Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pics From the Drying Rack, Part 3

Whew! It's been a busy month preparing for a couple of craft shows, a new wholesale account, and a new eCommerce partnership (hopefully more details on that soon!). I'm also crossing my fingers as I wait to see if I was accepted as a vendor at my local farmer's market. I feel like so many plans are up in the air right now, but I'm enjoying creating new soaps, bath bombs, and lotion bars every day.

Here are some current pics from my drying rack:

My Lemongrass Litsea soap looks like it's making googly eyes at you!

A sea of Lavender soap. An oldie, but goodie.

Pure Rain Soap. I ordered this fragrance based on its description online, only to find out that it's a Lever 2000 knockoff.. It's a lovely scent, but I'm not sure how I feel about that...

Calendula Oat Milk Soap

Champagne and Strawberries Soap

I have back-to-back weekend shows coming up in May! If you're local to Washington state, I'd love to see you at either event (or both!). Make sure to mention that you read my blog, and there may be some freebies in it for you.

The first show, the 2nd Annual Shoppin' at the Shore is over Mother's Day Weekend in Ocean Shores, WA. My husband and kids are coming with me so that they can "help," and spend part of the day with me. Being a mom means so much to me.

The following weekend is another special date for me, since the Shabby & Sew Much Mor Vintage Spring Market will be my first ever event in my own town of Des Moines, WA. I'm hoping that it will be the first of many, but we'll wait to see what the farmer's market has to say about that. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Cry Me a Glycerin River

One of the many benefits of using handmade soap is the natural glycerin content. Glycerin is a natural by-product of handmade soap, and it's great for nourishing your skin. Glycerin is a humectant, meaning that it moisturizes your skin by drawing moisture out of the air and into the skin. Commercial beauty products often add glycerin to expensive creams and lotions for this reason. Luckily, glycerin is naturally occurring in handmade soap, so we don't have to go to the trouble of extra processing to reap its benefits.

When making soap, sometimes the science aspect of it leads to unexpected results. This has been the case for me recently, as several of my soaps have developed "glycerin rivers." Sounds lovely, doesn't it?

A river...of glycerin...runs through it
The crackling, mottled, marbled look of the soaps shown above are examples of glycerin rivers. It's purely a cosmetic issue, meaning that it only affects the look of the soap, not how it works and feels on the skin. Still, I was a little bit disappointed in these batches since the look didn't really fit into the overall designs that I had in mind here. On the other hand, I've had some customers really like the overall effect. If that's the case, then I meant to do that...

Glycerin rivers in Beer Soap

Glycerin rivers in my Cafe Mocha soap

After doing some research, I found some possible culprits of glycerin rivers:

  • Soap overheating, either from a higher soap making temperature, insulation, using high-sugar liquids in the soap making process (beer, milk, etc.), or even some misbehaving fragrances
  • Using certain colorants (especially Titanium Dioxide, but also Iron Oxides and Ultramarines)
  • The water discount used in the soap recipe (this blogger suggests using a 1 part lye to 1.4 parts water, which is much less water than my typical recipes)

Armed with this knowledge, I think I see where my issues lie, and can make steps to take this unwanted element out of my designs. I have to admit it to myself, though; The marbling effect does make the soap look pretty cool.