Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Giveaway--Closed

December 15, 2015 This Drawing is now CLOSED Congratulations to Catherine Orvis Gilpin

Merry Christmas! I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Holiday season. I wanted to write this quick little post to offer you a Christmas Giveaway. In celebration of my new website store, I am going to give away 2 soaps and 2 lip butters of the winner's choice. In order to win this giveaway, simply comment on this blogpost or the facebook post on my business page which soaps and lip butters you would like. My family and I will put your names in a bowl and do a drawing. Only one name will be entered, so you don't have to post multiple times. The winner will be randomly chosen.

Please comment by Tuesday, December 15, 2015 at noon. That way I can send out the winner's package the next day so that, hopefully, they will get it in time for Christmas. The winner will be notified immediately.

Which soaps are your favorites? Available soaps can be viewed on my website.

December 15, 2015 This Drawing is now CLOSED Congratulations to Catherine Orvis Gilpin

Merry Christmas from the Ladybug's Soapbox.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Green Apple Tall and Skinny Shimmy

Well this week has been such a crazy week. My hosts are having an early Thanksgiving dinner this week and I have been trying to help out. Now of course I am down to the wire entering the soap challenge for this month. I have to say I think I need to practice a bit more.

This is my first soap, the colors didn't turn out quite how I wanted. I made the mold from foamcore as suggested, but I didn't follow the instructions too well. I made the box so that the skinny part of the mold was 2.5". Well I then didn't calculate for the new volume so my soap was squarish. I didn't achieve the cute little "s" design and I had tails. I also has a difficult time getting it out of the mold. So I went back to the drawing board.

This time with my leftover foamcore, I made a longer mold. I calculated the proper volume for this mold this time. I didn't have big enough paper cups so I used my condiment containers. Since my scent is green apple, I went with a graduated green for my color scheme.

I have to say that I did like using the paper cups as suggested. It was a bit difficult for me to keep the soap flowing down the side of the mold. I had trouble keeping my mold on one pencil of the other. The heavier the mold got, I had more slippage which may have been one reason I didn't get the "s" design. Plop! Ugh.

My nephew really wanted to help out
 I didn't want to leave the top plain, so I did a quick design. This soap was also difficult to get out of the mold even after waiting three days. I don't usually have to wait very long especially with a Trinity soap batter. Not in my neck of the desert and not with a water discount. Next time I will be using sodium lactate. I ended up having to shred that mold.

Here is my finished soap. It is pretty even though I didn't get the design I was hoping for. I love how the colors turned out.
I do plan on making another mold, though with the plastic sign board my friend gave me. It is blank. I am going to try again. That is once I get my things back from storage. I had so much fun doing this soap challenge, it has helped me so much get out of a funk. I look forward to the next one.

Carol H.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Announcement! I have a website and an Etsy store!

Well with the encouragement of my friends and family I have decided to sell my soaps. I really don't expect a lot of sales at first. And really, I only want to sell my soaps so that I can support my addiction to making soap so I can make more soap. Thank you to all my friends and family who have supported my little hobby. I enjoy making soap and I enjoy when my soaps get admired.

Here are the links: The Ladybug's Soapbox website
                               My Etsy Store

I have some more soap to add. I took a little trip to Bisbee to raid our storage unit. Cowboy Preacher had no clothes for the colder weather so I took advantage and grabbed a few of my supplies and products.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Carol Harvey
Head Artisan and Owner

Happy Dance!

PS: I'll be offered some more coupons for the Holiday season.

Head Lice!? ICK!!

You know, as a child, I remember endures lice checks at school. I never had them. I am certain that if I did, my mother would have be just as grossed out as I was, if not more so. (Does anyone know how freaked out Asians get about being dirty, associated with being dirty, and how they will do just about anything to be clean?) School started in Las Cruces in August. I had heard in the news about several states having problems with pesticide resistance head lice. Like any other person, I thought that THAT wouldn't happen to me.

