Sir Soapy’s Interview with Me

Sir Soapy is a website dedicated to helping new soapmakers create handmade soaps with all natural ingredients. Sir Soapy himself recently requested an interview with me. You can see the full interview HERE. He asked some really great questions! Check it out!

He has also interviewed Anne-Marie Faiola from Bramble Berry and Amanda Gail from Lovin Soap, if you’d like to read those also.

How to Use Indigo to Color Cold Process Soap

If you’ve ever tried to use indigo to color your cold process soap and ended up with a nasty gray – or worse yet, no color at all – this post is for you! I’ve been there too, which is what drove me to figure out the best ways to get a beautiful color – from a light grayish blue to beautiful teal to dark navy blue. But what about color transfer and colored lather? Can you use too much? Definitely!

It should be noted that there are different types and intensities of indigo available from different suppliers and they are used in different ways. I will show you the benefits and disadvantages of each.

Let’s start with the different types. There are two different types of indigo: powdered and pre-reduced crystals. You can purchase the powdered form from several reputable soap supply vendors. (Thanks to the samples provided by Amanda Gail of Lovin Soap, I tested powders from Bramble Berry and From Nature With Love.) The only supplier of the crystals that I could find is Dharma Trading.

There are also different intensities of indigo powder. In addition to the powders from Bramble Berry and From Nature With Love, I tested a powder from Botanical Colors. They are not a soap supplier, but market their products to those who dye fabrics. It is an organic indigo powder that is much more saturated than the ones I tested from the soap suppliers.

I experimented with four different ways of incorporating indigo in cold process soap. 1. adding it to the hot lye solution, 2. creating strong oil infusions and adding after the soap was mixed, 3. dissolving the crystals in hot water, allowing it to cool and adding it after the soap was mixed, and 4. incorporating an oil infusion in addition to soap that already had indigo added to the lye solution. The powdered indigo can be added either to the lye solution OR in an oil infusion, but the pre-reduced crystals must be dissolved in hot water.

It’s important to use a soap recipe with light colored oils so that it doesn’t yellow and turn what could have been a lovely blue soap into an icky green or brown. I also made sure every batch went through gel stage to brighten/darken the colors. In a couple cases, the soap only reached a partial gel. This is the recipe I chose for all of my testing:

33% tallow
33% avocado
30% coconut
4% castor
5% superfat
30% lye concentration

Experiment #1: Testing saturation levels with the organic indigo from Botanical Colors using oil infusions.

Lightest layer: 1/16 tsp indigo in 1 tsp oil in just under 1 c soap; middle layer: 1/8 tsp indigo in 1 tsp oil in just under 1 c soap; darkest layer: 1/4 tsp indigo in 1 tsp oil in just under 1 c soap

The colors are grayish blue, just as they should be! I was worried that the darkest layer might bleed, so I did some testing on a cream-colored wash cloth:

Just the slightest bit of color transfer onto the wash cloth

I love that you can treat this indigo just like mica by pre-mixing it with a bit of oil and adding it to portions of soap. It makes it easy to do design work. However, the indigo takes a bit longer to incorporate than mica, so it requires you to plan ahead at least a few hours before you want to make the soap.

Experiment #2: Testing organic indigo and pre-reduced indigo crystals in the lye solution.

I used 1/2 tsp of indigo in both lye solutions for the same size batch (16 oz of oils). The powdered organic indigo is pictured on the left, and the pre-reduced crystals are on the right in the following photos:

Both types of indigo resisted being incorporated into the hot lye solution – the powdered even more than the crystals. The crystals turned green and also produced a rank odor when added to the lye.

By this time, the lye solution is starting to cool, but the indigo is still resisting in both solutions. I even considered that I might have to toss the one with the powdered organic indigo at this point.

This is how both solutions looked right before I added them to the oils. The organic powder finally incorporated – mostly. The crystals formed a skin on top and the solution remained a rather bright green.

