Winners of the Collaborator Challenge Announced!

The January challenge was completely different from any other challenge we have ever done before! It was inspired by the experiences that Kenna of Modern Soapmaking and I have had making soap together. Each member had to find a friend or family member who doesn’t typically make soap with them to be their collaborator and create any cold process design they wanted, showing proof of their collaboration with photos or a video. The stories and soaps that came out of this challenge have been very inspiring!! I sent out a survey as well to get feedback from members and overwhelmingly the best part of the challenge was being able to share their craft with a friend or family member, and many also mentioned feeling inspired and enjoying the process of bouncing ideas off each other. The hardest part was making the time to get together and for the member to be able to back off and allow their collaborator to do some of the work!

Kenna and I co-sponsored this challenge, offering gift certificates to Modern Soapmaking for the winning members, and Amazon gift cards for their collaborators. Kenna also picked three entries for her Sponsor’s Choice prizes which include a printout of her Honey & Beeswax soap tutorial and two bars of soap made with the tutorial so that the winners can make another soap together if they wish! Thank you, Kenna, for the idea for this fun challenge and for sponsoring it with me!!

Now for the winners…it’s been awhile since this has happened, but we actually had a TIE for FIRST PLACE!! Both of the winners are well-deserved, as their soaps are incredible!! Congratulations goes to Lisa Norris of Kangaroo Apple Soap Studio and her friend Rebecca (Beck) and to Debi Olsen of Me Do It Meself and her daughter Hayleigh!!

Lisa and Beck spent several hours on a hot day in Australia making their soap, including a trip to the local river beach to cool off! Lisa says: “Beck chose the design – an EIGHT layer diagonal rainbow soap inspired by Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon – and the essential oil blend of rose geranium, tenfold orange, frankincense, cedar and clove. We knew the essential oils would set up fast owing to the clove and rose geranium, plus it was HOT here in Sydney Australia that day…this was heaps of fun.”

Dark Side of the Moon soap by Lisa and Beck

Lisa wins a $50 gift certificate from Modern Soapmaking and Beck wins a $50 Amazon gift card – woo hoo!! Click on the photo to see Lisa’s Facebook album to read more about how their soap was made.

Debi and Hayleigh’s soap is an impressive bowl of Fruit Loops cereal – all made with cold process soap! Debi says, “We both could not be more pleased with the outcome of our final soap! I think what thrilled me the most is this was a complete and total collaboration. I did most of the set-up and the technical part of the process such as mixing the colors, and setting up the oils and lye, but Haleigh did all the mixing and most of the pouring. We both contributed ideas and solutions equally and we combined efforts putting everything together. This was definitely a team effort!”

Fruit Loops & Fun soap by Debi and Haleigh

Debi and Hayleigh win the same prize package as Lisa and Beck, and you can read all the details about how they made their soap by clicking on the photo to read Debi’s blog post. Congrats, ladies!!

Our second place winners are Claire Edmunds of Saponista and her friend Anna with their beautiful Ebru soap, inspired by one of Anna’s paintings! Claire says: “I love to take part in soap challenges as it allows me to really express my creativity and at the same time enhance my soapmaking skills. I don’t get much chance to do this within my business as I have to stick to my strictly regulated cosmetically certified recipes for the soap I sell via my website…I really enjoyed working with Anna as I usually have to work on my own, it was so much fun and I would love to do it again.”

Ebru Gannet soap by Claire and Anna

Claire wins a $40 gift certificate from Modern Soapmaking and Anna wins a $35 Amazon gift card!! If you click on the photo of their soap, you can read more of Claire’s blog post and see the video of them making their work of art!

Third place goes to Tatiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso and her husband Sergei. Sergei was very enthusiastic about participating in the challenge. He took a couple of tries to create a soap of his liking and chose to do a drop swirl design for the entry. He even wrote the blog post about how his soaps were made! Sergei says, “Before this challenge I think soap making is easy. When I saw how my wife made it. But after I tried myself I realised it can be quite hard. You need to do several things at once and fast, otherwise soap can become hard and you can’t pour it into mold. I like that I spent this time with my wife. We both work a lot so time we spent together is very valuable for us. I love my wife and see her smiling face when I get my soap from mold was great.”

