Saturday, 31 March 2012

Soap Challenge Week 2 - natural soap using milk

Another great challenge set by Amy from Great Cakes Soapworks for Week 2 of our soap challenge and, guess what?......  There are now over 84 soap makers from all over the world taking part.  How great is that?

If you missed my blog about Week 1 you can visit Amys link up site and have a look at Puro Soaps entry as well as lots of other lovely, and amazingly different, soaps.  You can also catch up with what I made by having another look at the blog from last week.

Firstly, I wanted to tell you about my disaster, well not a disaster as such, just a very annoying problem.  I decided that, as well as the challenge of making coconut milk soap (which I have never tried before), I would video the whole thing too so I could add the video to this blog and give you a bit of an insight into how we make natural soap.  So my lovely son Ryan came and helped set up a mini video studio in the workshop.  We did a couple of tests and it all worked out well so off I went, mixing and stirring, adding coco powder, vanilla and fragrance and pouring into the mold, all went swimmingly well, no spills, no colour disasters and I remembered to use my gloves all the way through!  Then we checked the video on the camera and it all looked great, really professional, until I tried to load the video onto the computer :-(  It seems that my camera takes videos in a format that is not recognised by computers!  AARRGGHHH - So back to the drawing board.  I will try and come up with something for the Week 3 challenge.

Anyway here are the still photos of my soap, I hope you like it.

Meet 'Sandalwood and Vanilla', made using coconut oil and coconut milk as well as shea butter, olive oil and lots of cocoa butter.

The other very important ingredient in this soap is this beautiful natural vanilla paste from a wonderful local company here in East Devon, UK - Littlepod.  Janet from Littlepod imports the finest quality, responsibly sourced, bourbon vanilla from Madagascar in pod form but also she and her contact in Madagascar have come up with a unique way of suspending the bourbon vanilla aroma and flavor in a paste.  Used by top chefs all over the country, this paste is fabulous, it is so easy and versatile to use and so much better than ordinary vanilla extract.  I make a bespoke soap for Littlepod and I know that this paste withstands the tough alkaline conditions of cold process soap really well.  It gives a slightly creamy colour to the soap with a wonderful natural vanilla fragrance and sweet little flecks that come from the vanilla seed suspended in the paste.

I was really intrigued by the way the swirl turned out (or didn't as the case may be).  The sandalwood fragrance makes the soap set really, really fast so I did not have much time to work with it.  Instead of a beautiful cross colour swirl that I was attempting this very strange swirl/trace happened which I have not seen before, but I quite like.  You can see it better on the close up picture below it makes me think of bare, naked winter trees.

You can see the vanilla seeds on this picture too.  The base is coloured with cocoa powder and the top is completely natural apart from the slight creamyness, probably from the coconut milk but also the vanilla paste.

So thats it!  I have to tell you the smell is fabulous, I can't wait until my sister Beckie sees this, she absolutely loved the last sandalwood soap I made, and that was 2 years ago!

Week 3 is all about embellishment, Piping cold process soap. Those of you who know Puro Soaps well will know that we do this all the time but I have a couple of new, untried ideas up my sleeve, I am going to give myself a very big challenge - lets hope it works out.

To see all the other soaps made in Week 2 click on this link - Week 2 Soap Challenge - they will be added over the next week.  Next Saturday, get ready for the Week 3 reveal, its going to be good.


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  2. I love the trace/swirl look and I bet it smells amazing too!

  3. What a fabulous soap, Ishbel!! I'm so sorry the video didn't work out. :( The photos are very good though. And I know that my ITP swirl soap did the same thing - if you check the photos of the Mango Melon, I have the same little lines. I thought it was the TD heating up, but since you didn't use TD, now I'll have to think that it must be something else! Now what could it be....

    Oh, and that vanilla paste sounds like heaven!!!

  4. I wonder if we can get that paste in the US. It would be so nice to have a natural vanilla that is proven to hold up in soap. Thanks for sharing!

  5. That is a beautiful soap! I love the colors and the vanilla specks - I'm sure it smells wonderful, I love sandalwood. The swirls remind me of frost streaks on window panes.

  6. Hey Tina, I just forward the link to this blog to Janet at Littlepod and checked out her blog, they went to USA in January to promote the paste see their blog
    So perhaps you could get some over there, anyway, I did tell Janet that people were interested. Its also absolutely fabulous for cooking with too!!

  7. This soap looks so lovely! I love the idea of the vanilla paste! I too wish we could have seen a video!

    What about a video converter? My husband recommended this for a friend and I heard it is working well.

  8. This is one of the more beautiful soaps I've seen! I love the "weird" swirl that occurred! It works great with the fragrance :D

  9. Beautiful milk soap,I love the speckles.

  10. Very pretty! Also very exciting about the vanilla paste -thanks for sharing. :) ~Becky

  11. I had the same problem last week when I did a video of my soap- it was not recognised by the computer. I went into the mode part of my camera and changed the format. I thought I had to re-do my video but I didn't. Switch the mode on your camera and then try to upload-maybe yours is the same? Worth a try. Love the soap and the natural colors. The paste sounds wonderful!

  12. Votre savon est vraiment très beau !

  13. It looks fantastic! I love your swirls!