Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Epic Fail...Essential Oil Experiments

I consider myself a fairly new soapmaker. I have been working on developing and perfecting my soap bar for two years. This is in contrast to many other soapmakers out there who have been doing this for decades. There are always new things to learn, and experimentation is the best way to do so from my personal experience. I have dabbled with essential oils in soap, but honestly, they scare me quite a bit. I know from other soapers that citrus essential oils often do not "stick" in the final product, as the chemical reaction from the oils and lye reacting is often too harsh of an environment. I ordered some vanilla oleoresin (not an essential oil, as vanilla essential oils do not exist from what I understand), and decided to blend it with a folded, or concentrated orange. I have no idea what I did wrong, but I have only had one other soap that failed as miserably as this one.

I know that it may be difficult to see, but the white portion of the soap had tunnels in it, and the white portion of the soap was oozing oils. The scent was okay, not fabulous. At first I could not smell the vanilla at all, but when I finally decided to toss it today, I could smell a hint of vanilla in the soap. I'm not sure that I will soap with the vanilla again anytime soon. That's something that I may tackle after some time away from the project. 

Nonetheless, I decided to work with essential oils again today- lime and peppermint. I have used peppermint often in the past- it sticks great in soap, but I have never used lime before. The lime is top quality, and is sourced from the East Indies. I anchored it with orange essential oil and rhassoul clay, so here's to hoping!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

New Projects

Laziness has gotten the better of me lately, and I haven't made soap in about two weeks, but I received some vanilla oleoresin 20X (that means it was folded 20 times to increase its strength), that I ordered a while back, and I was dying to try it. Vanilla oleoresin has been shown in scientific studies to have a calming effect on people. It is also used as an aphrodisiac.
This is what it looked like out of the bottle. It is so thick that I had to warm it in a water bath before pouring.

Let me just say that I was hesitant to use this in soap. After researching how others used it in cold-process soap, I decided to shake it vigorously before using and to add at medium trace. I blended it with orange essential oil and added dried orange peel. Orange peel contains vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B1, beta-carotene, and numerous other vitamins and minerals. Due to its high flavonoid content, orange peel acts as an anti-microbial and anti-bacterial agent in skincare products. I also added Rhassoul clay for it's ability to absorb oils.

Since the vanilla oleoresin is dark brown, the soap turned dark brown as well. I left some of the soap batter unscented and uncolored. Here is the finished product in the mold, topped with sugar beads and, of course, iridescent glitter! The vanilla scent is not strong, but we will see how well it sticks when it's cut.

Today I also soaped White Tea and Ginger, one of my all-time favorites! Included in the recipe are buttermilk and goat milk, aloe vera juice, shea butter, and apricot kernel oil, among other great skin-loving ingredients. This soap is colored with aqua green, cocoa brown, and eggplant purple. The purple will change color over the next few days, but I'm hoping that it sticks.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New and Bright for Sprrring! Yea!

As some of you may know, I nearly ran out of everything over the Christmas season. When I say everything, I mean everything! Nearly everyday was impatiently stalking the front door, awaiting my supplies to be delivered. I even found myself at one point scraping the bottom and sides of the barrel for the last of the palm oil and had just enough to squeak out some Love Spell soaps in time for Valentine's Day. Whew!
So, as January is winding down, all of the fabulous soaps are nearly cured, and I wanted to share pictures of what is to come! All of these photos were taken on an upside-down wine crate by the windowsill in my soap room. I was really pleased with the results1

It's funny to see how different this soap looks with a white backdrop  from the previous photo.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Adventures in Soaping!

Yesterday I ran out of palm oil, which put the brakes on any soap-making for the remainder of the year, since the new tub is not scheduled to be delivered until January 2nd. Instead of creating new soaps like I would have like to have done, I browsed the web to look at all of the lovely suds that my fellow soap-makers from around the globe have posted. One of my favorite soapers is Celine Blacow, of Soaperstar. She hails from Ireland, and her designs are to die for. You can take a gander at her designs on her website:
As I perused her site, I realized that all of her recipes are palm-free. I have been one of those people who has always utilized palm in my soaps, so it was hesitant to try it myself. However, today I am going to take a stab at making a good bar of soap that is palm-free. Amanda at Lovin Soap ( has lots of palm-free recipes that I will start with...keeping my fingers crossed!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Re-stock update

I would like to thank everyone who has supported us this year! As you may have noticed, the Sassy Sundries Facebook page has been fairly silent over the past month or so. The holiday season was so busy that we had to close our Etsy store temporarily. Definitely not a bad problem, but a problem nonetheless.
Our shop will re-open in January, but in the meantime, here are a few tidbits of what we have been designing and creating. Enjoy!

Wet Soap Alert! Kentish Rain

Love Spell in the mold. Ready mid-January.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Soap on a Stick

I love the way this fragrance oil smells. It took me a while to decide how I wanted to design the soap, and when I finally decided on what I was going to do, lo and behold, the soap overheated and I got soap on a stick.
When I realized that my batch was about to seize, I sprung into action. Since the batter was hardening by the second, I understood that there was no way I was going to stir the colorant into the soap batter. Instead, I literally dug my glove into the soap and attempted to mix the colorant into the soap by squishing it between my fingers. Ugh. I did read somewhere that you can wait until the soap gels (the chemical reaction that causes the soap to become hot and helps to make the colors brighter) and then it will mold easily, but I have not read enough about it to feel comfortable trying it. Besides the fact that, since this was a goat milk soap, the milk will scorch if it overheats. I slapped each layer into the mold as quickly as possible, banged it on the floor as hard as I could in the hopes of making sure all of the layers were actually touching each other, and carefully placed it in the freezer (it was already getting pretty hot). My hope was that the soap was at least salvageable.

I inadvertently caused this mishap by trying a new technique with the goat milk. Instead of freezing the milk, I decided to use water to dissolve the lye, and then add the goat milk when I was mixing the soap batter. Basically, I was attempting this out of laziness. It didn't work out too well. 

Even though it did not turn out as planned, I was pleasantly surprised when I cut this soap log. The corners are not quite square since the soap batter was so hard and thick that it was difficult to get into the corners of the mold. But that is definitely not as big of a deal as it could have been.

The color is not quite accurate in this picture. Everything is actually different shades of purple. These photos are not the best, so I will take more when I have some natural light. The soaps are much prettier in person.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vendor Show Set Up

Mom and I have been working on making the vendor show set up more eye appealing. Here is our set-up from Stanton Trade Days last weekend.

It's much better, but we still need some work. The entrance into the tent is not really user friendly. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!