Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Use for Log Molds

Yes, this is not soap related, but it does use my awesome soap molds!  These are the beautiful log molds my husband made for me this summer.  They are very handy, and get lots of use, since I make soap with them once or twice a week.  My stepson Drew found a new use for them that I would have never thought of.
This year my husband's family decided to draw names and do handmade gifts for each other.  Drew is a wiz in the kitchen.  He can cook and he can bake. So he decided to make his big brother a giant Kit Kat candy bar for Christmas.  He melted chocolate in a double boiler, and used my cleaned soap mold as the mold.  First he lined it with lots of freezer paper.

Drew and his dad, making giant chocolate bars in my soap mold.  

A few of us thought that Drew had an overabundance of chocolate bars.  That was clever planning on his part.  He wanted extra bars for Christmas gifts for his friends.

                                                                                    Notice the Kit Kat logo.  It was printed off and then traced onto one of my plastic cutting sheet.  He cut it out, and had the plastic logo shape on the bottom of the mold in the center.  It was so the giant bar would have the logo embossed in the top, just like a real candy bar.  It was a pretty cool touch.  And looked pretty impressive when the bar was unmolded.

The wafer cookies and chocolate were alternated till the mold was full, then a final layer of chocolate was put on top.

Drew made two of these huge bars, wrapped each in foil, and then packaged it in a red paper wrapper with the Kit Kat logo on top.
This is the finished product on Christmas day.  Drew had the two bars, side by side in a very realistic looking red paper wrapper.  I wish my picture did it justice.  But I was using a cell phone, since my camera got lost just before Christmas.  (Terrible timing.)  But it looked amazing!  

We were lucky enough to get half of the chocolate bars.  So now we have enough chocolate and cookie wafer to choke a horse.  So if anyone wants some, drop on by.  We've got enough for the whole neighborhood!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Seeing Pink (Peppermint)

Have you ever seen so many beautiful pink soaps?  This was a special order for a Relief Society church group.  They are Peppermint Sticks soaps for Christmas!  It was very fun to make so many pretty little soaps.  In all it was about 3 of the largest batches I have ever made.  We graduated from making soap in a big pot, to making soap in a huge bucket.  The whole kitchen smelled like sweet peppermint.  

They make great building blocks for teens to make fortresses with.  
They are also handy for making portraits.

But usually, we keep them neatly in bins.  
I loved how they turned out with the customized labels.  And I liked how the swirls came out on these also.  The recipe we used is a favorite that turns out a smooth bar that produces lots of fluffy bubbles.  And of course they are super gentle for all skin types.  We made these at a very special price.  So if you know of a church group, or other non-profit group that could use some nice soaps as Christmas or Mother's Day gifts, give us a call.  We can make a few batches customized just for you!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Frankincense Swirl Soap

Frankincense Swirl Soap

Take a look at my newest adventure.  This is a very special soap for Christmas.  It is Frankincense Swirl soap.  This is not my normal soap.  Usually I do what is called Cold Process soapmaking.  With cold process Soapmaking, you melt oils, add lye water, and stir it till it starts a chemical reaction called Saponification.   Then the soap has to cure for about a month or more before you can use it.  For this Frankincense soap, I wanted to try incorporating Melt and Pour soap in my normal Cold Process soap batch. I was actually thinking of a special way to make this soap and was wondering if melt and pour would work in cold process soap.  I liked the idea of the melt and pour looking like actual Frankincense resin.  Then I saw this blog post from Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks and thought I'd give it a try.  

Melt and Pour soaps are completely different from regular cold process soaps.  They are usually the very pretty soaps that are see through or translucent.  You can buy it unscented and uncolored in a large chunk, chop it up, melt it in a microwave, add some color and fragrance, then put it in a mold to harden.  As soon as it is solid again, you can use it.  My grandkids love to make Melt and Pour soaps.  It is a fun and safe for kids to do with adult supervision.  And they love the creative aspect of choosing their own colors and scents.  They often put so many sparkles and glitter in their soap, that it is scratchy to use. But they are always very proud of their melt and pour creations.  

Me making the Cold Process portion of soap.
I like Melt and Pour.  I like it because it is pretty and fun to do with my grandkids.  But my skin prefers the benefits of a good old fashioned cold process soap.  So that is why I normally only make traditional cold process soap.  I think it is healthiest soap available.  For this soap though, I wanted to try using melt and pour soap as a decorative element in my normal cold process soap.

Mixing in Colorant
I added a touch of warm red mica to the entire scented batch, then seperated out a little bit of raw soap and added more.  I wanted some darker swirls of this lovely color.

This may be a good time to mention, that if you ever decide to try melt and pour soap, It is a good idea to not buy it at the craft store.  The craft store melt and pour soaps are full of detergents and not very good for your skin. Get your melt and pour soaps from a reputable soap making supply company.  Look online and you will find some good options.  I like Majestic Mountain Sage in Nibley, Pine Meadows in Provo, or Bramble Berry in Washington state.

