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Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Not so Beautiful...


Black Canyon is making me want to pull out all of my hair. 
I love this fragrance it's masculine and soft at the same time, and I really think it will be a great seller in soap (especially for the guys).  It was requested by a customer to put this scent in soap (I prev only had it in candles), so I made a batch right away.  I did a black, uncolored, and red.  At first I thought, wow this is going to be awesome, until it came time to test it out.... so sad when you make your hubby use it only to find out that the black oxide didn't get mixed in all the way thus resulting in nasty black bubbles. 
I immediately thought, OK I can re-batch this right?  So I cut off all of the black, shredded up the plain and proceeded to re-batch. Did it turn out...of course not.  Don't get me wrong, it's usable and no longer bubbles black, but man is it rough looking not to mention way to small.


So into the freebie pile, or the sample pile these go and on to try it again, because I really wanted to get this scent in soap.  This time I opted to leave out any black, used just a little UM blue to give it some color, and did a swirl. 


I was excited the next day when it looked like this.  I thought yes, now this one will turn out!
Wrong...upon cutting, the fragrance or something affected the edges in a weird way and some of the bars were crumbly and yellowing, while others were fine.  I'm thinking the lye/water amounts were off, but I'm just not positive what went wrong.  It could have been the fragrance as I have used this soap recipe many times, or I could have had a brain fart moment and mis-measured something.


After a week, it has discolored pretty bad.  I was able to save about half of the soap in this batch, but I have yet to test the pH levels for safety.  Just in case I made a mistake and it wasn't just a bad reaction with the fragrance.  It also has these funky flecks..so I am thinking that this batch is a throw away batch...we'll see what the pH testing shows. Sigh...am I ever going to get this fragrance to work right?  After all these years of soaping...this is my most puzzling batch so far.  It just went all wonky (yes, wonky is an official soaping term..LOL..)
On my list for the next batch of soap is to try this fragrance yet again, maybe I will do no color and leave it plain.  I figure third times a charm, right?
Needless to say my week in soaping hasn't been the best.  I attempted some more cupcakes too....nope..still need some more practice.  Sorry folks I am not sharing my ugly little cupcakes, trust me, you do not want to see them.

Since all of my soap is ready for my shows in October, I have been taking this time to finish up Winter stuff, work on candles, get the displays ready for the shows, and play around with new ideas (because I just can't turn that part of my brain off).  Thanks for reading my latest soap nightmare....next time It WILL turn out right!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Shameless rave about my favorite Photographer


That's right, those are my adorable children, call me bias, but they are pretty darn cute.   Besides making candles and soap, one of my other favorite hobbies is photography.  I'm not as good at it as I would like to be, but I love to take pictures none the less. There are some talented photographers out there and I just love to look at all their work. 

I have recently fallen in love with a local photographer's work and wanted to tell everyone I could about her amazing abilities.  I took my kids to her for the first time in the spring of this year, and I was blown away by the quality, especially since I paid more for my son's pictures a few years ago at Target and didn't get near the quality nor did I get the amount of different poses.

Sweetpea Memories Photography is based in Burlington, Washington.  She has the cutest studio, and does a lot of outdoor shoots as well.  Shannon is a self taught photographer and has this amazing talent for capturing the personalities of each of her subjects.  She does everything from weddings, pets, to her smash the cake one year old sessions.  (yep your little one gets to get down and dirty smashing a birthday cake, and she captures it on camera, it's adorable)  Her sessions have a mix of candid and posed moments, and she is fantastic at letting the children just be themselves. 


See..that's his personality right there, and she was able to capture it on camera for me to remember always, who needs a video camera when you have such an amazing photo!


 I loved so many pictures from the photo shoot I had trouble choosing only 20 shots (that was my package).  For my package I received 40 pictures total on a CD with 20 different poses in color an black and white.  It's a very generous amount of pictures for the price. (for more about sweetpea memories pricing you can click HERE)













Isn't she talented!  So if you live in Washington (skagit/snohomish/watcom) and are looking for a friendly and talented photographer who is excellent with kids, you should definitely check her out.  She's AMAZING!



