Was passiert, wenn Seife Seife küsst? (englisch)

Was passiert, wenn Seife Seife küsst? (englisch)

Hello there!

Soap challenge time again.

2021 /02 – this month’s subject was “Kiss Pour”. Valentine’s day casts its shadow ahead.

The kiss pour technique is actually quite self explanatory. No, it’s not intended you hold the pitcher with the soap batter in one hand and kiss your partner / your children / your pet at the same time.

Its secret is two or more portions of soap batter, coloured in different hues, poured from two different pitchers in a steady stream, meeting each other up in the air and forming a feathery pattern once they hit the mould.

It’s the only moment I can think of something hitting the ground forms something beautiful – think about eggs, a bottle of red wine (or two) or a glass of pickles. No feathering, just swearing.

The challenge in the challenge was to create a recipe which would stay fluid long enough until you have coloured all the different portions of soap batter in the separate containers. Then combine them in the two pouring pitchers (if you were an octopus, you could have used eight pitchers, I guess) and finally pouring them into the mould. Preferably without having blobby glops or gloppy blobs splattering down and ruining the pattern.

As usual, I was late and also somehow uninspired. I did a first attempt right on Valentine’s Day.

I chose a recipe with palm kernel oil (30%), palm oil (30%), olive oil (20%), rice bran oil (10%), cocoa butter (5%) and castor oil (5%).

I wanted to create something colourful hitting a black-and-white on the other side, because I felt like these days are like that.

As it was Feb 14th, and it was a Kiss Pour, I chose “Love Potion” from Gracefruit to be the perfectly matching scent. (And I knew that this fragrance would neither discolour nor accelerate the trace – clever girl, am I not?)

Talking about safety at work: This is what happens if you try to clean the little blade from your vegetable chopper, erroneously assuming that a latex glove is cut-proof  #donttrythisathome

Ladies (are there Gentlemen amonst us?)  meet “The Darkness devouring the light”

Intimidated by the numerous other beautiful kiss pour soaps appearing all over the social media, I decided to give it another go without titanium dioxide speckles and more subtle colourings.

I chose to divide the batter in 5 portions, two should go in one container, coloured in fuchsia and buttercup yellow, and the other three were a fried egg like pattern of light silver grey, dark grey and pastel pink (“aphrodite” mica from UMakeitup).

The recipe was one I already had used to make a thin line pour for my niece’s 20th birthday last year. Sunflower oil, palm kernel oil, peanut oil, palm oil, coconut oil and castor oil (35/15/15/15/5) would do the trick.

Scented in Coastal Rain from Brambleberry it looked nice when it was in the mould.

Unmoulded, the first thing I wanted to do was to put it straight to the bin. The colours had somehow gelled away – no more sign of bright fuchsia pink or buttercup yellow.

But sometimes you just have to dig deeper to find gold (or cat droppings). Fortunately, I had made the soap thick enough to be able to merrily plane away until some colour reappeared:

and finally I found the mummy and the fire-breathing squid:

 I still have some more hours left to decide, which one goes in which category – experienced and bonus are the options. And I have some more hours to do market research for a decent, affordable soap planer.

She’s got the jack…

She’s got the jack…

The Union Jack, to be precise… Before you utter medical advice – let me explain..
The entry date for November’s soap challenge was approaching.

Fast. Same same as last time…Even though I had seen what others were preparing as their entries, I did not have any clue what I wanted to do for it. The theme was “Mosaic soap“. The idea was to create a picture of small pieces of soap and kind of glue them together with another gallon of liquid soap batter, like you would if you were plastering your bathroom floor with tiny tiles.  Nothing easier as that – as long as inspiration hits you.

Inspiration kept hiding from me until I was about to resign and skip this challenge – until the 11th of November. The day, when in Germany the official carnival season opening is celebrated in Mainz, the German capital of carnival (or “Fassenacht“, as they say here).

