All images and text are ©Artisan Soaps so please don't steal them &/or claim as your own!

27 February 2010

Amour de Cacao (body polish)

~ a seductive chocolate fragrance with notes of orange zest, cocoa bean,
star fruit & vanilla pod ~

AdCC ©Artisan Soaps

Oils: Macadamia, Mango Butter
Ewax: Emulsifier O (INCI: cetearyl olivate & sorbitan olivate)
Additives: Coffee, Sugar, Tangerine Pop Mica & Fragrance

What I love about this is that when I step out of the shower my skin feels moisturised but not oily .. The tub is clean with absolutely no effort on my behalf, so safe for the next user .. And best of all the scent lingers on my skin - yep indeedy, I smell YUMMY!

26 February 2010

I feel so sick and tired right now ..

I know that sounds very 'poor me' and I apologise as I know many others are going through much tougher times .. But today I feel overwhelmingly drained, physically, mentally, and emotionally ..

On the up-side it's Friday and I've got no plans other than to laze about the house all week-end .. Maybe I'll mix up some new EO blends for room sprays, or soap - I dunno, we'll see ..

These are my "Sorry I missed Valentines day" flowers ..
Pretty don't you think?!

Unfortunately the man and I have some major issues to work out - and yeah I'm sick and tired of dealing with that too *sigh*

In the Oil Burner: French Lavender, Spearmint, Sweet Orange 3:3:5

25 February 2010

Super Bubbles ..

Those who know me know I love bubbles .. I've been making my own 'Secret Bubble Mix' for a number of years, and on occasion have been known to have children racing across fields after bubbles bigger than themselves, or fill up the whole main street of my town with tiny flying orbs of swirling rainbow colours! Yes I really have done that, just me and one little wand :D

It's the perfect rainy day activity because the moisture in the air allows them to float for ages without popping .. It's also a wonderful alternative to smoking (uses hands/concentration/breath) and I highly recommend those trying to quit carry a pottle of mix with them and give it a go when the craving hits .. And for anyone who practices mindfulness, rituals of positive thinking, witchcraft etc, with just a little imagination you can create an assortment of enchanting ways to focusing ones energy (hopes, dreams, thoughts, intent) inside a bubble and blow them out into the world ..

But that concept may be a little bit 'out there' to some of you, lol .. So lets head back to the bathroom :P

Devil Duck ©Artisan Soaps

I've spent an embarrassing amount of money on Bubble Bath over the years, both for myself and my children .. Some were cheap and others expensive, but they all either left me with bubbles that didn't last, or wonderful luxurious bubbles but lead to terribly dry and itchy skin .. I've played around with liquid surfactants in the past but was never happy with the results so left it alone until recently prompted to have another go ..

This was version #1 based on the recipe shared on the NWS Forum, but tweaked to remove some ingredients I didn't have, and adding some skin protecting goodies I like: Lamesoft & Honeyquat
BB #1 ©Artisan Soaps
Version #2 works great and the bubbles last for hours without leaving my skin damaged from soaking - yet because of the texture I have to work (smoosh) these to dissolve in the water and that direct contact is irritating my hands
BB #2 ©Artisan Soaps
Version #3 was one I mixed today, it's the lovechild of Bubbling Bath Salts & Bath Milk, and I'm pretty darn excited about it - but of course I'll keep playing with this and that (colour/fragrance/clays/fruit powders/herbs/etc)..
BB #3 ©Artisan Soaps
I've tested it twice; first bath poured at 1:10pm - bubbles until 4:50pm when I pulled the plug; second bath poured at 5:15pm and it's now 10:34pm - STILL bubbles .. Not even Superman can defeat them!!
Super Bubbles ©Artisan Soaps

23 February 2010

When your Supplier Tells You ..

Do not apply directly to skin or taste it undiluted.

A wise person would read that as: "Test at the minimum recommended usage rate, and make sure it is absolutely, positively, thoroughly (and then some) incorporated" .. Well today I was the Fool :(

I was testing some new Flavour Oils today and was quite excited as I didn't like the scent of the first bottle at all, yet it turned out exactly what I was after when incorporated into my balm *yay* .. The second one however, left me with this within a few minutes of applying:
That was taken after washing with soap to remove all traces and holding ice to it for a good 10-15minutes to reduce what was an instant huge blister! And while I'm terribly embarrassed to share this photo with the world, if it saves someone else from this end result it's worth it!