And of course my Bragging rights as a mom.....the pictures turned out even better because my kids are so darn cute!!



 













Information about Sweetpea Memories Photography:


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

S.O.A.P-y Round Up!


My S.O.A.P testing for Bramble Berry is all finished, it's been a blast and I am so incredibly thankful to Bramble Berry for choosing me to be on this very Talented Team of Soapers!  I have a few final thoughts to share, and thought I would show some final pics now that the soaps have had a couple of weeks to settle.  

I have chosen my personal favorite and it is # 7.

Mystery Fragrance #1
Mulled Wine

On the Left is 24hrs later on the Right is 3 weeks.  As you can see the color has lessened some, but not much.  The Scent has lightened a bit as well, but the grape has settled and has let the spice notes come through more.  In the Sugar Scrub it is a much more grape/sweet scent with no hints of spice at all.


Mystery Fragrance #2
Autumn Harvest
(note pic on right is wrong bottle..oops)

The colors are great and have stayed very well.  This scent has not lessened at all and is still nice and strong.  It's a great blend of all the scents of the Fall season.

 
Mystery Fragrance #3
Blackberry Marmalade
(again wrong bottle in pic)

The colors stayed well in this soap, but the scent diminished quite a bit, the fragrance now is barely discernible.  If I was to use this one again, I would up the fragrance oil usage.

Mystery Fragrance #4
Santa's Workshop

As you can see the colors are more muddy, and the green did get warmer and loose that 'brightness' I was so concerned about.  This scent has rounded out nicely as it has aged and I like it a little more each time I smell it. 

Mystery Fragrance #5
Still Un-Named

I'm having the hardest time naming this scent, as it has turned into a very sharp, floral fragrance to me, and I can think of nothing that fits right.  So for now it's remaining Un-Named.  No discoloration after a few weeks, and the scent is remaining very strong in the soap.  I personally do not care for this scent, it's a little to sharp for me.

Mystery Fragrance #6
Frosted Spruceberry

This fragrance has lightened up a lot, which is a bummer because it's one of my favorites.  It has had only a little color change (purple came through more) after a week or so.  This is one I really hope Bramble Berry decides to keep as I still LOVE it, I would just up my fragrance usage rate a bit to compensate for the loss of scent.
 
Mystery Fragrance #7 
Winter in the Pacific Northwest

This one is my favorite of all of them.  Sadly it has lightened up quite a bit in the final soap, (one of my customers stated:  "it smells like soap" ) so I would up my fragrance usage on the next batch.  (crossing my fingers that they keep this one)  The colors have stayed nice, maybe a bit more muddy now, but still pretty.


Mystery Fragrance #8
Witchy Witch

The Orange top layer has lightened up quite a bit, but the scent has remained not only strong, but seems to be getting stronger.  Sadly the black layer on this one will have to be cut off, and the rest made in to a smaller hand soap size bar because It has way to much color, thus resulting in grayish/black bubbles.  (which is not good)   Lessons learned when playing with my new Black Oxide pigment. 

So that's my final thoughts on the Bramble Berry S.O.A.P testing fragrances.  Again I was very honored to be a part of this amazing team, and look forward to Bramble Berry's announcement of the winners. 
Thanks all for following me!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall Is In The Air SALE!

I'm ready for Fall, and because it's my favorite season I have lots of new Fall inspired Candles and Soap.  To make some room for all my fabulous Fall stuff Green Lady Creations is having a SALE!

Select Spring/Summer scented Candles and Soap is On Sale Now.  Save 30% on Spring and Summer Scented Soy Candles, and 20% off select soap. 

Stock is limited, so hurry and stock up now, Sale ends September 18th.