The schools here had a major outbreak. But I homeschool, so I wasn't worried about it. The laugh was on me. My children have been enjoying playing with their cousins who, of course, go to school. One thing lead to another and yes, they did get lice. I had lice, Cowboy Preacher had a few lice. ACK!

Here is what I did. Due to a little Facebook poster all of Las Cruces had a tea tree oil shortage, but since I keep a bottle of the stuff in my purse I had some around. I put some in the shampoo and conditioner. Since Cowboy Preacher is allergic to tea tree oil, I bought some homeopathic lice spray and shampoo. By the way, Lice Freee is some awesome stuff. One application to Cowboy Preacher and the lice never came back. Being very sensitive, he said the stuff did sting a little. Then I used a lice comb and combed everyone's hair. That is nasty to do, if I have to say so myself.

I spent even more money going to a laundromat to get all the bedding washed. Then I had Cowboy Preacher buy some diatomaceous earth which I sprinkle everywhere we slept. On one boy, I had to dust his hair with the DE since he was finding it a little difficult to rid himself of the ugly little pests.

After a few days, I added some tea tree oil to my hair coconut oil. I learned later from a friend that lice don't like oily hair. Which confounds me since both Cowboy Preacher and I have really oily hair. But I was happy that my intuition lead me to start oiling up everyone's hair (except Cowboy Preacher, of course). I had only used the coconut hair oil on my daughter and myself before. I also left a lot of conditioner on my hair. 

We were completely lice free that first week, but I kept up the oil for a few weeks after that. I have to say these lice were a bit difficult to get rid of being pesticide resistant. I knew a few people who tried to use the pesticide stuff to handle these ugly pests, but they didn't work well at all. The homeopathic stuff worked great, but I wanted to try to save what little money we had and work with what we had. I do have 5 children after all. The bottle of spray wouldn't have lasted long. The spray smelled like a cross between anise and Chloraseptic. 

I pray that this never happens again, but if it did, I am going straight for the tea tree hair oil again. That seemed to have worked the best. Notice I didn't give any amounts? I did that purposefully. I did my research and I know how much to use for my family. I don't know who reads my blog but I am sure that everyone is different. What I use for my family will most likely not work for yours. I did my research, you do yours. I know for a fact that Cowboy Preacher is allergic to tea tree oil. I know my children are not. I also know how to use this essential oil properly on my family due to my extensive research. Please do your own research. Use of essential oils is serious business.

Update: Where the Heck Have You Been?

So after Independence Day we packed our final possessions into the storage unit and made our way towards Las Cruces, NM. It was rather stress since we did get a call from the Chairman of the Board demanding we vacate that day and that we should've left the house the day before. I really wanted to remind the Board that 30 days should have started on the day we were informed not 30 days from when they decided fire us. But we chose to just leave, because all that would have done was stress my children out even more.

Since we left Bisbee we have been staying with a really good friend. Her family has been good and kind to ours since I was 11. It has been a really blessing. The adjustment for both of our families hasn't been too bad. I mean, it has to be a shock to a family of three to welcome the chaos of a family of seven.

Meanwhile, we have taken two trips across the country in search of another church to serve. Both of those didn't come to fruition. And as a result, my children will never go again on a trip for an interview. Churches always want to see the whole family but they do not take into account the children's view when for whatever reason we don't get that church. The mother in me does not want to see the crushed spirit in their eyes in looking for another church home.

Thankfully, we have found a church home in my home church. The church that ordained us has accepted us into their ministry team. Cowboy Preacher and my home pastor will be co-pastors and I will once again be helping out with the children's ministry. I didn't realize how much I missed being a part of children's ministry until I started doing this again.

I had not written in such a long time because, well, a lot of different things really. One: I am thankful for my friend, but realize that we are basically living out of her guest room. The possessions of seven people are stored in that one room. The kids sleep on the sofas and floors in the living room, but come morning it has got to go back into the guest bedroom. Granted that after living here awhile, some spillable has occurred (ie. our homeschool boxes are in the dining area and some of my soapmaking supplies are in the kitchen.) I try to contain as much of our things as we can, but with 5 kids, things do tend to be messy.

