Piped Soap Challenge Winners Announcement!

Did you know that any piping technique you’ve seen with buttercream can be created with cold process soap? Members of the Soap Challenge Club took on some pretty amazing projects this month as they piped their hearts out!! The challenge was divided between newbies and experienced soapmakers. Those with less than 2 years experience and/or fewer than 50 batches fit the newbie category, and everyone else competed in the experienced category. We are incredibly grateful to our sponsors, Bath Alchemy Lab and Nurture Soap for their generous prizes for this challenge!!

Let’s start with the winners for the experienced category. Congratulations goes to Yvonne Foust of The Snoblove Bar in Tennessee for her grand prize winning entry, Pink Cashmere Bar:

Pink Cashmere Bar by The Snoblove Bar

Pink Cashmere Bar by The Snoblove Bar

Everything about this soap says “decadent”!! Yvonne is definitely an up-and-coming soap artist you’ll want to follow. She has been participating in the Soap Challenge Club for a few years now, and her artistry continues to shine. This is her first time placing, let alone winning the grand prize, and I’m sure she would say it’s been well worth it! Yvonne has won 10 new fragrances PLUS the Royalty Soaps piping set from Nurture Soap!! Be sure to click on the photo to see Yvonne’s video of how she made this gorgeous creation.

Second place in the experienced category goes to Bann Matson of Homely Animal in Utah. She created this amazing Spring Bouquet of flowers:

Spring Bouquet by Homely Animal

Spring Bouquet by Homely Animal

The two-toned hydrangea really shines in this eclectic collection of beautiful flowers! This is Bann’s first time placing in the Challenge Club. She wins 6 new fragrances PLUS the Royalty Soaps piping set from Nurture Soap! Clicking on the photo will take you to Bann’s Instagram post about her soap.

Although competition in third place was rather tight, Carolyn Newton of Siennalily Soaps in Spain pulled it off! Carolyn created a gorgeous soap cake covered with white and turquoise roses:

Cascading Rose Cake by Siennalily Soaps

Cascading Rose Cake by Siennalily Soaps

All of the different flower and leaf shapes really show off Carolyn’s skills! She is no stranger to the Challenge Club, as this is the 4th time she has placed. Yet she has come a long way from her Sponsor’s Choice prize a year ago this month, and even graduated from a first place finish in the newbie category this past January to her third place finish among the experienced soapmakers. Carolyn wins a 4-lb slab mold, plus a $10 gift certificate from Nurture Soap! Click on the photo to read Carolyn’s blog post about how she created her soap cake.

The Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Stephanie Vanderwiele of Persephone Soaps in Florida for her Floral Bouquet soap cake slices! Carrie Thornsbury of Nurture Soap says, “I chose this because it had many details and different piping techniques that were really well executed. The piping is also smooth and well done. I made this choice after looking at the Facebook albums, blog posts etc. and looking at the details of each entry. I really like Floral Bouquet!”

Floral Bouquet soap by Persephone Soaps

Floral Bouquet soap by Persephone Soaps

Congratulations, Stephanie, on winning the new 25 cube soap mold from Nurture Soap! Be sure to click on the photo to see more great images of this soap in Stephanie’s Facebook album.

And now for the winners in the newbie category!! Erica Pence of Bath Alchemy Lab was our sponsor for the newbie category and after seeing the entries she said, “I must say, everyone did a magnificent job on the piping challenge. In fact, they would have given the experienced soapmakers a run for the money.” I completely agree!

Congratulations goes to Helene Glemet of ChezHelene in Quebec for her Grand Prize win in the newbie category!! Helene created a collection of Soapy Succulents that look incredibly real:

Soapy Succulents by ChezHelene

Soapy Succulents by ChezHelene

Helene is another up-and-coming soap artist who has placed in three of the last four challenges! Her artistry was first noticed in the Sculpted Layers challenge where her Howling Wolf soap took first place. She wins a $100 gift certificate from Bath Alchemy Lab! Click on the photo to see Helene’s Facebook post about her soap.

Placing second in the newbie category is Belinda Williams of Love Your Suds in British Columbia! (Way to go, Canadians!) Belinda’s soap is a lovely combination of succulents and roses:

Succulent Rose by Love Your Suds

Succulent Rose by Love Your Suds

You can see how seamlessly all of the different elements fit together in this fabulous slab of piped soap! Congrats, Belinda, on winning a $75 gift certificate from Bath Alchemy Lab! Be sure to click on the photo to read about how the soap was made on Belinda’s blog.

In third place in the newbie category is Jen Heriot of Penny and Olive in Wisconsin with this amazing Fall Florals and Foliage soap:

Fall Florals and Foliage soap by Penny and Olive

Fall Florals and Foliage soap by Penny and Olive

This was Jen’s first time entering a soap in the challenge, and I’m so glad she did! All of her piped elements look like she’s been doing this for years and years when in fact, she just learned to pipe soap for this challenge! Pretty incredible, right? Jen wins a $50 gift certificate from Bath Alchemy Lab! Clicking on the photo will take you to the Penny and Olive Facebook album with more photos of this amazing soap.

Erica Pence of Bath Alchemy Lab has chosen Carol Moyes of Milk & Silk in Scotland as the winner of her Sponsor’s Choice prize! Erica says,”It is with great difficulty that I am choosing Garden of Enchantment for the Sponsor’s Choice. While I struggled to choose, I decided on this soap because it featured a variety of flowers and leaves using different tips. I am aware of the challenges that one faces to juggle colors, tips, and time limits of soapmaking and felt that this soap displayed excellent skill.”

Garden of Enchantment soap by Milk & Silk

Garden of Enchantment soap by Milk & Silk

Carol has been a member of the Challenge Club for six months now, but has only felt her soap worthy of entry twice. She says she has found her soaping happy place with piping, and her soap is evidence of that! Congrats, Carol, on winning a $25 gift certificate from Bath Alchemy Lab!

In addition, after seeing all the lovely entries, Erica says, “Since everyone put in a lot of time, effort, and creativity, I have decided to give all newbie participants that did NOT win a prize a 10% off coupon code for any one class or item on our site. I rarely offer coupons, so this may be an offer that some want to jump on.” Which is why I always say – go ahead and enter even if you aren’t entirely confident in your work!!

If you are ready to see the rest of the entries in both the newbie and experienced categories, you can find them all HERE. So many fantastic soaps!!

The next three months of challenges are going to be great fun! Registration will open on Monday for one week, and you’ll be able to register for all three at a discount, or just October’s challenge only.

