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Parisian Flora

The last few weeks have been full-on soapmaking to restock the shelves depleted by the pre-Christmas rush. I only have two loaf moulds, and can only soap in the evenings once the little Miners are asleep, so it’s a fairly long drawn out process involving nightly soapmaking (what a shame :-D!) but I’m getting there.

This is Parisian Flora. A drop swirl fragranced with a blend of Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Rose Geranium essential oils, and coloured with titanium dioxide and micas.

Parisian Flora in the mould
                 Parisian Flora in the mould
Parisian Fora
                    Parisian Flora
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A Daffodillian Disaster

Daffolidish? Daffodilesque? Daffolidic? I don’t know, answers on a postcard please 😀 What I DO know is that I won’t be soaping with Daffodil fragrance oil again any time soon!

It’s been a while since I participated in one of Amy’s challenges over at Great Cakes Soapworks so I decided to give the December challenge a shot. ‘Cos of course I’m not really really busy with Christmas Fairs at the moment, oh no, not me…

Having decided to sign up for the challenge (which, by the way, I have done for the last goodness knows how many months but not actually managed to make anything in time) I also signed up for a new idea Amy’s organised, a Soap Swap. I really love trying other soapers’ creations, but if I’m honest I think my main motivation for signing up was to make sure that I actually entered the challenge. Once I’d commited to swap my soap with another contestant, I knew I couldn’t just ‘not get round to it’.

The challenge this month was to make a soap using the spoon swirl method. This is something I’ve done many times before, and which I knew needed no fancy equipment other than the usual, plus a spoon. And Amy’s excellent tutorial video confirmed that yes, I did indeed already know how to do this one. So far so good.

I took a moment to decide on which fragrance to use. I didn’t want to use any of my regular range, as they have fixed designs, none of which is a spoon swirl. So something different, something that could, possibly, become part of the range if it turned out fantabulous. I opted for a delicious daffodil fragrance. First mistake. Using a new-to-me fragrance for a challenge / swap soap was not one of my greatest decisions.

I melted the oils and butters that needed it, then stirred in the liquid oils, and the fragrance oil. I chose three lovely micas which I thought represented daffodils perfectly, and combined them with a little of the melted fats. I know many soapers add the powdered mica directly into the soap and stick blend it in, and it works just fine. I keep meaning to try that but I guess I’m a little stuck in my ways!

Prepped Micas
Prepped Micas

I usually soap at room temperature, so I used some pre-prepared (water discounted) lye solution, and there you have my second mistake.  Knowing that floral fragrances have a tendency to accelerate, I really should have used the full recommended water amount.

Anyway, you can probably guess what’s coming. I slowly added the lye solution to the fats and immediately it started to thicken. There wasn’t a lot I could do but, knowing that I wasn’t going to get another opportunity to make a challenge soap by the deadline, I carried on, managed to get a bit of colour mixed in, and squished it into the mould.  I DID then spoon swirl it. I really did! If you look closely at the pic below you can see where the spoon moved within the mould, but it’s not really that clear 🙁

Daffodil Spoon Swirl (honest!)
Daffodil Spoon Swirl (honest!)

Oh dear. My poor swap partner.  Sam – if you’re reading this, I will send you a bar of this one (it does smell lovely!!) but I’ll also send you one of my more successful soaps!