This is the particulate that remained in the bottom of the measuring cup after I poured out the lye solutions.

The results of this test are rather stunning! The organic indigo remained a very dark blue – even darker than the darkest layer of the oil infused soap, while using almost half the amount.

Organic indigo from Botanical Colors in final soaps

This begs the question whether the lather of this super dark blue soap would stain the cream-colored washcloth:

This dark color definitely colored the washcloth, but fortunately it washed out! I probably still wouldn’t sell a soap colored this dark.

The soap colored with the crystals also came out beautifully – a very lovely dark greenish blue, with a lighter teal green around the outside. I think this may have happened because I put this soap in the oven to force gel stage and the heat pushed the green plant material to the outside. Just a theory though.

Soap colored with pre-reduced indigo crystals

And the color bleed test:

This one transferred just slightly more color than the darkest layer of the BC infusion soap, but not as much as the BC lye solution soap. The indigo washed out of the cloth, but I would still consider using a bit less.

The advantage to using this method is the ability to use much less colorant to get a strong color. The disadvantage is that you can’t do any design work. Your soap will be all one color – all one very lovely color though! I would also advise mixing the lye solution in a stainless steel container instead of plastic, as the indigo has now permanently stained the plastic measuring cups.

Experiment #3: Testing indigo powders from Bramble Berry and From Nature With Love using oil infusions.

I could tell just by looking at the color of the powders from these two different suppliers that the results from this experiment would be different.

Indigo powders

For this batch, I made 4 cups of soap (24 oz. of oils). Each oil infusion was made with 1 teaspoon of avocado oil mixed with the following amounts of indigo powder:

The intensity of the color is quite different between these two different suppliers! You can also observe the color difference between the gelled and ungelled portions of the soap.

Experiment #4: Testing pre-reduced indigo crystals dissolved in water added at trace.

For this experiment, I boiled 1/8 cup of water in the microwave, then added 1/8 tsp. of pre-reduced indigo crystals and stirred to dissolve. This method still puts off an odor, by the way! This time I made a batch of soap with 16 oz. of oils and poured off 1/2 cup of soap to add 1/4 tsp. of white kaolin clay dispersed in water for some drop swirls (just to add a design element). I took photos of the remaining soap batter after adding increments of 2.5 ml of the indigo solution:

The soap wasn’t poured off after each addition, I simply took a photo each time I mixed in more of the solution.

Once I had 10 ml of indigo solution added, I was happy with the color and poured the soap into the mold, adding the white drop swirls. Instead of putting the soap in the oven, I put it on a heating pad and covered it with towels. This produced a partial gel phase, and you can see the difference in color between the soap that didn’t gel and the soap that did:

No gel on the left, gel on the right

Isn’t it the most beautiful Tiffany blue? I just love how it turned out! I also observed that there is some shadowing around the white drop swirls – possibly due to the migration of the water that dispersed the clay or indigo, I’m not sure which. The other observation is the white outline around the outside of this soap, similar to the outline around the soap made with the crystals in the lye solution. Now I’m starting to think it’s because both of these soaps were made in a mold lined with silicone instead of freezer paper.

I thought I was finished now, but after seeing the results of Experiment #4, I knew I had to try one more batch using the indigo powder from Bramble Berry in the lye solution to see if I could get a nice blue color.

Experiment #5: Testing indigo powder from Bramble Berry in the lye solution.

Instead of adding the powder straight into the hot lye solution, I heated up the distilled water and mixed the powder into the hot water first. I had to cool it down in a cold water bath in my sink before adding the lye. It took an extra step to cool the water down twice, but the powder seemed to incorporate better this way. As soon as the lye was mixed in, the indigo turned a bit green, but you can see that after pouring the solution into the oils, there wasn’t as much residue left:

Lye solution is a dark olive green

Again, this batch size was 16 oz. of oils and I wanted to try one more thing to boost the blue color – layering more colorant into a portion of the soap by adding an oil infusion. I poured off 1 cup of soap and added an oil infusion of 1/2 tsp of indigo mixed with some avocado oil. Here you can see the difference in the color of the raw soap batter:

Oil infused batter is much darker!