Drop Swirl soap by Sergei and Tatiana

Tatiana wins a $25 gift certificate from Modern Soapmaking and Sergei wins a $25 Amazon gift card – congrats!! Yes, you can click on the photo of the soap to read more about Sergei’s first soap adventure!

Finally, we have our three Sponsor’s Choice prize winners!!! Kenna spent two hours poring over the entries, taking the time to read about each one’s experience – she said choosing just three was SO HARD. Congratulations goes to Lynlee Sky and her husband Jimmy, Melissa Berkowitz and her friend Lauren, and Alicia Davis of Pixie Soap Shop and her husband Jerome! Here are their soaps (linked to their blog posts and Instagram) and what Kenna had to say about their entries:

Two Artists Soap by Lynlee and Jimmy

Kenna says, “I love how Lynlee and Jimmy put together their skills to create a masterpiece together. Most folks know that I’m a no-nonsense soapmaker, and the amount of work that went into this… just wow!”

Sweet Pea Surprise by Melissa and Lauren

Kenna’s feedback: “Lauren & Melissa showed off the epitome of collaborating to me: learning from each other! When Amy and I soaped together for the first time, I was amazed at how different we did things even though we were both experienced soapmakers. So seeing two relatively new soapmakers (somewhat new and completely new) work together, and then enduring a fragrance seize, was awesome!”

Men’s Exfoliating Bar by Alicia and Jerome

Kenna says, “I love that Alicia talked Jerome into participating in this challenge. Sometimes, getting our family and friends involved can help them understand our interests better. High five for Alicia pulling him in, and Jerome for giving it a shot!”

Thanks to everyone who participated in this unique type of challenge!! We might have to do it again some time…

If you’d like to see the rest of the entries, read some really great stories, and see some fun videos, please check them out HERE.

Registration for the February and March challenges opens Monday, January 30. For February, we are doing CP + MP Designs. Anything you can imagine combining these two forms of soapmaking is possible with this challenge! I just love the magma style, so for the tutorial I’ve created this soap:

Passionfruit soap – Magma style by Amy Warden

This challenge will be divided between newbies and experienced soapmakers and Majestic Mountain Sage will sponsor the newbie category (those who have made soap for less than 2 years and fewer than 50 batches). Elements Bath & Body is a new sponsor and they will provide prizes for the experienced category (those who have made soap for 2 years or more or more than 50 batches). Both sponsors offer MP soap bases, so hit them up! (Click on the photo for more info about this challenge and the one in March.)

If you haven’t signed up to receive notifications about the Challenge Club, here’s the link to do so:

Soap Challenge Club Wood Grain Winners

The challenge for October was to create soaps that look like real wood grain. Members were given a variety of techniques to choose from and given pretty free reign to do what they wished to achieve the desired outcome as long as the soap was made with the cold process method and featured a wood grain technique. The entries were divided into two categories: soaps made with all natural ingredients and those that had synthetic colors and/or fragrance added. Huge thanks to our sponsors!! Modern Soapmaking was a new sponsor this month for the natural category, which came at the perfect time as Kenna has been coming out with new resources for soapmakers using essential oils, including her newly released book, Smellgoods: How to Use & Blend Essential Oils in Handmade Soap & Skincare available for pre-order HERE. Long-time Challenge Club supporter Bramble Berry sponsored the synthetic category with a combination of gift certificates and various sizes of their wood molds. Clever, right?

There were significantly more entries in the synthetic category, and I will start with those winners first – mostly because ALL of them are first-time winners in the Challenge Club!!

Taking home GRAND PRIZE is Nancy Jameson of Artwork Soaps in Texas, and indeed Nancy’s soap is a work of art! She created a beautiful tulipwood soap for the challenge, scented with a Cedarwood and Patchouli fragrance. Take a look:

Tulipwood Soap by Artwork Soaps

Tulipwood Soap by Artwork Soaps

Nancy has been participating in the challenges for quite a while, so it’s very exciting that she is finally taking home a prize – congratulations!! Nancy wins a $75 gift certificate, plus a 9-bar wood mold with silicone liner from Bramble Berry! Be sure to click on the photo to read more about Nancy’s process on her blog.

