Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wow, a year later with the Spud Soaps

I went back in the archives of my blog and found that I had posted concerning the problem we were having with our new molds. It was 13 months ago. Hard to believe that the time has gone by so quickly and that I have really procrastinated posting what has been the trick to getting the spud soaps, particularly the Huckleberry scented spuds, to come out just right. Here is the link to the post and pictures of what the soaps looked like out of the mold.

Original Post

Thanks to Anne-Marie at Brambleberry for her suggestions. We started insulating the molds better and we started mixing all the oils and lye water at 140 degrees. The temps were necessary for the cellini blue to properly morph to a great purple color as well as to make sure the soap gelled from one side to the other, top to bottom.

Here is a picture of the soaps in the silicon molds. If you look at the older post, you'll see where the soap looks split right from the beginning. Notice that the soap seen in the pour spout of the mold is not split:


One of the big problems with the soaps a year ago was that when being unmolded, they were difficult to remove because they would stick at various parts of the mold, and leave chunks of soaps. Now the soaps are very uniform in color and there is hardly any sticking at all. Out of about 50 molds, only one had a slight problem with sticking. Just a little quick trim on each spud to remove that top portion created by the mold's spout and the soaps are set on the drying tables for a few weeks before final cleaning and polish.


The color as seen through the camera lens is really not quite as good as seeing it in real life. The spuds are uniform in color and quality and when these are finished drying, will meet our standards for a nice quality spud shaped soap.


There was also a fellow soaper, from Australia if I remember correctly, who emailed and gave us some suggestions that fell in line with what Anne-Marie suggested. I'm terribly sorry but I had deleted your email and information. But we so appreciated the time and effort you and Anne-Marie took to help us figure out what to do to make our trademark soaps. Now that we've gotten that problem solved, Nancy is able to take time out for her favorite past time - see photo. Isn't she a TOTAL BABE! And if she sees I posted this pic, I am TOTALLY DEAD, lol.


Owen had a 70th Birthday

October 14, 1938 was an auspicious date for Martha and Gordon Bennett (Nancy's paternal grandparents). Their first child, Owen, was born. He recently celebrated his 70th birthday with family. All of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were able to attend with the exception of one grandson and his family. Owen's Mother, Martha, was also in attendance.

Here is the birthday boy:


Grandmother Martha will be celebrating her 97th birthday April 4, 2009. Our granddaughter Ashlynn will celebrate her 6th on April 3, 2009. She lives with Owen and Owen's son Steve. At one point there was 5 generations of Bennetts living together but since Micah and his family bought a home there is now just the three generations sharing the large home. Martha is legally blind but she is just as independent as she ever was. Here is the great Matriarch of the family.


Here is Owen with his four kids (left to right):youngest brother Steve, Nancy, oldest brother Don, dad Owen and Tim who was born between Don and Nancy.


Here is Owen with all the grandkids (left to right): Amber, Payson, Bodie, Joshua (front), Johnnica, Erika, Owen, Jamie, Jeremiah, (not pictured: Micah).


And Owen one more time, with the great grandchildren (left to right): Ashlynn, Nicki, Owen with Braxton on his lap, Chandler, Brinlee (front), Taylor, Elizabeth, Kayla, Jewelia, Jaedan, (not pictured: Zoe, Hadassah).


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Vanilla Spuds and the Coloration

As we mostly know, vanilla or any fragrance with a vanilla component, will discolor soaps from a light tan to a dark fudgy brown. Friend and fellow Soapnuts member, Sue K. of Oldtimer & Lily, made the comment on Soapnuts recently that she thought that temps were also a factor in how the vanilla reacts and colorizes in soap.

I found that very interesting since we had just made a batch of our spud shaped soaps, scented only with Vanilla Select from Brambleberry. You can find Anne-Marie's listing and scent description here. It states that this fragrance discolors to a creamy dark tan. Vanilla Select, by the way, is an excellent fragrance on its own or as a blender. It is wonderful blended with Brambleberry's Sensuous Sandalwood. We also use it in a raspberry vanilla and a cherry vanilla blend for soaps.

We pour the soap at right around 140 degrees. The batch has been thoroughly stirred, including the fragrance, to a medium trace prior to pouring. Yet imagine our surprise when we unmolded the soaps and found that the at least half the spuds were two toned in color. You would think that since the ingredients had been thoroughly mixed, that the soaps would be a uniform color. Yet how do you explain the lack of brown in the bottom halves of some of the soap, other then the factor of temps?


Soaping is always such an adventure!

Happy Thanksgiving

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween photos

These are some pics of part of the family at the Penny Fair at our church.

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