And the final soap:

Beautiful gray-green from the lye solution infusion, and dark gray-navy from the added oil infusion.

I can see how layering different amounts of oil infusion on top of a soap that is already colored with indigo in the lye solution could produce some beautiful designs!

In case you are wondering if that dark soap will bleed:

Just noticeable amount of color bleed

Here’s one final comparison photo of the soaps made with 1/2 tsp of powder or crystals in the lye solution of a soap batch size with 16 ounces of oils:

This shows not only the difference in the intensity, but also the shades of greenish-blue to true dark navy.

This has been quite learning experience! I’ve discovered that not all indigo colorants are the same, and that you can achieve different colors and shades using different methods of incorporating the indigo into the soap. I have much more confidence in my ability to color soap naturally with indigo, and I hope you will too!

Secret Feather Swirl soap by Amy Warden

Scam Alert!

Warning Of ScamLast night I received an email from a guy named Tom Clarkson that said, “Have the ingredients changed in your Soap? I have used your brand for quite sometime now and have never had a issue. The bar is kept in a dry spot in the shower, yet seemed to dissolve/fall apart in the hand after just a few uses. Not to pleased. -Tom”

I didn’t have any record of him as a customer so I responded: “Thank you for contacting me. I’d like to help. Can you tell me which soap it was and when you purchased it from me?”

His response: “I’m not to sure when it was purchased as a relative that passed recently bought it for me. It was the clarifying bar. I must say I look forward to trying out the Oakmoss bar as well, many of my colognes have that scent in them! Thanks”

I thought it was a bit odd that the Clarifying Facial soap would dissolve so quickly as it is one of the hardest bars I make, but considering I have recently changed my recipe, I told him I would like to hear his feedback on the Oakmoss soap as well and I sent him a coupon code to cover the cost of one bar of soap plus shipping.

Later this morning I had this feeling that something wasn’t right about this guy, so I posted about my experience in one of the soaping groups on Facebook. Within the hour, I found out someone else had received the exact same email last night from him! I was so glad we figured it out! Someone suggested that I blog about the experience so no one else gets taken by this guy. Apparently he has struck before using a different name and claiming there was blood on the soap he received, also claiming that a dead relative had purchased it for him.

Hope this prevents someone else from getting sucked in by his story!

Central Soaper’s Workshop 2015

I can’t believe this was the LAST ONE. Central Soaper’s Workshop was founded by Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking three years ago, and last weekend was the third and final Workshop. (Insert sad face here!) We had an amazing line-up of speakers and presenters, with an option to attend the business track or the soapmaking track, OR there was a virtual option available as well for those who couldn’t attend in person. Everyone who was able to be there in person will have access to the virtual sessions as well – BONUS!

My part in the event was to teach some soap designs. I don’t have as many photos as I would like, but here are a couple of the soaps I made:

First soap - hanger swirl inside with Taiwan (linear) swirl on top

Hanger swirl inside with Taiwan (linear) swirl on top

The class requested a DNA/helix swirl, so of course I complied!

The class requested a DNA/helix swirl, so of course I complied! There’s a drop swirl inside.

I snagged this photo off Instagram.  realfoodfarms won the prize for the most #centralsoapers social media love!  Click the photo to check it out!

I snagged this photo off Instagram. realfoodfarms won the prize for the most #centralsoapers social media love! Click the photo to check it out!

This is the Litsea Lavender gradient soap I made on Sunday morning with lab colors from The Sage, and essential oils from Brambleberry. The colors should eventually bleed together!

This is the Litsea Lavender gradient soap I made on Sunday morning with lab colors from The Sage, and essential oils from Brambleberry. The colors should eventually bleed together!