For October, we will be making wood grain soap! There will be several methods to choose from, but here is the soap I made for the video tutorial:

Wood grain soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Wood grain soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

The challenge will be divided between soaps made with all natural ingredients and those made with synthetic colors and/or fragrance. Modern Soapmaking is sponsoring the natural category, and Brambleberry is sponsoring the synthetic category with some awesome prizes!

In November, Tatsiana Serko will be our guest teacher once again as we learn the technique she calls “Cosmic Wave”.

Cosmic Wave soap by Tatsiana Serko

Cosmic Wave soap by Tatsiana Serko

This will be one big challenge, with Mad Oils as our sponsor!

December’s challenge is all about the tiger stripe. I will offer several different modification ideas, or you can go with the original method.

Tiger Stripe soap by Amy Warden from the Soap Challenge Club 2013

Tiger Stripe soap by Amy Warden from the Soap Challenge Club 2013

This challenge will be divided between newbie and experienced, with Custom Soap Stamps as our sponsor for the newbie category and Nature’s Garden sponsoring the experienced category.

If you’d like to receive a notification when registration opens, do that here:

notify-me

I look forward to seeing you inside the Club!

Dancing Funnel Challenge Winners!

For the August Challenge, I asked Tatsiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso to be our guest teacher again to show us how to make the Dancing Funnel technique. She and Jelena of SoapTechniques put together their version of a funnel pour that looks like drops of soaps with perfect little outlines. The outcome is just stunning! We also divided the challenge this month between the soaps that were made with all natural colors and scents and those made with synthetic ingredients. Majestic Moutain Sage is our sponsor for the all natural category and Rustic Escentuals is our sponsor for the synthetic category. Between the two categories, we had exactly 100 entries!

My deepest gratitude goes to Tatsiana, who not only taught the tutorial, but also made herself available to answer questions on our Discussion Board and one of our Virtual Meet & Greet sessions! Huge thanks also goes to our lovely sponsors who make the challenges incredibly rewarding!!

Let’s start with the winners in the all natural category. Grand prize goes to Holly Shelton of Kapia Mera Soap Co in Tennessee, for her outstanding Charcoal Mint soap:

Charcoal Mint Dancing Funnel soap by Kapia Mera Soap Co.

Charcoal Mint Dancing Funnel soap by Kapia Mera Soap Co.

Holly has always made outstanding soaps with all natural colors and scents, so it may not come as a surprise that she has come out on top with this challenge! She has won a $100 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage – congratulations!! Be sure to click on the photo to see Holly’s blog post on how she made her soap.

Second place in the all natural category goes to a brand-new member: Aruna of Suffuse Super-Natural Soaps in Bangalore, India! Aruna’s Dancing Nemo soap demonstrates how vibrant natural colorants truly can be:

Dancing Nemo by Aruna

Dancing Nemo by Aruna

Aruna wins a $75 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage! Congratulations!! Click on the photo of her soap to read more about how she made it, as well as two other soaps with the dancing funnel technique.

In third place, Helene Glemet of Chez Helene in Quebec, Canada created a lovely Bubbly Blues soap, colored with indigo and alkanet:

Bubbly Blues soap by Chez Helene

Bubbly Blues soap by Chez Helene

Helene is the winner of a $50 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage – woo hoo!!! Read more about her soap on her Facebook page by clicking on the photo.

The Sponsor’s Choice winner chosen by Majestic Mountain Sage is Renee Chiang in California!! Andee Howard of Majestic Mountain Sage says, “Showers are part of my evening unwinding routine and Renee’s soap reached out to me. This soap makes me feel relaxed just looking at the calm colors and smooth flow of the design!”

Spirulina and Moringa Dancing Circles by Renee Chiang

Spirulina and Moringa Dancing Circles by Renee Chiang

Renee wins a $25 gift certificate from The Sage – yippee!! Check out her blog post to see the process of how she made it!

For the synthetic category, the grand prize winner is none other than Claudia Carpenter of Om Nom Soap blog in California!! Claudia’s soap is unique in that the size of her drops are smaller than everyone else’s, thus her Dancing Bubbles soap is aptly named:

Dancing Bubbles by Claudia Carpenter

Dancing Bubbles by Claudia Carpenter

Rustic Escentuals is giving Claudia a $100 gift certificate to their store, plus 6 fragrance samples and 6 mica samples! Congratulations!! Click on the photo to read Claudia’s blog post about how she made her soap – and almost didn’t enter the challenge!

Second place goes to Michelle Rogerson of My Handmade Heartland in Iowa for her Native American inspired bold & stunning Dreamcatcher soap:

Dreamcatcher soap by My Handmade Heartland

Dreamcatcher soap by My Handmade Heartland

Congratulations to Michelle on your first challenge club win!! Michelle receives a $75 gift certificate, plus 6 fragrance & mica samples from Rustic Escentuals. Be sure to click on the photo of her soap to read more about her inspiration and how she created her soap on her Facebook page.

For third place, we have a TIE. Congratulations to Toni Watt of White Milk Soap and Candles in Australia, and Teri Endsley in Indiana for their gorgeous dancing funnel soaps! Toni created this amazing white and purple soap with orange outlines:

Good Morning Sunshine soap by White Milk Soap and Candles

Good Morning Sunshine soap by White Milk Soap and Candles

Teri’s magnificent soap looks like translucent river rocks:

Autumn Fig Harvest Dancing Funnel soap by Teri Endsley

Autumn Fig Harvest Dancing Funnel soap by Teri Endsley

Toni & Teri both receive $50 gift certificates, plus 6 fragrance & mica samples from Rustic Escentuals. Click on their photos to see more about their soaps and to watch Toni’s video!

Amy Coker of Rustic Escentuals has chosen Argelia of Firefly Soaps & Such in Texas as their Sponsor’s Choice winner! Amy says, “I adore this soap for a number of reasons! The name matches perfectly with the colors. Color choices were perfect and they enhance each other very well. I also find her take on the technique visually appealing with having different sized circles without the soap looking inconsistent and messy. Well done on a delightful, gorgeous soap!”

Blue Sky Green Fields soap by Firefly Soaps & Such

Blue Sky Green Fields soap by Firefly Soaps & Such

Argelia wins a $25 gift certificate, plus 6 fragrance & mica samples! Congratulations!!

Because I know you are dying to see the rest of the entries…they are located HERE.

