Arizona Sunset

April Challenge!
arizona sunset

This soap was inspired by our Monsoon season and the spectacular sunsets we have after our summer storms! The star has some gold glitter in it but I couldn’t get the sun to shine through the soap to get the sparkle visible.

I enjoyed creating this soap and it reminds me a lot of several cities I’ve lived in – Brisbane, which also had great summer storms and sunsets; Calgary with the Northern Lights flashing through the sky (especially when I visited Edmonton and Jasper NP through the summer months), Dallas which had some of the best sunsets and storms I’ve ever seen (although I hated hearing my weather radio alert especially in the early hours of the morning  with weather warnings) and then the sunsets we get in Phoenix, which have lots of violet,  peach and pinks in them and a if touch of gold that lines the bottom of the clouds (that I tried to replicate with a gold mica vein) during the summer.

As for a ‘life update’ – I’m currently six months pregnant, the baby is getting bigger and I’m sure going to be a soccer player! The parents (I’m a surrogate for anyone who didn’t read my previous blogs) where thrilled to find out last month they are having a baby girl 🙂

I’m hoping to make some type of baby friendly soap in the next few months, maybe a carrot and honey, goat milk type soap (open to suggestions!) for the parents and little baby girl for a ‘birth day’ present for them 🙂

Hope Spring is bringing some warm weather to soapers in the mid west and east coast. I’m looking forward to the warmer weather for soaping (as I find it easier to soap in warmer temps) but I’m not looking forward to being 9 months pregnant in July in 110 degree temps!

Take Care everyone!!

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Winter Solstice

I must say, this month’s challenge had me super excited and full of great ideas. I loved the idea of trying natural ingredients and had lots of great ideas – cucumber and yogurt, aloe vera from my aloe vera plant on my back patio, fresh mint and avocado – all sorts of fun ideas for natural ingredients – but then I had to check myself; how do I add a snow element to these?  These are more summer type ingredients than winter, but then when we’ve had 90 degree days here in Phoenix, it’s a bit hard to remember that it is indeed winter.

 

So back to the drawing board. I loved the idea of embeds in my soap. It’s something that I haven’t tried before. I tried to find inspiration in my surroundings (again difficult in 90 degree weather) and drew a little picture of my idea of snow topped desert mountains with pink and blue skies (yes, a bit ambitious but I was willing to give it a go!) , I was excited to start. However, everything was put on the back burner when I got sick and had to slow down a little (I had kidney stones last month and problems continued this month, along with the fact that I’m 4 1/2 months pregnant  – I’m actually a surrogate for a couple who can’t have kids, so I tend to be extra cautious when I get sick and really rest). So this time I kept my soap fairly simple but still loved the results.

IMG_0108My inspiration for this soap was my time spent living in Calgary. I lived in Calgary for a year after moving from sunny Brisbane, Australia. While snow was very difficult to get used to  (yes, I looked like a little waddling penguin trying to walk to the bus stop in the snow!), one of my favorite memories is the beautiful clear sapphire blue sky on a crisp clear morning, with the sun glistening off the snow, making it look like it was covered in little tiny diamonds. I loved stepping outside in the morning, especially after a fresh snowfall, looking up at the clear skies and taking in a deep lungful of the fresh air with a crisp, clean scented air. I definitely miss these mornings when I’m sweltering in 115 degree heat in Phoenix.

My Winter Solstice soap, with it’s glowing moon ring in the center, is made with Goatsmilk and lots of shea butter and avocado oil for that winter dry skin. I used Brambleberry’s Ultramarine Blue and Titanium Oxide, with some silver sparkle on top and their Fresh Snow fragrance oil. I wish you could smell it 🙂 My house smells wonderful! The soap looks much better in person than in the photo. It was difficult to capture the silver sparkle on top, but it is there!

Calgary was a wonderful place to live; the air was always clean and fresh, the view of the Rockie Mountains in the distance from my kitchen window mesmerized me every morning and the people were wonderful. They accepted my family and I, embraced our differences not only in accents but in customs and lifestyle and took us under their wings, treating us like long lost family. Therefore this soap is to honor the wonderful city of Calgary, it’s memorable, beautiful and wonderful winter days and its truly lovely, genuine and friendly folk.

And for a throw-back memory of those first months in Calgary – these are my two little monsters (who are now 16 and 11) dressed up ready to ‘trick or treat’ for the first time. It was a very cold -16 Celsius outside in Calgary! But they loved their first Halloween celebration 🙂

calgary__21_

 

Circling Taiwan Swirl Soap

Not only was this my first Circling Taiwan Swirl Soap as well as my first blog 🙂 This was a fun (and very challenging) challenge and I think my lotus flower enjoyed too much to eat over the holidays – he’s a little plump 🙂

imageI’m a mom of two boys, work for full time but looked to home made soap as a way to fix my sons scalp problems. After a few attempts at different body soaps, I had my first shampoo bar.  It was good but not great so I tried another loaf, changing the ingredients a little to include beer and aloe juice, and now my son will not use any other shampoo.  And his scalp problems are completely gone! No more lotions, potions or steroid solution; just pure, natural soap.

Now, it’s a few months and several loaves of soap later and I found the Soap Challenge – and challenge it was! It was difficult to to figure out the right color combination (which didn’t turn out exactly as I planned) let alone make the soap!. I think once I master this technique, I’ll be able to make some beautiful swirls! I used a comindation of pink and blue, and the base was going to be white with orange swirls throughout.  However my fragrance started to move too quickly and I had to store more than I’d planned, so now the base is more of an apricot, but still looks pretty good.  But that’s the beauty of soap – it doesn’t matter if it it doesn’t turn out exactly as I’d pictured, you can still use it 🙂 My family (who are all in Australia) don’t really care what it looks like, it smells good and feels good so they’ll have me mail it to the, as often as I can!

I made my own dividers, but had problems keeping them in place.  I think if I make this again, I’ll invest in ready-made dividers. I had to get an extra pair of hands to help – my wonderful husband who always ends up in my soap room (I’ve claimed half of our very large laundry room upstairs as my soap studio:) ) to help me color, stir and pour. Pouring ended up being more of a spoon plop technique but we got it in the mold. I must say, soaping I’m winter when all my oils are rock hard, has definitely been a challenge for me.  In Phoenix, my oils were still liquid in early November and when I made a loaf of soap for my dad to take back Australia (he loved the deodorant bar I’d made for my boys, which also help clear his patches of eczema much to his delight) I was surprise to find usually liquid oils hard! I definitely need to figure out some “soaping in winter” techniques 🙂

Anyhow, for my very first attempt, it isn’t too bad an effort.  I learnt so much (fast moving fragrances move much faster in the cold!) and still have some much to learn before this tchnique is mastered. But what a fun challenge and the best thing is, I learned that even though it was a challenge, is not as impossible as I thought it was. Can’t wait to try this again – maybe once the weather warms up 🙂 Happy Soaping!