Last week Amy Warden, www.greatcakessoapworks.com challenged any soaper who wanted to play, to a soap challenge involving an in the pot swirl. She suggested we use at least one more color than we normally did. Sure, I thought, I think I can handle that.
Not so much.
I followed my regular recipe of babassu, olive , coconut and castor oil. I checked it against the lye calculator and I choose EO's that I thought would be fresh and fun. I infused my plant materials for 24 hours because I wanted them to mix well. I, in fact, infused LOTS of plants and herbs as still undecided as to what combo I would use.
I did know I had only done a two color swirl before so this time I was going for the big THREE. (Some participants had used 10-12 and even 15 different colors. I was not one of those folk) After flipping several coins and a couple of chickens, they flip easier than cows, I decided on French Red Clay, Orange Peel and Annetto powders. They are the the bottom row, left to right.
I measured, mixed and poured and dropped some color into my pot on top of the plain soap . The orange peel powder and annatto powder became nearly impossible to tell apart while The French red clay powder took on a purplish color. Was this a reaction to being mixed into the soap or did I space out mid-stirring and pick up the wrong pots of color?
Hard to imagine I used to manage 55 staff at one time isn't it?
With my three colors looking like just two, I worked hard NOT to over swirl. I poured into my high tech diaper wipe mold and then swirled just a little more on the top. I decided not to towel wrap as afraid some of my colorants might get too hot. I plopped it in the frig instead. I waited for 24 hours to cut, a long wait for me.
But when I unmolded, it was soft, really really soft. Especially the bottom, and the colors were mushy and muddy. I almost tossed it in the crock pot to rebatch but I resisted and waited, or the phone rang and I forgot.
Now, when I look at the above photo it looks greasy doesn't it? Perhaps my lye calculation was incorrect or I didn't mix well enough. Four days later I cut a few bars. Still on the soft side, the really, really soft side.
And speaking of soft bottoms aren't these guys the funniest? Four acres to run on just behind them but what do they do? Pile up on top of each other, soft bottoms and funny faces everywhere.
Back to soap, the bars were so soft...So soft the bars STUCK to my knife. (Yes, one day I'll get a real soap cutter and a real mold. Back of mine, off please.)
But the colors that originally looked quite muddy were a little brighter or maybe my meds were just kicking in. I waited two more days to cut the rest of the batch and although still soft there is a possibility this bar may be a keeper.
If not I have other plans for it, that is if I can ever get it unstuck from my knife.
Playdoh comes to mind.
Thanks Amy. After making this in the pot swirl it became quite obvious I was "challenged." Better luck next time, she said to herself.
To read more about Amy's challenge...http://www.greatcakessoapworks.com/handmade-soap-blog/