Don’t listen if people tell you that Cologne and Düsseldorf have Carnival celebrations, too. They are merely poor copies of the original 🙂

November 11th is Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth states , and in the USA, they have Veterans’ day. Both are days on which people honor  the end of World War I. or / and military service men and women who have served their countries since then till now.  By the way, I really do appreciate that – in my opinion, people who are willing to serve their contries and risk to get hurt on duty deserve to be treated with respect, which is not usually the case here in  my home country. But let’s not get political – there I was, following the news coverage, seeing empty places in the German Carnival capital, no carnival revellers (had to look that up – in German we call them “Narren”) – so sad. Switching TV channels, I could see the Royal family in their festive attire attending the Poppy Day ceremonies.

Flashback

Must have been 2005 or so. It was November, and I was still working for Rolls-Royce in Germany then. I had to travel to the UK in order to attend a project meeting (I was project lead for the SAP implementation in my logistics department). Rolls Royce has plants all over the country, and some of them are in the defence sector, so they have strict security regulations. That means, that even though I carried my company badge, I was not allowed to enter unaccompanied into the company’s building and find my way to the conference room, but I had to wait until somebody picked me up. Being a communicative person, I asked the elderly man at the reception counter, why he was wearing a poppy blossom attached to his lapel, and he explained to me that this was issued by a charity campaign called The Poppy appeal which collects money for members of the armed forces who are in need of support.

I remember saying that this was a lovely idea and told him that we do not have anything similar in Germany – well, we all know about the very problematic military history.  He asked me if anyone of my family had been in the war, and I told him about my grandfather who hade been deployed to Norway at the end of the war, aged 23, and lost his eyesight, his hearing and his right arm in an explosion. Suddenly the gentleman at the reception desk took off his poppy pin from his jacket and gave it to me as a present. I found that so extremely sweet and touching.

Back in 2020 – The Royal Highnesses covered in poppies,  the British flag softly waving in the air…

I became sentimental for a second, thinking about the downlight at the end of the already horrible year – the UK leaving the European Union (ok. Sean Connery leaving the planet was also a downlight)….

Wait a moment – there she was – Lady Inspiration, frantically waving with one hand and pointing towards the flag with the other.

Heureka! From this moment on, everything went like fast forward. I had my slab mould, which actually was some kind of acrylic dish meant to keep the bathroom drawers in order, I had borrowed a set of japanese spatulas from my partner’s toolbox (remind me to return them!) and I had a recipe.

On a website for quilting nerds, I had found a usable pattern for cutting pieces for the flag, which I used to calculate  how much blue and how much red soap I would need. And I could stick the printed pattern to the bottom of my acrylic box and use it as “map” for arranging my soap pieces.

The soap batter is made from olive oil, coconutoil, cocoa butter, lard and castor oil. It’s scented with Gorse flower from Gracefruit. Gorse flower reminds me of my beautiful holidaywith one of my best friends (Hallo Anette 🙂 !!! ) in Scotland years ago, and I found it appropriate for a British themed soap.

Here you see the soap batter merrily gelling away in the oven:

Here you see the soap batter after moving out of his acrylic box and waiting to be sliced up:

Here you can see the why it is good and important to have a properly stuffed toolbox (or at least, have access to one)

Here you see my beautifully arranged workplace, strewn with cutting patterns and stuff:

And here you see the progress of arranging the tiny pieces in the mould:

The yellow stuff underneath is fully biodegradable glue – aka cocoa butter:

Mind the gap!

The remains of the day (I doubt, Sir Anthony Hopkins has fun in soapmaking)

and – tadaaa….  the final results – cut and trimmed and differently decorated:

Keep calm was my mantra while planing and cutting the soap – believe me, I was using quite a lot of strong language until everything was done:

Patriotic underwear – I bought these silk knickers and camisole years ago and have never had the heart to give them away.

So here it is. Superbini’s soap challenge club entry 11/20.

It’s a bit more than just soap. It’s a declaration of love to a wonderful country and the wonderful people I had the honour and pleasure to meet. I have been to quite some countries, and I love France and Italy, but my affection for the Britons is special. I openly envy you the Queen.

Contrary to the common rumours, it is possible to have a tasty meal in the UK. And yes, I do like Haggis and smoked Haddock for breakfast.

