Final Soap Challenge Winners Announcement!

It’s so hard to believe this is the final winners announcement for the Soap Challenge Club!! There have been 55 challenges since the Club started in June 2013 with 160 unique winners of $10,000 in gift certificates plus physical prizes, many of them winning multiple times! Thousands of soapmakers have joined the Club over the years to learn new techniques and push themselves to grow their skills in incredible ways. I celebrate those who didn’t give up after the first try, who offered up what they learned from their experiences, and continued to contribute over and over again not only by creating their own soaps, but encouraging their fellow Club members along the way. Thank you for coming together to create this amazing community of soapmakers!

I owe a huge part of the success of the Club to our sponsors, whose prizes provided needed incentives to go the extra mile. Huge thanks to all of you for supporting the vision of the Club and making it possible!! I’ve enjoyed learning new techniques along with everyone else even as I taught them or learned them from our guest teachers who deeply enriched our experience and brought the Club to places we could not have gone without them. They have been an enormous blessing!

The technique this month was Straight Line Designs. Toni Watt of White Milk Soaps was our guest teacher, showing us how to get perfectly straight lines in cold process soap. It is a somewhat tedious process that creates absolutely stunning results! Members could create straight or diagonal lines, as long as their soap was created in one pour session. Many took this challenge to a level of creativity that is downright incredulous!

Since this was the final challenge, we had multiple sponsors provide prizes not only to our top four voted winners, but also participation prizes to those who entered – all 82 people this month! Much gratitude goes to Bramble Berry, Majestic Mountain Sage, and DIY Soap Labels for their participation prize packages!

In an attempt to simplify the process this month, I offered the option of having our jury members choose 10-15 entries for everyone to vote on. With well over 250 people registered for the challenge, I anticipated that the participation rate would be high – especially since this was the last challenge and there were participation prizes at stake! My goal for the challenge was for everyone to have a good experience, whether they were able to submit an entry or not. For those who did submit, I wanted them to feel like their entry was thoughtfully considered. Since this is a busy time of year, I wanted to be sure everyone felt like they had ample time to check out the entries so they could vote on the best ones. After receiving the results of the survey I sent to all the members, I decided that I would get the jury involved only if there were 50 or more entries. Well, 82 entries later, the jury members had their work cut out for them! After careful consideration, rock-star jury members Tatiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso, Jelena Vasiljeva of SoapTechniques, Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking and I were able to narrow down the entries to twelve for the final vote. Members were given six total votes to be spread across three entries, ideally giving their first place choice 3 votes, second place 2 votes, and third place 1 vote. Here are the top four prize winning entries:

Congratulations to long-time member Debi Olsen of Me Do It Meself in Colorado for her stunning 34-layer soap with the same number of colors which she calls “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Her project took a total of 13 hours to complete! Debi has always gone above and beyond in her creations for the Club, and does an excellent job writing about her experiences on her blog. It’s quite clear that she is passionate about extravagant soap design!

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road soap by Me Do It Meself

Debi wins a $100 gift certificate from Bramble Berry for her outstanding efforts!! Be sure to click on the photo to read all about Debi’s experience and inspiration for making her soap.

In second place we have last month’s winner in the juried category, Elena Childers of Mysteria Soap in Texas, with her bold and beautiful “Universe in the Jewelry Box” soap. Although new to the Club, it is obvious that Elena is highly talented as well! She was able to create a fantastic illusion with her back and forth ombre pours and final swirled portion in the center:

The Universe in the Jewelry Box soap by Mysteria Soap

Congratulations to Elena for winning a $75 gift certificate from Symphony Scents! Her photo is also linked to her blog post with many more beautiful photos and a sketch of her plan.

Our third place winner is the ever-talented Helene Glemet of ChezHelene in Quebec, Canada! Another veteran to the Club, Helene’s ability to think outside the box really makes her designs stand out. Her soap stunned us all with its perfect black and white chevron pattern, another long process taking 9 hours to complete! Can you believe she just eyeballed this design?

B&W Chevron soap by ChezHelene

Helene’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage! Congratulations, Helene! Her photo is linked to her Facebook post which describes and shows her process so be sure to check it out.

Finally, in lieu of a Sponsor’s Choice winner, the fourth place winner is Vera Lede of Lede Soap in Kazakhstan who created a 5-color diagonal masterpiece. Vera is an avid supporter of the Club as well, and has used each experience to really push herself to her maximum potential:

Line Design soap by Lede Soap

Vera wins a $25 gift certificate from For Craft’s Sake, a brand-new sponsor to the Club but a veteran in the soap supply world, best known for their super soap cutter called The Tank (one of my personal favorites!). Check out Vera’s blog post by clicking on the photo!