I've since weighed out the volume amount I used in an effort to see if I had put too much in but, we're talking 12gm of balm & 1 dripolator drop of Flavour which is clearly less than the recommended 4-6% .. However my method of blending such a small amount was undeniably less than desirable as I just smooshed it in and stirred with a spoon = carelessness on my behalf, though I also believe it to be an allergic reaction ..

The reason I'm thinking an allergic reaction may also play a roll in this is that later on I *Carefully* mixed and sampled some more new Flavours (on my arm this time), and a Strawberry one from another supplier also made my skin react though nothing to the same extent as the Wild Berry .. Incidentally I can use Peppermint EO (One of my fav's actually, it tingles but doesn't irritate), Chai Tea (A flavour which is known to bother some people), and none of the others I tested did either so I don't think it's a matter of my being overly sensitive in general ..

So all up an important lesson learned, but a big price to pay for a flavour/scent I didn't even like anyway! *sigh*

“If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to serve as a horrible warning.” ~ Catherine Aird

22 February 2010

The Vanilla Files (part 3)

I took these photo's outside today to give the truest natural colour of each bar ..
TVF 22.2a ©Artisan Soaps
TVF22.2b ©Artisan Soaps
TVF 22.2c ©Artisan Soaps
TVF 22.2d ©Artisan Soaps
TVF 22.2e ©Artisan Soaps
*Notes on Scent*

- Very Vanilla -
Smells warm and nutty when pouring into mould. Strong scent of Almonds a couple of hours after pour, distinctly Almond! .. Couple of days into cure and it's taken on a playdough smell, hmm .. Ok total lump of playdough - most unpleasant .. A few more days and it's got a 'hint' of Vanilla, hopefully it will continue to improve ..

- Pink Sugar -
Couple of days into cure this has become not so much Vanilla but somewhat fruity with honey and floral notes too .. This is pure yum, beautiful scent, sweet and floral but not overly - just right ..

- Vanilla Bean Noel -
36 (or so) hrs into cure and I honestly can barely smell this even with nose touching - I expect it to come back soon, but when?? Another day or two and it's starting to come alive, very nice sweet vanilla .. Continuing to increase in scent, it's a bakery buttery sweet almost cookie like Vanilla - Yummy!

- Vanilla Sandalwood -
36 (or so) hrs into cure and all I can say is YUM! Loving this once .. Sweet and powdery with a backbone of vanilla ..

- Buttercream Frosting -
Warm and sweet and buttery .. This was one of my fav scents to start but I'm getting a tiny hint of a 'plastic' scent now - hopefully that leaves as quick as it arrived ..

- Vanilla Bean -
This one has the most 'authentic' vanilla bean paste scent - only I detect a very slight medicinal note too .. Loosing it's medicinal note just a day later .. Still an ever so slight 'plastic' note about this, but I continue to have high hopes for it!

- Vanilla Abricot -
I honestly couldn't smell a thing when I sniffed this out of the bottle! Soaped it has become a buttery Vanilla with an ever so light fruit candy like quality .. *Nothing to do with scent but I still find it remarkable that this FO Ashed (quite severe even) when none of the others have in the least! Including the one made less than 10minutes after and sat side by side in the moulds ..

- Marshmallow Fluff -
I found this one almost unscented when sniffed direct from the bottle, but it came alive almost instantly once soaped .. It's not even a subtle scent anymore, but not too perfumery either .. A few days into cure and it's the truest 'Vanilla Essence' of the lot ..

- Drizzled Honey Vanilla -
This one has a really unique scent that I'm struggling to put into words - I get no Vanilla that's for sure .. It's almost floral, perfumy .. I want to like it but I think it's giving me a headache :( OK, definitely getting stronger by the day, overpowering floraly fruit! Not my thing at all but I feel like others would like it and that it would work well for shampoo ..

- Musk Vanilla -
This one immediately reminded me of 'Black Magic' with it's Musk .. It has a powdery scent to it similar to the Sandalwood Vanilla, but also a clear Vanilla .. I have a feeling men would chose this one over most of the others?

- Warm Vanilla Sugar -
Quite subtle compared to the rest (so far) .. Warm, sweet, butter scent - smells just like it's namesake .. Still very subtle - hopefully it increases as it cures or comes alive in use?

- Vanilla de Madagascar -
This one is a richer/deeper Vanilla scent to the rest, almost chocolaty .. Currently changing a lot throughout the day, pick it up in the morning and it's as described before, later in the day and it's pure buttery sweet cooking Vanilla?!