Two: Shockingly, time has been a factor. I do laundry at my brother's home and my dad's. If you have ever had to take your laundry to the laundromat, you have some idea of the amount of time that takes. We have plugged into a wonderful homeschool group here in Las Cruces and I do need to spend some time schooling as well. We also help around the house with chores and clean up my dogs messes. My friend has asked for my help with organizing her possessions as well and I try to do that in between cooking, laundry, teaching, and so on and so forth. Time that sneaky concept that slips through fingers without notice.

Third and final: Healing. I needed to heal quite a bit. Having to leave in such a hurry was extremely stressful. Moving again in less than a year since moving to a new home and job and having to find a new home and job so suddenly. I had to deal with my children's hurt, their insecurities and their loss of friends once again. I needed to support my husband. I needed to be a beacon of hope for my family while all I wanted to do was fall apart and cry. 2015 has been a year of loss. My mother-in-law and Aunt-in-law passed away weeks away from each other before we were fired. Then as I was frantically packing my cousin Barbara died. I wasn't really close to her, but I remember my father talking about her and we were getting to know each other better via Facebook. Then the complicated emotions to deal with when my own mother suddenly passed away in August. I really need to heal first. Words did not want to form into sentences. I had no desire to write. I still have no desire to video as yet. But I have started to heal due to my home church. I know the Lord watches over me. I know things could have been a lot worse. I am so thankfully for the congregation at Agape Christian Church. Their name says it all. Agape.

So that is where I am now. We have a church to serve the Lord, now we need employment and our own house to make a home. I am ecstatic that we will be staying here for awhile. It has been wonderful to see my brother, my sister, and my father so much. I am so happy to come back to the church that taught us that we all as christians, are part of the greatest family ever created. God's Family has always been enough for my little family and it is great to be part of a church who realizes this same truth. My biological family may also be in this same town, but my family has once again grown. I have been supported by my brothers and sisters in Christ and also gained new brothers and sisters. Together we will spread God's message across our town and further.

Friday, June 12, 2015

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow

I have a great Lord and He has given me several amazing friends. They have come through shining with the light of Jesus. At the very least our possessions will be put in storage through the help of many of my friends. Thank you so much.

To my friends I want to give you such great hugs as you have uplifted me and listened to my concerns. When tiny irritations have popped up, you, my friends have sent encouragements and prayers.Thank you so much.

As I begin to sort through my things to make moving and or storage possible, I want to thank all my supporters. Yesterday as I was doing my morning chores, I was singing because the Lord through you had made my heart glad. It was amazing because the little flock of birds that live in the palm tree beside the parsonage were joining in my song. That morning was alive with life, love and music.

I love that I have friends from many walks of life and different faiths. I so value their contributions because they help me to grow as a person. You are a kind bunch of people who have no problem telling the truth. I want you to know who much that means to me.

Now I need to be back to packing, but I wanted to share with you a song that has been lurking in the back of my mind. I love to sing this song and now the words take on an even deeper meaning for my family.

May the Lord bless you for your kindness to my family.

On a side note: I had two friends stop by the house yesterday to do a quick soap session. I had loads of fun even though I didn't really get a chance to impart most of my knowledge. I love making soap and I love teaching others about making soap. Thank you for the diversion.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Soapbox: I want to be like Abel

This is a Soapbox post because my family is going through some turmoil at the moment. After serving in the Worship service and after the coffee refreshment, our family was asked to leave the church. Cowboy Preacher preached his last sermon at this pulpit. I sang my last song in that church. My children are devastated by the suddenness. They don't understand how someone can smile, chat and ask after you and then do this. In 30 days we have to vacate the parsonage, whether we find another place or not. We have no grace from this Bride of Christ.

