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Testing Call, Round 3 - Holiday Edition!

Before I get overwhelmed with Yule perfumery, I figured I'd better put these up! XD

As always, just tick the boxes for what you'd like to try :) I'm particularly interested in scent feedback for the new ones in this round, but thoughts on the texture, usefulness, longevity, and whatever else are always welcome!

Reviews, comments, and so on can be posted here or on this post. :)

Poll #1801139 Testing Round 3

What would you like to test?

Citrus & Basil
Egg Nog

soap recap!Collapse )

Hopefully after the holiday madness, I'll be back on track to try some new stuff... like more chocolate! :d

Test Batches #15-16: Holiday Scents

So, things have been a little mad lately, mostly due to work, BPAL, family obligations, and other things that fill up the last quarter of the year. I finally got to finish up a project I started on before the madness fully descended, however:

I made myself a pair of soap molds from scratch :) This probably isn't incredibly exciting news, but I'm not a handyperson so I was inordinately proud of myself. ;) The upside is that using both will let me make 20 bars at a time -- if I feel the need to make that much.

As for actual soap, yes, there's a bit of that, too!

holidaze soapCollapse )

Test Batch #14: Citrus & Basil

Been pretty busy with BPALery this past week, but I made some time for a batch of soap last weekend, no rest for the... uh... ones who like smelling good? XD Since I was still waiting for ingredients of some of my (theoretically) holiday soaps, I made up a batch of citrus basil :3

All of the citrus oils are considered uplifting in some degree, and basil is too -- it’s said by some to help the memory and stimulate the brain. Maybe a good wake-up sort of scent blend, taken all together? XD; The basil is quite strong, not overpowering I think, but it’s definitely making itself known and identifiable!

So how does it look?Collapse )

Test batch #13: Orange/Ginger (Zing) #2

Another weekend, another loaf of soap. ;) This week I revisited the orange-ginger blend, now (tentatively?) named Zing. That’s sort of a two-fer: "zing" for the energizing properties of the essential oils involved, and... the genus name of ginger is Zingiber. ;D /dork

Yet another attempt at artsy soap this time around, which was kinda defeated by the fact that the soap batter was starting to solidify too quickly. ^^; Hopefully the effect would be improved with more fluid batter. ;D

pictures!Collapse )

Making soap look nice is hard. ;(

Test batch #12: LLC 2

Hooray, soap! :p Not entirely exciting, although I did get to play with a new natural colorant this weekend. That was a little *too* exciting (woo, indelible stains! 8D)...

Name-wise, I'm still muddling around for the lemon-lavender-chamomile blend here. The scent blend is supposed to be primarily soothing, with an element of mood-brightening from the lemon. I'm pondering something like "reprieve", "respite"... I kinda like "alleviate" but I think that's too long ;) And "allay" seems like it needs a noun after it. "Balm" gives the right intent, I think, but calling a soap "Balm" just seems like a bad idea. XD "Heart's Ease" has a nice ring to it, but that's an actual plant, the wild pansy. Although the colors are ideal... But anyway, if you have any thoughts on names, I'm happy to hear them. ;D

(I'll say it now: This is going to be a long entry. XD; This is one of those times where I'm documenting for my own purposes as much as anything else, but if you enjoy hearing about the process, here you go. ;D or you can just skip to the pictures XD)

So, two (or three...) different experiments going on in this batch. I'm using a new mold, a sturdy silicone mold which should, in theory, give nice uniform bars and is sturdier than my homemade craft-foam-and-duct-tape molds. The homemade ones are fine for testers, but sometimes when the soap overheats, the sides of the soap get funny-looking... XD; Silicone will hopefully prevent that, though at the moment, overheating is the least of my problems... more on that later. Back to the mold, one of the cooler things about the ones I've got is that they're translucent, almost transparent, so I can actually see any designs I'm trying to make inside the bar... to some degree. Unfortunately, seeing them won't help me fix them if I screw up... XD The mold did nicely in terms of delivering a smooth, straight log o' soap; I had a lot of trouble unmolding it, but I think some of that was to do with the soap being a bit too soft still (I'm so impatient...). There's also an element of vacuum; I loosened the sides of the mold from the log, but the bottom stayed stuck for quite a good while as I wiggled the mold around. Again, I wonder if that would be less of a problem if the soap were harder... I suppose I'll find out eventually. ;D

I also got to play with a new colorant, as mentioned above, and an attempt at a slightly different design technique. So -- time for pictures! ;D

not good, sorta bad, and quite uglyCollapse )

And if you made it through all that, congratulations and thank you. ;D
For everyone who’s signed up so far in the latest testing round -- I just shipped stuff out today, so hopefully it’ll be to you before the end of the week :D

Finally gotten over my cold, mostly, so I made a batch of soap this week -- nothing amazing, it’s a batch of Vala without milk in it. I’m trying to get it to look right and I’m not having much luck -- there’s always one thing or another affecting the color. I added silk this time, because that would also be fitting with the character/theme, but I think that darkened the soap somewhat. The soap has a more yellowish cast than I would have liked. No pictures of it at the moment -- I’m curious to see if the color will change as the cut bars dry. It does look pretty awful in terms of aesthetics, though. XD On the plus side, I do think I’ve succeeded in properly balancing the peppermint in the scent! (No downside, even if this batch does look stupid -- it smells awesome ;D)

This coming weekend I’ll probably have a go at the Lemon/Lavender/Chamomile, since the EOs have been chillin’ for a couple of weeks. I also have a batch of Orange/Ginger brewing, but I ran out of orange oil, and the mix is 2 grams (!!!!!) short, el oh el. I ordered some more, so I’ll dribble in the extra 2g when it gets here. ~_~

On the topic of essential oils, I’ve been fiddling with some new blends, and now that they’ve had a few weeks to sit and marinate, I gave them all a sniff this weekend and I’ve got a few maybe-candidates for soap. So!