The way the calendar falls this time, we actually have an extra week off before registration opens for the September Challenge. Thanks to those who have contributed ideas for the Piping Challenge!! I’ve finally made my first practice batch with the Russian piping tips, and here is the result:

Cupcake Soaps Piped with Russian Tips

Cupcake Soaps Piped with Russian Tips

This challenge will NOT be limited to the Russian tips or cupcakes only, and it will be divided between newbies (have been making soap for less than two years and/or less than 50 batches) and experienced soapmakers. Bath Alchemy Lab is sponsoring the newbie category, and Nurture Soap is sponsoring the experienced category. Registration will open Monday, August 29th. You can sign up for a notification for registration, as well as the notification when the dancing funnel tutorial is available here:

notify-me

Winners Announcement: Pipe Divider Swirl Challenge!

The pipe divider swirl is a technique created by Tania from Soapish. She received inspiration from Clara Lindberg and Pasito a Pasito, and developed her own idea to use PVC pipe couplings to create dividers in a slab mold, holding them in place with melted beeswax (and later cocoa butter). This was such a fun technique, and definitely not as complicated as some other techniques we’ve done recently, but has really stunning results!

Huge thanks goes to our sponsor this month, Nature’s Garden! They have been so supportive of the Challenge Club since the beginning and were very generous with their prizes once again.

I’m very excited to announce to you that our grand prize winner is Lina Neufeld of Bathe in Grace from British Columbia, Canada! Lina has been doing challenges for less than a year and this is the first time she has placed. Her work is marked by soft colors and lines, and her winning soap easily fits those categories with stunning yellow and lavender swirls:

Acai & Silk Soap by Bathe in Grace

Acai & Silk Soap by Bathe in Grace

Lina wins a $100 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden! Congratulations!!

In second place is Lisa Rapp from Florida who joined us for the very first time last month! Lisa’s soap has lovely bright red “tulips” outlined in copper with black and white swirls:

Brazen Hussy Tulips by Lisa Rapp

Brazen Hussy Tulips by Lisa Rapp

Congratulations to Lisa! She wins a $75 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden! Please click on the photo to read about Lisa’s process and the other soap she made with this technique.

Third place goes to the very talented Vivian Sullivan of Selah Artisan Soaps in North Carolina! Vivian took second place in the January Challenge this year, and now she’s back as a top three finalist with her totally gorgeous Poinsettia soap made with the pipe divider swirl:

Poinsettia Soap by Selah Artisan Soaps

Poinsettia Soap by Selah Artisan Soaps

Vivian wins a $50 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden! Way to go!

The Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Margo Long of Bearprint Soaps in Oregon. Margo is a long-time member of the Challenge Club and has placed twice before. Her soap this month is a lovely two-toned “raspberry” pink with delicate green and white swirls. Deborah Ward, owner of Nature’s Garden, was drawn to the soft color palette and beautiful swirls. She says, “I just think it is pretty!” It definitely is!

A Touch of Raspberry Soap by Bearprint Soaps

A Touch of Raspberry Soap by Bearprint Soaps

Congratulations to Margo who wins a $25 gift certificate from Nature’s Garden! Be sure to click on the photo to see more pics of her process in her Facebook album.

Check out the rest of the entries HERE. They are fabulous!!

Registration opens this TUESDAY, July 26 for the August Challenge. We will be doing the Dancing Funnel technique, taught by Tatsiana Serko of Creative Soaps by Steso. I am so grateful that she is willing to share her knowledge with us!! The challenge will be divided between soaps made with all natural ingredients, and those made with synthetic colors and/or scents. Here’s the all-natural soap that Tatsiana made with natural ingredients from one of our sponsors, Majestic Mountain Sage, for her video tutorial:

Dancing Funnel by Tatsiana Serko

Dancing Funnel by Tatsiana Serko

I just finished making my soap with synthetic ingredients from our other sponsor: Rustic Escentuals.

Dancing Funnel (in the mold) by Great Cakes Soapworks

Dancing Funnel (in the mold) by Great Cakes Soapworks

If you get really ambitious, you can even make a soap with more than two colors:

Multi-color Dancing Funnel soap by Tatsiana Serko

Multi-color Dancing Funnel soap by Tatsiana Serko

To find out exactly when registration opens, sign up for notifications about the Challenge Club here:

notify-me

Apple Berry Faux Tall & Skinny Soap Tutorial

I’m kicking off Soap Queen’s #soaptherainbow series by turning my soap on its side – literally! This Apple Berry soap is actually created in a regular 5 lb. log mold with sliding bottom* and a multi-pour sectioning tool – NOT a tall & skinny mold! I’m a total sucker for fruity fragrances, so I came up with a combination of Apple Sage, one of Brambleberry’s newest fragrances and Holiday Candy, a classic from the Brambleberry line-up with sweet notes of berries and sugar, rounded out by a touch of rose and carnation. Both work really well in cold-process soap – no acceleration or discoloration that I found.

Apple Berry soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Apple Berry soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

What You’ll Need:

58 oz. of oils (I used 33% tallow, 33% olive, 30% coconut, and 4% castor)
8.35 oz. lye (recalculate this amount if you change any of the oils!)
20 oz. water
1 ½ tsp. merlot mica
½ tsp. electric bubble gum colorant
¼ tsp. raspberry mica
1 ¼ tsp. gold sparkle mica
extra olive oil to mix with colorants
1.1 oz. Holiday Candy fragrance
1.1 oz. Apple Sage fragrance
5 lb. log mold with sliding bottom (liner optional)
Multi-Pour sectioning tool
A small paint brush
Whisk
Large kitchen knife & a ruler
optional: 2.5 oz. of soap scraps

(If you’ve never made cold process soap before, be sure to read up on the process. SoapQueenTV has some great information.)

Prepping colors and fragrance: In a small cup, combine the merlot mica, electric bubble gum, and raspberry micas with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix carefully and well. A mini mixer is a great tool to work out any clumps! In a separate cup, combine the gold sparkle mica with ½ T. of olive oil. Combine the Holiday Candy and Apple Sage fragrance oils in a glass container.

Prepping the mold: In order to make the soap taller, I ditched the silicone liner in favor of a paper one. (Here’s my video on how to line a log mold with freezer paper.)

Mold lined with freezer paper

Mold lined with freezer paper

Next, you’ll want to prep your sectioning tool by painting the gold mica and oil on each side of the silicone dividers. I learned this vertical mica line technique from Teressa Mahoney. After playing with several different ratios of mica to oil, I discovered that it was best to have the solution as thick as possible without being clumpy, and to apply it to the silicone dividers thinly on both sides. Use ALL of the mica & oil. Leave a ¼” border without any mica on both sides of the dividers as you spread it with the brush. You don’t want the mica to run off too much when you put the dividers in the mold (mine did a little).

Painting gold mica on the dividers

Painting gold mica on the dividers

Once you paint both sides of a divider, carefully set it in one of the grooves on an end piece. The end piece will actually hold them up pretty well without any extra support! Once you have all three finished, slide the other end piece onto the dividers and carefully set everything in the mold, making sure to keep pressure on the outside of the end pieces so none of the dividers fall out as you are placing them in the mold!