As I pack up our possessions, not knowing if we will even get a van to move it. Knowing that we might have to leave it all. We may have to leave years worth of our things we had collected. We have moved quite often of late and we are mostly down to the very few things that mean something to us. On top of that, we bought new beds for all the kids. It is painful to think about leaving this stuff. The years worth of craft supplies I collected costs a lot of money. My soap supplies, my beads, my paints and scrapbook papers. My children's keepsakes and toys may all have to be left. It was breaking my heart.

Then the Lord whooped me upside the head. He set my thoughts upon Cain and Abel. The story is that Abel gave the Lord the best of his efforts. Cain didn't. I thought back to an article I had read in the last several months about what people give to churches and charities isn't the best. It is often second hand and we no longer have a use for it in our households. It is a second thought. We know who is going to end up getting these things and we don't put forth our best efforts. We see where they are in life and we don't think much of it. We forget they are children of God even if we and they have forgot it. As we try to give the best to our own children to give them a boost into the cruel world, to fully equip them for this world and beyond, shouldn't we also do so for the other children, the children of God?

We should be giving our best efforts to shine the light of Jesus. Our best, not our second best. We do not show the love and grace of my great and almighty God when we don't put in our best effort. I want to be like Abel. I have often found myself doing the Cain thing without thought. I do my best efforts for my own benefit. I am going to have to work better on being like Abel. God has blessed me so often He deserves to be my first thoughts and my best efforts.

So while my best efforts are not enough for the world, I know that the Lord sees me doing my best and that is all that matters. As I pack up our possessions not knowing if we will have to leave them, I know that He is in my heart and that is all I need. So if I cannot take them with us, I will do my best to organize them so that someone else may be blessed with them. If the Lord chooses to bless another with these delightful possessions He had blessed us with, then I hope it is His love and care that shines through. As I clean and prepare this dwelling for another servant of God, I will put forth my best efforts. The Lord has blessed my family and I many times, so I can leave knowing that I am leaving my trappings to the Lord.

As we step into a new adventure following the Lord, I will put in my best efforts. I want to be like Abel. Where would the church be today if we all gave our best? If we were to have Abel's heart of giving? I want to be like Abel, how about you?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Grandpa Al's Peanut Butter Cookie Recip

Hi Everyone,

I thought I would stop by and type up this really quick post. I'm reorganizing my paperwork again and I came across this email I had printed up. You see, my sister had this habit of asking me for Dad's peanut butter cookie recipe every few months or so. I'm not sure if she keeps misplacing the recipe or what, but I had typed on the bottom of the email. "Don't Delete This Message!!!" I thought I would go ahead and post it on my blog so I have it handy to send to her again whenever she requests it again. I love you Young! Yes, her real name is Young. It means "Eternal or Forever" in Korean. I think I am getting over being the only kid in the family to have been born in South Korea NOT to have a Korean name.


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp baking soda


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cream together butter, white sugar and brown sugar together for 5 minutes.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking soda, set aside.
  4. Add egg to butter mixture, mix well. Add peanut butter and vanilla extract and mix well. 
  5. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix well.
  6. Make 1" balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 to 3 inches apart. Make the characteristic pattern on the cookie dough using a fork. Take care not to smash the dough too much.
  7. Bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Cool 1 minute and remove to cooling racks. 
That's pretty much it. I confess that I do use more than 1/2 cup of peanut butter but I haven't changed the recipe to reflect this as yet. I am sure that it will trip up my kids when they want to make cookies like mom, but I haven't decided which recipe I like more, so I keep the original. I may have to make a little trial to see which cookie is favored.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Great Cake Soapworks May 2015 Soap Challenge: Mini Dessert Soaps.

I entered the soap challenge again. I was going to enter the April one as well but I missed the deadline. It was probably just as well, April was a sad month for my husband. He lost both his mother and his aunt within a week of the other. It has been a bit difficult.

Anyhow, I was excited to see what this month's challenge would be. When I started making soap, my very second soap was a brownie soap. I didn't have any other scent other than vanilla and I colored it with cocoa powder. He said I was evil and asked that I not make soap that looked or smelled like food. So I was happy to be part of this challenge just to needle my husband. Really, it was quite nice of him to think so well of my efforts in soap making. I didn't feel like it was realistic, but he must have.