I know you’ll want to see the other 78 entries as well – they are pretty incredible! Check them out HERE.

This is the part of the announcement where I usually tell you what’s next. Honestly, I don’t know! This is the end of the Challenge Club. Many have wondered if someone else could take it over and continue the legacy. If I thought it was actually possible to hand it off, I would attempt it. I have sat down over the past several weeks to write out just an outline of all the steps it takes to keep the challenges running. It is nearly five pages long and doesn’t even go into detail about HOW to accomplish all these steps. I do know that there is still a need for mentorship in the soapmaking community, and if I can figure out a way to provide that in a less complicated way, I will let you know!

Meanwhile, the tutorials from all the past challenges will still be available to you. I will still offer smell-through shrink wrap. Perhaps I will find time to create a new tutorial now and then, but until I know what my schedule looks like, I can’t make any definite plans.

So I wish you all much success in your soapmaking journeys and hope to see you around! Have a very Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year!

Intaglio Soap Challenge Winners Announcement

For the month of August, the Soap Challenge Club took on the Intaglio technique which was created by Clyde Yoshida of Vibrant Soap. He’s made three different types of designs with this type of carving technique and was excited to see what the Challenge Club members might be able to create. Strictly speaking, intaglio is an etching or engraving that refers to an image that is created by what is carved away. It has been used in printmaking processes. For the challenge, members were simply encouraged to etch a design in their soap that was no more than 1 cm deep. The design could be created from what was left, or from what was carved away using at least one thin layer of a contrasting color to really make the design pop.

The challenge was divided between two categories: juried and voted. Majestic Mountain Sage was our sponsor for the juried category and participated in choosing our top three winners as well as their Sponsor’s Choice winner. Other members of the jury included Tina Moenk of Natural Suds N More, Jelena Vasiljeva of Soap Techniques, Kenna Cote of Modern Soapmaking and myself. Those who entered the juried category were scored according to their adherence to the technique, difficulty, effort, skill/talent, uniqueness, presentation, theme and overall aesthetics. Since there were only 16 entries this time, all were scored by the jury members and everyone who entered this category will receive their scores as well as personal feedback from me about their soaps.

All of the jury members agreed that the top 2 spots in the this category could have been interchangeable as they were both SO incredibly amazing! In the end, there can only be one winner, and with just 4 more points than second place, here is the Grand Prize winner: Linda Irawan of Moia Soap in Indonesia!!! Linda has placed in every challenge since she began participating with us. She has incredible talent (and patience!). Her winning soap is Panthera Tigris, an amazing display of color and excellent use of thematic elements, and precision in design.

Panthera Tigris soap by Moia Soap

Congratulations, Linda!! Her prize is a $100 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage. Check out more photos of her beautiful soap on her Instagram post by clicking on the one above!

In second place, and equally fantastic is Teri Endsley of Tree Marie Soapworks in Indiana! Teri has been the Grand Prize winner in the juried category the past few months and always creates outstanding designs. She took the opposite approach by creating her design by what was left rather than by what was carved away. The result is this stunning Plumeria Bouquet with three layers of color:

Plumeria Bouquet soap by Tree Marie Soapworks

Teri wins a $75 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage to keep her creative juices flowing. Click on the photo to see more about her process and how she incorporated parts of her practice soap into this one.

Third and fourth place were super tight also! With a margin of just four points, our third place winner is Belinda Williams of Love Your Suds in Canada! With Halloween just a few months away, Belinda’s soaps are Something Spooky. The clean lines and simple black and white color scheme really showcases her designs beautifully:

Something Spooky soaps by Love Your Suds

Belinda’s prize is a $50 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage! Congratulations!! Read more about Belinda’s soaps on her Instagram by clicking on the photo.

Finally, the Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Lyn Arnhart of Garnet Tree Designs in Florida. Lyn’s Quilt Blossoms soap caught the eye of Tina Howard of Majestic Mountain Sage for several reasons. She says, “Quilting is similar to soap, it can be so very basic or it can be extremely creative. The colors chosen, as well as the whole image on her site, showed that she prepared her soap much like an intricate quilt – with a lot of preparation. These soaps, as a whole, felt like a quilt with the appliqued top and the peek-a-boo fabric underneath. A good choice of colors representing the concept of quilting as well as the art of marbling. This soap was well done, very well done.”

Quilt Blossoms soap by Garnet Tree Designs

Congratulations to Lyn for winning a $25 gift certificate from The Sage! Lyn has a great write-up and plenty of process photos on her Facebook post. Just click on the photo to check it out!

