Sunday, March 25, 2012

Saponification Sunday...Dear Amy, I failed.

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.

Maybe.

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/

19 comments:

  1. How funny and entertaining you are! I've used clay and annatto before and your looks very familiar. I think it is a success!

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  2. Your soap turned out beautifully.

    Michelle

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  3. This soap turned out very nice. Do not rebatch it. I like the colours.
    Petra

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  4. It almost looks edible -- how does it smell. Fantastic that you would take up this challenge and then describe your process with such humour.

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  5. They can't ALL be 100% successful...this is how you learn. I made a soup recipe yesterday that went to H*** in a handbasket. My lesson learned....forget recipes, just wing it, it always works out better.

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  6. Donna - this soap is not a failure by any means!! If you've never prevented gel before, that could be the cause of the stickiness. Going through gel evaporates more of the liquid off and makes the soap set up faster. You still nailed that swirl, and the colors look great!

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  7. Tina, many thanks. I am still learning how to use all the different natural colorants. Maybe one day I might even WRITE DOWN my results!

    Cro, yes of course. I'll brew us a pot of coffee to go with it

    Michelle, you. Are too kind

    The broad. Have I ever told you how much I love the name of your blog? Well I do

    MBJ. Funny isn't it how the harder we try to be "perfect" the saltier the soup is.

    Amy, After seeing all the others (including yourself with the milk soaps) try again and again I decided I must try this one again. And this time it gets the full gel treatment !

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  8. Tina, many thanks. I am still learning how to use all the different natural colorants. Maybe one day I might even WRITE DOWN my results!

    Cro, yes of course. I'll brew us a pot of coffee to go with it

    Michelle, you. Are too kind

    The broad. Have I ever told you how much I love the name of your blog? Well I do

    MBJ. Funny isn't it how the harder we try to be "perfect" the saltier the soup is.

    Amy, After seeing all the others (including yourself with the milk soaps) try again and again I decided I must try this one again. And this time it gets the full gel treatment !

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  9. I like it very much! I was thinking carmel twi-swirl.

    I have never tried making soap; it's on my list of things i'd like to try before leaving the planet.

    megan

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  10. Megan, don't wait too long. The planet is shrinking

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  11. that first photo is truly wonderful!

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  12. I think it looks fabulous! I also love your blog and have been reading with amusement long before the "soap challenge" had hooked us all up. Thanks for the entertainment And the education. (about many things!)

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  13. John, Thanks so much. Its amazing the colors you can get from nature. There is a woad powder that makes a great blue soap too.And to think I HATED chemistry in school

    Carol, many thanks. And my family thanks you too. The more time I spend blogging the less time they are forced to listen to me.

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  14. I think your soap looks great, Donna! Your soap may have been so soft because it didn't gel. I'd give it some more time. The colors in your swirl are beautiful!

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  15. It is gorgeous Donna! It will dry out and harden up over time, you wait and see. Give it longer than you usually do to cure and you will be very happy with the result.

    I love your colours and swirls ~ what did you scent it with? Oh, and I love the soft bottoms and funny faces :)

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  16. I've had non-gelled soap be really really soft before. Like, push-my-finger-through-it soft. But after curing, it came out really hard. I really like the colors and the swirl is quite pretty.

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  17. I agree with Topcat and Jenny, give it a while and it will harden up and look fabulous. I make a dog soap which always, always comes out of the mold soft and sticky, sometimes really wet but it always hardens up nicely, give it an extra couple of weeks curing time and it will be fabulous, I love your natural colours too X

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  18. My guess that as this soap has aged it has improved greatly. Some of my really questionable soaps at cut time have become all time favorites. Now that might be because we kept them at home to use, or perhaps there is truth to the thought all is well in good time!

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