View of all dividers

View of all dividers

(Optional) Embed prep: If you have some small soap scraps you’d like to use to create some interest, chop them into tiny pieces with a kitchen knife. I used 2.5 oz. of scraps from my practice batches with this technique.

Now we can begin!

Step 1: Prep lye solution.
Use a plastic or stainless steel (never glass or pyrex!) container with a pour spout to weigh out the water portion. Slowly and carefully add the lye to the water and gently stir until the lye has fully dissolved and the liquid is clear. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to cool.

Step 2: Prep oils and begin!
Measure out the tallow and coconut oil into a large plastic container (I like to use gallon size ice cream buckets!) and melt in the microwave for two minutes, then stir until all has melted. Add the olive oil and castor oil. Once the lye water and the oils have cooled to 85-90 degrees, add the lye water to the oils and stick blend until emulsified or a very thin trace.

Adding lye solution to oils

Adding lye solution to oils

Step 3: Divide the soap into four parts.
Without the silicone liner, not all of the sections will be equal. I poured off just over 2 ½ cups of soap into three containers and what was left in my pot was enough when I added the embeds to it. If you aren’t using embeds, pour off exactly 2 ½ cups of soap in 2 containers (this will fill the middle two sections), then split the remaining soap into two other containers.

Dividing the soap

Dividing the soap

Step 4: Mix color and fragrance into each container.
For the ombre effect, pour HALF of the pre-mixed merlot blend into one part for the darkest section. Then pour a little over half of what is left into the next part, and a little over half again into the next, and what is left (which won’t be much!) into the last part and whisk each part to incorporate. Then, divide the fragrance equally into each color – just eyeball it – and whisk again.

Adding fragrance

Adding fragrance

Step 5: If you’re adding embeds, pour them into the lightest portion of soap and stir well with a spoon.

Adding embeds

Adding embeds

Step 6: Pouring!
Make sure all the colors are just starting to set up before you pour. I noticed that the lightest color set up first because it had the least amount of extra oil from the mica blend, so I started with that one first. Without the silicone liner, there’s some wiggle room for the sectioning tool, so I pushed it all the way to one side of the mold so that I had an extra large section for the soap with the embeds which made it easier to pour.

First pour

First pour

Make sure to pour just a little bit of each color into each section to prevent the soap from flowing under the dividers too much, THEN go back and fill each section. You may need to tap the mold down to release air bubbles as you go. (There will be some leftover soap batter after the mold is full.)

Partial pour of all the colors

Partial pour of all the colors

Step 7: Removing the dividers.
Once you have all of the sections filled up level with the top of the mold, it’s time to pull the dividers out. Pull each one straight out, one at a time. Don’t scrape the dividers as you pull them out of the mold. It will just mess up your mica line. Leave the end pieces because they help maintain the fill level.

Pulling out the dividers

Pulling out the dividers

Step 8: Cover and let it set up for 24 hours.
You can put the soap in a warm oven to force it to gel and create more vibrant colors. I set mine outside on my grill because it was so hot!!

Step 9: Cutting and trimming the soap.
First step is to take it out of the mold and cut off the end pieces from the sectioning tool with a large kitchen knife.

Cutting off the end pieces of the sectioning tool

Cutting off the end pieces of the sectioning tool

Once the soap has been freed, you can slice the log into bars. I’m a precision soapmaker and I like all my bars to end up close to the same size (3.5” x 2” x 1.25”), so after slicing the log with my wire cutter, I used a ruler to mark 2 1/8” across each bar and trimmed them off with a kitchen knife. This gives me room to plane off the other side of the bar where my mica lines ran a bit. If you don’t have a soap planer, you can use the kitchen knife or a vegetable peeler to trim it off if you like.

Trimming up the soap

Trimming up the soap

I ended up with twelve bars weighing 5.3-5.5 ounces before cure, plus a few end pieces and one thin bar. Cure for 4-6 weeks to allow the soap to fully harden and become mild.

Finished bars

Finished bars

More resources to help you achieve red soap:
Perfect Red in Cold Process Soap
4th of July Soap

*all links to Brambleberry products are affiliate links

Check Out the Winners of the Sculpted Layers Challenge!

The technique for the June Challenge Club is called Sculpted Layers. It was created by Claudia Carpenter of Om Nom Soap blog, one of our very own members! She used the technique to create her grand prize winning masterpiece for the Winter Wonderland challenge in February, and was gracious to teach it to us this month and share all her tips and tricks. The possibilities are truly endless with this technique, and the creativity that showed up in the entries is astounding! All of our top three winners took turns in first place throughout the course of the voting (I was the only one who could see this), and many others displayed beautiful design and skill as well.

Huge thanks to our sponsor, Alex Kelly of Custom Soap Stamps – who does so much more than just stamps! Please check out his etsy store to see all he has to offer, from tools to displays to molds – all of it made with high quality durable acrylic or silicone. In addition to the following prize winners, Alex also provided a 10% off coupon code to everyone who submitted an entry this month! Thanks so much, Alex!

Our grand prize winner, by just ONE vote is Helene Glemet of Chez Helene from Quebec, Canada! Helene just joined the Challenge Club last month, and has shown herself to be an excellent designer and soapmaker. Her soap, “Howling Wolf” is a simple, yet stunning design:

Howling Wolf by Chez Helene

Howling Wolf by Chez Helene

Helene wins a $150 gift certificate from Custom Soap Stamps – congratulations!! Click on the photo to see how she made her soap!

Second place goes to Debi Olsen in Fort Collins, Colorado! Debi is a master at complex, detailed soap design. She also utilized the allowance for small non-soap embellishments to decoupage the vines and cat tails on her soap to make it look surprisingly similar to her inspiration photo, and thus gave us her “Blue Moon” soap:

Blue Moon soap by Debi Olsen

Blue Moon soap by Debi Olsen

Her soap has won a $75 gift certificate from Custom Soap Stamps – yay, Debi! If you click on the photo, you can read her extensive blog post on how she made this soap.

In third place we have Vera Lede from Kazakhstan. Vera also has an eye for detail and bold, beautiful design in her soapmaking. She really pushed the envelope with a total of 12 sculpted layers in her “Morning in a Mountain Valley” soap!

Morning in a Mountain Valley by Vera Lede

Morning in a Mountain Valley by Vera Lede

Congratulations to Vera for earning a $50 gift certificate from Custom Soap Stamps! Click on the photo to read her blog post and see photos of her process, as well as another soap she made with this technique.