Now for the voted category! These winners were voted on by all of the members of the August Challenge Club, and sponsored by Nurture Soap. We have a stand-out winner who has been participating in the challenges for several years and this is her first time placing!! I’m so happy for Rama Mbaye in Paris, France becoming the Grand Prize winner this month! Her soap is inspired by a mosaic pattern which was beautifully executed in great detail:

Intaglio Mosaic soap by Rama Mbaye

Rama wins a $100 gift certificate from Nurture Soap – woo hoo!! Click on the photo to see her inspiration and process photos on her Instagram post.

Second place goes to Holly Shelton of Kapia Mera Soap Co in Tennessee! She is a faithful member of the Challenge Club for several years with quite a few prizewinning soaps during that time. Holly’s soap this month is a fabulous landscape design that was translated into all four bars. She had to perfectly place each color underneath to carve out the shapes each one represented:

Intaglio Soap Carving by Kapia Mera Soap Co

Excellent work, Holly! Her prize is a $75 gift certificate from Nurture Soap. Be sure to click on the photo to read Holly’s blog post about her process and see the video.

In third place, and just 2 votes behind Holly, we have Carmen Iclodean of Earth’s Raw Beauty in Nevada! Carmen has been participating in the challenges for several years as well and placed one other time. She used every ounce of patience she had to create this stunning “Paisley Pain” soap with excellent detail and clean lines:

Paisley Pain soap by Earth’s Raw Beauty

Your efforts paid off, Carmen! She wins a $50 gift certificate from Nurture Soap. This photo is linked to Carmen’s Instagram post if you want to take a look.

The Sponsor’s Choice winner was chosen by Carrie Thornsbury of Nurture Soap. Congratulations to Kelley Conway of The Corner Handmade in Massachusetts! This is her second month in a row to win Sponsor’s Choice!! Carrie said she appreciated the clarity of Kelley’s carving as well as the excellent color contrast in her Tribal Football soap:

Tribal Football soap by The Corner Handmade

Kelley’s prize is a $25 gift certificate from Nurture. Be sure to click on the photo to see more photos and information about how and why she created her soap on her Facebook page.

Don’t miss the rest of the entries, and the announcement of the top 10 in the juried category located here:

Juried Category

Voted Category

The technique for September is 3D Jelly Soaps!! Helene Glemet of ChezHelene is our guest teacher, and will be showing us how to make this soap:

3D jelly soap by Helene Glemet

We are doing one big challenge with Rustic Escentuals as our sponsor. The supply list has already been posted on the Current Challenge page. Be sure to check it out and join us as registration opens Monday, August 28. You can sign up to be notified below:

Cold Process + Melt & Pour Soap Design Winners

The February soap challenge was to combine cold process with melt & pour soap to create a cohesive design. These two mediums are completely different in a lot of ways, and yet each has definite advantages and benefits to create artistic soaps. Members were given ideas of what they could create, but had license to come up with a completely unique design! Normally, the Soap Challenge Club techniques are limited to cold process, so quite a few members found themselves working with melt & pour base for the first time – which ended up being a really good thing! It was a great experience to debunk these common myths about melt & pour soap base: 1. The ingredients are chemically derived and not good for your skin, and 2. It’s such a simple process to melt and pour the soap base so it’s only for beginners. Neither one of these is true!

We divided the challenge into two categories: newbies and experienced. Newbies were defined as those who have been making soap for less than two years and have made fewer than 50 batches. Everyone else was considered experienced. Huge thanks goes to our sponsors this month! Majestic Mountain Sage is your one-stop supplier for soap and cosmetic making materials out of Utah. They sponsored the newbie category. Elements Bath & Body has been selling soap supplies out of Colorado since 2002. I’m so grateful they stepped in as a new sponsor for the experienced category since they carry a wide variety of melt & pour soap bases – including an all-natural one! Both of these sponsors ship internationally as well, so be sure to check out their websites!

Time to announce the winners! I’ll start with the grand prize winner in the newbie category…congratulations goes to Margot Blubaugh of Marvelous Soap in Minnesota for her outstanding Amethyst and Amber soap! Her inspiration was a chunk of amethyst, which happens to be her birthstone! Margot comb

Amethyst and Amber soap by Marvelous Soap

Margot wins a $100 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage! Be sure to click on the photo to read more about how she created her soap on her Facebook page.

In second place we have Cheryl Wetzler of Saponaceous Soap in Pennsylvania. Cheryl took second place in the newbie category of the Tiger Stripe challenge just two months ago! This time her soap features diagonal layers of cold process and melt & pour soap, and the light shining through from behind truly looks like a sunrise as she has aptly named it:

Sonoma Sunrise soap by Saponaceous Soap

Cheryl’s prize is a $75 gift certificate! Her photo is linked to her post on Instagram if you’d like to find out more about it.