Poll #1781851 New Blends #1

Do any of these sound interesting?

Citrus & Basil -- by citrus I mean it! (Grapefruit, Orange & Lime)
Slight twist on Citrus/Basil - Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Basil, Lavender
Anise & Clove (ya rly)
"Orangewood" -- a blend of Bergamot, Guaiacwood and Cedar

I need to do another mix of the first Citrus&Basil, to test it with Litsea oil (which helps the citrus scents stick around in the soap), but again, I ran out of orange so I couldn't. ;P The second one, with lavender, I found a bit herby, but it's not bad. The Anise and Clove is... strong. XD But it's an interesting scent.

The "orangewood" is some random thing I put together and found intriguing. If you're not familiar with the bergamot, it's a little pear-shaped citrus fruit, and it's part of what gives Earl Grey tea its distinctive flavor. :3 The oil is used in many, many perfumes and colognes; it smells kinda orangey, but not as sweet, to my nose. Sort of a greener, more bitter cousin. Guaiacwood oil has a sort of ... incense-wood smell to it, to me, somewhere between rosewood and sandalwood, both of which are pricey and in limited supply. ;D The addition of cedar just makes it more incense-y to me, so the final impression is bittery orange and expensive aromatic woods. ;D It's unusual, at least!

On the topic of new scents to try, I also brilliantly realized that if I want any Christmas/holiday type soap, I’d damn well better get ready to make it ASAP. XD Things that come to mind are peppermint (candy cane stripes?!), something piney (though the pine and fir oils I’ve got right now don’t smell right to me..), and/or... egg nog. XD (Sue me, I love the smell of egg nog...) If I want to do candy canes, though, I’d better get something to make srs red color...

/blather :D


Testing Call, Round 2

Another long break, though this one had to do with being sick as much as anything else; I’m not too keen on trying to scent soap, and deal with lye fumes, when I can hardly breathe to begin with. XD; But while I’m not soaping, the soap’s still moving on without me! Time for another round of testing :) (And if you missed out on the first round, I’ve still got a little of those left too ;D)

Like last time, if you’re interested in testing any of these, just check the boxes and vote! I’ll get some samples out to ya. :) My want-to-knows are pretty simple: Does it feel good? Does it smell good? Do you enjoy it? XD Or in the case of the coffee-deodorizer, is it useful?

Reviews and comments can be posted here or over on this post :)

Poll #1780062 Testing round 2

What would you like to test?

Oatmeal, Milk & Honey #1 (coarse)
Oatmeal, Milk & Honey #2 (fine)
Chai Spice

Recap of the soapsCollapse )
(I need a faceplant icon! That's how I'm feeling about now... ~_~)

So I didn't get quite as much done this past long weekend as I wanted, due to having to commit a lot of time and energy to tree removal (thanks, Irene! :P), but I did get a couple of "easy" batches done. Since those are kinda-sorta repeats, though, I'll get into testing first! ;D

Chocolate: This lathers wonderfully, and my attempt to make a harder, longer-lasting bar seems to have worked. (Cocoa butter is helpful in that regard, too... XD) The chocolate smell is definitely still *there*, but it's not as strong as I was hoping, and it has very little throw when it's wet or dry. I think next time I'll nix the coffee, go straight cocoa absolute and see how that goes :)

Chai spice: Nice lather, decent scent throw -- although the scent balance is heavily cardamom and not precisely what I wanted. The EO blend left in the bottle, though, smells considerably different than when I made this batch of soap (oh, aging!), so I'll be curious to see if it soaps any differently, or if it's the soaping process itself that's manipulating the balance of scents. Also, the silk powder I added doesn't seem to make an appreciable difference... I suppose to really test that, I need to make two identical batches or split a batch and do half-and-half with silk and no silk. As it is, though, I don't think I'd know the silk was there without being told. :p

I'll have sign-ups for these soon, but I'm still waiting for a few more results back from my dear testers. XD I'm particularly interested in hearing about the Lemon/Lavender/Chamomile -- it's the one that hardly anyone's commented on yet, lol. It's also the easiest for me to redo right this moment, but I'm hesitant to make more without hearing commentary (even if it's just that it's terrible XD). I need to blend up a new batch of EOs for the Orange/Ginger, and for Vala, too, but I'm waiting for some stuff that's scheduled to arrive tomorrow for Vala. Considering that this is a short weekend coming up though (short for me -- 2 days instead of 3), I may not have time to soap anyway :B