- Black Raspberry Vanilla -
Not that impressed when I sniffed it out of the bottle but once soaped WOW! Smells fantastic! A couple days into cure and it's still lovely and light coloured, fruity (like juice, but not fake!) .. I don't necessarily smell 'Vanilla' but maybe a creaming soda scent to it ..

So there you go, all my scent notes up to date :)

These obviously need a lot more cure time and I'm sure many will morph in one way or another throughout .. I'll be checking on them every other day and jot down notes in my book to share along with new pics next Monday ..

And if you ever want to look back at last weeks pics or reports I've put a sticky with links to all the Vanilla Files up the top of my blog to make it easier ..

PS: in case you're wondering, I'm still sick :(
Shower and an early night is the plan, if only I could turn off all the ideas dancing around in my head; like making Apple scented shampoo, or doing an experiment similar to this but with blends of Micas!

21 February 2010

A pretty fragrance with a bad reputation ..

I'm talking about Black Magic, which is described as 'a truly divine fragrance with an enchanted forest feel - a blend of fresh Siberian fir, sweet spices and vanilla!'

I love the name and I loved the scent when I first sniffed it out of the bottle .. And despite it's being well known as a troublemaker (seizing) I had absolutely no issues while soaping it .. So keep your temps low and you should be good to go :)

I know this looks totally wrong for it's namesake, but we all know what Vanilla does to soap don't we?! So I sprinkled a little (cosmetic grade) glitter on top to liven it up when it does go dark ..
Black Magic © Artisan Soaps
I took this today while bevelling
- excuse the green reflection, I do leadlight ..
BM(2) ©Artisan Soaps

On a personal note, I woke up this morning with a sore throat and swollen glands :( so I've been munching on childrens Vit C pills as it's all I have in the cupboard .. I've only recently got over months of pneumonia and I can't tell you how sick I am of being sick!

Anywho, hope you're all enjoying the last of the week-end, whatever that sees you doing ♥

20 February 2010

The Vanilla Files (part 2)

Well I finally soaped the last of my Vanilla samples from Big Tree Supplies last night, and an unscented loaf for colour comparison .. Each was done using the following formula:
80% Olive Oil
20% Coconut Oil
33% Lye Solution Strength
Fragrance: 3% of total oil amount (15ml FO to 500g oil)

It's a simple soap that used up what I had a lot of, but more to the point if left unscented gives me a nice light bar so we can see what the FO's really do colour wise .. Of course I'm just a kitchen hobby soaper, so this is no clinical trial under exact circumstances - there have been hot days and mild wet days, some where soaped at night and others during the morning, some gelled on their own while others didn't (all were left to saponify in the same location), and a couple were even put into the freezer (after fully setting & cooling) because they didn't want to release .. However I have done my best to keep things the same so the results would be valid ..

As far as my notes on each oil, I think I'm going to just summarise for now because there honestly wasn't much of a difference when it came to the actual soaping, other than slight colour variation .. That is until I did the unscented comparison loaf which took three times longer to reach trace! Oh I forgot to mention all were soaped with ROOM TEMP LYE & OILS .. With 80%OO & 33% LSS I really wasn't concerned about acceleration, this is how I like to soap .. OK then, here we go:

Very Vanilla - Bitter Creek North (soaped 8/2/10)
{cracking is my fault/impatience to unmould!}

Pink Sugar - The Candle Source (soaped 9/2/10)
Pink Sugar(2)

Sandalwood Vanilla - Elements Bath & Body (soaped 10/2/10)

Vanilla Bean Noel - Daystar Supplies (soaped 10/2/10)

Vanilla Bean - Daystar Supplies (soaped 11/2/10)
{shine is just condensation as I had to freeze to unmould}

*Buttercream Frosting - Daystar Supplies (soaped 11/2/10)
I accidentally wrote *Butterscotch on this bar
{again condensation}

Vanilla Abricot - Daystar Supplies (soaped 16/2/10)
{this one Ashed on me!}

Marshmellow Fluff
- Daystar Supplies (soaped 16/2/10)

Vanilla de Madagascar
- Daystar Supplies (17/2/10)

Warm Vanilla Sugar - The Candle Source (soaped 17/2/10)

Drizzled Honey Vanilla
- Daystar Supplies (soaped 18/2/10)

Musk Vanilla - Natures Garden (soaped 18/2/10)
{unmoulding issues big time!}

Black Raspberry Vanilla
- Natures Garden (soaped 19/2/10)

* UNSCENTED * (soaped 19/2/10)

Gosh if you've made it this far then thanks for viewing - and if you can appreciate the effort I'm putting into sharing all this then please do take the time to leave a comment :D

I will take new photo's (in better lighting) & update with notes on fragrance each Monday; lather trials will start in six weeks (5th April - Easter Monday) and I'll take pics of that too ..
{click for larger view}

And I just want to throw out the idea that if anyone wants to send 15ml samples of any Vanilla oils not mentioned here, I would love to soap them and add to this list!