Third place goes to Jessica DeLeon of Moose Country Designs in Maine! Congratulations, Jessica, for creating such a beautiful prize-winning soap in your first challenge! She built this fabulous gumball machine entirely out of cold process and melt & pour soap:

Sweet Soapy Gumball Machine by Moose Country Designs

Jessica wins a $50 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage! Woo hoo! Click on the photo to read about her process on her Facebook page.

Finally, the Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Shayla Gauthier of Black Gold Soap Co. in Alberta, Canada for her soap creation featuring Ursa Major! It’s a beautiful galaxy soap, featuring the Ursa Major constellation (aka the “Big Dipper”) on each bar:

Ursa Major soap by Black Gold Soap Co.

Tina Howard of Majestic Mountain Sage says, “Wow! That took some planning and was awesome!” and Shayla wins a $25 gift certificate from them! The photo is linked to Shayla’s blog post which demonstrates how she created this stunning soap – and you can see a photo of the light shining through one of the bars, showing off the constellation.

And now…the experienced category! You will be stunned to see all these fabulous entries as well! Grand prize goes to a brand-new member, Maja Zuvela-Aloise of Bubbledream in Austria! Maja’s combined cold process soap shavings and embeds into a melt and pour soap base created this beautiful Tree Landscape soap:

Tree Landscape soap by Bubbledream

Congratulations to Maja for winning a $100 gift certificate from Elements Bath & Body! Feel free to click on the photo to read more about how she made this soap on her Facebook page.

Second place in the experienced category goes to Bannatyne Matson of Homely Animal Soap Shop in Utah! This is her fourth time receiving a prize in one of the top two places, and her Think Spring soap is definitely worthy of the prize! Bann created a beautiful stained glass masterpiece using cold process for the “lead” and transparent melt & pour for the glass:

Think Spring soap by Homely Animal

Bann wins a $75 gift certificate from Elements!

Congratulations to Tatiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso in California for her third place finish because of her “Love, love, love…” CP + MP Design soap! She is a very talented soapmaker, placing six times in the challenges, and participating as our guest teacher four times! This ultra-complex soap was made by combining a rimmed soap technique with melt & pour base for the rim, and a nearly translucent cold process center with a cute double-heart MP embed on the surface. Check out the stunning result:

Love, love, love… CP + MP Design Soap by Creative Soap by Steso

Tatiana’s prize is a $50 gift certificate – woo hoo! Click on the photo to see how she made her soap, as well as one other with a different color palette.

The Sponsor’s Choice prize for the experienced category goes to a well-deserved recipient as well. Tammy Tivis of Elements Bath and Body recognized how unique and special this soap is when she said, “This stunning soap pushes the boundaries and gives us a totally new technique based on gelatin art. It looks like it was very painstakingly created; this soaper is indeed an artisan. I’m certain many soapers will want to learn this technique.” I’m sure she’s right! The soap she is referring to is this 3D Shower Jelly soap created by Helene Glemet of ChezHelene in Quebec, Canada:

3D Shower Jelly soap by ChezHelene

Congratulations to Helene for creating such a stunning soap! Her prize is a $25 gift certificate from Elements! Get more information on how she created the soap by clicking on the photo.

The results of the rest of the challenge entries can be found HERE for the newbie category, and HERE for the experienced category. Be sure to check out all the beautiful entries!

The challenge for March is called Secret Swirls! It will be divided between soaps made with all natural ingredients and those that are colored and/or scented with synthetic ingredients. Only one entry per member. Brambleberry is our sponsor for the natural category and Nurture Soap will sponsor the synthetic category. (Prize packages will be announced soon!) This is an advanced technique, but anyone is welcome to join us! I will do my best to give as many helpful tips as possible to give you success! Here is a soap I created with the Secret Feather Swirl in 2014:

Flamingo Feathers soap by Amy Warden

Registration for this challenge is just $6.95 and will open Monday, March 6. Here’s the link to receive a notification:

Impression Mat Challenge Winners

We are closing out the Soap Challenge Club this year with the Impression Mats challenge. Personally, I had no idea how much fun this challenge would be! Members were asked to make soap with an impression mat that they either purchased or made themselves. These mats are usually used for the cake and candy industry, but they sure create some beautiful options for soap as well! The idea was to use the impression mat in the bottom of the soap mold, then flip the soap over so that the bottom becomes the beautiful top created by the impression mat.

Brambleberry was our sponsor this month, and they graciously gave all our members a coupon code to get 25% off their pourable silicone kit for those who wanted to play. Their prizes for our winners are pretty incredible too!