As for (not quite) new stuff...!

second verse, same as the firstCollapse )

Aside from the re-do's (which I'm trying to stick to, so that I can get some final recipes solidified!), I'm still evaluating some new scent combos, including some woodsier things. :3 I'm hoping to do a mini-batch set of tests -- making individual bars with different scents to test -- soon, but that will take a lot of time just to get physically set up before I make the damn soap. XD;; It'll let me test out some new combos, though, without wasting a lot of oils :)
Ah, I've been away from the soap for a while! Sometimes other stuff just gets in the way. ;P But now I'm back, so buckle in, this is a long one. ;D

First things first, testing! I hope everyone who's gotten soap so far is having fun with at least some of it. XD Thanks to those who have provided comments and reviews! I've revised my basic soap recipe a bit as of this weekend to try to make a firmer, longer-lasting, well-lathering soap, but I'm holding off a little on doing remakes of the soaps I've done so far until I hear more from you guys. ;)

If you want to test and haven't "signed up", so to speak, there's a poll over here where you can pick which soaps you'd like to test :) And if you're looking for somewhere to post your results, there's a post for that, too. :3 (Or, of course, private comments and email are always welcome. XD; )

As for my own testing, OMH!Collapse )

The new stuff!Collapse )

And I think (finally! inorite?) that's it for this week. ;D

Test Results, Reviews and Discussion!

This post will serve as a place for testers to discuss soap samples, offer reviews, ask questions, or so forth :D Or if you'd rather keep your remarks private, you can always PM me via LiveJournal or email me at mistress [at] mistrust [dot] com :)
No new soap last week, sadly, too many errands to run, and family obligations probably mean the same thing for this coming weekend, but I did get to make something this Saturday past! XD

Apparently, oatmeal, milk and honey is a staple in the homemade soap world -- enough so that its abbreviation (OMH) is fairly well known to many soapers. I wasn't aware of this until I started soaping, myself, but it makes sense, since all three ingredients are sort of pampering, and might all actually be eaten together. XD

OMG, OMH!Collapse )

and other soapsCollapse )

Testing Call, Round 1

Okay guys! I figure this might be the easiest way for me to figure out who wants to test what :) If you're interested in testing any of these 4 soaps, hit ye old checkbox and vote! If I don't have an address for you already I'll bug you for one. XD

Poll #1764687 Testing round 1

Which soaps would you like to test this time around?

Vala's soap

To briefly recap each soap:

Recap!Collapse )

For all of these, I'd be most interested to hear impressions of the scents. I'd also love to hear thoughts on the texture, particularly for the non-scrubby soaps, and lather.

Note that the longer these sit around (in open air), the drier and firmer they'll get, so if you don't get to them right away, that's cool too. ;)

Test Batch #4: HP1

Alongside the natural soaps I've been working on, I want to create a series of soaps based on original fantasy characters of mine. XD; This would hopefully give me a chance to play with some more unusual scent combinations and effects like shimmering micas and oxides for color. I'm still fiddling with the core concepts for most of them, let alone actual scent recipes, but I started off with one that I had a decent idea for from the get-go.

Vala seemed a natural for "translation" into a fragrance and soap. (You can see what she looks like here and here -- you might not want to click if semi-realistic dolls give you the heebie-jeebies.) While the setting she resides in might call for something more along the lines of sweet incense, this blend is meant more as a reflection of her personality. XD

A peculiar juxtaposition of stern austerity and decadent pleasure: crisp white tea, cool peppermint, spicy ginger, and precious saffron, blended with golden honey and creamy goat's milk.

As far as how the actual testing went... XD

Read more...Collapse )

In other news, I'm giving the Lavender-Lemon-Chamomile a test drive (it's 2 weeks old now). The Chamomile bits are indeed scrubby, which is generally okay, but the occasional big pieces (I think they might be the seed pods or something) are REALLY scratchy, and would need to be sifted out. ^_^; I think, though, I will just leave the bits out of this bar -- chamomile is supposed to be soothing on the skin, and combining that with scrubby action just seems silly. ;D I may settle for putting some whole flowers on the tops of the bars :3

I'll start rounding up stuff for test after this weekend -- the orange and coffee will be at their 2-week mark and I'll decide if they're ready to go out. The orange-ginger seems like it should be okay, but the coffee is smelling slightly weird, still... ^_^;
Again, sort of waiting to give things proper names, because I'd be sadface if I wasted time thinking up an awesome name for something no one would want. XD

Orange GingerCollapse )

Coffeeeeee!Collapse )

These are both put up to cure for a few weeks, but if you're interested in testing either or both of them, let me know!

Test Batch #1: LLC

"LLC" stands for Lavender/Lemon/Chamomile, one of my favorite essential oil blends :) I need a catchier name for the thing, but naming things takes thought... Perhaps as I get other scents settled, a sort of pattern for naming will emerge. XD;

pictures and detailsCollapse )

These need to cure for about three weeks; if anyone is interested in testing it out, let me know and I can send you a half-bar -- it'd be a good-sized chunk, I think, 1.75"x2.75"x1". Ish. XD