In second place is Sarah Riedel in Sweden!! Sarah is fairly new to the Challenge Club, but has already shown herself to be a contender! Her soap, titled “Forest Walk” might have you fooled into thinking it is real wood if you didn’t know it was soap:

Forest Walk soap by Sarah Riedel

Forest Walk soap by Sarah Riedel

Since Sarah lives outside the U.S. she wins a gift certificate equivalent to a 5-lb wood mold with silicone liner + $50 from Bramble Berry. What a great prize!! Click on her photo read more about the soap on her Instagram post.

Third place goes to Kate Munroe in Rhode Island – a first-time member of the Challenge Club! Her soap looks like blocks of wood straight from a tree – bark and all! You’ll want to click on the photo to read more about how she did it:

Into the Woods soap by Kate Munroe

Into the Woods soap by Kate Munroe

Congratulations to Kate on winning a $25 gift certificate, plus a 2-lb wood mold with silicone liner from Bramble Berry! Fantastic work!

The Sponsor’s Choice winner from Bramble Berry is Julie Miller in Pennsylvania, another first-time Challenge Club member, for her Autumn Woods soap! Amber Strawn speaks for her team at Bramble Berry when she says, “We love the unique and creative design. The ‘knots’ in the wood add interest and texture, and the colors are vibrant and perfect for fall!”

Into the Woods soap by Julie Miller

Into the Woods soap by Julie Miller

You’ll have to be a member of the Soap Makers Plus Facebook group to see her post, which I think MOST soapmakers are. Julie wins a $25 gift certificate from Bramble Berry – yippee!!

Now, on to the winners in the all-natural category, who in contrast with the synthetic category have all placed in the Challenge Club at least once previously! The grand prize winner is none other than Bann Matson of Homely Animal in Utah, who took 3rd place last month in the experienced category of the piping challenge! Bann’s soap is made to look like weathered, reclaimed wood. It is an unscented 100% olive oil soap, colored with activated charcoal and raw cocoa:

Reclaimed Wood soap by Homely Animal

Reclaimed Wood soap by Homely Animal

Congratulations to Bann for winning a $100 gift certificate from Modern Soapmaking!! You can click on the photo of her soap to see her Instagram post.

Second place goes to another member of the Challenge Club who has been making her mark lately: Helene Glemet of Chez Helene in Canada! This is her fourth time placing in the top 3. This time her prize-winning soap is called Firewood, aptly named for its real log-like appearance, down to the moss growing on the bark:

Firewood soap by Chez Helene

Firewood soap by Chez Helene

The soap has been scented with pine needle essential oil, and the colors were all achieved with varying shades of cocoa powder. Spinach powder and paprika were used to create the moss and lichen effect. Be sure to click on her photo to read all about her process on her Facebook page. Helene wins a $75 gift certificate from Modern Soapmaking – congrats!

Our third place winner is also a seasoned Challenge Club member who has created many beautiful soaps, including her first place winning rimmed soap in March. Congratulations goes to Anastasia Krasilnikova in the Czech Republic for her Thuja Wood soap with its rich, wood grain texture, colored with 99% Lindt chocolate and scented with thuja and sweet orange essential oils! (Thuja is a genus of coniferous trees in the cypress family, in case you were wondering like I was.)

Thuja Wood soap by Anastasia Krasilnikova

Thuja Wood soap by Anastasia Krasilnikova

She wins a $50 gift certificate from Modern Soapmaking – fantastic!! Click on the photo to read more about Anastasia’s soap in her blog post.

Finally, Kenna of Modern Soapmaking has chosen Belinda Williams of Love Your Suds in Canada as her Sponsor’s Choice prize winner for her Beekeeper soap, Belinda’s second time as a Challenge Club prize winner! Kenna says, “I loved how the wood grain design was the foundation for combining textures on either side of the soap, and bringing together complementary facets of nature into harmony. So creative!” Her inspiration came from Tree Stump Beekeeping, as you can see from the design:

Beekeeper soap by Love Your Suds

Beekeeper soap by Love Your Suds

Belinda wins a $25 gift certificate from Modern Soapmaking – congratulations!! To learn more about her process, click on the photo to read her blog post.

To see ALL of the entries from the Wood Grain challenge, please visit THIS PAGE.

