Sunday, April 22, 2012

Better Late than Never-- Beer and Myrtle Soaps

I recently joined (or tried to join) a fun soapmaking challenge put on by Amy Warden at Great Cakes Soapworks. Every week she posts a new soapmaking challenge.  There are over 93 soapmakers from around the world participating in her challenges.  It was pretty hard for me to keep up with the weekly challenges.  I have been trying to adjust and keep up with my changing life.  I recently moved and have been trying to set up my home.  And I now have 2 hours a day in commute time since I moved further away from work.  I have a new calling in church as a Primary Teacher.  (Surprising to me, I love being a Primary Teacher.)  I really enjoy making handmade soaps.  It's been a passion of mine for quite a few years now.  The last couple of years though, I have had a hard time finding the time to make it.  I hoped that these weekly challenges would give me some extra inspiration, and help me to rekindle my soapmaking hobby.  

This first picture is of some soap my kids really like.  They are made with a handcrafted beer that a co-worker friend of mine made.  I don't drink beer, but beer makes a lovely soap.  And making it with a special handcrafted beer was extra fun.  The darker one is scented with Almond fragrance, and the slightly lighter one is scented with Lavender Apples and Oak.  They both smell very nice, especially the Almond one.  I think it is one of my favorite fragrances.  Beer may sound like a strange thing to make soap with.  But it actually adds a few nice qualities to the soap.  I love how creamy the lather is.  And since beer is made with hops and other grains, it makes the soap soothing to the skin.   
 This second soap is one I made with half and half and aloe juice instead of the goat's milk I normally use.  I had meant to scent these with Vanilla Hazelnut, but I grabbed the wrong fragrance on accident.  So these are scented with Myrtle fragrance oil.  I actually like the fresh clean unisex fragrance of Myrtle, although the name has something to be desired,  It smells like a fresh herbal soap.  Normally I would not color a Myrtle soap brown.  But now that I made them this way, it seems to work.  The swirls turned out very nice this time.  My molds are vertical molds made from rain gutter downspouts.  These soaps were swirled in the pot using cocoa powder for the colorant.  The Myrtle soaps are made with deer tallow.  I like the texture a good tallow adds to soaps and deer tallow is one of my favorites.  So I am excited for these to cure so I can use them.
Although I have not been able to keep up with the challenges on a weekly basis, I do plan on trying a few of the challenges in my own time.  One I am especially excited to try is piping the soap out of a pastry bag.  Some of the other soapmakers that did that challenge made some extraordinarily beautiful soaps.  I also would love to try the funnel pouring method or the faux funnel pour.  I use will need to get some regular log molds so I can try these.