The weather ist not bad on 364 days of the year.

Our garden shed shelters 4 english motorcycles. One of them is pink. Triumph Motorcycles were the only ones to put extraordinary colour schemes on their bikes. Some people found that strange, I love them for that.

To make up for Little Britain, you have decent folks like DCI Barnaby and  Agatha Raisin. Faboulous scientist like Dr. Who. World known veteriniarian Dr. James Herriott was a part of my childhood reading experience.

Well, you see – it takes more than a disputable “leave!” decision and a pandemic to come between and girl and his favourite country (apart from her home country, of course). Once we will be free and safe to travel again, we will catch up on everyting we missed out this year (Whitby Gothic Festival, Trooping the Colour etc). Britain, be prepared!!!

 

Brighter than a thousand suns…

Brighter than a thousand suns…

Ladies and Gentlemen, Senores y Senoras – here we go !

IT’S SOAPCHALLENGE TIME AGAIN!!!

You might remember the last time I made soap for the Soapchallenge Club – then in June it was the One Pot Wonder.

Now, two months later, it’s “Layers and Dropswirls“.

I missed the one I actually wanted to do – river rocks and marbles. An acute feline health emergency  distracted me from focussing on something unimportant like soapmaking. At least it seemed totally unimportant to me in that moment. But now, as our furry family member is feeling much better, spirits were up again and ready to get creative.

If you search the internet, you will come up with loooooads of pictures of all kind of layered soaps. Just the same happens if you search for dropswirls in soap. The task our lovely SSC host Amy asked us to fulfil was combining both techniques.

Like before, there was one beginner category, where beginners with less than 50 batches of soap or less than one year of soaping experience would be allowed to enter. And one advanced category for all the rest.

Too good to be true!

That is, only if you qualify as a beginner and your soap complies to the rules of the beginners’ category. Because if the soap is a beginner’s oeuvre, but contains elements those would automatically push it to the advanced category. Easy, huh?

As I was lacking enough time to do several attempts like last time, I decided to put all my eggs in one basket and make it a one try wonder. I had recently purchased a small loaf mould from a lady who regrettably had to give up soaping herself.

It is a loaf mould, reasonably sized (18 x 6,5 x 7 cm), it has a silicone liner and a wooden box with a lid. It holds about 800 ml of soap – it was perfect for my purpose. No more sectioning a way too big loaf mold with cardbord box thingys.

Still sounds easy, doesn’t it?

I needed a recipe… Amy had provided us with a recipe suggestion. I liked it, but it contained beef tallow. Beef tallow seems to be around only in winter time, when birds are fed with it. So no beef tallow. Recipe tweaking was the motto.

The original recipe was the following:

Olive oil—35%
Coconut oil—25%
Beef tallow—25%
Cocoa butter—10%
Castor oil—5%

and this is what I made from it:

I thought, goose instead of beef should be alright as well, and I had found goose fat in a local supermarket recently and wanted to give it a try.

The whole layers and dropswirl thing required a plan. Some kind of architectural layout. I was planning to do 3 layers, each in a different colour, and then there had to be the droppings (it’s more linear droplets than swirls, so the term dropswirls is a trifle misleading). Two differently coloured lines of droppings would do.

Mind the gap!

So I had a loaf mould with round about 850 ml of capacity. I needed three batches of differently coloured soap for the layers, and I needed two more small amounts of even more differently coloured soap batter for the droppings. And here it the snag – maths and me never got along well.  Never. I speak seven languages, learn another one at the moment, but numbers and me? Go away and nobody will get hurt. Visualising helps. Even if it looks really stupid – it helps!

I did not want to mix the oils and the lye first and then split it into batches, no, I wanted to split oils and lye and add it in small containers, then add the respective colours and the scents (I used Jelly Beans Frangrance Oil  to add a scent that matches the bright colours). Thus I would  have full control about when the batter starts to accelerate and not getting under pressure because of funny things happening in my mixing containers. Especially when the colours I chose were screaming

“RADIOACTIVITY”

This was the palette I had to choose from. The pigments are from a German company called Manske. I guess a lot of soaping ingredients vendors have them, but I like the idea of supporting local business. Their prices are good and the service is reliable (this was unpaid advertising, by the way 🙂 ). A lot of soapmakers have a critical opinion about the neon colours, because they contain polyurethane. My fellow soapmaker Eva Gomez has recently been in touch with a leading seller of micas and pigments in the UK about this topic. People using neon colours are not as bad as it seems.