We will be doing another fun technique for the November Challenge, with guest teacher Tatsiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso. It is the technique she created called “Cosmic Wave” and this is the soap she made for the video tutorial that you won’t want to miss:

Cosmic Wave soap by Creative Soap by Steso

Cosmic Wave soap by Creative Soap by Steso

This will be one big challenge, with Mad Oils as our sponsor. Registration will open Monday, October 24, with the opportunity to register for December’s challenge also at a discounted rate. Click the photo above for more info about these challenges, and sign up to be notified when registration opens below:


More Swatch Mania! Winners

Yes, that’s right – WINNERS with an “S”! Since we had 77 entries, Kenna said I could go ahead and choose two winners of her ebook, More Swatch Mania!!

Those who entered the giveaway were asked what their favorite colorant is for cold-process soap and why. It was really fun reading through all your comments!! Most of you had a difficult time choosing just one!

Our first winner is comment #18:

Congratulations to Leslie!!

Congratulations to Leslie!!

Leslie said, “I like using clays for color. I’ve been afraid to try micas because I’m mostly a hobby soaper, with a limited soaping budget, and there are about a million beautiful colors I’d like to try! Haven’t been able to decide where to start!”

And our second winner is comment #51:

Congratulations to Mariselys!!

Congratulations to Mariselys!!

Mariselys said, “It’s hard to choose a favorite colorant but if I had to choose only one it would be micas. So many diffferent colors! Clays and neon colorants are also awesome.”

Hope you both enjoy your copies of More Swatch Mania! I know you will put them to good use. Thank you to everyone who entered and participated!! And huge thanks to Kenna for the giveaway!! If you didn’t win and would like to get a copy of this handy resource, remember it is only available to the public until the end of the month. You can get your copy HERE.

More Swatch Mania! Review and Giveaway

Me and Kenna

Me and Kenna

Many of you know my good friend Kenna from Modern Soapmaking. She likes to call other people rock stars, but she’s about as rock star as they come! She’s super smart, a talented soapmaker and formulator, as well as a savvy business owner. Fortunately she likes to share all that talent and knowledge as often as she can. Even if you just join her Modern Soapmaking newsletter list you’ll gain a ton of great information. I’ll give you a chance to do that here in a minute. First, I need to tell you about her latest resource, More Swatch Mania! that she just released earlier today.

Kenna has gotten her hands on literally hundreds of different colorants for cold-process soap and tested them so the rest of us don’t have to! Her pre-cursor to More Swatch Mania! was the original Swatch Mania! which includes: 52 swatches and examples of various micas, 12 swatches and examples of various pigments, 16 swatches and examples of various clays, 7 swatches and examples of various seeds, 48 swatches and examples of various natural colorants, plus a full swatch making tutorial with instructions and formula used in swatching all of these colorants. These colorants come from suppliers such as The Conservatorie, Brambleberry, Nurture Soap Supplies, and New Directions Aromatics.

For More Swatch Mania! she has tested an additional 71 swatches of various micas, 24 swatches of synthetic colorants, 38 swatches of natural colorants, plus a brief overview of each colorant type and how to use them in soapmaking. New colorants from suppliers such as Mad Oils and Aroma Haven/Rustic Escentuals plus many others are included in this publication.

Here’s a little example for you:

Sneak Peek!

Sneak Peek!

What I love about More Swatch Mania! is that I get to see how so many colorants will behave before I invest my money. Not every supplier can show you exactly how each of their colorants will look in cold-process soap. Especially all the seeds and botanicals! As the trend to go natural continues, I am continually looking for new ways to color my soap naturally. Honestly, I haven’t ventured very far because I know how fragile most of the natural colorants can be and I want colors that will hold up over time. After checking out More Swatch Mania! the creative juices are definitely flowing…

I’m sure you would like an opportunity to acquire this handy-dandy resource as well. It will be available to the public for purchase just until the end of the month (January 31, 2015) HERE. After that, it will only be available to Soap Mastery Club Members or those with an All Access Pass to Modern Soapmaking.

HOWEVER, Kenna is also graciously providing one of my readers with their very own copy! Want to enter to win the giveaway? Leave a comment below letting me know what your current favorite soap colorants are and why. Enter by January 15, 2015 at 10pm CST. One entry per person.

Comments are now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated!!