The highlight for most of us was getting to meet the Soap Queen, Anne-Marie Faiola of Brambleberry. She demonstrated how to make beer soap and brine soap for the Soapmaking Track and gave Six Steps to Social Media Success for the Business Track. I enjoyed seeing her soap demonstration:

Anne-Marie Faiola discussing how to make a drop swirl beer soap

Anne-Marie Faiola discussing how to make a drop swirl beer soap

Brambleberry has been such a huge supporter of the Soap Challenge Club from the very beginning, so this is one of my favorite photos from the weekend (and my current Facebook profile pic):

Me, Anne-Marie and Kenna

Me, Anne-Marie and Kenna

I also got to meet Melinda Wolff-Foster of Melinda’s Naturals! She has been a member of the Challenge Club for several months and winner of the DNA/Helix swirl challenge last month! (She brought one of the soaps from that winning batch to show us – it was really cool!) Melinda discussed in her class how to formulate cold-process soap recipes for intricate designs and then demonstrated how she makes a NINE-color swirled soap. I was fortunate enough to witness her cutting the soap:

Melinda cutting her soap - and the final reveal!

Melinda cutting her soap – and the final reveal!

Majestic Mountain Sage sponsored the soap lab again this year which allowed every participant to make at least two one-pound batches of soap and practice the designs they learned.

Soapmakers at work!!

Soapmakers at work!!

Here I am with Andee and Tina from The Sage - love these gals and their endless soap knowledge!!  Grateful for their support of the Challenge Club too!

Here I am with Andee and Tina – love these gals and their endless soap knowledge!! Grateful for their support of the Challenge Club too!

On Sunday, RuthAnn Matthews of Divine Scents showed us how to make hot-process soap in the crockpot. She made it look so easy, and gave tips for keeping the soap fluid enough for designs at the end of the cook.

Ruth-Ann stirring down the soap as it cooks.

Ruth-Ann stirring down the soap as it cooks.

There were other presenters in the soapmaking track that I missed because I slipped out to sit in on a couple sessions in the business track – I wished I could have cloned myself and done both, but I’ll just have to check those out when the virtual area is ready to go! Preston Tillotson of Sudz by Studz rocked my world with his excellent information on how to use Instagram (my username is “greatcakesoap” – seriously, go find me!), and I also learned all about the 7 Deadly Sins of Wholesale from Lela Barker of Lucky Break Consulting.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting two other Challenge Club members while I was there (hey Kelly and MaryLou!) and visiting with other soapmakers, both local and nearly local. Overall, it was an amazing event and I hope we get to do it again sometime…

Central Soapers Workshop: What Soapmakers Live For!

kenna-amyThis past weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd annual Central Soapers Workshop, brainchild of Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking, and one of my favorite soapmaking friends.

I am so blessed to live about six miles from the meeting place at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, where 58 soapmakers from the Midwest and beyond gathered for some fantastic networking, learning, and sharing. Simultaneous workshops and soap lab presentations took place during both Saturday and Sunday, which made it difficult to decide which topic to glean from! We also had plenty of time over the lunch break to visit vendors, talk shop with other soapmakers, and I even got to pick Tina Howard’s brain from Majestic Mountain Sage.

I have a ton of photos to show you, so let’s see which ones make the cut!

Chronological order, anyone?

The pre-party gathering at Prairie Soap Co. in Lee's Summit, MO

The pre-party gathering at Prairie Soap Co. in Lee’s Summit, MO on Friday afternoon

Welcome to Central Soapers Workshop!

Welcome to Central Soapers Workshop!

This was the first workshop I attended:

Demystifying Liquid Soapmaking with Amy Young, Foam on the Range

Demystifying Liquid Soapmaking with Amy Young, Foam on the Range

Now I feel confident to try this crazy process again! I know my customers are rejoicing!

Believe it or not, the next activity was LUNCH!

Believe it or not, the next activity was LUNCH!

