Wednesday, April 18, 2012

An Overdue Salute to...

Silvia from Taller de sabó!

Silvia is the talented soapmaker behind the wonderful soap shop Le botigueta del taller in Spain, and I'm also blessed to have her as my soap swap counterpart in Julia's International Soap Swap on her Soap Artists blog.

I have to admit that I was a little intimidated by the fact that I would be swapping soaps with someone as talented and as accomplished as Silvia.  After all, I'm just a hobby soap lover whose soap world pretty much ends at my own front door.   What do I have to share with someone so way out of my league?  But after a few email exchange, I found Silvia to be such a friendly and warm person that I felt a little more comfortable sharing my passion with.

We agreed to swap two bars of soap of our own choice, as a kind of surprise for each other.  And these are what I received in my mailbox....

Lavender with lavender essential oil from the Provence

I just love this bright, eye-catching blue!  Beautiful, stunning, and it smells oh so good!  For someone like me who doesn't normally soap with essential oil, this one is definitely a special treat.   It lathers so easily and the wonderful scent lingers afterwards.  I'm in love with it!

Marrakech, with organic shea butter fair trade of Burkina Fasso

This is one gentle, moisturizing soap!  I have to force myself to use it just so that I know what to say about this bar.  If I weren't going to write this blog post, I swear I would have kept it and cherished it for a very long time.  It has a mild citric fragrance to go with the beautiful orange hue.  A bar that brightens your day and wakes up your senses.

Didn't I just say we'd swap two bars of soap?  Apparently not!

Silvia surprised me with this unexpected gift, a beautiful felted soap.  Notice the small handle on top of the soap?  It's such a thoughtful touch.  Now I can hang it in the shower without worrying about it soaked in water.  I have yet to give this a try - again, love it too much - but I know for sure that I'll love it just as much.

I have to mention that each of these three soaps came individually wrapped and protected.  I was so very touched by the thoughts and efforts Silvia put into this swap.  Thank you so much, Silvia!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The soap I've made lately

Even though I haven't been churning out soap like I used to, I still find time to try new things with my soap.

Coconut milk with tapioca, anyone?

I wasn't so sure about tapioca balls in soap, but after giving it a try the other day, I've decided to make more!  The only problem is cutting - tapioca balls are way too hard for my soap cutter.   Have to come up with a better solution for my next attempt.

Buttermilk swirl.

I usually don't do multi-colours, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone and gave it a try.  Apparently pairing colours isn't my strong suit...

An ocean-themed sea salt bar.  It's got sea salt and seaweed powder!

I've made sea salt bars numerous times before, but this it the first time the bars stay dry, so dry as if the soap refuses to sweat.  I've never had that happened before, and I wonder if the sea salt I bought is really sea salt at all....  I know weather is not the issue because it actually rained on the day I made it.  Formula isn't responsible for it either because it's the same one I used for my other salt bars.   Sea salt bars that don't sweat are just not right...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Touch of Sunset

Being Canadian means you live in one of the most wonderful countries in the world, but it also means you only get to enjoy warm weather five out of twelve months a year.  As the winter lazily drags to the end and the temperature climbs ever so slowly, I find myself craving the sunshine and the warm air.  

I like the look of gradients for soaps, in fact I've tried producing similar looks before but without much success.  I think I got it this time!  The key is liquid colorant and patience, lots of it.

These soaps have a slight hint of pink to them from buttermilk.  I started putting buttermilk in my soap when I was at the stage when everything I saw was potentially a soaping material.  As it turns out, buttermilk makes it to the list of my favorite ingredients.   Give it a try and you'll know why!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


It took me more than a month to finish making these soaps.  I made my first two layers and then I ran out of lye.  Just when you need it the most!

This look is inspired by my last coffee soap.  Now instead of just simple coffee soaps, I came up with this "espresso with foamed milk and caramel drizzle" version.

My household has been battling sickness for the last two months.  Somehow we all take turns getting sick, and now it's my turn.  I hate being sick!!    I want to get back to soapmaking!

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Jolt of Java

I still remember the firs time I used coffee in my soap.

As naive (and ignorant) as a newbie can be, I was completely unprepared for the stink that was about to assault my nose as I poured my lye into my freshly brewed coffee.  The fragrant coffee aroma quickly turned into what I'd like to describe as the smell of deep-fried shrimps.   Not that I know what deep-fried shrimps (with shells!) smell like, but interestingly enough, some of my fellow soap friends all come up with the same description.  Deep fried shrimps.  With shells.

I stop adding coffee into my soaps after that horrible first attempt, but I never stop dreaming of soaps with natural coffee aroma (without using any fragrance oil).   With this recent attempt, I think I've got it!

I call these my Triple Shots - the oils are infused with fresh coffee grinds for 4 months, the water is replaced with super concentrated frozen coffee, and before the soap is pored into the mold, more coffee grinds!

The end result is this chocolate-like soap with a mild coffee scent - not the popular coffee fragrance, but the subtle smell of coffee grinds.   I love it!  Now I only hope that the scent stays and that I don't get brown suds with all these fine coffee grinds in the soap. ;)