Check out our winners:

Our grand prize winner is none other than Tatiana Serko of Creative Soap by Steso in California! She was our teacher last month, so it’s no surprise that she created this beautiful Baroque soap:

Baroque soap by Tatiana

Baroque soap by Tatiana

Tatiana wins a $100 gift certificate from Brambleberry! Be sure to click on the photo to see how she created her soap.

Second place goes to Yvonne Pedersen in Norway! She made this beautiful and creative Oriental Triangle soap by adapting a log mold and using her impression mat in the bottom point. You can see her process if you click on the photo:

Oriental Triangle soap by Yvonne

Oriental Triangle soap by Yvonne

Yvonne’s prize is a $75 gift certificate from Brambleberry!

In third place we have Sara Golding of Sunflower State Soap in Kansas! Sara’s soap is called Garden-ia Butterflies. She was able to create several different looks by testing out two different techniques in her one batch of soap. You’ll want to click on the photo to read all about her process on her Facebook page:

Garden-ia Butterflies by Sunflower State Soap

Garden-ia Butterflies by Sunflower State Soap

Sara wins a $50 gift certificate from Brambleberry!

Finally, Brambleberry has chosen Sylvia Otypkia of Soaps by Sly to receive their Sponsor’s Choice prize! Sly created a beautiful rainbow of colors in the impression mat she scored from Hobby Lobby. She calls this Four Thieves, based on the essential oil blend used to scent the soap. Click on the photo to read all about her process and recipe on her blog:

Four Thieves Soap by Soaps by Sly

Four Thieves Soap by Soaps by Sly

Congratulations on your $25 gift certificate from Brambleberry, Sly!

You can check out the rest of the entries from our Impression Mat Challenge HERE. They are all impressive!!

We will take a short break for the holidays, then start up the 2016 Challenges on January 4th. You will have the option to register for January only, or the next three months of challenges.

For the January Challenge we will be doing Elaine Wright’s version of the Circling Taiwan Swirl. This technique creates several unique looks on the inside of the soap, including a lotus blossom shape:

Circling Taiwan Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

Circling Taiwan Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

As well as this beautiful swirl:

Inside piece of Circling Taiwan Swirl

Inside piece of Circling Taiwan Swirl

We’re going to try something new in January. There will be two different challenges – one for new soapmakers with under two years experience, and one for more experienced soapmakers with two or more years experience. Bath Alchemy Lab is sponsoring the challenge for the newbies with a free online class (up to $145 value) for the grand prize winner, $75 gift certificate for 2nd place, $50 gift certificate for 3rd place, and $25 gift certificate for Sponsor’s Choice. Majestic Mountain Sage is sponsoring the challenge for the experienced soapers with a $100 gift certificate for the grand prize, $75 gift certificate for 2nd place, $50 gift certificate for 3rd place, and $25 gift certificate for Sponsor’s Choice. Alex Kelly is also providing a coupon code for 15% off your purchase at his etsy store, Custom Soap Stamps, for everyone who enters a soap in either challenge that will be good through the end of February.

In February, we will have a theme challenge: Winter Wonderland. Details will come later, but members will be able to decide whether to enter a soap made with all-natural ingredients, or one with synthetic colors and fragrance. Brambleberry is sponsoring the all-natural challenge with gift certificate prizes, plus a copy of Anne-Marie’s new book, Pure Soapmaking, containing 32 original recipes for all-natural soaps. Nurture Soap is sponsoring the synthetic challenge with gift certificate prizes.

For March, Tatiana Serko will be back as our guest teacher, showing us how to create Rimmed Soaps. This challenge will be divided between U.S. and international participants. Rustic Escentuals will sponsor the U.S. challenge, and Voyageur Soap & Candle Co. in British Columbia, Canada will sponsor the international challenge.

If you haven’t signed up for notifications about the Challenge Club and tutorials, please do so here:

notify-me

Announcing the Winners of the Ebru Challenge Club!

For the month of June, the technique was based on Ebru inspired designs. Ebru is the ancient art of Turkish paper marbling and many of the designs can be translated into soap. We had done other Ebru inspired soap techniques in previous Challenge Clubs – including the peacock swirl and combing techniques, which is why this month participants were limited to free-hand designs that could be accomplished with a single skewer or chopstick. You will see that the creativity that came out of this challenge really is astounding!

All participants competed together this month which meant we had 70 entries to check out and vote upon. Fortunately, I am not part of the voting process – and I don’t envy the members this month who had to decide who their top five choices were! Our sponsor this month was Majestic Mountain Sage, and they came through with a $100 gift certificate for the grand prize winner, and $25 gift certificates for second and TWO third place winners, PLUS their Sponsor’s Choice prize winner. Huge thanks for their continued support of the Club!

