Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cube Soap

I have always enjoyed the cube shape or square soaps.  I see pure olive oil soaps made this way and also French soaps.  Most of the time the soaps are plain colored and have round stamps in the center of each side of the soap.  I ordered ice cube trays made with silicone which were two inch in size.  When they arrived, they were a little flimsy and seemed too small.  I can not cut very straight so I usually don't like to use slab molds.  I decided to use a large slab mold to try cutting the cubes anyway.  Once I made the soap and I looked at the design on the outside, I was very disappointed.  It was plain and kind of ugly.  The mold was larger than I needed, so I planned to cut bars of soap with the extra soap.  Once I cut into the soap, (of course it was not too straight), the beauty of the soap shined through.  It turned out amazing!  My son thought it looked like wood grain.  I recently viewed a magazine photo of cubed soap and the comments stated that the soap was three inch cubes.  When I cut a cube that size, I found it to be too large for a woman's hand and most of the people who purchase my soap are women.  2.5 inches or 2.25 inches are a much better size for a woman's hand.  I also learned that any soap that is not cut into bars where the sides will show, will not display the decorations made in the soap, such as the marbling-- unless it is made on the top of the bar.  My future cubes will probably be in a specially designed mold so I don't waste so much soap.  I will also stick to a fairly plain design and use the creative adventures for bar soaps, where they will be cut with a special cutter and not hand cut.  Not that I won't use stamps on the soap.  LOL

In this soap, I tried Dragons Blood fragrance.  I heard rave reviews for the fragrance, so I thought I would try it.  When my order arrived, I really didn't like it.  I doctored it up with a little baby powder fragrance and a tad bit of peach fragrance.  I like the fragrance now.  Once I quit worrying about mixing the unusual together, I get better fragrance blends.  A friend of mine writes proprietor's blend on her labels.  It means that the soap company owner blends her or his own fragrances, but it sounds pretty fancy.  I may have to do that in the future.  LOL 

I placed 9 ounces of soap shreds into the soap mixture once it was at trace.  The shreds were light blue and yellow. The fragrance turns the soap brown so I used a small amount of titanium dioxide, (to keep the soap white), in the main soap along with a few drops of color and attempted a little in the pot swirl.  I used robins egg blue and sapphire coloring.  I then removed 4  cups of soap and placed it in two containers and mixed more of the coloring and titanium dioxide in these containers--one was sapphire and one was robins egg blue.  I mixed these two colors into the main soap with a little more in the pot swirl.  The colors should consist of:  light robins egg blue, darker robins egg blue, light sapphire, darker sapphire, base, (light brownish) color, darker base color, the light blue shreds and the light yellow shreds.  The colors actually contain a green and a purple too.  I think the brown will get darker as the soap cures, but only time will tell. 

Three Days Later:

It took me a few days to get photos taken and some of the colors faded, but all of the marbling/swirls are there.  It really looks nature inspired.  What do you think?  Yes, I am still trying to learn to take great soap shots.  This is one of the things on my bucket list. 

I hope those that make soap and those that find soap making interesting will enjoy my blog.  I try not to be too technical without explaining a little now and then.  If you find it enjoyable, let me know.  If it is too technical or not technical enough, let me know that also.  Thank you for reading my blog.  
Shine On!   Dawn

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A New Kind of Scarf

Kristen is modeling the scarf for me.

When I was at a craft fair, a couple ladies told me about making a new type of scarf. You do not knit or crochet this scarf it, you just knot it. One of the ladies who informed of this new technique stated that she used yarn from the thrift store and combined several colors and types.  She did not use ribbon.  The scarf yarn should start out about 3 or so yards long and end up about 2 yards long.  These are approx.lengths, you may want longer, or shorter to suite you and your style.  I like to use hand spun yarn since I can make any kind and give it a lot of interest.  I used a 100% hand-spun, hand-dyed kid mohair yarn which was mostly purple in color.  I unwound the yarn and re-wound it around two chairs, making it the right length for me.  Then I strung around this yarn several ribbons in the same color family giving it different textures.  Once this was done, I cut the scarf in one place and knotted it a few inches from the center on one side and repeated a knot on the other side.  One knot in the back of the neck would not be real comfortable when wearing this scarf.  About a foot down on each side from the knots, place another knot and repeat once or twice.  I think I had 6 knots all together with my scarf.   You really can not go wrong with this.  Make sure to trim the ends up so the yarns are fairly even.  Sew on buttons or trinkets randomly or use school colors and make each scarf uniquely yours.  Enjoy making and wearing your scarf!!!

I ordered some fabric squares which are made from various shades of recycled blue denim.  My mom requested pot holders that already looked used as far as the colors go so they would not look nasty the first time you used them.  LOL  I thought denim would be a way to go, but put a pretty print on the other side.  Denim looks good even if it is worn and spotted.  I guess it is an American thing about liking worn denim and pairing it with anything.  I have made several pot holders and  I have several almost completed.  I used a batting which is 100% cotton and a special batting, (Insul-Bright), which transfers the heat back to where it came from when it is used.  In order to keep the thickness down around the edges and be able to sew through, I made pocket-like squares and placed the batting inside them.  Check out the actual jeans pocket one one side.  You can place your hand on the inside and use it like a mitt.  I tied the center like a quilt using embroidery floss.  Little hoops are on one corner of the pot holder for hanging up and various buttons, ribbon roses, etc. are on the corners by the hoops.  These decorative items can be removed if the recipient wishes to do so.