Work-Life Balance Workshop with Lela Barker, Lucky Break Consulting

Work-Life Balance Workshop with Lela Barker, Lucky Break Consulting

Ironically, this workshop was supposed to be taught by Donna Marie Coles Johnson of the Indie Business Network, but life got in the way. Essentially, we discussed how there is no such thing as work-life balance. It’s about setting priorities and boundaries and then measuring your results.

During this time, the soap lab which was sponsored by Majestic Mountain Sage was also open:

Boxes lined with mylar for molds...

Boxes lined with mylar for molds…

We used containers of pre-mixed oils with a variety of recipes, and lye solutions were measured into cups...lots of colors and scents to choose from!

We used containers of pre-mixed oils with a variety of recipes, and lye solutions were measured into cups…lots of colors and scents to choose from!

Tutus and tiaras were the theme of the Soap Lab!

Tutus and tiaras were the theme of the Soap Lab!

One of our Challenge Club members making soap in the Soap Lab!

One of our Challenge Club members making soap in the Soap Lab!

All about Etsy and Farmer's Markets with Tanya Rasley, Baby Duck Soap Co.

All about Etsy and Farmer’s Markets with Tanya Rasley, Baby Duck Soap Co.

Amanda Griffin, Lovin Soap and Holly Port, Lotion Bar Cafe demonstrating the Peacock Swirl

Amanda Griffin, Lovin Soap and Holly Port, Lotion Bar Cafe demonstrating the Peacock Swirl

Holly's Peacock Swirl soap

Holly’s Peacock Swirl soap

Goal Setting Workshop with Benjamin Aaron, Prairie Soap Co, assisted by Kenna in her tutu and tiara

Goal Setting Workshop with Benjamin Aaron, Prairie Soap Co, assisted by Kenna in her tutu and tiara

This was an incredible workshop, that led to me purchasing these:

His and hers notebooks for writing our goals morning and night.  New colored pens for added incentive!

His and hers notebooks for writing our goals morning and night. New colored pens for added incentive!

Perfumery 101 Workshop with Charlene Simon, Bathhouse Soapery

Perfumery 101 Workshop with Charlene Simon, Bathhouse Soapery

And the day isn’t over…AFTER PARTY!!!

Catered dinner to start us off...

Catered dinner to start us off…

Followed by games and craziness!

Potato sack race to get all the ingredients to make a batch of soap!

Potato sack race to get all the ingredients to make a batch of soap!

Ingredients even had to be measured - don't worry, no one was hopping back with lye solution!

Ingredients even had to be measured – don’t worry, no one was hopping back with lye solution!

Ring Toss, sponsored by Wholesale Supplies Plus.  All sorts of fixed oils, fragrance and essential oils, etc to win!

Ring Toss, sponsored by Wholesale Supplies Plus. All sorts of fixed oils, fragrance and essential oils, etc to win!

And finally, photo booth fun!!

Take us back to the farm - funny farm, that is!

Take us back to the farm – funny farm, that is!

Are you tired yet? That’s just the first day!

On Sunday morning, Holly Port was already opening up the booze for her Happy Hour Soapmaking workshop!

Holly Port, Lotion Bar Cafe demonstrating how to use alcohol in cold process soap

Holly Port, Lotion Bar Cafe demonstrating how to use alcohol in cold process soap

Next on the schedule was Kenna with her power point presentation of her e-book on Swatch Mania. Everyone who came to this workshop will receive a free copy!

Kenna Cote, Modern Soapmaking talking about how to make color swatches for cold process soap

Kenna Cote, Modern Soapmaking talking about how to make color swatches for cold process soap

Simultaneously, there was a workshop on product photography:

How to Get Money Shots by D.H. Riley, Madame Scodioli

How to Get Money Shots by D.H. Riley, Madame Scodioli

You should check out the Madame Scodioli website – it’s super creative!

Of course, we had more time in the soap lab too!