The ideas were pouring through my head and it was difficult to pin just four down. I enjoy these challenges because there is a goal to achieve in your very own way. I find it funny how goals can boost creativity rather than suppress them. I wanted to play with that fondant soap, so I made some immediately. I used to play with polymer clay,so I thought I could sculpt something cute. I knew I wanted to make a parfait as an homage to my days working at Dairy Queen. The rest was still very much up in the air.

So here is what I am going to enter: a Orange Strawberry Parfait, a Gingerbread House with Gingerbread Maude (she just feels like a Maude to me), a dressed up Brownie Bite, and a mini Strawberry Swirl cake with glazed strawberry topper. All the cold process soap has goat milk and the brown soap has cocoa powder. The seeds are blueberry.

I originally had a chocolate fudge parfait, but well, it looked melted. And my cherry was ugly and I didn't wait long enough to add the silly thing. As you can see, my fragrance didn't give my anytime before bleeding into the unscented soap. I was going for a bit of a messy parfait since I know from making them, they don't look picture perfect. Often one machine was not freezing as nicely as it was supposed to. But well, I wasn't really happy with the chocolate fudge one, so I decided to make another kind.

Strawberry was on my mind. I decided to make a Strawberry Swirl Cake with my round embed mold from Brambleberry. I had made mini strawberries with the fondant soap, so I was just going to add a Strawberry Parfait. I used some melt and pour soap to make my strawberry sauce.

All I had to do was to roughly chop it into little chunks. I didn't have any strawberry seeds, so those are blueberry seeds you see there in the picture. (My youngest son, Lil' Duder, thought it was watermelon soap.) So all I had to do was add the strawberry chunks and drizzle with some more melt and pour colored with mica. (Full disclosure: I used a red mica that I knew discolored in cold process to orange, but didn't think about contact within my finished product. I was dismayed when I went to take pictures until I remembered I used Nature's Garden Citrus Strawberry fragrance, so I just changed it to an Orange Strawberry Parfait.) Most of the white soap I left unscented. My fondant strawberrys were too small to use as a topper so I just added my leftover chocolate soap that I was playing with my piping. I watch too many cooking shows sometimes, 
I wanted to frost the outside of the mini swirl cakes, but I didn't manage my time very well. The middle frosting was still very squishable while my frosting soap was stiffening fast. And I was getting tired. These soap take quite a bit of work. Since I couldn't pipe the fancy cake frosting on, I decided to dip my mini strawberry fondants into some clear melt and pour to make glazed strawberries. I love glazed strawberries. 

My brownie bites were the easiest to make. I just poured some chocolate soap into my mini cupcake silicone pan. I wanted the top to look a little flaky like a real brownie, so I put some crinkled plastic wrap on the top. I thought it worked rather well. Since it was so simple I wanted to add some chocolate mint leaves. I was going to just use tempered cocoa butter tinted green, but I'm running low on cocoa butter. I was just going to brush it on some real mint leaves and leave it one until it solidified. Yeah, another product of watching cooking shows. So I thought I would just go ahead and try with the cold process soap. It worked great,though you really should try to get the leaf off as soon as you can. It kinda wilted into soap and didn't want to come off so easy when I left it too long.

The gingerbread house was inspired by a cookie cutter I bought before my Alco closed. I made some brown soap with cocoa powder. I wasn't going to scent it at all since I had the bleed through problem, but I couldn't leave off. So I added some lemon cake fragrance since I didn't have a gingerbread type scent. At least my soap gingerbread would have a bakery type scent. Ack, this scent is AWESOME! I am totally rebatching some of my leftover soap in this scent. Love it. I had so much fun with the gingerbread. I had enough soap leftover to make little gingerbread people. One thing to note though: I put the gingerbread cookie cutter in the wet soap and let it solidify. I tried to cut another set in case I screwed up the first. Bad idea, the cutter is plastic and the soap crumbled horribly. The metal cookie cutters didn't have this problem.
Some of my mess and my horde of gingerbread people. I tried to pipe some roses with the leftover frosting soap.
Orange Strawberry Parfait, Strawberry Swirl Cake, Brownie Bite, Gingerbread

Close ups
I know that I could have been more patient and should have used another soap base. I keep using my bastile one that well, takes forever to get stiff. I have to say I know I have a long way to be great at this type of soaping, but for my first time, I think I did a decent job.

