Name That Soap!

We all know about how “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” right?  Well, here’s one of my plans that went a little off course.

Full Moon

This soap, which features hombre layers, silver mica lines and a full moon embed, was intended to be available shortly before Halloween.  But due to unforeseen circumstances, it wasn’t made until the first week of October, meaning it won’t be fully cured until after the first week in November.  So all the spooky names I was considering will no longer work.  And I have no idea what to name it…which is where you come in!

From now through Sunday night, please submit your name suggestions on Blossom & Twig’s Facebook page.  Keep it clean, folks!  On Monday I’ll post a poll with the suggestions so our fans can vote for their favorite.  The name with the most votes will become the name of the soap, and the lucky person who suggested the name will win a free bar!  In case of a tie, there will be a vote-off.

Ready…set…GO!

Soap Challenge 2013 – Mica Swirl

The third project for the soap challenge is creating a soap topped with (hopefully) a lovely mica swirl.  I’ve messed around with mica swirls before and they turned out okay, but knowing the correct proportions of mica and oil sure makes a difference in the end result.  Gotta say these swirls please me a lot!

Shimmery gold mica swirl in the mold.

Shimmery gold mica swirl in the mold.

So here’s the scoop:

  • make your soap and pour it into the mold
  • measure 1 tablespoon of oil (I used olive oil) into a small container
  • add 1/2 teaspoon of shimmery mica to the oil and mix well (shimmery, sparkly micas work best)
  • drizzle the mixture over the top of the soap (you can pour long thin lines or a random pattern)
  • use a skewer or chopstick to create swirls throughout the mica; you may also use a spoon to add texture

The hardest part of this technique is resisting the urge to overwork the swirls!  Make a few swirls and stop to evaluate how it looks.  Needs more?  Add another swirl or two and evaluate again.  If you make too many swirls, they’ll all run together and give your beautiful soap top a muddy look.

A close-up of one of the prettier swirls.  See all the "mini patterns" each swirl creates?

A close-up of one of the prettier swirls. See all the “mini patterns” each swirl creates?

As the soap saponifies, it absorbs the excess oil, leaving behind the gorgeous sparkling mica pattern you created.

So are you wondering what’s below that swirly mica top?  Well, this is Morning Star, named after the planet Venus, which in turn was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty.  Said to be born from sea foam, Venus’ sacred colors include pink, red, violet, gold, silver, aqua, light green, and light blue.  Pearls, also born of the sea, are among her favorite gems, and she is very fond indeed of mint plants. So I designed Morning Star with sea colors and pink, of course, for love.  A smattering of sugar pearls accent the golden mica swirl, and it’s scented with a lovely blend of spearmint and peppermint, rounded out with a soft whiff of lavandin.

Here’s the reveal.  I love how all the colors, even the white, seem to flow and swirl like waves washing up gently on the shore.  My photo doesn’t do justice to the sparkle of the mica swirl, though (still learning how to photograph soap in natural light)!

Morning Star (Venus)

Morning Star is on the curing rack now and will be ready by mid-May in my Etsy shop.

I enjoyed this challenge, but unfortunately I missed the deadline for posting it with the other entries (my bad).  But you can still check out all the other lovely mica swirls over at Great Cakes Soapworks.  

The next challenge is Leopard Spots.  Fun! 

Soap Challenge 2013 – Elemental Swirl

My as-yet-unnamed elemental swirl soap.

My as-yet-unnamed elemental swirl soap.

If you’re just tuning in, I’m participating in a fun soap challenge hosted by Amy Warden at Great Cakes Soapworks.  Last week’s challenge, the Tiger Stripe, was lots of fun and many of you have sent some very nice compliments my way.  Thanks!

But if last week’s soap was challenging with three colors, this week’s technique, the Elemental Swirl, was over the top!  Working with eight — count ’em, eight — separate containers of color before everything set up meant working at breakneck speed and mentally rehearsing the steps before pouring the lye solution into the oils.  Once the lye and oils are mixed, there’s no turning back!

The Elemental Swirl is a type of in-the-pot swirl, affectionately called ITP by soapers. The simpler ITP swirls are created by separating out and coloring one or two portions of your soap batter, then pouring the colored portions back into the remaining batter and swirling a spatula through this mixture just once in a big circle.  If you keep stirring, you’ll end up with very muddy colors (a lesson I learned the hard way)!   Then it’s ready to pour into the mold.

So besides the number of colors used, how is the Elemental Swirl different from the basic ITP swirl, you might ask?  Well, it features a 4-color ITP swirl on the bottom of the soap, then a thinly sprinkled mica line, and then another 4-color ITP swirl on the top.  And each ITP swirl needs fairly similar color tones to convey a particular element (think air, fire, water, earth, or perhaps spirit).

I decided to create a soap featuring the colors of Tuscany – that sun-drenched region of Italy known for its wonderful wine, delicious cuisine, rolling hills, fine art, bustling cities, relaxing countryside, and Mediterranean seacoast.  For the bottom layer I chose brick red, dark green and muted gold to represent the elements of earth and fire.  For the top I chose medium blue, deep purple and aqua to represent the elements of air and water.  In both cases, the colors were added to uncolored, off-white soap batter.  And the mica line between the two halves is done in a vivid orange to make the halves really pop!

I must admit that the cut soap wasn’t at all how I envisioned it — but can I just say how much I love it?  In fact, I’m thrilled with it!  And the essential oil blend of rosemary, sweet basil, lavandin and a whiff of lime smells lovely and refreshing, just like a gentle breeze wafting in from the Mediterranean!

The only problem is that it doesn’t say “Tuscany” to me.  It’s deep and rather mysterious.  It’s dreamy and, I think, rather sensual.  And it needs a new name.  So far, suggestions include Flaming Sea, Quintessence, Fifth Element, Dusk and Dawn, Land Sea and Sky, Herbal Breeze, Earthen Sky, Hot Lava, Molten Medley, and Jewel of the Nile.  One of my Facebook fans, Patricia S., even compared it to a Van Gogh painting.  (Wow, thanks)!

So what do YOU think?  What should I name this soap?  Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.  Thanks!