Monday, 28 June 2010


A brand new soap.

A heady waft of incense.
Smokey sweet Nag Champa blended with a spattering of Indonesian Patchouli.

Swirls of deep green, mahogany & gold on a base of dead sea mud.
Buttered up with a hefty dose of un-refined organic shea butter.

Inspired by the road to Glastonbury Festival, the Summer Solstice, Stonehenge & the magikal mood of England in summertime.

Colours inspired by Barrel Top gypsy caravans.

Monday, 21 June 2010 disaster too many

I've had the most disastrous month of soapmaking. Serious.
Overall, I've lost 5 batches due to seizing, oils sitting on the top of batches, crazy chemical reactions and scent loss (F.O's).
Not good.
First up, I was to make a coconut scented soap with mini coconut balls inside it. I wanted a really nice infusion for this so I used real Mysore Sandalwood, Galangal, Patchouli leaf & Oak Bark. I placed these ingredients into my lye and left them to infuse before straining through muslin. The smell was really good too...even in lye.
I made my soap base, cooled both mixtures to my usual temp. Soaped. Added my fragrance oil (coconut) with some patchouli oil & orange oil and BAM. NO GOOD. The mixture curdled, seized, riced. All of it in one hit. Into the black bin liner it went.
Second up was another attempt with a coconut fragrance from another supply. Same infusion again. This time, soaped beautifully. Even the woody scent from my infusion was in the background...but no scent of coconut whatsoever. Fail. Into the black bin liner.
Now I could've re-batched and Sharon from Morgan Street DM'd me on Twitter with instructions. It would've been a simple task, but you know when you're so mad at yourself and at the damn supplier of the seizing/non smelling oils that you just can't even look at the sorry mess you made....well, that was me.
Next up was a mango soap, which I wanted for a quick summer line. Again, no scent, seizing and another load of £££'s down the drain.
3rd batch fail.
Next failures were this weekend.
I have made 'Sandal Scandal' soap just once before and I brought it to the line as a summer soap treat for your feet. The first time I made it, it came out perfect. No issues at all.
No fragrance oils, just Tea Tree, Lemon & Clary Sage oils with a pumice/oatmeal base and an organic shea topping.
This time, it just went plain wrong. I really don't know what to blame here. It was certainly one of the oils. The 1st batch I made this weekend contained essential oils from a different supplier. When I added the lemon oil to the blend, the mixture went cloudy. The oils smelled like my usual essential oils...some differences but nothing too noticeable.
Well....this seized like you've never seen before! In the pot. Like a rigid soldier.
Bin liner!
I attempted the mixture again (Matt said 'bit risky isn't it?...but I ignored him!).
Again, seize! But I did manage to get it into the mold. Then yesterday when I unmolded it, ouch ouch ouch. Caustic nightmare. I only touched it with my hand when unmolding and my hands were stinging! WTF?
So...that went into yet another bin liner.
The 1st one I salvaged and made into balls for other soaps so all was not lost.

ONE LAST TRY was a batch of the newly named Geranium & Patchouli (the white one with the line).
This went absolutely perfectly. Beautiful flowing soap.
Its new name is 'White Witch'.

After all that, I could use a good witch to come to my house and wave a magic wand.

Monday, 14 June 2010

no olive oil - but a bodygoodies haul & biscuits

the bodygoodies haul.

lemon creams....mmmm

curing rack....needs filling up!

sample packs ready for sending to the first 500 lucky girls to register at website goes live soon, so be sure to sign up to be in with a chance of receiving one of these lovlies.

i hate running out of stuff. i ran out of olive oil last week and have to wait til tomorrow before I can go buy some more from my supplier (sounds like drug dealing). i work in cheltenham on a tuesday, wednesday and thursday so i have to wait to get hold of it.
so.....i made lemon creams instead! don't they look cute? well they did look cute...but we kinda ate em all.

onto more goodies..... bodygoodies in fact. me ol mucker Heidi Goldberg sent me a haul. my oh my oh my. what a haul it is. yanno when you make soap, you kinda think yours is great but you always admire the soaping skills of others ( i know you all do )? well, these are some serious skills.... skincare skills at that.
each of the soaps i received are packed full of amazingly good organic ingredients; are scented with pure essential oils & contain proper doses of the good stuff (butters, muds, salts etc).
i started out with Fij, which contains moor mud & green clay, with essential oils of spearmint & patchouli. a really good blend too. just an hour ago matt and I were walking by the river when i copped a whaft of patchouli. i asked what he'd been using...turns out he'd shaved his face with Heidi's Fij soap. i could smell it! crazy!
i have 4 more soaps to use yet. i have stashed them so i keep forgetting but i keep catching a glimpse of the box they came in...and i smile lightly to myself.
i have had countless items through the post lately, so there will be more posts just like this one as i get through the amount of stuff i have to use. i've had beautiful items from SV Soaps, Soaphoara, Jo @ The Soap Bar, SV Soaps, Haus of Gloi.... crikey the list is endless! i started making soap to satisfy my product cravings....but now they've somehow worsened!
anyhoo...hope you like the pics.
as you can see, i've been busy wrapping up my large soap order....!
hope you are all well x

Thursday, 3 June 2010

no internet = production

New look 'The orangery'. Now with balls...and lots of 'em.

Full Frontal.

Cyclone. A lightning flash of a scent. Love this.

Allium 'Globemaster'

Clematis....can't remember which....anyone?

Podophyllum 'Spotty Dotty'
Aquilegia vulgaris 'Double Pale Blue'
Matteucia struthiopteris (the shuttlecock fern)
Arum 'Miss Janay Hall'
so...a few days offline reduced me to working hard and allowed me to notice the changes in my garden.
I've been busy soaping...and plant sales are going nuts this year so packing orders has taken up a hell of a lot of time, which is fabulous.
The pics of the stuff going on this week I hope say it all...because I'm knackered to be quite honest!
I'd not blogged for a while, and thought I'd best give you something to look at before you forget me.
So...herewith the new look 'The Orangery'. One of my very favourite soaps. It's a beautiful blend of Sweet Orange, Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang & Cardamom. It has unrefined shea butter in it, along with soap balls in orange and green and drizzles of green soap, which I then swirled between the balls on the top. It's then sprinkled with orange peel & cardamom seeds, which I depod myself...a painstaking task!
The results I'm happy with. The lattice I used to do on this soap was nice, but not interesting enough. I hope people like its new look. I think it looks ace.
That's about it for tonight. 10.45pm and me eyes is closin'.