Wednesday, 28 March 2012

rose floral wax

i'd been trying to find some rose floral wax for a while in the UK, but it is almost impossible to get hold of. You see, at the moment I fragrance my rose garden soap with a beautiful fragrance oil, because rose essential oil is very, very expensive, and unsuitable for use in soap making for this reason. Rose wax is a by-product (*see below) of the making of rose Absolute (Rosa damascena - which is the dogs doohdahs of essential oils!)

Rosa x damascena

I'd love to add a true, natural rose scent to my rose garden soap, but it is really hard to get a good rosey scent without using genuine rose oil, so using a little rose wax in addition to some carefully selected floral essential oils is the perfect way to do this. You only need a little, so it is a much more cost effective way to get the real deal in your soap without using rose oil.

my rose floral wax

Rose floral wax is not quite as hard as beeswax, and can be coaxed into breaking up with a little encouragement from a kitchen knife. This must be done very carefully you don't want to slip when cutting (read: stabbing) the wax, you don't want to injure yourself.  It has a strange colour, sort of khaki green, and smells amazing, a really good strong rose fragrance which I could smell through the packaging whe the postie delivered it last week!

I ordered more than I needed, and for a small fee (!) I have shared it among my soaping friends. I look forward to seeing what they all make with it. I love being a mad scientist! :)

*what is rose wax exactly? well, I've found this snippet from a manufacturer, explaining how it is made:
   "the first stage in producing the rare and lovely (rose, jasmine etc) absolutes is a Concrete...a solid (or semisolid) mass containing all the plant waxes and all the aromatic chemicals. The Absolutes are later removed from the Concrete by washing with alcohol, leaving behind the solid and fragrant aromatic waxes"

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Richmond Duck Pond Artisan Market

just a few pictures of my market today. I have spent the last week endlessly designing & printing labels, packing soap and designing and printing new leaflets to hand out to customers. It was exhausting, but worth it, I love my new labels (designed by Kelly Flood) they looked perfect all set out on the stall today. I am a very happy bunny. takings were quite good too, considering the time of year, and the way things are right now. It was little chilly in the little courtyard the market was held in, next to the river Thames in Richmond, even though just outside the gates on the river bank it was absolutely beautiful, all kinds of people lunching, sunbathing and generally relaxing in the warm sun.  Wish I could have joined them for a chilled glass of pear cider!
my stall

new double whipped shea butter jars & labels

sugar scrub new labels

new soap labels!

Monday, 19 March 2012

my liquid soap experiment

last year, I read an awful lot about making liquid soap using the glycerine method.  I'd never made liquid soap before, mainly because it seems such a faff!  But this method sounded quick & fun, perfect for a busy girl like me, and I wanted to have a go.  I ordered some KOH and when it arrived, this is what happened:

weighed out the KOH

oils (olive & a bit of castor) in the crock pot

 adding the KOH to the HOT glycerine, on a small flame

This part was interesting (read: scary!) the KOH fizzes as you add it to the glycerine, so you have to add slowly and stir it down as you do so. which was fun one handed whilst holding the camera steady with the other hand!  Too much and it will volcano out of the pan!  Keep stirring until it is fully disolved.

fizz fizz whoosh!

add the lye slowly to the oils and stir with a whisk

it changes fast, from clear to golden to.......

dark rich copper with sticky toffee forming in the middle

it thickens very quickly and goes from caramel to this:

lovely thick custard.

Now it is time to stop stirring. I left it over night and the next day the consistency was very unexpected. I thought I'd get sticky taffy, but instead, it was rock solid like toffee.

I could not get any out of the pot, so I reaheated it, weighed some out and plopped into a jam jar.It was like very sticky runny honey at this stage when hot.  I added freshly boiled water to dilute, it is impossible to stir it in, you just have to leave it to dissolve for a few hours, then stir it gently to avoid bubbles!

undiluted in the jar

with the hot water added. you can see the water floating on the surface.

Hope you enjoyed reading about my liquid soap experiment part 2 will follow soon. I'll show you how it turned out, what happened when I added EO and how it feels on the skin 8 months later. see you soon x

Thursday, 15 March 2012

hello world

Hi big ole world!

I'm Emma and I make soap. I have never blogged before, and most of my posts will probably be photos of my lovely creations!  here's my fave for starters:

sweet contemplation handmade soap
sweet contemplation is dark rich patchouli oil balanced with heady amber, which forge together to make a sensuous and deeply beautiful blend.

rooibos tea infusion, full of antioxidants, and alkanet (ratanjot) infused in olive oil combine to give this soap it's rich purple colour, topped with a saucy red swirl in clean white peaks.

 hope you like my first pic! thanks for looking & bye for now.