And now for the winners!! This was one of our tightest contests yet with all the top place finishers within a couple votes of one another and a tie for third place. So congratulations to Yvonne Pedersen in Norway for her first place finish and winner of the $100 grand prize gift certificate!! She created a simple, yet elegant Ebru-inspired soap that looks like it could be fine china:

Ebru-inspired soap by Yvonne

Ebru-inspired soap by Yvonne

In second place we have Svetlana Avtonova in Russia! She created a beautiful pomegranate tree based on the poem “The Legend of the Pomegranate” that she has posted in both English and Russian on her blog. Click the photo to see her post:

Ebru inspired pomegranate tree soap by Svetlana

Ebru inspired pomegranate tree soap by Svetlana

In third place is Tatiana Serko in California, and Tina Svetek in Slovenia. Tatiana created a whimsical Ebru-inspired owl in her soap with incredible detail:

Crazy Owl by Tatiana

Crazy Owl by Tatiana

Tina’s soap mimics the Ebru style of creating birds. She has some really great photos of her process on her Pinterest board as well, so be sure to click the photo to check them out:

Ebru Birds in Soap by Tina

Ebru Birds in Soap by Tina

Finally, Majestic Mountain Sage chose Stacey Tunnicliff of Craft-T-Country in New York as their Sponsor’s Choice prize winner. Stacey created a variety of beautiful flowers and leaves for her Ebru soap, and here are the results:

Ebru soap by Craft-T-Country

Ebru soap by Craft-T-Country

Please do not miss the chance to see the rest of the entries, as they were all really spectacular!! They are located HERE.

I know you may be anxious to hear what the next three month’s of challenges will be, so here you go! Registration will open Monday, June 29th, and we will be doing a theme technique called Embracing Opposites. Here are the soaps I made for the tutorial:

Opposite color theme soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Opposite color theme soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Opposite theme soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Opposite theme soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

We will be dividing the entries between U.S. and international soapmakers again in July. For the U.S. participants, the sponsor is Nurture Soap Supplies! The grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift certificate, second and third place will receive a mixture of at least $25 worth of pigments/micas including the Really Red! mica, and their Sponsor’s Choice winner will receive a 2.5 pound tall and skinny mini basic soap mold with mica samples.

For the international participants, the sponsor is Riverlea Soap in South Africa! The grand prize winner will receive a $75 gift certificate, second place will receive a $50 gift certificate, and third place and the Sponsor’s Choice winner will each receive $25 gift certificates!

(Second & third place will still receive free registration to the next month’s Challenge Club as well!)

Registration for July only is $5.95. You will also have the opportunity (only in July!) to purchase a 3-month registration that includes July through September for just $15.

In August, everyone will compete together again. We have a new technique from Erica Pence of Bath Alchemy Lab called Mantra Marbles. She and BeScented will sponsor the challenge.

September’s challenge is the Clyde Slide, created by Clyde Yoshida of Vibrant Soap. Separate link-ups again – U.S. sponsor is Mad Oils; international sponsor is Gracefruit in the UK.

Challenge Club Landscape Soap Winners!

For the month of March, the Challenge Club tackled landscape soaps – nature scenes from the land, sea or sky. They were all made in log molds so that when the soap was cut, you could see the design inside. Members also had to find an inspiration photo or drawing for their soap. This was one of the more challenging designs and we had some amazing entries!!

Huge thanks to TKB Trading for sponsoring this month! The grand prize winner will receive a $100 gift certificate!! TKB has also chosen a Sponsor’s Choice winner to receive their EZ Eyeshadow Kit.

Once again, our grand prize winner really ran away with the prize! Congratulations to Claudia Carpenter in Los Altos, California for her beautiful ocean scene with the sun setting behind it! Claudia is a long-time member of the Club and has been consistently placing in the top 3 ever since she joined. However, this is her first time winning the grand prize, and I couldn’t be happier for her! Please click on the photo to see how she made this fabulous soap:

Claudia's ocean soap, scented with Abalone & Sea

Claudia’s ocean soap, scented with Abalone & Sea

Her inspiration photo:

Claudia-insipration

Second and third place were quite close! (Even fourth place was only one vote behind third…)

Long-time Challenge Club member Claire Edmunds of Saponista’s Artisan Soap from Plymouth, UK made second place with her fabulous rendition of a field of lavender in Devon which is near where she lives. I love this picture of her inspiration photo next to her soap:

Claire's lavender field soap

Claire’s lavender field soap

Another veteran of the Club, Amy B of Middleton, WI, took third place with her stunning birch tree soap. Be sure to click on the photo to read all about her inspiration and how she made this soap:

Amy's Birch Tree soap, scented with Oakmoss Sandalwood

Amy’s Birch Tree soap, scented with Oakmoss Sandalwood

Her inspiration photo:

amyb-inspiration

Claire and Amy both receive free registration to next month’s Challenge Club – yippee!!