Our Sponsor’s Choice winner is Marie Zimmerly in Winterville, North Carolina! Marie is fairly new to the Club, and this her first time winning a prize. This is what Alex says about her “Almost Argyle” soap: “I really liked the crisp pattern separation and the fade from dark to light. The surface of the bars are nice and shiny, which adds that clean look (no pun intended). The dark edges leading in to the first pattern also helps define the contrast in colors. Lastly, it reminds me of the fancy argyle socks that I wore back in my corporate America days. Something like that allows the consumer to relate to the design of the bar.”

Almost Argyle soap by Marie Zimmerly

Almost Argyle soap by Marie Zimmerly

Marie’s prize is a custom soap stamp from Alex – congratulations! Clicking on the photo of her soap will take you to her blog post with lots of great details on how she made it!

What’s that? You want to see the rest of the entries? Take a look at them HERE.

Registration will open for the next three months of challenges on Monday (June 27)! Here are the techniques we will be tackling next:

JULY – Pipe divider swirl, sponsored by Nature’s Garden!

This technique was created by Tania of Soapish. She is excited to see what everyone creates for the challenge! Here’s the soap I made for the video tutorial:

Mango Papaya soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Mango Papaya soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

AUGUST – Dancing funnel, created and taught by Tatsiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso. This will be a divided challenge between natural and synthetic entries. Majestic Mountain Sage will sponsor the natural category, and Rustic Escentuals will sponsor the synthetic category.

Here is the soap Tatsiana created for the tutorial:

Dancing Funnel soap by Creative Soap by Steso

Dancing Funnel soap by Creative Soap by Steso

SEPTEMBER – Piping soap, another divided challenge between newbies and experienced entries. Bath Alchemy Lab will sponsor the newbie category and Nurture Soap will sponsor the experienced category.

I have my equipment ready for this challenge, but nothing to show you just yet. This has been a hot technique lately, so I know it will be a fun one!

If you have signed up for Challenge Club notifications, you will receive one on Monday, June 27, as soon as registration opens. If you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to do it now!

notify-me

Teardrop Technique Challenge Winners!

The Teardrop Technique is a soap design that creates a “teardrop” of layered soap down the middle of the bar. It’s absolutely stunning when it’s done right. In fact, we had 286 members this month who were excited to figure out how it’s done. Together we learned that the Teardrop Technique is deceptively difficult! A few people were able to get theirs just beautifully on the first try (I wasn’t one of them!), but quite a few struggled with this one. It’s a technique that was first demonstrated by Sweetly Sweetly Sweetly on Facebook, and then picked up by Sergio Masala on YouTube which is where I first saw it. Our winners created some really amazing soaps and I can’t wait to share them with you! But first, I must give a big shout-out to our sponsors this month.

Mad Oils is our main sponsor. They are an up-and-coming supplier known for their amazing micas and fragrances, but they carry a wide variety of other soapmaking supplies as well. They have contributed large gift certificates to each of our top three winners, as well as a Sponsor’s Choice prize. Thank you, Mad Oils!! Amanda Aaron of The Lovin Soap Studio is also donating free e-books to each of our winners – and she has a wide variety to choose from! Thank you, Amanda!!

First and second place in this contest were about as close as I’ve ever seen – considering we had 95 entries and the top two were separated by just two votes! Either of these two ladies could have easily been our grand prize winner, but we can only have one. So congratulations goes to Holly Shelton of Kapia Mera Soap Co in Tennessee for her magnificent Lemon Mint Teardrop Soap!

Lemon Mint Teardrop Soap by Kapia Mera Soap Co.

Lemon Mint Teardrop Soap by Kapia Mera Soap Co.

Holly is a long-time Challenge Club member and has taken grand prize one other time, just a few months ago! She is known for her abilities to use a wide variety of natural colorants in cold process soap to create really beautiful designs like this one. Holly wins a $100 gift certificate from Mad Oils and an e-book from Lovin Soap Studio! (Click on the photo to see Holly’s video of the making of her soap.)

So who was the fierce contender for second place? None other than the very talented Maria Antonova in Russia with her beautifully crafted soap that she refers to as “The Source of Life”:

The Source of Life Teardrop Soap by Maria Antonova

The Source of Life Teardrop Soap by Maria Antonova

Maria was extremely persistent with this technique, making over five batches to get to this one. She has been a participant in the Challenge Club several times previously, but this is the first time she has placed, and it is well-deserved! Maria wins a $75 gift certificate from Mad Oils and an e-book from Lovin Soap Studio! Click on the photo of her soap to see how she made it, as well as four other batches.

Third place goes to another member who is no stranger to the Challenge Club. Congratulations to Sonya Mulholland in the UK for her simply elegant Raspberry Tangerine Teardrop Soap:

Raspberry Tangerine Teardrop Soap by Sonya Mulholland

Raspberry Tangerine Teardrop Soap by Sonya Mulholland

Sonya was a grand prize winner in the international category of our Spin Swirl challenge a little over a year ago, and now she’s back for more! She’s an accountant by day and a self-confessed soapaholic by night. Sonya wins a $50 gift certificate from Mad Oils, plus an e-book from Lovin Soap Studio. Congratulations, Sonya!! Click on the photo of her soap to see her blog post on how she made it, plus two other teardrop soaps for the challenge and the lessons learned.

The Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Claire Edmund of Saponista’s Artisan Soap also in the UK! Claire was determined to achieve the beautiful, yet sometimes elusive teardrop in her soap. Her goal was to create a really long stem on her drop, which she created rather perfectly:

Thin-Stem Teardrop Soap by Saponista

Thin-Stem Teardrop Soap by Saponista

Congratulations to Claire for winning a $25 gift certificate from Mad Oils, plus an e-book from Lovin Soap Studio! If you click on the photo of her soap, you’ll see her SIX other attempts.

If you’d like to see the rest of the entries for this challenge, please visit them HERE.

We will be taking a short break before the June Challenge registration opens. Our technique is called Sculpted Layers, and it was designed by Challenge Club member, Claudia Carpenter. She will be our guest teacher for this technique and will be demonstrating how she created these soaps for the video tutorial:

Soaps made with the Sculpted Layers technique by Claudia Carpenter

Soaps made with the Sculpted Layers technique by Claudia Carpenter

Claudia has put together some great information about the technique for me and without seeing the videos yet, my daughter and I created this soap which we will also share with you inside the Club:

Eye Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Eye Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Our sponsor for June is Custom Soap Stamps. It’s way more than just stamps though – be sure to check out all the great equipment available to soapmakers!