Thanks to all the people who commented on my last Challenge post. I really enjoyed reading your comments. I hope you all enjoy my mini soap desserts. I had so much fun making them and I still have a few ideas of others to make. 

Laundry Butter

So I was commenting on a post of one of the Facebook groups I belong to about Laundry Butter when it got deleted by the owner. I dislike having a thread deleted when I didn't get to read all the comments. Ah well, such is life, I am often disappointed. But it got me thinking that I hadn't shared with you a whole lot these past years. Granted they were very hard years, but I wanted to get back to why I started a blog in the first place. I wanted to share my knowledge, experiences and experiments.

So back to Laundry Butter. I adore my liquid laundry soap. I worked a lot to get it to work for my family. Alas, when we moved to Bisbee in the late fall, it was too cold in my laundry room to keep my liquid soap, well liquid. I recycled on of those cheapo laundry detergent bottles with a spout for my laundry soap. (FYI I will never buy cheap laundry detergent again. I hated the scent and half my family couldn't use the stuff. It took me forever to use it up so I can put my own stuff in.) Let me just say it is so much work to get that stuff liquid again so I can get it out of the bottle and use the stuff. I decided that since it was going to be a butter anyhow, I might as well make it like that to begin with.

I do not like the typical recipe that calls for 5 gallons of water as when I have made it before I would have to a floating solid mass on the top with slimy liquid underneath the mass. I don't like the snot like texture and I don't like having to mix my laundry soap every time I need to use it. I know that Suzanne from Chickens in the Road did more concentrated laundry soap, so I knew I could make something similar.

Borax with soap shreds seem to coagulate rather well together. It seems too much water will cause a bit of a separation. It seems that even though you add a lot of water to bar soap, its structure wants to solidify despite the extra water. I know I use about 2 gallons of water for my liquid soap, so I didn't want to use anymore than that. Anyhow, nevermind my silly thought processes to get my formula here is the recipe I have been using since February.

Laundry Soap Base for Shredding

You need basic soap making knowledge for this. This recipe should only been done by a person who knows how to make soap and who has advanced knowledge on the subject. You can substitute Zote or Fels Naptha if you so wish. This is just what I have done.

50% Coconut Oil
50% Lard

-2% in the superfat (this is a lye excess, but if you are not comfortable with an excess, just use what superfat you'd like)

I shred this just as soon as it is solid enough as this base can get rather hard and I like to shred when it is still like cheddar cheese.

Laundry Butter Formula

This is very concentrated. I don't use more than a tablespoon for a big load. Mostly I have based this for the very hard water of where I live. I like this formula as it works well for my family and I.

2 gallons of distilled water
3 cups of borax
3 cups of washing soda
30 ounces of soap shreds
4 oz of polysorbate 20 or 80
1 oz of preferred essential oil (We love the citrus, so most of ours are lemon, orange or grapefruit)

  1. In a stainless steel stock pot, boil the first 3 ingredients together.
  2. When the water boils and the borax and washing soda are totally dissolved, turn off heat and add soap shreds.
  3. Mix together polysorbate 20 or 80 with the essential oil. When the soap shreds are completely dissolved and the liquid is just very warm, you can add the polysorbate/essential oil mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Pour into your preferred vessel. I recommend a big tub with a lid. I found an old laundry detergent tub in my garage that I use. Let cool completely. It always take overnight for me.
I only use a tbsp of this butter per regular load and I use white vinegar as my fabric softener. I still believe in extra rinses. I know that this works well for me because well I tweaked the recipe until it worked for my new home. 