Raw Cold Process Soap and melted Melt and Pour soap

 The melt and pour soap is in the container on the right.  It melts at a higher temperature than the cold process soap is made at.  I was wondering how the temperature differences would affect the melt and pour soap.  I was worried the cooler temperature of the cold process soap would harden the melt and pour soap before I had time to make it all pretty in the mold.

Layering the melt and pour soap over the cold process soap
I really had no idea of what to expect.  So I just started layering.  
More Layering 
I did many layers, and then swirled it with a bent wire hanger a few times.  It felt strange because the melt and pour was much harder than the cold process soap, and wanted to stick to the hanger.  I was a bit nervous that I had messed up the layering and left all the melt and pour glumped together.  So I left it at that, and finished it off with just the cold process soaps on top.  

Notice, I do not have a nice picture of the finished soap in the log mold.  My very hot and handy photographer (my husband) had to stop taking pictures for a bit and help me with a soaping emergency.  This Frankincense soap was only half of the soap batch I was making.  The other half was a super yummy smelling Allspice soap I was trying to make.  I forgot the Allspice fragrance oil is a fast mover and started seizing up in the pot!!  We had to frantically glop it and beat it into a mold before it was too hard to do anything with.  By the time we got it in, we forgot about taking a picture of the lovely swirling I had done on top of the Frankincense soap. So I will just show you another picture of the finished product.
 This was a fun experiment.  I think I will occasionally use Melt and Pour soap as a decorative element in my Cold Process soap from time to time.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

This last weekend we had a booth at the Cat Fancier's Association's Fall Show.  It was our first booth. I learned a lot about running a booth promoting my product.  It was totally worth the lack of sleeping in for the weekend.  And I even learned about cats.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Soap and Washcloth in One!

Look at what my soapmaking Friend Cheryl sent me!  These are felted soaps.  They are like a soap and a washcloth in one.  I have just discovered these recently.  And now I must learn to make them.  They are lovely soaps, surrounded with something called roving wool.  As you lather the soaps, the wool tightens around the soap.  It shrinks down as the soap get's smaller.  

I had a very hard time getting myself to use one.  But since that is actually a pet peeve of mine (When people won't use my soap, because it is too pretty.)  So I got brave and am using it. It is lovely.  The wool is soft, and feels like a washcloth.  And the lather is creamy and smooth.  

I hear the soap will last longer wrapped in wool.  And I am told that the wool is naturally anti-microbial, or something else like that.  I need to do more research.  But I can say I love using them.  They gently exfoliate and leave my skin smooth and clean.  

I must learn to do this, after the holidays!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spooky Fun Soaps

This Halloween I wanted to make some fun and spooky soaps.  I have a little mold that I think may be normally used for making chocolates into little skull shaped candies.  But of course I thought it would be great as a tiny soap mold.

The Macabre Midnight skull soap smells very yummy.  The fragrance is black current with white tea, and an enchanting floral overtone.  The soap is much prettier in person, colored a deep purple with soft black swirling. These happy smiling skulls can decorate your sink, and then after Halloween, you still have a lovely soap to use for the fall.

I wanted to make something really special that I thought my grandkids would really like.  And what kid doesn't like skulls and dirt.  So these Disturbed Earth soaps are perfect for kids.  They really do smell like rich loamy garden soil, with a touch of pine and blackberry.  But mostly they just smell like dirt.

These soaps are very limited in supply, and I expect to sell out of them.  So get them while you can at Sego Lily Soap.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Have You Ever Used Real Soap?

Have you ever used soap?  You may think you have, but are you sure? If soap leaves you dry, tight or itchy, then there is a good chance that what you have been using isn't soap.  Did you know that grocery store soap is not soap? 

Years ago, I remember being in a little shop that specialized in handmade soap.  I remember thinking, these are all very pretty, and they smell nice, but what is the big deal?  I thought, “A whole store full of just soap?  What a waste.  I can’t use soap anyway.  It makes my skin dry and itchy and bothers my psoriasis.”  So I patiently waited while the lady I was with browsed the selection and made her purchase. 

A few years later, I went to the doctor with my kids for psoriasis and eczema.  Our normal doctor was not in, and we needed to see a different doctor.  Like I always did, I asked this doctor what soap we should use.  I expected him to say Dove or Carress, like they normally did.  This doctor's answer made my jaw drop.  He said that if I knew anyone who made “old fashioned lye soap”, then we should use that.

I couldn't believe someone would recommend that!  I had heard stories about old fashioned lye soap and it sounded pretty awful.  I thought that lye soap was stinky and harsh and would eat your skin.  This doctor explained to me that today's handmade soaps are the most gentle soaps available.  He told me the bars I had been buying were not even soap at all.  Most were actually detergents. He explained how a true soap is very gentle and beneficial to skin, and detergents are not.  

