share their knowledge on the internet and in books I wouldn't be where I am today.  In the spirit of creative sharing and inspiration, I wanted to help inspire the many creative people out there who are looking for information and creative inspiration! 

So what will we talk about?  Well anything really, I have a lot of thoughts in my head and and lot of things that I enjoy.  I thought we'd talk about soapmaking of course, and a little candlemaking thrown in there.  Maybe some product reviews, and books that we are reading; esentially we will chat about many things and have a ton of fun!

This week my hubby helped me with a soap project.  I found this technique online you can find it Here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3R14Mdix8E
It's called the spoon swirl, and it is a ton of fun. There are some amazing soapers out there that have made beautiful soaps with this method, and it really was a fun project to do.
So here is a sneak peak of a soap of mine that will be availible for the holiday season. 

By alternating spoonfuls of the white/red you get this amazing marbled look.  It takes a little patience, and I would not use a fragrance that you know moves fast, you need a little bit of time.  I recruited a helper (my hubby) to do the red while I did the white.  It's even more fun with a friend to help!

Happy Soaping Take Care and See you all tomorrow!!