So, some of you may have noticed a couple of small little things that are going on in the UK this summer? No? well let me tell you....
Firstly its the Queens Diamond Jubilee, a pretty major happening here. The main events take place between June 2nd and June 5th although there seems to be things planned all year, even 'The Archers', Britain's longest running soap, on Radio 4 is hosting a special event to celebrate. This is the official Website of the British Monarchy for those of you who might be interested in finding out more about this Right Royal Event.
Then there is the London 2012 Olympic Games, now surely that could not have escaped your attention, many visitors will be coming over to the UK and the country is due to be plastered in Red, White and Blue Union Jack flags along with a complete take over of TV, radio and newspapers. There are bound to be lots of exciting stories and many records broken. The dates for this event are the 27th July until 12th August, now while some residents may be using that as an excuse to escape the madness and leave the country, many will be staying for the fun and parties, oh and to watch Team GB of course.
Why is all this relevant? Well, as part of the Great Cakes Soapworks soap challenge (this is week 9 already) I decided to do something that would celebrate both events in some way as well as fulfilling the challenge brief and trying something new. This is Ish by the way!! I know it gets a bit confusing as there are two of us making soap for Puro Soaps.
So........... Red, White and Blue, had to be the colours for this soap really didn't it?
Did you know the Queens favorite tea is Earl Grey? and, those of you who know Shelley and I, know that we cannot function without tea, tea and more tea, so I decided to create a special Earl Grey tea fragrance (natural of course) for this soap.
I remember seeing a wonderful Twinings advert for 'Lady Grey' tea with the fabulously English and gorgeously sexy Nigella Lawson (see below) and that got me going.
Earl Grey tea is china tea which has added bergamot, Lady Grey is a lighter alternative with infusions of lemon and Seville orange peels, a more sophisticated tea I think (I like both). So to create this scent I used essential oils of Bergamot, 5 fold Orange and Lemon and mixed, it smelt exactly right in the pot, I just hoped it would survive the rigors of cold process soap and smell as good in the soap.
The challenge for week 9 was to create a soap with a textured/peaked top. Ha, well we already do this most of the time so my challenge was to create a peaked top that represented the Jubilee (by looking like the Queens Crown) as well as being slightly individual for each bar. When we make our soaps we use large wooden molds which are double the width of our finished soap bars, this means that not only do we cut our loaves of soap across to create slices, we also have to cut them in half again to create the individual slices. In practice this makes it quite hard to create an individual peaked top for a single bar. So I set myself the task of doing just that. Here goes.......
I got my usual recipe mix ready, brought it to a light trace then divided it up into 3 jugs for the colours. I used natural pigments for this, Ultramarine blue and Red Oxide as well as Titanium Dioxide for the white. I decided to layer the 3 colours fairly thickly, retaining a little bit of each to do thinner layers on top of the loaf. I hoped this would mean that when I started working the top texture I could draw the thin layers up together to create red, white and blue peaks. It sort of worked!
Remember, I also wanted to create an individual, crown like peaked top on each bar to represent the Queens Crown and the Jubilee. So the finished loaf looked like this...
A little sparkle of glitter and then the overnight wait for it to set up. Here is another close up of the peaked effect before cutting
The next day I got the soap out of the mold and the scent was fabulous, it really does smell like Lady Grey tea, a light, fruity scent with the distinctive bergamot tones over the top. Then I set it up, ready to cut and went for it.
I was pretty happy with the first thin cut end piece. The colours are not quite as bright as I wanted but they have actually darkened a bit now 2 days later so I am hopeful they will not fade at least. Oh but the smell, it is so lovely, I had to stop and make a cup of tea!
Cutting the final bar, and the division has worked! That was really the most important result for me in this challenge, to end up with a bar of soap that had its own individual, crown like, peaked top. Here is a close up, you have to use your imagination a bit, but I do think the top does look a little like a crown, the glitter helps.
And here are the finished bars in all their Jubilee/Olympic/tea glory! Now all we need is a name for this soap, can you help?
The best suggested name will receive a free bar of this soap as soon as it is ready. It will be judged by Shelley and I and the winner will be announced on our facebook page and via our new Twitter account @purosoapsclub. (please do follow us on Twitter)
Please note, sorry but due to postage costs, this offer is only open to UK and EU residents.
Please add your name suggestion to your comments on this blog post - you know how much we like them! You could also leave your name suggestion on our facebook page too.