Saturday, July 27, 2019

July Soap Challenge

This month's soap challenge is to make pointy layers in the soap and was taught by guest instructor Teri Endsley of Tree Marie Soapworks.  I was super excited about this one because I had seen pointy layers in the soaps of master soap makers like these:

These were made by @kadinwerk from Korea or China. Not really sure. I had wondered how these middle layers were made and wanted to learn how.  I still have some questions about the placement of the white in these bars, but let's continue.  Teri provided a recipe and it was perfect for making pointy layers.  I made sure to follow the instructions to a T.  I knew right off that I wanted to make an ocean soap.  These are my inspiration soaps by @meehue:

I knew my first batch would just be for practice, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results.

What I didn't like about this soap was that the sky was too dark so that there wasn't enough contrast and the blues of the ocean were reversed from how I wanted them.  The lighter blue was on top of the darker blue.  Also, it doesn't show in this bar, but in the other bars there was too much sand. The scent was Refreshing Eucalyptus from Bramble Berry and the micas were all from Mad Micas - Tahitian Teal, Key West and Twilight.  The sand was a little bit of yellow silt clay and ground walnut shells.

Batch Two:

Whoops! Here's what went wrong here - I got in a hurry and put my lye solution in an ice water bath and it got too cold - 68 degrees.  When I added it to my 85 degree oils my hard oils started to solidify.  I started to stick blend and, afraid of over blending I under blended and my batter was too thin.  Too thin! I have never had batter that was too thin in my almost 2 1/2 years of soap making.  So my colored soap and my white soap just mixed together and you can't even tell there are three different colors of water.  I had the idea of adding white to the sky batter to try to make clouds and I kind of like the Van Gogh-like effect but the waves are so light that there still is not enough contrast and the aqua part just looks creepy.  Also, I don't like that the clouds are sitting on top of the flat soap. Oh, and my fragrance was Ocean Shores from Bramble Berry's Pacific Northwest collection. Apropos, don't you think?

Batch Three:

 I got the contrast I wanted and I started spooning the clouds on top while the soap was still jiggly, but still too much mixing of the white and the colors.  Also, my mind wandered when I started to pour the sky (I have adult ADD) and I poured too much sky batter all at once so all I have here is one. point.  I really thought this was going to be my last batch. Hah!

Batch Four:

I did something really stupid here that I can't believe I did....I got cocky and mixed my fragrance oil into my entire bowl of batter right from the start to "save time".  WHAT WAS I THINKING?  Of course, you all know what happened, right?  I think it's obvious.  Do I have to say it?  I had decided that I didn't like the sand layer flat so I made furrows.  Looks better, don't you think? All this time I had been mixing my colorants into my soap one layer at a time and by the time I got to the blues I think you can see what happened.  OK, I'll spell it out:  The soap thickened up.  I just dumped the two blues into the same pitcher and poured them in and then poured the sky.  It's still pointy...but it looks more like a blue mountain than an ocean.  I was so disgusted with myself I didn't even want to waste my cloud mixtures that were sitting on the side so I just moved it out of the way and started on batch number 5.

Batch 5:

So close!  I got smart and mixed my colorants into each layer before I started pouring.  I will always do that from now on. I ran out of Ocean Shores so I switched to Cactus Flower (from Bramble Berry, naturally) which actually worked really well with this design.  Still too much mixing with the white and the colors, but look at those pointy layers!!  Oh, and I also ran out of my Mad Micas Twilight and Key West so I had to switch to Bramble Berry's Caribbean Blue and Blue Mica.  I still had enough of Mad Micas Tahitian Teal, thankfully because it was the perfect color and I didn't want to take a chance changing it.  Also, have you noticed the color of the sand getting lighter?  I was wanting to get that Southern California pale sand color. I almost stopped here, but I thought about it and thought, no, if I want a chance to win (and who doesn't, am I right?) I really have to give it one more shot.  I have to say I added one more step to Batch  -  Prayer. Yes, I realized I needed help from my Heavenly Father so that I would be able to focus on what I was doing and not make any stupid mistakes.  I was nervous as I began the pour.....

Batch 6:

When I cut this batch I was so excited I was screaming, whooping and hollering, because it was exactly how I wanted it.  When I look at this soap I can't think of another thing that I could have done to make it better.  Good thing because I was really getting tired of doing this labor intensive design and all the clean up involved.  Who can relate?  It's a good thing I started early because I never would have thought I would be making six batches to get soapy perfection!  Each layer is defined, not too much white, light colored not flat sand, correctly tinted sky, and puffy white clouds. So, what's next?  The photography.  It's a beach soap so....

Here I am at the beach taking pictures of my soap.  My husband took this picture so he could send it to our son and a coworker to make fun of me.  The coworker texted back, "We are all crazy in our own special way." So true!

These photos are the exact colors my phone took them in - no filters, no editing.

We were at Morro Bay, California

Then I had to treat my husband to an expensive lunch for taking the day off work to accompany me to the beach.  Really?  He didn't mind the 40 degree temperature difference?  This was the view from our table.  We always eat at the Moonstone Grill in Cambria when we go to the coast.
Then we went to San Simeon because I thought some pier shots would be awesome, but by that time the sun was on the wrong side. These photos are totally edited but still nice:

Thanks for going on my soapy journey with me, and if you're still reading this thank you for reading the whole enchilada!


Seifen-im-Glueck said...

Hi Lynette, there‘s a lot of craziness happening when somebody‘s is bit by the soap bug, obviously on the other side of the world, too :-)
I love your story and your soaps! I made a soap picture on the beach of Thailand in March, same story but no hat. Have a great day,

Amy Warden said...

What an amazing journey indeed! I am in love with the final result as well - you should definitely be so proud! Worth the effort, worth the trip to the beach for photos. I love it!!!

ChezHelene said...

Thanks for sharing your process.. yes, we're all crazy in our own special way! Your soaps turned out lovely!!!

Klaudia said...

Beautiful soap Lynette! I absolutely love them, and I absolutely love Morro Bay. One of my favorite place.

MHead said...

I love how you had a vision and stuck with it until you got the soap you wanted. The result is beautiful!

Holly said...

These are amazing! Truly beautiful!! I love your beach photos, too! Morro Bay is one of my favorite places I've visited! :)

Lucie said...

This is fantastic!!! I love Your soaps!!!

Saponaceous said...

I love your blog! I loved watching your soap transition from batch to batch. Your final soap turned out perfectly. The waves, sand and sky are all beautiful. The beach and bay photos are stunning.

Debbie said...

I spotted your soap on the Challenge website and thought it was stunning!.. you've inspired me to have a go myself. I have a question though - I'd love to know how you managed to get such beautiful small flecks of white at the top of each pour? Thank you so much!