7oz Soy Candles: 
Reg $8.99  Sale $6.30
Selected Sale Scents include:
Gardenia
Grapefruit & Mangosteen
Jamaica Me Crazy
Honeysuckle & Jasmine
Kiwi
Lilac
Mango Papaya
Plumeria
Rain Water
Sea Mist
Watermelon
Violet Lime

Grapefruit & Lemongrass Purely Natural Soap
$4.50 Sale $3.50
Seceret Garden Purely Natural Soap
$4.50  Sale $3.50
Cottage Garden Purely Indulgent Soap
$4.50  sale $3.50
Lilac Purely Indulgent Soap
$4.50  sale $3.50
Cucumber Melon Purely Indulgent Soap
$4.50  sale $3.50


You can find all my sale items, plus lots of other wonderful creations at the Green Lady Creations online store.  Go to http://www.greenladycreations.com/


Friday, September 9, 2011

S.O.A.P. testing: The Adventure Continues

And Last but certainly not least...Mystery S.O.A.P fragrance #6
My last mystery fragrance, a sad moment for me indeed as I have been having more fun than I ever thought possible!  A Gigantic thank you to everyone over at Bramble Berry for this amazing honor.

The Fragrance:  My initial thoughts on this one was earthy and sweet, but that's about as far as I could figure out right out of the bottle.  I really like this fragrance, it's sophisticated, moder, and yet you can still plainly tell that it's a holiday type of scent.  I'm just having a really hard time identifying all of the different notes, it's really quite a complex fragrance.

The Plan:  A Swirl, because well, I just love swirling.  For colors I thought I go with a more modern holiday color scheme.  I for one LOVE the rich purples, peacock blues, and lime greens that have been popular in recent years.  Yes, my yearly Christmas tree is decorated every year with bright purple bows, teal glass ornaments, lime green beads, and peacock themed ornaments.  Wouldn't it be awesome to decorate a tree with bars of soap!...hmmmm now I'm thinking.  Anyway I decided to use my Christmas tree colors as inspiration for this soap design. I went with Bramble Berry's Ultramarine Blue, Green Chrome Mica, and Ultramarine Violet. 
The Recipe: I used a recipe with Lard because I was trying to achieve a whiter base. 
The Results:  As you can see it ashed pretty bad on me (even after I spritzed with alcohol).  This fragrance behaved beautifully there was no acceleration or discoloration what so ever and I had a ton of time to play with it.  Note to self:  this one would be great for a column pour or funnel pour technique.  Once the fragrance was in the soap some of the fragrance notes where easier to pinpoint, although it still remains very complex.  To my nose it has sugar, some sort of plum/mulberry, and crisp blue spruce.  I'm naming this one Frosted Spruceberry, not the most original name, but I think it fits perfectly with the fragrance. 

It turned out fantastic, and I couldn't be more happy with the results.  This one goes on my re-order list,  if Bramble Berry decides to keep it. 










  So my last S.O.A.P fragrance goes to me, making the final tally:
Monica: 6 Mystery fragrances: 2

All of the S.O.A.P fragrances where fantastic, although I must say I am not surprised in the least because Bramble Berry is pretty awesome.

So there we have it for specific tests, I look forward to doing a Soapy round up with pics of all of the soaps now at least a week old to show any color changes as it aged.  Then we will look forward to Bramble Berry's announcement of the actual fragrance name (can't wait to see how close my nose was) and which fragrances they decide to add to their fragrance line.  

Thanks for keeping up with my first ever S.O.A.P testing, I hope at the very least, that you got some soapy inspiration!  Once you start making soap there is no going back, you will become an addict!
I look forward to more soapy fun, and someday becoming a part of this amazing team again. For Now Happy Soaping!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A BitterSweet Mommy Moment



Yesterday was my baby boy's first day of Kindergarten. 
While I was very excited for him to begin this amazing journey, I cried like a baby.  I can hardly believe how fast the time has gone, and It feels like only yesterday I was bringing him home from the hospital.  He has grown into a such an amazing little man, and has taught me so much about who I am and the type of person that I strive to be.  As parents it's our job to teach our children, but in the end, it's our children who teach us. 
I have been so lucky to have the opportunity to stay home with my children, and I wouldn't trade anything in the world for the time that I have gotten, and the memories that we have made together. 