If you have signed up for Challenge Club notifications, you will receive one on Monday, May 30 (Memorial Day in the U.S.) as soon as registration opens. If you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to do it now!

notify-me

It’s All About Location! (Challenge Winners Announced)

For the month of April, we did a theme challenge to take a short break from the advanced techniques. I asked members to create a soap that represents the place where they live or have lived in the past that is special to them. The only perimeters were that the final soap should be made in a log or slab mold. Small embellishments were allowed that were not made of cold process soap, including but not limited to, melt & pour or hot processed embeds, etc. As you can imagine, the creativity has shown up in spades with this challenge, and I’m so grateful to our sponsor TKB Trading for their generous prizes and support!

The well-deserved grand prize goes to Debi Olsen in Fort Collin, Colorado! Debi has been participating diligently in the Challenge Club since last September and took 3rd place in the Circling Taiwan Swirl challenge. This month she created a beautiful scenic landscape soap to reflect the majestic state of Colorado where she was born and raised and still lives to this day:

Colorado Sunset soap by Debi Olsen

Colorado Sunset soap by Debi Olsen

Curious about how she made it? I know I was! Visit her new blog and read all about her process by clicking on the photo. Congratulations, Debi, on your $100 gift certificate from TKB!

Coming in a strong second place is Lisa Maw of Lisa’s Natural Herbal Creations in Ogden, Utah. While Lisa has been participating in the challenges for just a few months now, her artistry is evident in all of her soaps! Here is her Arches Soap, an amazing tribute to the great state of Utah where she was born and raised:

Arches Soap by Lisa's Natural Herbal Creations

Arches Soap by Lisa’s Natural Herbal Creations

Lisa molded the arches in the soap by hand! Click on the photo to found out how! Lisa wins a $75 gift certificate from TKB – congratulations!!

Third place for the second month in a row goes to Brittany Warwick of Baabbly Soap in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As Brittany explained in her blog post, Wisconsin is known for cows, cheese, beer, and snow, so she decided to “create a soap that was a landscape of a farm with a cute little cow in the forefront of the soap.” It certainly is cute!

Wisconsin Cow Soap by Baabbly Soap

Wisconsin Cow Soap by Baabbly Soap

Congratulations, Brittany! You’ve won a $50 gift certificate from TKB! Yes, you can also click on the photo of her soap to see her process which includes several advanced embeds!

The Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Tatsiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso, who is originally from Belarus and created a beautiful soap to reflect her heritage. Kaila Westerman, owner of TKB Trading, explained her choice this way: “I had the following criteria: Color Harmony. As a colorist, how a product looks at first glance, and how the colors speak to me is an immediate ‘first pass’.” She also took into consideration the level of difficulty, quality of execution and creative thinking with regard to addressing the theme. Tatsiana’s soap, From Belarus with love, certainly fits within all of these criteria:

From Belarus with love by Creative Soap by Steso

From Belarus with love by Creative Soap by Steso

Tatsiana wins a $25 gift certificate from TKB – congratulations!!

Curious about the rest of the entries? Find them all HERE.

Next month we will be doing the Teardrop Technique! Here is a soap from my practice batch that I’m hoping to duplicate for the tutorial:

Teardrop Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Teardrop Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

It’s made with almost all Mad Oils micas – our main sponsor for the challenge! I love how the colors turned out! Lovin Soap Studio will be contributing a free ebook to all the winners as well.

Registration for the May challenge will open this Monday, April 25! Are you signed up for the Challenge Club notifications?

notify-me

Making of Sunflower Soap

I was so excited to be among several recipients of the new Spring Fever Fragrance Collection* from Bramble Berry!
fragrance-collection
I started by making some embeds scented with the Blueberry Jam fragrance, which is absolutely heavenly!! It is by far the best blueberry fragrance I’ve ever used, and smells fantastic in the soap as well.

Then I decided to make a soap scented with the Sunflower fragrance. The notes on this fragrance say that there could be some mild acceleration and discoloration to a light tan, so keeping this in mind, I decided to do a layered soap and create a golden yellow lower half to mimic the petals of the sunflower (the state flower of Kansas where I’m from, by the way!), and mix up browns and black as well as some uncolored soap to mimic the deep brown center of the flower.

I was thinking that a nice, dark brown line between the layers would set them off nicely, so I decided to use cocoa powder for this. The golden yellow is a mix of two teaspoons of Yellow Lip Safe Mica and a half teaspoon of Racing Stripe Orange Mica from Bramble Berry with some olive oil. I used cocoa powder mixed with olive oil for the two different browns, and activated charcoal mixed with olive oil for the black.

Paper cup with dry cocoa powder and a piece of nylon knee highs secured with a rubberband, golden yellow mica mix, cocoa powder mix, and activated charcoal mix.

Paper cup with dry cocoa powder and a piece of nylon knee highs secured with a rubberband, golden yellow mica mix, cocoa powder mix, and activated charcoal mix.

I mixed the oils and lye solution when they were around 85 degrees – a little cooler than my usual 90 degrees. I used my regular recipe for the oils (48 total ounces of oils) and kept the lye solution at 2:1 water to lye. I used the stick blender just until I felt the soap batter was emulsified, then poured off half and colored it with most of the golden yellow mica mix and added half of the fragrance. I actually needed to stick blend it a bit longer to get it to set up enough to hold the other half of the soap and be able to create a texture between the layers.

Golden yellow soap mix

Golden yellow soap mix

I had an idea to use a plastic fork to create some texture:

Texturizing the soap

Texturizing the soap

Then I started sprinkling the cocoa powder over the top of the soap. Only, the cocoa powder was too caked up and didn’t really want to come through the nylon cover. This method works great with tiny particles of dry mica; however, it wasn’t so successful with the cocoa powder. Increasing the force of the shaking of my cocoa powder cup only managed to loosen the nylon cover and I ended up dumping a fair amount of cocoa powder in one section of the soap!

Oops!!

Oops!!

I realized a better method of dispersing the cocoa powder was to use a micro-sieve, tapping it over the top of the soap:

Micro-sieve method

Micro-sieve method

After this, I divided the rest of the soap batter into four equal parts and colored them with the activated charcoal and cocoa powder, leaving one cup uncolored but adding 2 teaspoons of poppy seeds for a bit of texture, then adding the remaining fragrance, divided into each of the four cups:

Four cups of soap for the top

Four cups of soap for the top

My original idea was to swirl these together in one pot and then pour, but the soap was still really runny at this point, so I started by pouring a thin layer of the uncolored soap to offset the dark cocoa powder line:

Thin layer of uncolored soap

Thin layer of uncolored soap

Then I just started pouring thin drop swirls of each color in circular motions until all the soap was in the mold:

Drop swirled soap

Drop swirled soap

Finally, I used a skewer to swirl the top in two different sections:

Swirled top

Swirled top

Even using rubbing alcohol spray on top of the soap, it developed some really bad ash. You can see the comparison between the ashy soap and the one I planed:

Comparison of soap tops: unplaned vs planed.