Tina Howard, Majestic Mountain Sage, assisting a new soapmaker

Tina Howard, Majestic Mountain Sage, assisting a new soapmaker

My turn!!  I made this fun soap with amethyst pink and venetian violet colors, scented with Wink fragrance - all from The Sage of course!

My turn!! I made this fun soap with amethyst pink and venetian violet colors, scented with Wink fragrance – all from The Sage of course!

After lunch, Lela Barker gave us the low-down on how to get press coverage – for free. It was amazing!

Professional tips to landing some serious media coverage.

Professional tips to landing some serious media coverage.

What a privilege to learn from someone who has worked so hard to build her company and is now sharing her expertise with others. Seriously, check out Lucky Break consulting company to get some great information and tools. Lela teaches everything she wishes someone had taught her to get where she is today.

Here’s the soap Tanya made to demonstrate how to do mica veins and swirls in her workshop:

Mica veins and swirls by Tanya Rasley, Baby Duck Soap Co.

Mica veins and swirls by Tanya Rasley, Baby Duck Soap Co.

And finally, we had the raffle drawing at the end. Everyone won at least one prize that was donated by our sponsors, and some people won two!!

A small portion of the prize table!!

A small portion of the prize table!!

Best part: New soapy friends!!

Me, Tara, Justin and Charlene (photo bomb courtesy of Holly Port)

Me, Tara, Justin and Charlene (photo bomb courtesy of Holly Port)

So now that you know how much fun we have, make sure to join us next year! Follow the Central Soapers Workshop Facebook page so you don’t miss out!

Master-batching Soap Oils

If you aren’t a soapmaker, please feel free to scroll to the bottom of the post to see the pretty soaps I made this week!

For those who care, I finally got my act together and master-batched some oils! I had been slowly gathering information and equipment for several weeks. Long Leaf Soaps was a true inspiration as she shared about her set-up on Facebook. I was able to use my big bucket that my coconut oil came in from Soaper’s Choice, and bought an industrial bucket warmer, as well as a bulkhead tank fitting and spigot online. I told Hubby all we needed were some pipe fittings and some silicone, but he was adamant about not using silicone, so he found the fittings he wanted to use and put together that part for me.

Master-batch bucket for soap oils

I set it up on top of an empty 5-gallon bucket right next to my rack full of supplies. There’s an electrical outlet directly behind it so I can easily plug in the warmer, and it’s high enough I can put my scale and soap pot on the floor under the spigot to get the oils I need.

To start out, I just melted the solid oils in two large pots on my stove, then dumped them in the bucket along with the liquid oils and stirred it up – enough to make 3.5 gallons total. I figure I could have made at least another 2 gallons if I wanted to fill the bucket, but that was a good starting point. Long Leaf Soaps also recommended plugging in the warmer the night before you want to make soap. It heats up to 140 degrees, so you have to be careful not to touch it when it’s hot!

I made three batches of soap in one afternoon – it worked pretty great! I didn’t get it plugged in overnight, but it was probably 5-6 hours. The oils were between 90-95 degrees, which is my perfect soaping temp! I did not master-batch the lye solution, and probably never will. It just seems too dangerous to me to have that sitting around, since I do all my soapmaking in my kitchen.

Here are the final soaps, all cut and ready to cure:

Black Raspberry Creme Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Always a favorite, I figured I would bring it back in time for the holidays!

Moroccan Spice Coffee Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

This is also a re-make, and the first time I will be offering it this year. Perfect for fall with its top notes of orange combined with every spicy note you can think of!

River Dance Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

It’s been several years since I have made a soap with this fragrance. It’s a dupe of the popular men’s cologne Green Irish Tweed – smells absolutely wonderful! Love the way the faux funnel pour came out with the three shades of green.

All three of these soaps will be available at Greatcakessoapworks.com on October 23rd.

Central Soaper’s Workshop – Let’s Meet IRL!!