Back to our challenging task of splitting, mixing, pouring, waiting, sculpting, waiting again…

I poured the first layer – the orange one – as bottom layer and let it sit for about 30 minutes until it got solid.

Preparing the next layer in the small mixing pot in the meantime (I used a milk frother to do so. We have on where you can take of the mixing thing and put it into the dishwasher. So my partner’s cocoa would not have a taste of soap the next morning…)

Poured the yellow layer:

and let it sit not as long as the orange one, because I wanted to give this layer a little sculpting. I had bought a jagged buttercream sculpting plastic tool at TEDI – similar like the 1 Dollar stores in the US, and cut it to fit into the mould:

Unfortunately, I am still no octopus, and this is why I have no pictures of the sculpting process of the yellow layer. It was about midnight on a Saturday evening, and the man of the house, who would otherwise had acted as photographer, was fast asleep on the sofa. No reason to stay awake when Soaping Superbini disappears in the black hole called kitchen and plays with chemicals.

Neither there are pictures of the dropping of the swirls. Or the swirling of the drops. Whatever. I think, the mysterious and funny thing about this technique is that you cannot ever say what is the outcome. You simply drizzle the soap batter into the filled mould from a certain height. Gravity will decide how the finished soap will look like in the end.

Next thing I remember

is the unmoulding. Out of the dark:

I had put the mould with the still not solid soap in the oven for the night. It seems like my hands have been shaking with either fear or excitement – well, the batter had piled up on one end of the mould. Mishap again. But then, in the tutorial video, Amy, too, dropped her finished soap, so I feel in good company 🙂

Following some more pictures just to show off 🙂

Green river:

This is the end..

The first cut is the deepest: (does Rod Stewart really wear a Celtics jersey??)

Brighter than a thousand suns:

I must say – I am very very please with the result. It makes my pupils constrict, and I do not need all these fancy night lights anymore because my soap leads me the way through my apartment. My only hope is that the colour will not come off and stay on the skin once I (or anybody else) washes with it.

Rein in den Topf, raus aus dem Topf…

Rein in den Topf, raus aus dem Topf…

p!

Soap Challenge Club meets Superbini…

Once upon a time, our budding soapmaking talent came across a club in the depth of the world wide web. Even not being the typical club(wo)man, she decided to join.

Intrigued by beautiful pictures on the web, encouraging words of fellow soapmakers and the tempting prospect of meeting other like-minded people from all over the world. “Not feeling competitive? Join for the camaraderie!” were the words which finally tipped the scales.

When she found out that the three-months subscription was more favorable than the “Oh, I will try once and see if I have fun”- version, she went for the June to August-membership. Penny pinching and soapmaking normally do not go well along together, but hey! – life is short. There are no pockets in a shroud, and, as we know, keeping your body clean with soap maintains a good health. Win-win-win situation.

The Soap Challenge Club has different topics each month

. For the June challenge, it’s called the “one pot wonder”. Some of you might have heard of the “one pot pasta”. Pasta and salsa and other stuff are not cooked separately as usual, but you throw all ingredients in one pot and boil it until the pasta is al dente and the liquid has been soaked up by it.

 

picture courtesy of Soap Challenge Club

The Soap Challenge Club’s one pot wonder soap works slightly differently. First of all, we do not cook soap. Well, yes, there is a way of making soap called “hot process”. This is indeed kind of cooking soap, but in our case, we stick to the cold process method.

Oils and lye and perfume and colourants are mixed together, poured in a mould and let to rest until the whole mixture has saponified silently and turned into a solid bar of soap.

First step is to decide what kind of soap recipe to choose.

