Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Spring Production

A little picture heavy blog post just because.

So from the top down:

Lemonade Lounger.  A slightly new design where I used some yellow mica instead of yellow oxide. I love how fresh it came out and that the contrast is popping. However much I like it, I will most probably change it back when I next make it. It still has vanilla seeds and Dead Sea mud inside it but to be honest I much prefer it when it looks more rustic and thrown together. 

Elijah's Comfort soap with a new textured top. As some of you may be aware my partner, Matt is a potter.
This particular soap is named after his Great Great Grandfather, Elijah Comfort (great name) who was also a potter in the 30's. I wanted to incorporate a meander across the top, similar to what you may see on old slipware pots, and also all over my house wherever a surface has some condensation! Matt likes to do meanders on everything. He was pretty impressed with this soap top.

 Elijah in the mould along with Gossamer Ghost and Ethereal Seas, which are two of the soaps coming out in our spring release at the end of March. Gossamer Ghost is a blend of citrus mixed with Neroli accord and Coriander oil, and Ethereal Seas is one of my personal faves with EO's of Basil, Lime, Bergamot and Geranium. 

A close up of Elijah after the cut.

Ethereal Seas close up. On the top is black salt.

Now for something a little different. I made a pact with myself at the start of the year to start making some fun soaps, which would allow me to enjoy the process of running a soap business a little more. As time has flown by, and things have moved on, and the business has grown, I have found that parts of my job have become more 'Have To' rather than 'Want To', which sucks. So, I decided that in order to save me from myself I would start to use some different ingredients and some different fragrances in order to satisfy my creative needs. This soap is one of my play time results.  It's a blend of 3 different coconut FO's with lashings of coconut cream, shredded coconut and in the base, some ground coffee. Turns out it's been a very good seller so it may be that I make it again. The beauty part is that I don't have to if I don't want to!

And Lagoon...! Oh my! It was requested on numerous occasions that I bring it back and so without further delay I made it. Lagoon was my all time favourite soap and scent so I was over the moon to make this one again. It was knocked out of the General Catalogue line up due to being taken over by the countless array of other scents I have made, and which have become part of the GC. It's an easy one to soap. It only contains Lavender, Geranium and Patchouli EO's along with some oxides for colour. Just look at the peaks. Love.
I've snagged myself a couple of bars to stash.

Another EO soap for spring. This one is The Ancients - a blend of Mandarin, Patchouli and Ylang Ylang. It smells incredible and looks beautiful. Look out for this one with the spring release.

A customer favourite made into soap. This is Sylph. A blend of Lavender essential oil and a Marshmallow accord. It smells absolutely incredible. I had to do a quick in the pot swirl to get this on in the mould as the fragrance part likes to move fast in soap. It came out perfect. This is it just after pouring and going, immediately into the gel phase.

This one has me stumped. The scent is fresh, clean, sea-like, but herbal and soft all at the same time.  I'm trying to find a name, which is proving difficult but it will come....
This is actually one of my favourites from the spring release. I'm a sucker for fresh clean scents and this one to me smells just like a holiday home....but I'm damned if I'm calling it that!

A close up of Gossamer Ghost. Pretty.

Here's a recent batch of Rook & Raven, which incidentally is for somebody else...the whole batch. I have a few bars left, which will go on sale shortly. I love the black on the top of this. I added a little too much but the results were pretty nice.

 A worktop full of freshly stamped soap. At the front is The Ancients, next in line is Sylph and towards the back, the one with no name.

Random but a beautiful sunset I captured on my Samsung A3 phone a couple of weeks ago. It was 5pm, silent and beautiful. You can just see my new dog, Bridie on the left of the pic.

And again. I love how just from looking at the pic you can tell it's still winter. Still cold but with a hint of spring coming through. This is our favourite field to walk across. It's like a big gymnasium floor for Bridie dog

If you click on this one you can make out that the moon is hovering just over the tree line.

And here she is again. Dog tired.

That about sums up the start of my year. I'll be back with more stuff to show as it happens.
Hope you're all keeping well. 
Tiggy x

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Valentines Collection and how I feel about soap

Aphrodisia Soap
A creamy, sweet, floral blend of almost edible aromas. Juicy notes of Raspberry and Melon entwine with Mango, Honeysuckle & Jasmine with a base note of Indian Oudh.

