Saturday, 4 August 2012

Soap Challenge - Final Thoughts

I know its a while since we took part in the Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge but we have just been so busy since then that there has been no time to blog again.  I went off to Portugal early July and made some exciting summer cupcake soaps along with Shelley, we had fun, made lots of soaps and talked, talked, talked!!  Its pretty hard running a business together when we live at totally different ends of Europe so when we get the change we spend as much time together as possible.  One of the good things we were able to do was to look at planning a schedule for new designs and creations for the Autumn and Winter seasons so watch out, lovely new soaps will be coming soon.

Back to the Challenge.  I thought it might be good to let you know what we got out of it.  Firstly here is a line up of all the soaps created between the two of us

My thoughts - Ishbel
I really, really enjoyed the challenge, it made me think hard both about my design ideas and pushing myself to make things that I had never tried before.  A lot of the things we were asked to do such as making soap using milk we do all the time so it was tricky to follow the brief while still making it unusual and taxing.  My favorite making project was the Jubilicious soap on week 9, the challenge was to make a soap with a textured top.  This is something that we do regularly so I decided to give myself the task of creating a top that looked different and was an integral part of the overall design rather than just a rocky top.  The design was based on the Jubilee celebrations in the UK, I waned to create a red, white and blue soap topped with a matching crown.  The scent of this soap is fabulous too, Lady Grey tea, bergamot, lemon and orange, its refreshing and sweet at the same time and I love it!  Im definitely going to push to get a soap with this scent combo in our main range.

My most technical challenge was piping soap roses (week 3), not only was it a challenge to produce the actual roses, I made my first Puro video of it too!  A difficult thing to do but I have been practicing since and it is paying off.  Our first Piped Rose Soap Cake is about to go off to one of our wholesalers in Germany.

So I feel like I have put my new skill to good use.  Thanks to Amy Warden for organising this wonderful event, I hope we can take part in another one, but not for a while!!!

My thoughts: Shelley
I loved the challenge too! Not only did I learn new skills which I probably wouldn't have got round to trying- like making a landscape soap (not as easy as it looked!), but I also learnt new techniques from seeing the ones Ishbel made. The faux funnel swirl that Ishbel made in week 6 got me hooked, and has been my latest favourite swirling technique. I also really enjoyed doing the gradient layered bar- not sure I'll be repeating that one too often, as its quite time consuming, and I think I'm more of a fan of the crazy swirls than the controlled layering - but it's a great technique to have mastered!
My favourite soap challenge of all was the fragrance blend of week 5. I had to do a bit of homework with this one. After learning all about the theory behind blending essential oils, and a rummage through my left over stocks of Essential Oils, I came up with a blend which just produced the most beautiful soap. Unfortunately I don't think it will be included in the range as it was incredibly expensive to make- but who knows!
I'm off now to have a play with the icing technique Ishbel used on the cake above- all these ideas, that Amy encouraged us to try, are not only inspirational but addictive! ;-)


  1. what a stunning cake!! love the selection of soaps also - great work ladies!

  2. I want one I can get in on. Soap challenge for the soap challenged!! LOL! I'm more advanced than I sound, I swear. I just didn't have the time with the kids home and with the busy season coming up, it's going to be a while. This was a wonderful work on everyone's part and I think it all turned out smashing fabu!!!!

    The faux funnel swirl was my favorite and the only one I really had time to do. Now I faux funnel three soaps and it gets some serious purchases at shows.


  3. Such beautiful work I really admire them all! My very favorite must be wk 6. The embellishments on the Vine soap are outstanding as are the roses. I too learned that the planning is half the fun!

  4. Every single one of your soaps for the challenge are absolutely amazing! I really love the piped roses...they look real!

  5. I'm obviously a little late reading your post, but just thrilled to know that the Soap Challenge is still having a positive effect on your soapmaking! The rose cake is absolutely stunning!! Definitely won't be doing any more challenges until after the new year. Best wishes to you during this busy season!!

  6. How can I purchase wholesale and sale here in the United States. Would love to sale the soaps to friends and family. My contact info is:

    thanks and look forward to selling some of the soaps here.