Congratulations to Tatiana of Walnut Creek, California!! TKB Trading has chosen her mountain scene soap for their Sponsor’s Choice prize! This was her very first Soap Challenge and she created this beautiful soap, that she calls “Evening Sunset”:

Evening Sunset by Tatiana

Evening Sunset by Tatiana

If you are interested in seeing the rest of the entries for the Landscape Soap Challenge (who wouldn’t??), you can click HERE.

Now for the announcement you’ve been waiting for! The next THREE months of challenges:

For April, the technique is Spinning Swirls! We are going to do something just a bit differently…I have lined up TWO sponsors and we will have TWO sets of winners. Soapmakers from the U.S. and soapmakers from the rest of the world will be competing separately. Everyone who joins will be able to vote in both contests. Mad Oils is excited to sponsor the U.S. portion and will be providing a $50 gift certificate to the grand prize winner. Their Sponsor’s Choice prize includes 2.3 oz. of hibiscus petals, 2 oz. of Sexy Beast and Vanilla Milk fragrances, and samples of their new Hot Pants and Blue Bling micas. Gracefruit Ltd from the UK is a new sponsor to the Challenge Club, but certainly not new to the soapmaking world. They are sponsoring the non-U.S. portion and will provide a £50 gift certificate to the grand prize winner, and a £25 gift certificate for their Sponsor’s Choice prize!

Here is the soap I made for the video tutorial:

Grapefruit Ginger soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Grapefruit Ginger soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

I’m pretty excited about May too! We have another twist – a guest teacher!! Cee Gordon of Oil & Butter has agreed to teach all of us how to make dessert soaps using cold-process, melt & pour, and soap fondant! Have you seen her work? Here’s just a sample of what she can do:

Dessert soaps by Cee Gordon

Dessert soaps by Cee Gordon

Brambleberry is also excited to sponsor this challenge! They are in for a $100 gift certificate to the grand prize winner! The Sponsor’s Choice winner will receive four 4 oz. bottles of some of their newest fragrances. If all goes well in April, we may split the challenge again and have two sponsors. I will keep you posted!

In June, the technique is Ebru Art. This is a paper marbling technique that can be translated into soap. I’ve made several soaps with this technique and didn’t realize that was what I was doing! Here’s one of them:

Purple Mangosteen soap by Great Cakes Soapworks, circa 2012

Purple Mangosteen soap by Great Cakes Soapworks, circa 2012

Majestic Mountain Sage is our sponsor, and there will be more details about that later!

For now, you should know that registration opens Monday (March 30th) for these challenges! You can choose to do April only for $5.95 or do all three months for just $15. If you haven’t signed up for the Challenge Club newsletter, be sure to click the link below so you don’t miss any notifications:

notify-me

Check Out These Spoon Swirls!!

We had 116 soapmakers from all over the world come together for the December Challenge Club! Our technique was the simple spoon swirl which involves pouring various layers of soap, then using a spoon (or chopstick) to fold the soap from bottom to top, creating beautiful swirls! Our sponsor this month was Majestic Mountain Sage. Tina’s favorite holiday is Christmas, so she created some generous prizes for our winners!! Grand prize is a $100 gift certificate! Normally second and third place just receive free registration to the next month’s Challenge Club, but this time they will also receive the Amazing Dozen sampler kit from The Sage – 12 different one-ounce bottles of the winner’s choice of fragrance, essential oil, extract, or flavor oil. The Sponsor’s Choice winner will also receive an Amazing Dozen sampler kit! Thanks so much, Majestic Mountain Sage!!

And now, for our winners:

Congratulations to Milla from Bend, Oregon!! She is a hobby soapmaker, and has entered nearly all of the Great Cakes Soapworks Challenge Clubs, yet this is the first time she has made a top 3 spot. Milla has really created a masterpiece with her pink, black and white spoon swirl soap:

Blackberry Sage spoon swirl soap by Milla

Blackberry Sage spoon swirl soap by Milla

In second place we have Jelena in Quebec, Canada with her beautiful wispy swirled Cherry Blossom soap. Isn’t it gorgeous??

Cherry Blossom spoon swirl soap by Jelena

Cherry Blossom spoon swirl soap by Jelena

Congrats to Claudia in Los Altos, California for her third place finish with this amazing outer space spoon swirl soap! She combined the spoon swirl with in-the-pot swirls and tiny little soap embeds:

Outer space spoon swirl soap by Claudia

Outer space spoon swirl soap by Claudia

And finally, I get to announce our Sponsor’s Choice prize goes to Katy in Neoga, Illinois!! Katy is yet another hobby soapmaker and soon-to-be mother of six girls! She has been a member of the Challenge Club nearly every month, and I am excited to show you her Champagne Sugar spoon swirl soap made with real champagne:

Champagne Sugar spoon swirl soap by Katy

Champagne Sugar spoon swirl soap by Katy

I know you’ll want to see the rest of the entries, so I’ve made the link available HERE.