If you use this, please know it may not be as good or you probably need to tweak the formula to work for you. After nearly nine years of making my own soap and laundry soap, I know enough what to tweak, but mostly it is trial and error.


Note: The batch made in February was made using fresh soap shreds and the batch made in May was made using shreds I saved from February.  I should have stored the shreds in a cardboard box instead of a plastic bin I did. I know that the soap would yellow, but I forgot that soap needs to breathe so this batch doesn't smell that great because of that.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Soapbox: Update on Boy Genius Five Years Later

It seems a bit surreal that it has been five years since the whole oven cleaner accident. I remember vividly my anxious wait to hear what the doctors had to say. I remember tossing my poor boy in the shower. And I remember how relieved we all were when he started to heal. He didn't like the grey side effect of the silver cream. He would rub his face when he should have left it alone so we just gave him some salve and he stopped rubbing the scabs off his face.
The day after the accident. May 5, 2010
May 5, 2015
 As you can see, he has minimal scars. They are there, but I'm sure that unless you really look, you can't find them. Isn't he growing up to be so handsome?

The Lord was so generous to us. The caustic cleaner didn't get in his eyes, inner ears or his lungs. It could have been so much worse. I am so glad that because of my soap making knowledge that I instantly I needed to get the lye in the cleaner solution diluted. I really wasn't into chemistry, but I had found that my love of making soap also piqued my interest into chemistry. I'm sure that the Lord had a hand in that as well. I am so thankful that Boy Genius has such a resilient spirit. He bounced back from this accident and became a little more careful in some aspects. He tends to read labels now. Yes, the Lord has been good to our family.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

"Driving to Yuma" Landscape Soap

I have been wanting to join the Great Cakes Soapworks Soap Challenge Club for some time. When I saw that March's Challenge was to do a landscape soap, I knew I just had to join for this challenge. I had a landscape soap that been percolating in my brain since August 2014.

Way back in August my husband, daughter and I were driving back to Yuma, AZ from an interview in Bisbee, AZ. I was greatly enjoying the road trip with just the few of us. The church in Bisbee was a lovely bit of encouragement for us and Cowboy Preacher and I were talking about the possibilities. My husband and I have this habit of just getting into deep discussion while driving so I had put my camera away in the back. Big mistake because around Casa Grande we saw the most beautiful thunderstorm. Of course I didn't have my boys to get my camera from the back. We were heading to Gila Bend for dinner. The thunderstorm was most spectacular and it was really quite huge. Well on the way to Gila Bend for supper, the sun was setting in the most beautiful colors and I thought that would make a really truly beautiful soap.

I really could kick myself for not having my camera available to me, so I tried to memorize the colors and such. I really remember thinking how that my camera wouldn't be able to pick up the little slash of green from the fields. There was also this little haze of grey white and I realized that it was the irrigation systems going on the fields. The colors of the sunset were awesome and beautiful. Cowboy Preacher kinda laughed when I mentioned that it would make a beautiful soap. He knows that I have soap on the brain most of the time.

During another interview the next week I make sure to have my camera, but I couldn't get a shot that was close to the one from before.
August 2014 sunset coming home from Pueblo, CO.
When we were called to Bisbee we took another trip to gather information and meet with the church again. Again, I tried to take a similar picture as the sunset from August, but I couldn't quite get it.
October 2014 sunset going back to Yuma from Bisbee, AZ.
The colors were similar though, so I used the two pictures above to paint the sunset I wanted in watercolor.
My Inspiration for the Landscape Soap
This is the picture inspiration for the soap. I was so excited to get started and I really hoped that I could recreate this beautiful sunset in a soap. I posted on my Facebook and my friends were very excited for me as well.

I wanted to show the green fields around Casa Grande as most people think of Arizona as a desert so it must be shades of brown. Also I thought putting in the misty haze of the irrigation to show that in the desert we water our plants after the sun goes down so as not to burn or have excessive evaporation. The mountains really turn a lovely black as the sun sets, and well, I wanted to show the colors of gold, blue and dark purple black. 