Comparison of soap tops: unplaned vs planed.

There were only two bars of soap that were adversely affected by the cocoa powder dump. I will cut them up into smaller pieces to be used as samples:

Too much cocoa powder!

Too much cocoa powder!

The rest of the soaps turned out beautifully! Here are some that have been all cleaned up:

Sunflower soaps by Great Cakes Soapworks

Sunflower soaps by Great Cakes Soapworks

I will plan to have these available for purchase at Greatcakessoapworks.com on May 6.

*All links to Bramble Berry products are affiliate links which simply means a small portion of your purchase comes back to me at no added cost to you.

Rimmed Soap Challenge Winners!

Talk about a challenge…the rimmed soap technique was definitely one of the more challenging techniques that the Soap Challenge Club has ever done! Huge thanks to Tatsiana Serko for teaching us this advanced technique so that everyone had a chance at success. All of the soaps had to be made in a round mold, and there are some really stunning results! Shout out to our sponsors this month also: Rustic Escentuals sponsored the U.S. category and Voyageur Soap and Candle Co. (in Canada) sponsored the International category with some amazing prizes!

Even though we only had 16 entries in the International category, there were some very serious contenders!! The top three were all within four votes of one another. I know you are anxious to see the results, so here are the winners in the International category:

Congratulations goes to our grand prize winner: Anastasia Krasilnikova in Czech Republic with her beautiful Damask Rimmed soap, made with an impression mat:

Damask Rimmed Soap by Anastasia

Damask Rimmed Soap by Anastasia

You will definitely want to click on her photo to see her blog post about the many different rimmed soaps she made before she fell in love with this one for the challenge. Anastasia has been making soap for just seven months now, although you would never know it! She wins a $100 gift certificate from Voyageur!

In a close second place is Carolyn Newton of Siennalily Soaps in Spain. This is her third time winning a prize in the Challenge Club. Congratulations, Carolyn, on your gorgeous rimmed soap, inspired by an Egyptian design:

Tutankhamun Rimmed Soap by Siennalily Soaps

Tutankhamun Rimmed Soap by Siennalily Soaps

Click the photo to see Carolyn’s inspiration and how she made her soap – also with an impression mat! Carolyn wins a $75 gift certificate from Voyageur!

Just one vote behind Carolyn is Lisa Norris of Kangaroo Apple Studio in Australia in third place! Lisa has managed to place in the top 3 NINE times now – usually with her signature rainbow design! Her Star Rainbow rimmed soap is just stunning:

Star Rainbow Rimmed Soap by Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio

Star Rainbow Rimmed Soap by Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio

Check out her post on Facebook by clicking the photo above to see Lisa’s process in making her soap with star rainbow embeds! Lisa wins a $50 gift certificate from Voyageur!

Finally, the Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Melanie Maddock of Sweet Escape in New Zealand for her gorgeous May Chang Rimmed Soap made with neon swirls and raspberry seeds. This is Melanie’s first prize since she has been participating in the Club – congratulations!! Tammy Evans from Voyageur said this: “We awarded the Sponsor’s Choice prize to May Chang Swirl because we loved the duality of the speckled middle with the brightly coloured retro style swirled rim. The vibrant colour choice combined with the precision of the rim around the inner circle made the bar look not only fresh and fun but also very polished and professional.”

May Chang Rimmed Soap by Sweet Escape

May Chang Rimmed Soap by Sweet Escape

Melanie wins a $25 gift certificate from Voyageur!

In the U.S. category, the competition was also pretty stiff, although Holly Shelton of Kapia Mera Soap Co. came away as the clear grand prize winner! Congratulations!! Holly has placed second twice, but she wins the grand prize this month for her simply elegant black and white rimmed soap:

Charcoal and Clay Rimmed Soap by Kapia Mera Soap Co.

Charcoal and Clay Rimmed Soap by Kapia Mera Soap Co.

On her blog post, Holly shares her recipe as well as a video of her process, so be sure to click through! She wins a $100 gift certificate, plus 6 1-oz. fragrances & 6 mica samples from Rustic Escentuals!

Second place goes to a brand new Challenge Club member: Ann Kruschke in Ohio who is celebrating her one-year soapiversary!! She made her rimmed soap look like a watercolor version of a watermelon:

Summertime Rimmed Soap by Ann Kruschke

Summertime Rimmed Soap by Ann Kruschke

Isn’t it amazing? Click on the photo to see her blog post that includes her recipe and process. Ann wins a $75 gift certificate, plus 6 1-oz. fragrances & 6 mica samples from Rustic Escentuals!

In third place – by only one vote! – is Brittany Warwick in Wisconsin for her fabulous Japanese Cherry Blossom rimmed soap:

Japanese Cherry Blossom Rimmed Soap by Brittany Warwick

Japanese Cherry Blossom Rimmed Soap by Brittany Warwick

Brittany won the Sponsor’s Choice prize for the Embracing Opposites challenge last July, but this is her first voted win, and it’s well deserved!! Click on the photo to see her blog post with all the details about her soap. Brittany wins a $50 gift certificate, plus 6 1-oz. fragrances & 6 mica samples from Rustic Escentuals!

We have a Sponsor’s Choice winner from Rustic Escentuals as well: Congrats to Bonnie Howard of The Village Soapsmith in North Carolina for her Black Raspberry Vanilla Rimmed Soap! Amy Coker says, “This soap is not only beautifully done by the challenge set forth, but it’s beautifully done in the attention to detail. This soap maker has taken a common scent and crafted the soap to be completely unique by their color choices and swirls as applied to the challenge. The colors chosen perfectly complement the scent’s notes. The rim swirls look like they were carefully and artfully done. Lastly, the swirling in the center with more complementary colors tie the soap together. Attention to detail = very well done.”

Black Raspberry Vanilla Rimmed Soap by The Village Soapsmith

Black Raspberry Vanilla Rimmed Soap by The Village Soapsmith

Click on Bonnie’s soap photo to read more about her soap on her blog! Bonnie wins a $25 gift certificate, plus 6 1-oz. fragrances & 6 mica samples from Rustic Escentuals!

To see the rest of the entries for the Rimmed Soap Challenge, be sure to click HERE.

And now it’s time to announce the next three months of challenges….no divided categories for these – they are all one big challenge each month!