Depending on the technique, it may require to stay more liquid or to get solid easily. I did not want to risk anything and opted for a recipe I had used before and I knew would stay fluid quite a long time. It is called “Seidenglatt” which means “smooth as silk” and it is from Claudia Pazdernik, who runs a beautiful blog with even more beautiful soaps on it.

This is a snapshot from my working environment. You can see containers of lye and melted oils in the background, and obviously I was in the process of weighing out my colours .

 

Schwarz – gold -rot

I wanted to create one soap with strong colours, and as it was June 17th when I made the first batch, I chose the colours of the German flag – black, red and gold. The elder among us might remember that before Western and Eastern German reunited again, the 17th of June was a German national holiday .

The other batch was supposed to be with pastel shades. I chose violet, pink, white and “just add glitter” to the four portions of batter.

The one pot wonder soap’s layers are achieved by pouring all the differently coloured soap batters in one pot and then pour the whole lot along the sides of a log mould.

I had currently participated in a “swap your surplus soaping accessories” in a German speaking soapmaking internet forum. One of the ladies there had offered a silicone mould which would qualify as “tall and skinny” . Tall and skinny describes a mould which is higher than its diameter. This kind of mould would be perfect for the Soap Challenge.

And it always reminds me of the fabulous Lisa Cunningham from “I dream in soap” – in order to see why, have a look at her bee soap video – the crucial part begins at 0:19. Lisa’s tutorials were some of the first I devoured on youtube (there are lot of other great videos, too, but as you might or might not know, I am totally fond of British English, that’s why I love listening to her so much).

So here I was, with my tall and skinny, 1.4 litre soap mould.

Because I wanted to make several batches with different colourings, I kind of blocked it in the middle with a piece of cardboard packaging material from IKEA and reduced the volume.

(Un)fortunately I am no octopus, and therefore there is no picture or even video of me pouring the mix in the mould. But there are a lot of pictures of the final results of the whole thing:

Once the loaf of soap has saponi- and solidified, it is unmoulded

and can be cut in slices. I use a soap wire cutter from a German company called Lumbinigarden . Actually, these loaves were the first ones I cut with my soap cutter – whohoo… Champagne!!!

I chose a width of 2,5 cm for each slice of soap. That gives a reasonably sized bar which is still good to handle. No need for too tiny pieces of soap which would only drop and clog the drain. Or too big ones which must be held with two hands or a crane.

I let them dry for a few days before unsuccesfully trying to plane the sides and bevel the edges. But I still think they are quite lovely – and, which is more important – they are made with love and handmade by me!

And they even have kind of a face – or am I (as usual) the only one seeing faces in her soap?

I have no idea if any of my soaps will win a prize. But I loved experiencing with the colours, the scents and the technique.

The German soap is scented with Gin & Tonic from Gracefruit, by the way. For the pastel one I have created a mix of nutmeg, ylang-ylang and lavender essential oils.

Update – June 29th, 00:32 local time Smallville…

I decided to do a third batch, and used a different recipe this time. It contains 25% each of coconut, safflower, apricot kernel oil and shea butter. In order to avoid the batter to trace too fast, I only used a whisk for blending it all with the lye. And whisked. And whisked.. I know how Popeye got his muscles!!!

It spent a night in the oven (we had what the weather people call “tropical nights” – means, the temperature does not sink below 23° C) and still came out soft the next morning. I let it rest 24 hrs and unmoulded. Still felt soft. I used words which had prompted my late granny to wash my mouth with that soaft soap and put it back into the oven. After some more hours in the freezer I could cut it without crumbling.

I got soda ash on the top and sides, so I decided to plane that off. Which was, at least I do think so, a good idea as now the wavy structure of the intertwining colours are better visible.

The rules of the Soap Challenge Club say that we have to submit our competition soap until Monday noon (I haven’t found out which time zone CDT is…), and then the poll starts. So to make sure I do not miss the deadline, I submitted my isobaric chart soap half an hour ago!

The winners will be announced on July 4th. Which is pretty cool, as it might seem that the USA will celebrate the winner of the Soap Challenge Club!!!