I started with the green. I mixed up green oxide, hydrated chrome green and a touch of black. The soap batter was very thin and I have to say at this point of the soap I did want it to set fast. *Sigh* of course it didn't. I at first sprinkled the grey white soap on the top of the green forgetting that, no silly, you wanted a haze and not clouds. I really am too impatient sometimes with soap layers. Waiting for the green to get thick enough to pour the white was, well, not fun at all. 

Since my old stick blender died, a good friend gave me hers. It was just too heavy and awkward for her so she gave it to me. Well, the new one kicked up a ton of tiny bubbles. So I just tried to stir and bang them away. Usually, the bubbles don't bother me a whole lot, but I had a specific design in mind. This also meant that I tried not to use it to help the soap to thicken up like I would have with my old stick blender. After seeing the end result, I'll probably won't hesitate to use it again.

I did want the black to be thick enough to sculpt a bit. This was the mountain layer. Again my patience got away from me. Wow, I cannot describe how difficult it was for me just to wait for the silly black layer to thicken. So eventually I talked myself into leaving it alone and go play some Pogo for a bit. After it was thick enough to sculpt, I carved up some mountains.

Then I waited until the yellow "Sun" soap batter thickened enough to pipe a pretty little setting sun. Uh,yeah, I think I need to work on piping a bit more for next time. So again, some more Pogo. I can get caught up playing "Dice City Rollers" for hours. Though it was getting late and I was getting bleary. I really try not to soap when I'm tired. So instead of finishing the soap, I went to bed after piping the sun. 

The next day, I discovered that the soap was still very soft. I didn't add sodium lactate to these layers. I did a little more sculpting because sometimes I just can't leave well enough alone. Then I added a silver mica line to help with the sunset glow. I kinda buffed it in and sprayed it with isopropyl alcohol. Next time, I'll try to spray it with some watered down glycerin as some of the cut soaps want to separate at this particular spot.

The sunset layers I wanted to bleed into each other so I used Brambleberry (BB) Lab Colors. Note: next time make a more concentrated solution of colors. I wanted red orange, orange, yellow, sky blue, blue, dark blue and purplish black ombre. I ended up using some Key West Blue mica (Mad Oils) and Ultramarine blue (BB) to get the blues I wanted. I decided to put a pretty gold oil mica swirl on the top.

Since we were driving home to Yuma when we observed the glorious sunset, I decided to scent this with Brambleberry's Energy fragrance oil and Mad Oil's Pink Grapefruit fragrance oil. Yuma has a lot of grapefruit groves and their cucumbers are to die for. Really, both scents just remind me a lot of Yuma. It really is lovely to drive past a grove of citrus in the dead of night. The cool air from the irrigation and the scent of the blossoms is just amazing.

Gold Oil Mica Swirl topping
I guess I am very good at creating anticipation because I did get a lot of comments on my personal Facebook page about the coming reveal. When I finally unmolded the soap, I loved the colors on the outside.
So Pretty
So in the end, I have to say that I had a lot of fun and I learned quite a bit. As often as I thought about the construction of this particular soap, I now have some more insight of what to do and what not to do. I did use a slight water discount, but it wasn't enough for the weather in my area. Also, this soap has proved to me that I really love color and I NEED to buy more colorants to supplement my dwindling supply. *Smirk* I really NEED more colorants. Also, I really should be more patient when doing layers to get the crisp lines that I was looking for. I am planning on doing more soaps like this one because well, the landscape around Bisbee is just gorgeous.

I really love how this soap turned out. I want to say thank you to my cheering section. You guys really are very encouraging. And thanks for the help deciding which of the soaps you wanted to be entered. A big thank you to my brother Kwon who loaned me his flash and tries to help his big sister get better at photography. If you wanted to check out the different cuts of the soap, here is the link==> The Ladybug's Soapbox.