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10 June 2011

Playing is Creating ..

I've had an awesome week playing with all my new goodies .. From M&P to new extracts, to hydrosols, & new oils .. I've made Whipped Tallow Body Butter, a Super Intensive & Fanciful Conditioner, Toner, Face lotion, & all of these bars below:

Hempy Hands made with M&P base with Shea Butter, Crushed Fennel, Jojoba Sphere's, Mica, Charcoal, & BB's Wasabi FO ..

Sole Sloggers made with Hemp Base and extra Hemp Oil .. Seas Salt, Pumice, & ground Hemp Seeds .. (unscented)

Spicy Rose Guest soap - made with hemp base, Rosehip Oil, Ground Nutmeg, TD, Mica, Cosmetic Glitter, and my own blend of FO's ..

I've had a total blast making these, but sadly that's the end of my samples .. I'm tempted to buy more, but a little birdy did happen to mention they may just be sending me some *I'm spoilt!*

And I really want to move on to Syndet (solid shampoo) Bars next .. Sooo who makes them - any hints & tips to share with me - here or email me clear.marie [at] if you'd rather not share your secrets with the world - err I mean people who read my blog :P

I still don't have the ingredients as they're not available in NZ, but am thinking a mix of SCI, SLSa, Coco Betaine, & some Poly/Decyl Glucose etc ..

~ have a fun & safe week-end everybody!

06 June 2011

Melt & Pour, Sugar Scrub Cubes, & Why I'm Glad I Take Photo's ...

I've been thinking about trying my hand at M&P for well over a year now, only I never seemed to get around to ordering any - that was until the week before last .. So when two samples of Melt & Pour finally arrive on my doorstep, it took less than two hours for me to tear them open and get to work on two different kinds of bars .. Followed by a couple more before mid-morning the following day :D

Experimenting with this new medium has been sooo much fun .. Playing with colours, layers, embeds, & curling techniques .. It's just so easy, and gives so much instant gratification that I think I have a new addiction! Though sadly, I only have enough for maybe 2 bars left :(

Above is Hemp Base to which I added Manuka Honey & some finely ground Oats, Mica in the bottom layer as well as DS's Buttermilk & Honey FO ..

And this is the Organic Clear base to which I added various colourants, Sea Salt & Chamomile for a bit of exfoliant and interest, and scented with BB's Sea Moss ..

After making and testing these and more out in the shower, I decided to move on to the oh so popular and cute Individual Sugar Scrub Cubes .. My very good soaping friend Patti who's blog you can read here: (Soap, Soup and Everything In Between) had sent me some a while back and I thought they were a really neat and fun idea .. Thanks Patti, you totally inspired me!

I decided to make three batches, each with different yet complimentary colour & fragrance, as well as a different carrier oil to test how that effects the finished texture both for storage & during use, and of course skin feel .. I also experimented with adding the colour in different ways; mixed into the fragrance, directly into the sugar, or with a little Glycerin ..

And this is why I'm so glad I took some quick pics during the process - I could have sworn and have it written down in my notes that I used Macadamia oil in the Pink batch I'm making here .. But that's clearly Safflower oil in the bottle & on my scale!
Pink - Safflower Oil & scented with TCS's Caramel Apple
Green - Sweet Almond Oil infused with Vanilla Beans & scented with Lime
Yellow - Virgin Coconut Oil & scented with BB's Pineapple Cilantro

To be honest I still prefer my emulsified scrub, but these are great for traveling and obviously make great gifts .. So I do want to tweak them to perfection, and already have some ideas of how to improve them (eg: use a different exfoliant) .. But first I'd like to know what others think as I know I like a LOT more scratch in my scrubs than the average person does .. So Tanya & Patti (I'm fairly confident you will both read this) would you be ever so kind as to agree to test these for me ??

01 June 2011

Vanilla Files (final) - Yep it's the end of the Vanillas!

I have lots of new photo's of soap, experiments, & projects I want to share, so time to finish this thing off!

Quick Recap of my last VF entry:

All the Vanilla Bars are now aged around 1.25yrs old ..
Last week (or was it the one before?) - Recently! I took a layer off the top of each bar to show the fully cured colours .. And lined them up for comparison:

Scented at only 3% FO you would expect quite a dramatic fade-out after all this time, particularly if the bars weren't stored away in boxes right ?! Well today I sniff-tested each of the bars that HAVE been fully exposed to air - though kept out of sunlight etc, their entire life, and found the following:


Musk Vanilla, Vanilla Bean, Drizzled Honey Vanilla, Buttercream Frosting, & Sandalwood Vanilla are all super strong! As strong as when first made!!

Marshmallow Fluff, Pink Sugar, Very Vanilla, & Vanilla Bean Noel, & Black Raspberry Vanilla are all moderately strong (still very obviously scented) - when held to ones nose .. That said, BRV, a scent I know well as I've made many batches of it since this experiment began, has unfortunately taken on a slightly different note .. Dare I say it's a little plasticy at a mature age ?! It's not too bad, and I will still use it as it's super popular with my family & friends .. But it's definitely not sweet & rich like it once was :(

And then we have Warm Vanilla Sugar, Vanilla Abricot, Vanilla de Madagascar which you really need to touch your nose and take a few good huffs to smell .. *Vanilla Abricot nearly made it into the 'moderate' list but fell just a tad short as you really do need to almost eat it to smell it if you kwim lol ..

Now these are my opinions on the DRY bars .. To be perfectly honest I'm kinda over working with these so haven't gone through them all to see which, if any, still come alive in use .. I do know that Sandalwood Vanilla, Pink Sugar, & (this may surprise you) Vanilla Bean are the stand-out's that I absolutely ADORE and NEVER want to be without!!!

And that Pink Sugar, Sandalwood Vanilla, Musk Vanilla, & Drizzled Honey really linger on the skin .. My neighbour says the Black Raspberry Vanilla & Marshmallow Fluff do too, but personally I don't find this so, or at least not enough for me to praise them on it .. A fresh bar of BRV yes, at this age nope - I smell 'soap' but not a specific fragrance ..

So what happens to all that soap now the projects complete?

THIS is the vital ingredient that gives my Salt Spa Bars their distinctive 'crushed shell where the ocean meets the land' look .. Only I use colours in my Mermaid Bars that some of you have tried :)

You see I'm all about rural-coastal living, and spend many many hours at the beach; camping,walking, kayaking, taking photo's,collecting bits of driftwood, shells, sea-glass, and whatever other jetsum & flotsum I find for various art projects .. And I don't know what it is bout the combined (absolutely heavenly) smell of these Vanillas, but they along with my love of all things ocean inspired what I now make and call my 'Sand Dollars' ..

So finally I want to say Thanks to everyone who has been following me down this Vanilla Scented Path .. I really hope you gained from my experience, and I really appreciated your feedback, emails & comments etc .. I just hope you stay around to read what I get up to next!

~°¤ Vanilla Files - Complete ¤°~