Have you heard about the Central Soaper’s Workshop (soapmaker’s gathering to talk shop and learn more about soap) on March 9-10, 2013? Several regions have their own little conferences and Kenna of Amathia Soapworks decided it was time to put something together for those of us in the central part of the country! She just secured our meeting spot at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and it’s an AMAZING conference space!

Since this is the first year for the event, there isn’t any start-up money, so Kenna opened up sponsorship registrations to help secure our spot. There are just two available spots left at $99, otherwise you can expect to pay $125 through the rest of the year, or $150 in 2013. I’ve already snagged a sponsorship registration myself, and am thinking about what role I’d like to play at the workshop. This will be a great opportunity to meet some of my online soaping buddies IRL (in real life) – and I can’t wait!!

So, if you live in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, or Arkansas (or further!), please consider joining us, and do leave some feedback about what you’d like to do/learn at the workshop!

DOS caused by…glitter?

I’ll say it up front: this post is more for soapmakers. Everyone else is welcome to read and learn more about the elusive phenomenon that can show up in handmade soap that we refer to as DOS.

DOS (dreaded orange spots) are definitely showing up on the tops of my soaps that have iridescent glitter sprinkled on them. Not all of them – maybe half. The first soap to have issues was the Bayberry from Christmastime. I still have a few of these left, so I took a photo of it along with one I made recently, the Sweet Dark Cherry:

DOS on glitter soaps - Sweet Dark Cherry and Bayberry

Now to figure out why SOME of the soaps with glitter have DOS, but not all. Could it be that the soaps that had glitter applied more liberally are getting spots? Or the soap wasn’t covered long enough after it was put in the mold?

Anyone else have this problem with glitter?? To me, this seems like a cosmetic problem. From the pattern I’ve observed, I don’t think it’s caused by rancid oils. So the soap is still good, right?

Natural Vanilla – Does it hold up in CP soap?

I have to ask because I don’t know the answer yet. I got my Vanille EO blend from Essential Oil University on Monday (which is no longer in business), and the only thing I’ve been confident enough to use it in is the Hand & Body Lotion. Made a new batch of Grapefruit Parfait since that seems to be the favorite one right now: natural vanilla + grapefruit & orange essential oils = heavenly!

But the real question I have is whether it will stick in cold-processed soap. This stuff isn’t cheap, so I don’t want to waste it! The only CP soap made with natural vanilla that I’ve had the pleasure to experience is Dreaming Tree Soapworks Voluptas. It’s absolutely perfect. But then I’ve also been reading that natural vanillas don’t tend to stick. I don’t need Meghan to give away her secrets, but I would like some general guidelines from anyone who has used a natural vanilla blend in soap. How much to use per pound of soap, that sort of thing.

Anyone?

Best Handmade Soap Blog Winners Announced

I want to start by saying that for being a relatively small industry of handmade soap makers, we have some highly talented bloggers! There were some really, and I mean, REALLY tight races in a couple of the categories. I am so blessed to be part of such a wonderful and sharing community.

Here are the results you’ve been waiting for:

Category 1: Best Photography – Naiad Soap Arts

Category 2: Best Soap Reviews – Cocobong Soaps

Category 3: Best Soap Showcases – Cocobong Soaps

Category 4: Best Information on Making Cold/Hot Processed Soaps – Soap and the Finer Things in Life

Category 5: Best Information on Making Melt & Pour Soaps – Soap and the Finer Things in Life

Category 6: Best Overall Content – The Soap Bar

Congratulations to the winners – I have contacted them and given them award badges to display on their blogs if they choose to do so (if you didn’t get an email from me, please let me know)! Huge thanks to everyone who nominated their favorite blogs and voted in the final poll!! I’m very excited about the new blogs that have been recently “discovered” as a result of this event. I hope we can do this again next year! Please leave your comments about the experience and any suggestions you might have for next time. For example, I had one suggestion to add the category “Best New Soap Blog” which I thought was an excellent idea. I’m open to other ideas as well, so please let me know your thoughts!