Star-filled Melt and Pour Soaps

melt and pour starsStar light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight…

If you love stars, or love melt and pour soaps with fun embeds, this project should delight you. It uses mica-colored star-shaped embeds floating in multiple layers in a blue tinted clear soap base. You can scent it however you like (just what do stars smell like?) as long as it’s a fairly clear fragrance or essential oil. I used a combination of lavender and spearmint essential oils.

How to Make Melt and Pour Starry Soaps

Star-filled Melt and Pour Soaps originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Friday, June 28th, 2013 at 17:20:18.

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Using No Soap Before Its Time

I recently cleaned out and organized my bathroom closet and rounded up a bunch of bars of soap from previous batches. One of them was a bar from an old favorite of mine I called “Tea with Vita“. This bar must be at least 5 years old. The scent was a bit faded, but still there.

I’m telling you…this soap is wonderful! It’s a perfect example of how soap continues to age and improve as it cures. Just like fine wine, soap will continue to age. The bar gets harder and the lather gets thicker. It is truly marvelous.

Now…soaps do “expire” as well. Scents will ultimately fade completely, and soap can develop “dreaded orange spots” or DOS. Another thing that happens is that if you’ve used natural exfoliants – botanicals like sandalwood powder, or as with this bar, calendula petals, they can become more dried out and harder/more scratchy. There were a couple of calendula petals that I had to pull out of the bar because they were too hard.

Does this mean you should keep all of your soaps for 5 years before you use them? Of course not. But it has reminded me to not be so hasty to go through batches when they’re done curing at 4 weeks. Let them mature in your soap closet – and keep making new batches to replace them.

Using No Soap Before Its Time originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Monday, June 24th, 2013 at 19:30:54.

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Where Do Essential Oils Come From?

distillation of essential oils
Original Artist: Stradamus – Hulton Archive / Getty Images

I’ve stated many times how much awe and appreciation I have for essential oils. They are amazing and powerful natural elements! We may know that they come directly from the plant’s “essence” – but how do they get extracted from the leaves, flowers, stems, roots or other parts of the plants? Here’s more information about water and steam distillation of essential oils.

“When we peel an orange, walk through a rose garden, or rub a sprig of lavender between our fingers…what exactly is it that we can smell? Generally speaking, it is essential oils that give spices and herbs their specific scent and flavour, flowers and fruit their perfume.” – Julia Lawless inThe Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils

Where Do Essential Oils Come From? originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 at 23:21:07.

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Beekeeping, Goat Milking and Soapmaking – A Modern Look at the Homestead Movement

Milk and Honey Soap
Monica Rodriguez / Getty Images

“I think we’re totally moving from this out-of-the-box culture to one where people want to dig their hands into the earth, they want to take responsibility for their own healing, and they want to tread a little more lightly on the earth recognizing there are some pretty big impacts to the way that we’re living now” That’s how Adrienne Percy,  co-founder of Manitoba’s first-ever DIY Homesteader Festival described people’s interest in such DIY crafts as beekeeping, goat milking and soap making. With those three – we could make some pretty good soap…with goat’s milk AND beeswax!

Read the article – “Beekeeping, goat milking and soap making are high-demand skills for modern homesteaders”

Beekeeping, Goat Milking and Soapmaking – A Modern Look at the Homestead Movement originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Friday, June 14th, 2013 at 21:54:29.

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Citronella Candle Torches for Outdoor Summer Parties

torchesCandles in your outdoor living spaces can bring drama and practicality. Candles make light and ambiance, and they can help repel mosquitoes. Bucket candles can be put onto tables, votives can be placed around the perimeter of your space, or these great dipped torches can be placed in a prominent location. Most all of the candles you make during the year can be adapted to an outdoor use.

Citronella Candle Torches for Outdoor Summer Parties originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Sunday, June 9th, 2013 at 17:53:44.

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Mixing it Up in Alabama

alabama logoI have the privilege of getting to speak at the 15th Annual Alabama Soap Meeting this weekend. One of the sessions I’m going to present is on scents and scent blending. The opening of the session will be a general overview on essential oils, the concept of top notes, middle notes, and base notes, and the concept of scent “families” – spicy, woody, herbaceous, citrus, floral and resinous.

Essential oils generally fit into one (or more) of these categories, and it’s a good place to start when trying to formulate a new essential oil blend. However…we’ll have a good bit of time to just play and experiment. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Bramble Berry, each table of participants will have a great, broad selection of essential oils to smell and a handful of scent blending strips to experiment with. We’re going to get to create some blends right there on the spot…and compare how different blends and combinations work. Here’s where I need your help. I want to give them a few good blends to start with – a few favorites from around the wold.

Here are the essential oils we will have in our sampler kits:

  • Cedarwood
  • Cinnamon
  • Clary Sage
  • Clove
  • Grapefruit, Pink
  • Lavender 40/42
  • Lavender, Hungarian
  • Lemongrass
  • Orange
  • Patchouli
  • Peppermint

Isn’t that an incredible selection of essential oils to play with? What are some blends that the participants should try? Put your suggestions in the comment section below, and I’ll compile your results and the results of the meeting into a great big blending notes article. Thanks in advance from a whole lot of soap makers in Alabama!

Mixing it Up in Alabama originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 at 19:50:57.

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Soap Recipe for Babies or Sensitive Skin

Mother and Baby in Tub
Lambert / Getty Images

Good soap recipes are generally balanced between cleansing, moisturizing and hardness. Each soap making oil contributes its own unique qualities based on its fatty acid makeup – resulting in the properties of your final bar of soap. If you (or your baby) have sensitive skin that is irritated by even normal homemade soap, you can further tailor your recipe to be even more mild. A pure castile soap can be made with 100% olive oil and is very mild, or you can make “bastille” soap, a recipe that has a preponderance of olive oil, but also includes other oils as well. This mild soap recipe uses mostly olive oil, but adds in a bit of coconut, shea butter and castor. It also adds sugar to help boost the lather that is lost by reducing the percentage of coconut oil in the recipe.

Baby Soap Recipe – for Mild or Sensitive Skin

Soap Recipe for Babies or Sensitive Skin originally appeared on About.com Candle & Soap Making on Thursday, May 30th, 2013 at 20:34:59.

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