Friday, March 20, 2015

March Landscape Challenge

This month's challenge (over at was to find a photo and create a soap inspired by that photo.  The challenge, for me, is to create a "picture" in a log of soap, so that the picture is seen once the soap has been sliced.

For those who just want to see the two - soap and picture, here you go:

The rest of the story is below.

I wanted this soap to fulfill multiple goals.
1. Compete in the challenge. This is my first attempt at this kind of "painting in soap" approach.
2. Try out my new 5 lb soap mold.
3. Complete the soaps for my soap swap (Make 10 bars using a fragrance sold by - My fragrance is Ginger Patchouli.)

For the Ginger Patchouli fragrance, I decided on a color theme of brown/red/orange.  I landed on a few desert scenes. Keeping my skill level in mind, I chose the above photo (from, because it is simple enough for me to do, but still interesting, yet complex enough to make it a fun challenge.

Having learned from the last few challenges that a practice batch is a good idea, I decided to use this batch to figure out the right technique to build a sand dune in my soap. While the color proportions were not quite there, I learned that I can, in fact, make a "hill" in soap, as well as build differently-shaped layers. 

There were some issues with how quickly that soap "set up" and as a result, the colorant was not properly mixed into the top layer.  So, I went with a different recipe for my actual challenge soap.  A recipe I have made several times, and like for the working time as well as the finished product. I don't have a mixing vessel large enough to do an entire 5 pound batch of soap, but since I have two distinct color sections in the soap, that was not an issue for this one.  I just made two smaller batches.  That also alleviated the potential for the blue to set up while I was still working with the brown and yellow. That turned out to not be an issue - I ended up waiting on the brown and yellow quite a while before I could add the blue! I didn't take any in-progress pictures - messing with the shape of the soap in the mold can be messy, and I didn't want to mess up my camera in the process!  But I do have a few photos of the soap once completed in the mold, and then as a log, just out of the mold.

Here, you can see it as it's gelling.  Gel doesn't always happen, but I think this mold encourages it, which is fine with me because the colors tend to be brighter when gelled.  You can see a bit of the remaining batter in the pink mold, not gelling.  It is a pretty color, but much more pastel.

This is just out of the mold.  It looks so pretty here, but I can't wait to slice into it!

Here they all are, looking picturesque after slicing. (on their sides)
I learned a lot on this one.  I sure am excited that the soap did exactly what I told it to do!  

Now I need to finish up that knitted mitt design, and get it ready to go out for the mystery knit a long in April!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Soaping for this months landscape challenge!  I made a practice soap, and today made the contest soap.  Here's hoping everything works out like planned, because I have a few days to let it saponify, cut and take pics.  No time to re-do it if it doesn't work out!