I'd especially love to compare oils that go by the same name from different suppliers, so if you have any spare &/or are feeling generous, just leave a comment or email me: clear.marie[at] for a postal address ..
Never hurts to ask right?!

~ Wishing you all a wonderful week-end

19 February 2010

Read My Lips ..

I know you're all waiting on the Vanilla pictures but I'm going to make you wait another day, sorry .. I only have one more oil (Black Raspberry vanilla) and my unscented loaf (for comparison) to soap, and then I can share them altogether and give weekly updates following that .. So sit tight!

So this post is all about the lips - Lip Balms that is ..

I've actually been using a tweaked version of Grace Fruits recipe for some time now, ((Click Here For Original - the one with Sweet Almond Oil)) but was wanting something a bit different .. I'm not that fussed on a glossy appearance, and I want it to do more than create a surface barrier from the elements .. What I really wanted was a balm that would sink in and actually condition my lips .. Yes that's what I'm looking to make, a Lip Conditioner ..

So I experimented with a few other recipes today, some Vegan, others certainly not (Beeswax & Lanolin), and like most experiments each taught me something new .. Of course they're all fresh so need a couple of days to show their true potential ..


Does anyone know the trick of not getting the dip in the centre of the pot?
Interesting how it's only happened to the Beeswax ones!

This last one I literally just finished .. It's an out of the box formulation I created with Sweet Almond, Beeswax, Castor, Cocoa Butter, Jojoba Butter Blend (Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil), Honey, Lanolin, Olive, & Wheatgerm Oil .. I even coloured it with a sprinkling of Mica, and scented with a Flavour Oil (the others are Essential Oils) called Bourjois; notes of black currant, raspberry, jasmine, orange blossom, and woody violets = it's light and sophisticated, and really lovely!


Of course I've been trying these all day, and the good news is that if I'm not there already, I'm very close to what I wanted to achieve :D

18 February 2010

The Vanilla Files .. (part 1)

As I mentioned in an earlier post Vanillin in fragrance has a way of discolouring soap .. This is something a soapmaker has to accept, unless they choose to use a new product called Vanilla Stabiliser .. The disadvantages of this is that increases the cost of the soap, add's more chemicals, and may not work with all fragrances (results are varied) ..

So before I go that route I've decided to test a number of Vanillin based Fragrance Oils in the same recipe (80%OO - 20%CO), and take notes/photo's of each over the following year to determine:

  • Colour of Cured Soap (soap needs time to cure/mature just like wine & cheese, this could be 6wks - 6months depending on the formula)

  • Colour of Lather (white is good, brown is unacceptable)

  • How Scent holds in bar (over a year)

  • How Scent sticks to skin (can you still smell it after leaving the shower?)

  • The Fragrance itself!

The Oils I will be testing are all available from {{ Karen @ Big Tree Supplies }} whom I highly recommend!

  • Very Vanilla*
  • Vanilla Bean*
  • Vanilla Sandalwood*
  • Vanilla Bean Noel*
  • Pink Sugar*
  • Marshmellow Fluff*
  • Vanilla de Madagascar*
  • Black Raspberry Vanilla
  • Vanilla Abricot*
  • Butterscotch Frosting*
  • Warm Vanilla Sugar*
  • Musk Vanilla
  • Drizzled Honey Vanilla Creme
Names with an * means I have already soaped these and photo's will be uploaded asap :)

14 February 2010

Warm Mahogany Spice

~ The rich, exotic fragrance of African mahogany wood, warmed by a unique blend of Tunisian spices takes your mind to far away places ~



Warm Mahogany Spice
I'm so happy with how these turned out!

Karma Kazi ..

A blend of patchouli, sweet orange, lemongrass & hints of musk and amber ~

In the Mould:
KK Swirl
Cut Bars:

It's overcast so this is the best I could do to show the true colour (dusky pink):

Love Love LOVE this scent!