So of course we got to school, found his seat, and he promptly told me:  "You can leave now Mom". Wait, What? Since when did he start not wanting me around?  I guess it was bound to happen sometime, I just thought I would have a little more time.  It was quite the experience watching him from afar as he met new kids and actually listened to his teacher.  He made my heart swell with every smile and facial expression as he took in his new surroundings, everything was just so cool.  He saw the computers eventually and got so excited about practicing his 'computer genius' skills.  (when asked what my son wants to be when he grows up he states:  A Computer Genius.  Yep, that's my boy! 

He was excited to have his Best Friend in his class and mommy was really thankful that they ended up not getting seats next to each other. (Phew...that may have been disastrous)  As we took our tour around the school, did he want to walk with me...of course not...he wanted to walk with his "Best Girl Friend". 






Once we got home, he was begging to go back, and looking forward to his next day.  The second day will be harder for mom, as I will have to leave this time.  I think I will bring a box of tissues with me just in case. 
And even though it will take me some time to get used to him not being here with me, and I will miss him terribly, I look forward to hearing about his days at school and all the wonderful things he is learning and doing. 

It sure is a bittersweet moment watching them grow up.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

SOAP testing fragrance #7...Winter in the Pacific Northwest


And Another one Down...Mystery Fragrance # 7 was one of my absolute favorites.  My first impression out of the bottle was crisp, clean, and earthy.  Like fresh snow, mountain air, and pine trees after a hard rain.  Exactly like winter in the Pacific Northwest.  

I had some curls from a previous soap project that had a similar smell to it, and decided to put them to use.  I wanted to go with a more contemporary blue color scheme (Ultramarine Blue from Bramble Berry.com), think fresh, clean, and wintry; a refreshing blue color scheme that doesn't exactly scream holiday.  In my area we love our pine tree smells, so this one may work as a year round soap.  (plus I am not a huge fan of the traditional holiday colors anyway) I also wanted to do another layered soap...loved the layered soap (see SOAP frag #8) from a few posts ago. 
I went with a basic recipe again, but with the addition of yummy Mango Butter that I got on sale a while back from Bramble Berry Recipe is:  30% Olive Oil, 30% Coconut oil, 20% Palm oil, 10% Safflower oil, 5% Castor oil, and 5% Mango Butter.  I am loving mango butter!

This fragrance stayed true to it's scent in the soap and did not morph into anything unexpected.  I pine notes came through more predominately, but did not overshadow any of the 'brighter' notes that I detected OOB.  This fragrance did discolor the base into a yellowish tone, and therefore the non-colored portion ended up a bit on the green side (with the addition of the U.blue).  I also indicated a slight acceleration, which of course made layering a breeze as long as your prepared for the acceleration.  It probably would have gotten to thick for a good swirl, or something that requires more time for play. 


 I thought the colors would come out a bit muddy, but I was pleasantly surprised to note that they did not. As for the curls, that part was pure fun;  after I poured the last layer, I let it set up slightly and slowly pushed in the swirls at different places and various depths.  This one took 48 hrs to harden up before I could cut it, maybe from the mango butter..not sure.  I usually am able to cut within 24 hrs, it was so hard to wait!

Overall I LOVED this fragrance and it would be on my list of fragrances to buy more of if Bramble Berry decides to keep it.  (which I hope they do..please..please)  While it moved fast, it didn't move so fast that it was unbearable to work with.  The scent is strong and true in soap at a 3% usage rate, and the bars turned out Beautiful. 
This one goes to me!
Monica :  5  Mystery fragrances:  2

 Stay tuned for the next installment of the SOAP testing saga, Fragrance #6, the last fragrance to test.