If the only soaps you have used are the regular bars and body washes available in the grocery store, then you are washing with detergents.   Detergents are great for washing dishes, but not so good on your skin.  Have you ever used these bars and gotten that tight, dry, itchy feeling?  Try a true soap, and that dry itchy feeling will go away.   

Here are the ingredients of a leading bar made for sensitive skin.  There are a few nice ingredients in this list, but most are harsh synthetics or chemicals.
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (Synthetic detergent), Stearic Acid (fatty acid), Sodium Tallowate (soap) , Water, Sodium Isethionate(Synthetic detergent) , Coconut Acid, Sodium Stearate (Synthetic detergent), Cocamidopropyl Betaine (Synthetic detergent), Sodium Cocoate (Soap)  or Sodium Palm Kernelate (soap), Sodium Chloride (table salt), Titanium Dioxide (natural whitener), Sweet Almond Oil, Rosewood Oil (essential oil), Tetrasodium EDTA (water softener), Trisodium Etidronate(preservative), BHT (preservative), Cedarwood Oil (essential oil), Rose Oil (essential oil), Disodium Cocamido-MEA-Sulfosuccinate (synthetic detergent), Cetyl Alcohol (alcohol derived from fats), Tocopheryl Acetate (vitamin E).

I have had multiple friends come to me and tell me my soaps are so pretty, they wished they could use them.  They said their skin was so sensitive or dry that they can't use soap.  I explained the difference between the detergents they were familiar with, and a true soap like mine, they would reluctantly give it a try.  Every time they have come back to me and told me how wonderful real soap felt on their skin, and how it even helped with whatever skin ailments they had.  

So have you ever used soap?  Read the ingredient list on whatever bar or body wash you use.  If you see things like this list, you are not using soap.  

Sodium Lauroyl isethionate       
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
ammonium laureth sulfate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
Ammonium Xylene Sulfonate
TEA Lauryl Sulfate
Cocoyl Isethionate
Sodium Isethionate
Ccamidoproply Betaine

Now read the ingredients of ANY handmade soap and compare.  If you have never used a handmade soap, then chances are you have never really used a real, pure soap.  You owe it to yourself to give it a try. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

All Is Well.

This blog will, for the most part be about soap and soapmaking.  I’d also like to cover things such as properties of oils and what each oil adds to a bar of soap.  To me, that is insanely interesting!  I'd like to talk about what oils are good for your skin in balms and lotions.  And maybe even how to make some simple ones at home.  I’d like to share some of the behind the scenes fun I have with the wonderful art of soapmaking.  I could even teach a little about how it is done, for those of you that want to learn to make soap for yourself.  I think making soap is one of the best hobbies anyone can have.  And I like to share it with as many people as I can. 

Today, I’d like to tell you why I chose the Sego Lily to represent my soap business.  First of all, they are one of the most lovely little flowers I have ever run across in the wild.  The first time I saw a Sego Lily in nature, I was surprised at the delicate beauty the flower possessed, and how it seemed to thrive in the harsh, dry land.  I loved how it added elegance to our Utah desert landscape.  To me the Sego lily symbolizes life, strength, beauty and faith. 

The Sego Lily is a sacred plant in Native American legend. Sego is a Shoshonean word thought to mean "edible bulb."The bulb of the plant is between the size of a marble to a walnut.  It is said to taste like a sweet potato.  The Sego Lily helped the early Utah pioneers ward of starvation in the difficult period from 1848 to 1849.  The bulb can be eaten fresh or dried.  They can be prepared in various ways: steamed, roasted or baked.  They could be dried and preserved for winter use.  

In “Founding of Utah”, Levi Edgar Young tells this tale:
Many, many suns ago, the Indians lived in great numbers in these valleys of the mountains. They grew corn and berries in rich abundance. As they increased in yield, the Indians became jealous of one another and tried to see who could gather the most food for winter living, when the snows were deep and cold. Then they warred. The game stick was replaced by the tomahawk. Many Indians were killed. The Great Spirit was displeased. He dried up the corn and berries. The children were left without food. The sky became dark with great clouds for many moons; the earth refused to yield; the sands blew over all the land. The Indians sorrowed and prayed to the Great Spirit. One day the sun shone bright up on the hills, and the people saw a little plant growing everywhere, even in the canyons and far above to the very peaks. The Great Spirit had heard the prayers of the people. When the Indians tasted the root, they knew the Great Spirit had saved them from death. Ever after, they refused to fight where the Sego Lily grew. They called it the ‘Little Life Plant of the Hills’.

Although I think it would be fun to try to eat a Sego Lily Bulb, I am pretty sure I will never actually do it.  The Utah State Legislature designated the Sego Lily as Utah’s state flower.  So it is now against the law to pick, which is a good thing in my opinion.  They are so beautiful and wild.  I think these little life giving flowers are best harvested by taking pictures. 

I couldn't resist the title of this post.  :)  All this talk and thought about Sego Lilies kind of put me in a Pioneer mood.  And for me, All is very well.