For April, we are doing a location theme challenge! I happen to be a Kansas girl, so what does everyone seem to reference when they hear Kansas? The Wizard of Oz! Here’s the soap I made for the tutorial:

Wizard of Oz soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Wizard of Oz soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

What’s special about where you live? Our sponsor for the Location Theme Challenge is TKB Trading.

In May, we will tackle the tear drop technique, like this one by Sergio Masala:

Lacrimosa by Sergio Masala

Lacrimosa by Sergio Masala

Our sponsors are Mad Oils and Lovin Soap Studio.

In June, Claudia Carpenter of Om Nom Soap will be our guest teacher to show us how to create Sculpted Layers like she did for her Winter Wonderland soap:

Winter Wonderland soap by Claudia Carpenter

Winter Wonderland soap by Claudia Carpenter

Our sponsor is Custom Soap Stamps.

You will have the option to register for all three months or April only starting this Monday, March 28. Sign up to be notified when registration opens AND the tutorial for the Rimmed Soaps becomes available if you haven’t already:

notify-me

Winter Wonderland Winners

For the month of February, we did a theme challenge called “Winter Wonderland”. The only requirement was to have an element of snow in all cold-process soap. Small non-soap embellishments were allowed, and the challenge was also divided between all-natural and synthetic entries. In order to be considered for the all-natural category, the soap must have been made with all-natural ingredients – no fragrance oils, micas, oxides or dyes, and all ingredients had to be listed. We are so grateful to our sponsors this month! Brambleberry sponsored the all-natural category, and Nurture Soap sponsored the synthetic category. I was very pleased to see close to the same number of entries in each category!

Let’s start with the synthetic category. Claudia Carpenter of Om Nom Soap in California completely knocked our socks off with her winning entry! She’s a long-time member and supporter of the Challenge Club and is the creative genius behind the Challenge Club logo and stamps for our winners. For this challenge she created a 3D design in her Winter Wonderland soap:

Winter Wonderland soap by Om Nom Soap

Winter Wonderland soap by Om Nom Soap

I know you’ll want to click on the photo to see how she did it, and even then you’ll be left scratching your head! Congratulations, Claudia, on your grand prize which is a $100 gift certificate from Nurture Soap!

In second place, we have another beautiful soap. Congratulations goes to Ami Johnson from Idaho who just participated in the challenge for the first time last month! Her cardinal design is fantastic with all the piped branches, berries, and of course the cardinal:

Winter Cardinal soap by Ami Johnson

Winter Cardinal soap by Ami Johnson

(Click on the photo to see a larger version.) Ami wins a $75 gift certificate from Nurture Soap!

Third place in the synthetic category goes to Jessaca Redd in Texas for her adorable chickadee soap! Jessaca used an impression mat to create a wood pattern on the bottom of her soap, then embedded the chickadees in the snowy white background.

Chickadee in Snow soap by In a State of Namaste

Chickadee in Snow soap by Jessaca Redd

Jessaca wins a $50 gift certificate from Nurture Soap – congrats! Click on the photo to see how she made the soap.

Finally, the Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Pooja Nidgudkar of Blue Nectar Soaps in California for her Icicle soap! Carrie Thornsbury, owner of Nurture Soap says, “I really like how the colors came together in this soap, and how the icicles were embedded to lend a unique visual effect. It kind of reminds me of a Van Gogh painting!”

Icicle soap by Blue Nectar Soaps

Icicle soap by Blue Nectar Soaps

Congratulations, Pooja! She wins a $25 gift certificate from Nurture Soap, and you can click on the photo to learn more about how she made the soap.

Competition in the all-natural category was pretty tight. I’m pleased to announce that the grand prize goes to Penny Simmons in Arkansas for her Snowy Winter’s Night soap! Penny has been participating with the Challenge Club for quite some time now and this is her first time as a winner! Here’s her stunning soap:

Snowy Winter's Night by Penny Simmons

Snowy Winter’s Night by Penny Simmons

Congrats to you, Penny! She has won a $100 gift certificate, plus Anne-Marie Faiola’s new book, Pure Soapmaking*, from Brambleberry! Click on the photo to see how Penny made her soap.

In second place, Holly Shelton of Kapia Mera Soap Co in Tennessee was just three votes behind Penny with her Winter Landscape soap. Holly has been a long-standing member of the Club also and this is her second time with a second place win! Her soap is multi-layered with multiple design elements that all came together to create one amazing soap:

Winter Landscape Soap by Kapia Mera Soap Co

Winter Landscape Soap by Kapia Mera Soap Co

Holly wins a $75 gift certificate, plus the Pure Soapmaking book from Brambleberry! Way to go, Holly! Be mesmerized by the video she created of the making of her soap by clicking on the photo.

In third place is the cutest little polar bear soap you’ve ever seen by Diana Ruzic of Organza Soaps in Ohio. Diana is another long-time member of the Club who is placing for her first time ever! Check out her sweet soap:

Polar Bear soap by Organza Soaps

Polar Bear soap by Organza Soaps

Congrats to Diana for winning a $50 gift certificate, plus the Pure Soapmaking book from Brambleberry! Click on the photo to see her blog post on how she made her soap.

And….the Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Hayley McHendry of Soap Lore in New Jersey for her Bird and Winter Aspens soap. This was Hayley’s first challenge, and hopefully the first of many more! Amber Strawn from Brambleberry says, “We loved the creative combination of techniques. Looking at it we couldn’t even figure out how she did it at first – which is really impressive given how many soaps we’ve made/seen here at Bramble Berry!”

Birds and Winter Aspens soap by Soap Lore

Birds and Winter Aspens soap by Soap Lore

Hayley wins a $25 gift certificate, plus the Pure Soapmaking book from Brambleberry! Excellent work, Hayley! If you’re as curious as to how she made the soap as Amber was, be sure to click on the photo to see her process.

You can see the rest of the beautiful Winter Wonderland soaps HERE. There are so many different designs and techniques represented – so impressive!!

Our next challenge is coming up soon! For March, Tatsiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso is our guest teacher once again as we learn how to make Rimmed Soaps! This is an advanced technique, but she has broken down the steps and provided a recipe and technique that should help us all be successful! Here’s the soap she created for the tutorial:

Rimmed Soap by Creative Soap by Steso

Rimmed Soap by Creative Soap by Steso

We will divide the challenge between U.S. and international participants to give more opportunities for prizes. Rustic Escentuals is the sponsor for the U.S. challenge and Voyageur Soap & Candle Co. is the sponsor for the International challenge. Registration opens this Monday, February 29th for those who wish to join and learn! If you haven’t signed up to receive notifications yet, here’s where to go:

notify-me

*affiliate link