Entice Soap
Vermilion red Strawberries in a thick coating of the finest milk chocolate alongside a tall glass of bubbly Champagne.

Jilted & Crushed soap
A keepsake box of loves lost. Chunks of Copal resin, Indian Attar's filled with Oudh, Flakes of Amber resin, Black Tonka Beans and offerings of Dragronsblood, finished with a lick of Vetiver.

La Vie en Rose soap (life in pink)
Soft powdery Violet, Indian Mahogany Rose, a vintage jar of Parma Violets and a hint of dark, sticky Labdanum oil.

I've been meaning to update this blog for a year! Yep, caught beneath the grind stone again.
I thought I'd just drop by and put up a few pics from our new Valentines collection and have a little talk about bar soap and whipped soap. I have a few things to get off my chest.

Deep breath, here goes.
As the business grows I find that more and more of my customers want whipped soap in a jar more so than bar soap.  This saddens me greatly.
Whilst the soap in a jar is a great product (it took three years of trial and error to get it just right - no pre-made base from Stephenson's here!) it isn't as amazing as a bar soap on the skin.
Sure, I love opening a new tub and digging my fingers into the mousse like product but I'm not overly mad about it. I make it because my hair loves it and because it is in, really in demand.

I make the whipped soap with various surfactants, the primary one being Sodium coco sulphate.  It makes a massive difference in the feel of the product on the skin and hair because it is way more gentle than it's cousin SLS or it's aunty, SLES, but it's still not what I prefer to use on my own skin on a daily basis. I tell a lie...I do use it on my particulars (!) as it's gentle and won't strip the skin down there. Ahem, moving on.
I use it on my hair every single day. It has made my hair shine like never before, and along with our hair conditioner, my hair is left tangle free and ultra shiny. So, you see I'm not dissing this bitch, why would I? I made it and I made it to the best of my ability, I'm just frustrated to a point. 

So, let's get back to bar soap.
Bar soap is the bomb. Bar soap is where it's at. Bar soap is what brought me here. Bar soap to me is my passion, my baby, my everything.
From the oils and butters, to the essential oils and fragrance blends, the colours, the clays, the flowers, the infusions, the yoghurts, the milks, the creams...every part of the soap making process is what fires me up.
I love the rustic side of soaping (you may be aware of that if you've seen my slap dash video's), the throw it into the mold and see what we get approach.
I love making it, cutting it, stamping it, trimming it, then looking at it, looking at it some more, sitting on the floor of the workshop by the curing rack and sniffing it, and of course I LOVE using it. Opening up a fresh bar from the packet is like a gift every single time. I love the initial drag from a brand new bar of soap, I love how when it hits the water it softens and as it hits the skin it lathers and turns to thick cream and I like how it rinses away, leaving behind clean, soft skin which smells divine.
I love the whole process of dreaming up a new bar, a new scent, a new design.
I don't get to do that with any of my other products. The rest of the products, whilst great, are not that pleasurable to make. Yanno, I can't just throw in some Vanilla pods or some dead sea mud, some salt or Rhassoul into those like I can with real handmade soap.
The act of pouring the gloop into a wooden mold and then swirling in another colour, and then peaking the tops and sprinkling the whole deal with some kind of botanical gives me more pleasure than any other part of my job. Ask any soap maker, they'll tell you the same thing. Even after soaping for 10-20+ years, they will still tell you the same thing. Soaping is the passion behind any soap, bath and body co. On mornings when you wake knowing you have several batches to cut up, it's like Christmas or your birthday. It's exciting.
Cutting into a batch and seeing the design inside makes me smile. It makes me smile wide...unless it's a total fail, then it makes me frown. I should mention that I do have a love/hate relationship with the art of soap making, but that's a story for another time.

What I'm saying here is, well....handmade bar soap vs. whipped soap for washing the whole body wins hands down in my book. Every. Single. Time.
Use the whipped soap on your hair, to shave, to use on your particulars (whoop there it is again), but on your body....SOAP. USE SOAP! (you can of course do as you please but please don't).
Mwah, til next time x