For the January Challenge Club, I will attempt to de-mystify the Butterfly Swirl, originally created by Zahida of Handmade in Florida. Here are the results of my first practice batch:

Butterfly Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

Butterfly Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

Our sponsor for the January Challenge Club is Nurture Soap Supplies! The grand prize winner will receive 65 different mica samples (enough to color 2 pounds of soap each!), and the sponsor’s choice winner will each receive a basic 2.5 pound soap mold with silicone liner.

Once again I will open up the January Challenge Club so that you can register just for that month, or you can register for the next three months. Check out what we have lined up for February and March as well:

The February Challenge will feature the DNA/helix swirl, and the sponsor is Nature’s Garden. They will provide a $50 gift certificate to the grand prize winner, and a $25 gift certificate to the sponsor’s choice winner!

For March, we will revisit landscape soaps, something we haven’t done in quite a long time and always turn out so amazing! We have a new sponsor for March: TKB Trading! Their prize packages will be announced soon.

Registration opens after the holidays – on Monday, January 5th. Sign up now get a notification via email as soon as registration is available, and the tutorial for the spoon swirl as well:

notify-me

Extra Prizes for 2nd & 3rd Place!

Registration for this month’s Soap Challenge Club remains open for a very short time. We are making Squeeze Bottle Designs which can transform any ordinary soap into something extraordinary just by using your tracing skills.

Bayberry Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

Bayberry Soap by Great Cakes Soapworks

The Challenge Club is open to any soapmaker from around the world who has a basic knowledge of how to make cold process soap. If you would like to compete for the prizes, simply document the making of your soap via photos or video and add your blog, YouTube, pinterest, or Facebook album link to the link-up on November 13. Club members only will vote for the winners.

Normally the sponsor for the Soap Challenge Club takes care of our grand prize only which is pretty incredible! Majestic Mountain Sage is contributing a $100 gift certificate to our grand prize winner this month. NOW, they have offered to also give away Sampler 7 kits to 2nd & 3rd place winners as well – and that’s in addition to free registration to next month’s Challenge Club! So many ways to win!

If you haven’t registered, better do it quick!! This opportunity will go away Monday at 2pm CST!

register-now

Congratulations to our Winners (with a twist!)

Our monthly Soap Challenge Club is off to a great start! We’ve had well over 100 members for the first and second months, and we will be starting up the third month on Monday. I am behind on announcing the winners of the Mantra Swirl challenge, so please accept my belated congratulations:

First place goes to Swanee Bonny from France:

Swanee's Winning Mantra Swirl soap

Swanee’s Winning Mantra Swirl soap

Second place goes to Mariella Belknap from Washington State:

Mariella's Mantra Swirl Soap

Mariella’s Mantra Swirl Soap

And third place goes to Shari Lewis of Blossom & Twig:

Shari's Mantra Swirl

Shari’s Mantra Swirl

Normally, the first place winner takes home the grand prize, which in this case was a $100 gift certificate from Majestic Mountain Sage, and second and third place get free registration to the next month’s Soap Challenge Club. However, I received a very sweet email from Swanee stating that she makes soaps for fun for her own needs and enjoys the soap challenges because they push her to try new techniques, BUT she wanted Mariella to have the prize because “she is located in the US and will be able to place orders at MMS for her soap business.” Wow. So Mariella gets the grand prize, and Swanee is happy to get free registration to next month’s Soap Challenge Club along with Shari. Have I mentioned how much I love the soapmaking community? I’ve “met” so many wonderful soapmakers in this journey, and am looking forward to meeting many more!!

Want to see the rest of the beautiful Mantra Swirl Soaps? Visit our link-up!

For the next Soap Challenge Club, we will be doing the “Holly Swirl” technique, otherwise known as a “swirl in a swirl”! The credit goes to Holly of Missouri River Soap Co. for coming up with this technique. Isn’t it fabulous?

Apricot Freesia soap, made with a Holly Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

Apricot Freesia soap, made with a Holly Swirl by Great Cakes Soapworks

Registration will open on Monday, July 29, and remain open until August 5, 2013. Our sponsor this month is Brambleberry, and the prize is a signed copy of Anne-Marie’s new book Soapcrafting (releases August 13th), plus a full kit to make one of the soaps from the book – complete with all the ingredients and the mold! Don’t want to miss it? Sign up to receive our Soap Challenge Club notifications!